I was giving some thought to how I was training for the race this time around and how I was approaching it. This being my fifth time using the Be Iron Fit training plan I follow, I have followed it a little differently each time. The first time around I followed it to a “T,” doing the prescribed workouts almost exactly as written. Same with the second time three years later, although I started doing less of the written swim workouts and more straight swimming instead. By the third time using the plan, I had it dialed in. I had learned what was working for me and what wasn’t. I was also now starting to tailor the plan for the course I was going to race. Since Ironman Louisville was an easy swim and run I chose to spend a little more effort on the bike. The last time I followed the plan I was now doing the bare minimum for the swim training that I felt would be sufficient and was pushing myself a little more on the “easy” running and biking days.
Since I had previously done Ironman Chattanooga in 2019 I felt pretty confident knowing what I needed to do to be successful at the race this time around – work on the run portion. The run is uphill both ways at Chattanooga.
This winter I had built up a pretty solid run base and when the plan kicked in I didn’t feel like dialing it back. So I figured I would just run whatever pace I felt like doing, sometimes going hard when I wasn’t supposed to, and sometimes just putting in the easy miles. I was doing just that this week, an easy paced 75-minute run on Friday when my right calf just decided to not like running anymore.
About 3 miles into the run I was hobbling. I stopped and stretched it out and that didn’t make it any better. This wasn’t cramp, but more like a muscle strain. I walked a little bit and although it wasn’t feeling great, I could keep moving forward. So I walked for about 10 minutes and decided that I needed to find the most direct route back home. That’s smart thinking, right there.
Not long after that, I began jogging again, and although I was favoring the leg, I was doing okay. I ran up a busy road and wound through a subdivision until I got back to the trail. It was then I decided to be really dumb and run a little more to not cut the workout short. Not so smart thinking, right there.
I made it home and showered up okay, but after that, my leg was really sore. I iced it and massaged it for a while, added some linament creme to it, and then sat and elevated it for the rest of the day.
I was concerned that my ride on Saturday might be difficult, but the ride didn’t bother the leg at all. On Sunday, I opted to walk the 75-minutes instead of running it, and then did another ride with the local group in the afternoon and felt fine. What seemed like an injury that came out of nowhere and would need some serious rest, it looks like I just had some weird pain that hopefully won’t manifest itself into something that would keep me from running for a while.
So I guess my weird leg pain might not be anything serious. But I will be following the plan a little bit closer from here on.
I am fortunate to have supportive family and friends who take an interest in my pursuit of my Ironman goals, but I have one friend in particular that I call my Number 1 Fan – Carl. Carl is the one friend that takes the passing interest to a much higher level. He not only wants to know what workout I did but needs to know the details as well. I’m glad to accommodate him as it allows me to brag about myself for a few minutes, except most of the time I can’t remember.
Carl: What did you do yesterday, Ironman?
Me: umm… a bike ride? Yeah, a bike ride.
Carl: How far did you go?
Me: umm… I rode for an hour.
Carl: How far is that?
Me: umm… let me look it up.
I don’t mind providing the details, but it’s interesting to me that once I get the workout done I kind of move on from it. It’s not that I don’t want to remember what I did as I train, but during a 30-week build to a race, it just all blends together somewhat. I certainly make an effort to document it. The workouts all get recorded by my Garmin watch and phone app. And I write a summary each week so that I can look back and spark my memory of the journey I am on. But sometimes it’s just a workout, nothing more and nothing less.
I am working on writing a post about all the races I have participated in since I started running in the 1980s. It’s taking me a while to go through my handwritten running log and find the entries. I am finding with that trip through the past that I can recall details about some of the long-ago races pretty clearly. It must be something about racing that makes you remember, something that creates a stored memory. I can also remember certain runs when something out of the ordinary happens, like a fall, or getting chased by a dog, getting caught in a storm, etc. But when the workout is spinning on a stationary bike for 60 minutes and thumbing through Facebook while doing it for the 200th time, it just simply becomes part of the day without creating anything special about it. Maybe that will have a cumulative effect in that I will remember doing those workouts as a whole rather than the details that went into them.
