Ironman Louisville 2020 Week 1!

 

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 1 – MARCH 16 > 22, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC

Training for Ironman #5 has begun!  But not without some concern.  Usually, my concerns are about some nagging injury that is giving me doubt about completing my workouts, or some forgotten conflict that may pop up and cause me to miss something important, or some other dumb thing on my mind.  But I never thought that a global pandemic might derail not only my training but the race itself.

When my buddies and I committed to doing Louisville again back in January, I had no idea that I would be sitting around inside my house with the government telling me to stay home and not go anywhere other than essential travel, i.e. to work, to get groceries, etc.  But here we are.  When the race dominoes started falling, races like the Boston Marathon and others, I knew that this might be a little more of a worry than what we were telling ourselves.  Pools are now closed.  Gyms are now closed.  Running trails are open, but the toilets are locked!  (Maybe that’s only a problem for me.)  Getting the workouts in maybe a little difficult for some, but Ironman triathletes are a hardy bunch.  Heck, if we can get through an actual Ironman race, we can get around these training obstacles.

My plan for this Ironman is to once again follow Don Fink’s “Be Iron Fit” competitive training plan for the next 30 weeks.  It has served me well in my past four races and I have tweaked it over time to fit my abilities and needs.  I don’t follow the swim plans like I did the first two times I used it.  The past two races went well with just two 45-minute swims per week with a handful of longer open water swims thrown in.  I won’t be able to swim for a while, as it hasn’t warmed up enough for me to open my own pool.  I suspect I will start swimming in late May.

It is on the cusp of being nice enough to bike outside, but if the weather prevents that I have both a trainer at home or a spin bike at work that I can use if necessary.

I’m in pretty good shape for running this time around.  I had been training for an ultramarathon that was to take place on April 3rd but it fell victim to the pandemic and got postponed.  My goal for this year’s race is to try to go sub-4 hours on the run.  In 2017 my run split was 4:05 at Louisville, so I think that it is reachable.  I just got to learn to stay out of the porta-potties on the run course, which always rob me of time.  If they are locked on race day it might not be an issue!

My ultramarathon got postponed until 12 days after Ironman Louisville, so I hope to use the 30-weeks of training to prepare me for that event as well.

So here’s to a safe 30-weeks of training, and I hope my buddies and I and everyone else training for Ironman Louisville stays healthy.

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THE GUNNERS ARE BACK!

TOTALS FOR WEEK 1:  

Swim:  0 / 0 yards

Bike:  3 rides / 31.5 miles

Run:  5 runs / 18 miles

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Louisville 2020 – Here come the GUNNERS!

 

Nips, Sores, and More!

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 24 – Monday 8/12/2019 – Sunday 8/18/2019

I was expecting to get back on track this week with very little deviance from the plan after swapping the past two weeks of training around and making a concession here and there.  But life sometimes throws you a curveball or two.

 

I’m getting really tired of having nipples.

It was a nice day, somewhat cooler than the past few and I only had an hour-long run to do, so I skipped covering my nipples.  Big mistake.  One got chaffed and started bleeding halfway through the run.  Why do men have nipples anyway?  It’s not like we use them for anything.  They aren’t even that interesting in my opinion.  But if you are a male runner that isn’t rail-thin, you are bound to one day experience the dreaded bleeding nipple.  After thirty-plus years of running, you would think that they would have calloused over by now, or somehow adapted so they don’t get chafed.  But sadly no.  So I guess I will start covering them with Bandaids for every run, so buy some stock now.

 

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Boo hiss.  People look at you funny when your nipples bleed.

 

 

Ashley’s back at Valpo for one last year!

Ashley may not have been excited about returning to Valpo for one final year, but it’s only one more year!  Check-in at the apartment where she stays was on Saturday, so that meant if I wanted to help move her in I needed to somehow get my important Saturday long bike in, so I moved the Sunday two-hour and 15-minute run to Friday to free up Sunday for the bike.  Doing the long run on Friday meant I would have to try to make up Friday’s normal run another day.  Yeah, it didn’t happen.

