We pulled the old switcharoo with the plan when Dave advised that Alex would be in town this weekend, so the training plan for this week was swapped with the one for next week.
The weather was pretty great this week, often just barely getting into the low 80’s, but it gradually climbed through the week and was pretty warm on Saturday and Sunday. I was glad for the cooler temps as I was volunteering for a second week at the high school band camp. Our band no longer goes to an actual camp, but rather opts to stay at the school and learn the competitive show for the fall season without the distractions of being away from home. Camp was a success, and I was still able to get in my workouts.
On Saturday I drove out to Dixon to meet with Dave and Alex and we started our ride around 8:30 am. I like riding out there with them as it provides a different type of riding and scenery. Dave says the same thing when he joins me on my routes.
The plan was to ride out for 2.5 hours and back. At the three hour mark, we stopped at the town of Lanark and filled up our water bottles for the remaining two-hour ride back.
Alex and I goofed around while we waited for Dave to fill his bottles numerous times.
I was glad for that little break and we hit the road to head back. Not much longer after that Alex started getting a little nauseated, and truthfully, I was getting dehydrated on this warm upper 80 degree day. We kept at it but by the time we got back, we were beat.
Alex did about 10 minutes of the 45-minute brick run, but I summoned some extra will and joined Dave for 4.5 miles of post-ride running. I was glad we got it done, but I was bonked. It took a while to rehydrate but after a shower and some refueling at the local Subway, I was feeling better again.
I spent the drive home and the evening thinking about skipping the two hour Sunday run, but I woke up and decided to hit the trail. I felt pretty good, got in 12.5 miles at an easy Z2 pace, and patted myself on my back for not bailing on the run. Sometimes you want to quit on a workout, and this one would have been excusable in my mind, but when you pull on the shoes and get out there it really builds your character. I didn’t quit on myself, and when the hard part of the training and the race comes, I will remember that.
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:
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 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.
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.
The volunteer band boosters
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.
Training while on vacation can be challenging, mainly because you want to be doing vacation stuff instead of training stuff. But fortunately for me, my family has a lake home in northern Wisconsin that allows me the opportunity to do open water swims, and run and bike on a beautiful trail. I can’t complain about that.
The training you do during the week while training for an Ironman is pretty unremarkable, and I find that the only thing I really remember about them when Sunday comes and I write this wrap up is the Saturday long bike ride. This week’s ride took place on the Bearskin Trail in Oneida County, Wisconsin, which is an old rail-to-trail conversion path. I have used this trail for most of my rides when I am up north because it offers lots of beautiful scenery and it is awesome.
I really had to motivate myself to do this ride. I was almost mad about it, but when I got to the trail, I realized how lucky I am to have this beautiful trail available to me. The ride was to be four hours long and just like the ride I did in 2017 when training for Ironman Louisville, I got to the 2-hour turn around point I decided to go just a little longer to hit 30 miles before turning around. I was feeling great, but I was getting low on water so I decided to ride by a couple of county buildings but found no outdoor water spigots. I rode a little further and found the Nokomis Fire Department building and a firefighter let me in to refill my bottles. Very thankful for that.
As I got to the three-hour mark I started to bonk. Not sure why that happened, as I was using gels and feeling good up to that point. But I limped it home in four hours and twenty minutes. Not exactly what the plan called for. I was also very sore from riding my hybrid bike on this crushed rock trail instead of my tri bike on the road. My muscles and butt just aren’t trained and used to that bike. I also made the mistake of trying to keep my pace on that bike equivalent to what I do at home on the roads, which caused me to push my effort pretty hard, only to manage a 14 mph average speed. It felt like I was averaging 20 mph by the effort I was putting out.
When I got home I hobbled down to the lake and waded into it while my somewhat concerned family watched. It took me a little bit to recover, but after a while, I was back to normal. They say being near the water restores the soul. It did that and a whole bunch more for me this week.
These past two weeks seemed like a whirlwind of training and life. Week 16 went really well, I even got in a 5K race which I placed 2nd in my age group. I had to do some juggling of the weekend workouts to fit them in around a trip to Minocqua to deal with some work around the lake home. I ended up doing the Saturday long run on Friday afternoon prior to heading to the Rolling Stones concert in Chicago.
When I left for Minocqua Saturday morning after the concert I decided to not even bring any of my workout stuff. Too much to do, like mowing the grass and cleaning the house and getting it ready for our 4th of July family get together.
After that quick trip, I decided that I would make up the long Saturday bike ride on Week 17’s Monday/Rest day, which of course was done in the rain. I figured the safest bet was to stick to the local trail in case the weather got out of hand, but it forced me to ride more conservatively and slower due to the wet paved trail that was really slick from the rain and the trail junk. I probably should have ridden on the local roads instead, but I got it done.
The most notable part about Week 17 is that summer finally made an appearance. It started to get warm finally, but it brought humidity with it. On Friday I had a 75-minute run to do and it about KO’d me. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me, it just wiped me out. It took me a couple hours of feeling pretty low after that to finally feel better. I did that same run again on Sunday and it went much better. No matter how much you think you know about running in hot/humid conditions, sometimes it reminds you that you can’t neglect what Mother Nature throws at you. And sometimes it throws Bambi at you.
Week 16 Training Totals:
Swims: 2 total / 4200 yards > Rides: 2 total / 29 miles > Runs: 3 total / 20 miles
Week 17 Training Totals:
Swims: 2 total / 4200 yards > Rides: 5 total / 151 miles > Runs: 5 total / 30 miles
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 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.
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.