Share The Trail And Don’t Screw It Up

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 2 – MARCH 23 > 29, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART II

When the state of Illinois mandated that we all quarantine ourselves by staying in place or staying at home, the governor allowed us to still be able to go outside to exercise as long as we maintain a safe “social” distance of six feet of separation.  It was great seeing people out walking, riding bikes, and running on sidewalks and trails that were pretty much just taken advantage of by the regulars – runners and bikers like me that I see all the time, and the few neighbors that will go on a daily walk.  People were making an effort to enjoy the time to get some fresh air and utilize trails that are a great benefit to our community.  Until the people ruined it.

People ruin everything.  Give them an inch and they’ll take a yard.  In the case of our gift of being able to get outside, people ignored the mandate of avoiding group activities, openly playing soccer and basketball, and riding and running in groups.  It got so bad in the city of Chicago that the mayor gave them a stern warning.  And what did the people do?  They ignored the warning forcing the mayor to take action and closing the Lakefront Trail, one of the most used trails in the state.  No more getting exercise outdoors.

I was riding my bike on my local trail this week and I also encountered groups of people walking on the trails together and other gatherings of kids playing at parks and team related sports like basketball.  I guess everyone figures if they aren’t affecting you directly there really isn’t any harm.  But that isn’t true, and the reason we are staying in place and avoiding each other is to stop the spread of this deadly virus.  But now I fear that our local trail may get closed as well, and that won’t make me happy.  I’m betting that won’t happen, but here’s what we can do to help make sure it doesn’t happen:

  • Train alone instead of groups.  The runners in our local running club are pretty good about doing the right thing, but group runs were still going on.  Our local running club leaders implored runners to stop posting group photos so that it wasn’t appearing that we were ignoring the rules, and to consider running in much smaller groups or running alone.
  • Follow the safe social distancing rules as well as the trail rules.  The six feet of separation rules apply to families as well as friends and other trail users.  Also, if you are new to using the trail, follow the posted rules that are posted at nearly all of the trail street crossings and trailheads.  The most abused trail rule of them all is “All Users Stay Right /  Pass Left” yet I encounter groups all the time and have to remind them to share the trail.  Other trail users following the rules shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by someone not following the rules.
  • Be courteous.  We are all trying to enjoy the outdoors and people need to understand that what you are doing shouldn’t hinder what other trail users are doing.  Walk your dog on a leash and keep him on the correct side.  Cyclists should yield to pedestrians.  All users should follow the signage and stop at road crossings. Be safe.

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Training Week Wrap-up

Week 2 was a typical spring training week.  The weather was iffy this week, so I did spend some time training indoors.  This is my fifth time training for an Ironman and I have to remind myself not to overdo it too much in these early training weeks.  This week I found myself pushing my running pace more than I should have and that could lead to bad things.  It’s a long journey to get to race day and blowing myself up in week two is not in the plan.

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More than once, apparently.  

 

TOTALS FOR WEEK 2:

  • Swim:  0 / 0 yards
  • Bike:  3 rides  /  44 miles
  • Run:  5 runs  /  19 miles

 

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Getting off my soapbox for now.

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 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!

 

 

Getting It All Done

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 21 – Monday 7/22/2019 – Sunday 7/28/2019

 

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Triathletes joke around about how everything gets neglected when training for an Ironman and typically cutting grass is one of the first things to get behind on.  Fortunately for me, I have plenty of time to cut the grass, take care of the pool, and the other stuff that I am usually responsible for.  However, I volunteered to chaperone at band camp this week like I have done the past several years and that takes three hours out of my afternoon to do things like the above.  But band camp is two weeks long, and it is worth my time to watch my daughter and her group practice their way into another awesome award-winning field show.  Certainly looking forward to chaperoning again this next week.  Fortunately, I was able to catch up with chores on Sunday.

With the chaperoning duties to do, I did a little shuffling around with the plan to get things done.

I did my Tuesday swim on my Monday rest day.  On Tuesday I got my run in on a very nice day.  Wednesday was the typical bike/run brick workout that went just fine.  Back to cycling on Thursday, but I pushed the swim until Friday.  On Friday, I did a brief two-mile shakeout jog and then did the swim before heading to band camp.  I didn’t want to overdo it because I was racing a sprint triathlon on Saturday.

Saturday was race day, and I did very well!  I nabbed 2nd place in my age group and was 17th overall.  You can read about it here:

Race Report: 2019 Manteno Triathlon

After the race, my training buddies Dave and Jeff rode to Manteno to meet me after the race and then we did a group ride back home together.  So cool that they came out to ride with me when they could have just ridden on their own.  Although I didn’t quite get in the mileage or riding time that the plan called for, I was happy with what I accomplished.

