Category: XXX Ironman Training


Here are my Facebook posts during the race as well as a video that shows what was going on in Italy last September/October…

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 11

Day 12

Day 15

Day 16

Day 27

Day 30

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ As you can see I struggled throughout the entire 30 days. I am fortunate to have raced with the best ultra-triathletes in the world. The volunteers were terrific, they had their own obstacles to overcome to help all the athletes. I learned a lot and am looking forward to racing with these athletes again in the near future. Here is a video by Judy showing the race and is the trailer to the upcoming movie, “Beyond the Breaking Point.”

 

http://youtu.be/VW2kcSaU-lE

Ultra Training Weekend

This is my biggest training session 3 weeks out from the triple iron triathlon. For the last week I’ve been training at high altitude in Keystone, Colorado and have flown back to Chicago late Thursday night to begin this massive training effort on Friday. We were planning on starting around 11 a.m. but got a late start around 11:45. With me is Judy, my wife, to film and our 2 trusty tri-sherpas, Amber and Mary. It started at Ohio Street Beach…

The Swim

Preparing to swim big

I was hoping for calm waters for the 5 mile swim and it was. The water was around 65 degrees so I wore a wetsuit and neoprene cap to keep warm. Since the city took out the buoys, we measured the distance along the walkway with the GPS. I settled into a rhythm and after 3 miles I was falling behind the 36 minute per mile pace I was looking for. I was a minute per mile behind so I pushed hard on mile 4 and made up a minute. I felt good being able to push without feeling like I was going to fall apart. It might be from the altitude training. I was drinking a protein / electrolyte drink and eating gels every mile. I finished up around 3 hours and 5 minutes. I quickly changed in order to get warm and prepared for a long, long bike ride.

The Bike

The plan was to ride through the city west to Oak Park and pick up the bike path, follow that up to McHenry and then ride the roads to Ottawa Lake, Wisconsin. I was going to ride past the lake and circle around to make the mileage 200. This would take all night and I would need to get to the lake in time for the 50 mile trail race that would start at 5 a.m. the next morning. Riding through the city at rush hour and not completely sure of the best way made our progress slow. I met our sherpas early to switch glasses since it was cloudy and I needed my yellow lensed glasses for better visibility. Heading west took us through Garfield Park, a really seedy part of the city. Everyone there was either selling drugs, buying drugs or doing drugs, except for me in my bike clothes on my bike and a car following me with a video camera hanging out the window. Yeah, I got some weird looks. I made it to the bike path about an hour slower than expected and planned on meeting the crew about 20 miles further in St. Charles. The bike path was gravel which slowed me down but it was direct and I didn’t have to drive in traffic. I got to the rendezvous point fairly quick – too quick since my support crew wasn’t there yet. I called to let them know exactly where to find me and my phone was just about dead from using Google Maps to get through the city. When they arrived, I ate some real food, gave them my phone to charge and headed back to the trail. Our next meeting point would be close to our place in Lake in the Hills. Soon the path would change to pavement so I gave them an aggressive meeting time. I wanted them to be there when I arrived since it was getting cold out and stopping for long periods made me cold. I turned on my lights and charged up the path to get warm again. Pushing hard warmed me up but the fast speeds created more wind chill. I was cold either way. I got to Lake in the Hills around 8:30 and my crew was there ready to take care of me. What a crew! It’s not easy to take care of someone all day and all night. Our routine was to put a blanket on me to keep me warm, fill my water bottles and feed me. At this point I changed into my long riding pants and added a long sleeve shirt. It was barely enough to keep warm. Our next stop was the end of the bike path in McHenry. Off I went into the night and when I reached Crystal Lake, I came up on 2 police officers walking the path. They stopped me and asked what I was doing on the path. I told them about my training and the race while accidentally shining my light in their eyes. They said the bike path was closed after dark but to go ahead and stay on it for the little bit I had left before switching to roads. I got to McHenry without any more run-ins and my crew was there with a really bright light. I saw it from a mile away and as I got closer it nearly blinded me. My glassed diffused the light and made it hard to see where I was going.

