2019 Running and Triathlon Year in Review

 2019 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

I had another great year of running and creating memorable moments in 2019.  So very thankful that I can still do what I enjoy doing and reflecting back on the memories I made.  I have kept track of my running miles since 1989, so I only tally up the number of runs, miles, and time spent running in my stats.  Here’s how 2019 went for me with running and triathlon.

JANUARY – Not much to reflect upon here.  Most were treadmill runs and nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Total Runs:  14
  • Average Weekly Miles:  22.4
  • Total Hours:  11.8
  • Total Miles:  89.5

 

FEBRUARY – Another winter month to get through and focus on recovery.

  • Total Runs:  10
  • Average Weekly Miles:  15
  • Total Hours:  9
  • Total Miles:  60

 

MARCH – Ironman Chattanooga training begins! I chose to be a little loose with the training this time around starting out by following the “Just Finish” plan but then decided to commit to the competitive plan like usual.  I did drop the swimming down considerably, mostly just doing two 45-minute swims per week.  The monthly totals for March reflect what miles the beginning stages of the plan prescribes, plus some time off for a trip to Nashville to see some colleges with Rebecca.

  • Total Runs:  12
  • Average Weekly Miles:  12.1
  • Total Hours:  7
  • Total Miles:  48.3

 

APRIL – Weekly training going well, as long as I don’t ruin things for myself.  For example –  I’m My Own Worst Enemy

  • Total Runs:  16
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23.8
  • Total Hours:  14
  • Total Miles:  95

 

MAY – Still swim/bike/run training and getting into the swing of things.

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24.8
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  99

 

JUNE – I officially kicked off the racing season this month with a 5K and a sprint triathlon in June.  (See below for the race reports.)

 

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Me with my Short Run on a Long Day 5K age group medal post-race, trying to stay dry.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  30
  • Total Hours:  17.5
  • Total Miles:  119

 

JULY – Time for a vacation and some more racing!

 

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The final stretch of the 2019 Manteno Tri.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.5
  • Total Miles:  130

 

AUGUST – It got hot just as the training ramped up big time.

 

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Just two Ironman trainees wondering why we love this sport so much.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  • Average Weekly Miles:  38.4
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  154

 

SEPTEMBER – September came with the wrapping up of 30-weeks of Ironman training and racing a very hot 2019 Ironman Chattanooga.  Even with the heat and all the suffering, it was an epic day.

 

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The first 100 feet of the Ironman Chattanooga marathon leg.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  36.7
  • Total Hours:  22.5
  • Total Miles:  146.6

 

OCTOBER – I debated with myself as to whether I should defer the Chicago Marathon to 2020 seeing that it was two weeks after Ironman Chattanooga, but I committed to it and decided to see if I could parlay all that Ironman training into another Boston Marathon qualifier.  I did!  But not by much.

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If it wasn’t for the crappy winds, the day would have been perfect marathon running weather.  
  • Total Runs:  15
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24
  • Total Hours:  13.5
  • Total Miles:  95.7

 

NOVEMBER – Looking back at 2018, November 2019 was almost a mirror image in terms of the stats below.  I ran a couple of races, which probably did more damage to me than good.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (30 of 1951)
The start of the 2019 Hot Cider Hustle, Wheaton, IL.  I’m in 2nd place!  It didn’t last long.
  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  84

 

DECEMBER – I paid for the four races I did, which ended up causing me some weird leg left leg/knee pain.  I never had pain in the rear portion of the leg/knee area before.  It wouldn’t hurt during the run really, but afterward, I would have some dull pain that would linger.  I would rest it a few days and then feel fine only to go back out and get the same result.  I decided to shut down running on December 26th for the rest of the year.

  • Total Runs: 12
  • Average Weekly Miles: 17.9
  • Total Hours: 11
  • Total Miles: 71.5

 

2019 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  188
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  174.5
  • Total Miles:  1193.2

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS (31st Year of Running)

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4777 – 154 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3509.5 – 113 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  26188 – 844 miles per year average

 

2019 RACE REPORTS

I had a pretty successful year racing again, getting some more age group and finisher medals to add to my collection.  Here are the summaries with a link to the race recaps.

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

I think I had a pretty good year with triathlon.  Ironman training went well and ended with a very good effort on an extremely hot day in Chattanooga.  And I medaled in the other two sprint tri’s that I did, which is always the goal.  I’m really looking forward to another year of racing.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  34  /  Total Distance:  69,461 yards (39.5 miles)

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  132  /  Total Miles:  3694

 

GOALS FOR 2020

In May I registered for a race that had piqued my interest.  The race is called the “Big Hill Bonk” (read about it here: My First Ultramarathon?) and is in Beloit, Wisconsin in early April 2020.  It’s an elimination/last runner standing type race format in which you run a 4.16-mile loop in an hour and keep doing that until only one runner is left.  So this run could be my first ultramarathon if I decide to keep going past eight loops.  I was training pretty well for it and starting to build some decent weekend long run miles, but the leg/knee injury thing has screwed up my training.  I think I will still be able to get to the starting line and get in enough loops to push me over 50K.

