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.


Now it really begins

May 15: Day 92

No workouts today, 10 scheduled this week

Today is the first day of my IM training.  Now it’s real.  I have 22 weeks to get ready for this, and I am starting day 1 determined to train my mind and body, even with no workouts today.

That starts first with doing the little things right.  I plan to do the following this week to get everything kick-started and hopefully set the right tone for all my training.

  1. Improve my diet quality using Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight principles.  I have followed these before and felt great, but have gotten off the wagon a bit.  Now is the time to get back to eating smarter, not less.
  2. Plan all my workout times in advance.  They are on my calendar at specific times.  This should help keep them from being OBE (Overcome by events)
  3. Go to bed at 10PM or earlier every night.  I have early morning workouts basically Monday-Friday, and there will be days on the weekends I will want an early start due to the heat and volume.  I need the rest.
  4. No alcohol this week.  I usually drink a 2oz bourbon with dinner every night, but I don’t need the empty calories.

Hopefully this will help set the tone even in what will be an extraordinary week as I am babysitting a friends ferrets, having my son graduate high school, and having my wife’s parents come in for a visit around those festivities.  Heck, if I can stick to all that during a week like this, normal weeks should be a snap.

I promised a Running with the Cows report and I definitely have the pictures, but I am a bit ashamed to say I completely failed to do the race “easy” and actually beat my time from the previous year.  I did go easy the first two miles though!  I think that’s a win.

You can get a sense of the charm of this race from some of those photos  I love the cow logo and the fact that not only do they put names on the bibs, they train the volunteers to use them.  I heard my name at least 10 times on the course.  That’s a nice touch you don’t always see.  Those racks of clothes are part of the fundraiser, and they are really successful from what I can see.  Obviously that’s a bit more food than a banana and a bagel for the runners afterwards too….

I love the cow balloons.  They had those all over.  Lastly, the race medal has 8 cows on it to celebrate their 8th race.  The cow in the upper right is actually a remooooveable lapel pin (had to do it).  I love this race.

Today’s focus: eat right and rest up.  Big week ahead.  Wish me luck!

Cheers 🙂

The calm before the storm

May 8: Day 85

No workouts this week

Weight: 174


This is my prescribed week off.  I completed my 12 week off-season prep regimen, and now I have this instruction staring me in the face:

“This plan can be used for general fitness and weight loss. It s also intended to be able to be interrupted at any time when ready to begin Week 1 of your formal plan. However, I recommend that you take at least one week off, or cut the weekly volume in half, before starting Week 1 of your formal plan. Therefore, time the end of this plan for one week before your formal plan begins, but it does not have to end with Week 12.”

Well, my formal plan begins next Monday, so here we are.  I plan to take it easier, but I won’t be taking the whole week off.  First, I have the half marathon I am doing for fun on Saturday.  I’ll probably do a few light runs Tuesday and Thursday to stay loose for it.  Second, it will drive me nuts to just do nothing so probably I will add in one swim and one bike (at low intensities) just to again, stay loose.  However, I do vow to do the following which I think will help give me the physical and mental break I need before I start my 22 week full IM regimen:

  1. No workouts longer than 1 hour (other than the half, I’m not that fast).
  2. No workouts at higher intensity than Z2.
  3. No workouts in the morning!  I get to sleep past 4:30-5AM for the week.
  4. No more than one workout a day.
  5. At least two full days of rest.

It’s funny that I have to actually write out a plan on how NOT to exercise too much, but there it is.  The fact is, I DO get a little stir crazy during weeks like this, even though I know I need to rest.  The temptation is real.  However, I think these are reasonable and attainable goals for the week.


Because I won’t be doing much this week the blog may take a short hiatus.  I promise when my 22 week plan starts for real I’ll be back on fairly regularly to chronicle this journey.  Plus, I am sure I will share some stuff from the Running with the Cows half.  🙂

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  Cheers!

