I Won a One Man Race!

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

 

 

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

 

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

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

Me rocking the new GUNNER team kit.

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

First Annual Minocqua Olympic Distance Race For Chris Only Race Report

When: 7/7/2019

Where: Minocqua, Wisconsin

Time: 2:55:52

Results: 1st Place OverallWINNER!

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

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

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

T1: 5:30

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

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

T2 – 3:21

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

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

 

WEEK 18 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 3,662 total yards

Rides: 3 total, 56 total miles

Runs: 5 total, 24.7 total miles

 

Yay vacation!!!

 

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

gI_143462_Logo_IRONMANChattanooga[1]

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

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

Unknown.jpeg

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

2xzkvk.jpg

 

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

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

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

2xza7f.jpg

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

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

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

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

 

2xzagg.jpg
No Drake!  No steps back!!!

 

 

Week 5 Training Totals:

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

 

Gunners-2-1
1/6 of the training is DONE!

 

 

 

 

My Brain on Ironman

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 20 – July 31 > August 6

I read a recent article in Triathlete magazine that covered the subject of mental preparedness in Ironman.  I have always thought that training your mind to handle the effort in training and the races was almost as vital as the physical aspect of getting your body ready to spend the more than half a day swimming, biking and running.  Some of it can be very mind numbing for sure.

I find the swimming to be the most boring of the three.  You are either looking at a black line at the bottom of a swimming pool, the dark murkiness of a lake, or in my case a bunch of dead bugs lying at the bottom of my pool, a constant reminder that I also need to devote time to take care of things that get neglected during training.

Running can also be boring, but you can bring music if you are so inclined.  I don’t, but I do let the beauty of the area in which I run to keep me distracted from any suffering that may be going on.  I jogged behind a deer on Wednesday for about a minute until it finally took notice and bounded into the woods.

I find that I don’t have the luxury of being unfocused on the bike.  It’s the one discipline of triathlon in which you are required to focus.  You have to constantly monitor your surroundings, your effort level, and make sure that you don’t crash.  Certainly there are times when I can zone out, but something always quickly renews your focus on the bike – a bump on the road, a bug to the face, a gust of wind, etc.

Often times when someone asks about the Ironman, they only think in terms of how long it is – 140.6 miles – and are impressed that the distance can be covered under your own power.  But I find that your mind easily adapts to the distance if you break it down into manageable segments.  My training is 30 weeks long.  That’s a long time.  But when it is broken into its individual weeks, and then into each day, it is much easier to mentally handle the task.  The woman who inquired about my training this week asked me about the training, and I said for Wednesday’s workout I did 45 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run.  A total of 75 minutes of exercise.  Lots of people can do that.  Break it up and it is much more manageable.

At Ironman Wisconsin in 2013, I found that I couldn’t bear to look out at the water where the swim course was being held prior to race day.  It looked enormous!  But on race day morning, I got in the water for the start and broke the swim up into small segments.  My plan was to swim from one orange buoy to the next.  On the bike it was all about riding to the next aid station where I could refill my water bottle and take on some more nutrition, then it was on to the next one.  Same thing with the run – one mile at a time, one aid station to the next.

So I guess the physical training for the race is the most important aspect of completing an Ironman.  But if you can train your brain to manage the race, it can make the physical portion of it much less of a burden.

THIS WEEK

Swimming in Lake Minocqua. 

I volunteered as a chaperone at this past couple of weeks at band camp.  Fortunately for me I was able to take the 3-6pm slot, and was still able to get my workouts done midday.  The weekend was spent in Minocqua with the family.  I felt the need to be with the family and spend quality time that is no longer a given. My son has his own job and is living out of state. And my middle daughter will begin her sophomore year at college soon. So to have everyone together for two short days was a luxury that I couldn’t pass up. So I skipped the scheduled four hour bike ride. But I was able to get an open water lake swim in as well as the two hour Sunday run. That run nearly wiped me out physically and mentally. I’ve got some work to do in the next ten weeks. 

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 4400 yards this week / 64450 yards total

2 Bikes – 41 miles this week / 9467 miles total

7 Runs – 40 miles this week / 605 miles total

Week 20 complete. Bring on the Peak Phase!

Week 11 Fun: Training and Racing

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 11 – May 29 > June 4

Week 11 was the first week of the Build Phase of the Be Iron Fit training plan that I am following, and I expected it to be a little harder.  There was a third swim added, along with some additional yardage to the swim.  I was a little surprised that the long Saturday bike was a half hour shorter than Week 10’s 3 hour ride, but I see that the plan now adds a short run after it.  The 1/2 hour spin on Sunday was also added, which seemed to feel pretty good to me thanks to some tired legs from Saturday.  All in all, not a bad way to start the Build Phase of training.

