Great Finish to Week 7

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 7 – May 1 > May 7

IMG_6296
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.

fullsizeoutput_e7aa
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.

IMG_6298
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!

Treadmills, Rocking my Brain, & New Digs

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 2 – March 27 > April 2

The weather forced Friday’s 45 minute run indoors to the old dreadmill.  I’m very grateful that I have access to two treadmills, and I am very glad to have that option when the weather is bad.  But my goodness they can suck the life out of you.

I decided to use the treadmill at work for my run.  The workout room has a TV, but it’s mounted on the far wall, hasn’t worked in a couple of months, and I can never hear it anyway.  But we do have a rockin’ speaker system that I can connect my iPhone music to through Bluetooth.  So I usually flip that thing on and crank up the classic rock that was once new rock when I first heard it.  Maybe I’m classic now, too.

I pulled up a playlist and hit shuffle.  The first artist was The Heavy, with a song called No Time.  My kind of tune.  After that came Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road.  After that song came Runaround  by Blues Traveler.  It was at that point I decided to try to remember all of the artists that played during my run.  I was surprised at first that I couldn’t remember the first artist.  It came back to me and then I began repeating them over and over.

Next up was Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Then came Billy Joel.  He was followed by a band called Grouplove.  After each new song, I would restart the process of repeating the artists in order, sometimes having momentary memory lapses, sometimes flipping Blues Traveler with the Boss, and often forgetting about Billy Joel.  But it would eventually come to me.

The next groups were Pearl Jam, Genesis, Robert Randolph & the Family, and Jack White.  Gerry Rafferty finished up my 5.25 mile/45 minute run with Baker Street.  

I must say that trying to remember the names of the artists was somewhat difficult, but also fun.  If one of my coworkers had walked in while I was repeating them over and over again, they would have thought I was strange.

But I got my planned run in, exercised my body and my mind, and actually enjoyed the dreadmill for once.  I think I will make this a habit.

The rest of the week was easy but also exciting.   I wasn’t able to swim due to spring break at the high school and the pool being closed.  That’s the easy part.  The exciting part is that my wife and I closed on a lake home in Minocqua, Wisconsin.  We were up there for the closing on Monday, and spent a couple of nights there.  I got in a couple of runs on the local roads and trail, and scoped out the riding options that look to be very hilly.  I can’t wait to get up there every month and do more training, especially some open water swimming in the lake!

IMG_6188
Can’t wait to enjoy the training perks that the new lake home has to offer.  Just need the ice to melt first.

TOTALS:

0 Swims – 0 yards this week / 3200 yards total

4 Bikes – 42 miles this week / 83 miles total

7 Runs – 25.5 miles this week / 45.5 miles total

 

Gunners-2-1
Week 2 for Ironman Lou is no longer due!

2014 Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report

Note from me: I originally posted this on a blog site called iamtri.com. Unfortunately, that website is no longer valid, but through some magic performed by my computer knowledgeable college son, he was able to recover my posts. I am sharing them here so that I may preserve my memories from my first Ironman 70.3. Chris

 

2014 Ironman Muncie 70.3 Race Report

July 12, 2014

My First IM 70.3!

For my third triathlon of 2014 and designated “A” race this year, I decided to pick a 70.3 distance, and since I live near Chicago I had three really popular choices to choose from:  Racine, Steelhead and Muncie.  After hearing about a horrible swim in Racine in 2013, and seeing Steelhead is in the same Lake Michigan body of water, I opted for a reservoir/lake located in the middle of Indiana – Muncie!  The only negatives that people had about this location was that the run course was hilly, and that it was hot.  Aren’t they all?  Signed up in February and goaded my buddies to join me.

Location 

The race is held just south of Muncie in the Prairie Creek Reservoir.  It is very rural and peaceful.  The lake is pretty large, with a great swim area and a new facilities building for washrooms and showers.  After hesitating on booking a hotel in Muncie, we opted to stay at the Hampton Inn in Anderson, which was a popular choice with many of the other racers.  It was about a half hour away from the race site, but the town had plenty of dining and other options.

img_3799

I watched this helicopter fly in and land on Thursday night.  I wish I knew there was helicopter parking, I would have flown in myself!  (Just kidding – triathletes can’t afford a helicopter.)