 

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Two of my loves enjoying the move-in day.

 

 

Why can’t summer storms come in the middle of the week?  

I had moved my Saturday long ride to Sunday so I could have Saturday free and what happened?  It decided to storm like crazy Sunday morning.  I had planned to be out on the bike before 8 am but with the heavy rain and lightning, I waited until the radar showed that it was past.  I hit the road at 10 am and was amazed by how much water had poured on us.  I was soaked from the waist down from just riding through the puddles and the standing water on the roadway.  I explored a little on the ride to avoid the bike trail because when the leaves and junk on the trail get wet things get a little scary.  Thankfully though the ride went smooth, I had no wind going out and a tailwind coming back, and I stayed on top of my hydration and nutrition today.  I only felt a little low on energy getting back home, but as I switched to my running shoes for the hour-long run, I downed a Gatorade and the run went well.

 

Hello Saddle Sore, My Old Friend (with apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

Hello saddle sore, my old friend
It’s not nice to see you once again
Because you are literally a big pain in the ass
And it’ll take you at least a month to pass
And the cries of my pain could be heard along the road I ride
Thanks to you, you damn saddle sore.

What’s the deal with saddle sores?  I use the butt cream.  I use Body Glide. I make sure that anything that can chafe will get some attention.  But this past couple of weeks the damn saddle sore I always get from riding showed up again.  It is actually bothering me just sitting on this cushy chair right now.  And don’t mistake it for a zit, because it is definitely not a zit.  Matter of fact if you try to squeeze that sucker, it’s going to let you know that he’s the Captain now.  Touching it hurts!!!  So I generally will just coat it with some Neosporin and a Bandaid (again, buy some stock now!) and let it be.  Some day when this Ironman race is over it will go away because I can guarantee that I won’t be letting my butt sit on that bike again until next year.

Click here to see a picture of my saddle sore:  Saddle Sore – NSFW!!!

 

WEEK 24 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 3500 total yards

Rides: 3 total, 135 total miles

Runs: 4 total, 33 total miles

 

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All triathletes are weird.

 

 

 

It’s Heating Up In More Ways Than One

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 20 – Monday 7/15/2019 – Sunday 7/21/2019

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Week 20 is finally over and two-thirds of the training plan is in the books.  This week though – wow did it get warm.

I first noticed the heat on Friday, a 75-minute run.  I do my runs smack dab in the middle of the day when I get off from work.  I was seeing heat advisory warnings early in the week, and of course, I scoffed at them.  The Tues./Wed./Thur. workouts were really the typical summertime heat stuff, but Friday came and I started the run with pretty warm and humid conditions.  I felt pretty good for the first three miles and I was thinking I would just do an out and back on the bike trail, but when I got there it offered no shade and I was feeling the heat pretty well.  I decided to head to the other forest preserve trail and make it a loop run instead, hoping that the shade would keep me cooler.  It did, but the hills and humidity were starting to get to me.  I ended up walking quite a bit and kept thinking about getting more water.

I finally got to the park district office and was really feeling the heat at that point.  Sort of shuffling along and walking.  I went in and basked in the air conditioning in the lobby for about ten minutes and refilled my water bottle with cold water and rehydrated myself.  I was about a mile and a half from home and started out with a newer outlook on finishing that portion, but when my watch hit 75 minutes, I decided to walk the remaining 3/4 miles home.  Glad I did.

 

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Feels like 104 degrees was pretty spot on.

 

Saturday came with a prescribed 4-hour bike ride followed by a 45-minute run.  I was a little concerned about that, and decided to get up at 4:30 and hit the trail by 5:30.  After making sure I had all my gels and extra water bottles, I hit the road.  The skies were overcast, so I was very grateful for that.  But it was still 80 degrees and humid and would get worse as the day went on.  Fortunately, on the bike, you get the wind cooling you down, but I was sweating within ten minutes of the start.  Two hours into the ride I did the same dumb thing I did last week and went a little bit further so that I would hit 35 miles, making the total trip 70 miles.  But I knew I had been riding into the wind, so the little bit of extra riding would equal out in the end.