Speaking of tired legs, I also ran my first road race of the year, a 5K near my home.  I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea, as my feet and legs just always seem tired.  But I decided to give it a go.  I was glad I did, as I finished 10th overall and 1st in my age group.

You can read about the race here:  2017 Summertime Stride 5K Race Report

Speaking of racing, I will be doing my first triathlon of the year, the ET Batavia sprint triathlon in Batavia, Illinois.  I’ve done this race three times and I really enjoy it.  The swim is super short, about 400 yards, the bike is fast, and the run is a heart pounding 4.1 miles.  I’m hoping that the water will be warm enough to forego the wetsuit.  I struggled getting the dumb thing off last year and it cost me some valuable time.  I do have a speed suit that I might try out this time.  Never used it before though.  I might have to play with it this week during one of the three swim workouts.

The last bit of news is that my wife Kari bought a new road bike, a Specialized Roubaix from Spokes in Wheaton, Illinois.  We were there picking up my race packet and she had been talking about getting a bike.  I think she was impressed with the bike shop, and definitely the custom fit that the owner put her through.  We were there for almost 4 hours looking at bikes and getting the Roubaix dialed in.  They really did a good job and I think Kari is going to have many happy miles of riding.  I’m looking forward to having a new riding buddy.

TOTALS:

3 Swims – 5200 yards this week / 26200 yards total

4 Bikes – 89 miles this week / 770 miles total

7 Runs – 35 miles this week / 313 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Racing to Week 12

Happy Mother’s Day

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 8 – May 8 > May 14

I type this on a beautiful Mother’s Day.  I’m glad that it was such a gorgeous day.  A very nice finish to a week.  It looks like spring is turning to summer finally.

I attempted to open my pool this week and things are looking good.  I have one issue with a part that senses when the pump is on to signal the auto-chlorinator to turn on that isn’t working.  Seems like I replace this part every year.  A minor inconvenience in order to have the luxury of swimming at home.  I only got one swim in this week at the high school due to testing that was going on.  All the more the reason to swim at home.  The plan called for 1700 yard straight swim but I ended up doing 2100 yards, about the distance of a half Ironman swim.  I felt great and kept clicking off the laps.

Biking and running went well.  I got in a 2 hour Saturday ride with my riding buddy Todd.  Glad we got it done in the morning because the afternoon was pretty windy.  The Sunday run I did after choosing to spend some time with my wife and daughter, then doing some yard work.  By the time I got around to running it was noon and pretty warm.  It was just an hour long run, but I pushed pretty hard and overdid it.  This was supposed to be a recovery week, but as usual I blew it.  I hope to ease into next week.  I’m pretty wiped out.

TOTALS:

1 Swim – 2100 yards this week / 15300 yards total

3 Bikes – 64 miles this week / 417 miles total

7 Runs – 31 miles this week / 216 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Happy Mother’s Day

Great Finish to Week 7

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 7 – May 1 > May 7

IMG_6296
Senior Recognition Day at Loras College with Kari, Ben and I.

Training for Week 7 went pretty much as expected.  I noticed that some extra time was added to both the bike and run at the end of the week, but 15 minutes isn’t so bad, I guess. The hard stuff is coming, so I should be happy that I’m still in the Base Phase of the training.  I missed one swim due to me deciding I didn’t want to do it.  (lol)  That happens sometimes, but I know my ability pretty well.  I am experiencing a little swimmer’s elbow tendinitis, possibly from trying to pull too hard in a bent elbow angle. When I keep my arm straight, I hardly experience any discomfort.

The best part of the week was the weekend.  On Friday, my wife, in-laws and I went to Loras College in Dubuque to watch my son Ben run his final home meet.  He usually runs the Steeplechase in track, but conference is coming up, and coach had him running the 1500 and a 4×400 relay.  He did well and made us proud.  He has steadily improved throughout his four years of running cross country and track, and I am sure he has some great running experiences ahead of him.

fullsizeoutput_e7aa
My son winning his heat in the 1500M run.

 

After watching him run two events, my father-in-law Gary and I made the trip up to Minocqua, WI to bring up some of the stuff we have been buying for our new lake home. Gary grew up in the area and was anxious to see our new place.  This meant I got the chance to do my weekend training in the Northwoods.  I really love it up there.

I brought up my hybrid bike, a Trek 7700FX, to ride on the crushed rock Bearskin Trail.  It has a little wider tire, and was a good choice for riding that trail.  I left it up there for future rides on the trail, but I will probably also try to ride my tri bike on the roads up there as well in training for IM Lou.

