It’s Heating Up In More Ways Than One

IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA 2019 TRAINING

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WEEK 20 – Monday 7/15/2019 – Sunday 7/21/2019

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Week 20 is finally over and two-thirds of the training plan is in the books.  This week though – wow did it get warm.

I first noticed the heat on Friday, a 75-minute run.  I do my runs smack dab in the middle of the day when I get off from work.  I was seeing heat advisory warnings early in the week, and of course, I scoffed at them.  The Tues./Wed./Thur. workouts were really the typical summertime heat stuff, but Friday came and I started the run with pretty warm and humid conditions.  I felt pretty good for the first three miles and I was thinking I would just do an out and back on the bike trail, but when I got there it offered no shade and I was feeling the heat pretty well.  I decided to head to the other forest preserve trail and make it a loop run instead, hoping that the shade would keep me cooler.  It did, but the hills and humidity were starting to get to me.  I ended up walking quite a bit and kept thinking about getting more water.

I finally got to the park district office and was really feeling the heat at that point.  Sort of shuffling along and walking.  I went in and basked in the air conditioning in the lobby for about ten minutes and refilled my water bottle with cold water and rehydrated myself.  I was about a mile and a half from home and started out with a newer outlook on finishing that portion, but when my watch hit 75 minutes, I decided to walk the remaining 3/4 miles home.  Glad I did.

 

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Feels like 104 degrees was pretty spot on.

 

Saturday came with a prescribed 4-hour bike ride followed by a 45-minute run.  I was a little concerned about that, and decided to get up at 4:30 and hit the trail by 5:30.  After making sure I had all my gels and extra water bottles, I hit the road.  The skies were overcast, so I was very grateful for that.  But it was still 80 degrees and humid and would get worse as the day went on.  Fortunately, on the bike, you get the wind cooling you down, but I was sweating within ten minutes of the start.  Two hours into the ride I did the same dumb thing I did last week and went a little bit further so that I would hit 35 miles, making the total trip 70 miles.  But I knew I had been riding into the wind, so the little bit of extra riding would equal out in the end.

The tailwind was awesome and the remaining ride home was mostly enjoyable.  Somewhere around the 3:15 mark things got interesting, and I was no longer worried about the weather.

First up was a flock of geese crossing the road, and they couldn’t just turn around, no, they had to walk right in front of me.

 

Next, my chain fell off the big ring and landed on my crank by my right shoe.  I was cruising down a hill and had some good speed going, so I just figured that I would coast until I slowed down and then I would stop and fix it.  But as I looked down it looked like I could reach down and grab it, so I decided to risk crashing and try to get it back on.  I did it!  Here’s me celebrating my achievement:

 

After getting the chain back on I came upon a farm tractor going down the road.  Usually, 100% of the time I’m the one getting passed by a vehicle, but not this time!  I was catching it and thought I had a chance to pass it.  I had to wait for an oncoming car and then I made my move.

 

As an added bonus, up ahead was a group of cyclists waiting for the light and I could see that it was about to turn green as I approached.  When it did turn green, I hit the gas and put the hammer down leaving them in my dust.  That was fun!

When I got home I was feeling pretty beat, so I opted for the treadmill in the basement for a 5-mile run.  I kind of felt guilty about that, but I think it was a sound decision.  I would rather live for another day than suffer through a real feel temperature of 105 degrees after four hours of biking.

I rested up and rehydrated as best as I could on Saturday afternoon because I was volunteering to punch tickets for the Joan Jett and The Blackhearts concert in New Lenox that night.  It was hot at the start of the event, but we had water and the temperature did come down a little as the evening progressed.

Sunday was supposed to bring some relief with the temperature but after breakfast and a quick look at the weather to check for possible storms, I headed out the door to find that it was still warm and humid!  I planned to run 6.5 miles out for an hour and then turn around.  I was sweating like crazy again!  I refilled my water bottle at the turnaround and popped a salt capsule to replace the electrolytes, but I was starting to suffer.  I think my critical mistake here was the sweat-fest I had the prior two days as well as not rehydrating enough before this run.  I dragged my butt back and finished 12.5 miles of the 13.1 I had hoped for.  Oh well, live for another day, again.

