Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 14 – June 15 > June 21, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XIV

A few weeks ago I talked about how my bike was making some clicks, groans, and other annoying noises that I should probably address before they become bigger issues, and as I rode this week it seemed like they were really noisy to me, so I decided to see if I could figure some of them out.  I had heard some people say that the bike shops have 2-3 week backlogs in servicing bikes due to the shops dealing with Covid-19 crazy people who all of a sudden need to have their bikes fixed so that they can ride during the pandemic.  I figured that I have enough skill to handle fixing a bike.  It’s not a car for Pete’s sake. What’s the worst that can happen?

Since most bike noises are bearing related and usually just require some cleaning and repacking with grease, the front fork seemed like it would be a good starting point and something I could easily tackle before I attempt to deal with the chain, derailleur, bottom bracket, and wheel axles.  I probably shouldn’t have.

I often say that I am handy enough to be dangerous.  I know I’m not my father.  My dad was a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of guy, and a master of many.  He could pretty much do anything.  He wasn’t afraid to build an addition to the house, or put on a new roof, or build a small shed/barn.  And as a pipeline welder, he was pretty skilled.  He always said that he could weld anything – anything except a broken heart and a butt crack.  That always got a chuckle out of me as a kid.  He also had another saying though – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I think every dad probably has said that.  That is pretty good advice.

Technically, my front fork wasn’t broken, but I felt that if I let the popping sound I heard when I turned the handlebars go for too long it could lead to something bad.  So disassembly began by unscrewing a bolt that holds a plastic cap on over the top stem of the fork and covers a couple of bolts that are responsible for holding the handlebars on.  Yes, two bolts clamp the aero bars to the fork.  Not bolt the bars to the fork, but clamp them to it.  You would think that would not be enough to handle the forces that I apply to the bars while riding but somehow they do.  Then the fun began.

Two metal spacer pieces needed to come off and they decided to be a giant pain in the ass.  As I tried my best to not mar them up with pliers, I twisted them back and forth to loosen them and move them up and off the top of the fork.  But they didn’t really want to come off by twisting.  Time to apply a little “persuasion”, and I grabbed a rubber mallet.  That seemed to be working but with every blow to the fork, I was extremely nervous about damaging a very expensive carbon fiber bike frame and fork.  I eventually graduated to using a big screwdriver and prying in my attempt to remove them.  The top one came off pretty easily but the second one required a lot more work but eventually relented and came off.  Under the second one there was another piece that the bearings seemed to be attached to and it for sure wasn’t budging any further.  It was awkwardly shaped enough that any tool I had really wasn’t effective.  So I decided that maybe I should stop before I break something really expensive and admit defeat.  With a couple inches of play now I had room to at least clean the areas where the bearing housing sits on the frame on both the top and underside of the frame, added a dab of grease to the area, and claimed a minor victory.  Then I tried to put it back together.  It was at this point I realized that I should have let a sleeping dog lay, and never messed with it in the first place.  More persuasion with the rubber mallet took place, a pinched finger resulting in a pretty good blood blister occurred, some touch-up paint applied to my now badly scratched up spacers, and with some patience which I don’t normally have, I got the thing back together.

In the end, things seem to have turned out okay.  I relearned that some jobs should probably be left to the pros no matter how long it takes.  And by some stroke of luck, I no longer hear the loud click when I turn the handlebars.

~~~swim~~~bike~~~run~~~repeat~~~

The rest of the week went a little like this:

I opted to do the Monday hour-long swim instead of doing a 30-minute swim on Tuesday and Thursday.  It went okay, but it did wear me out a little.  I think I may alternate my swims by doing one hour-long swim one week and do the two 30-minute swims the next week.  I think it may be beneficial to get used to that hour of suffering.  And I wasn’t too bored to death.

