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

 

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!

 

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!

Balancing Life While Training

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 5 – April 17 > April 23

As I wrap up Week 5 I feel a sense of accomplishment, mainly because it was the first time in a few weeks that I got all of the scheduled work outs in.  But in addition to doing all the training, life really hit hard this week with it’s own agenda and responsibilities.

We are now fully into spring and my yard has made it clear that it needs mowing.  My in-laws were in Florida, and I made sure to give their yard a trim as well before they return home this weekend.  My youngest is wrapping up a very busy freshman year of high school, and is so involved that she’s got me running her everywhere.  In addition to that, she also has her learner’s permit, which means I need to find time to help her learn that life skill as well.  Soon I will open my own pool, which will require it’s own set of special weekly needs.  I had to go get my boat out of storage Saturday.  Lastly, I made sure that I didn’t drop the ball when it comes to getting some thoughtful gifts for my wife’s birthday on Saturday.  What a week!

But fortunately for me, I am very lucky to have a supporting family and wife that allows me the time I need to train.  On her birthday, she had no problem with me cycling for an hour and forty-five minutes.  And I am very lucky to work a part-time job that gives me the freedom in the afternoon to do my thing.  I do not take any of that for granted.

Training for Ironman is a commitment in and of itself, but when you realize you have other responsibilities as well, then you really become dedicated and focused.  Learning to balance all of those things can be difficult, but seeing this is my third time training for Ironman, I have grown to adapt and really feel that I have got things in control and can tackle anything, especially 140.6 miles.

As far as training went, I got two solid swims in this week.  The bikes went really well.  I’m a little concerned about the high hamstring tendonitis and butt pain from running, but I will dial back the effort on running days a little, as I have a tendency to overdo it.  And definitely spend a little more attention to stretching that area.  Here’s to a wrapping up a great week of training.

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 3200 yards this week / 8400 yards total

4 Bikes – 76 miles this week / 228 miles total

7 Runs – 26 miles this week / 125 miles total

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WEEK 5 – 1/6th of the training is done!

I Will Need Two of Everything

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 4 – April 10 > April 16

I spent Thursday through Easter Sunday in our new lake home in Minocqua, Wisconsin with my family for the first time.  It was awesome to get to spend the Easter holiday in our new home on the lake.  I had a great six mile run with my son Ben on Friday, and enjoyed our somewhat new running routes.  We had vacationed in the area for many years, so the Bearskin Trail is nothing new to us.  But it is refreshing to be running on such a beautiful trail again.

Friday we all took a trip to the local Ace Hardware store to get some stuff for the house.  We bought a ladder, a rake, and a bunch of other junk that we already own in our main home.  But now that I have another home to care for, I need two of everything.  And apparently that includes triathlon gear.

I came up for the weekend without my bike so I wasn’t able to get any riding in, and with buying two of everything else for the house, I started to consider buying another bike to have on hand up north.  It didn’t help that I had Triathlete and Bicycling magazines on hand with several pages of guides to new stuff to look at.  But just with all the other stuff with the house that I know we need, I have learned that we will have to pace ourselves with what we get next.  The lake home bike will be a very low priority, but it sure would have been nice to have had one up there.

As for the rest of the training week, I only got one swim done, but it was a decent one.  The planned called for a 1600 yard swim with a workout, but I decided to do a straight swim and ended up stopping at 2000 yards.  Felt pretty good.

Only two bike rides this week, both half hour spins with a brick run after each.  I missed the hour and a half Saturday ride, so I will make that up on Monday of Week 5.

Runs will always total seven unless I break my leg or something.  I had a nice uptempo 6 mile run with Ben, who told me that he has some pretty cool running ambitions after he wraps up his collegiate running career upon graduation in May.  He’s come a long way as a runner, and I see a bright future for him as a marathoner if he pursues those goals.

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Easter Sunday in Minocqua

 

TOTALS:

1 Swims – 2000 yards this week / 5200 yards total

2 Bikes – 16.5 miles this week / 152 miles total

7 Runs – 25 miles this week / 98.25 miles total

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Week 4 is no more!