The tailwind was awesome and the remaining ride home was mostly enjoyable.  Somewhere around the 3:15 mark things got interesting, and I was no longer worried about the weather.

First up was a flock of geese crossing the road, and they couldn’t just turn around, no, they had to walk right in front of me.

 

Next, my chain fell off the big ring and landed on my crank by my right shoe.  I was cruising down a hill and had some good speed going, so I just figured that I would coast until I slowed down and then I would stop and fix it.  But as I looked down it looked like I could reach down and grab it, so I decided to risk crashing and try to get it back on.  I did it!  Here’s me celebrating my achievement:

 

After getting the chain back on I came upon a farm tractor going down the road.  Usually, 100% of the time I’m the one getting passed by a vehicle, but not this time!  I was catching it and thought I had a chance to pass it.  I had to wait for an oncoming car and then I made my move.

 

As an added bonus, up ahead was a group of cyclists waiting for the light and I could see that it was about to turn green as I approached.  When it did turn green, I hit the gas and put the hammer down leaving them in my dust.  That was fun!

When I got home I was feeling pretty beat, so I opted for the treadmill in the basement for a 5-mile run.  I kind of felt guilty about that, but I think it was a sound decision.  I would rather live for another day than suffer through a real feel temperature of 105 degrees after four hours of biking.

I rested up and rehydrated as best as I could on Saturday afternoon because I was volunteering to punch tickets for the Joan Jett and The Blackhearts concert in New Lenox that night.  It was hot at the start of the event, but we had water and the temperature did come down a little as the evening progressed.

Sunday was supposed to bring some relief with the temperature but after breakfast and a quick look at the weather to check for possible storms, I headed out the door to find that it was still warm and humid!  I planned to run 6.5 miles out for an hour and then turn around.  I was sweating like crazy again!  I refilled my water bottle at the turnaround and popped a salt capsule to replace the electrolytes, but I was starting to suffer.  I think my critical mistake here was the sweat-fest I had the prior two days as well as not rehydrating enough before this run.  I dragged my butt back and finished 12.5 miles of the 13.1 I had hoped for.  Oh well, live for another day, again.

Looking ahead to the next ten weeks left of training and things are certainly going to heat up, not just with the weather but also with the intensity of the workouts.  I am going to have to be more cognizant of the weather as we head into the heat of the summer and the longer bike rides and runs to come.  It’s starting to heat up in more ways than one.

 

WEEK 20 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2,400 total yards

Rides: 3 total, 108 total miles

Runs: 5 total, 36.5 total miles

 

 

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Time to relearn the things I have learned in regards to the heat.

 

I Won a One Man Race!

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

 

 

WEEK 18 – Monday 7/1/2019 – Sunday 7/7/2019

 

This week was somewhat light for the training plan that I follow and boy was I thankful for that. July Fourth occurred this week which meant that once my daughter marched in her last Independence Day hometown parade as a high schooler we would be off to our vacation in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. So there was travel involved and vacation and hosting lots of family at our lake home. Even with all that happening I still managed to get in most of the training.

One cool thing that happened this week is that I got my new tri kit a couple of days before leaving for vacation. I chose to go with Jakroo this time around and the kits seem to be pretty decent for a lower priced product. The best things about this company was there were no minimum orders to meet, I could design the kit myself, the prices were affordable, and the turnaround was super quick. Here’s me with the tri shorts and the cycling jersey. The shorts were size Large but were a little snug. I may order an XL if I find these uncomfortable. I did one short hour long bike ride in them and they felt okay.

Me rocking the new GUNNER team kit.

The weekend called for an Olympic distance race according to the plan. Although I will race a 5K or triathlon during training I’m a little hesitant to race when training for an Ironman because I don’t want to risk crashing or otherwise injuring myself and throw away all the investment I made in training and other stuff, so I just usually do them at home on my own. And being in Minocqua offered a perfect opportunity to do just that.

