Short Run on a Long Day 2017 Race Recap

When:  6/21/2016, 7:00pm

Where:  Frankfort, Illinois

Distance:  5K

Results:  20:45 Official, 20:42 Garmin watch – 16th overall, 3rd place M50-54

I went into the my fourth running of this race with low expectations.  I haven’t really focused on any sort of short speed work due to training for Ironman Louisville, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give a 5K a try.  And by try I mean gunning as hard as I can.  But the race ended up being somewhat educational for me.

For this race I decided to wear my heart rate strap and monitor my heart rate through the 5K to see if my max HR is anywhere near the 220 bpm minus your age.  This method is an easy way to determine your max heart rate, which you can then use to set your heart rate zones to train in.  However, many don’t trust the calculation for some reason.  I’m 53 years old, so using the 220-age formula I should have a max heart rate of 167.

So if you are going to use a 5K to see where your max heart rate is you should do a little warm up then go all out at max effort for 5K.  So I strapped on my Garmin and the heart rate monitor strap and let it rip.  Here’s what it told me:

 

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Not sure why there is a 10 second difference in the moving time and the elapsed time.  That may explain the watch time vs. the official time.  Maybe I lost a little satellite connection somewhere on the run.  I did not stop for anything until the finish line.

 

And the 5K field test revealed a peak max heart rate of 169 bpm, with an average of 163 bpm.  And the times that I glanced at my watch during the race I usually saw 166 bpm staring back at me.  I guess the 220-age is accurate enough for me.

 

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I was also surprised to see that the Garmin nailed the 3.1 mile distance exactly.  

 

Okay, enough of the scientific stuff.  Back to the race.  I got there much later than I usually do and parked in the neighborhood next to the park where the race starts and ends near my friend Dian’s house.  Lo and behold, Dian was actually outside!  We chatted up ourselves a little bit and she thought the race had started already.  Silly Dian.  I explained that the runners will warm up prior to the race.  She thought that was nuts.  Gave me a chuckle though.

Over at the park, the usual suspects were there:  Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club made a strong showing, Tinley Track & Trail was also present.  Mr. Mustache Runner guy was there, with his shirt tucked in as usual.  And many more familiar faces.  It wasn’t until the race was almost ready to go when Nate Troester showed up at the start line, and I knew our eventual winner was finally here.

The guy that starts the race stands right in the middle of the road, orders us not to run him over, tells us not to start until he says “GO!” then proceeds to say “Okay, let’s go” prior to saying “On your mark, get set, GO!”  Park district run races can be really strange. In the old days, races were run by runners who kind of knew what they were doing, and these park district guys don’t look like they run much.  Anyway, at GO! we all took off and tried to avoid the dumb cherry picker thing in the path of the race route that has a guy up there with a camera.  So dumb.  You never see the pictures on their website or Facebook page, but damn, they got to have a cherry picker right on the road with a camera guy taking pictures that no one will ever see.

I had picked my mark, a guy named Chris S. who is in my age group and started just in front of me.  I decided to hold his pace for as long as I could.  That didn’t last long.  I might have held on to him for about a half mile before I could tell I had maxed out my heart rate without even looking at my watch.  I watched him pull away.  That move of trying to stay with him got me through the first mile with a 6:18 split.  NO BUENO!  So much for the negative split strategy.  He kicked my butt again, as usual.

After the first mile I decided to dial it back a touch and find my race pace comfort zone and found myself running with a guy wearing a Ironman Racine 70.3 t-shirt.  We were pacing together pretty well.  We turned off the path together and on to the side street to head back and about 1.5 miles into it we got passed by some kid.  “Damn kids” I muttered, and Racine man agreed.

We ran together until the 2 mile split (6:47 min/mile) and he started to pull just a little bit ahead.  I tried to match pace but I had spent too much energy on that first mile.  He pulled ahead about 50 yards with about a 1/2 mile to go and that’s how it ended.  The third mile split was 6:53 min/mile for me.