Heading back to the bike path

They were using it to video me as I got to the car. Again, I was covered with the blanket, bottles were filled and I ate what I could. From here they were going to follow me in the car to Lake Geneva. I knew how to get there and showed them the route I was planning. Unfortunately, just down the road, the bridge was out and I decided I would go on the gravel path to Richmond and start on the roads from there. Here’s where the confusion started. I thought they were going to meet me in Richmond and follow me to Lake Geneva. They thought I was going to ride to Lake Geneva and meet them there – maybe by the the Starbucks. And I forgot to get my charged phone back from them. So…., when I got to Richmond they weren’t there. I started riding but then turned back. I found a guy who let me use his phone and called Judy. No answer. I left a message that I was heading to Lake Geneva and for them to catch up. I started riding again and made a couple of wrong turns. Highway B was Main street in one town so I missed that and had to back track. Another road was missing it’s sign so I ended up taking a different route than I told the girls. All the while I was kicking myself for not taking my phone at the last stop. I finally got to Lake Geneva around midnight and found my way to Starbucks. Not there. I asked another guy to use his phone and he obliged. This time Judy answered and they made their way to Starbucks. I got my phone from them and went through the routine again. I could see the weariness was creeping up on them. Judy had napped and Mary was going to try to get a nap in too. Amber’s an insomniac so she was good to keep driving throughout the night. I felt pretty good at this point but the longer I stopped, the harder it was to get going again. This stop was a half hour and it was hard to take the blanket off and get on the bike again. I calculated that I was about 115 miles into it. I forgot to start my Garmin in the city and my bike computer was acting up earlier in the ride but I knew from mapping out the route what the approximate mileage was. I knew I wouldn’t get in 200 miles so I thought it would be better to go straight to the race start at Ottawa Lake and if I wanted to add on at that point I could do that. So off we went to the lake. From here on out they followed me with their hazards on. This was really nice. I felt a sense of someone else out there with me instead of riding alone in the dark. And the extra light from their headlights was helping since my lights were starting to die out. At this point I started using Monster for the caffeine which helped me stay alert. They navigated using a GPS so I didn’t need to worry about that either. I could just concentrate on riding. That was great! The last 10 miles to the lake were really severe hills which normally I like but these just kept coming, one after another. We pulled into Ottawa Lake at 2:45 a.m. with around 150 miles. We checked out the race start and some volunteers were starting to set up already. I knew the girls needed some sleep so we looked for campsites to set up a tent but didn’t find any area that we could pitch a tent without getting a site. We discussed going back out but decided that it wasn’t worth heading out for another hour to hour and a half. I would need to start getting my running gear on and preparing for the run around 4:15. Plus my throat was getting sore like I was starting to get sick. So we ended up sleeping in the car for an hour.

The Run

50 Mile Run

I woke up before the alarm at 4:15 and got my running gear bag, headed to the bathrooms and changed for the race. That hour of sleep totally re-energized me and my sore throat was gone. I came back to the car, locked up my bike and we all headed to the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Trail Race. A bunch of my friends were coming to do this race and I ran into a few of them on the way to pick up my packet. I was planning on running with Brandi since we thought we would be running the same pace. Robin and her told me they talked to Dean Karnazes about meeting me and he said yes. So, the race started and off we went in the dark at 5 a.m. The first 8 miles went good but my heart rate was kind of high so I stayed back a bit and Brandi pushed on. She was running about 10 to 20 seconds per mile faster and steadily pulled away. It was really nice to have the sun come up since I had been going through the night. It really brought me hope. I pretty much stayed at a 12:30 minute mile for the first half. My energy level was good and I stayed conscious of keeping my pace and heart rate low. I wanted to make sure I would finish the race. After the 28 mile aid station, I felt like I could push harder since I wasn’t getting tired. I told my crew (tri-sherpas) that I needed a Monster at the next aid station. So I began to give it some gas. I caught up to Robin and Brandi right before the 35 mile aid station. Robin was running with her so I drank my Monster and kept pushing to see what my body would do. A couple of weeks before I ran another 50 miler and was able to push the last half hard enough to negative split by almost an hour. I started to believe I could do that again since I only had 15 miles left. I hit a flat section and was pushing an 8 minute mile where I caught up to Mark and Annastasia. At this point I noticed that even though I was running hard, my heart rate was only getting into the 140’s. Every now and then it would go higher, but for the most part it stayed low. I only had 2 aid stations left so I kept my pace high and saw Mike and Eric a little while later. They said that Joy and Julie were a little further up.