Not long after starting my ride I noticed my butt was hurting.  I took an assessment and realized my seat had slipped down about 1.5 inches.  I stopped and adjusted it and found immediate relief for my butt pain.  But the dumb thing wouldn’t stay up.  I must have stopped a dozen times trying to get it to stay.  I pulled it out and noticed that it had a little grease on it.  Not sure that was something I did, but I tried wiping it off with an old cut up hat that had been run over by a mower that I found trailside.  That didn’t work.  I rubbed sandy dirt on it, stuck a sticker on the seat post, tightened the quick release lever several times, all to no avail.  I finally rubbed the post on some concrete, scratching it up somewhat in order to provide some grip.  That seemed to work the best, although it wasn’t permanent.  It’s amazing how a little adjustment can make a huge difference in comfort and preventing injuries.

IMG_6298
Hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery when you are dealing with a bike mechanical.

 

I was met on the trail by a guy running his dog who stopped to see if I was doing okay. Turns out his name is Blaine and he is a local race director who organizes the local marathon called the “No Frills Marathon.”  It’s an out and back on the same trail I was riding.  I will have to run it someday.  He was also wearing a Boston Marathon shirt and I picked his brain about the race for 10 minutes or so.  It was nice to meet him.  I forgot to bring any sort of nutrition with me, and only had water to drink.  Sometimes in training you make mistakes, and that was mine for the day.  By the time I got home and added a quick post-ride brick run, I was approaching “bonk” status.  Gary and I headed out to lunch after I showered and I quickly bounced back.

I also got in a 8.5 mile run on Sunday before packing up and heading home.  It was chilly, but it was a beautiful sunny day.

All in all, a great way to finish a training week.

TOTALS:

1 Swim – 1600 yards this week / 13200 yards total

3 Bikes – 65miles this week / 353 miles total

7 Runs – 32 miles this week / 185 miles total

 

Gunners-2-1
Did Week 7 in Northwoods Heaven!

Focusing on the “A” Race

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 6 – April 24 > April 30

I had never heard of the term “A” race until I started doing triathlons in 2012. As a runner I made every race I entered a priority and went for it each time. But when my buddies and I started our journey into Ironman races, I quickly picked up on the idea that the focus of your racing year should be devoted to the race that means the most to you, and in our case the Ironman. Pick your main goal race of the year, make it your focus, your “A” race as they say, and fit in all the other stuff around that goal. Sounds easy, but I’m terrible at it.

My biggest issue is the dumb running streak I started in 2015.  I have yet to miss a day of running at least a mile. So when my training plan for my “A” race says no running on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, well I just cannot not run. So I do the bare minimum, usually just a mile and try not to derail myself.  So far it hasn’t hurt me.

But a few other things have tried to dangle a carrot in front of me, trying to lure me away from the “A” race training plan. I found out my church is looking for members to play on a coed softball team. I would seriously consider it if it wasn’t for the fact that the last time I played I broke a finger playing 16″ softball, and gave myself a pebble infused skin abrasion sliding into third wearing shorts, a pain that lingered for weeks. It was easy to turn that down.

The hardest thing to for me to turn down is road running races. A local 5K runs right through my neighborhood, and the first running of it a couple of years ago I competed and finished 5th overall. Very tempting to run it this year, but it was only Week 3 of training. I skipped it. Later I found out that the winner won with a time I could have competed against. It’s not often that I get an opportunity to win a race. Oh well.

Saturday there was a local half marathon, a race that I finished 12th overall last year and 4th in my age group (That’s another story in itself! You can read it here:  https://anamazingrun.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/2016-frankfort-half-marathon-race-report/).  Another very tempting race for me to do.  I remembered really enjoying myself running it last year, but I do remember how sore I was for a couple weeks after running it. I did not want a repeat of that, seeing that I have been dealing with a sore high hamstring in my left leg. So I decided to skip this race as well. I don’t need to pay $70 to do a training run, one that would be 5 miles longer than my plan calls for.  And the rainy cold weather made the decision much more palatable. I checked the race results for that race as well – I probably would have finished 7th based on last year’s time. Oh well, again.

Knowing that there will be other tempting races to do, I learned that I can skip the ones that might not be in the best interest of my “A” race goal, and keep my eyes on the prize – another Ironman finish.  Just wish it wasn’t so hard to do.

Week 6 Wrap-up

Two weeks in a row that I got all of the training in! A new habit and streak is forming! The weather was not perfect this week, and next week looks pretty uninspiring. I shared a swim lane with another Ironman that I know from the area. She did IM Wisconsin in 2010 and is doing it in the fall. Even with just doing one last year seems like starting over for me, so she must really feel like its all new again.

I got outside for the bikes and runs for most of the week except for the weekend. Did the two hour ride on a stationary bike while watching episodes of Breaking Bad. I hope my life never goes off the rails like it is doing for Walt. But I can certainly empathize with the guy sometimes.

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 3200 yards this week / 11600 yards total

4 Bikes – 60 miles this week / 288 miles total

7 Runs – 28 miles this week / 153 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Week 6 – 1/5 of the way there!