I checked the race results and learned Racine man was in my age group.  He got 15th place overall, 2nd in the age group.  Since this park district run race only awards the top 2 finishers in each age group with a medal, whereas most races go three deep, I knew I wasn’t going to add a medal to my medal rack this time around.  You win some, you lose some.

Here is page one the results:  Shortrun

Overall, it was a good race for me.  I found that the 220-minus age max heart rate calculation is nearly exact to my actual field tested heart rate.  I got to race some good competition.  And there was pizza at the finish line.

 

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A tie dye participant shirt.  Yay.  

 

Breaking the Monotony of Training

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 13 – June 12 > June 18

Training for Ironman can be boring, especially when doing it alone.  I am fortunate to have four other training pals joining me on this quest for another Ironman finish, but we are spread apart, living in different areas surrounding the Northern Illinois area and rarely have an opportunity get together.  So when our fearless leader and Top Gunner Dave suggested we get together for a ride I was very excited to do that.

It ended up just being Dave, Jeff and myself meeting at my house for the Saturday three hour bike and half hour run brick workout.  Jeff was first to arrive and was having an issue with his rear brake.  We threw it on my bike stand and started tooling away on it.  It appears that it has just got gunked up a little bit.  Dave showed up while we were playing with it and suggested that Jeff loosen the screw for the brake cable and free up a little room for it.  That seemed to do the trick, and we were soon off riding.

 

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Pre-ride selfie.

 

I basically have three routes that I follow and can add options to them if I need to add or subtract riding time as the training plan dictates.  The problem is that all three routes basically head south, as this is the best direction for traffic free riding.  Fortunately, the south/southwest wind we were having made for heading into the wind and coming back with a tailwind, which is mostly ideal.  In all, we rode about three hours and 7 minutes, and a total of about 52 miles.  Not too shabby of a ride.

There were two notable memories from the ride.  The first is when we got to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and made a loop of the place before turning around for our trip back.  Any time I ride in there it always leaves and impression on me, knowing those that are buried there served our country for our freedoms.  It’s also an impressive place, seeing all of those headstones lined up in precision, without even a blade of grass out of place.

The other moment was when we were coming back, scooting along at about 22 mph,  when some kid of maybe 13 years old blows by us on a bike like we were standing still.  He was all kitted up like he was ready for Le Tour.  Damn kids.  He was moving.

We got home, ran an easy 3.25 miles and then jumped in the pool for a nice relaxing cool down for the day.  We snacked on some fruit and junk and then they were off to their busy Saturday routines.  It sure was nice not having to do the ride solo.

Sunday’s long run also had a break from the typical monotony.  On Saturday, I had learned that there was an old-time coal burning steam locomotive heading through town this weekend, making several passes on the Rock Island/Canadian National tracks in Mokena. So I headed out with the plan to try to be in downtown Mokena to see it rumble through at 9:15.  I was seven miles into my run when I realized I was about 10 minutes from the train getting to downtown, and I was a little over a mile away!  I picked up my pace and ran a little harder on my tired and sore legs and got there in time to see the train.  It was very impressive.

 

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An Ironman catching an Iron Horse.  (photo credit:  Joe Clayton)

 

I’m sure next weekend will be back to the typical grind, but it sure was nice to have something new to add to the training.

TOTALS:

3 Swims – 4900 yards this week / 35700 yards total

4 Bikes – 91 miles this week / 8950 miles total

7 Runs – 29 miles this week / 366 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Happy Father’s Day

 

Throwing Caution to the Wind

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 12 – June 5 > June 11

I first dipped my toe into the triathlon waters in 2012.  I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I certainly was a newbie to the sport.  And I had some trepidation about it all, especially the swim.

As each season passed I gained a lot more knowledge and confidence.  Finishing Ironman Wisconsin in 2013 certainly did wonders for my confidence, both in the water and on the bike, taking me distances I had never covered in either discipline.

