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.


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!

Breaking in new shoes….and when did fluorescents become a thing again??!?

May 5: Day 82

Today’s Workouts: Run, 5 minutes Z1, 10 minutes Z2, 20 minutes Z3, 10 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Weight: 173

Does everyone dread breaking in new running shoes, or is it just me?


I’ll admit, I’m THAT guy.  The guy who has holes in the tops of his running shoes and has worn all the way through the sole so you can see the colorful spongy part underneath before I finally replace my shoes.  I know, it’s bad for my feet, but breaking in new shoes can be painful.  I always feel so clunky in them (probably because the sole is actually there) and getting the laces right so they are tight on my feet but don’t pinch anywhere usually takes 4-5 runs.


Yeah, I’d rather put it off and run another hundred miles in my shoes than that.  I know, it’s a quirk I need to get over.  But nonetheless, it’s real.

I mention all this because I put today’s run into a new pair of shoes after ignoring my Strava warning 8 times that I’d put too many miles on my old pair.  I think they have over 800 now.  I’m especially wary this year because another thing I’ve dealt with is achilles issues that I swear come from breaking in new shoes.  So I need to time this so that I have a pair in good condition but fully broken in for the IM.  I think I need to buy my IM shoes now, put 100 miles on them, then put them away until the event.

Anyway, working on a college campus I usually get to see all the new fashion trends.  For years now, I have charted the change of seasons by when the young ladies switch out their leggings for Nike soccer shorts and back.  It’s like clockwork.  But recently I’ve noticed one of the worst fashion trends of the 80s coming back: Neon.


The real reason to “Just Say No”

Suddenly it’s pretty much EVERYWHERE.  I sort of get it for running outside in twilight for visibility, or as an accent on your shoes, but it appears to be back as a pure fashion statement.  People in head to toe, NEON.  Hats, jackets, shirts, shorts, leggings, socks, shoes, all looking like you ran through a highlighter factory explosion.  Omg, my eyes, they bleed.

Maybe it’s just an 80s revival in general?  Today I actually saw a 19ish woman wearing the denim jacket with buttons look.  You know, this one:


Anyway, that’s all I got today.  Cheers!

One more week of “Pre-IM” training, and silly little motivations.

May 1: Day 78

Today’s Workouts: Rest day

Weight: 174

It seems odd to write on day 78 that my ~real~ IM training begins in two weeks.  But that’s the case.  I have built up over the past 11 weeks a solid foundation to step directly into my training plan, but I haven’t actually begun yet.  This will be my last week of foundation training, followed by a trainer-recommended week off.

Then it gets real.

Oddly enough, looking ahead it will actually be a slight step backwards in intensity from week 12 of this foundational work to week 1 of the real plan.  It’s probably a good thing in the long run though because the training is much like the event: it’s an endurance test, not a speed test.

I’m ready though.  Lets get this thing rolling.

With no scheduled workout today I thought I would share a funny little motivation.  As I wrote earlier I have an Apple Watch which I’ve enjoyed training with, but it also keeps me honest on day-to-day stuff.  It has 3 separate movement goals it wants you to hit each day, and a separate circle that fills as you complete each goal.  These are for exercise, calories and standing.  As you complete different goals you can earn badges, which mean nothing but oddly enough keep you filling the circles.  Yesterday I finally earned a badge for meeting my calorie goal for a calendar month.

I actually had an ENTIRE perfect month for all three circles, but I don’t get a badge for that.  😦


It seems silly that I hadn’t hit that yet, but stuff just kept happening and I would miss ONE day.  Last March 3 apparently I burned 497/500 calories, which was enough to kill the month.  So I had the odd combination of a 57 day consecutive calorie goal streak but hadn’t earned the month badge.  Then, when the pool closed yesterday I began scrambling to get those 500 calories in some other way on a rainy, miserable day.  This led to me comically running in place in front of the TV, making unnecessary trips through the house while jogging, etc.

Scully my dog was tremendously entertained by it all.

I did it though, I closed the ring and got my silly badge on my silly watch.  And I stayed more motivated to move than I would have otherwise.


Even with an IM coming up, I can still get excited about closing a 500-calorie ring on my watch.  I guess I never have grown up.


OMG….So Frustrated!

Apr 30: Day 77

Friday’s Workout: Swim, 250 yd Z1, 4 x (500 yd Z2, 60″ rest) 250 yd Z1

Saturday’s workout: Run, 5 minutes Z1, 10 minutes Z2, 4 x (7 minutes Z3/2 minutes Z1) 5 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Today’s Workouts: 

  • Swim, 250 yd Z1, 10 x (100 yd Z3/15″ rest) 500 yd Z2, 250 yd Z1
  • Bike, 20 minutes Z1, 3 x (20 minutes Z2/7 minutes Z1) 20 minutes Z1

Weight: 174

Seriously frustrated.

I can’t even.


Anyway, it’s been a bit since I posted, circumstances and such.  Friday I really had nothing to post.  I spent the day doing stuff in Kansas City, which was really nice.  They have a liquor store with a bourbon selection about triple anything in town.  I have a BOBS this week, so I picked something up I am pretty sure nobody has tried, and MAYBE a thing or two for myself.  >_>

Spent the rest of the day shopping with the wife, and it was really nice except for the rain.  I was OK with it though because there was no lightning in the forecast so my swim was safe.  Right?

