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

Gunners-2-1
Feeling stronger every day

 

 

 

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!!!

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

Gunners-2-1
Happy Mother’s Day

Great Finish to Week 7

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 7 – May 1 > May 7

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

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

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

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My son winning his heat in the 1500M run.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

TOTALS:

1 Swim – 1600 yards this week / 13200 yards total

3 Bikes – 65miles this week / 353 miles total

7 Runs – 32 miles this week / 185 miles total

 

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

Focusing on the “A” Race

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 6 – April 24 > April 30

I had never heard of the term “A” race until I started doing triathlons in 2012. As a runner I made every race I entered a priority and went for it each time. But when my buddies and I started our journey into Ironman races, I quickly picked up on the idea that the focus of your racing year should be devoted to the race that means the most to you, and in our case the Ironman. Pick your main goal race of the year, make it your focus, your “A” race as they say, and fit in all the other stuff around that goal. Sounds easy, but I’m terrible at it.

My biggest issue is the dumb running streak I started in 2015.  I have yet to miss a day of running at least a mile. So when my training plan for my “A” race says no running on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, well I just cannot not run. So I do the bare minimum, usually just a mile and try not to derail myself.  So far it hasn’t hurt me.

But a few other things have tried to dangle a carrot in front of me, trying to lure me away from the “A” race training plan. I found out my church is looking for members to play on a coed softball team. I would seriously consider it if it wasn’t for the fact that the last time I played I broke a finger playing 16″ softball, and gave myself a pebble infused skin abrasion sliding into third wearing shorts, a pain that lingered for weeks. It was easy to turn that down.

The hardest thing to for me to turn down is road running races. A local 5K runs right through my neighborhood, and the first running of it a couple of years ago I competed and finished 5th overall. Very tempting to run it this year, but it was only Week 3 of training. I skipped it. Later I found out that the winner won with a time I could have competed against. It’s not often that I get an opportunity to win a race. Oh well.

Saturday there was a local half marathon, a race that I finished 12th overall last year and 4th in my age group (That’s another story in itself! You can read it here:  https://anamazingrun.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/2016-frankfort-half-marathon-race-report/).  Another very tempting race for me to do.  I remembered really enjoying myself running it last year, but I do remember how sore I was for a couple weeks after running it. I did not want a repeat of that, seeing that I have been dealing with a sore high hamstring in my left leg. So I decided to skip this race as well. I don’t need to pay $70 to do a training run, one that would be 5 miles longer than my plan calls for.  And the rainy cold weather made the decision much more palatable. I checked the race results for that race as well – I probably would have finished 7th based on last year’s time. Oh well, again.

Knowing that there will be other tempting races to do, I learned that I can skip the ones that might not be in the best interest of my “A” race goal, and keep my eyes on the prize – another Ironman finish.  Just wish it wasn’t so hard to do.

Week 6 Wrap-up

Two weeks in a row that I got all of the training in! A new habit and streak is forming! The weather was not perfect this week, and next week looks pretty uninspiring. I shared a swim lane with another Ironman that I know from the area. She did IM Wisconsin in 2010 and is doing it in the fall. Even with just doing one last year seems like starting over for me, so she must really feel like its all new again.

I got outside for the bikes and runs for most of the week except for the weekend. Did the two hour ride on a stationary bike while watching episodes of Breaking Bad. I hope my life never goes off the rails like it is doing for Walt. But I can certainly empathize with the guy sometimes.

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 3200 yards this week / 11600 yards total

4 Bikes – 60 miles this week / 288 miles total

7 Runs – 28 miles this week / 153 miles total

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Week 6 – 1/5 of the way there!

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

Gunners-2-1
WEEK 5 – 1/6th of the training is done!

Texting and Ironman Training

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 3 – April 3 > April 9

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During last year’s training for Ironman Lake Placid, our group of five buddies decided to get a group chat going through texting.  Seeing that we don’t all live that close to each other, it was a good way to talk shop and build support for each other.

But it quickly turned into a competition.  To be the first one done with the day’s workout was always a good feeling.  And to send that text saying “Day Done,” was just as fulfilling as hitting the stop button on the watch at the end of the workout.  It also became quite annoying when the late-night finisher texted “Day Done” at 11:58 pm.  I finally figured out that there was a “Do Not Disturb” feature for the group and switched it to ON.

I thought that maybe we would not be as text happy this time around, but I was wrong.  We must all have iPhones, because there is a new feature where you can add a response on a text, adding a thumbs up, or a couple of exclamation points, or even a “HA HA” if it struck you as funny.  This just makes it easier to respond to a text when you might not have done so before.

The interesting thing about the texting is that we have a group of guys that are supportive of each other and keep each other honest in our training for another Ironman.  We all know what the day calls for, but sometimes you can’t do it.  And even though you get creative and arrange to fit it in another day, you still feel obligated to tell the group that you missed it or had to do something else.  The text is sent, making it known to the others that you fully intend not to let the others down and will definitely get it done.  We hold each other accountable, and we hold ourselves accountable.

It can get annoying getting a text from the group that their day is done, and yours is still in the works.  But if it takes a text to get us to the finish line together, I’m all for it.

Day Done > send ↑

Week 3 Wrap-up

The weather is starting to get better, with the weekend climbing into the 60’s and 70’s.  The pool was closed for Tuesday due to Election Day voting going on at the school.  Not sure how that is sufficient reasoning to close the pool, but they did it anyway.  And I was away at a conference Wednesday through Friday, so I missed the Thursday swim.  So here I am being accountable once again for missing the swim training.  Just like the texts we share with the group, it’s a just a little note to remind myself that I need to hold myself accountable and get it done.  It’s early yet, and with the weather getting better, I will have my own pool open soon and won’t be at the mercy of the school schedule.

Cycling and running went well, with a few indoor runs and trainer rides.  I am starting to get that sore calf issue again, along with some calf cramps that seem to be common when I start adding mileage.  I know that it will eventually even out.

The last thing on my mind has been my weight.  It seems like I struggled to keep the weight off in January/February/March, getting up around 175 pounds.  I have never been that high ever.  The puzzling thing is that I am still doing at least a run every day and watching my intake.  But it just snuck up on me.  After my long ride on Saturday, I weighed myself and was glad to see I was back under 170.  I hope to see sub-165 soon.

TOTALS:

0 Swims – 0 yards this week / 3200 yards total

4 Bikes – 52 miles this week / 135 miles total

7 Runs – 27.75 miles this week / 73.25 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Happy 19th Birthday to my middle child, Ashley!  Nice way to wrap up the week!