I decided to take a year off from running the Chicago Marathon.  I have legacy status, so I should be able to sign up again in 2020 for the 2021 race if I want to.  My Gunner teammates and I were discussing doing another Ironman in 2020, but I’m not sure how serious everyone is.  We’re at the point that we have done the races nearest to us and may to commit to traveling farther to do a different race, or just sign up for one we have already done.  A lot of the fun in doing them is experiencing a new race locale.  I hear that Ironman is returning to Idaho in 2021, so I definitely have it on my must-do list.  If the Gunners shoot for another go-around I will definitely be in.  I just have to fit it around getting my youngest off to college.  I’m not missing that.

If the Ironman thing doesn’t pan out and I survive the Big Hill Bonk run, I may look to sign up for a 100-mile ultramarathon.  I have a local friend who is fond of the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler in southern Illinois, but I have also eyed the Hennepin 100 race out by Sterling, Illinois.  We’ll see.  Got to get some experience first.

 

 

 

2019 Minocqua Turkey Trot 5K

2019 Minocqua Turkey Trot 5K – The race that will be forever known as the “YOU ASSHOLE!” race.

When:  11/28/2019

Where:  Torpy Park, Minocqua, Wisconsin

Distance:  5K-ish (actual distance was 2.9 miles)

Results:  21:16 / 13th Overall / 12th Place Male Overall / 1st Place M50-59 Age Group

Link to the Overall Results

The family was up north in Minocqua for Thanksgiving and four of us decided that doing the local turkey trot would be fun.  Ben had already looked at the previous results from last year and figured he could easily beat the winner’s time by a couple of minutes.  I was glad to see we could save a few bucks by signing up as a family, $90 for the four of us instead of $30 each on race day!  What we hadn’t planned on was the snowstorm the day before.

The snowstorm caused the race director to alter the course and eliminate the trail portion of the run.  The course was now changed to an out and back.  The town took care of the snow for the most part, but the sidewalk and the streets we would run on still had some snow.  Fortunately, due to the sand they throw around up there on the streets, the footing was pretty good.

So we all showed up, registered and then Kari and I went back to the car to keep warm while the real runners, Ben and Emily, went for a pre-race warm-up.

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Trying to stay warm on a cold upper Wisconsin Thanksgiving morning.

The start time approached and we all started gathering around the start banner.  Ben had keyed on a kid wearing a Ripon College cross country shirt and figured he would stay with him until the end and out-kick him.  Emily joined me and said she was going to run easy, which meant to go my pace, and I was glad to have the company.  Kari took her spot away from the front and then the countdown began.  8…  7…  6…  I hate when they do this because some guy always will jump the gun and go on 1, but here we were.  1…  GO!

The race start was narrow and fed us almost immediately into a more narrow sidewalk, and that is when the festive mood of the race changed for me.  A woman runner started to run almost directly at me from the left and I thought she was going to run into me so I held my arm up and kept her from bowling me over.

“YOU SHOVED ME, YOU ASSHOLE!”

For the record, I didn’t shove her.  She didn’t even lose her balance.  She just didn’t get to run into me like she was about to do.  I explained to her that I was just keeping her from knocking me down, but damn, she was angry enough about it to call me an asshole.  But now I was a little miffed.  When you are a slow runner you shouldn’t be starting at the front of the race where the faster runners belong, and if you are going to cut someone off you better understand that the person you are cutting off isn’t going to like it.  Why can’t these races just be fun and not end up with some weird, screwed-up occurrence?  Happy Thanksgiving to you too, lady.

So with that incident on my mind, I tried to find a comfortable pace to run and try not to slip and fall on the snow-covered sidewalk.  Emily and I made our way to the side street and to the turnaround point without any further issues.  There were a couple of younger guys ahead of me wearing turkey outfits and I decided that I didn’t want to get beat by a couple of turkeys, so I started working on pulling them in.   Emily had also decided to push ahead and leave me in her snowy dust.  The first turkey I caught pretty quickly but it wasn’t until about a half-mile left of the race that I caught the second one.  Another runner was ahead of me and I passed him as I was starting my last all-out kick, but he still had a kick left and then blew past me and started racing a high school kid up ahead that we were getting close to.  I finished alone without any further challenges.

I looked at my watch and saw that the GPS recorded a distance of 2.90 miles and Ben and Emily said the same.  The course was a little short, but no big deal.

Being called an “asshole” aside, it was a pretty good race for all four of us.  Ben implemented his race plan and waited until 20 feet left to take the air out of the other kid and beat him by a second, winning the race.  I think Ben enjoyed toying with his prey until the final moments.  He won’t deny it.  Emily was also first on the women’s side and both of them got turkeys for their wins.  Kari was also on the podium with a 3rd place in her age group.

When we got home I was explaining to everyone what I did to get called an “asshole” and I demonstrated what she did with my daughter Rebecca.  As I got close to Rebecca she instinctively put her arm up to keep me from running into her.  There, I am vindicated!

