Week 17 was a little different than the usual “here’s the workout – go do it.” I had to change some things up a bit.
Monday and Tuesday went as planned. Wednesday I participated in my department’s leg of the Torch Run, benefiting the Illinois Special Olympics. So I biked to work, ran with the gang, and then biked home again. A little bit more than the usual bike/run brick.
On Thursday my in-laws arrived to join us for a vacation trip, so I had guests to entertain, and it was stormy in the afternoon. I decided that riding and swimming in a thunderstorm was probably not the best idea, so I bagged Thursday.
Friday I got in my planned run and felt really good. It was a cool and humid run, but not as bad as the 90’s we had been dealing with.
Saturday was a day for travel to our place in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Lots of busy work to take care of so I skipped another workout. But Sunday I made up for it by having a great brick workout of 3.5 hours of biking and a half hour run. I had a beautiful and cool day for it. I chose to ride the road out to St. Germain and then hit the paved trails they have there to head further north.
All was going great and at at an hour and 45 minutes I turned around to head back, except I was not sure where the connecting trail was after going around this little wooded lake. Fortunately I remembered that my GPS watch had a track back feature and once I figured out how to access it I was all set. Except I didn’t understand how to go the direction I was supposed to go.
So off I went in the direction I thought I needed to go but it would tell me that I was off course. So I would turn around and ride the other way until it told me that I was off course again! What was I doing wrong?
I finally passed a trail that I had kept missing because I was riding in a direction that kept me from seeing it. Oh well, I got back on the right trail, hit the gas and pulled into the driveway at exactly 3.5 hours.
The track back feature was pretty impressive and I’m sure I will use it again if I ever find myself not knowing how to get back.
I was enjoying the company of my children on this humid Father’s Day and was proud of how their young lives had turned out so far. I know my wife deserves most of the credit because she is an awesome mother, but I would like to think that I had done pretty well as a role model too.
My son was discussing his recent workouts and how he was just hoping to get “B’s” on them. Which prompted me to ask why was he getting B’s on his runs? I would have thought that he would not have been happy with any effort that wasn’t an A. Ben and his girlfriend Emily usually are pretty high achievers regarding their running and to give himself a B seemed like he was being a little too hard on himself.
I thought about the 10-mile run I had done earlier in the day and wondered how I would score it. Ben asked if I thought I had met the goals of the workout. Did I do the distance or time I intended to do? Yes, I did ten miles in about 93 minutes. Did I run at the effort I hoped to run? Sure did, I managed to keep myself in the zone that I had intended. And did I feel good afterward? I guess so, I wasn’t too beat or too dehydrated and had a sense of accomplishment of getting in ten miles on a day in which I was soaked to the bone from the humidity. So I guess I get an A. Yay!
But do all of my workouts get A’s? I don’t think they do. I sometimes will push out of the zone or do more or less of the workout than the plan calls for, so for those instances, I guess maybe grading myself after the workout may be beneficial. Or at least think about the grade I want prior to doing the workout. If you are looking for A’s every time, then thinking about the objectives of the run or bike workout prior to doing it may be a smart move.
Ben and Emily were happy with B’s because being new homeowners and having busy work lives were making their run efforts take a backseat to the more important things at hand. And they don’t really have many running goals right now, so just putting in some miles and getting by with a B was working for them.
I’m going to be looking to get some more A’s in the weeks to come.
Nothing makes a summer go by quicker than training for an Ironman. Fifteen weeks are in the books and it went by in the blink of an eye. Being halfway through the training plan is definitely a milestone, but it’s only halfway in time only. The workload in the first fifteen weeks are pretty tame compared to what is coming in the second fifteen weeks. There’s a lot of work yet to do.
I was cruising along just fine this week until Thursday, when I had a trip to the dentist to have a couple of old fillings replaced and to add to college fund for his kids. Later that day I suffered through a 24-hour stomach bug which kept me from work on Friday. On Saturday, I declared myself fine and geared up to go on a four-hour ride on a hot day and paid for it. I was not nearly recovered enough from the dehydration from being sick and once again weakened myself. I felt fine enough, but after a dinner of some Mexican food (I don’t make good decisions), the stomach bug thing seemed to make a come back. It knocked me down again and I was unable to function on Sunday. I got up and put on my running gear, foolishly thinking that I could go run for 90-minutes, but I could barely keep awake. Instead of getting in that Sunday long run, I opted to watch four hours of the French Open. That wore me out, too!
