A Week of Jumbled Training

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 14 – June 19 > June 25

I had a pretty good week of training this week.  I switched things up this week due to having to travel to Minocqua to put the boat in the water so that our new boat lift could be delivered and be able to lift the boat out of the water.  Yes, you read that right.  I put the boat in the water so that it could be lifted out of the water.

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Me and the lad trying not to freeze to death driving the boat from the launch to the house.

Training for the week was jumbled quite a bit.  I did Thursday’s swim on Monday, and followed that up with Tuesday’s regularly scheduled swim.  Wednesday’s 30 minute run was shortened to just under 21 minutes, thanks to a local 5K I like to do in Frankfort.  You can read the report here:  Short Run on a Long Day 2017 Race Recap

On Thursday I decided to do Saturday’s long bike ride.  I got in 55 miles and followed it up with a brick run.  Note to self:  There are more cars on my out-of-town route during the week than there are on the weekends.

On Friday I came home from work and did my 7.5 mile run.  After that Kari and I hit the road for Minocqua.  I was pretty sore from the 5K and the long bike ride, so the 5.5 hour car ride was not something I was looking forward to.

When we got to Minocqua I realized the locals were having their annual Lake Minocqua open swim event.  I knew that they had this in the past, but I had forgot about it.  But to my dismay, the race started at 8 am, which was the same time our boat lift was being delivered.  So, I would have to do my own OWS on Sunday like I had planned.

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Believe or not, there’s a boat under there.

On Saturday after getting the boat lift delivered and successfully lifting the boat out of the water, I did the Thursday hour long bike ride that I had switched with Saturday.  I had planned to ride to the Bearskin Trail, but as I was going there I realized I didn’t have any money for the dumb trail pass that you have to buy.  So I did a U-turn and rode east toward St. Germain and found a paved trail by Clear Lake, about a 10 minutes from home.  I had never been on the trail before, so I decided to try it out.  WOW!  A very nice paved trail that was super scenic and had lots of rollers and super cool things to explore.

We also had a great visit with an old friend Sara and her husband Chris, who have a cabin in St. Germain.  It was really great seeing Sara again and meeting Chris for the first time.

Sunday was our final day in Minocqua, so I decided to get an open water swim in.  Thankfully I had remembered to bring the wetsuit and goggles, but I neglected to bring a swim cap.  A trip to Walmart remedied that, and it helped keep my head warm in the slightly chilly water.  Kari and Ben jumped in the kayaks to accompany me so I wouldn’t get run over by a boat, and I just kind of swam along the edge of the shoreline until I couldn’t take the weeds any more.  When I got back to our dock, I looked at my watch and it said exactly 1.0 mile in 30:57.  I was pretty happy with that.  Typically in the pool without a wetsuit I am over 2 min/100 yards.  This average was 1:43 min/100y.  I’ll take it.

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The water was very clear.

After the swim, I changed into some running gear and threw Kari’s bike into the car and we headed back to the new trail I had discovered.  It was awesome having a partner riding along enjoying the scenery.  Kari would ride ahead and then double back and each time had a big smile on her face.  We were both having a great time there.  A great way to end the training week.

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A mid-run selfie.  Beautiful day in the North Woods.

TOTALS:

3 Swims – 6000 yards this week / 41700 yards total

3 Bikes – 83 miles this week / 9033 miles total

7 Runs – 29 miles this week / 395 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Week 14 was awesome!  Almost half way to IMLou!

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

 

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

 

 

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!

 

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!

 

Gunners-2-1
Week 9 Flew By!!!

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

 

Gunners-2-1
Did Week 7 in Northwoods Heaven!