 

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2019 Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Race Report

Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Race

When:  11/02/2019

Where:  Danada Forest Preserve, Wheaton, Illinois

Distance:  8 Miles

Results:  57:32 / 9th Overall / 8th Place Male Overall / 2nd Place M55-59 Age Group

I started running this race in 2011 and this was my 5th time running it.  It’s a fun race that is unique – an 8-miler, which you don’t see very often, it’s run in a nature preserve on mostly chipped limestone trail that meanders through some scenic Illinois prairie, and finishes the last half-mile or so on a grass horse track.

My goal for this race is always the same, finish the 8-miles in less than an hour and place in the age group and take home a medal.  Mission accomplished!

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This race starts at 9am but I have a habit getting there early to nab a parking spot in the main parking lot.  Again, Mission Accomplished!

I did a little shake-out run to see if I was dressed warm enough and was satisfied with what I had on.   After a couple of bathroom trips and reading the paper in the car it was time to head to the start line.

The start line has this funnel start in which only one runner can pass through at a time, which is really an odd way of doing it, but there may be some method to that madness.  Since this is a trail run and it’s only so wide, this gets the runners to spread out.  The first banner in the starting area said 7-minute miles, then 8, 9 and so on.  I came back from another quick heartrate boosting jog I took my spot in the 7-minute spot.  I was by myself.  I was looking around and it appeared no one else was going to join me.  Really?  None of you runners back there can beat a 56-year-old guy?  I noticed one guy wearing a North Central hat and said get in front of me and he was turning me down saying that he really wasn’t in racing shape.  Really?  You’re a former runner of the top DIII Cross Country running school in the nation and you don’t think you have a chance of beating me or the rest of these guys?!  I got behind him and told him just not to run too fast because I didn’t want to lose sight of him and get lost.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (30 of 1951)
North Central guy and me 1-2 out of the gate.  I’M IN SECOND!  In retrospect, I should have started first and then I could claim that I lead the race for a while!  Oh well.  North Central guy lead from start to finish winning the race.

The guy doing the announcing yelled everything like it was the most exciting info you could hear and he always went up in pitch at the end.  Things like how to line up, when the race was starting, etc., he made it sound exciting.  He counted down to zero and an air horn blew and off we went.

North Central guy and I were 1-2 out of the gate and I was already throwing out my usual pre-race run plan, start comfortable and run negative mile splits.  Nope, I redlined it from the start.  After the first turn, I lost sight of North Central guy and started hearing the footsteps of others behind me.  By the half-mile mark, I was passed by a group of 3 runners, including the top woman and was now in 5th place.  Everyone ahead of me was younger until about the 3-mile mark when I finally got passed by another guy with grey hair wearing shorts.  He was running at a good clip and put some distance on me in no time.  And then I was alone again, which is where I find myself in every race.

At one point I passed a couple of high school kids monitoring the course to make sure that the runners don’t turn off course and they cheered me.  I told them to cheer nice and loud for the next runner so I could get a feel how far back the next guy was.  They didn’t let me down, and I heard loud cheering about 40-seconds later.  Nice.

Around 4.25-miles into the race, I encountered a girl who was right ahead of me on the course, right after a point in the course where those behind were supposed to turn right and follow the loop.  Since only one girl had passed me early in the race I knew right away that she didn’t make the turn.  I asked her if she missed it and she said she decided to only run five miles of the course, pulled out her phone and that was the last I saw of her.

The rest of the race went pretty much how I expected it to go.  I had brought along a gel, which seems kind of unnecessary for a race lasting less than an hour, but I couldn’t resist and started taking small nibbles from it.  I’m glad I did because it did feel like I was suffering less.

When I would pass a turn I would look back and I could see a runner wearing a blue singlet behind me.  He had been back there a while so I was hoping that the kick I had planned for the last mile or two would be enough to keep him at bay.  Then I got to the portion of the course where the 5K turnaround was located and hit a wall of slow walkers not even halfway done with the 3.1 miles.  This gets me going because they should know that they need to stay right and not block the rest of the racers.  I did a lot of shouting “SHARE THE TRAIL!” at these people, and not in the same way the announcer dude was shouting stuff.

I finally made it to the horse track for the finish and was in the final turn when the guy in the blue singlet finally caught me and passed me.  Got me riled a little knowing that he had been back there the whole time and waited to the very last 1/4-mile to overtake me, but whatever, that’s racing.  I finished and was glad to be done.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (1021 of 1951)
A little beat, but felt like I had a good race.

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Results:  Hot Cider Hustle 8-Mile Results

​2019 Chicago Marathon Race Report

2019 Chicago Marathon

October 13, 2019 / Chicago, Illinois

Time:  3:34:46

Place:  8487th Place Overall / 6610th Male / 243rd Male 55-59 Age Group

 

Another Chicago Marathon is in the books!  Here’s a “By-the-Numbers” look at my race.

– Number of Chicago Marathons I have started and completed.

21 – Total number of marathons run (including Ironman finishes).

