The Road to Recovery

It has been a glorious 5 days since the Ironman.

Mostly because it’s been a non-stop celebration of the event, and because I’ve not done a darned bit of exercise since the event.

Monday I felt pretty tired, as would be expected.  I went to the expo that morning to purchase some finishers gear.  There was a finisher jacket, which I purchased online because the line to get into the tent was absolutely ridiculous.  It took an hour just to get into the store.  I also purchased a robe, an icon for my car, two shirts, lounge pants, a cup, a robe, and a beanie.

What the hell right?  I’ll never do this again.  All week I’ve worn Ironman stuff.  I think I’ve earned it.

And I mean that.  I thought about it right after the event.  Now that I know I can do this, the natural inclination would be to think about another.  But I think that would cheapen it somehow.  It wouldn’t mean as much if I did it again.  This way, I know I am an Ironman and don’t have to keep that lifestyle.  I can go back to lower distances and know that I am doing them because I want to do them, not because I am not capable of more.

We ended up going back Tuesday because it just plain made sense.  I had done what I set out to do, and it was no longer necessary to keep my wife and my dog in Louisville.  On Wednesday, I contacted a local tattoo shop and they happened to have an opening so I took it and got my tattoo.  You can see it below:


I loved the reaction in the tattoo shop when I went in. All week I’ve been in a place where everyone knew exactly what the IM is.  I went into the shop and said “So Sunday I did an Ironman” and their reaction was nonplussed: “And?”.

The tattoo is pretty much exactly what I wanted.  They did a great job. I anticipated lots of people asking me if the tattoo hurt, and I have an answer ready: “Not as much as earning it did”.

Over the last week I have recovered faster than I thought I might.  Tuesday was a hard day because I was in the car all day, but by Thursday I felt 100% again.  Each day I got around better than I anticipated.

So whats next?  Well, I have a half marathon in November that I will start running for on Monday.  It’s more formality than anything, something to give myself something to do.  I really don’t need to do any more than maintain fitness to do that.

Second, I want to readjust my intake and body weight.  I was taking in 3-4K calories a day for the weeks leading up to the event.  Now, I’m not needing near that many so I need to get my body to adjust to lower calorie levels again, preferably before Thanksgiving.  I’m already down to 172 despite not doing any exercise because my body is shocked by 1500-2000 calories a day again.

On Monday I go back to work.  It’s been a good break, but I am ready to have a normal week again.

So I go into my weekend nursing my new tattoo (harder than I thought when I got it) and looking forward to new adventures.  This one is done.  I made it.

I am an Ironman for the rest of my life.


IM Louisville Race Report

The day finally arrived!


On race morning I woke up at 5:20 AM to stretch out and have a small breakfast of boiled eggs, yogurt, and an uncrustable before I headed out to the race.  I carefully applied body glide to all my *ahem* sensitive areas, gathered my gear, and headed over about 6AM.  It was a warm morning, about 71 degrees, which was OK because the weather was due to drop temperature in the afternoon when I’d be on the run.  There was also some rain in the forecast during the bike.  Again, I was OK with that so long as it didn’t create an unsafe condition.


More on that later.

I got to the transition, put my bottles on my bike, handed my special needs bags off to the volunteers, and did one more walkthrough of the transition.  Then we started a roughly 1 mile walk up the river to the starting area.  It was extremely pleasant, but a wind was picking up from downstream.

Louisville has a rolling start, where you self identify your anticipated swim time and then get in the water with that group.  This is to avoid as much as possible fast swimmers behind slow ones.  I had done a 4K swim in 1:17 in training, and planned to go easy, so I selected 1:20-1:30 to be safe.  While waiting in that line, I realized I was not nervous.  Then I started to get nervous about NOT being nervous, as in, was I not respecting this enough?  This is how you get yourself worked up!  I told myself I would be fine and to calm down.

Meanwhile, the gun went off and people started lining up.  Laura and Scully stayed with me a while, then left to get to their volunteer station on the bike course.  The line to start meanwhile winded around down to a boat dock, where they had everyone go on two different platforms and jump in from there (no diving!).  I ended up getting in the water at just before 8:00am.