Done Running!

It took me probably another half hour to catch up to them and by this time there was only 1 aid station left. At that aid station they said there was about 4 miles left. I sped up to nearly a full sprint as the trail went downhill. I was running about a 7 to 7:30 minute mile when I passed a guy that started running with me. He asked if this was my first 50 and I said, “No, is this your first?” He said yes and mentioned that he would never run this fast if I hadn’t come along. With 1 mile left, there were some hills which were very tough to get through while sprinting and then it opened up to the road. The last half mile was on the road and I was still running in the low 7’s. I was surprised I could keep that pace and thought it was probably the result of being at high altitude for the last week. As I turned off the road to go towards the finish chute, the guy who was trailing me for the last few miles pushed past me and took the win. I crossed completely exhausted and was so happy the long effort was over. I really believed in the beginning that I could only finish at a slow pace because of the swim and bike throughout the night, but taking the risk of pushing the last 22 miles changed that and gave me the confidence that I can do well on little or no sleep. My finish time was 9:51 with a negative split of 1:09.

Afterwards

Me and Dean Karnazes

After getting some food and sitting for a while, I was feeling better and got ready to interview with Dean Karnazes. When the camera turned on, he turned the tables and said he was going to interview me. That was really cool. He asked about the triple iron triathlon that this weekend was geared toward as a training session. He was saying it was crazy but the guy just ran across America this year! I think he may fall in the same crazy category. I fell asleep on the way home and got ready for a 3 a.m. wake up call to catch an early flight back to Colorado to finish my altitude training out there. This weekend ends not only the toughest 2 week training block, but the culmination of this year’s training for the ultra triathlon that will happen in 3 short weeks. This last week I swam around 13k, biked around 400 miles and ran about 78 miles in over 53 hours. Most of this was at an altitude of 9000′. Now I have to let go, rely on whatever training I’ve done and begin my 3 week taper.

Me and the NorthFace50 gang

After yesterday’s long training we slept in. And ate. And napped. And ate again. We were planning 2 short sessions for later in the day and we put it off as long as possible. Online, we found Beat’s (another competitor from Switzerland) training log and seeing the volume of training he was doing got us on our feet. I was going to do a 2 hour recovery spin on the indoor bike trainer and Kamil was going for a 26 mile (recovery?) rollerblade. This was the first time we didn’t train together. We figured out how to turn the tv on (remember when you just had to hit the power button? (does that make me old?)) and I started spinning. Kamil left the same time. I found Universal Sports (yes!) and they had the Tour in Spain called the Vuelta, I think. These guys were going up grades as steep as 23%! The longer I rode, the more I felt like I was suffocating. Even with a low heart rate (115) I was struggling to get through those 2 hours. I decided to skip the swim and do that as my last session tomorrow before flying back to Illinois for my big weekend. Kamil got caught in the rain and warmed up in a restaurant before coming back. He was exhausted and frozen and crashed by the fire immediately.

Sleeping by the Fire

Sleeping by the Fire

Today’s training made the last 2 look like a warm up.

Session 1
Our first session was a trip to the grocery store – on foot. We got up around 6 and were out the door by 7. Kamil had mentioned that it was only a couple of miles away so we took backpacks and a bottle to drink for our short run there and back. The store was actually over 6 miles away which is very similar to what happened the first day here (refer to day 1 post). Anyway, we got a cartload of groceries and loaded them into our packs, being very careful to make the weight even (neither of us wanted to be short-changed on our training run). Our packs ended up to be about 20 pounds each and we failed to realize that we ran downhill to get to the store. Oh yeah, don’t forget that we only brought 1 bottle to drink based on Kamil’s convoluted idea of “a couple of miles.” We ran what we could and walked the bigger hills and by the time we were 2.5 miles from home, we were just about out of water (even with rationing) and Kamil bonked. We ended up using the food in our packs to get us through the run and somehow a jar of jelly from my pack made it into Kamil’s pack. Not cool dude. During our 13 mile run (just a couple of miles…) we wondered about how tough it must’ve been for cavemen to gather and carry food for their families all the time. They would probably laugh at us. And so would sherpas. They regularly carry much more for longer and at higher elevations. We didn’t think this session was that tough after that conversation.