First Annual Minocqua Olympic Distance Race For Chris Only Race Report

When: 7/7/2019

Where: Minocqua, Wisconsin

Time: 2:55:52

Results: 1st Place OverallWINNER!

After a good breakfast of pancakes and bacon, I donned the wetsuit and recruited Kari to kayak next to me on the swim to keep me from being run over by one of the thousand wakeboard type boats on the lake. I’m exaggerating a little, but these obnoxious boats seem to be the boat of choice by beer drinking party animals who somehow have the money to afford such an over the top boat.

The Swim: 1562 yards / 28:49 / 1:51 per 100 yds.

Fortunately for me, I was seeded in the first wave and got ahead of the pack early. The wetsuit seemed a little restrictive for some reason, but I felt good. The water was warm, but the race director said that it was a wetsuit legal race. I decided that I would swim along the shoreline for 750 yards and then turn around, not realizing that 1500 yards didn’t quite equal 1500 meters, but it was close enough. I swam pretty comfortably and was surprised to see that I averaged under 2 mins per 100 yards, which was awesome. I reached the dock and like a dummy, I hit stop instead of the lap button, but I got it fixed quickly and I was off the change into bike gear for the ride. Nice to be first out of the water!

T1: 5:30

The Bike: 24.8 miles (40K) / 1:29:36 / 16.6 mph average

I decided that I would ride Highway J west toward St. Germain and make use of the wide bike lane on the road. I’m a little nervous about being on that road but the cars were giving me plenty of room. By a half mile into riding, I was regretting riding my hybrid bike in this race and not bringing my tri bike up to ride. My butt and left leg were bothering me and to alleviate the discomfort I shifted my butt as far back on the saddle that I could. Lots of rollers on this ride but it’s not too challenging. As I got to St. Germain I was very pleased that I was right at 12.4 miles and this out and back would be a perfect 40K. The ride back was smooth and trouble-free. Glad to average 16.6 miles on this heavy old bike. I was also very glad to be the first bike back and still in first place.

T2 – 3:21

The Run – 6.2 miles / 48:36 / 7:51 pace per mile

My back was a little sore getting off the bike but loosened up quickly. As I headed down my street I debated as to which way to run but decided to stick to my original thought of running downtown to the trail and then head back. I wasn’t planning on pushing the pace on this run because I had such a huge lead, but when I got to Hwy. 51 and saw the parade of backed up cars leaving town on the only road that takes them back south I did a little peacocking and was running hard. That was a bad decision as the pancakes were starting to wear a little thin. But I paced the out and back well, hit the water fountain a couple of times, and coasted home to a first-place finish. I kind of like winning. I might make this an annual tradition.

 

WEEK 18 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 3,662 total yards

Rides: 3 total, 56 total miles

Runs: 5 total, 24.7 total miles

 

Yay vacation!!!

 

Sun Tans, Group Ride​, & Racing!

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 14 – Monday 6/3/19 – Sunday 6/09/19

 

You sure are getting tan.

A few weeks ago I started getting compliments on my tan.  I never really notice getting tan because it’s a gradual progression for me, but others who are less tan than I seem to notice it quite easily, and are sometimes envious and will point it out.  I guess getting sun exposure and developing a tan is easier for a runner or triathlete, as we are outside doing our thing a lot.  But there are some downsides to getting tan.  First, the danger of exposing yourself to the harmful UV rays is pretty evident.  If I am heading out on a sunny day, I will always spray myself with SPF 50 or cover myself well.  Even so, I will still start developing a good tan.  The other downside is triathletes can develop some really strange tan lines.  I generally wear mid-length socks that will protect my lower leg from the sun.  Also, tri suits cover your thighs which leaves just a small portion of your leg exposed for tanning.  That’s a weird look.  Wearing a hat also adds to that weird tan line on your forehead, like pro golfers get.