The swim course starts you upstream, but you are next to an island that shelters you from the main current.  On the left, the island sits there covered in trees and not much else.  On the right is clearly where rich people keep their boats.  Once you come out from behind the island you are exposed to the current, and have to fight it to the red buoy, then turn and come the rest of the way downstream.

Sounds like the easy part is downstream, right?

Well, maybe most days.  On this day the pleasant swim was behind the island.  Very calm and beautiful in the morning twilight.  Once out from behind the island you got slower, but not too bad.  Then we turned…and suddenly I was in ROLLING waves from the wind. I mean, 2-3 foot waves like being in the ocean.  Luckily that only lasted about half of the way, but it does make for a tough time breathing when waves smack you in the face.


In all my reading the night before I picked up a fantastic tip.  Once around the island you can see downtown Louisville from the water, but you can’t see the finish.  One coach had pictures from the course and gave a specific building to swim towards while in the water.  This was fantastic because I never had to try and figure out the next buoy or anything–just keep swimming to the building. It worked great, and I felt confident swimming in through the rest of the course to the end.

Getting out of the water you navigate some iron stairs to the bank and then run about a quarter mile to the transition.  Volunteers guided me to an area to the side and yanked my wetsuit off, and more volunteers asked me if I had any needs.  This was a theme throughout the day–hundreds of volunteers, all taking the initiative to help the athletes in a way I’ve not seen before.  Huge shout out to them, as at different parts of the day I was physically steadied, had my bike held while I went to the restroom or stretched, had extra help finding any specific items I needed, had help clearing away my gear bags, one even opened my 5 hour energy drink for me and threw the empty bottle away!

Checking my watch entering the change tent I realized I swam the swim in 1:10:45, MUCH faster than I thought.  I took my time in transition getting my gear ready: compression socks, energy shot, food, shoes, and used the restroom.  Then I hopped on my bike for my 112 mile trek.


The bike course starts out flat for about 10 miles, then starts climbing as it gets away from the river.  At the river, you can see huge, old plantation style buildings that are just gorgeous.  Once you turn from there, you are still in nice homes but much more recently built. I spent a lot of time telling myself to keep to the plan, which was about a 6:30 bike.  I had to have enough juice for a marathon, after all.

At mile 12 I encountered my first accident, a bad one.  There were several potholes that had been outlined in orange paint to help bikes avoid them (I’d rather they just filled them, but whatever) and this stretch had a number of them.  I can only assume this biker hit one and the 4-5 bikes behind him couldn’t avoid him.  I passed by with him face down and unmoving on the concrete.  I hoped he was OK, but the first responders were already racing to the scene (they were luckily nearby at the time) and there was really nothing I could have done had I stopped.  I pressed on.

83_m-100789560-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1960_011121-12376020The next part of the course was rolling hills through some of the prettiest horse country you can imagine.  Huge stables and fields filled with horses.  I had a bad experience with a horse when I was small so they make me nervous, but I still enjoy seeing them.  At mile 21, you turn and do the first of two 35 mile loops.  This part of the course was challenging, because rollers became steep climbs and drops.  There was guidance before the race to not clump up and keep 6 bike lengths between each other, but nobody listened.  In fact, there were several points where people were talking to one another that I had to pass three bikes abreast, leaving me just inside the yellow line.  Keep in mind the road is NOT closed, so this can be pretty dangerous.  It’s also dangerous because any mechanical or human failures will lead to wrecks.  I saw multiple times someone threw a chain or had an issue and another biker plowed right into them.

Also at this time my bar tape started to become undone.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it annoyed me and was a mental distraction the whole ride.  I found myself trying to hold it in place and tuck it back together at various points.  It never really held, but I was able to finish with it still useable.

