Triathletes joke around about how everything gets neglected when training for an Ironman and typically cutting grass is one of the first things to get behind on. Fortunately for me, I have plenty of time to cut the grass, take care of the pool, and the other stuff that I am usually responsible for. However, I volunteered to chaperone at band camp this week like I have done the past several years and that takes three hours out of my afternoon to do things like the above. But band camp is two weeks long, and it is worth my time to watch my daughter and her group practice their way into another awesome award-winning field show. Certainly looking forward to chaperoning again this next week. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with chores on Sunday.
With the chaperoning duties to do, I did a little shuffling around with the plan to get things done.
I did my Tuesday swim on my Monday rest day. On Tuesday I got my run in on a very nice day. Wednesday was the typical bike/run brick workout that went just fine. Back to cycling on Thursday, but I pushed the swim until Friday. On Friday, I did a brief two-mile shakeout jog and then did the swim before heading to band camp. I didn’t want to overdo it because I was racing a sprint triathlon on Saturday.
Saturday was race day, and I did very well! I nabbed 2nd place in my age group and was 17th overall. You can read about it here:
After the race, my training buddies Dave and Jeff rode to Manteno to meet me after the race and then we did a group ride back home together. So cool that they came out to ride with me when they could have just ridden on their own. Although I didn’t quite get in the mileage or riding time that the plan called for, I was happy with what I accomplished.
Sunday was a long run that ended up being about 11.5 miles. I felt good on that rather warm and humid run. I got a surprise when I saw Dave’s son Alex running at me and calling my name, with Dave not too far behind. Heck, if I knew that they were still in town I would have joined them!
After that run I jumped in the pool, rehydrated, and then started catching up on my chores. First was mowing the grass, and then I did some more power washing the sidewalk that I didn’t get to a couple of weeks ago.
There’s time for training, family, and chores when training for Ironman. You just have to be resourceful.
A few weeks ago I started getting compliments on my tan. I never really notice getting tan because it’s a gradual progression for me, but others who are less tan than I seem to notice it quite easily, and are sometimes envious and will point it out. I guess getting sun exposure and developing a tan is easier for a runner or triathlete, as we are outside doing our thing a lot. But there are some downsides to getting tan. First, the danger of exposing yourself to the harmful UV rays is pretty evident. If I am heading out on a sunny day, I will always spray myself with SPF 50 or cover myself well. Even so, I will still start developing a good tan. The other downside is triathletes can develop some really strange tan lines. I generally wear mid-length socks that will protect my lower leg from the sun. Also, tri suits cover your thighs which leaves just a small portion of your leg exposed for tanning. That’s a weird look. Wearing a hat also adds to that weird tan line on your forehead, like pro golfers get.
It’s not like I seek out sunny days to exercise – I take whatever day I get and prepare for it. But when it is sunny, I make sure that I place more emphasis on protecting myself from the sun than getting that envious tan.
Riding with my teammates and buddies is always better than going alone. Last week Dave was in town but I wasn’t, so we couldn’t do the Saturday ride together. But Dave ended up making a return trip to visit this weekend, and he coaxed Jeff to come down from the city and do our 3.5-hour ride, 1/2 hour run Saturday workout together. The weather turned out great for us, except for that pesky wind that always seems to be in our faces in the second half of the ride.
We turned around a little before making it halfway out from home because we thought we were going to need to fight the wind back home. But we ended up having about 15 extra minutes we needed to ride, so we took a trip through a local neighborhood called Prestwick, a neighborhood where STYX lead singer Dennis DeYoung used to live back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We also saw an old neighbor Bill Goldschmidt out riding. He was a dad who lived on the street that Dave lived on and I virtually lived on and a long time rider. He was very excited to see us on the trail and we had a short but nice conversation with him.
We finished the ride and then headed out on a fairly easy paced 3.5-mile run that took us more than the 30 minutes the plan called for. They let me hear it for making them run longer than what the plan called for. Whatever, it’s good for you.
After a quick splash in the pool, some great conversation, and a nice lunch, we all headed back to our busy weekends.
On Sunday, I once again drove myself to Batavia, IL to race the ET Batavia triathlon and did quite well for myself. I ended up 27th overall and 1st in the Male 55-59 age group. I was very happy with that result. You can read my race report here: 2019 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report
Week 14 Training Totals:
Swims: 3 total / 4600 yards > Rides: 5 total / 102 miles > Runs: 5 total / 25 miles
Jeff is a Gunner. I already knew that, but Saturday’s ride reminded me that any one of my Gunner teammates can turn on the gunning when they are in their element.