So, I finished the first half of the plan with a little bit of a dud, but I am determined to bounce back. I’m looking forward to the remaining summer of training and hoping that it doesn’t go buy so quickly that I miss the summer.
Most of my subject matter for these weekly write-ups comes from the long Saturday bike ride. That’s when I do most of my thinking, as I sit on a bike and sweat through 3.5 hours of riding. But when I sit down on Sunday to wrap up the week, I sometimes can’t recall anything about what I was thinking about on the previous days’ ride.
There were a couple of notable things about this week. I added an 8.5 mile run on my off-day Monday because I was traveling last Sunday and decided to push it to Monday, so Week 13 is short one run, and Week 14 added an extra one. Not a big deal, but that meant I would be doing back-to-back run days.
On Thursday, I raced a 5K, which beat me up a little. And also lead to moving a planned ride to Friday, which would precede the long ride on Saturday. So basically, I was messing with the structure of the plan and screwing up built-in recovery between bike and run efforts. On Saturday, I could feel some fatigue in my thighs when I started.
I made a couple of tactical mistakes on Saturday. The ride was to be 3.5 hours long, so I needed to ride out for an hour and 45-minutes, but thankfully the wind was in my face heading out, so I figured I’d add an extra 5-minutes into the wind to compensate for the easier and faster return trip. That was a pretty good estimation, but as I kept hitting 20mph riding back home I thought I would need to add a little more extra time to the return trip. As I got closer to home I could tell that I should have skipped the extra couple of miles. I finished the ride in 3:37 instead of 3:30. Again, not a big deal, but I realized that if I ever need to add on to make time, it’s better to do it nearer to home instead of out in the middle of the ride.
The second mistake was not drinking enough to replace what I was sweating out. It was a hot day, and although I thought I was drinking enough, I really wasn’t. I have to learn this lesson over and over every time I train for an Ironman. When I finished the 61-mile ride, I was suffering and was contemplating skipping the 30-minute run that I was supposed to do. Somehow I found the strength to get it done. Afterward, I wondered and marveled at how I was able to handle the heat at the 2019 Ironman Chattanooga, which was a much longer day in much tougher heat. I guess that is what training, building, and acclimating are for. Live and learn, and drink more!!!
I have to brag on my son Ben for a minute. He came down for a visit on Friday and mentioned that he thought about running the 5K that I had run but instead, he opted to run a 3K (I know, weird distance) in Rockford because there was a $300 prize for the winner like he was sure that he could win. He won and later said it was an easy win. 5:08 min/mile pace is what he averaged. I wish I had some of that speed! Well done, son!
Week 3 went by pretty quickly and was mostly unremarkable really. The few things I thought about maybe discussing here have long evaporated from my mind, and after a beautiful weekend, I was thinking more about having some great weather for a change, rather than some triathlon or running topic to opine about.
I swapped my Saturday ride with Sunday’s run so that I could join the local running group for an early morning group run. I’m glad that I did. Normally group outings for me usually mean that I will find myself running or riding by myself, but this time I fell in with Pat, who also did the 2018 Boston Marathon when I did it, and another guy named Bill, who is married to someone who also works for the same employer that I do. It was nice to have some conversations with others for a change, instead of me talking to myself. It was a nice 8-mile run.
Sunday’s bike was a bit of a challenge heading south due to the wind, but it was nice to have a great tailwind pushing me along back home. There was a group ride scheduled for later in the afternoon, but those guys have been doing some serious indoor riding all winter and there’s no way I would last with them. Plus, I chose to follow my planned hour and 45-minute ride. Stick with my plan, and forget what the others are doing.
My friend Susan commented about how I had started my training already, as she has not yet begun hers. Her plan is shorter in duration apparently, and I think that I could also get by with a 20 or 25-week plan, but the 30-week plan I follow has been reliable for me and has consistently proven itself to prepare me well. The thing about waiting to start the plan because you feel that you have a pretty good fitness base already doesn’t make much sense to me. It just tells me that you are training, just not following a specific workout. I have a pretty good base built up as well, but I’m following a plan instead of just winging it before starting. In the end, I guess it’s a wash. This is why I’m not a coach. There are so many ways to personalize training.
2020 Ironman Louisville got killed by a lethal combination of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as social upheaval going on in Louisville and it was not only enough to postpone the race, but to kill it totally off. Ironman Louisville (aka Kentucky) is no more. I was offered a deferral to a handful of other 2020 races which I felt had no chance of occurring, so I opted for the deferral to 2021 Ironman Chattanooga. A year into a pandemic, and I’m still somewhat pessimistic about whether we will race or not. But 2021 is here, people (including myself) are getting vaccinated, and real in-person events are starting to take shape and look like a possibility of actually happening. The CEO of Ironman came out recently with a video regarding how they expect the racing season to play out, which made most of us scratch our heads. What I get out of the video is that they truly want to race, but if they can’t they will tell us at the last possible second and keep our money anyway. But no matter his message, I’m signed up and will have to train to be ready if it does happen.
