Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vague Rememberance

I vaguely remember this lifestyle. Today, on a Sunday, I did the following:

Ate a breakfast of solid, recognizable food.
Planted blueberry bushes.
Went to the hardware store.
Got the oil changed in the truck.
Went to three greenhouses.
Planted more blueberries.
Ate a normal lunch.
Took a nap.
Worked in the garden/yard.
Cut the grass.
Played catch with the kids.

I think that's about it. Taper isn't so bad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bring It

I don't really feel ready, but I'm as ready as I'm going to get.  With the completion of my long run last night I'm officially in taper mode. 

Saturday was the Madison Open Water swim.  2.4 miles on roughly the same course as IM Wisconsin.  I think 288 finished, I beat maybe 35 of them.  Yes, I'm that fast.

Start was rough, one big mass start, and pure swimmers actually kick, hard.  Got beat up pretty good in the beginning, after 400 yards or so it thinned out and was smooth sailing.  Water was fairly calm.  Nothing spectacular to report.  Just slow steady swimming.  Came out of the water in about 102.  That would be 102 minutes, or 1:42, or 1 hour, 42 minutes.  Maybe in Racine I could have done 1:02, but I digress.

Felt good about the swim, little disappointed about the time, was hoping to get out in 1:3x. 

After a super long transition I headed out on the bike for the full course ride.  Lots of people out riding the course.  Spoke with a few on the first lap.  Second lap I was mostly alone.  Beautiful day but windy.  Allergies decided to kick in with a vengeance.  Spent the better part of 7 hours sneezing or blowing snot rockets every 3-4 minutes.  Fun.

By the middle of the second loop I was completely wiped out.  Actually stopped twice and just stood over my bike trying to compose myself.  Other than that stops were minimal.  Once on each loop to get water on Timber Lane (love that guy), and once on the first loop when a large group of motorcycles with a police escort rolled by.  I think that was it.

I forget the actual numbers, but it was around 111 miles and pretty much right on 7 hours.  Plan was to run off the bike.  The last several hours of the ride I did the mental debate on whether or not to actually do it.  Final verdict was yes, then it was a matter of how far.  Decided I had to run at least as far I swam that morning, but three miles seemed like overkill.  Ended up going 2.62 miles in 25 minutes.  It wasn't terrible, but the prospect of doing it 9 more times wasn't pleasant at all.

Walked to Ians (I blame you Mike), than back to the truck.  Drove home, showered, and went to bed.

I've actually held off posting this hoping that my perspective would change, it hasn't.  I didn't go to sleep that night feeling all that great about the days efforts and I still don't.  Hard really to explain.  I know I tackled 2/3+ of the IM solo, without taper, but I still have no confidence going into the race.  Barring accident, mechanical or health issues, I know I can finish.  Just not sure it will be the race I'm hoping for.

Last nights long run did help in bringing some of the confidence back.  I covered 18+ miles, running home from the office.  It was slow but effective.  I took short walk breaks every mile.  Ate and drank regularly, and felt like I could have easily kept running.  All good things.

And so it is.  Nothing more I can do about the training.  Time to rest and get all the nagging injuries healed up for race day.  As I said above, I'm as ready as I'm going to get.  Let's go.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Strong or Just Plain Stupid

Last night was round five of the Madison Aquathon series.  As luck would have it there were very strong winds blowing huge waves across our little lake.  I wouldn't normally make a big deal of swimming in such conditions, but another triathlete died this week after a swim in Lake Monona.  From what I can recall, this is the 4th in Wisconsin this year.

The first three occurred during races, and for whatever reason, didn't really bother me.  This one for some reason has.  She was on a training swim, not alone, but from experience I know that it's easy to get separated from those you are swimming with.  A couple guys in a boat noticed her struggling and went to help out.  Miraculously, rescue personnel were able to reestablish breathing and a heart rate and the story seemed to be heading for a better outcome.

For whatever reason she didn't make it, and the family made the decision to donate her organs.  Words really can't express how much this sucks.  I'm not even going to try.

Which brings us back to last night, our wonderful waves, and a race director who asked that only strong swimmers get in the water that night.  I've never considered myself a strong swimmer, but over the last year I've become much more comfortable in the water and I came to swim.  So I did.

The leg out was directly into the waves, this is where the serious doubts starting going through my head.  Why am I out here?  Why am I taking this risk?  I started thinking about my kids, wondering if it was all really worth it.

Just when I'd be ready to say fuck it and turn around that other voice would get into my head.  Quitting are you?  Time to give up?  Ultimately this voice won over and I pushed on.  Aside from a couple of coughing bouts from swallowing way to much water, I was never really uncomfortable out there.  It was just the doubts, and the situation I had voluntarily put myself in, and wondering if the risks were all really worth it.

I tend to look at things like this from a risk/reward perspective.  From a reward perspective, I'm now that much more comfortable in the water and should be able to handle anything the ironman swim throws at me.  But the risk, was it worth it, I don't know.  Logic tells me I'm probably better off in my wetsuit in the lake in those conditions than on my bike (or in a car) sharing a road with 20,000 commuters yakking on their cell phones, but big picture, I still don't know.