It’s not like I seek out sunny days to exercise – I take whatever day I get and prepare for it.  But when it is sunny, I make sure that I place more emphasis on protecting myself from the sun than getting that envious tan.

 

Group Ride!

Riding with my teammates and buddies is always better than going alone.  Last week Dave was in town but I wasn’t, so we couldn’t do the Saturday ride together.  But Dave ended up making a return trip to visit this weekend, and he coaxed Jeff to come down from the city and do our 3.5-hour ride, 1/2 hour run Saturday workout together.  The weather turned out great for us, except for that pesky wind that always seems to be in our faces in the second half of the ride.

We turned around a little before making it halfway out from home because we thought we were going to need to fight the wind back home.  But we ended up having about 15 extra minutes we needed to ride, so we took a trip through a local neighborhood called Prestwick, a neighborhood where STYX lead singer Dennis DeYoung used to live back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  We also saw an old neighbor Bill Goldschmidt out riding.  He was a dad who lived on the street that Dave lived on and I virtually lived on and a long time rider.  He was very excited to see us on the trail and we had a short but nice conversation with him.

We finished the ride and then headed out on a fairly easy paced 3.5-mile run that took us more than the 30 minutes the plan called for.  They let me hear it for making them run longer than what the plan called for.  Whatever, it’s good for you.

After a quick splash in the pool, some great conversation, and a nice lunch, we all headed back to our busy weekends.

 

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The required post-bike selfie that I demanded they participate in.

 

 

Racing

On Sunday, I once again drove myself to Batavia, IL to race the ET Batavia triathlon and did quite well for myself.  I ended up 27th overall and 1st in the Male 55-59 age group.  I was very happy with that result.  You can read my race report here:
2019 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

 

Week 14 Training Totals:

Swims: 3 total / 4600 yards > Rides: 5 total / 102 miles > Runs: 5 total / 25 miles

 

 

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Almost halfway done with this!  Here comes Week 15!

 

I’d Be A Horrible Judge

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEKS 7 & 8 – Monday 4/15/19 – Sunday 4/28/19

Ironman makes announcements all the time and I usually don’t give them much more than a quick glance.  But this was shared on a couple Facebook group pages and it caught my eye:

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The reason I didn’t pay much attention to it at first is that it looks like your standard “Register Now” announcement for Ironman, and I’m already signed up for it.  But then I read a few comments and realized this was for a relay.  Say what?  An Ironman relay? NO!!!

Immediately I made up my mind that I hated this idea.  A relay for Ironman?  C’mon man, this shouldn’t be.  Triathletes that do Ironman do them for the challenge of doing three tough events in one day, 17 hours typically.  To do just one part doesn’t make any sense to me.  The whole purpose of Ironman was to prove an argument as to who was the toughest athlete of three disciplines, the swimmer doing a 2.4-mile swim, the cyclist racing a century or more, or the runner running a marathon.  Do all three events in one day and find out! – was the reason behind creating Ironman.   (Note:  It’s the runner if you are wondering.  The strongest swimmer never wins the race.  And if you followed Ironman Texas this weekend you witnessed Andrew Starykowicz destroy the bike course only to be caught on the run.  And Daniela Ryf made up a significant time gap on the run to win the women’s title.  Always bet on the runner.  Unless the runner is me, then bet on my buddy Dave.  Actually, always bet on Dave, he’s 3-0 in our Ironman racing.)  But seriously, what are you proving by just doing one segment of the race?  After the swim leg, what do you do while the rest of us are still busting our butts?   I better not hear you call yourself an Ironman.

As I read through the many comments I was seeing a lot of similar reactions to this announcement and I was hitting the “like” button for every comment that I agreed with.

“Give me a break. It’s an Ironman! This cheapens it. The last thing I want is some fresh-legged relay athlete zip past me as I’m actually enduring an Ironman. Save the relays for the Olympic distance. I’m not ripping on the athletes, but the Ironman has been the one true test for individuals in triathlons. That’s the beauty of it. The individual challenge mentally and physically.”