After completing Choo in 2019, my buddies and I all kind of agreed that we didn’t care to come back to it. I guess maybe that was the ungodly heat that helped with that mindset, but yes, it seemed to wow us less than Wisconsin, Lake Placid, and Louisville had done in prior years. But when Choo became my only real option, heck I will take it. It’s really not that bad of a course – the swim is almost effortless and the bike is the easiest of the four I have done. The run is the devil at this race, and add the heat like we had in 2019, and well, it was enough for us to say we’d never want to do the race again.
Seeing that I got through about 16 weeks of training for Louisville when it got axed, I have somewhat just drifted through my usual training, knowing that racing in 2020 was a longshot. With the exception of enjoying some brief, mild winter trail running, my desire to sign up for races or even do any significant training has waned. I had lost my mojo. The time to start training is here, but I’m still looking for some motivation.
I was spinning on the stationary bike this week and listening to some shuffled songs on Spotify when I heard Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up. That’s what I kind of need right now, something to pump me up. The weather is getting better, the snow is starting to melt, and soon I will take my training outdoors. Time to pump myself up.
I’ll be following the Competitive Plan from the book Be Iron Fit by Don Fink once again. It has never let me down. I have made some alterations to it in order to make it more personal to my needs, but I stick to it pretty closely.
I swapped out my old saddle for a new ISM PR1.0 split-nose model. I’m hoping that the saddle is more comfortable than the old one. I will have to find another way to mount my bottle cages to it, but there is time for that.
Swimming won’t happen until I get my pool open in May sometime. I have added some light weightlifting workouts for now, but I tend to get bored with that real quickly.
Here’s to training with my Gunner teammates and some of the locals I know who are also doing the race. Ironman Chattanooga, here I come! PUMP IT UP!
It really didn’t take me too long to get over having the race I was training for come to an end. I guess I had been expecting it to end for quite a while, but I just kept moving forward (a tried and true Ironman motto) in my training until the final word was announced. So after having a week to think it over, here’s what I will most likely do going forward.
I will opt to take the automatic transfer to Ironman Chattanooga in 2021. There is really no way the other three Fall 2020 transfer options are going to happen in my mind. Three of us Gunner teammates were already signed up for Louisville, and two and maybe a third had not signed up. So if we decide as a group to head back to Chatty in 2021 all I need to do is make the transfer official and start training next year. If we for some reason want to do a different race then I will have no problem paying the transfer fee and do that race with the group. But Ironman has some pretty specific rules on transferring, so I will have to take that into consideration. We’ll have to talk that over. I remember us talking about not wanting to do Chatty again, but I think that was the dreadful heat of the 2019 race influencing that decision. It was an okay location, we enjoyed ourselves and I would go back. But before I get too confident with all that, I have to realize that this is all conjecture. There’s talk that this Covid-19 crap may stick around into 2021 and screw everybody’s race season up again. So there’s that…
I will keep training, that really isn’t a big surprise. I actually enjoy the weekly stuff, the long Saturday ride, and running is just part of who I am. I can’t imagine not running. Swimming on the other hand… well, let’s just say that I do enjoy a cannonball splashdown after a long run or ride. But I doubt I will do much swim training for the rest of the year. The training won’t be anything too overwhelming, but enough to keep me fit and doing what I love. I may join some local group rides now that it won’t interfere with me following my training plan. I may also text a local friend to see if he wants to do some riding again. We stopped riding together when my training became too specific and he just wanted to ride.
I was kicking around the idea of doing an Ironman of my own making either at home or in Wisconsin at my lakehome and inviting my buddies to do it, but I’m not so hot on the idea now. That would require us to keep training and following the plan and with the weather heating up and the fact we’ve had our bubble burst with Louisville, I don’t think any of us would want to do it. I may, however, do a half-iron distance day of my own just because I already have the fitness to do that and could pull it off pretty easily. I think the training plan has a 70.3 training day built into it coming up in a few weeks, so I may still do that. I need to sleep on that a little.