But I sometimes still have some things holding me back somewhat.  I’m prone to having to use my wetsuit in open water, as it eases my anxiety a little.  It’s sort of a security blanket for me.  In addition to the wetsuit, I have also played it safe with using my full disc aero cycling wheel.

As you start out in triathlon, you tend to make do with what you have or invest in the entry level stuff, with the thought that if you don’t want to continue doing the sport you haven’t invested your life savings into it.  But as I grew to love the sport I eventually graduated from my road bike to a tri bike, a regular road helmet to an aero helmet, an off the rack tri kit to a full custom kit, and from standard cycling wheels to aero wheels.  And then I bought a full disc aero wheel.

The full disc wheel goes on the rear of the bike and thanks to some aerodynamics that are beyond my scope, is supposed to make you faster. I certainly did notice a difference, finding myself hitting speeds easier than when I used my normal set up.  I also found out on the first few rides that any sort of wind made for an adventure for me.  One windy day I was nearly blown off the trail with it.

I recently read some posts online regarding using the full disc wheel on the Ironman Louisville course that I will be doing in October.  A guy advised that there was absolutely no reason not to use it.  I saw some other comments saying that it was less about the full disc and more about the front wheel when it came to feeling the wind, mainly due to the rider weight distribution.  After thinking about it a little, I decided I should ride with it more often and this week seemed like as good a time as any.

I rode with it on Wednesday for a short 45 minutes and a Thursday ride of an hour, both with a little bit of wind but nothing to difficult.  Then came Saturday.  It was windy.  I was a little concerned because my route is mainly open farm roads with very little wind buffer.  But I figured this would be a good test.  So I did it.  And it wasn’t too bad.  I found myself leaning into the crosswind a little more than usual, but I never felt like was jockeying around too much.  So I decided to race with it on Sunday in a sprint triathlon.  That went really well, helping me to hit a 21.5 mph average over the 14.7 mile course.

So there you go.  I have now graduated from being over-conscience about using the full disc.  I’ll be training with that sucker as much as I can leading up to IM Lou.

I also graduated from having to use the wetsuit for every open water swim, doing without it at the ET Batavia Sprint triathlon.  It’s a short 400 yards in a man-made sandy bottom swimming hole, but the water is usually too cold for me.  Today’s race day water temperature was 73 degrees, so I decided to do a swim warm up and test out my tolerance for swimming without it.  I acclimated quickly and found myself swimming comfortably.

I’m starting to feel good about testing my limits.  We’ll see where that takes me in this crazy sport.

You can read my ET Batavia Triathlon race report here:  2017 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

TOTALS:

3 Swims – 4600 yards this week / 30800 yards total

4 Bikes – 89 miles this week / 859 miles total

7 Runs – 23.5 miles this week / 337 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Feeling stronger every day

 

 

 

2017 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

When:  6/11/2017

Where:  Batavia, Illinois

Distances:  400 yard Swim, 14.7 mile Bike, 4.1 mile Run

Time:  1:19:01

Back for the fourth time to do the race in Batavia.  I really enjoy this one.  It’s a quick swim, rolling hills bike route with plenty of time to go fast, and a flat and fast trail run.

This week I experimented somewhat with pushing my limits a little.  I decided to use my full disc aero wheel on the bike, something I chickened out with a year ago.  I also decided to swim without the wetsuit, thanks to the water temperature being just warm enough for my comfort level.  I’m glad I didn’t have to fight with it to get it on and off.  That is a chore.

The temperature of the morning was comfortable, but the day would get warm later.  It wasn’t bad on the bike, but I did start to feel it somewhat on the run.

 

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Satisfied with my pre-race transition set up.  

 

SWIM – 7:16 minutes, 208th overall

The swim started well for me.  I felt like my pace was good.  I got to the turn and made it to the backside of the swim and kept swimming.  It is pretty shallow in this part of the man-made, sandy bottom public swimming hole, and most people walk the back side of it.  I decided to keep swimming until about 10 yards from the turn for the second lap.  Once swimming again, I found myself in a much crowded field of swimmers, as more had joined in on the fun, thanks to a time trial type start.  But I made it through and started walking the back part of it earlier, just like everyone else.