Friday/Race Day Eve

I got to Anderson late on Thursday and checked in.  My friends and I met up on Friday morning and started planning our day.  We opted for a short 20 minute run to settle our nerves and knock the cobwebs off of a rest day on Thursday.

We hopped into our cars and headed to the race expo.  We decided to take advantage of the optional bike racking on Friday to avoid one less issue on Saturday/Race day morning.  After picking up our packets, we stuck the stickers on our bikes and wheeled them into the transition area.

img_3800

The KX5 all racked and ready to go.

After checking out the expo, buying the expensive Ironman event merchandise and grabbing something to eat, we sat and listened to the race talk.  There were hints that the water temperature may be just cool enough for an unusual for Muncie, wetsuit legal swim.

Race Morning

Wetsuit legal!  Just barely, but many of us were relieved.  The wetsuit for me has become a security blanket of sorts, although I have done races without one.  Anytime I spend time looking at a big body of water, I get nervous.  Wetsuits take that anxiety away for me.

We got up at 4am and hit the road at about 5am.  I slept well, thanks to taking 1/2 of an Ambien that my physician buddy gave me.  But I did wake up twice due to stomach issues.  Spent a lot of time in the port-a-potty line, and was able to get things taken care of.

I set up my transition, pumped up my tires to 120 psi, and took some time to visualize the trip from the Swim Out to Bike Out.

img_3807
It has taken me some time, but I’m starting to see the benefit of not bringing all my junk to transition.

The race started at 7am, but my wave didn’t start until 7:55, so I had plenty of time to watch others and my other racing buddies start the race.

 

img_7861

Bride and bridesmaid.  I had my buddy Dave help me zip up an obviously too tight for me wetsuit.  

 

img_7874

Can you tell which triathlete needs prescription goggles to see?  That would be me.  Dave and I picking our swim line.

 

1.2 MILE SWIM

The water was a perfect temperature.  Usually I don’t do well in cold water, but this water was perfect.  I chose to swim the inside of the buoys until the turns and had no issues at all with other swimmers.  Zig-zagging was minimal.  I did start to get a calf cramp in my legs about 2/3’s of the way into the swim.  I just slowed down, kicked a little less and was fine.  I started to notice that I was catching the white and pink capped swimmers  that had started in waves 5 and 10 minutes ahead of me, respectively.  That was a positive sign for me that I was having a good swim.  Toward the last four or five buoys to go, I decided to pick up the pace.  I could see some athletes were standing, but I swam until my fingers hit bottom.

img_3808

Out of the water declaring “Piece of Cake!”  It really was the most uneventful swim.  

 

After getting out of the water I sat down and the volunteer wetsuit strippers (or peelers, as they prefer) yanked off my suit and it was a slogfest up to T1.  It was uphill on a rocky path, which was covered with thin carpet.  But everyone seemed to be walking.  I was like, “Hey, get out of the way!  This IS a race, right?”

SWIM TIME:  42:17

T1

After getting by the field of swim zombies heading to T1, I got to my bike and quickly dried my feet and head off and changed into the cycling gear.  Heading to the exit, I spied the toilets and went in.  I had to go while I was in the water, but just couldn’t do it while I was swimming.

T1 TIME:  5:48

56 MILE BIKE

Everything I heard about the bike course at Muncie was that it was flat and fast.  Nope.  I will give you fast, but it wasn’t flat.  I guess that I’m just too used to the flat rails-to-trails trail that I constantly ride at home.  That is flat.  The portion of the course that leads to and from the looped highway is 16 miles of hills, turns and potholes.  The race announcer said at the course talk that when prepping the bike course, they normally go through about 3 bags of cold patch asphalt. This course required more than 30!  Admittedly, it was a little rough, but easily rideable.