Sunday was a long run that ended up being about 11.5 miles.  I felt good on that rather warm and humid run.  I got a surprise when I saw Dave’s son Alex running at me and calling my name, with Dave not too far behind.  Heck, if I knew that they were still in town I would have joined them!

After that run I jumped in the pool, rehydrated, and then started catching up on my chores.  First was mowing the grass, and then I did some more power washing the sidewalk that I didn’t get to a couple of weeks ago.

There’s time for training, family, and chores when training for Ironman.  You just have to be resourceful.

 

WEEK 21 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 3 total, 4682 total yards

Rides: 4 total, 86 total miles

Runs: 5 total, 28.5 total miles

 

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Summer is flying by!

 

Training is Halfway Done!

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 15– Monday 6/10/19 – Sunday 6/16/19

EMBRACE THE SUCK!

The weather was finicky this week, forcing me inside for one ride and soaking me on another.  The soaking came on the Saturday four-hour long ride.  As I headed south into the wind I knew that I might need to ride a little farther than two hours before turning back home because the headwind would become a tailwind and the trip back would take less time than the trip out.  But at about 1:45 into the ride I could see the dark storm clouds getting much closer.  I made the choice to try to outrun the storm and head back home and make up any extra time needed to complete the four-hour ride closer to the safety of home.  It didn’t happen.  At the two-hour mark, the sky unloaded on me.

 

As it just started to rain, I stopped and tossed on the lightweight cycling rain jacket that I decided before the ride that I might need.  I’m glad I brought it along, not that it was really going to keep my dry, but it would keep me from getting cold.  I rode in this hard rain for about 30 minutes.  Thankfully, the very strong tailwind had me flying along at around 23 mph or so, and the rain wasn’t pelting me in the face.  When it let up from the hard rain, I just dealt with a light drizzle, wet roads and gunk getting all over me for the remainder of the ride.  But as I rode I almost was having a great time.  I felt like a kid again.  It was fun.

There’s a saying in triathlon – “Embrace the suck” – meaning that things aren’t always going to be perfect, and dealing with these miserable moments can only build confidence.  It’s easy to move a ride to another part of the day when you know a storm is coming at your planned ride time, or to run inside on a really hot day.  But race day won’t offer you that trade-off.  After finishing the ride, I ran for 30 minutes in light rain with my feet squishing and reminding me that it will be worth it.  You can be physically prepared for an Ironman, but being mentally prepared is also a huge asset.

 

WRAPPING UP THE FIRST 15 WEEKS

Any milestone in a journey can be notable, and when you are on another 30-week quest to be prepared for an Ironman finish, getting halfway through the training plan is certainly a worthy accomplishment.  I’m not fooling myself though, through 15-weeks I have finished 10-weeks of the base phase (pretty easy) and half of the build phase (getting tougher each week) with the rest of the build phase and the endurance phase yet to come.  But this is my fourth go around training for an Ironman and I know from experience to put my trust in the plan, follow through with the workouts, and I should be more than ready on September 29th.  Time to look back on the first 15-weeks of training! (Click on the link if you want to read the original post.)

Week 1 – Ironman Chattanooga Training Begins! I started with some excitement about chasing Ironman for the fourth time.

Week 2 – Attitude is Everything I was struggling with this week, and complaining too much.  It was time for an attitude adjustment.

Weeks 3/4 – Two For One Training Update A busy two weeks doing some college visits with my daughter Rebecca and wife Kari and trying to keep the training going.

Week 5 – I’m My Own Worst Enemy I found myself doing dumb things in training that could easily sabotage my plan, like racing the local high school track team up a hill during their hill repeat workout.  It wasn’t my fault, I can’t shut that off.

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Week 6 – The Comparison Trap In Week 6 I once again realized how important it is not to compare myself to others.  I have to relearn this every time.

Weeks 7/8 – I’d Be A Horrible Judge Another twofer update from me, pondering whether I like the idea of relay teams in Ironman races or not.  Truthfully, I don’t, but whatever.

Week 9 – Week 9 Wrap-up A somewhat boring week with wet weather forcing me inside.  But I did play around with my new Fly6 and Fly12 bike cameras and started designing a new tri suit for our team.

Week 10 – Wrap Up: Fear… Parts I & II It was a weird week and I got a little freaked out by a storm and a creepy guy admiring my bike.  I survived both.

Week 11 – The Uneasiness of Being Comfortable I  became aware that I was being a little lackadaisical about training and losing focus.