T1 – 1:44 minutes

Getting to T1 was quick, no need to fuss with removing the wetsuit.  Grabbed my bike gear and bike and was gone to Bike Out.

BIKE – 40:58 minutes, 21.5 MPH average, 36th overall

There is a sharp climb right away which sent my heart rate into the red, where it would stay for quite a while, most of the ride actually.  I really pushed myself on the ride and it paid off with a quick ride.  There was some cross wind, but it didn’t last long.  I ate a gel just into the first mile, and one more just before getting back to T2 to fuel for the run.

T2 – 1:18 minutes

RUN – 27:43 minutes, 6:46 average per mile, 27th overall

There was a slight deviation to the final mile of the run as the trail near a public works facility was under construction.  Fortunately, the detour had a nice downhill leading back to the bridge that takes you back over the Fox River and the trail on the other side to the finish.  The run was going well, but I was feeling the heat a little even though it was almost completely shaded.  I took water at the water station twice and splashed it on me and in me as best as I could.  I passed a lot of younger racers and not seeing hardly any in my 50-54 Age Group.  That’s because they were ahead of me!  There was one guy with 50 written on his calf.  I decided to pace with him for a little while and then pass him in the last mile if I could.  He had is bib on backwards, and I realized his bib was white, which meant he was in the duathlon (run/bike/run) race and not in the triathlon.  So, knowing that I wasn’t really competing with him, I decided to push tempo again and pass him.  He must of saw my 53 on my calf and he reacted.  Once we got to that downhill at about 3.25 miles, he took off.  I started to chuckle because I knew he was racing me even though I wasn’t competing with him in his event.  I slowly worked on catching up with him, but I knew that I didn’t have to worry about him.

When I got back to the finish, I cooled down and got some fluids in me.  I knew it would be a while before the award ceremony, so I decided to walk back to transition, take a shower, gather my bike and junk and take it to the car.  I then drove back to the VFW where the finish line area was located.

I decided to grab a couple pieces of pizza and check out the results.  Fourth in the age group – no award this year.  I was kind of expecting to finish a little higher than the 3rd place I won last year, but just didn’t have it in me.  Upon review the posted results online later in the day I realized my swim time did me in.  It was a full minute slower than last year!  I’m not really sure why that is.  It could be the wetsuit I guess, but I really did feel like I swam pretty well.  Oh well.  The swim ranking had me 208th overall.  That is really sad.  I also dropped in the overall ranking from 2016, from 23rd to 37th.  The guy that beat me for 3rd place beat me by 7 seconds.  One glimmer of hope, the 2nd place age group winner was a 50 year old, so he is the newcomer to the rank, whereas I am starting to age into the next group.  Not my day, I guess.  Maybe next year I will be kicking butt in the 55-59 A/G as the young gun.

 

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Still proud of my medal.  Glad to add it to the rack.

Here’s the link to the race results:  http://cc247.raceresults.space/2017/2017_ETBatavia_OA.htm

 

 

Week 11 Fun: Training and Racing

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 11 – May 29 > June 4

Week 11 was the first week of the Build Phase of the Be Iron Fit training plan that I am following, and I expected it to be a little harder.  There was a third swim added, along with some additional yardage to the swim.  I was a little surprised that the long Saturday bike was a half hour shorter than Week 10’s 3 hour ride, but I see that the plan now adds a short run after it.  The 1/2 hour spin on Sunday was also added, which seemed to feel pretty good to me thanks to some tired legs from Saturday.  All in all, not a bad way to start the Build Phase of training.

Speaking of tired legs, I also ran my first road race of the year, a 5K near my home.  I wasn’t sure that it was a good idea, as my feet and legs just always seem tired.  But I decided to give it a go.  I was glad I did, as I finished 10th overall and 1st in my age group.

