Ironman Louisville 2020 Week 1!

 

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

Unknown.png

WEEK 1 – MARCH 16 > 22, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC

Training for Ironman #5 has begun!  But not without some concern.  Usually, my concerns are about some nagging injury that is giving me doubt about completing my workouts, or some forgotten conflict that may pop up and cause me to miss something important, or some other dumb thing on my mind.  But I never thought that a global pandemic might derail not only my training but the race itself.

When my buddies and I committed to doing Louisville again back in January, I had no idea that I would be sitting around inside my house with the government telling me to stay home and not go anywhere other than essential travel, i.e. to work, to get groceries, etc.  But here we are.  When the race dominoes started falling, races like the Boston Marathon and others, I knew that this might be a little more of a worry than what we were telling ourselves.  Pools are now closed.  Gyms are now closed.  Running trails are open, but the toilets are locked!  (Maybe that’s only a problem for me.)  Getting the workouts in maybe a little difficult for some, but Ironman triathletes are a hardy bunch.  Heck, if we can get through an actual Ironman race, we can get around these training obstacles.

My plan for this Ironman is to once again follow Don Fink’s “Be Iron Fit” competitive training plan for the next 30 weeks.  It has served me well in my past four races and I have tweaked it over time to fit my abilities and needs.  I don’t follow the swim plans like I did the first two times I used it.  The past two races went well with just two 45-minute swims per week with a handful of longer open water swims thrown in.  I won’t be able to swim for a while, as it hasn’t warmed up enough for me to open my own pool.  I suspect I will start swimming in late May.

It is on the cusp of being nice enough to bike outside, but if the weather prevents that I have both a trainer at home or a spin bike at work that I can use if necessary.

I’m in pretty good shape for running this time around.  I had been training for an ultramarathon that was to take place on April 3rd but it fell victim to the pandemic and got postponed.  My goal for this year’s race is to try to go sub-4 hours on the run.  In 2017 my run split was 4:05 at Louisville, so I think that it is reachable.  I just got to learn to stay out of the porta-potties on the run course, which always rob me of time.  If they are locked on race day it might not be an issue!

My ultramarathon got postponed until 12 days after Ironman Louisville, so I hope to use the 30-weeks of training to prepare me for that event as well.

So here’s to a safe 30-weeks of training, and I hope my buddies and I and everyone else training for Ironman Louisville stays healthy.

IMG_9507.jpg
THE GUNNERS ARE BACK!

TOTALS FOR WEEK 1:  

Swim:  0 / 0 yards

Bike:  3 rides / 31.5 miles

Run:  5 runs / 18 miles

Gunners-2-1
Louisville 2020 – Here come the GUNNERS!

 

Ironman Number Five Here I Come!

IM Lou Logo.png

It appears that the “one and done” thing is not part of my thinking when it comes to Ironman triathlon.  When I started my path toward my first Ironman I really had no idea what to expect.  Would the training be hard?  Would I drown?  Would I have to crawl at any point during the run? Would I be able to finish the race under the 17-hour time limit?  Don’t laugh, those were legitimate questions in my head.

But I took the training one day at a time, and it was manageable.  I took the time to learn to swim, practiced it and built confidence in the pool and in the open water.  The crawling thing?  I watched athletes like Julie Moss, Sian Welch, and Wendy Ingraham on TV crawl across the finish line in Hawaii and wondered how anyone could put their body through such an effort, let alone myself.  But I didn’t have to crawl or even shuffle.  And I finished well under the cutoff, far exceeding my time goals and become a newly minted Ironman.

0467_42659_2
2013 – Ironman Wisconsin

Three years passed and my group of buddies and myself signed up for Ironman number two, Ironman Lake Placid 2016.  I got better, faster and more confident.  It may have taken us three years to do it again, but we proved that this wasn’t a “one and done” thing.

153_3rd-103943-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1320_063652-2542796
2016 – Ironman Lake Placid

We didn’t waste time signing up for another.  For our third race, we headed south to Louisville, Kentucky the following year.  With a decent day for racing, I put in my best effort and went sub-12 hours for the first time.

29_3rd-2330589-CERT_US-1960_044545-12498413
2017 – Ironman Louisville

And last year we regrouped and headed further south to Chattanooga, Tennessee to swim, bike and run in what would be one of the hottest days I have ever raced in.

342_3rd-2595041-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-3102_115098-33893075
2019 – Ironman Chattanooga

So signing up for a fifth race really wasn’t much of an effort at all.  We’ve decided to head back to Louisville in 2020.  It really is a great race location.  The swim is fast, the bike pretty scenic and challenging, and the run is still predicted to be pretty flat and fast even after changing the course from when we last did it in 2017.  The finish line is one of the loudest and best in all of Ironman.  I have heard some rumors that this might be the last year for Louisville, so that was just another incentive to do it one more time.  It’s going to be fun!  Training begins in March, so here’s to a safe and memorable 30-weeks of training.

But the real reason I keep doing it is because of the people below.  They make the journey worthwhile.

 

img_3326
The pre-GUNNERS at Wisconsin.
IMG_5746
The GUNNERS at Lake Placid.
IMG_9641
The GUNNERS take on Louisville.
IMG_8728
The GUNNERS at Chattanooga.

 

I’ve grown to love the training and experiencing the events with my buddies.  That’s where the special memories get made.  Without them, maybe I would have been “one and done.”

 

Gunners-2-1
2020 Ironman Louisville – HERE COME THE GUNNERS!