My heart rate monitor started chirping at me right away.  I was trying to stay in Z3, but was well into Z4 for the first 45 minutes or so.  Finally got it settled down and locked in.  The two loops were done on a closed highway, which was new for the course.  Two twenty mile loops.  The two aid stations rocked, helping me reload my bottles while I used the bathroom again.  Peeing was a good sign for me, as I was sweating quite a lot.  Since I was in a later start wave, I had a lot of fast riders zipping by me on my first loop as they finished their second loops.  It was a lot less crowded on my second loop.

 

img_7928

Heading out of T1 for 56 miles of “flat” riding.  Yeah, right.  My son and daughter are behind me in the green and pink shirts.  

Around 40 miles I had an issue.  A little before I had taken a drink of Gatorade and got back into an aero position and had a little acid reflux.  Nothing too bad, but gave me some discomfort.  But the real issue I had was I tried to eat a GU and I swallowed it a little rough, causing some coughing and throat irritation.  I dealt with that for at least ten miles.  I couldn’t get my throat cleared, and it was to the point I was gagging.  Finally got over it, but it was not fun.

img_8009

The last of the second loop on Highway 35.

The sun had finally made an appearance on an otherwise cloudy day.  I knew with the run coming up, having the sun out would not be good.  Fortunately, the skies cloudy over again.

img_7986

My kids watching the action on the bike course.  Well, Ashley was watching with her eyes closed.  

Coming in to T2 I had that feeling that 56 miles was hard.  Even though I had done a full Ironman less than a year before, I couldn’t fathom having to do another 56!  Glad I was coming in for the run.

BIKE TIME:  3:01:31

T2

The second transition was quick.  I grabbed the water bottle that I had in transition for rinsing my feet off, and used it on my head.  A good sweat rinse felt great.  I downed another GU, put on the visor, bib belt, and running shoes and I was off to get some sunscreen and run a half marathon.

T2 TIME:  3:16

13.1 MILE RUN

I was concerned I had pushed too hard on the bike and would suffer a little on the run, but in reality I felt great.  I got to the first aid station in 7:45 according to my watch.  I told my self to back it off.  I hit the first of several really great aid stations and hit the water, ice, cola, and pretzels to get me going down the road.  The aid stations are about a mile apart, and were well stocked and manned.  The volunteers were once again, pretty awesome.

At every aid station I would take ice and shove it into my trisuit to get my temperature down.  Seemed to work pretty good.  Take some ice water, drink the water and then shove the ice in my clothes.  I took a banana a couple of times, but mainly stuck with my eating a GU every half hour, plenty of fluids, and a salt capsule every hour or so.

Around the 5.5 mile area, I spotted my buddy Dave ahead and started to catch up.  Just before seeing him go by, his brother John was passing by heading back to the finish.  Big boost to seeing him.  John started in the wave before us with a 5 minute head start.  I knew I had work to do to try to catch him, so I gently started picking up the pace.  I passed Dave right around the turn around, and started in on the hills back to the finish.

The hills were brutal.  A lot of athletes were walking up them.  I just kept my turnover going and powered through.  At mile 9, I decided to start pushing.  I passed a lot of people those last 4 miles.  In all, I can only remember getting passed by one guy on the course, who was younger than me, and he had a good pace going.  The only other runner that passed me was a younger girl who outkicked me in the chute after I had already passed her a 1/2 mile earlier.

I had driven to the event site several times on that run course, so I knew I was getting close.  The few sprinkles that had started were more of a relief than a bother.  I was already soaked.  My feet squished when I took a step.  I got to the final climb and really pushed through that last hill, feeling relieved to see the tents and finishing chute.  I could see my family and hit my watch to see that I had easily broken 6 hours in my first 70.3 attempt.

RUN TIME:  1:53:18

     FINISH TIME:  5:46:10 (PR)

RECOVERY AND POST RACE

I knew I was spent and just wanted to walk a little.  I met up with my family and sat down in a chair.  After a few minutes I decided to head to the medical tent to see if I could get some Perform to drink, and after talking with the staff, I decided to enter and sit down.  They got me a wet towel and I put it around my neck, and started drinking the cold Perform.  Thank goodness it was Lemon-Lime flavor.  Before I knew it they had a blood pressure cuff on me and advised me that I was 100/70.  A little low, but not dead.  I told them that I had hydrated well, and had taken a salt capsule every hour.  The doctor offered an IV, but I turned it down as I was starting to come around.