I can remember many of the details of running on the Green Bay Trail in the 1990s: where I began and ended my runs, the street crossings, the portion through Ravinia. But if I looked at my log and saw that I ran 8 miles in 60 minutes that day, I will have to take my word for it. I don’t remember it.
I have logged many miles on the Old Plank Trail, so many in fact that I sometimes say that I know every little dip, bump, and distinctive trait of the trail. I know which houses have a dog that barks at me. I know when to move to the left to avoid the divot in the trail as I head north up the path and over the bridge. Those memories are solid, and I rely on them quite a bit. But I guess our brains can’t store every single detail about each workout. I mean, how much of the mundane can you remember? Do you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Probably not. Do you remember your 21st birthday? More than likely, because turning 21 is a memorable milestone. But do you remember your 22nd birthday? I don’t.
Am I supposed to make each run, bike or swim a memorable one? I’m not sure if that is even possible. Frankly, I think trying to concentrate and remember every detail would most likely wear me out mentally. But I am glad to have pretty clear memories of those workouts that do have something memorable happen.
I guess that I am lucky to have my Number 1 Fan pry those little details from me. Maybe I will remember more of them thanks to Carl. But I can promise you this – although I may not remember every little detail a day, a week or a years later, I will always remember my Number 1 Fan asking me about my workouts. Thanks, Carl.
Last week I talked about needing some motivation to get through some biking and running workouts. This week I had the motivation, but when it came to doing the Saturday long ride what I lacked was the desire.
My family had planned a trip to Nashville for the Easter weekend to visit our freshman daughter Rebecca, who attends Vanderbilt University, and some family who lives in the area. I have always been of the mindset that if you are going to miss some workouts, it’s probably best to at least try to get the long weekend training stuff done. At this stage of training, a long ride isn’t all that long; the plan called for an hour and 45-minutes. So I moved the ride to Thursday and April Fool’s played an unappreciated trick on me – it was cold. When I got home midday my car was telling me it was 32°F. The wind wasn’t too bad, and I had the motivation to do the ride, now I lacked the desire!
After taking the dog for a quick walk, I decided to toughen up and act like an Ironman and just go do it. I put on some extra layers and wore a set of gloves under a pair of large mittens and got my bike ready to roll. While in the garage I decided to put on a couple of plastic newspaper bags over my socks before putting on my cycling shoes. I’m glad I did because my very cold ride last week ended with some very numb toes.
As I headed south I realized that this ride was not going to be fun. My rides always head south and return because where I live it is urban to the immediate north and rural to the immediate south. I count my blessings with that. The wind was pushing me along and I was easily riding in the upper teens and 20 mph speeds. I got to the point where I could choose to head either east or west and I chose east because I thought I would take advantage of the heavily wooded trail to head home on and keep the wind from being too much of a burden.
As soon as I turned to head back north I could feel that this ride was going to be a struggle. I stopped at a spot where I will sometimes take a nature break and ate a gel. I was sweating and starting to feel the cold, and knowing when I got back on the bike I would be suffering even more.
I started to ride again and my eyes were watering and I was getting a headache from the cold wind blowing on my wet head. I crossed Monee/Manhattan Road and started looking for something I could use to help me out, and there was an empty plastic shopping bag stuck to some brush just blowing in the wind. I got off my bike and looked it over to make sure it wasn’t dirty and then I took off my helmet and cap and put the bag on my head and covered it back up. I hopped on the bike and within a hundred feet or so I saw a popped mylar ballon laying in the ditch. I stopped and inspected that and then shoved that under my cycling jersey. As I started riding again it was almost like instant relief. My headache went away and I started getting comfortable riding in the wind again.
The ride took me almost two hours, but it could have been much longer and much more miserable. And in the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment, overcoming the lack of desire to ride on a cold day and being resourceful enough to not having to cash in my chips and call for my kid to come get me.
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!
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.
Side view uh oh…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.