At mile 25 (mile 60 on the second loop) there was an aid station.  I stopped and ate some nutrition, stretched my legs, and got back on feeling really good.  We wove through several small towns where I swear the whole town came out to cheer us on, some of them in just their underwear (not sure what that was about).  At one point, a guy in a pirate speedo decided he was going to give the bikers who passed high-fives.  In the middle of the road.  Not wanting to encourage this, I tried to ride past without high-5ing but he slapped my shoulder and patted my saddle as I rode by, nearly knocking me over.  NOT COOL.  If you ever come out to spectate, don’t touch the competitors unless it’s mutual.  Don’t be that guy in the speedo (easy enough for most of us).


At mile 38/73 I saw Scully and Laura on the course, which was also a nice lift.  I saw them again on the second lap.  Scully was a trooper, but she looked pretty bored.  We got her out for some extended frisbee the next morning to make up for it.

Meanwhile, the wind was starting to pick up.  We turned back on the last leg of the loop with the wind right in our face.  I thought to myself about all those times I was training back in Kansas on hills and realized that I was ready for this.  SO glad I did that.  It was very mentally challenging as it was, and I heard many athletes comment on it later.  But I pushed through, stopping at another aid station for a quick bite about mile 50.  I was ready to get to my special needs bag at mile 60, which had chips, cheetos and M&Ms inside!  I stuffed the M&Ms into my back pocket, swallowed the chips while stopped, and put the cheetos in my front bike pouch.  This led to some funny moments the next 20 miles as I munched cheetos out of my front pouch and wiped the cheeto fingers on my leg.  I saw many riders glance at me, realize what I had, and get a little jealous (or disgusted, they look about the same at that point).

At mile 62 I said to myself, just one more half-century to go.  No problem!  Then I laughed at how ludicrous that sounded. I think I was a little loopy by then.


By the time we got back to the turn home the second time the wind was really, really strong and the rain was coming in full force.  It was a torrent by the time I passed the mile 50/85 aid station.  I had planned to stop, but the wind at that point was so strong it was blowing the volunteer tents away.  I mean literally, right as I passed they were toppling into the road with volunteers desperately chasing after. That, plus the fact this particular station was at the base of a hill and I didn’t want to try to regain momentum in those conditions uphill, led me to just push past.  This means I couldn’t eat the nutrition out of my back bike pouch because it was out of easy reach, so I decided to eat the M&Ms.  This posed another challenge however, because the wind was blowing EVERYONE all over the road, and it was all you could do to not veer 1) off the road 2) into someone else or 3) into oncoming traffic, which was becoming pretty steady.  I could not get the ziplock bag open to save my life, so I improvised and tore a hole in the corner with my teeth, and spent the next 5 miles sucking them out of the hole one by one.  It worked!

The last part of the ride was really dangerous because the roads were slick and it was mostly downhill with lots of speed.  This especially becomes a problem when you are trying to not plow into either oncoming traffic or slower riders, but you don’t want to give up speed either because you don’t want to expend energy to try and re-accelerate.  It’s a tough balance.  Branches and other objects from overhanging trees were everywhere and tough to avoid.  We tried to point them out to each other as we saw them, but the rain had clouded my glasses to the point I couldn’t see very far ahead.  I heard a story later about a branch breaking off and taking out 2 riders.  Pretty scary.  Plus at this point my back derailleur was acting up and not shifting clean, probably from my hitting a few pieces of debris.

I stopped at the mile 100 aid station and had a scary moment when my hamstring cramped up on me as soon as I stood off the bike.  It went away after a few seconds, but my race flashed in front of my eyes.  I had some more to eat, cleaned the rain off my glasses, and carried on.


As I rolled back into town I was glad I was going to make it out of the bike without a true mechanical issue–many, many other bikers were not so lucky.  Laura reported a van filled with bikes of those that didn’t make it, and I saw at least a dozen myself by the side of the road on the course.  I finished in 6:37, which was a great success to be only 7 minutes off my goal, considering my many stops and the weather.