Session 2
We were planning on doing the same ride that we did yesterday – to Vail and back. It was long enough and had plenty of climbs, so after procrastinating after our 2.5 hour run, we headed out at 1:30. We did the ride yesterday in 6.5 hours so we knew we would end up in the dark on the way back. Cool, I get to test my new bike lights. The same beautiful scenery and challenging mountain climbs greeted us today. It was tougher since we ran beforehand and weren’t fully recovered from yesterday’s ride. But we ended up riding the 80 miles in 6.5 hours – the same as yesterday. The temps did drop with the rain so we put all of our layers on and rode with lights until 8:30.

Session 3
Getting our asses to the pool was not easy after nearly getting hypothermia from the bike ride but I convinced Kamil it would help repair his muscles. I got my 2000 meters in and Kamil got his 3000. We finally achieved our goal of 10 hours of training. It took us over 15 hours to do it, but we stuck to it even when we didn’t want to. Tomorrow we sleep in a little and dial it back to 2 sessions.

Kamil bonks and eats our groceries

Kamil bonks and eats our groceries

Altitude Training – Day 2

Best Bike Ride

Best Bike Ride

I can sum up today’s training in 2 phrases. Late start and badass bike ride.
Our 5 a.m. start ended up being 10:30. Our bodies told us we needed more sleep so we did. I had a bad headache from the altitude and knew I wouldn’t get in a quality session without resting more. We also felt we didn’t need our morning run and that a long bike ride would be more beneficial. So we geared up for a ride from Keystone to Vail and back.

The Ride
Today’s ride was without exception the best in my life. We took a route that led us over 4 mountain passes. In Colorado they take care of the cyclists by building and maintaining a bike path system that is really nice. The first climb wasn’t too bad. We did have to add and remove clothing as the temps are colder at higher elevations. It can get very cold going dowhill at 50 m.p.h. at altitudes around 12,000′. The scenery was stunning and that is something we don’t have in Chicago. Going down the first mountain pass was pretty scary. The signs told us to take the entire car lane since we would be going at least as fast as traffic. Since I was using Kamil’s bike I started to wonder if he had it serviced lately… A flat at those speeds could easily kill us. Anyhow, it was really exciting to do what the pros at The Tour de France experience. Our second climb was Vail pass and was tougher. We stayed together on this climb and were looking forward to lunch in Vail. Going down Vail pass was safer since the bike path was a 2 lane road closed to traffic. Kamil’s extra weight (20 lbs ?) got him down the mountain almost a mile ahead of me. It was about an 8 mile descent. Then we cruised through the very upscale Vail and stopped at a German Restaurant to eat. We probably ate more than we should’ve but managed to get back on our bikes to head back. Going back up to Vail pass from this side was a real killer of a climb. After a steady 7 mile climb to the bottom of the mountain, we went up that 8 mile beast one pedal stroke at a time. On the road was graffiti that encouraged the pros like “go big George (Hincapie)” and others like Levi Leipheimer. One named “Cookie” and I couldn’t figure out who that was. We figured it was from the Tour of Colorado. Anyhow, I started to pull away from Kamil when I spotted a guy ahead of me and tried to catch him. I eventually did and then about a mile later I caught another rider from the corner of my eye coming up from behind me. I wasn’t sure if it was the guy I had passed earlier since I didn’t want to completely turn around. For the next few miles up the mountain I could hear his gears change about 50′ behind me which pushed me to go really hard to stay in front. On the last steep section before our turn off I could hear him really close to me so I upshifted 4 gears and jumped on the pedals. I pulled away from him and stopped at the turn off to wait for Kamil. We continued on to the top of the pass where we put our jackets on and went down a steep and technical descent. Down, down we went and our fingers became stiff from gripping the brakes at tight corners and the cold wind seeping through our gloves. We made it to the base of our last climb in record time. We probably averaged 30+ mph for about an hour and a half. But then we had the last climb. This was a few miles long which was mentally tough to get through at the end of our ride. I started to bonk at the bottom of the hill and also had too many layers on from our long descent of the previous mountain. I unzipped as much as I could and pushed on. I started to come unglued about halfway up and started laughing uncontrollably. I’m not sure what else I was shouting out – I have blocked it from my memory. I pushed through my laughing spasm and then I noticed something wet in the corner of my mouth. I was drooling! At the top I told Kamil I needed to eat something, which I did, and then continued down to Keystone. Total miles were 82 in 6.5 hours. I have a new respect for the riders that race in the mountains, like dealing with low oxygen, changing temps, the brutal climbs and harrowing descents. It was challenging to get motivated to do our next session in the pool. When one of us says we’re going it forces the other to go too. That is a huge advantage to training with Kamil out here.