Week 12 – Swimming Sucks A reminder of my love/hate of swimming.

Week 13 – Bike Helmets are Instant Dork Makers I bought a new helmet that looked great online but made me an instant dork.

 

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I guess it’s not so dorky after all.

 

Week 14 – Sun Tans, Group Ride, & Racing!  I wrapped up Week 14 with a great ride with teammates and a 1st place age group finish in my sprint race!

Here’s to the next 15 weeks!

 

Week 15 Training Totals:

Swims: 2 total / 4200 yards > Rides: 4 total /  108 miles > Runs: 5 total /  32 miles

 

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Halfway to Ironman Choo!

 

 

The Uneasiness of Being Comfortable

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 11 – Monday 5/13/19 – Sunday 5/19/19

As I slid into Week 11 I found myself reflecting on being comfortable with where I was in the plan.  It has kind of become routine – Monday rest, Tuesday run, Wednesday bike/run brick, Thursday bike, Friday run, Saturday bike, Sunday run – then repeat week after week.  But on Saturday I finished my ride, put the bike away and got busy cleaning the swimming pool and mowing the grass and totally didn’t realize that we are now at a stage in training when Saturday’s long ride is followed by a run brick.  I had gotten so used to the previous ten-week routine that I didn’t remember that the runs are added to the bike on Saturday.  Oops.  Oh well, I did have a killer of a Saturday long ride which kind of made up for missing that 15 minute brick run.

Speaking of the Saturday bike, I decided to join a local riding group that is primarily made up of people from the local running group that I have become familiar with.  It was supposed to be a 2-2.5 hour bike ride averaging 17 mph.  I was comfortable with that pace and length of ride, but I have certain expectations when riding as a group and as we rode a little I started figuring out who was on the same page as me and who wasn’t.  I started to get a little uneasy and moved to the front of the group to avoid any issues. There was one stop in which a rider fell over.  Not sure how he accomplished that as it didn’t appear that he was clipped in and was wearing running shoes.  It has happened to all of us and I felt bad for the guy, but I made a mental note to stay clear of him.  It wasn’t long until this group of cyclists and aero riding triathletes were on each others wheel.  While training for Ironman, I usually avoid riding on the wheel of another rider because you aren’t allowed to draft at all during the race, but here we were.  I was definitely getting out of my comfort zone.

 

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My “Z2” ride was mostly spent in Z4!  WTH?

 

We made it out to Elwood and the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and stopped for a quick restroom break and to refuel a little.  I had some good conversations and then we were headed back.  That’s when I got dropped.  I was fighting like mad to keep up, but I was starting to wonder why I was killing myself.  The group did eventually rejoin and I put myself ahead again to help control the pace a little.  I was able to keep with them the rest of the ride.  But this “easy” pace group ride was killing me!

When we turned around I noticed something was not quite right with my rear wheel.  It was making a slight sound and I was sensing a little bit of vibration.  I had ridden the bike on the trainer on Thursday and when I switched out the skewer I must not have had the wheel exactly straight.  I stopped about 20 minutes from home and reset it the best I could and I didn’t feel the vibration anymore.  When I got home I inspected the wheel and found that the tire sidewall was getting pretty worn, had started to bulge a little and it wouldn’t have been long before it failed completely on me.  I was way too comfortable in letting that little warning sign of vibration and sound go on for too long.  I should have dealt with it as soon as I noticed it.  Stop being so comfortable!  But I wasn’t the only one who should have been paying close attention to their bike.  I noticed one strong lady rider who was about my age whose water bottle cage was wobbling so loosely that I thought it was going to fall off any minute.  How do you not notice that?

All in all, I had a pleasant ride, learned that the cemetery has a restroom, learned a new route out to Elwood that bypasses a busy road, met some new people, had some good conversations and made it home in one piece.  I will definitely join the group again but will not let the group’s ride influence my training plan for the day.

Next week I promise not to be so comfortable.  I need to make sure I am executing the plan in the way I need to.

Week 11 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 4 total / 88 miles > Runs: 4 total / 25 miles

 

 

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I’ve got the pool open!  Time to start swimming!