When I got back to the transition a volunteer took my bike and racked it for me, which was a first for me in 50+ triathlons.  I had the feeling they’d all been coached that we would be on the edge of exhaustion and need all the help they could give to avoid unnecessary movement.  My spirits were high, because I knew I had this–I came in at 4PM, and had 8 and a half hours before I would not be allowed to finish (We had 16:30 to finish from our start time).  I joked with the guys in the tent that “I think we may have overdone our warmup for this marathon!”  After putting my bike stuff in the bag, an attentive volunteer tied it up for me and whisked it away.  I set out to see if I could add a marathon to everything else I had done so far.

As I exited transition I saw Laura and Scully, holding a sign up “Don’t stop until you’re proud”  This was a big boost (although poor Scully wanted to run after me and didn’t understand why she couldn’t).  It’s also a much better sign than the next one I saw, “Don’t trust a fart after mile 18”.

Gross.  True, but gross.

It was a really neat run course.  A few miles were downtown, then into a historic district with beautiful homes, into the University of Louisville, past a slightly seedy area to Churchill Downs, then out into suburbia to the turn around.  We did two laps like that.  It was enjoyably flat.  It was also cool, in the high 50s, and the rain had mostly stopped.  Perfect running weather.


I had hoped to make a 9-10 minute mile pace when running, and was prepared to walk a lot of it if needs be.  My target was 5 hours.  I’d run marathons in 3:40, but I knew this wasn’t like any other marathon I’d ever ran and I needed to not expect that kind of time. I set up my apple watch to track the run and realized by mile 1 I was rabbiting, so I slowed the pace up considerably.  Still, the whole trip out I had plenty of energy and no issues at all running a comfortable 9 minute mile.

I kept telling myself to slow and remember I was running a marathon AFTER 114.4 miles of other stuff, but it was hard because I was so into the race.  I started playing a little game mentally.  Since the bike was fresh in my mind, and the run was roughly 1/4 the distance, each time I came to a mile marker I multiplied by 4 and thought “this approximates the same distance on the bike”.  I remembered where I was on the bike and it kept me aware just how much I had to go.  It also gave my mind something to do.


After the turn I cruised back and mentally started checking off landmarks I had passed on the way out.  “There’s the purple bus on the side of the road”.  “There’s the fish sandwich joint”.  “There’s the aid station populated entirely by sorority women from UL”.  “There’s the burger joint in an old streetcar”.  “There’s the guy dressed as a slice of bacon”.  Etc.  Doing that shortens the run in an odd way, since you aren’t running 26.2 at once, you’re just running to the next landmark.  Oh the games you play to keep your mind off what you are doing.

And by the way, never come to an IM dressed as a slice of bacon.  I might have been willing to kill to have a slice of bacon at that point.  Very, very dangerous.

At mile 11 Mark joined me.  Mark was a veteran of Ironman and we chatted for about a mile and a half about prior races and such before he veered off to the restroom.  It was a nice break from the internal monologue, but I was also glad when he left because I knew the second half of this run I would need my focus.  But meanwhile, as I turned towards the finish line only to veer off for a second lap, I knew I had it.  I had walked only through aid stations and only by design, never by necessity.  I had plenty of energy.  I had enough time that I could walk the last lap if needs be.  I was going to be an Ironman.  I just had to keep moving.


After the turn for lap 2 there were the runner special needs bags.  I grabbed my snacks out of it and wolfed down the M&Ms inside.  This is where my body started to shut down.  All along the course I had seen people cramping up, vomiting etc.  I knew I had been on point with my hydration so cramping wasn’t an issue, and I didn’t need to vomit, but I realized that I felt very bloated and I think it was because my body was no longer digesting properly.  This meant I had to be very, very careful the next 12 miles.  I had to keep putting stuff into my body, but if I did too much I could cause a serious problem and derail my race (vomiting can absolutely wreck you at that point of an event).

It was at this point I had another nice lift.  It being Sunday and me being a Steeler fan, I was curious how the football game was going but I had no way to check.  Some nice woman, bless her heart, had a giant whiteboard with the football scores on it.  Steelers were ahead 12-3.  That got me through 2 more miles by itself.