3 – Where my finish ranks for the fastest marathon finish times for me (3:25 in 2016 & 3:28 in 2015, all at Chicago and all in my fifties.).

3 – Number of times meeting the Boston Marathon qualifying standard, all at Chicago.

13 – Seconds below the BQ at this race (3:35:00 is the BQ for my current age/sex).

0.000000000001 – Percent chance that I will get into the Boston Marathon with that slim margin.

0.0 – Percent chance that I will even apply for the Boston Marathon with that time.

2 – Number of weeks after completing Ironman Chattanooga that I ran this race.

97 – Minutes faster I finished the Chicago Marathon compared to the marathon split at Ironman Chattanooga (5:11).

27.1 – Miles that my Garmin watch recorded for the run.  It was off by 2/3’s of a mile by the halfway point.  It’s hard to plan splits when your watch gets off.

8:12 – Average pace minutes per mile (I was aiming for 8 min/mile).

7:13 – Best mile split, Mile 1

 

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Feeling good back downtown in the first half of the race.

 

8:56 – Worst mile split, Mile 26

3 – The number of seconds Emily’s grandfather yelled at me that I was wasting by stopping to kiss Kari when I saw her and the group of family and friends that came to watch Emily and I (okay maybe just Emily) race.  I wasn’t expecting to see Kari that early in the morning because she had a long night on Saturday.  So I took 3 seconds to appreciate that.  Worth it.  Should have spent four seconds.

1:45:00 – Halfway (13.1 miles) split, a perfect 3:30 pace split (Nailed it!).

 

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Just crossed the 13.1 Mile mark timing mat at exactly 1:45:00.

 

– Number of times I stopped for a bathroom break.

1 – Number of times I peed into an empty Gatorade bottle shoved discreetly down my pants in the start corral before the start.

4 – Number of guys who stood next to me in the corral and whizzed openly on the curb.

41 – Degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the race.

45786 – Number of finishers.

187 – Average run cadence/steps per minute for me.

156 – Average heart rate/beats per minute for me.  Seems high.  I wasn’t working that hard.

2919 – Number of calories burned, according to my Garmin.

51331 – Number of steps total for the day.

6 – Mile where you turn back south and get a whiff of the strong smell of breakfast being served at some restaurant along the course.  It makes me angry every time because I want to stop and eat pancakes and can’t.

1 – Number of times I said to myself during the race that I am not enjoying this anymore, somewhere around Mile 8.  Yeah, I know, pretty early on and it was due to the cold wind that was blowing on me all of a sudden.  The wind was pretty strong and cold at times.

2/3 – Portion of the race that I kept my gloves on for.

Numerous – Number of spectators I saw trying to cross the gauntlet of runners to get to the other side of the street, which is really a dumb idea and really ticks me off.

1 – Number of spectators I saw wipe out trying to cross the gauntlet of runners to get to the other side of the street, landing with a pretty hefty thud, which caused me to laugh and call him a dumbass.

2 – The number of Ben’s friends (Adam and Colin) still hanging out around Mile 22 that I saw and High-5’d.  It was a welcome boost.

4’9″ – The estimated height of the girl that I spent the majority of the race running with, usually behind her because she had such an arm swing going that I was afraid she would punch me with it.  It’s interesting that after a couple of miles into the race that you will be running with the same people for the majority of the rest of it.

3:25 – The finish time I was predicting for myself at the halfway point.

3:30 – The finish time I was predicting for myself at the 20 Mile mark.

3:35 – The finish time I was praying for with one mile to go so that I would be under the time cutoff for a Boston Qualifier.

 

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The finish line was dead ahead.

 

– Number of hills of any significance on this course – located at Roosevelt Road, AKA Mt. Roosevelt, which comes at Mile 26.  It’s a nothing hill but comes at the end and I started to cramp up and had to walk some of it.

0 – Desire to do this race again.

 

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Exhausted, glad to be done.  But the journey wasn’t over just yet…

 

 

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Okay, that’s enough of the numbers.  Here is the report in a nutshell.  The race went pretty well for me.  I was a little concerned that I would not have been recovered enough after finishing Ironman Chattanooga two weeks prior to running this race.  But seeing that Chattanooga was so hot and that I walked/jogged the vast majority of it, the Ironman didn’t really beat me up that much.  I actually felt pretty good after it.  So I decided to push myself in Chicago and shoot for a 3:30.

I had one layer too many on at the start and the windbreaker that was getting me too warm and making me sweat was handed off to Kari in the early miles.  The temperature was awesome, but the occasional gust of wind would jolt you pretty strongly.  I was taking on water and Gatorade as well as hitting the gels every 30 minutes, which I increased in the latter part of the race.  I felt that my energy level was good, but my muscles were just not responding and getting more tired and sore as the miles added up.

 

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Kari knows how to spectate this course.  She was able to catch me as I shuffled through the last mile toward the finish.

 

 

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I wouldn’t say that I hit a wall, but I did feel like the last 5K was a battle of will for me.  I really dug deep in that last mile and a half.  I could see that my pace was slowing even though I felt like I was giving it everything I could.  It seemed like I was passing a lot of people at the end, but that’s not unusual.  Then I finished and was relieved.