 

Week 10 Wrap Up: Fear… Parts I & II

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 10 – Monday 5/6/19 – Sunday 5/12/19

HOORAY!  One-third of my Ironman 30-week training plan is in the books!  It’s nice to hit that benchmark and put the base phase of training behind me.  As I enter the 10-week build phase of the plan it is comforting to know that I did a pretty decent job getting prepared for it.  The only issue that can come back and bite me is the fact that I did no swim training in that first ten weeks!  But even though I stink at swimming, I am not really all that worried.  I learned what I am capable of back in 2017 while training for Ironman Louisville, and I’m sure that the remaining twenty weeks will prepare me adequately.  The weather has been the real issue this spring, being cold and miserable so far, and it has kept me from opening my pool so I can swim.  Next week looks to have a gradual warm-up and I will plan on starting the process of getting the pool ready for summer.  I may not like swimming that much, but I do enjoy a post long run/long bike cannonball to cool off.

 

FEAR:  PART I – Fear… Of Missing Out

Friday I took a day off from work so I could be at home to welcome carpet installers and new carpet throughout our house.  The original appointment was for Friday and Saturday and I wasn’t really sure how long they would be here either day.  So I got up and got dressed and hoped that they would leave me a sliver of the late afternoon so I could squeeze in my planned hour-long run.  It didn’t happen.  As I watched them progress I realized that they were going to shoot to get it all done in one day.  They finished up sometime around 6 pm, and then it was time for dinner and get busy with putting everything back that we had to move.  Fun times (not), but I didn’t get my run in.

So I spent the day worrying about missing my Friday run, an hour long 7-miler that I can do in my sleep.  I spent a lot of time on Facebook while babysitting the carpet guys and saw that several of my local friends and acquaintances were complaining about their local pool being unavailable again.  It seems like the maintenance at the pool has been neglected or poorly maintained, or that some kid left a “Baby Ruth” (Caddyshack reference, in case you didn’t know) at the bottom of it.  Whatever the reason, they are paying for the use of the pool and have not been able to use it.  They have a right to be a little upset about that.  But I also think they are like me and fear that they might get behind on their training.  I totally get that.  A few of these friends are doing their first Ironmans this fall, and I can remember how I felt about missing a week training for my first Ironman in 2013 when I volunteered at my daughter Ashley’s marching band camp.  In the end, though, missing a swim/bike/run workout or two, or in my case, a whole week doesn’t really matter in the massive amount of training that is done in thirty weeks.  No need to fear missing a workout.

The other thing I have been thinking that I fear I have been missing out on is group rides with a local group of riders, riders mostly who are also involved with the local running club.  They post rides all the time but I usually skip them because they don’t fit in with what my plan calls for.  Saturday was such a ride, and judging from the photo posted to Facebook, it was a big group and it looked like they were having fun.  I’m going to have to join them soon.  A group ride might be an asset, as you will see below.

 

FEAR:  PART II – Fear… Of GETTING MURDERED!

I was a little concerned about my Saturday 3-hour training ride.  First off, the weather stunk once again, 48 degrees and a forecast of rain.  After breakfast, I checked the radar and could see that there was a small window of opportunity to get my ride in, and so I layered up and got out there.

 

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“I don’t think the heavy stuff is going to come down for quite a while.”  (Another Caddyshack reference/quote)

 

I had a little trouble with my Fly12 bike flasher/camera again today.  I had trouble with it last week and it didn’t record anything.  I put it on my bike after charging it and it fired right up and started flashing.  After about 20 minutes into the ride, I realized it wasn’t flashing anymore and I was not happy about it.  I tried pushing the on/off button while riding but was having no success with getting it to turn on.  I decided to stop at the next road crossing and fiddle with it.  That’s when things got interesting.

I stopped at Ridgeland Road and took my gloves off and started fiddling with the dumb light.  I got my phone out and opened the app for the device and manually hit record and figured if anything I would get it to video the rest of the ride.  That’s when a guy walks across the street toward me and says “Sure is a nice bike you got there.” It wasn’t really what he said that gave me pause, but more of the way he said it like he was about to add “It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.”  I replied with “Thank you,” and watched him walk a little past the trail and kneel down and pull out a vape-type device and start puffing away.  He was bearded, unkempt and kind of dirty looking, wearing a soiled Florida Gators sweatshirt, and I automatically started profiling the guy.  That’s what you do when the only jobs you have ever had were in law enforcement and are pretty much skeptical of everyone you meet anyway.  That’s when I silently said to myself “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE NOW!”  Thankfully my rear camera was working and caught the exchange:

 

Now, I don’t get spooked too easily, but this guy was sending me some big time warning signs.  I put my phone back into my jersey pocket, pushed my bike to the shoulder of the road and started pedaling.  It was at that point I went from riding a 3-hour Zone 2 ride to an immediate Zone 4 time trial.  As I sped up the hill I kept looking over my shoulder to see if he got back into his truck.  I thought that maybe I should have stayed on the bike trail, where he couldn’t have followed me.  I also thought about where I might find some refuge up ahead if he did actually try to follow me.