I tried to eat a few chips at mile 17 along with some water, and got them down, but the feeling of bloat just got worse.  I tried gatorade, red bull, orange slices, anything for a few calories that wasn’t solid. I wanted to burp.  I wanted to do anything to relieve the pressure.  I carried on since it wasn’t really affecting my run speed, it was just uncomfortable.  However, I was starting to feel pain in my feet from the pounding, and stiffness in my knees.  At the mile 19 aid station I for the first time had trouble going back into a run after walking it, but I was able to do it.

By mile 22 the slowing down of my nutrient intake was taking it’s toll.  I started telling myself to reel in the next mile marker, the next aid station, then I could walk a bit.  I started repeating to myself what I wanted so bad to finish this: to make all the training worthwhile.  To get the tattoo.  To get my finisher shirt and hat.  To be able to wear the stuff I bought at the expo without guilt.  To be an Ironman.  To not have to explain to everyone “what happened” if I failed.  Anything I could recite as a reason I started reciting like a mantra.

Meanwhile, I was WAY ahead of the 5 hours I had planned for the marathon.  I was crushing it.  I was OWNING it.  But that last 4 miles was tough!


Finally I passed mile marker 26 and ran the rest of the way.  I could hear the music.  More and more spectators were cheering.  I could see the finish in my mind from when I passed it a few hours earlier.  I was ready to be done.

I got it in sight and I really don’t remember much.  I started to cry a bit as I ran down the carpet.  I cry a bit now thinking about it.  There were hundreds of people down there, cheering, pounding the walls, yelling us home.  It was all the adrenaline I needed to finish.  A few people passed me and I let them, because I wanted to cross alone.  It was MY moment.  I got to the end in 12:29:26 (slightly before 8:30PM), raised my hands in the air, and knew I was an Ironman.

Good thing I knew it without help too, because in all of it I never heard “George Widenor, you are an Ironman” from the announcer.  Probably best.  He said my name wrong from what I understand.


A great volunteer wrapped me in a foil blanket, got me water, fetched my medal, hat and shirt for me and walked me over to take my picture.  Very friendly and a nice way to guide disoriented folks to where they needed to go.  He was awesome, like all the volunteers.

106_m-100789560-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1960_077687-12376043I got some hot post-race food (beef stew, cornbread, fries), headed back to the hotel, and then the body started to not cooperate.  I couldn’t stand up properly.  I couldn’t shower.  I needed help taking off my stuff.  I couldn’t even walk.

It didn’t matter.

I was finally an Ironman.



Edit: Photos added!

Glad it’s Friday

May 26, Day 103

Yesterdays Workouts:

  • 60 min bike, 5 minutes Z1, 40 minutes Z2, 15 minutes Z3

Today’s Workouts:

  • 45 min run, Z1
  • 1750m swim, 300 yd Z1, 1150 yd Z2, 300 yd Z1


Wednesday I was able to get back in the pool for the first time in weeks.  It felt weird, but it was good to do since that’s really the best way for me to do speed work.  It’s hard in the open water to know when you’ve gone specific distances and rest.

It was also a bit weird because this guy in a speedo decided that, despite the fact only two lanes were in use and there were 5 open lanes between us, to get in the lane next to me.  It’s kinda like in the guy’s restroom when there are several urinals and you are at the end, and someone walks past 3 open ones to use the one next to you.  I mean, sure, there’s nothing WRONG with it….but it’s kinda like uh, why?


Yesterday’s bike was deceptively tough with 15 minutes of Z3 at the end and no cool-down.  I battled through the early part of the Z2 thinking no way, but I was able to hold Z3 all 15 minutes.  That was a confidence boost, and a needed one.  Three bikes on consecutive mornings seems to be the way this plan goes, so it will be an adjustment since he makes the hard one on the third day.  Good training though.

Today’s run was pleasant at Z1.  This is one of those workouts that is deceptively effective because you don’t always need speed, sometimes you need to just log some time while you recover from the hard work.  Keeping it in Z1 allows me to be running for 45 minutes while saving my energy for later work.

