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

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ONE THIRD OF TRAINING IS OVER!  20 WEEKS TO GO!

 

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Week 9 Wrap-up

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 9 – May 15 > May 21

This week flew by and I barely remember much of it.  Here are some of the highlights:

We had temperatures very much consistent with summer, upper 80’s, sunshine, etc.  Then the bottom fell out.  On Wednesday I ran in shorts and a t-shirt.  Friday I ran in pants, jacket, gloves, and a beanie.  The temperatures are supposed to rebound, so I’m not panicking.

My pool was driving me crazy!  Every year when I open it, it is something new to deal with.  Last year it was a torn liner.  This year the auto-chlorinator wouldn’t work.  And that means my pool was going without chlorine – a situation that would not be ideal.  In my usual fashion, I started throwing parts at it.  First it was this dumb little microphone that is attached to the pump and is supposed to signal the computer that controls the chlorinator that the pump is on.  It has been the issue in the past, so I ordered a new one. Nope.  Wasn’t the problem.  Next up for me was deciding to keep throwing more money at other parts, or say goodbye to a system that is nearly 13 years old.  I decided to buy the water flow sensor just to see if it was the problem.  BINGO!  That was it!  Thankfully, I dodged having to spring for a new $2000+ auto-chorinator.

I have been continually dealing with my high hamstring tendonitis, and to add to that I think I am starting to have plantar fasciitis as well.  Yay me!  I think I can handle the two issues, but I can’t neglect stretching.  I should also probably part ways with my dumb running streak.  I’m into year three, but if running everyday is going to affect whether or not I can tackle Ironman Louisville, well I just may have to give it up.  My 53 year old muscles need to recover, and I’m not allowing them to do so.

Saturday I had the joy of watching my son Ben graduate college.  The day of the graduation was miserable, and I was only able to get in about 3 miles of running, instead of the 1.25 hours that the plan had called for.

Since I couldn’t ride on Saturday, I did the 2:45 ride after the long car ride back from Dubuque, Iowa on Sunday.  I thought I would pay for that idea with soreness, but it wasn’t too bad.  Maybe it was the nasty cold and wind that took my mind off of it!  It turned out to be a decent ride, averaging 17.1 mph over 46.5 miles.  My heart rate monitor would disagree with me, seeing that it was alarming me to being out of my prescribed zone, but I felt good.

So the week went well, all things considered.  I got in two swims, did my rides and runs (with an abbreviated weekend long run), and got to see my son graduate college!  I can’t complain.

TOTALS:

2 Swim – 2600 yards this week / 17900 yards total

3 Bikes – 76.5 miles this week / 593 miles total

7 Runs – 25 miles this week / 241 miles total

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Congrats Ben!  Best son ever!

 

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Week 9 Flew By!!!

Tempus Fugit

WE HAVE A COLLEGE GRADUATE!  

CONGRATULATIONS BEN HEDGES, LORAS COLLEGE CLASS OF 2017!

Man, this week went by quick.  And it wasn’t just the week that went by quick.  I spent the weekend in Dubuque, Iowa having the pleasure of watching my son Ben graduate from Loras College.  My wife and I both thought that the ceremony was perfect, and of course it was over before we knew it.  I sat there in the gymnasium thinking of all the time and joys that were had as we watched him go from a child to a grown man.

It seems like yesterday that I used to push him in the jogger stroller along the bike path.

It seems like yesterday that I took him to preschool in Carol Stream, Illinois.

It seems like yesterday I waited with him for the kindergarten bus to come and drive him to school for the first time.  (It never came – thanks a lot, Carol Stream School District!  So I drove him there that first day.)  He would meet another kid in Carol Stream by the name of Josh, and even though we moved away, their paths would meet again, reuniting as college roommates and Duhawk teammates.

It seems like yesterday that I would time him and his buddy Chris run around our house trying to set a new best time.

It seems like yesterday we stood and watched him run a junior high XC meet in a downpour.

It seems like yesterday we watched him make a big decision of leaving high school soccer for running, a decision that proved to be life changing.

It seems like yesterday Kari and I dropped him off at Loras and drove away bawling our eyes out.  There wasn’t many tears at graduation, at least any that I noticed.  It was a very joyful occasion that I wish everyone could experience.

It seems like yesterday we watched him run at the D-III NCAA National Cross Country Championships.

It seems like yesterday that he turned 5 years old, then 10, and now 21.

It seems like yesterday I was filled with pride, watching him get his grade school diploma and his high school diploma.

It seems like yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and the many yesterdays before, that I was filled with pride of becoming a father for the first time to a boy who would fill my life with many joys of yesterdays.  I can only hope that the tomorrows will be as joyful and fulfilling as all of the yesterdays ago.

Congratulations Ben!  You did it!

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Yesterday.

Happy Mother’s Day

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 8 – May 8 > May 14

I type this on a beautiful Mother’s Day.  I’m glad that it was such a gorgeous day.  A very nice finish to a week.  It looks like spring is turning to summer finally.