Wrong.  Got to the pool, and there was a sign on the door.  Closed for a private party.  Grrr.

Oh well, can’t control that.  Saturday came along and I was feeling really motivated.  It was pouring outside though, so I did my hour run on the treadmill.  It’s a great tool for times like this, but it is sooooooo boring to run that way.  It was that or get soaked through and deal with 20 mph winds to boot.  So I did the treadmill.


Later that evening I was feeling extra motivated, so I did my bike workout for Sunday.  I finished after 11PM, but I was thrilled to have gotten it done.  It would make Sunday an easy day, and all I would have is my swim.  I was determined to do a great swim to make up for Friday.

However, I am well aware of Murphy and his damned laws.  I got my swimsuit on and was preparing to go when I had this funny feeling I should check the pool hours today.  99 times out of 100 that just confirms the pool is open and its fine.  However, wouldn’t you know it?  Today the pool is closed for a swim meet.


I mean, the WHOLE day.  not even any evening hours.  All my good intentions, poof.  I should have waited to do that bike, because now I have nothing.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.  Oh, and have a drink of the bourbon I bought Friday.

Ah well.  Have a good rest of your weekend!  Cheers!

I just could not resist…

Apr 24: Day 71


Rest Day

Weight: 174

….signing up for a second event this year.  It’s one of my favorites, and I just couldn’t miss it.

See, I am doing an off-season plan to get ready for my training.  That wraps up in a few weeks.  At the recommendation of the plan, they want me to take a week off training before heading into the IM training plan so I have that set up for the second week of May.

Now, there are 2 reasons I planned not to do other events this year, one is the money.  That is still a valid reason, but meh.  The second is I don’t want secondary events to alter my training schedule, either with different workouts or unplanned rest days or what have you.  But this particular event happens to fall exactly during that break week.  That means I don’t have to worry about it.

The event is a half marathon in Bucyrus KS called Running With the Cows.  It’s one of those races that is put on by the community, and it shows.  It’s not that fantastic or scenic of a course, but the people there have a really, really good time with their event and pretty much an entire church in this small town puts it on.  Because THEY have so much fun, the runners have that much fun too.  What do I mean by fun?  Well, check out these finishers medals and race shirts:


The shirts are some of the loudest, silliest shirts ever.  I love wearing mine.  Oh, and all the runners get cowbells too.  See what I mean about just plain being cute?

Also, the post race food is something special.  It’s basically a potluck put on by the community.  I mean the whole community, businesses to grandmas cooking in their homes.  They have a room roughly the size of a basketball court and it’s wall to wall tables and food.  I’m serious.  Everything from breakfast burritos, doughnuts, pizza, sandwiches, BBQ, cookies, salad, soups, you name it.  I can’t even.  You have to run 13.1 miles to make enough room.

Having done this 3 years running I would have hated to miss it this year.  So I caved.  Oh well, it will be fun I am sure!

Do you all have a race you just can’t miss?

Workouts on no sleep

Apr 18: Day 65

Today’s Workouts: BRICK

  1. Bike, 5 minutes Z1, 20 minutes Z2, 3 x (5 minutes Z3/3 minutes Z1) 5 minutes Z2, 6 minutes Z1
  2. Run: 5 minutes in Z1, 20 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z1

Weight: Who knows?

Happily now that Easter is over, the Oreo Peeps can go away and stop turning my stomach.  Unfortunately, yesterday I saw yet another snack food in the convenience store that made me shake my head.

DSCN5097.jpgOK folks, seriously.  This is a thing that should not exist.  Especially the SnoBalls.  Those are already one of the grossest things I can think of outside of Peeps.

That being said….if and when I do have a Twinkie (which is like, once every 10 years) I have to say freezing them and eating them frozen is definitely the way to do it.  But Twinkie Ice Cream is still not something I ever want to experience.

Last night was one of those nights that I couldn’t string meaningful sleep together at all.  Too many things on my mind.  I think I saw all the digits on the clock except the 1, so I know I got an hour or two in there somewhere.  It just so happened to occur on a day when I had 90 minutes of exercise to do before work, so it was an early wakeup.  I got up about 4:45 completely unrested for the workout.

Interestingly enough I’ve had experience like this before, but it’s usually on race days I can’t sleep.  I always worry that I’ll suffer a bad performance because of the lack of sleep, or have a race where I’m basically sleep-walking.  Something like this:


Oddly, it almost never happens.  Usually by race time I don’t even feel tired.  I decided I would use a race morning strategy this morning to see if it helped, which is eat an easily digestible snack just before the workout and then another before the run.  Today I chose a pack of Clif Bloks, which are chewy gummy-like things with electrolytes.  Somehow that little bit of calories gives a kickstart just before I get going.

You know what?  It worked!  I had a great workout all around.  I felt really strong and alert throughout my intervals and had no problem heading out for my transition run.  That was really encouraging.  It was also fun to see my watch tell me I had achieved 200% of my movement goal….before 7AM.

Of course, now the endorphins have worn off and I can feel the fatigue of both 90 minutes of exercise AND no sleep.   I have 7 more hours of work to get through too.  Hopefully I can make it through the day without falling asleep at my desk.


Failing that, I hope I at least don’t drool on my keyboard.