The Swim
Swimming after our other sessions really helps with recovery so once we do it, we are glad we did. I did 2000 meters and Kamil knocked out 3000. We measured the pool to make sure since its only a 15 meter pool as opposed to 25 meters. Its also a challenge to turn in the shallow end which is 3′. It can be done without scraping the bottom if you curl yourself in a ball. That, however, causes some really nice cramping, which I’ve learned to swim through. I jumped in the hot tub after, while Kamil jumped in the lake. We don’t do everything the same. I felt much better today with some good rest and better acclimatized. I’m hoping tomorrow we can get a little crazy with some long sessions!

After arriving in Keystone, Colorado the evening before, we got up this morning to start our high altitude training for 2 weeks. Keystone has an elevation of 9000′. I woke up on the verge of getting a headache but felt better after drinking some hot tea. Just unloading our gear the day before felt like a workout and we were breathing heavy. We attempted to get in the pool early for our first session but found out they don’t open till 8. So we went back and figured a bike ride would be good – until we realized that no one brought a tool kit so we could change the seat height for me. I was using one of Kamil’s bikes. That left running which is a for sure thing since all you need to run is a pair of shoes. Yes we brought those.

Session 1

Top of the Mountain

We thought it would be a good idea to start off our training with a bang by running up the mountain at Keystone. We could compare our times today with our times at the end of our trip to see how much we’ve improved. My heart rate was way up there the first few miles – I think my body was in shock, but it stabilized after a while. We alternated between running and walking depending on the severity of the grade. Kamil had mentioned that he thought it was just a couple of miles to the top… After 5 miles it felt like the 70th mile of an ultra. And it kept going. And going. Finally we got to the top at 7.5 miles. It was nice to use different muscles going down and not have our heart rates skyrocketing – except 7.5 miles of constant downhill wreaks havoc on your feet and quads. We stopped in town and bought a tool kit for the bike so we could get going on the bike after running. The last 2 miles were very tough, we were both bonking at the end of the run. We were burning a lot more calories than normal at this elevation so keeping fueled was to be a top priority. As soon as we got back we made a huge breakfast and took a nap for a couple of hours. Our 15 mile run had taken 3.5 hours including the stop for the tool.

2700' of elevation gain

2700' of elevation gain

 

 

 

 

 

Session 2

Our nap lasted a little longer than expected but we both knew we needed every bit of it. We both had been running on almost no sleep the week prior to coming out here. We ate again, filled our hydration bladders and adjusted our bikes before heading out. But then Kamil noticed that one of his tire spokes was loose. You guessed it – we didn’t have a spoke wrench. So back to the bike shop for an adjustment and off we went. There are so many bike trails in this area, you could get rid of your car and just bike everywhere. Next to lakes with sailboats, through high mountain passes, this place has it all. Except for oxygen! Our 45 mile bike ride took us 3.5 hours, just before dark. Again we ate when we got back and headed to the pool for our last session of the day.

Biking in Paradise

Biking in Paradise

Session 3

 When we got to the pool, we got in the hot tub which almost proved to be a fatal mistake. We almost bagged the swim session but then decided to just get it done. The pool is only 15 meters long so we tested out a tether for swimming so you can swim in place attached to a bungie cord. We changed to laps instead and got in 1000 meters before getting back in the hot tub. We ate again after that and made our plan for tomorrow’s training sessions. Today was about 8 hours of training but tomorrow we’re planning on 10 hours by starting earlier. So at 5 a.m. we will be starting up again.

Stationary Swimming

Stationary Swimming

Week 4/15

Finally a recovery week! Usually it takes a few days to feel any relief from easing back on the training so the first few days were still a struggle for me to get my training in. The sessions aren’t super long (yet) but the daily volume that adds up tends to slowly wear me down. That’s part of the challenge of noticing signs of overtraining. It’s gradual. Here’s week 4 from July 18 – 24.