My Saturday three and a half long ride started out okay but ended kind of bad.  The wind direction was favorable for a change and I got at it early (around 6:45am) to beat the heat and the crowded trails.  I had plenty of fuel and water and was hydrating well, but around 2.5 hours into it I could feel the bonk coming on and the heat was getting to me.  But just 10 minutes after that my rear tire went flat just like a week ago.  Not sure what caused it, probably a pinch flat.  Fortunately, there was a shady, grassy area nearby and I took my time to recover a little while I changed the tube.  When the job was done I got back to riding but I wasn’t in a good place.  About 15 minutes from home I rolled by a newly built home that wasn’t yet occupied and refilled my water bottle with cold water from the hose bib.  When I got home I skipped the 30-minute post-ride brick run and opted to rehydrate and cool off in the pool.  I basically staggered into the pool.  After a nap and some lunch, I felt good enough to do an easy 30 minutes of jogging.

I think the bonk was the result of dehydration and a little bit of heat exhaustion.  I was drinking, had salt capsules and really wasn’t overdoing it.  I just wasn’t exceeding my sweat rate with water consumption, I guess.  And the heat was just adding to the issue.  I did 2019 Ironman Chattanooga in 13:37 with 95 degree temps that felt hotter and did not feel like this.  Training is not just doing the workout; it’s not just swimming, biking, and running.  It’s also about learning to recognize the external factors and adapting, too.

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Thankfully I found some shade to do this repair.

The Tuesday run was fine and I texted my Gunner teammates that it felt effortless.  Wednesday’s bike/run brick wasn’t so effortless though.  I think I jinxed myself.  On Friday I ran for an hour and it called for 7.5 minutes of Z4 after 45 minutes.  I did fine on that but I think intervals longer than 3 minutes are tough for me to do because my mind will eventually wander, and my tempo will fall off and then all of a sudden I will realize – “Oh Yeah!  I’m supposed to be running hard right now!”  I’d rather do 2 X 3.5-minute repeats with a minute jog in between.  My mind can handle that I think.

 

TOTALS FOR WEEK 14:

  • Swim:  1 / 3000 yards
  • Bike:   3 rides  /   95 miles
  • Run:   5 runs  /  30 miles
Gunners-2-1
Next week – I attempt to fix the bottom bracket!  Happy Father’s Day!

Riding and Thinking

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 13 – June 8 > June 14, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XIII

Most of my inspiration for the topics for this post comes from the time I am in the saddle riding my long Saturday rides and trust me, I’m doing a lot of thinking on those three-hour-long or more rides.  This week is no different.  Here some thoughts and things that happened this week.

I should have kept the Ironman-O-Meter from last week turned on this week and asked it if I was I going to keep riding the same old route out west of home to Elwood because I was getting a little tired of doing that route, and sure enough I changed it up this week and rode east on the bike trail to head south toward Peotone and then west from there.  I usually ride the Elwood route on training days of less than 3 hours as it takes less than 1.5 hours to get there.  I can ride much farther on the other route.  I’m sure I will get sick of that pretty soon in the seventeen weeks that are left too.  But it was a nice change of pace that refreshed my mind.

As I was riding the Old Plank Trail that heads east I quickly became perturbed at the amount of inconsiderate users that were starting to dominate the trail.  They walk three or more wide, they ride in groups and pass with oncoming riders, and that’s just a few complaints.  It used to be dominated by the regulars like me who put fear into those who came out on the trail, but how the tables have turned.  When I first started triathlons and began riding a lot I was very glad to have the trail available to me, but soon realized that it wasn’t very safe for me to be on it.  Too many people not following the few simple trail rules so that we can all get by without impacting each other.  I soon realized that I felt safer riding on the roads than I was on the trail.  I’m fortunate to live in an area of Chicagoland where north of me has everything the city can offer, and immediately south of me is pretty much a farmer’s paradise.  I just need to find a quiet set of streets to get me to where I need to go without using the OPT.  Sad that a cyclist doesn’t want to bike on a bike trail.

I was very fortunate to be about 1/10th of a mile from home when my rear tire started going down.  I heard a pop and some hissing just as I was getting to my road and was able to coast it easy back home.  Inspection of the tire revealed a small rock to have punctured the sidewall all the way through to the tube.  I guess it’s time to switch to the new Continental 5000’s that I have been avoiding.