“It’s called Ironman, not Ironmen.”

“It’s about that adversity. I’m signing up for the relay as “me” doing the swim, “myself” on the bike, and “I” for the run!”

But as I sorted through those comments others started making valid points.

“Embrace it. It is good for the preservation of the sport or these races go away.  Those who do the relay many times will do the full.”

“This opens the door to people who have injuries or are thinking of working up to doing a full one day to experience it. The more people outside doing something, the better! Run your race, meet your goals and let others do the same!”

“Sad that people rip on the relay! I’ve done two full Ironmans and now knee injury. This is a great idea. And for all those who knock it, I hope you always stay injury free and continue being able to do fulls. Not everyone is that lucky!”

So now I am conflicted.  I definitely will defend the tradition of the race and what it means to be an Ironman.  But if we can get more people involved, I’m all for that too.  I don’t really know what to expect when I will be racing Chattanooga in late September.  If I see a faster cyclist fly by will I assume he’s doing the relay?  When I’m gassed on the run and someone trots by like they haven’t done the previous 2.4-mile swim and the 116-mile bike ride, will that make me angry?  I’m not sure.  A few commenters mentioned that everyone should do the race their way and not worry about the other group.  I guess I will need to focus on myself like I usually do.  This is why I would make a horrible judge.  If both sides made valid arguments, I wouldn’t be able to make a decision on a winner.

TRAINING FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS

Last week was Easter and we had out of town plans, so I did some creative moving of my workouts and got the job done.  And since I was out of town last weekend I didn’t have time to write my weekly wrap-up of training.  So here are the details from the last two weeks.

Week 7 was jumbled around a little.  I had the opportunity to run with the local running club F’NRC in a group run on Wednesday, which meant I ran twice that day.  It was fun running with the group on a nice weeknight.  I ended up skipping the long bike ride up north in Minocqua on Saturday, as they still had snow and ice on the bike path up there.  Instead, I opted for doing the Sunday run on Saturday as I had a long drive home on Sunday with an additional trip to Valpo to take Ashley back to school.

Week 8 was looking to be a normal follow the plan training week.  But the forecast for the weekend weather was terrible.  A record-breaking late April snowstorm was predicted for Saturday, so I moved my Saturday 2-hour long bike ride to Friday and made it a bike/run brick, keeping my 1-hour run that was scheduled for Friday.  That reminded me how tough brick workouts can be.  I was pretty low on energy after that.  My Gunner teammate Jeff asked this week as to when we start using gels on our weekend rides.  I laughed at him because he’s a two-time Ironman and should know the answer by now, but I now found myself bonking because I didn’t remember that I should probably be adding more energy replacement into my workouts.  Jeff’s not the dumb one, it’s me.  At least he’s trying to be prepared for it.  Although Saturday’s weather was crappy, we didn’t get anything more than a few ice pellets/sleet type stuff.  I took Saturday off and had a great 1-hour run on a beautiful Sunday morning.  So in all, the week ended well.

Week 7 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 2 total / 29 miles > Runs: 3 total / 22 miles

Week 8 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 65 miles > Runs: 4 total / 23 miles

 

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Getting closer to being done with the base part of the plan.

 

 

 

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 5 – Monday 4/1/19 – Sunday 4/7/19

When it comes to training sometimes I get too competitive with it.  What starts out as a simple training workout, straight from the training plan, it often goes right out the door when I actually start the workout.  I’m like a dog out for a simple walk until I see a squirrel, then the chase is on and I’m no longer interested in the simple walk.