Bad luck + Fatigue = Impromptu Rest Day

Apr 14: Day 61

Today: Run, 5 minutes Z1, 15 minutes Z2, 10 minutes Z3, 15 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Weight: 173

Many of you who have read this blog over time know I have a mini Aussie.  She is the sweetest thing in the world and I love her to death.  How could you not love this at first sight?

Those were the day I took her home.  Now she is still just 9 months old, and still a puppy.  While she has been really, really good for the most part accidents do happen.  Yesterday, as I was heading to bed early so that I could at least have a chance to get my run done in the morning, I found her on our bed, looking guilty.

And a trail of pee randomly splattered on my sheets.

Since she was there, I sternly told her “NO! BAD!”.  Which of course led to her having another puppy moment, and peeing some more.   On the bed.

I led her to her crate so that she could have a time out and I could clean up (actually that’s an exaggeration.  Being the mostly well trained puppy she is, she was already on her way there herself by the time she was done peeing the second time).  I wasn’t exactly mad, but it was really frustrating because now I wasn’t going to get to bed early after all, I had to clean up the sheets.  In addition, she had hit my pillow so I had to clean and air that out and use a different pillow for sleeping.  Which needless to say, produced yet another toss’n-turn night.


NOT my lucky day.

So I didn’t get up and do the run.  I had thoughts about doing it tonight, but now the bad weather is setting in. If I am EXTREMELY motivated I may do it tonight on the treadmill.

But my inclination is to just call it a rest day and start fresh tomorrow.  What do you all think?

Have a great Friday folks!  Cheers!

Getting it done, even when you REALLY don’t want to…

Apr 13: Day 60

Today: Bike, 5 minutes in Z1, 30 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Yesterday’s Workouts:

  1. Bike, 5 minutes Z1, 15 minutes Z2, 15 minutes Z3, 15 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1
  2. Swim, 200 yd Z1, 400 yd Z3, 120″ rest, 200 yd Z3, 120″ rest, 200 yd Z1, cancelled due to lightning, 20 minutes bands

Weight: 172


I nearly didn’t get out of bed today.

Last weekend was a high volume weekend that took me out of my normal routine.  That was followed by a lot of stress and that binge Monday.  The first two workouts of this week, Tuesday’s run and yesterday’s bike, continued the trend of hard workouts.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s taking a physical and mental toll.

Then came last nights swim.  I already was feeling unmotivated to go, and then the lightning came and took the pool away.  I had to talk myself into doing the swim band workout for 20 minutes.  Ironically, that 20 minutes was probably harder than the 20 minutes I would have done in the pool.  As I was doing the workout, I had to stop several times, sweat rolling into my eyes, to catch my breath.  This is pretty rare for me.  I actually felt light-headed and a little dizzy and nauseous.

Then last night I woke up at 2am and never really got back to sleep.  Too much stuff racing through my head, and I ended up not getting a solid rest.

So you can probably understand that when the alarm went off to get on the bike this morning, why my first decision was to hit the snooze button.


I lay there for the 9 minutes, trying to rationalize not doing the workout.  “It may be the smart thing”, I told myself, because I clearly was at the edge of exhaustion.  “Surely you can use the sleep more than the work right now”.  I made the decision to go ahead and sleep the hour rather than mount up.

Then the snooze alarm went off, and I got up anyway and did the work.

It was miserable.  I mean, not just not being motivated, but it was a relatively easy workout and I really struggled physically.  I kept bargaining with myself “OK, I’ll do half”.  Then halfway came.  “OK, I’ll do 30 minutes”.  “Maybe I’ll cut the cool-down”.

I did the whole thing.

Was it wise?  I don’t know.  I think it was because I was able to push through, ultimately, but if my fatigue doesn’t improve I am going to take an extra rest day this week.  Again, it’s a long way to October and I want to get there healthy.  But what I can say is I’m proud of myself for making it happen.