I had gone to Bass Pro Shop last week to look at boats and found myself looking at handguns too.  I don’t own any firearms (my three jobs in law enforcement have all been non-sworn), but I thought I would take a look at them.  I often find myself thinking about how I would defend myself if I ever encountered a nut job.  I haven’t ever really encountered a nut job, but in all seriousness, I FELT LIKE I HAD JUST ENCOUNTERED ONE.  I was kind of wishing I had a handgun right now.  Matter of fact, I wish I had like ten of the damn things.  Our team name is GUNNERS for goodness sake!  But instead, I would just have to pedal my ass off.

Although I spent the next 30 minutes riding damn hard and constantly looking over my shoulder, I never saw him again.  Two hours into the ride my mind was totally focused on why I continually fail to remember to ride into the wind going out and with it at my back on the way home.  That mistake cost me an extra 8 minutes.  And by the time I got back home I wasn’t thinking about that dude or even thinking about buying a gun anymore.  I’d probably accidentally shoot myself in the butt with it anyway.  Now that would make for an interesting video.

 

Week 10 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 86 miles > Runs: 3 total / 18 miles

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Nothing to fear from here on out.  Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Week 9 Wrap-up

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 9 – Monday 4/29/19 – Sunday 5/5/19

Not much of note for the week as far as training.  The miserable wet weather we have been having in much of the midwest forced me inside to do a couple of my ride and run workouts, but I can’t complain about having that option.  Overall, the week went well and I’m starting to build a little speed on the bike again.

Speaking of the bike, for Christmas last year I asked for a flashing light/video camera device for my bike.  I had heard several people talking about Cycliq and the Fly6 rear and Fly12 front cameras, so I put them on my wishlist and Santa delivered.

Since I hadn’t really had an opportunity to ride outside with them during winter and most of the early spring, I realized that the time to add them to my bike was ideal now that the weather is trying to get better.  First and foremost, they are hi-viz flashers so that you are seen, and they certainly do that job well.  But the most recent camera updates to the devices produce a pretty decent video of your ride.  I guess the idea is to have proof of the offender should you be driven off the road or driven into, but I don’t really want to think about that.

The issue I had was finding space on my very crowded aerobars to mount the device.  I finally was able to attach it so that it wasn’t in the way and I could easily access it.  The rear device mounted very easily to my seat post.

After working out some bugs with my son’s help and figuring out how to use them I gave them a try.  I tried using them both for Saturday’s long 2-hour 45-minute ride but had a couple of issues.  First, the Fly12 (front camera) gave me a notice that the battery was low about 1.5 hours into the ride and it didn’t produce any video for some reason.  Had to be operator error of some sort.  Secondly, the mount bracket came loose and the camera was just bouncing around on my aerobars.  Minor issues that I can easily resolve.  The rear camera produced some great shots though.  Here is an example of the footage it will capture (Note:  Turn the volume down):

The wind noise is horrible.  I’m trying to figure out if that is just a fact of life with the Fly6/12 or there is some feature that I can turn on to make it record sound better.  Interestingly enough it does not pick up the crazy conversations that I carry on with myself, which is a good thing, because they are usually profane laden rants.

So I will be interested in doing a group ride someday and capture some of my teammates riding together.  That would be more interesting footage to watch than seeing the truck that runs me over.

The last thing of note is that I am trying to find another company to make team triathlon racing kits for our small group.  The trouble is we are somewhat of a small group and most of these custom companies have minimum order numbers that we can’t reach.  The company we last used upped their minimums by a few and also declared that the order all has to be of one sex, which stinks because we have added Gunner Jan to our group.  I looked into another company that initially looked promising.  They had promised to work on our project in April, and when I hadn’t heard from them I started emailing them with no response.  I figured the guy was swamped or something, but it turned out that his company got bought out by another company from Mexico.  No wonder I wasn’t getting any response from him.  So I went back to the internet and found another company called Jakroo, which might be our best choice.  They have basically no minimums, will assist with kit design, and you can order in both male or female sizes with no penalty, and I can add cycling jerseys, bike shorts, and other items, not just tri suits.  They had a semi-custom design it yourself feature and I played around with it.  Here are a couple of designs I came up with:

I ordered a kit that I made and will ride in it a few times to see if the quality meets what we need.  I’m starting to get excited about having some new team kits!

Week 9 Training Totals:

Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 76 miles > Runs: 4 total / 24 miles

 

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Getting close to being done with the base phase of training!

 

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.