Tuesday

2k in the pool with the dragsuit. Standard drills. I’ve been trying to focus on breathing on both sides in order to keep my form balanced. 1 hour of spinning at somewhat high intensity. After racing on Sunday it’s better for me to do tempo rather than intervals. My 3 mile transition run is at a slow 10 minute mile pace.

Wednesday

I did not want to do any training today. I put off my 3k pool swim until lunchtime. My main set had 50 meter sprints with 50 meter recovery laps alternatively. Then I nearly skipped the bike ride. I had 40 miles to do and wasn’t motivated at all. I used a lifeline and called a friend who said, “call me after your bike ride.” I would’ve hated to call back later and say, “I skipped the ride,” so I went out – during the hottest part of the day! This time procrastination really got me good. High 90’s with a heat index over 100. I was drinking much more than I normally do and began to run out of water on the way back. With about 6 miles to go and completely dry, I noticed a bottle of water in the road. It had been opened and some was missing. It seemed like someone may have dropped it by accident. I hope you don’t look at me differently but yes, you guessed it. I drank it. All of it. And it was good. 17 mph average in windy conditions.

Thursday

Early run with the run club for 5.25 miles and 2 hills sprinkled in. Slow pace of 12 minute miles. Then my mandatory weight session for an hour. Later in the day it was hot again and I planned on running with the ultra group. With a much different attitude than the day before I opted for 2 loops in the evening for 9.5 miles. Had to walk the last single track section because the darkness had descended on us.

Friday

Woke up to thunderstorms but after checking The Weather Channel, it appeared we were safe in the city for our open water swim. During my 2 miles, I saw 2 oriental women doing backstroke. I see them every year down there and they are always doing the backstroke. They seem to appear out of nowhere and disappear. Jeff and I thought last year they may have been figments of our imaginations. Still not sure…

Saturday

After 1k of easy swimming in the pool, I’m relegated to the indoors from the rain to do 2.5 hours in the spin room and 3 miles on the treadmill. Good thing it’s a recovery week. I would hate to do a long ride in the spin room!

Sunday

Rain again! 1 hour of easy spinning followed by 12 miles on the treadmill. Treadmill running doesn’t seem to drive me crazy like it does to others. Cranked out 8:50 minute miles average and then an hour of weights. This is the first week of doing weights twice. It’s good for me, right?

Overall, this week of training didn’t allow me to completely recover, but I wasn’t exhausted by the end of it either. I went from 21 hours of training in week 3, to 18.5 hours of training this week. Just enough to briefly catch my breath before next training block. This next training block will resemble the peak training weeks just before taper for a single ironman. I’m guessing around 24 hours of training for each of the next two weeks.

Another week down! This one was definitely harder to get through than the others. The good part – week 4 is a recovery week!

Tuesday

Unlike last week, I didn’t get up at 3:30 in the morning. Instead, I slept in and forced myself to the gym for 2k of swimming, 1.5 hours of spinning and a 5 mile transition run. Just a little more volume than last week.

Wednesday

Another day in the pool with the drag suit on for 3k. I avoid doing sprints in the pool so that’s what I did for my main set. I figure if I don’t like it, it’s good for me. I’m hoping it will make me a faster swimmer. Then, out for a 55 mile bike ride – just a little longer than last week. And a little faster at 17.5 mph average.

Thursday

To make sure I actually am doing hill “repeats,” I did 3 this morning with a total mileage of 5.5 miles. Yes, that’s 1 hill repeated 2 more times for those of you who are confused. I finish it off with an hour of weights. I’m still doing 2 sets of 10 reps. Since I’ve been racing on Sundays, I’ve only been able to do weights once a week so I’m making sure to get it in.

Friday

Up early to head downtown for a swim at Ohio Street Beach in Chicago. Hands down the best open water swimming but it takes some time to get there. One of my guilty pleasures of training. I like it because there are a bunch of triathletes swimming there on any given morning, the water is clean and there are rough waters at times, which I like to swim in. About 2 miles and my training is done for the day.