 

The Highs and Lows of Week 23

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 23 – August 21 > August 27

It seemed like this week was a little bit of a hilly ride, with ups and downs aplenty.  So I thought I would recap the happenings.

Monday 

HIGHS:  Rest day, baby!  Eclipse day!  LOWS:  I ran 3 miles on my off day.  Bummer.

IMG_6659
Me trying to figure out whether I wanted to permanently ruin my vision or not.  

Tuesday

HIGHS:  A swim and a 8.5 mile run.  LOWS:  None that I can remember.  Except maybe the swim.  Yeah, I hate swimming.

Wednesday

HIGHS:  My favorite workout of the week – the short bike/run brick.  LOWS:  The wife isn’t feeling well.

Thursday

HIGHS:  The weather this week has been GREAT!!!  LOWS:  Thursday workouts are the worst – a swim, a bike, a run.  Makes for a long afternoon.

Friday

HIGHS:  My mother-in-law Darla hit 70!  Happy Birthday!  And I got to greet my friend Rollie on the bike trail.  LOWS:  Missed the first home football game in which my daughter’s full competitive band performed.

Saturday

HIGHS:  Absolutely none.  Well, that’s not true.  I got to see the competitive marching band do their thing in exhibition after a 88 mile bike/run day.  The ride went well in spite of the fact I wanted to kill people on the bike trail and clueless drivers on the road.  LOWS:  Idiots on the bike trail.  Clueless drivers on the road.  And I got pretty sick about training on that long ride.  I got to the point where I just wanted it to be over.  Happens every year.

IMG_6691
My face after stopping to read my Gunner teammate John’s text about poker at his house that night.  There was no way I could swing it.  I still had another 2+ hours of riding and running ahead of me.  Plus a marching band event later.  

Sunday

HIGHS:  I beat the rain (which looked like trouble, but never did rain) and got in a strong 13.25 mile run and a 45 minute spin.  And I got a second chance to greet my friend Rollie on the bike trail!  LOWS:  Not being able to join my buddies in Chicago for the Chicago Triathlon.  Next year for sure.

So, in all it was a roller coaster ride of emotion throughout training this week.  I was ready to say I was done with it.  But by the end of Sunday’s long run and bike, I realized that I had performed pretty well.  A good recovery from last week.  I’m pretty lucky that I can do this activity.  I don’t take that for granted.

 

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 4200 yards this week / 79150 yards total

4 Bikes – 135 miles this week / 9819 miles total

7 Runs – 45 miles this week / 725 miles total

 

img_6403

Swapping Weeks and Gauging My Readiness

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 18 – July 17 > July 23

A couple of twists to this week of training.  First, I looked at the training for Week 18 and saw that it was to be somewhat of an easy week ending in an Olympic distance triathlon.  Usually I just do the Oly distances of the swim/bike/run at home on the weekend and skip the racing, as racing can sometimes pose the risk of injury (i.e. bike crash, drowning, etc.) that you can avoid by just doing the day at home.  But I had my eye on a local sprint distance race in the area which occurs next weekend, and I wanted to give it a try.  So I swapped Week 18 with Week 19.  Hopefully I won’t gun it too hard next weekend.

The second aspect of this week occurred to me on my long bike ride on Saturday, as most of my thinking and the ideas for this weekly wrap up happen.  The family and I decided to head to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to our lake home to enjoy the weekend, as school activities are starting to heat up and it may be a while before we get a chance to get up there again.

As I was riding I began to assess where I was fitness-wise, and started to think about creating a race day strategy for Ironman Louisville.  I was feeling pretty good on the ride and I hoped to translate that into a harder effort for the race itself.  The ride was a 4 hour scheduled out and back, and I had hit 30 miles when I turned around.  I was riding my hybrid bike and riding on a crushed granite trail, but I was still pretty pleased with my effort to that point.

 

IMG_6582
Even the streets were telling me something.  

 

I turned around to head for home and found that my Camelback was getting low on water.  I had seen a building off of a local road and decided to see if I could find some water.  No one was around, but I did find a spigot with a hose attached to it.  Just as I was getting ready to fill it, a truck pulls up and inquires as to what I was doing.  Fortunately the guy was pretty cool, and didn’t mind that I filled up.

Then about 3 hours into the ride I started to bonk a little bit.  I had plenty of nutrition and I was eating it up, but for some reason I was just not quite as energetic as usual.  I made it home in 4 hours and 10 minutes, so the trip back took me a little longer than going out did.  I was almost ready to skip the post-ride brick run, but I decided to down a couple glasses of sugary tea/lemonade drink and at least get my mile in for the day (thanks, stupid running streak).  But as I headed out, my legs came back and I put in a solid 3.5 miles in 30 minutes.  It should have been a 45 minute run, but I knew Kari was worried about me, and I didn’t want to push my luck.  The rest of the afternoon I could tell that I was drained.

One thing I can learn from this ride was that I’m not ready to be thinking about gunning for a personal best at 140.6 miles.  The other thing is I’m glad I knew when I had had enough for the day.

Lastly, the Sunday run went really well, as did the rest of the week of training.  Very glad that I got up north and had an adventure to mix things up.  Next week will be much easier volume-wise, and I will have to balance training with being a volunteer chaperone at band camp.  Looking forward to an easier week and a race on the weekend.

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 4200 yards this week / 56750 yards total

3 Bikes – 95 miles this week / 9393 miles total

7 Runs – 36 miles this week / 535 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Old Road, indeed.