I attempted to open my pool this week and things are looking good.  I have one issue with a part that senses when the pump is on to signal the auto-chlorinator to turn on that isn’t working.  Seems like I replace this part every year.  A minor inconvenience in order to have the luxury of swimming at home.  I only got one swim in this week at the high school due to testing that was going on.  All the more the reason to swim at home.  The plan called for 1700 yard straight swim but I ended up doing 2100 yards, about the distance of a half Ironman swim.  I felt great and kept clicking off the laps.

Biking and running went well.  I got in a 2 hour Saturday ride with my riding buddy Todd.  Glad we got it done in the morning because the afternoon was pretty windy.  The Sunday run I did after choosing to spend some time with my wife and daughter, then doing some yard work.  By the time I got around to running it was noon and pretty warm.  It was just an hour long run, but I pushed pretty hard and overdid it.  This was supposed to be a recovery week, but as usual I blew it.  I hope to ease into next week.  I’m pretty wiped out.

TOTALS:

1 Swim – 2100 yards this week / 15300 yards total

3 Bikes – 64 miles this week / 417 miles total

7 Runs – 31 miles this week / 216 miles total

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Happy Mother’s Day

Great Finish to Week 7

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 7 – May 1 > May 7

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Senior Recognition Day at Loras College with Kari, Ben and I.

Training for Week 7 went pretty much as expected.  I noticed that some extra time was added to both the bike and run at the end of the week, but 15 minutes isn’t so bad, I guess. The hard stuff is coming, so I should be happy that I’m still in the Base Phase of the training.  I missed one swim due to me deciding I didn’t want to do it.  (lol)  That happens sometimes, but I know my ability pretty well.  I am experiencing a little swimmer’s elbow tendinitis, possibly from trying to pull too hard in a bent elbow angle. When I keep my arm straight, I hardly experience any discomfort.

The best part of the week was the weekend.  On Friday, my wife, in-laws and I went to Loras College in Dubuque to watch my son Ben run his final home meet.  He usually runs the Steeplechase in track, but conference is coming up, and coach had him running the 1500 and a 4×400 relay.  He did well and made us proud.  He has steadily improved throughout his four years of running cross country and track, and I am sure he has some great running experiences ahead of him.

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My son winning his heat in the 1500M run.

 

After watching him run two events, my father-in-law Gary and I made the trip up to Minocqua, WI to bring up some of the stuff we have been buying for our new lake home. Gary grew up in the area and was anxious to see our new place.  This meant I got the chance to do my weekend training in the Northwoods.  I really love it up there.

I brought up my hybrid bike, a Trek 7700FX, to ride on the crushed rock Bearskin Trail.  It has a little wider tire, and was a good choice for riding that trail.  I left it up there for future rides on the trail, but I will probably also try to ride my tri bike on the roads up there as well in training for IM Lou.

Not long after starting my ride I noticed my butt was hurting.  I took an assessment and realized my seat had slipped down about 1.5 inches.  I stopped and adjusted it and found immediate relief for my butt pain.  But the dumb thing wouldn’t stay up.  I must have stopped a dozen times trying to get it to stay.  I pulled it out and noticed that it had a little grease on it.  Not sure that was something I did, but I tried wiping it off with an old cut up hat that had been run over by a mower that I found trailside.  That didn’t work.  I rubbed sandy dirt on it, stuck a sticker on the seat post, tightened the quick release lever several times, all to no avail.  I finally rubbed the post on some concrete, scratching it up somewhat in order to provide some grip.  That seemed to work the best, although it wasn’t permanent.  It’s amazing how a little adjustment can make a huge difference in comfort and preventing injuries.

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Hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery when you are dealing with a bike mechanical.

 

I was met on the trail by a guy running his dog who stopped to see if I was doing okay. Turns out his name is Blaine and he is a local race director who organizes the local marathon called the “No Frills Marathon.”  It’s an out and back on the same trail I was riding.  I will have to run it someday.  He was also wearing a Boston Marathon shirt and I picked his brain about the race for 10 minutes or so.  It was nice to meet him.  I forgot to bring any sort of nutrition with me, and only had water to drink.  Sometimes in training you make mistakes, and that was mine for the day.  By the time I got home and added a quick post-ride brick run, I was approaching “bonk” status.  Gary and I headed out to lunch after I showered and I quickly bounced back.

I also got in a 8.5 mile run on Sunday before packing up and heading home.  It was chilly, but it was a beautiful sunny day.

All in all, a great way to finish a training week.

TOTALS:

1 Swim – 1600 yards this week / 13200 yards total

3 Bikes – 65miles this week / 353 miles total

7 Runs – 32 miles this week / 185 miles total

 

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Did Week 7 in Northwoods Heaven!

Focusing on the “A” Race

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

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:  https://anamazingrun.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/2016-frankfort-half-marathon-race-report/).  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.

TOTALS:

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

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Week 6 – 1/5 of the way there!