Focusing on the “A” Race


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:  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.


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

Week 6 – 1/5 of the way there!

Balancing Life While Training


WEEK 5 – April 17 > April 23

As I wrap up Week 5 I feel a sense of accomplishment, mainly because it was the first time in a few weeks that I got all of the scheduled work outs in.  But in addition to doing all the training, life really hit hard this week with it’s own agenda and responsibilities.

We are now fully into spring and my yard has made it clear that it needs mowing.  My in-laws were in Florida, and I made sure to give their yard a trim as well before they return home this weekend.  My youngest is wrapping up a very busy freshman year of high school, and is so involved that she’s got me running her everywhere.  In addition to that, she also has her learner’s permit, which means I need to find time to help her learn that life skill as well.  Soon I will open my own pool, which will require it’s own set of special weekly needs.  I had to go get my boat out of storage Saturday.  Lastly, I made sure that I didn’t drop the ball when it comes to getting some thoughtful gifts for my wife’s birthday on Saturday.  What a week!

But fortunately for me, I am very lucky to have a supporting family and wife that allows me the time I need to train.  On her birthday, she had no problem with me cycling for an hour and forty-five minutes.  And I am very lucky to work a part-time job that gives me the freedom in the afternoon to do my thing.  I do not take any of that for granted.

Training for Ironman is a commitment in and of itself, but when you realize you have other responsibilities as well, then you really become dedicated and focused.  Learning to balance all of those things can be difficult, but seeing this is my third time training for Ironman, I have grown to adapt and really feel that I have got things in control and can tackle anything, especially 140.6 miles.

As far as training went, I got two solid swims in this week.  The bikes went really well.  I’m a little concerned about the high hamstring tendonitis and butt pain from running, but I will dial back the effort on running days a little, as I have a tendency to overdo it.  And definitely spend a little more attention to stretching that area.  Here’s to a wrapping up a great week of training.


2 Swims – 3200 yards this week / 8400 yards total

4 Bikes – 76 miles this week / 228 miles total

7 Runs – 26 miles this week / 125 miles total

WEEK 5 – 1/6th of the training is done!

Texting and Ironman Training


WEEK 3 – April 3 > April 9


During last year’s training for Ironman Lake Placid, our group of five buddies decided to get a group chat going through texting.  Seeing that we don’t all live that close to each other, it was a good way to talk shop and build support for each other.

But it quickly turned into a competition.  To be the first one done with the day’s workout was always a good feeling.  And to send that text saying “Day Done,” was just as fulfilling as hitting the stop button on the watch at the end of the workout.  It also became quite annoying when the late-night finisher texted “Day Done” at 11:58 pm.  I finally figured out that there was a “Do Not Disturb” feature for the group and switched it to ON.

I thought that maybe we would not be as text happy this time around, but I was wrong.  We must all have iPhones, because there is a new feature where you can add a response on a text, adding a thumbs up, or a couple of exclamation points, or even a “HA HA” if it struck you as funny.  This just makes it easier to respond to a text when you might not have done so before.

The interesting thing about the texting is that we have a group of guys that are supportive of each other and keep each other honest in our training for another Ironman.  We all know what the day calls for, but sometimes you can’t do it.  And even though you get creative and arrange to fit it in another day, you still feel obligated to tell the group that you missed it or had to do something else.  The text is sent, making it known to the others that you fully intend not to let the others down and will definitely get it done.  We hold each other accountable, and we hold ourselves accountable.

It can get annoying getting a text from the group that their day is done, and yours is still in the works.  But if it takes a text to get us to the finish line together, I’m all for it.

Day Done > send ↑

Week 3 Wrap-up

The weather is starting to get better, with the weekend climbing into the 60’s and 70’s.  The pool was closed for Tuesday due to Election Day voting going on at the school.  Not sure how that is sufficient reasoning to close the pool, but they did it anyway.  And I was away at a conference Wednesday through Friday, so I missed the Thursday swim.  So here I am being accountable once again for missing the swim training.  Just like the texts we share with the group, it’s a just a little note to remind myself that I need to hold myself accountable and get it done.  It’s early yet, and with the weather getting better, I will have my own pool open soon and won’t be at the mercy of the school schedule.

Cycling and running went well, with a few indoor runs and trainer rides.  I am starting to get that sore calf issue again, along with some calf cramps that seem to be common when I start adding mileage.  I know that it will eventually even out.

The last thing on my mind has been my weight.  It seems like I struggled to keep the weight off in January/February/March, getting up around 175 pounds.  I have never been that high ever.  The puzzling thing is that I am still doing at least a run every day and watching my intake.  But it just snuck up on me.  After my long ride on Saturday, I weighed myself and was glad to see I was back under 170.  I hope to see sub-165 soon.


0 Swims – 0 yards this week / 3200 yards total

4 Bikes – 52 miles this week / 135 miles total

7 Runs – 27.75 miles this week / 73.25 miles total

Happy 19th Birthday to my middle child, Ashley!  Nice way to wrap up the week!