Need to hit the pool tonight again because it is closed for Memorial Day.  Speaking of that, hope everyone has a great long weekend.  Cheers!

Unexpected challenges

May 24, Day 101

Yesterdays Workouts:

  • 55 min bike, 5 minutes in Z1, 45 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1
  • 39 min run, 5 minutes Z1, 5 minutes Z2, 8 x (1 minute Z4/2 minutes Z1) 5 minutes Z1

Today’s Workouts:

  • 60 min bike, 15 minutes in Z1, 35 minutes Z2, 10 minutes Z1
  • 1500m swim, 250 yd Z1, 500 yd Z3, 500 yd Z2, 250 yd Z1


It’s difficult in any effort like this to anticipate all the things you’ll have to deal with to make it all happen.  Sure, you can see the plan in advance and map it out on the calendar and it looks great months out before you start.  Then life happens and the calendar fills up with things you didn’t plan on but knew could happen.  So, you juggle and move things around and try to ignore the anxiety that crops up when you do stuff like that.

Then other stuff happens and everything goes out of whack.

I had the start of this all planned out.  With everything happening (graduations, birthdays, events, work, visits, taking care of other people’s pets, pool closures, weather etc) around this time in May I knew it was going to be challenging to start my plan now, but start it now I had to do.  For the most part I’ve managed to stay on top of that with some creative and flexible scheduling, proactive when I can be, reactive when I must.  Thing about it is, I knew all that was either going to happen in advance or likely to happen so I was mentally prepared for it.

But I wasn’t prepared for when my allergies kicked into high gear.  Normally they are fairly mild if I avoid doing too much in the grass but for the past 10 days or so they have been horrible.  I think it has to do with the rainstorms causing a sudden bloom.  I wake up several times a night trying to breath, which obviously does not lead to great sleep or great workouts.  Two nights ago I woke up at 3am with a sinus headache so extreme I couldn’t stay lying down.  I ended up balling my fist into my temple and laying on that because it seemed to help.  Allergy meds help, but they also affect my energy and mood and not always in positive ways.

Not getting good sleep and having trouble breathing properly was definitely not in the plan.

Of course, this can lead to tough workouts where I am more tired before, during and after than I think I should be.  Those cause anxieties that I know, no matter how carefully I explain them, nobody is going to understand.

See, most people who asks how training is going either 1) is doing it just to be polite and really doesn’t want a long answer and/or 2) wants to hear the positive stuff.   I know that.  I get that.  Those who are really interested in my well-being I can tell this stuff to, but how do I make people understand how stressful this can be?  If you have never run a marathon for example, you can IMAGINE what it’s like but you don’t really KNOW.  You haven’t had to train specifically for that event for several months, you haven’t had to run it, and you haven’t experienced how hard those last miles can be.

I know all that, and I know I have to do 114.4 miles before I start mine.  It scares the hell out of me that I’m this tired now.  Every time I move a workout or miss a workout it feeds the anxiety that I won’t be fully prepared to deal with this thing.  Every time I have a bad workout it chips away at my confidence a little bit that I can really do this.  You can put on a brave front and try to keep your mind right if things are going well.  If you’re mentally and physically exhausted, it’s challenging to say the least.

Of course, folks not going through that just see you’re cranky.  🙂

I will see this rough patch through because getting this done is important to me.  Hopefully the allergies will pass, things will calm down, and I can string a few good days together to get my confidence back.  Meanwhile, one day at a time.





Week 1 in the books, 21 to go

May 22, Day 99

Yesterdays Workout:

  • 1500m swim, open water/wetsuit practice
  • 60 min run, 5min Z1, 50min Z2, 5min Z1


What a whirlwind weekend.