Saturday

An easy 1.5k in the pool (easy meaning no drag suit or drills) and then out with the bike club. I figure it’s nice to ride with others when the miles get higher and going an easier pace is good for me since I have a race tomorrow. We do 63 miles through flat areas and narrowly avoid the rain. 17.6 mph average. After the ride I head up to Racine with Judy to drop off my bike into transition for the half ironman tomorrow.

Club ride!

Sunday

Race day! Overall, it was a solid race for me. Time – 5:01. To see the race report, click here. Now, time for a rest day and a recovery week.

Week 2/15

July 4 – 10. Week 2 of my triple ironman training! This week was full on whereas last week was kind of a lead into the madness. Not including the lead in week, I’ll be doing 2 hard weeks with the 3rd week being a recovery week. I’m eating all the time and starting to lose a couple of pounds. Here’s the scoop.

Tuesday

3:30 a.m. wake up to get to the gym and in the water by 4:15. I don’t think my body is very happy with that. 2k swim with a drag suit doing drills takes me about an hour. I only work on form in the water Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Then I head to the spin class at 5:30. This is supposed to be my high intensity bike and I’ll build up to 2 hours, but this week is only an hour. I finish it off with a transition run. I try to do this within 10 minutes of the spin class. It’s designed to be relatively easy and short. Today it’s 3 miles at a 10:09 pace.

Wednesday

Another day of drills in the pool in the drag suit to work on form. This one is 3k and then a 50 mile bike ride up north. I get lost in Bull Valley about 90 % of the time and this is no exception. I remember why I call it Death Valley. Some of the roads are really bad and it’s quite hilly so it’s not uncommon to get going down a big hill and go through “pothole heaven” at ridiculous speeds with water bottles flying out of their cages. Somehow I white knuckle my way through it and find my way home.

Thursday

My “high intensity run” day is 5 miles with a hill repeat. A friend points out that only one hill is not a hill repeat and that knocks me down a notch. Then I remember I just ran 100 miles less than 3 weeks prior and I’m ok with my one little hill. Then to my least favorite part of training – weights! This blog may help keep me accountable to the weight room. I start with 2 sets of 10 reps which will build over the next few weeks to 3 sets of 15 reps. I’m lifting about 65% of max and do the entire body with some core work too. 1 hour is all I can stand. Later, I feel like getting another run in so I head over to the trails and run with the ultra group another 5 miles. This is a nice easy pace and it’s so beautiful with everything getting green and full on the trails. Very nice!

Friday

After running in the evening on Thursday, I didn’t get up early to do my long swim this morning. I had a busy day and got home around 9:30. I decided this wasn’t the time to start blowing off training sessions and headed to the pool. I also knew that a late swim with little sleep and a 2 mile open water swim the next morning would be good training for me. So 3k of straight swimming and I get home around midnight.

Saturday

Saturdays will be my long bike day but this week I’m changing a couple of things since I’m doing the Lake Zurich Triathlon tomorrow. So today is another long swim in Crystal Lake. I’ve heard good things about this race so I thought it would be worthwhile to check it out. They offer a 1 mile and a 2 mile swim so naturally I pick the 2 mile. The water is upper 70’s so I decide on the speedsuit. I notice as the time is drawing near to start, there are no buoys in the water. They announce they are having trouble getting them set, so the race is delayed for about 20 minutes. Finally they are ready to start and there are just a couple of buoys in the water. Most of them are still on shore. The gun goes off and we go! It’s a 2 loop course and the buoys are so far away from each other it’s hard to find them but we all know the general direction to go. I am pretty good at swimming straight but somehow I get way off course one time and am swimming into oncoming swimmers! Oops! I get back on track and carry on. This felt really long and I know that swimming the night before would make me tired. After the second loop I get out of the water and they are starting the award ceremony. That was really slow. I found out later that the turn around buoy wasn’t anchored well and drifted which made the course more like 2.8 miles. Cool – more training.