Now the fun part starts.

After crossing the finish I tried to keep moving forward.  My hands started to tingle and I could feel myself starting to get a little lightheaded.  I grabbed a water bottle and started drinking it.  A medal was placed around my neck by some bearded guy and I worked my way through the chute.  One thing about the marathon finish chute is that there isn’t any place to sit down.  That’s by design, they don’t want you to stop moving or it will clog up everything for the remaining runners coming in, and it is in your best interest to keep moving so you don’t start cramping.

It wasn’t long and a girl ahead of me dropped to the ground and started screaming in pain, raising her leg up.  Clearly, she was having a bad leg cramp, but the volunteers didn’t have a clue what to do with her.  As I stepped around her I assured myself that they would help her, and I did that because I didn’t want to BE her.  My goal was to make it to the Medical tent and be close to it if things went further south for me.  As I got there I was met by two guys, Jeff and Kyle, a couple of nice guys, probably med students, who started peppering me with questions.  I thought I was passing their test, but they decided to get me in the tent and get some blankets on me.   A doctor approached and peppered me with more questions, one of which was “what’s your bib number?”  Hell, I couldn’t remember it.  I don’t think I ever really committed it to memory.  It had an 11 and some 6’s and 7’s.  “Okay, let’s go sit down.”

They sat me on the cot in what I could tell was a pretty empty medical tent and made me lay down, and that’s when all hell broke loose.  My calves seized up and I began screaming.  Loudly.  Then they had a great idea to shove a foam roller under my legs and have two massage therapists grab my calves like they were squishing Play-doh between their fingers.  That prompted more screaming now fortified with some very strong expletives.  They were fighting me and I was fighting back.  I finally convinced them that I needed to stand up, which thankfully for them they allowed, because had they not I would have summoned all strength that I had to murder each and every one of them.

Guess what?  The cramps went away as soon as I was on my feet for a few seconds.  I apologized, they understood and we tried a different approach.  I was now shivering and blankets were piled on me.  After a little walking, I sat in a chair and they brought this thing over called a “bear hugger,” which was a warming blanket that was heated to 43 degrees Celcius.  They offered warm chicken broth and Gatorade and I did my best to get that in me.  It was now pretty clear, I was dehydrated and paying for it.  But at least I was now warm and toasty.

In retrospect, an IV probably would have done me wonders but I was reluctant to ask for one.  I had gotten them post-race before years ago with no issues, but one time at the Rockford Marathon I requested one and the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance taking a trip to the hospital.  I did not want that to happen, so I kept my mouth shut.  Also, getting an IV would have required me to lay down again and there was no way in HELL I was going to do that.

After warming up and doing some more walking around, they allowed me to leave.  Actually, I think it was more along the lines of they no longer needed to waste their time with me.  I asked where the Red Gear Check tent was and they offered to get me a golf cart to take me there.  Really?  After I called each and every one of you an MFer, you are going to cart me there?  Sweet!  So I hopped in “GOLF CART 1” as the lady driver broadcast herself into her portable radio, informing maybe the other two people listening that she was giving me a lift.  The ride was to the Red Gear Check tent was interesting.  Instead of putting me in a wheelchair and pushing me there in a couple of minutes, we instead drove what seemed like 90 MPH down the sidewalk along Lake Shore Drive for several minutes, while Helen Wheels kept blowing a whistle to get people to get out of her way.  I was crouched over trying not to get tossed out of the cart while still clutching the three blankets around me to keep me warm.  We passed the backside of the Red Gear Check tent at what seemed full speed and I really wished that I had just walked there instead, and then we pulled into an open gate while other workers looked at us like this was quite unusual.  She drove me as close to the Red Gear Check tent as she could without hitting other marathon finishers walking past.  I could read their faces – “How the hell did this guy get carted to the Red Gear Check tent?!  Must be a celebrity or VIP or something.”  Hardly, just some guy who just had experienced the strangest 60-minutes post-marathon of his life.  Then Helen Wheels barked into her microphone “GOLF CART ONE RETURNING TO THE MEDICAL TENT,” and that was the last I saw of her.

But wait, there’s more.

So I get my checked bag from the Red Gear Check tent and was so glad that I had checked a hoodie and some pants.  The warmth felt great after a 90 MPH ride in a golf cart with Helen Wheels on a now 48-degree day.

Then it hit me, I had to walk back to the hotel.  Not sure that it was even a full mile, but at the pace I was shuffling at it was going to take me a while.  Where the heck was Helen Wheels when I needed her?  I spotted some port-o-potties and peed for the first time since 7:15am, then I shuffled over and saw the Runner Reunite area, and since the big inflatable labeled G-H was nearby I made my way close enough to see if I could see Ben or Kari standing there.  That was never in the meet-up plan, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t see them.  Exiting Jackson Street back onto Michigan Avenue was miserable.  Tons of people all trying to squeeze out right there and now I was getting a little too warm.  Thankfully I made it to Michigan Avenue, turned north and that’s when I saw my tall son towering over the rest of the pedestrians.  He looked relieved to find me.  As we shuffled down Adams Street I apologized for my slow tempo, and I could tell things weren’t right.  I was getting nauseated.  When we got to Dearborn Street I spied a large planter next to the road and basically barfed up all of the liquid that I had just put in me in the Medical tent.  I instantly felt better.