Once out of the medical tent, I met my buddies who now had all finished.  We swapped stories and race recaps and ate a little from the athlete food tent.  After laying around for a while, we claimed our bikes from transition and headed back to the hotel in Anderson.

THANKS

Thanks go once again to my great family, who spent their weekend watching me do my thing.  It is truly a blessing to have such support.  The photos my wife and kids took were awesome.

Thanks also to Carla for setting up our hotel for the weekend and being such a great planner and photographer.

And finally, I know I wouldn’t have as much fun doing these tri’s without my lifelong friends, Dave and John, and also Dave’s son Alex.  I love the fun we have, and certainly the friendly competition.  Alex, being only 19 and on the U of Iowa Tri-Hawks team, will always come in first.  But with the finish order this year – John, me and Dave – we now have each had a race in which we have won.  That is pretty cool.

Another awesome triathlon experience, shared with my best buddies and family.  I am blessed.

 

2016 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

Lessons learned, lessons to relearn…

The Experience Triathlon club puts on a good event, and I enjoy racing at the Batavia Triathlon.  So I signed up back in March, and set my alarm for 3:40am in order to drive the 45 minutes to Batavia for the 6:30am start on June 12, 2016.

After a very hot Saturday, Sunday race day was blessed with a nice and cool upper 60’s degree morning.  Matter of fact, the water temperature of the quarry where the swim takes place was 74.5 degrees and warmer than the air temperature.  During the period for swim warm-up, I went to the water and waded in up to my knees.  Still felt cold for me, but as I stood there I could tell it wasn’t too bad.  I was on the fence about swimming without my wetsuit, but I saw many others putting their’s on, so I somewhat reluctantly pulled mine out of the bag and tried to wrestle it on.

I got in line around the quarry to prepare for the staggered time trial start and realized that I needed to set my new triathlon watch to the multi-sport setting.  Only I didn’t know how.  I knew I had seen it before, and how could one of the most triathlon dominate sports watches not have that function.  I must of pushed fifty different combination of buttons until I realized that I had to go Settings.  No kidding.  Unlearned Lesson #1:  Make sure to have a good understanding of your new device before using it in a race.

I was also thinking how to approach the swim.  Last time I did the race the swim did not go well.  I figured since I was a newly minted Ironman, I would just go all out for the 400 yards or so, and rock it.  I was hyperventilating by the first turn.  This time I forced myself to not run into the water and to really hold back.  It worked!  I swam really efficiently and got through the two lap swim actually swimming.  I say actually swimming because on the backside of the swim the water is very shallow and most will stand and walk that portion.  That’s what I HAD to do last time.  Not this time.  Lesson learned.

After exiting the swim area, I found a grassy area where I decided that I would shed my tri suit.  It came off very easily this time.  I really didn’t lose much time wrangling with the dumb thing.  Off to the bike and grab my bike gear.  Pretty smooth through that too.  When I got to the bike mount line is when the wheels came off – almost literally.  When I was driving in I could see that it was pretty breezy out, so I decided to remove the full disc wheel that I had put on the night before and replace it with my FLO 60 aero wheel.  Apparently I neglected to get the gears right and the bike was not liking me trying to peddle it that way.  People were looking at me.  It finally clicked into the correct gear and off I sped.  Unlearned Lesson #2:  Avoid a total newbie move and make sure that your bike is ready to ride right out of T1.

The wind was from the east and man did it make for a fast ride.  I was hitting 25mph easily and passing tons of riders.  I think I maxed out at one point at 32mph.  About a half mile out of T1 I realized that I didn’t know if I needed to push the Lap button on my watch, so I pushed it.  And then pushed it again.  After reviewing my watch activity it appears most of my ride was considered a transition.  Oops.  It was also then that I glanced down at my bike computer and realized it wasn’t on.  I got it on and it searched and found the satellites quickly, but I had forgotten to reset it from Saturday.  So I was essentially starting out with 85 miles on the odometer.  I reset it and reminded myself to get my head in the game.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  See Unlearned Lesson #2.

