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

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Week 14 was awesome!  Almost half way to IMLou!

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

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Feeling stronger every day

 

 

 

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

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Racing to Week 12

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!

 

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!!!

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