Kari was walking to meet us and was briefed and we went back to the hotel where I showered up, put on some clean, warm and comfortable clothes, and then started walking to the car.  On the way, we offered a homeless person one of the blankets I had been given in the Medical tent, and it was gratefully accepted.  As we headed out of downtown Chicago I caught a glimpse of some runners still on the course running in Chinatown at Mile 21.

After some restless attempt at sleeping in the car on the way home, upon getting home I walked inside and said hello to my daughters Ashley and Rebecca and laid down on the bed and slept.  After eating some soup Kari picked up for me and some salty potato chips and sugary drinks I started coming around.

And my friends wonder why I declare after every marathon that I will never do another one.

Now they will wonder why I keep signing up.

It ALMOST Beat Me

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 23 – Monday 8/5/2019 – Sunday 8/11/2019

Last week my training buddies and I opted to switch training Weeks 22 and 23 so that we could do Week 23’s long ride together.  So this week I went back to Week 22 in the Be Iron Fit training plan and did the work.  Week 22 is sort of an easier week ending in a half Iron distance race, which I always do on my own instead of opting for an actual race.  I am a little afraid that racing against a thousand or more other athletes could lead to an accident or other injuries that could jeopardize all of the work I have been putting in up to this point.  I just prefer to tackle it on my own.

Last time I did this workout was in 2017, leading up to Ironman Louisville.  I had a pretty decent day that day and had a good swim and bike.  It was the run that beat me.  I ended up having to cut it short and get an unofficial DNF (did not finish) to my one-man race.  That day I got beat.  You can read that recap here:  It Beat Me

I was determined to do this one a little smarter and not suffer like I did in 2017.  I looked at the weather and saw that Sunday had some rain forecasted, so I opted to do the practice race a day earlier.  Saturday started out beautiful.  The temperature was in the 60’s, it was overcast, and there was no wind or breeze to speak of.  I jumped into the pool and got going.

I swam pretty strong, pushing myself harder than I usually do.  Since my watch won’t read correctly in my pool, I just based my distance on what I have done in actual half Iron distance swims in the past.  I swam for 40 minutes and then got out and prepped myself for the bike.

After reapplying Body Glide in the usual locations and fiddling with my bike and gizmos, I hopped on and hit the road.  I hadn’t ridden west to Elwood in several weeks, so I decided to go that route.  I knew that I would probably have to add on some extra miles, and when I got to the cemetery out there and after I looped through it once my odometer showed about 25 miles.  I needed an additional 6 miles or so.  I decided to explore a little and added a quick extra three miles on a nearby road or two, then started heading back.

I was keeping track of my sweating and with a couple of nature stops, I was pretty sure that I was doing pretty good with keeping on top of my hydration and fueling.  I was fortunate to not have really any wind heading out and I seemed to pick up a tailwind as I was heading back, which was really rare for me.  I was moving along well.

This doggo provided some entertainment toward the last third of the ride.

At about 47 miles into riding, I saw another rider coming up on a side road and eventually passed me.  I could tell he was on a mission to pass me and make it known that he was Top Dog on this road.  I started studying him a little – he seemed like a typical cyclist, who liked to climb out of the saddle (which I hardly ever do) and had a nice Willier bike.  He was pulling away going up a slight uphill, but when we started the downhill after cresting, I pulled him back in thanks to being more aerodynamic than he was.  He kept looking over his shoulder and finally slowed down and let me catch him.  We chatted a little bit and he turned off on another road and I went straight toward home.

Upon getting home, I was pretty close to hitting that 56 mile ride on the nose.  I ended up with an additional .75 miles due to overestimating a second out and back of about 3 miles.  I came inside, downed a Gatorade, toweled myself off, switched to a running singlet, grabbed my running stuff and hit the trail.

I felt pretty good heading out until I didn’t.  My route starts and ends with hills.  The middle is all flat, but it was sunny now and getting warm.  I was sweating a lot and with only one water bottle, I was being a little too miserly with drinking.  Fortunately, I was heading toward Frankfort where I could refill my water.  But I was now running on fumes.  I had been consistent with eating my gels and taking a salt capsule, but the day was certainly starting to become very much like the last time I did it in 2017.  But I refused to let it beat me.  I started walking more, sought out more shade when I could, and just kept moving forward.  The plan was to be under 2 hours for this run, but I thought early on that that was an ambitious goal.  I ended up getting back home in 2:09.  That’s probably pretty close to Ironman run race pace, so not quite what I wanted for a half Iron distance race pace, but more in line with what to expect in seven weeks.