Lastly, I have one more hope left of having an opportunity to race this year and that race is the Big Hill Bonk Last Runner Standing elimination ultramarathon. This race was supposed to occur in April but got postponed to October. I received an email last week stating that as of right now the race is a go until the race director finds out otherwise. He gave us a drop dead date of September 15th, so we’ll know by then if he has to cancel it. So since that tells me that the race is iffy at best, I’m not going to do any special ultramarathon type distance training and if the race happens I will just go up to Beloit and run 4.166-mile loops every hour until I can’t take it anymore. And that’s all predicated on whether I feel comfortable around other athletes and doing the Covid-19 dance around each other. If I don’t feel safe in that environment or it’s too big of a hassle I will opt out.
So there you have it. I’m going forward with my daily workouts for fun instead of for a specific reason and we’ll see what happens. So long, Ironman Louisville 2020. Hello, Ironman Chattanooga 2021.
IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XVI
Well, it’s over. I finally got the email that I had been expecting for a few weeks now.
Of course, the main reason the race has been canceled is due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But add in a lot of social unrest going on in Louisville right now, I think that trying to host this race during all of this is a huge headache for the City of Louisville and Ironman.
Actually, I am a little relieved, to be honest. Had Ironman dragged on the decision to cancel to a later date, I probably would have been a little ticked off. I’ve trained for 16 weeks of 30 and had I done more training only to have the race be canceled would not have made me happy. Here are the options Ironman gave me:
Transfer to Ironman Maryland (Cambridge) 2020 on September 19, 2020
Transfer to Ironman Chattanooga 2020 on September 27, 2020
Transfer to Ironman Texas (Waco) 2020 on October 17, 2020
Transfer to Ironman Chattanooga 2021 on September 26, 2021
The option to transfer to Ironman Louisville 2021 doesn’t exist, as Louisville was given a 1-year extension on their previously expired contract. It appears the City of Louisville has moved on from Ironman.
Three of the four options for transferring my registration are for races in the Fall of 2020. Does it make any sense to think that if the October 2020 race has been canceled, that there will be any fall races in 2020? I seriously doubt it. I guess it may depend on the location and how they are dealing with the pandemic, but there has yet to be an Ironman or any other major race held in 2020 that occurred in the United States after the pandemic stay-at-home order.
Cambridge, Maryland is in Dorchester County, MD, and there have been a total of 201 cases of Covid-19 and only five deaths. I guess that is promising. I was expecting it to be somewhat higher. Waco, Texas has had 1563 total confirmed cases with nine deaths. And Chattanooga, Tennessee checks in with 2909 total cases and 35 deaths. Chattanooga’s cases are on the rise, though.
The fourth is the safest bet, a fall race in Chattanooga in 2021. But we all had just done Chattanooga and we weren’t thinking about heading back there any time soon. It’s going to be a tough decision.
I’m not sure what the rest of my Gunner teammates want to do. Jan and I were already signed up to do IMLou, but Dave and Alex were not. I’m thinking Jeff was also signed up but I’m not sure. So at least Jan and I have to make a decision on the above options. The trouble for Dave, Alex, and possibly Jeff is that if you click on the Maryland website it shows it as closed. So if Jan and I opt for that, we won’t be joined by the others. Ironman Texas and Chattanooga are both open for registration, so those are the two options for this year that all the Gunners could be in on. If I were a non-registered Gunner, I’d probably opt out of racing at all. I have been hearing a lot of that on Facebook recently – people are sad that they can’t race, but in reality not racing is probably the smartest and safest thing to do.
The one last option that I may pitch to my buddies is to head up north to my lake home and do Ironman Minocqua – Team Gunners! It would be a self-supported team “race” that we could do on our own, which would have its own set of issues. But it might be a fun team thing to do.
I’m not sure what option I will choose. I’ve got some thinking to do.
TOTALS FOR WEEK 16:
As for Week 16, I did have a pretty good week training up north in Minocqua. I got in an open water swim in Lake Minocqua that Garmin tells me was 2178 yards, which is 70.3 swim distance territory. I felt pretty good doing it too. The other notable thing was that I discovered a paved bike trail system that can take me from Minocqua east to St. Germain and then north to Boulder Junction and then even further west to Manitowish Waters and Mercer. I’m not sure if all that is paved, but what I rode for four hours on Saturday was. It’s a little technical, with a lot of twisting and tight turns and a lot of rolling hills. I will definitely be exploring that trail some more.
Swim: 1 / 1500 yards
Bike: 3 rides / 83 miles
Run: 3 runs / 21 miles
I’ll post again in the next week or two about what I decide to do. I have until July 16 to decide.
Lastly, I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to race Ironman Louisville in 2017. We had a pretty good time then, and I set my personal best Ironman time there.
IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XV
I’m typing this on my iPad and it’s a little bit of a struggle for this technology challenged old guy, but I promise to clean it up when I get back to my computer at home. I’m surprised that I am even putting forth the effort seeing that I am on vacation.
There were a few things happening this week that kind of screwed with my desire to train. The first is that knowing that my family and I were heading to our lake house for a week, I had some stuff to deal with before leaving. I did get most of the weekly stuff done, but I missed the long ride on Saturday due to the drive up north and then dealing with cleaning up the yard and moving a week worth junk in.
So I opted to do the four-hour ride on Sunday and it went okay, but it was eerily similar to last week’s ride. Had another tire issue that I just refilled with a CO2 cartridge a couple of times. This bike is nine years old and I have never had a tire or tube issue with it. I seem jinxed lately with flats. The ride also ended with a similar bonk at the end. It wasn’t really hot, but I was sweating as usual and most likely didn’t keep up with my hydration. I felt so worn out at the end that I opted to jump in the lake to cool down and skip the 30-minute brick run afterward.
My better half joined me on the ride for awhile on the Bearskin Trail.
My ride took me to Nokomis and I found a new place in the middle of nowhere called “Bubba’s”. It looks like a large place for bikers to assemble for an upcoming event they have for motorcyclists. The USA War monument They built was pretty impressive.
The other issue that has poured a little water on my enthusiasm is that I discovered that Ironman has closed registration for Ironman Louisville. That’s a problem because 3/5’s of my Gunner teammates hadn’t signed up for it yet! I’m not sure why they closed it, but I have a pretty good idea why. They maybe trying to limit they amount of triathletes competing to limit the risk to everyone, but that’s not it. They also may be trying to limit the amount of triathletes that they have to offer transfers to if and when they have to cancel the race due to COVID-19, but that’s not it either. I’m now about 99% sure this race will get canceled next week.
It was mentioned on the IM Louisville Facebook page that the same thing happened to Ironman Ohio 70.3 – they closed registration and then the following week they postponed/canceled it.
So, now I kind of don’t feel like training. I know that I said last week that if the race survives past Week 15 that I would keep training, but I’m not so sure. Feeling like the ax is going to fall on this race puts a damper on training for me. Gunner teammate Dave says he’ll probably still train and look for another late fall race to do, but I’m thinking that there won’t be any racing this year for Ironman in the US. Seeing that COVID-19 numbers are spiking in some areas again says a lot.
So I plan on training this next week while on vacation and doing what I can waiting for a decision to be made. I just hope it comes sooner rather than later.
TOTALS FOR WEEK 15:
Swim: 1 / 1500 yards
Bike: 3 rides / 85.5 miles
Run: 5 runs / 17.3 miles (skipped the Saturday brick and the Sunday long run this week.)
IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XI
The weather was pretty awesome this week. I was in upper Wisconsin at my lake home at the end of last week and the beginning of this week. I was able to do a long ride and long run last weekend and began this week with a Tuesday run on the Bearskin Trail that runs through town before heading back home. We would have stayed longer but the in-laws have sold their local home and were leaving for Florida so we needed to be back home to say goodbye.
Swim training began this week! And although boring, as usual, it didn’t suck. Well, it had its moments. I only got in the Thursday swim because we were traveling on Tuesday, and I only did 30 minutes. I tried using my Garmin 935 watch in the past for swimming in my pool, but it never read the distance correctly. Garmin must have updated the pool swim feature for the watch as it now lets me customize the pool distance to a more realistic 15 yards for my pool. Still a little long, but more in the ballpark than 18 or 25 yards, which were the only options before. Anyway, here’s proof that I was swimming:
The Saturday long ride was interesting. I saw a lot of interesting things on this ride and thought I would share some photos. These photos are screenshots from my Fly12 bike flashing light/camera.
I caught up with the local cycling club that I follow and rode with them for a while, and I made a new friend. Hello, Angela!
Okay, enough with the photos.
The Sunday 8.5 mile run was interesting too. I was coming up to pass a guy who was walking ahead of me, and as he reached into his pocket for his phone a deer appear not five feet in front of him. He never saw the deer as it bounded right past him! I was shocked that he didn’t see him. Unbelievable how much you miss when you are paying attention to your dumb device and not your surroundings. I enjoyed it though.
Lastly, with all of the turmoil going on in the country and especially in the midwest today, I refuse to let it get to me. Focus on the positive and stay away from the negative. I do my part to be a good upstanding citizen. My best to you all.