I covered Saturday, well, Saturday, but yesterday was a doozy.  Got up well before 7am Sunday to get that 60 minute run in.  Weather was wonderful.  I am going to miss these 40 degree mornings to run in.  Unlike the rest of the week with thunderstorms and tornado warnings, Sunday was completely calm and clear.  Inspired by the cool air and wonderful morning, I felt great on this run and had to reel myself in to stay within the zones.  One thing at a time.  We all have workouts that suck, so workouts where you just feel invincible are nice to counterbalance that.

Then it was a hurried clean-up and change to have birthday breakfast out with my dad, who turned 76.  In all we had 9 members of the family come out and it was a great chance to spend some time with him before we got into the next celebration of the day.

But first things first.  After breakfast settled a bit it was time to hit the lake and get in a swim.  The water was very cold to start but again, clear and calm conditions.  Luckily there weren’t any boats for this swim to really dodge, and again, I felt great in the water. Wonderful workout.

By the time we got home from THAT, it was noon and time to clean up and get ready for graduation for my older son.  We got him out the door and then headed out a short time later.  The graduation was at the university basketball stadium, and I think it was about a class of 400 from my count.  Before the ceremony I jokingly predicted the cliches we would hear at the commencement, and considered what a fun drinking game it would be to drink every time I heard one of my predictions come true.  Probably a good thing I didn’t actually do it, because I would have drained the flask.

All kidding aside, it was a really proud moment for me and as I watched my son I thought back to when he was born and how quickly time flies.  That’s yet another reason it’s important I get this IM done now and not put it off any longer–time goes quick and someday I may not be able to do it.  Or I may not even be here.  Who knows the future?


The birthday boy, the graduate, and me photobombing them.

After graduation he came home with us and had a short celebration where he got graduation gifts and ate a dessert of his choice.  By far the best picture of the graduate came from this.


After that, he took off to celebrate with friends, and we got some chinese takeout out of pure exhaustion.  Frankly eating out twice in a day is bad for my plan, but sometimes life happens and you just have to roll with it.  By the time dinner was done, my tank was empty and I was ready to go to bed.  I made myself stay up until my normal bedtime though, because thats a trap for me–yeah, I may get to sleep at 8, but I’ll wake up unable to sleep anymore at 3:30am.

All in all, great day but a hectic one.  Today is great day for a mental and physical rest.  Looking forward to stepping into week 2 tomorrow.  Cheers!



Anchors and Adjustments

May 20, Day 97

Yesterdays Workout:

  • 1750m swim, CANCELLED due to pool closed/unsafe weather
  • 40 min run, Z1

Today’s Workouts:

  • 73 min bike, 5 minutes Z1, 10 minutes Z2, 6 x (1 minute Z5 uphill or simulated/2 minutes Z1), 40 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Lots and lot of things to juggle the past several days and the next several.  It can be challenging to fit workouts in, but luckily everyone is very understanding of what I am trying to do.  It still requires some creative planning to get everything worked in.

Tomorrow, for example, is both my fathers birthday and my eldest son’s graduation.  Dad is having a birthday breakfast at 9, and we have the afternoon at the graduation ceremony and “unspecified” activities for afterwards.  Of course, I have 2 workouts to get in and no pool. So, the plan is to get up early and get my hour-long run in before breakfast, go to breakfast and let it settle, then head out to the lake around 10:30-11, get the swim done (hopefully with no fishhooks) and then head home and clean-up in time for graduation.

My son, the graduate:

If it sounds like I need the workweek to recover from my weekends, you aren’t far off.  It’s only going to get more interesting too, as some of the Sundays on this plan require 8 hours of workouts.  I must really, really want this:


Actually, yeah.  Yeah I do.

Yesterday I tried to take Scully, my mini-aussie, with me for a run.  I don’t know what it is, she runs with the wife just fine, but with me she wants to follow, not run alongside.  This means Im constantly holding the leash to keep it from tangling in my feet.  Which is fine, I can deal with that, but whats hard is when she becomes a bit of an anchor while I’m trudging uphill.  As a result, my Z1 run felt like I was working harder than I should be, while going slower than I needed too.  Sigh.  Sometimes she’s stubborn like that.  I guess she didn’t WANT to get up early and run.