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Case in point for me this week was my Friday easy run.  When I say easy I mean that it was a Zone 2 out of 4 heart rate based run, for 60 minutes.  Essentially, this is a run that is done at a conversational pace, meaning that you should be able to easily carry on a conversation while running, rather than a Zone 4 race pace.  That’s what the plan called for, but I had other plans.  It was a nice day, and I had realized that the marathon that I had already decided to forego was coming up next weekend.  I had planned on skipping the race due to a couple of injuries that prevented me from training sufficiently and the fact that I had decided to do Ironman Choo with my buddies instead.  But I was curious about how far off my conditioning was, or if I was even capable of holding my 8 minutes per mile marathon race pace.  So I headed out the door and started running comfortably hard, essentially Zone 3 on the heart rate scale to see if I was even anywhere near the ability to race a marathon.  This is essentially a bad idea and I probably should have known better.

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I was feeling pretty good.  My continually sore legs weren’t really bothering me, and I felt no soreness in the upper thigh area where I had just recovered from the second of two muscle strains.  About 1.75 miles into the run the squirrel appeared in the form of the local high school boys track team running hill repeats on the trail ahead of me.

Now, I’m not shy about challenging myself on this hill.  Someone made it a Strava segment, and I currently sit at a tie for 10th place on this segment.  My brain can typically shut down my urges, especially when I’m 1.75 miles into an 8-mile run, but this time there was a squirrel, several of them.

They were standing on the other side of the bridge at the bottom of the hill and as I hit the bridge they could hear me coming and turned to look with a surprised (who the hell is this guy?) look on their faces. I had already decided to race them up the hill, but that wasn’t enough.  I shouted, “DON’T LET AN OLD GUY BEAT YOU UP THIS HILL!”  And with that one kid yelled “NO WAY!” and the race was on.

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I guess that there were about a dozen of shirtless boys that I started with.  By comparison, I was wearing a long sleeve tech shirt and long sleeve windbreaker over that.  Plus I had the disadvantage of being 40 years older than them.  I overheard a kid tell the coach at the bottom of the hill that this was his 7th and last hill repeat, so I guess it was kind of an unfair fight, but that equates to about the same distance I had run to get there, and I hadn’t taken it easy either.

I started picking off kids, which I found easier than I thought it would be.  A few could hear me coming and kept looking behind to see how close I was getting, but they would get caught.  About halfway up the hill, my heart felt like it was about to leap out of my chest.  The kids I was slowly passing seemed like it wasn’t even bothering them that much, but their effort said otherwise.  As I got to the top of the hill there was another coach there waiting for the group.  “I just outran half your team up that hill, coach!”  I told him between heavy panting.  He smiled and laughed.  I continued on to the nearby intersection and was glad to see that I would have to wait for the light to cross the street so I could get a much-needed rest.  To my surprise, I was able to continue most of the remainder of the hour-long run around my marathon pace without much difficulty, but I knew that continuing on for a full 26.2 miles would have been a challenge.

Although this run could have easily sabotaged my week, it didn’t, but I never seem to learn from these dumb challenges.  My Saturday long bike ride resulted in me pushing myself again.  This was my first effort outside after spending my winter bike training on a spin bike indoors.  Those indoor rides would make me sweat, but never really tire me out.  I was essentially doing high spin rides and conditioning my butt to a saddle more than working my legs hard.   But I wanted to prove that they were equal to my outdoor rides, so I tried to ride the same speed outside that I was doing inside.  Big mistake.  It was a challenge for me to keep my average speed above 16 mph, whereas indoors it was my typical easy ride.  That just goes to show that riding indoors, whether it be a bike on a trainer or a spin bike, is not on the same level as being outside dealing with wind and a variety of rolling terrain.  It’s still better than not riding at all.

I finish these efforts and often reflect as to how close I was to the actual workout, and often times I am shooting myself in the foot.  Even with my constant achy legs and what seems like quickly diminishing ability to go fast at 55, I can’t seem to remember sometimes that the goal is to pace myself throughout the 30 weeks of training so I can adequately pace myself through 140.6 miles, or at Chattanooga 144.6 miles.  I gotta stop being my own worst enemy.

 

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No Drake!  No steps back!!!

 

 

Week 5 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 51.6 miles > Runs: 4 total / 21 miles

 

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1/6 of the training is DONE!