I also really don't know what the purpose of this post is, but I spent 23 minutes in the water last night with all this going through my head and needed to get it out.  For anyone keeping track, yes the swim did take me a good 4-5 minutes longer than typical.  Same story for my swimmer wife, and I'm guessing for the majority, it was rough out there.

Relatively speaking, the run portion was easy.  I broke my 5k PR by 20 seconds, although pace wise it was still a slower run than the 5-mile Point Bock Run back in March.  Other than Aquathon, I have not run any 5k's this year.  They hardly seem worth getting out of bed for.

Tomorrow is the annual Madison open water swim.  2.4 miles on the same course as Ironman, and in the same general location as the most recent drowning.  I'll be out there, not really sure what will be going through my head.  Ultimately I doubt it will impact me or keep me from racing, but it still makes you think. And I'll have plenty of time to do that tomorrow, as I'm following up the swim with a full course ride and a short run.  Last long training weekend. 


Monday, August 17, 2009

Back on the Horse

Felt good to get back on the bike last week after my fall in Mt. Horeb.  Everything seems to be heeling up nicely.  My hip never really turned colors like I thought it would but it's still extremely tender, can't sleep on that side tender.  Thankfully it doesn't bother me on the bike and it's tolerable while running.  Palm of my hand looks better than it is, still some deep down soreness that really reared it's ugly head Saturday at Dairlyland Dare.

Ah yes, Dairyland Dare 100K+ of up, down, repeat.  On a hot, humid, windy day, with some crappy road conditions thrown in just to make it interesting.  On paper, this route is comparable to HHH.  I'm not buying it.  Maybe I'm just in better shape than I was at HHH, but this route, like Insane Terrain last month, just didn't bring me to my knees like HHH did in June.  There was one long steep climb where swearing would have been completely appropriate, but other than that, just a lot of moderately difficult efforts.  Was still a good ride.  Passed one guy wearing a Tour de France king of the mountain style jersey. He was walking up one of the hills.  Found it kind of humorous, no way I'm putting on that jersey unless I can climb like a mountain goat.

I'm contemplating heading back to the HHH course the last weekend in August.  I need to know if it was the course, or if I'm just in better shape.  I'm guessing it is a little of both.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I guess it was bound to happen.  I fell off my bike yesterday morning.  I can't really justify saying that I crashed, although it certainly feels like it.

Not really sure how, was rolling through Mt. Horeb, some 30 miles into an 80+ ride. Preparing to turn left into the Kwik Trip for a break.  Actually signaled, and now with one hand on the bars my front wheel hit a big divot in the road (near as I can tell anyway) and down I went.  That's about all I know, happened pretty fast, although if I was going 10mph I'd be surprised.

My right hip and hand and took the brunt of it.  Lost a lot of skin on the palm of my hand and have a softball sized abrasion on my hip that I'm sure will change colors nicely over the next couple of days, I'll post pics when/if it happens.  Ankle, knee, and shoulder also have some minor scrapes.  Nothing too major, although I suspect my hip will be sore for quite some time and the use of my right hand will be somewhat limited until it heals.

After a suitable rest/bandaging, bike repair period we went for a short test ride. The rear derailleur was now bent at such an angle that it was hitting the spokes in the smallest gears, it's alignment was way off.  I felt good enough to limp through the rest of the ride, but not on that course without all the gears.  Ride over.

Today I'm tired, sore, and crabby.  I'd probably feel a whole lot better if I had my bike back or knew the status of it.  According to the bike shop, there is some semi-serious problem with the rear derailleur hanger.  This can't be happening now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Three Weeks

Three more hellish weeks of training before the final taper into Ironman Wisconsin.  Part of me feels like taper can't get here fast enough.  The rest of me wants it all to be done with.  Those two statements were meant to be contradictory, I guess at least mentally I'm ready for race day.  Physically, not so much.

About two weeks prior to Racine I did something to irritate my hip.  Extremely painful to run on.  Drugs and adrenaline got me through race day, that was about it.  I basically took two weeks off from running, stretched more, and hoped it would resolve itself.  It's a little better now, but still painful, and I'm running much slower than usual.  I'm trying to get into the UW runners clinic, but time isn't exactly on my side with Ironman less than 6 weeks out.  Frustrating.

On a happier note, or at least a more sadistic one, I signed up for Dairyland Dare on 8/15 (and conned a friend into going with me).  This completes my summer trifecta of torturous organized group rides.  One last leg trashing ridiculously hilly ride in preparation for Ironman.

The following weekend is the last weekend prior to taper, and I plan on partaking in the 2.4 mile Madison open water swim, followed by a full course ride, and a very short run.  Still looking for company for the ride, I'll probably do 16mph at best.

That's it.  I'm hoping for three more uneventful training weeks going into taper.  No more nagging injuries, no accidents, nothing.  "Nothing Stupid" has been my mantra most of the summer.  Meaning don't do anything dumb and go and get yourself hurt.  Plan is to be extra vigilant in that regard until Ironman.  Then all bets are off.  I've been itching to go out and do some trail riding, and I also realized earlier this summer that Stoughton has a terrain park for bikes, fun.