Work First, Brag Later



WEEK 13 – May 30, 2021

I snuck into last week’s post that I have signed up for a 100-mile ultra marathon, and I did that on purpose so to downplay it somewhat.  For some reason, I am reluctant to discuss a big event like that without first doing it.  I felt the same way when I did my first Ironman in 2013.  Sure, I told people, but I felt that until I finished the race I wasn’t comfortable talking about doing it because I wasn’t sure that I actually could do it.  Ironman has taught me a few things about myself, and it’s motto of “Anything is Possible” is something I have learned to apply to myself.  Ironman gave me confidence to tackle some things that once seemed improbable or impossible for me, but until I do it I don’t want to make a big deal about it until it’s done.  Even these weekly training posts come after I have finished them, not before.

I did make some posts about the Big Hill Bonk Last Runner Standing event I am still planning to do, but that seemed a little different to me.  It’s open-ended as far as distance is concerned, and I really just wanted to do enough to get me into that rare ultra finisher area.  My goal is seemingly attainable and I don’t fear failing.  100 miles of running, however…  that’s new territory for me.

I told my number 1 fan Carl that I was trying to keep that I am doing this race on the “down-low,” mainly because I fear that there may be a chance that I fail at it.  But what is worse, saying that I was going to try to do it and fail, or not do it at all?  I guess there’s no harm in saying that I will be in the field and attempting what most see as a pretty impressive feat, but I would rather brag about it afterward rather than build it up beforehand.  There’s a saying in Ironman, and I am paraphrasing:  Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles, brag for a lifetime.  The bragging comes at the end, not at the beginning.

My plan is to keep training toward the goal, and when I get more confident through training and closer to the race, I may open up a bit and talk about it.  I find the thought process of training for an ultra to be interesting, so I may want to share those experiences.  But until then, I’m shutting up about it until it’s actually time to pat myself on the back.


I got my first swim of 30-minutes in this week, and it reminded me that swimming is my worst portion of triathlon.  I need to slowly build to getting some swim conditioning back, and now that the pool is open that will happen.  Just need the weather to stop going from 80’s to the 50’s, which is what kept me out of my planned Thursday swim.  Brrrrr

My back has still been problematic.  It will get better, then I will overdo it and have it get sore again.  This week ended with a trip to my lake home, so I was a little worried about overdoing it with the yard work that needed to be done. I skipped the Saturday workout and did it on Sunday. It was nice to do some biking in a different location for a change. The ride resulted in a big bonk and I struggled a bit, but I got the 3-hour ride and 30-minute run done. I will do the 1.5-hour run on Monday Memorial Day but that run will be in next week’s totals.

Taking a minute to enjoy the view and contemplate why I do this dumb sport.

Swims:  1 – 1400 yards

Bikes:  3 –  74.5 miles

Runs:  3 –  10 miles


Riding and Thinking



WEEK 13 – June 8 > June 14, 2020


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.

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.

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:



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





Bike Helmets are Instant Dork Makers



WEEK 13 – Monday 5/27/19 – Sunday 6/02/19

I need a new bike helmet!  It’s always a cause for celebration when you need new stuff because you get to shop for new stuff!  But shopping for bike helmets is not fun for me.  They look good in pictures, not so good on my head.

I have two cycling helmets, an old one I keep around for a backup, and my current cycling helmet that is three years old.  The styrofoam in the backup is showing classic signs of age degradation.  It’s probably 8 years old and time to retire it.

I also have an aero helmet that I use to race with.  It looks to be in pretty good shape but the date of manufacture sticker on it says it was made in 2012!  Seven years is pretty old for a helmet.  I’m thinking maybe I should replace it as well.  Plus, as soon as I bought the helmet it became a relic, as the helmet industry sort of adopted a new design for aero helmets that were less dorky so to speak.  Nowadays there are plenty of newer aero style helmets that look more like regular cycling helmets.  I can essentially kill two birds with one stone and buy one of those newfangled models!

But it doesn’t really matter what helmet I buy, or how cool it looks online or in the store, as soon as I put it on my head I become an instant dork.


2014 Ironman Muncie 70.3 – Instant dork.  It doesn’t help that I wear a skull cap type thing to keep the sweat from getting in my eyes.  You can see Rebecca behind me laughing at her lame dad.


The only time this helmet looked good on me was in the photo at the top of this page, and the fact that the scenery of the Adirondack mountains in the backdrop keeps you from noticing how dorky I look.

I have always liked BELL helmets, mainly because after trying different brands I found that BELL helmets fit my head the best, were pretty common and could be found most places, and the fact that BELL kind of leads the way in testing and advancements in head protection.  So naturally, I went to their website and looked to see what they had to offer.  I found a really cool aero helmet called the Z20.  It looked cool online.  It made me an instant dork as soon as I put it on.  It sits higher on my head than my old ones for some reason.


New helmet, same old dorky guy.  


So there you have it.  Three different cycling helmets all having the same end result with me – instant dork.  I’m starting to think it might be me.












And now a Public Service Announcement from me:

WEAR A DAMN HELMET WHEN RIDING!  I was running today and counted a dozen helmetless riders in that 7.5 mile run.  Two adult cycling deaths in the nature preserve I run in since it opened and still there are people risking serious head injury on those steep downhills and blind turns.  Plus not everyone out there is a good rider.  Tons of knuckleheads and inexperienced riders riding without head protection.  Don’t give me that crap that they weren’t around when you were a kid and you survived.  You probably never left the neighborhood or street you grew up on on your bike.  If they did exist back in the day, I’m guessing your parents would have wanted you to wear one.  Seatbelts weren’t mandatory when I was a kid, but would you not buckle yourself in now?

Have you ever hit your head on something like a cabinet door or the like?  It hurt like hell didn’t it?  Now imagine slamming your head to the asphalt at 15 mph or more.

WEAR A DAMN HELMET WHEN RIDING!  Even if it makes you look like a dork.



I had a chance to head up to the lake home in Minocqua on Thursday to be there for the furniture that was going to be delivered on Friday, so I was fortunate to get some training in up north.  A change of scenery can do wonders when the training routine becomes a little boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the ride out to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary at home, I just get sick of doing that ride week after week.  Minocqua was a breath of fresh air.


A huge tree fell over on the path and I didn’t get to ride the whole trail.  Forced me to do some exploring and I found some decent paved roads to ride.



I took Old Blue out for a ride.



Week 13 Training Totals:

Swims: 2 total / 3500 yards > Rides: 4 total / 85 miles > Runs: 5 total / 26.5 miles


I may be a dork, but I’m an Ironman dork.