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Thought about taking a little break on the ride, but something told me not to.

Thursday was an interesting day.  I work as a non-sworn employee in a police department and we did the Torch Run as a group.  Several of us had done it already virtually, as was suggested by the event organization, so for me, this was just to join the gang and be part of the team.  Or to please the chief.

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My virtual Torch Run picture.  I raised $130 for the Illinois Special Olympics.

It was a bike day so I decided to bike to work, change into running shoes and then run and ride back home.  We all did the required two miles, but I decided to add a third time trial mile just to see where my short distance speed stands since all I ever do is easy paced distance running.  I turned a 6:35 mile and was pleasantly surprised.  I think if I just focused on speed I could probably get under 6 minutes for a mile if I pushed hard.  But that is not my goal right now, and I shouldn’t do dumb things.

Swimming is going well and I feel like I am getting more comfortable and stronger in the water, but I am thinking of maybe doing an hour-long swim on my Monday rest day instead of doing the Tu-Thu 30-minute swims.  Monday seems like it needs something, and having to swim after a bike or run always gives me leg and foot cramps.  I will consider it.  Sixty minutes is a long time to be bored to death swimming back and forth in the pool.  Swimming sucks.

My Sunday long run ended the week with a nice conversation with a couple other runners I met along the way.  Mary and her husband Chris were both wearing Ironman visors as was I and we quickly started talking about Ironman and what races we were doing and what we thought was going to happen.  I was surprised she knew of my son and it was a nice change to have someone to run at my pace and talk with.  Super nice people.  We ran for about 2-3 miles together and then went our separate ways.

One last thought that I have been thinking about this week is my commitment to training for Ironman Louisville in October as I have been doing this past thirteen weeks and what will I do if it gets canceled.  I have said since the Covid-19 thing started that I will train like it is going to happen, and that hasn’t changed.  Ironman has not yet been told by the City of Louisville to cancel the race.  However, I drew a line in the sand this week.  If the race does get canceled before the midway point of Week 15, then I will stop following the plan for Ironman and just spend my week swimming, biking, and running as I see fit.  I will probably shift my focus to more long-distance running and restart my training for the elimination ultra-marathon that got moved from April to October.  However, if the race is still on after I pass Week 15, I will continue to train for it.  If the event then does get canceled for 2020 before race day, then I will try to do it on my own at home or up at the lake house in Minocqua sometime around Week 27 or 28 in the training plan.  I would hate to see twenty or more weeks of training be for nothing, so that is the plan.  Maybe I can talk my Gunner buddies into doing it with me.  The Gunner Ironman!  I’ve already got the t-shirt theme for it:

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TOTALS FOR WEEK 13:

  • Swim:  2 / 3000 yards
  • Bike:  5 rides  /  90 miles
  • Run:  6 runs  /  29 miles
Gunners-2-1
The Gunners will get it done!

 

 

 

 

Reliving Previous Week 10’s

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 10 – May 18 > May 24, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART X

As I wrap up this tenth week of a 30-week training plan, I was thinking about what was I feeling in my previous four Ironman training Week 10’s.  So I thought it might be interesting to look back at what I wrote about in those weeks.

2013 Ironman Wisconsin Training Week 10 – I was blogging my journey for my first Ironman on a triathlon blogging site that is no longer around, but my son Ben was able to recapture those posts.  It looks like I was actually looking forward to the next third of the training plan.  Hmm… imagine that.  I would never look forward to what was coming now!  Since I can’t share a link to the post, I will copy it below:

  • WEEK 10 – April 22, 2013Week 10 is in the books!  I can’t believe I am 1/3 done with the training.  Week 10 ends the Base Phase of the training program and now I am heading into the dreaded Build Phase!  The next 10 weeks looks challenging, with an extra swim added per week, along with some intervals added to the bike and run training.  I look forward to getting out of Heart Rate Zone 1 and 2 and into zones 3 & 4.  