Actually, maybe she’s smarter than I am.  Hmmm.

Also, she has one annoying habit I need to figure out how to train her out of: she wants to chase the squirrels.  While I’m on the other end of the leash.  So sometimes suddenly my hips get yanked sideways as she takes off towards a tree with a squirrel under it.


This is so my dog.

What was really surreal though was as we were running under an overpass, there was a HUGE raccoon just sitting there on the sidewalk.  We went around it and the raccoon could not care less we were there.  Interestingly, Scully never moved an inch towards it.  Smart girl.  That would have been interesting.

Today’s bike was good.  I had planned to do it outdoors, but slick streets coupled with bad allergies convinced us otherwise.  I was able to really focus on the 6 Z5 intervals though, so that was good.  Here’s hoping I have enough legs to get through tomorrow.

Probably won’t post tomorrow with everything else happening, but I should be back Monday.  Cheers!

No Man’s Land on the lake

May 18, Day 95

Today’s Workout:

  • 60 min bike, 5 minutes Z1, 20 minutes Z2, 3 x (5 minutes Z3/3 minutes Z1) 5 minutes Z2, 6 minutes Z1


To start off this post I will admit something: I am not a fisherman.

When I was younger I would go to the lake with some worms and try my luck.  I never caught anything big, but it was exciting as a kid to get a bite and reel it in.  But mostly I found it to be a whole lot of doing nothing.  Actually, a whole lot of doing nothing that requires slimy worms, fish guts, poking your finger with hooks, and smelling awful.  But I think what really broke me of it was the rule in my house that if you kept the fish, you had to clean and eat it.

I don’t eat fish.  Never have.  So all I was doing was immediately letting anything I caught go.  To me, this is the definition of pointless.

Definition of pointless-Chocolate in a resealable bags

This works too.

So I haven’t fished in over 30 years, easily.  I am saying that up front so I can establish that I don’t really understand the other side of what I am about to talk about.  I admit that.  If any of you ARE fishers, feel free to comment and talk from your side of it!  I’d love to understand this better.

The only place to open water swim nearby is a place called Tuttle Creek Lake.  It’s a state park and below the dam there is camping, picnicking, fishing, frisbee golf, etc.  There is also a swimming area.  There is a half-circular tube that goes around the area (you can see it in the picture below) and the area inside that is quite small and shallow enough so the little ones can play in the water safely.


Out beyond that about 25 yards there is a second semi-circle of buoys, white ones that designate SWIM AREA, NO BOATS.  This is where the deeper water is, and it’s really the only practical place to really do any distance swimming as the other area is too shallow, too small and too congested.  I and many others choose to follow inside this line of buoys when doing open water swimming practice.  It’s kind of a “no-mans-land”, because it sort of feels like you shouldn’t be out there as a swimmer, but boats aren’t allowed in either.


Apparently however, those buoys are THE PLACE to fish.  I don’t know if there are more fish clustered around the anchors or what.  And boats constantly lurk just outside, casting their lines into the zone inside the buoys.  Obviously this is a concern, because you don’t want to get hooked.  That can ruin a $200+ wetsuit in a hurry.

Yesterday there was an older gentleman with his dog doing just that, who yelled at us several times “YOU AREN’T SUPPOSED TO SWIM THERE”.  I’ll be honest, he’s probably right.  But I don’t think he’s supposed to be casting inside the buoy line either, and something about him having the whole lake to fish in and me having only this 200 yard semi-circle to swim in, and him yelling at me to essentially get off his lawn irked me.

I ignored him and swam anyway, but gave him a wide berth because I can’t help but worry he’d cast his line across our path out of spite.

The swim itself?  Pretty warm for May, but 20 mph winds created a lot of chop.  It was great practice for dealing with waves and trying to sight while the current pulls you off course.  It’s a river swim for IM Louisville so I am certain to have to deal with some of that.

Ultimately I don’t have any other realistic way to open water practice so I guess I’ll keep swimming there until they throw me out.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.  Cheers!