Here’s a link to my Garmin Connect race activity:  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1209927507

Only one faster rider passed me on the ride, a tall strong looking guy.  I was doing 25 or so and he was faster.  I figured I would get him on the run.  But that was it.  Nobody else passed me on the ride.  I had a GU early on the ride and another at the back end to help fuel the run.  Heading back in was tough as it was a double whammy of some uphills and the wind in my face.  But back into town provided some wind buffer and soon I was whipping around the turns and pulling into T2.

The bike to run transition was smooth as silk.  I repeated to myself out loud that I needed my shoes, my visor, my bib belt and off I ran to Run Out.  Just before getting there I forgot one thing – I had arm warmers on for the ride that I forgot to take off, so I decided at the last minute to toss them in transition just before the exit and figured I would pick them up after the race.

I forgot to hit the lap button again, and truthfully I was pushing it not knowing if I was supposed to, but I remembered about a tenth of a mile into the run.  I really just wanted to know my pace, which at that time was a 6:33 mile.  Now I didn’t want to know!  Not sure how I planned to hold that pace, but I kept it up for about 3.5 miles of the run.  The run was different this year as we went south on the trail instead of heading north.  This made for some crazy crowded trail.  Not only was there runners running in both directions, but there was some sort of bike event going on locally, so that added some crazy to the whole thing.  But as I kept charging ahead I realized I was passing a ton of triathletes.  I did not get passed by anyone during the run.  I just kept picking off one runner and the next.  I paid attention to the age group markings on the calves of the runners and found I was passing a lot of my age group peers, which made me feel great.

At the 3.5 mile mark there was some switchback type turns and a little hill and bridge that kind of took the wind out of me and slowed me down.  But I knew that I basically had a half mile to go and the race was ahead of me and not behind me.  I finished strong into the finishing chute for an unofficial watch time of 1:18:21.  This is a 6 minute PR over my 2014 time!  I was shocked.  Learned Lesson #2:  Know the course well and trusting your running ability.  Always bet on the runner!

The hard part was post race, being slightly wet on a cool morning – I was uncomfortable.  There was quite a wait for the final finishers to wrap up their races, so I ate some banana, pizza, a cookie and downed another water bottle.  I approached the tent where the timing guys were hanging out and was told they would be posted soon.  About an hour later (!), they posted them.  I waited in line to get a look and found my name on the first page, and learned that I had finished 3rd in the M50-54 age group!  This race was a USAT Nationals Age Group Qualifier, so by finishing 3rd I should be qualified!  I may not be able to go to it, but it is always nice to know that I had qualified.  Now I had to wait until the end to get my award.

IMG_5613
As I type this, I realized she gave me the wrong award.  Oh well, I did actually get 3rd in the M50-54 according to the results.  And the guy did call my name.  The girl passing out the awards was in the F50-54 and had just won an award herself.  I think she was distracted.

I knew that transition was going to close at 11:30am, so I jogged the mile back to transition.  All of my stuff was there thankfully, even though the place was mostly cleared out.  I grabbed my bag and went into the lockers and took a shower because I was starting to get rank.  I packed up my stuff and walked back to the car.  I was 5 miles or so away when I realized that my favorite pair of arm warmers were still laying in transition by the Run Out.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  Don’t ever say to yourself that “I’ll remember” to go back and do something!  Now I am out my favorite pair of arm warmers.

So, to sum up the race itself I would say that packet pick-up was a waste of an afternoon driving to Geneva on Friday to get a bib and two stickers, a shirt and a swim cap.  Next time use the morning pick-up, I was there in plenty of time to get it.  Also, the new run course finishing at the Batavia VFW was way too crowded and busy for the racers, and the finish was way too far from transition.  Hopefully they will get some negative feedback on that and move it back to finishing downtown.  And if I do finish and get an A/G award, head back to transition, take a shower, pack up all of your junk and then go back to the awards.  There will be plenty of time.

Good race, nice day.  I’ll be back.  That’s a lesson that I have learned.

http://results.bataviatriathlon.org.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/triathlon.html