Sunday

I finished the week off with an olympic distance triathlon in Lake Zurich. Judy filmed it and will have a video for me to post in the near future. This was to be a training race which means no taper, take it somewhat easy, but push if I can. The water temps were high and I went with the speedsuit again. The swim course was excellent. There were lots of buoys, the staggered start worked well to reduce congestion, and best of all, we didn’t swim into the sun at all. I did the .9 mile swim in about 33 minutes. I was happy with that although my swimming friends will smirk. Got on the bike hard from the start and averaged around 22 mph for the 25 mile course. In T2, I realized I didn’t have elastic laces in these shoes and spent a little time tying my shoes. I’m sure I looked like a rookie doing that. If that didn’t make me look green, my unshaven legs did. I figured it was just a training race so why spend all that time shaving? Anyhow, my run went very well. Started with sub 7 minute miles and averaged around 7:15 minute miles. I was able to keep my heart rate within a couple of beats above and below my threshold for the entire 10k run which told me I was pretty much recovered from the 100 miler a few weeks back. Overall time was 2:32, 42nd overall and 4th in my age group. Not too shabby for a training race.

This was a hard week for me to get through. Next week will be harder since I will add some volume and end the week with the half ironman in Racine on Sunday. I will certainly earn my Monday rest day.

Week 1/15

Well, a week after completing the Mohican 100 I have made a training plan for the triple ironman I’ll be doing October 7-9. It’s only 15 weeks away so I’ll need to ramp up my cycling and swimming pretty quickly. I’ll post weekly updates on my training progress and this will be the first week from June 27th through July 3rd.

Monday

8 days after the race and I head to the club for a nice easy spin class. Turns out they are doing anaerobic intervals. Somehow I justify doing them when I should really be doing an easy spin. Oh well, at least I’m not justifying not going at all.

Wednesday

Going to the lake for an open water swim with friends. We try to get there early enough so we don’t get caught swimming there because it isn’t allowed. We get caught but not until we are on our last lap so we still get in about 2 kilometers. It’s a shame since this is the cleanest lake around. Looks like we’re back to dirty swimming.

Thursday

I was really sweating this one because it was my first time running since the 100 mile race. My left shin had been bothering me since the race so this was scary! I was the run club lead for this run so I went out with 3 others. We were only doing 4 miles and started out at a very easy pace – maybe 10:30 or 11 minute miles. I hung back with a newer runner and ended up with an 11:15 minute per mile average. My shin started hurting the last half mile and as a result I was walking funny all day. Fortunately, walking funny is nothing new to me (especially lately) so I was able to pull it off.

Friday

This was supposed to be a long swim day but I totally blew it off. I used the excuse that it’s been less than 2 weeks from my race and promised myself I would shape up next week. I try to be more flexible at the beginning of my training and during recovery weeks.

Saturday

Judy (my wife) and I head out of town to Wisconsin and go boating with friends on Lake Chetek. I use this opportunity to get in some open water swimming and jump in this thick green lake. It doesn’t taste good but the water temperature is perfect – maybe 70. I use my speedsuit and feel really comfortable until I’m ready to be picked up by the boat and they are nowhere to be seen. They eventually do pick me up and I get in about 2 miles. I feel better about blowing off my Friday swim now.

Sunday

I get some alone time on the bike in Chetek, Wisconsin. I rode this route 2 years ago when we went up there last time and I remember how great it was. Nice wide shoulders and not too much traffic. I decide to do 50 miles, just like 2 years ago, and remember that back then I averaged 20 mph in windy conditions. I was curious about my pace this year since I hadn’t been out on the road yet and almost all of my training has been running. I go out easy and after about 10 miles I get my rhythm and start cranking. It isn’t windy this year and I’m out early enough to miss the heat. On the way back, around 37 miles, I am stretching my neck (looking down) and go off the road. I’m going about 28 mph and I’m pretty sure I’m going to bite the dust. Next to the road is gravel and I would rather not go down on that, so my other option is to drop into the grassy ditch which is about 3 feet deep and probably has sticks or rocks or whatever hiding in it. I opt for the ditch and cruise to a stop without wrecking. I dodged that bullet and came in with a 20 mph average. Yeah baby!

Mondays from here on out will be my rest day throughout my training. If I need to take additional rest days to avoid overtraining I try to take them during recovery weeks which are every 3rd week. I felt like this was a good start and without injury. My shin is feeling better everyday and I’m anxious to get into the routine. I know that starting out is tough but gets manageable. Training is a way of life. Going to bed early so I can wake up at 4 am, taking supplements regularly, sneaking in naps when possible and eating 5 times a day are all changes that make this heavy training possible. In a couple of months I know the training load will be massive but that is part of the challange of endurance racing.