You can read about the race here:  2017 Summertime Stride 5K Race Report

Speaking of racing, I will be doing my first triathlon of the year, the ET Batavia sprint triathlon in Batavia, Illinois.  I’ve done this race three times and I really enjoy it.  The swim is super short, about 400 yards, the bike is fast, and the run is a heart pounding 4.1 miles.  I’m hoping that the water will be warm enough to forego the wetsuit.  I struggled getting the dumb thing off last year and it cost me some valuable time.  I do have a speed suit that I might try out this time.  Never used it before though.  I might have to play with it this week during one of the three swim workouts.

The last bit of news is that my wife Kari bought a new road bike, a Specialized Roubaix from Spokes in Wheaton, Illinois.  We were there picking up my race packet and she had been talking about getting a bike.  I think she was impressed with the bike shop, and definitely the custom fit that the owner put her through.  We were there for almost 4 hours looking at bikes and getting the Roubaix dialed in.  They really did a good job and I think Kari is going to have many happy miles of riding.  I’m looking forward to having a new riding buddy.

TOTALS:

3 Swims – 5200 yards this week / 26200 yards total

4 Bikes – 89 miles this week / 770 miles total

7 Runs – 35 miles this week / 313 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Racing to Week 12

2017 Summertime Stride 5K Race Report

When:  6/3/2017, 8:30 am

Where:  Mokena, Illinois

Distance:  5K

Results:  20:57 Official, 10th overall, 10th Male overall, 1st place M50-54

http://www.thtiming.com/images/2017_stride_overall.pdf

When I show up for a 5K I tend to start scanning the people gathered around, looking for the usual suspects, the people I will key on as my competition.  Since school was officially over for the high schools, I figured I would see a handful of high school age runners, fresh off of their track seasons, and there were a few.  I also saw this kid who looked about 9 (the results indicate he was 11), and he had the “look.”  Short running shorts, a set of wrap around sunglasses, and New Balance shoes that looked like racing flats.  It was about 40 minutes until start and he went out for his warm up.  I knew a runner when I saw one.  I also saw a guy wearing a Calvin College Track Team singlet who looked fast as well (he was the eventual winner).  It wasn’t until I saw Nate Troester, a local guy who wins every race, that I knew for sure that I certainly wasn’t going to win this race!

My wife Kari joined me in this race as it is walking distance from our house.  We walked down to the park about 3/4 of a mile away and signed up.  It was starting to get warm, and the race start time of 8:30 am was not helping.  Much too late to start a summertime race, in my opinion.  I tried talking Kari into gunning from the start, but she’s happy to run the race her way.  I was already starting to build adrenaline for the start time.

I did some easy warm up and then headed to the start line.  I’m always amazed at the number of slow people and kids at the front of the line.  One guy said he’s staying back to let the rabbits go, but this guy was in the front as well.  I dislike the tight corral type starts.  They are too crowded, and filled with too many slowpokes at the front of the pack.

A couple of minutes later a horn sounded and we were off.  I was surprised that many of the kids were holding tempo pretty good at the beginning, but by the time we got a half mile into it the first small climb appeared, and they started to drop off.  It was also in that first half mile that I was surprised to see Nate Troester standing there clapping for everyone.  I guess he was just hanging around.  I was happy to see that I had just picked up a finisher’s spot!

At the first mile, a local kid named Merrigan was running along with me and not far off the first place female.  We went through the first mile in 6:25 pace and I thought she would be good.  But later I found out she had a sore knee from an earlier mishap and ended up dropping out.  I kept pace behind the first girl for the next mile, as I also chased the one grey haired guy up ahead of me.  He was moving pretty well and not showing any signs of letting up.

After the turn around, we climbed the few remaining hills and settled in for the last mile.  I caught the first place girl and passed her.  I could see the grey haired guy up ahead, but he was pulling away, as was the kid with the sunglasses.  That kid knew what he was doing, running the tangents and basically picking off more and more runners.