  • This week took a hit, with heavy rain flooding many parts of the Chicagoland area.  We were spared here in Mokena for the most part, but getting outside was not in my plans.  As a matter of fact, even the Will County Forest Preserve District closed the two local preserves because of flooding, and those are my running and now cycling haunts.  But I did well inside, missing only my Sunday long run due to my daughter’s confirmation and party.  Sacrifices are a two-way street.
  • My butt is continually sore and uncomfortable in the saddle on long rides.  My Saturday 3 hour ride took that to a new level of soreness, and I am wondering if a better saddle may alleviate some of my issues.  I also think I just need to ride more.  I’ll get there.  
  • The swim this week wasn’t the best.  Tuesday’s swim was after a run, which caused me to cramp up in my lower legs and feet.  I just couldn’t swap them that day.  It is readily apparent to me why the swim is the first event.
  • I joined a Facebook group for the 2013 Wisconsin Ironman.  Good group of people and they have shared tons of valuable information.  I’ve been quietly respectful of them, but I will come out of my shell soon and interact with them more.  They are having tons of fun.  
  • WEEK 10 TOTALS:
  • SWIM – 4400 yards, 2 swims
  • BIKE – 77 miles, 3 rides 
  • RUN – 17.5 miles, 3 runs (skipped a long run again this week due to family responsibilities)

2016 Ironman Lake Placid Training Week 10 –  Another upbeat post in 2016 for Ironman Lake Placid.  There was a three-year gap between Wisconsin and Lake Placid, so it seemed like it was still kind of new to me.  Since this race is a mid-summer race, it seemed to be much colder than my other Week 10’s.  The best part of this week was the 3-hour ride with fellow Gunner John.

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John and I seemed like we were enjoying ourselves on a cold April 3-hour ride.  Probably not.

Read the actual post here:  2016 IMLP Training – WEEK 10

2017 Ironman Louisville Training Week 10 – Since I am training for Louisville again this year it isn’t a surprise Week 10 falls on Memorial Day weekend again.  It seems like I did a lot of assessing myself in 2017.  I see that I was starting to realize that all of that crazy swim training wasn’t worth it and I was happy to just do enough.  It worked well for me then as I ended up setting a swim personal best in the race.  Here is the post:  Memorial Day Reminders

2019 Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 10 – It seemed by this point I was doing more writing about the week’s experiences than what the ten weeks meant.  It looks like I hadn’t done any swimming yet, which is not surprising.  I learned a lot in 2017.  The post was about getting the crap scared out of me apparently:  Week 10 Wrap Up: Fear… Parts I & II

2020 Ironman Louisville Training Week 10 – Half of this week was split between home and the lake home in northern Wisconsin.  Glad to get away from the self-isolation and quarantining in Illinois to the beauty of the Northwoods, where apparently the State of Wisconsin doesn’t care if you go about your regular routine.

So here I am again, wrapping up another ten weeks of training and glad to be done with it.  As usual, I am hoping for better weather, for my butt to get acclimated to the seat soon, and for the coronavirus to not kill me or my race.  I’ll keep training like the race is on until it isn’t.

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TOTALS FOR WEEK 10:

  • Swim:  0 / 0 yards
  • Bike:  3 rides  /  75 miles
  • Run:  5 runs  /  34 miles
Gunners-2-1
One-third done!  Hey Carl!

Runners Are Bad! Dogs are Good!

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 6 – APRIL 20 > APRIL 26, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART VI

Keeping in step with my new motto from last week, I gave myself a day to think about what to write today.  My personal desire was to have a somewhat angry counterpoint to a few articles in the Chicago Tribune this past week or two shaming runners for their behavior during the coronavirus outbreak.  (If you want to read them, I posted some links at the bottom of this post.)  But I have decided to address them and then move on.

In essence, the beef with runners is that we are not following the social distancing rules in the minds of those that have swarmed to the places we run to take up space where we had plenty of room to exercise before.  When the stay-at-home mandate took effect, we were told that we could go outside and exercise but only if we maintained social distancing.  So what did non-exercisers do?  They came in droves to the trails with their families and pets.  The almost immediate effect of all those people now joining the regulars on the bike and running paths resulted in the complete shutdown of some of those places.  Thanks to the non-regulars, we regular users of the paths were forced off.