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I spent some time in the pool to cool off, downed a couple Gatorades, started shivering and ended up taking a 20-minute hot shower to warm me back up.  I got out of the shower and jumped into bed and napped for a little bit.  I was actually feeling a little worse than I did after last week’s 5-hour group ride.  This was not how I expected the day to end, especially after having a really good swim and bike.  Now I know not to hammer the bike too hard and to drink more.  Lots more.

I was determined to not be beaten like I was in 2017, and I wasn’t.  But it wasn’t pretty either.  I have seven more weeks to dial this in.

 

WEEK 23 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 4200 total yards

Rides: 4 total, 89 total miles

Runs: 3 total, 24 total miles

 

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Keep moving forward!

 

 

Race Report: 2019 Manteno Triathlon

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When:  Saturday, July 27, 2019 – 8 am

Where:  Manteno, Illinois

Distance:  Sprint – 14.21 Total Miles

Results: Official time 1:04:30 / 17th Overall / 2nd Place 55-59 Male Age Group

Results Link:  Manteno Tri 2019 Race Results

Third time racing in Manteno and I am sure I will be back again.  I have done this race two times before and it is super fun.  It’s a great way to start a Saturday.

 

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The required transition set-up photo.

 

I talked with some of the great people I know from FNRC who were there to do the race, then I got my transition area set up and had Kari snap a picture and then it was time to get ready to race.

 

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I offered James (right) some advice for a first-timer and met with Dan (left) for a quick photo.

 

SWIM:  400 Yards, 9:45, 4th in A/G, 57th Overall

I don’t bother bringing the wetsuit to transition for this race because the past two years it has been a non-wetsuit race.  I found the water to be pretty warm and comfortable during the brief pre-race swim.  I waited for our silver cap wave to start and then waded into the water.

Two things usually occur for me when I start a triathlon swim:  I either freak out about the pace, start hyperventilating, and then pray that I will finish this swim, or I will start thinking about my bike strategy.  After passing around the one turn buoy, I found myself thinking about the bike.  Much better than thinking about drowning.  I must have been swimming at a good pace.

I swam strong and as I sighted into the sun for the Swim Out exit, I pushed the pace a little harder.  I was a little surprised that I was a little slower this year than last year, but not too bad of a swim for me.

 

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Exiting the swim always makes for a pretty happy camper.

 

T1:  1:07, 2nd in A/G, 29th Overall

I ran pretty quick to my bike and messed around with socks, again.  This time was a little better because I used the little no-show type socks and they went on pretty quick.  I felt a little under pressure because there was someone spectating by the fence watching me go through T1.  Maybe they were trying to pick up pointers and learned that wearing socks on the bike is a waste of time.

BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:44, Average speed 21.5 mph, 3rd in A/G, 18th Overall

 

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Hammer time!

 

I had decided while swimming to bike as hard as I could, so I hit it hard out of the gate and quickly pegged my heart rate to the max.  It wasn’t long until I realized that I better back off a little, and fortunately, there was a strong tailwind heading out aiding in my bike hard plan.  My bike computer was showing 25 mph and I was like – wow, this is fast.  I passed a couple of riders who were just a little slower, but a lot younger than me.  Whenever I pass someone I always wonder if the gauntlet that I am throwing down will be picked up and have my face slapped with it.  This time I did get passed back by these two riders just before the first turnaround before the third mile.  But here’s where they ran into trouble.  The first guy did this hairpin u-turn in a hard gear and struggled to get back up to speed while I had planned for that and easily passed him again.  The other guy was a little more ahead of me but his issue was he was riding a road bike and we were now riding into a pretty strong headwind with me taking full advantage of being on an aero bike and riding with a full rear disc wheel.  My speedometer was showing 18 mph now.  I passed him and I figured if he lasted this pace he might catch me on the run because he looked pretty fit.  I never saw the other guy again.  This is where aero makes all the difference.

T2:  0:46, 2nd in A/G, 18th Overall

I forgot to hit my Lap button on my watch but I realized it right as I was running out with my visor and race belt in my hand.  The reason I forget is mainly due to my hands being busy holding the handlebars of my bike and I would have issues if I tried messing with my watch while running with my bike.  But in the end, it was one of my fastest bike-to-run transitions.

RUN:  3.1 miles, 22:06, 7:07 per mile pace ave., 1st in A/G, 16th Overall

I settled into a comfortable pace and tried to keep working on catching the next runner ahead of me.  Within the first half-mile, the guy that I had passed twice on the bike caught me and passed me hard.  There was no way I could go at that pace.  He was moving.  The running was going well.  At the first aid station, I grabbed a cup of water and threw it on me, which startled the little kid that handed it to me.  I did manage to grab another and get a quick drink.  I did the same thing at the second aid station and got a similar reaction from the teen that handed it to me.  #winning

At about 2.5 miles into the 5K, I saw my nemesis – Michael B. – ahead of me.  I was catching him.  But at the next turn, he took a look back and saw me and then the race was on.  I was slowly reeling him in, but as we passed the 3-mile mark, I had nothing left and he crossed the line four seconds ahead of me.  I had spoken with him before the race and asked him if he was “going to kick my butt again.”  He started in with some lame excuse about some lame running injury and I just said to keep your excuses, Mr. Soul Crusher.  I wonder where I could have saved four seconds?  He’s a much faster swimmer than I am, we are pretty even on the bike, and I was a minute and a half faster on the run.  Then it dawned on me – socks.