Jeff and Jill had planned a graduation party for their daughter Emma, and since it made sense that we would be coming to their downtown condo for the party, that we should get together for the Saturday long bike ride and short run brick. And I immediately tried to think of someway to get out of it.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited about riding along the lakeshore in Chicago. I’ve seen the trail and it’s users, so to me it is like the wild west down there. All sorts of walkers, skate boarders, roller bladers, hand holders, runners, swimmers carrying their wet suits to Oak Street beach, volley ballers at the beach, and of course Lance wannabes. And in addition to that, I just generally hate driving downtown, not knowing where I am going, thinking that I’ll get mugged, or nowadays shot. But my wife drives down there everyday for work, Jeff and Jill live right in the heart of everything good in downtown, and since Dave had already committed to it, I decided what the hell. So I packed up my bike and junk, got up a 5 am and drove into the city.
We met up and Jeff reminded us that since there was a rather large 1/2 marathon on Sunday downtown and a related 5K Saturday morning, that we should get going and try to head north on the path and hopefully miss the runners. So we started our Garmins, clipped into our pedals and hit the mean streets of Chicago to the lake front trail.
When we got there I was amazed at how busy it was. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but man, there were tons of runners and riders out at 7 am. Jeff led us north right into the craziness. There were large groups of runners, presumably running together doing marathon training, that were taking up most of the trail. You had to wait your turn to go around the traffic and hope that others would share the trail. It was very chaotic, but in a way it was very organized chaos. The runners all expected to get passed by cyclists and didn’t freak out about it. Other cyclists knew to give an oncoming rider a little extra room on his side of the trail. And after a few miles of being indoctrinated to this chaos, it started to become easier.
We made a pass north and turned around. An hour back into the return trip, we had expected that the 5K had already passed, but that wasn’t the case. So we turned around and made another loop north. Now, I wasn’t so excited about this, but it was certainly better than trying to fight through the race. The trip back north was actually much less of an adventure. Most of the large groups had finished up, and it was just your usual and standard crazy trail users. This is the moment that Jeff decided to attack.
Since I was riding in the middle with Dave riding right behind me acting as my sweeper, I knew that Jeff wouldn’t get too far ahead, but he certainly was in his element. Dave and I were still riding with our heads on a swivel, and Jeff was like Keanu in the movie Speed.
But it dawned on me that when I hosted a ride a few weeks ago, I led the entire way even though both of those guys are stronger riders. And when we rode out by Dave, he led us out on his route. Dave told me when we rode on my route that he would drop back through the twisty nature preserve that I like to canyon carve the hell out of. He just wasn’t as familiar with all the fast turns as I was. And the same thing was going on with Jeff. He was just good at riding in his element.
We made the turn around and headed back into the downtown area and found the path to be open. We sped ahead to the south, passing such iconic landmarks like the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum. As we continued to ride, not only did it become less crowded, it also became very scenic. The south portion of the trail through Burnham Park and down through the South Shore was quite an enjoyable ride. We made the turn around and headed back to the city, hammering away and really enjoying the miles and letting the time fly by. In reality, the 3.5 hours on the bike seemed like two. And I was somewhat surprised that it was over so quickly.
As we finished, I jokingly praised the gods above for allowing me to survive the ride. But really the thanks should go to Jeff for guiding us on such a memorable ride. This thirty weeks of Ironman training isn’t all about doing work to finish the race, it is also for enjoying good friends and making great memories.
I won’t hesitate to accept an offer to ride there again. Thanks for inviting us, Jeff!
The Other Notable Ride of the Week
I had another notable ride on Thursday night. I was riding the scheduled 75 minute ride when I blew out my rear tire after riding through what I thought was some innocuous gravel debris. I was mulling over my options, as I was about 10 miles from home, and I didn’t have my cellphone with me. So I decided to jog about a 1/4 mile back to a parking lot where I could have some room and be a little safer repairing my tire than along the trail. Upon examining my tire, I could see that it was blown out on the sidewall, which really surprised me. I had a spare tube, but I knew that a hole in the sidewall of my tire was not going to be good.
I had some small tube patches and placed one over the hole and installed and inflated the new tube. After using one CO2 cartridge, I could see the tube had pushed the patch out through the slit in the tire by about 1/4 inch. I decided that I would have to take it very gently riding back.
Since I have a running streak and that I hadn’t ran yet, I decided to finish off the mile and off I ran at about a 9 min/mile pace in my cycling shoes. After the mile was over, I saddled up and rode easily toward home. I was about two miles into that easy ride when I heard the tube let go. Fortunately for me, I was near my office. So I jogged another half mile and I was able to get inside and call my wife to come pick me up. Quite an experience. Glad I had the lesson in repairing a tube, and using a CO2 cartridge, which I had never done before. I should have used something a little more sturdy to cover the hole prior to inflation, like a business card or a dollar bill that I had in my tool kit. It might of made a difference in keeping the tube from inflating through the sidewall.
Quite a memorable week for riding.
2 Swims – 4300 yards this week / 52550 yards total