I read another article about rats starting to move away from their normal hangouts behind restaurants and groceries where dumpsters normally overflow with tossed food scraps in search of food that is no longer being tossed.  Funny how animal behavior changes when they are fighting to survive.  And just like the rats, runners had to find other places to run since the non-runners ruined our ability to exercise away from the busy streets and sidewalks.  And now they don’t like us anywhere.

When did we runners become villains?  For the most part, we are some of the most healthy people on the planet.  We run for charities, raising millions of dollars for worthy causes.  We support new runners attempting to reach their running goals.  Many of the running and cycling clothing companies have switched their focus to making masks for healthcare workers and frontline personnel.  Some runners and cyclists even do their activity as a way to commute to and from work, helping reduce the impact of driving on the environment.  For the most part, we are good, upstanding citizens.

Maybe it’s envy.  I get that from time to time.  Because I enjoy running or biking mile after mile and they don’t, they want to make sure that they think it is a dumb endeavor.  “That’s crazy.”  “I wouldn’t even want to drive that far.”  “What’s wrong with you?”  “Run, Forrest, run!”  (That’s a put-down, not a cheer most of the time.)

Who knows really why there’s a division being drawn?  I certainly don’t know.  I think people just like to bitch about stuff.  What I do know is that I’m not going to let some non-regulars keep me from doing my activity.

Anyway…  here’s a picture of our new family dog!  He’s a good boy!  And he takes my mind off of the stuff that gets me riled.

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He likes sticks.  And leaves.  And fingers.  And rocks.  And anything that moves.

TOTALS FOR WEEK 6:

  • Swim:  0 / 0 yards
  • Bike:  4 rides  /  70.2 miles
  • Run:  4 runs  /  22 miles

Here’s the links to the articles.  What are your thoughts?

Gunners-2-1
Are we having fun yet?

 

Give It A Day

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 5 – APRIL 13 > APRIL 19, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART V

While on my 27-mile bike ride on the local bike trail Saturday I had constructed a profanity-laced diatribe for this post about the idiots out on the trail, complete with f-bombs and venting that would make a sailor blush.  Although the windy day was the main reason I opted to ride the trail, I usually avoid it.  Too many people not being considerate to others by not following the simplest trail usage rules is what really gets me ticked off.  And now that the self-isolating, stir crazy, cabin fever locals have decided to head to the trail it’s become overrun with people who just can’t seem to think about anyone but themselves.  Then I gave it a day and now I’m writing a completely different weekly wrap-up than what I had planned.

I have found that when I get upset about something if I just give it a day’s rest, I often feel less angry and more forgiving.  I’ve also read that those who have been wronged in some way or another, being forgiving often leads to feeling relieved.  So one day after feeling like I wanted to run over people for walking on the wrong side of the trail, and punching pet owners letting their dogs roam free while holding their leash in their hands, I chose to let it go.  And I feel better about it.

I have a local runner friend who developed a running-related injury and from his Facebook post, you could tell it was something that he was upset about.  So far this year, the work he had been doing as an ambassador for the Illinois Marathon had been for naught, as the race has been canceled thanks to the viral pandemic.  He was also planning on running the race, too.  And now one of his coping mechanisms was letting him down.  Give it a day, my friend.  Maybe give it a week or month if you have to.  But in time you will be back to running, and your marathon will return too.

This week was a wild one.  We had two accumulating snow events this mid-April.  A day after each one the snow was gone.  The week ended with a beautiful 60-degree sunny day.  Give it a day and things get better.

Lots of changes have been occurring to our lifestyles in 2020, and sometimes I think we just need to give it a day.  And maybe another day.  Or a week.  In some cases a month.  But we will return to normal.

I might make “give it a day” my new motto.

TOTALS FOR WEEK 5:

  • Swim:  0 / 0 yards
  • Bike:  3 rides  /  48 miles
  • Run:  4 runs  /  21 miles
Gunners-2-1
5 weeks down – 25 to go