Looking ahead to the next ten weeks left of training and things are certainly going to heat up, not just with the weather but also with the intensity of the workouts.  I am going to have to be more cognizant of the weather as we head into the heat of the summer and the longer bike rides and runs to come.  It’s starting to heat up in more ways than one.

 

WEEK 20 TRAINING TOTALS:

Swims: 2 total, 2,400 total yards

Rides: 3 total, 108 total miles

Runs: 5 total, 36.5 total miles

 

 

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Time to relearn the things I have learned in regards to the heat.

 

My Brain on Ironman

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 20 – July 31 > August 6

I read a recent article in Triathlete magazine that covered the subject of mental preparedness in Ironman.  I have always thought that training your mind to handle the effort in training and the races was almost as vital as the physical aspect of getting your body ready to spend the more than half a day swimming, biking and running.  Some of it can be very mind numbing for sure.

I find the swimming to be the most boring of the three.  You are either looking at a black line at the bottom of a swimming pool, the dark murkiness of a lake, or in my case a bunch of dead bugs lying at the bottom of my pool, a constant reminder that I also need to devote time to take care of things that get neglected during training.

Running can also be boring, but you can bring music if you are so inclined.  I don’t, but I do let the beauty of the area in which I run to keep me distracted from any suffering that may be going on.  I jogged behind a deer on Wednesday for about a minute until it finally took notice and bounded into the woods.

I find that I don’t have the luxury of being unfocused on the bike.  It’s the one discipline of triathlon in which you are required to focus.  You have to constantly monitor your surroundings, your effort level, and make sure that you don’t crash.  Certainly there are times when I can zone out, but something always quickly renews your focus on the bike – a bump on the road, a bug to the face, a gust of wind, etc.

Often times when someone asks about the Ironman, they only think in terms of how long it is – 140.6 miles – and are impressed that the distance can be covered under your own power.  But I find that your mind easily adapts to the distance if you break it down into manageable segments.  My training is 30 weeks long.  That’s a long time.  But when it is broken into its individual weeks, and then into each day, it is much easier to mentally handle the task.  The woman who inquired about my training this week asked me about the training, and I said for Wednesday’s workout I did 45 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run.  A total of 75 minutes of exercise.  Lots of people can do that.  Break it up and it is much more manageable.

At Ironman Wisconsin in 2013, I found that I couldn’t bear to look out at the water where the swim course was being held prior to race day.  It looked enormous!  But on race day morning, I got in the water for the start and broke the swim up into small segments.  My plan was to swim from one orange buoy to the next.  On the bike it was all about riding to the next aid station where I could refill my water bottle and take on some more nutrition, then it was on to the next one.  Same thing with the run – one mile at a time, one aid station to the next.

So I guess the physical training for the race is the most important aspect of completing an Ironman.  But if you can train your brain to manage the race, it can make the physical portion of it much less of a burden.

THIS WEEK

Swimming in Lake Minocqua. 

I volunteered as a chaperone at this past couple of weeks at band camp.  Fortunately for me I was able to take the 3-6pm slot, and was still able to get my workouts done midday.  The weekend was spent in Minocqua with the family.  I felt the need to be with the family and spend quality time that is no longer a given. My son has his own job and is living out of state. And my middle daughter will begin her sophomore year at college soon. So to have everyone together for two short days was a luxury that I couldn’t pass up. So I skipped the scheduled four hour bike ride. But I was able to get an open water lake swim in as well as the two hour Sunday run. That run nearly wiped me out physically and mentally. I’ve got some work to do in the next ten weeks. 

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 4400 yards this week / 64450 yards total

2 Bikes – 41 miles this week / 9467 miles total

7 Runs – 40 miles this week / 605 miles total

Week 20 complete. Bring on the Peak Phase!