 

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Me and my 4 second stealing, low-cut socks trying to chase down Michael.

 

 

 

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My second place would have been third place in the age group this year, but the guy who was tops in the M55-59 A/G was the overall Masters M winner, so he was taken out of the A/G standings, thank goodness.  Four minutes separated me from the guy next to me.

 

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The top 21 finishers.

 

 

 

Race Report: 2019 Short Run on a Long Day 5K

When:  Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – 7pm

Where:  Frankfort, Illinois

Distance:  5K – 3.1 Miles

Results:  21:31 Official time / 25th Overall / 2nd Place 55-59 Male Age Group

Results Link:  Race Results

I could make this an easy, two paragraph wrap-up, but why make it easy on myself?

Race day morning a coworker who works out at a local fitness club advised that a man had died while working out at her club the day before.  Knowing that I have a history of running she was quizzing me about why I thought he had died.  I could only speculate, but I figured that he probably had cardiac arrest related to heart disease and was triggered by exertion he was unprepared for.  She wanted to be assured that she wasn’t going to code out as well, so I dug up several articles about deaths at fitness clubs and found that the majority of exercise-related deaths are due to exactly what I had thought, they were not fit and had a history of heart disease.  But exercise in moderation is one of the best ways of preventing such deaths.  Her fears were soothed and said she won’t worry about dying on the treadmill.

But the conversation kind of stoked my fears a little.  My father died of heart disease at the age of 52.  He was a smoker, my mom fried a lot of our meals, and did no exercise whatsoever.  I took note of that at the age of 15 and have tried to live my life without such outside bad habits, and I started running in my early 20’s.  But I often find myself running short, high-intensity races at high heart rates which make me feel like I’m maxing myself out and wonder if I’m going to blow up my heart.  Thankfully, that hasn’t happened, and I am aware of the warning signs.  But it’s always kind of in the back of my mind.  As I stood on the starting line the thought of blowing up wasn’t even on my mind.  It was time to beat as many as I could.  Enough of the doom and gloom, on with the race report.

For a race that celebrates the first day of summer with a Wednesday night 5K, it was anything but summer-like.  Air temp was about 63 degrees and it was drizzling.  I debated as to whether I should race in a singlet or not but decided to do so.  I joined the local running club group photo and then did my warm up.

 

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I donned my new FNRC visor for the picture! (photo credit I believe goes to Susan Danforth’s phone – borrowed from Facebook.)

 

The course was changed this year, pretty much running it in reverse from previous years I have run this race.  I didn’t mind the change, except sometimes when you are seeing things you normally see in the latter parts of the race early on it kind of messes with me for some reason.  I put that behind me and tried to settle in without going out too fast, but as usual, I failed.

There’s a guy that runs this race pushing his handicapped wife in a racing stroller and in the past he has kicked my butt.  It’s always humbling when he beats me, and I marvel at his strength and ability.  He quickly jumped ahead of me and I decided to jump in behind him.  On the flats, he would put a pace or two on me, but when we hit the little rises in the road I would pull him back in.  As much as I try to hold back early in a race and run negative splits, I never do because I can’t turn off the competitive aspect of it.  I feared that he was making the same mistake that I was, heading out too strong, and we were going to pay for it later.

A little before the first mile I passed him and then worried about him the rest of the way.  I went through the first mile split in 6:42 according to my watch, and decided to pull back just a touch as we headed up the road and onward to the bike trail.  I was passed by another runner that had recently had a kidney transplant and said to him that it was me usually chasing him down.  He laughed and I asked how his health was and was said he was great and thanked me for asking.  Then he pulled away.

I went through the second mile split at 6:53 and was satisfied with that.  A girl passed me and I said “go get it” and she encouraged me to grab on and go with her, but I told her I was waiting for another 1/2 mile before kicking.  I mistakenly thought the course would continue on the path a little longer, but we turned off and hit the streets again.  After a couple of turns, we made it to the ending straight to the finish.  I glanced back at the trail and could see the stroller pushing runner not far back.  A quick look at my watch showed that I had about a 1/4 mile left so I kicked hard up the hill back to the finish and was all alone.  My watch showed 21:25, which is always quicker than the official time at this race.  I’m not sure why that happens, but the official time is always slower than my watch.  I was maybe five steps back from the starting line at the start, so there’s not much of a time difference there.

 

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I cooled down and then went and joined some others from the running club to cheer on the rest of the runners.  After a while, I got a little cold and went and changed into some dry clothes and waited for the results.  Glad to hear my name called for 2nd in my age group.  There’s lots of great competition at this race and to get an A/G medal is special.  I had a pretty good race.

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