I tried using the last downhill to pick up pace, using it to pass an 8th grade kid, and then accelerate through the last turn for the last 10th of a mile.  I couldn’t catch anyone ahead of me, and there was no one directly behind me to worry about, so I glided in across the finish in 20:57.

I grabbed a water and dumped it over my head to cool down.  I then walked back to the turn and waited with my daughter Rebecca for Kari to finish.  She came by looking very strong, but I tried to tell her that she was getting out-kicked by a 5 year old!  She didn’t care.  To get beat by a 5 year old would have killed me.

When the results were posted I was surprised to see that I finished 10th, and first in my age group.  I would have bet that the grey haired guy ahead of me was in my age group.  It turns out he was 58!  Smoking fast for 58!  I also checked the results for Kari and learned that she medaled as well, taking 3rd in her a/g!  Well done!

In all, it’s a fun local race, and I thoroughly enjoyed the run with my wife.

 

Memorial Day Reminders

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 10 – May 22 > May 28

I hope everyone enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday as much as I did.  Our plan is to make it up to our new lake home at least once a month, and take advantage of the extra day off that a holiday affords us.  It can never be that simple though, as my daughter Rebecca is in marching band and they had to participate in the Memorial Day parade at home.  So we took Friday off to play at the lake home for three days, then headed back home Sunday night.

Our town of Mokena, Illinois does Memorial Day right.  Led by officials from the local VFW, they start at one of three cemeteries in town and parade to the next, stopping at each one and reading off the names of the veterans no longer with us.  A snare drummer plays a 7-stroke roll after each name, and when they have all been read, a trumpet player plays taps.  It is somewhat of a somber affair.  Heads are bowed, hats removed.  Our most recent fallen soldier from town was killed a few years ago.  The town certainly keeps his memory alive.

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I was not able to do my Saturday bike ride in Minocqua, and I saved it for when I got back home.  Due to the wind blowing from the southwest, I chose to ride into the wind and come back with it at my back.  The route takes me toward Manhattan and Elwood, where I generally turn around.  This turn around spot is just across the street from the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, where many local veterans are buried.  Normally I would ride into the grounds for a lap and head back out.  Today there was a line of cars coming off the main highway as far as the eye could see.  It was another reminder for me that there were those that served our country so that we could all live free to do what free people do.  For me it was riding a bike on paved roads under blue skies and next to farmers planting their crops.  Not sure if they were planting amber waves of grain, but it certainly is their option to do so thanks to so many who gave their lives serving our country.  A glorious Memorial Day indeed.

10 WEEK BASE PHASE WRAP UP

This week marks the end of the base stage of training.  I’m feeling pretty good about where I am at at this point in training.  I feel pretty strong, and the workouts never were too taxing.  I chose to do a simpler version of the swim training plan and I feel that I am doing just fine with it.  I’m pretty sure I will be adequately prepared for the swim.  My buddies will probably out swim me, but they did that before when I followed the harder plan too.

I did some bike preparation prior to starting the 30 week training plan and I think it has paid off.  I seem to be averaging around 17.5 mph on my rides, staying in Zone 2.  Hopefully I will see an average closer to 18 mph toward the end of this next training phase.

Running is holding on, and I am holding my breath that I won’t suffer an injury during the remaining training.  One day my feet will be killing me, and then another day they won’t bother me at all.  They never seem to hurt while running though.  And my deep butt pain (yes, I’m a pain in the butt) has good days and bad days too.  I’m starting to wonder if the pain may be hip joint related and not muscle related.  I guess I am getting old.  Too many miles on the body.  I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

On to the Build Phase!

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 3100 yards this week / 21000 yards total

3 Bikes – 88 miles this week / 681 miles total

7 Runs – 25 miles this week / 278 miles total

Gunners-2-1
ONE THIRD OF TRAINING IS OVER!  20 WEEKS TO GO!