I know there are a lot of people who look at what I do, especially on days like this, and go “I just don’t have that kind of motivation”  What I would tell them is that it’s not really motivation.  I had no motivation at all today.   Habit, determination and stubbornness were what carried the day instead.  You don’t HAVE to have intrinsic motivation every single day to accomplish a goal like this.  It’s not going to happen.  However, you need the discipline to form the habit, and the habit will give you the stubbornness to do it anyway.  You don’t have to love doing this stuff every single day.  You just have to be able to make it happen anyway on most days.

If that makes sense anyway.  Cheers everyone!

Becoming one (IM)

Mar 20: Day 36

Planned workout(s): None, rest day

Weight: 175

Time to recommit.  It was not a great week nutritionally, and it shows.  I don’t WORRY about it so much, but I am wanting to get back to feeling good, which means less junk and more healthy nutrition.  Can’t set myself up for bad habits.

Ironman has an interesting resource for first-time folks training for Ironman, a program they call Become One.  For the most part its just some free resources I can use to help me on my journey such as suggested training plans, a Facebook group, webinars, etc.  Some of it is clearly designed to get in my pocket, such as pushing their certified coaches to help plan my event, but if you needed something like that it would be a nice thing, so I don’t really mind it.

Oh, and they gave me a badge.  Welcome to the world of online credentials, I guess.  Here is the one they gave me.


It’s…kinda cool?

By far though, the best thing has been access to the Facebook group.  Because the events run year round you are catching people at the start of their journey, in the middle, or at the end.  You would think you would just want to connect with people where you are so you can have common ground, but for me, it’s been great to read the stories of people who are at the other side of it.  It helps paint a picture of where I will be in October, and gives me confidence seeing all these folks finally finish their journey.  If you ever do this or any race that offers something like this, do it.  Even if you don’t post, there are days when you just need a pick-me-up to refocus.  It’s great for that.

This week will be a lot of shorter workouts with high intensities designed to establish zones.  Time to see if I have improved!  Those will be sandwiched around short and medium stuff in low intensity to make sure I have the energy needed for the time trials.  I think this week I will do my bike on the trainer to set zones for that separately, as I have read there can be some disparity between the two conditions.

Have a great Monday folks.  Cheers!

To tattoo, or not to tattoo…

Mar 13: Day 29

Planned workout(s): None (rest day)

Weight: The bloat is still real.

I really need this fasting day today.  Not so much to get the scale down, but just to reset my mind and get back on track.  Slipping into some bad habits that I really don’t want to slip into.

For those who do triathlon I am sure you’re seen it: the IM-Dot tattoo.  It’s a badge of honor that says “I’ve done the full Ironman”.


There’s a kind of mystique about this thing.  There isn’t any actual official rule about getting it, or what it should look like, or where it should be.  But there are some unspoken ones.  I’ve never even done a full ironman and am aware of these.  They include:

  1. You need to actually do the race first.  Training doesn’t count.
  2. DNFs don’t count.
  3. 70.3 (half ironman races) doesn’t count.  This one is kinda squirrelly though.  People seem OK with it as long as you put 70.3 somewhere on it to clarify.
  4. Non-official ironman events don’t count.  Even if it’s the same distance, if you use their logo, it should be one of their official races.
  5. Races where elements are cancelled outside the athletes control (like the bike being cut  short due to severe weather) MAY count, but leans to no.

I get these rules.  They make sense to me, but it’s kind of my personality. Heck, I refuse to even put on the race shirt for a race I haven’t completed yet (that’s a topic for another day, actually).  I’m totally OK with waiting until I have finished a complete, official IM before I consider getting this tattoo.

From there though, there’s a lot of personal choice involved.  Where you get it is up to you, although the calf seems pretty common.  What you do with the base logo is up to you too.  There’s all sorts of room to express your personality and journey through the tattoo.  Check out some of these examples:

IM collage

Me, I’ve always pictured the IM Dot with a dragon perched on top, wings spread.  That would be how I would do it.

If I do it.

See, I’ve never been inked before.  I don’t find them offensive or anything, but I’ve just never done it.  So now the real decision is, for this major life event of such personal importance, is now the time?

I just haven’t made up my mind.  What do you all think about it?