Last week I swapped Week 22 for Week 23 of the training plan so I could have an easy week leading up to Friday and my first attempt at an ultramarathon at the Big Hill Bonk – Wisconsin’s Backyard Ultra in Beloit, Wisconsin. Thank goodness for that because the ultra was certainly a challenge for me. The race recap follows this blog post. I’ll be back with my usual pontificating about training next week.
So the easy Ironman training week ended with somewhat of a hard effort of running through the hills of Beloit and Big Hill Park. Here are this weeks stats, which includes the long run on Friday/Saturday:
Last week my training buddies and I opted to switch training Weeks 22 and 23 so that we could do Week 23’s long ride together. So this week I went back to Week 22 in the Be Iron Fit training plan and did the work. Week 22 is sort of an easier week ending in a half Iron distance race, which I always do on my own instead of opting for an actual race. I am a little afraid that racing against a thousand or more other athletes could lead to an accident or other injuries that could jeopardize all of the work I have been putting in up to this point. I just prefer to tackle it on my own.
Last time I did this workout was in 2017, leading up to Ironman Louisville. I had a pretty decent day that day and had a good swim and bike. It was the run that beat me. I ended up having to cut it short and get an unofficial DNF (did not finish) to my one-man race. That day I got beat. You can read that recap here: It Beat Me
I was determined to do this one a little smarter and not suffer like I did in 2017. I looked at the weather and saw that Sunday had some rain forecasted, so I opted to do the practice race a day earlier. Saturday started out beautiful. The temperature was in the 60’s, it was overcast, and there was no wind or breeze to speak of. I jumped into the pool and got going.
I swam pretty strong, pushing myself harder than I usually do. Since my watch won’t read correctly in my pool, I just based my distance on what I have done in actual half Iron distance swims in the past. I swam for 40 minutes and then got out and prepped myself for the bike.
After reapplying Body Glide in the usual locations and fiddling with my bike and gizmos, I hopped on and hit the road. I hadn’t ridden west to Elwood in several weeks, so I decided to go that route. I knew that I would probably have to add on some extra miles, and when I got to the cemetery out there and after I looped through it once my odometer showed about 25 miles. I needed an additional 6 miles or so. I decided to explore a little and added a quick extra three miles on a nearby road or two, then started heading back.
I was keeping track of my sweating and with a couple of nature stops, I was pretty sure that I was doing pretty good with keeping on top of my hydration and fueling. I was fortunate to not have really any wind heading out and I seemed to pick up a tailwind as I was heading back, which was really rare for me. I was moving along well.
This doggo provided some entertainment toward the last third of the ride.
At about 47 miles into riding, I saw another rider coming up on a side road and eventually passed me. I could tell he was on a mission to pass me and make it known that he was Top Dog on this road. I started studying him a little – he seemed like a typical cyclist, who liked to climb out of the saddle (which I hardly ever do) and had a nice Willier bike. He was pulling away going up a slight uphill, but when we started the downhill after cresting, I pulled him back in thanks to being more aerodynamic than he was. He kept looking over his shoulder and finally slowed down and let me catch him. We chatted a little bit and he turned off on another road and I went straight toward home.
Upon getting home, I was pretty close to hitting that 56 mile ride on the nose. I ended up with an additional .75 miles due to overestimating a second out and back of about 3 miles. I came inside, downed a Gatorade, toweled myself off, switched to a running singlet, grabbed my running stuff and hit the trail.
I felt pretty good heading out until I didn’t. My route starts and ends with hills. The middle is all flat, but it was sunny now and getting warm. I was sweating a lot and with only one water bottle, I was being a little too miserly with drinking. Fortunately, I was heading toward Frankfort where I could refill my water. But I was now running on fumes. I had been consistent with eating my gels and taking a salt capsule, but the day was certainly starting to become very much like the last time I did it in 2017. But I refused to let it beat me. I started walking more, sought out more shade when I could, and just kept moving forward. The plan was to be under 2 hours for this run, but I thought early on that that was an ambitious goal. I ended up getting back home in 2:09. That’s probably pretty close to Ironman run race pace, so not quite what I wanted for a half Iron distance race pace, but more in line with what to expect in seven weeks.
I spent some time in the pool to cool off, downed a couple Gatorades, started shivering and ended up taking a 20-minute hot shower to warm me back up. I got out of the shower and jumped into bed and napped for a little bit. I was actually feeling a little worse than I did after last week’s 5-hour group ride. This was not how I expected the day to end, especially after having a really good swim and bike. Now I know not to hammer the bike too hard and to drink more. Lots more.
I was determined to not be beaten like I was in 2017, and I wasn’t. But it wasn’t pretty either. I have seven more weeks to dial this in.
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.
HIGHS: Rest day, baby! Eclipse day! LOWS: I ran 3 miles on my off day. Bummer.
HIGHS: A swim and a 8.5 mile run. LOWS: None that I can remember. Except maybe the swim. Yeah, I hate swimming.
HIGHS: My favorite workout of the week – the short bike/run brick. LOWS: The wife isn’t feeling well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2 Swims – 4200 yards this week / 79150 yards total