Ironman Training – Weeks 1-2

The first 2 weeks of my 30-week training is in the bag. In looking back at my training log, I have managed to do all the run and bike workouts as prescribed except for one run. That one run had called for 45 mins in Z1-Z2, but I only did 24 mins. For that run, my body was just tired and I could tell from the first few feet that I wasn’t going to be able to do the whole run.

The biggest concern though is the lack of swimming. With all the pools closed due to COVID-19, I have not done any swimming for about 9 weeks and it may well be several more before I can swim again. Swimming is my achilles heel and not even being able to swim is raising all kinds of doubts in my mind.

One the bike, I’m doing more indoor cycling that in the past. While I hate being on the trainer, I think it’s better especially for the shorter mid-week rides. For example, one ride is always done at 100+ RPM and it’s easier to replicate that RPM on the trainer than on the road. My hope is to get into. routine where I do the mid-weeks ride indoors and the longer weekend ride outdoors.

This past weekend, the Ironman Virtual Race #6 is very close to the distances I needed to do , I so completed that event. For the 6 Ironman VR races, I have done 4 of them. It is unlikely I will do any more unless the distance matches or is very closed to my training plan. Since I’m gradually building up, that may have to wait until I’m running 13 miles or so on the weekend. The sprint and olympic distances would be too short

And So It Begins…Again!

Ironman Arizona 2020 is exactly 30 weeks away and that means it is time to start training again and keep my fingers crossed there will be an actual event to participant in. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, no one knows what will happen. Many Ironman events have already been canceled and I know of at least one marathon scheduled for October that has also been canceled. November is a long way off, but the current pandemic could still end up impacting it.

Last year, I started Ironman Arizona, but did not finish. A few days later, I signed up in order to try again this year. Since then, I have been loosely training in order to at least maintain some level of fitness, but it is time to focus on a proper training plan.

Like last year, I plan to use the Be Iron Fit plan. Last year I had started with the competitive plan but then switched some time in July to the intermediate plan. The first change I plan to make this time around is to start with the intermediate plan from the beginning. I realize that based on my availability and the amount of time I am willing to spend training, the intermediate plan is ideal for me.

That is not the only change I plan to make. I realize that if I don’t do things differently, I can’t expect to get a different result to last year. So what do I plan to do differently? There are multiple answers:

Bike: Of the 3 disciplines, I think I was most prepared for the bike, but there is still room for improvement. In the latter parts of the plan, the workouts called for specific workout types, like hill repeats. I never did these and instead just rode as normal. This time I will use my indoor trainer more and actually try and program in these workouts. Luckily, most of these specific workouts are the shorter mid-weeks ones and while I can’t bear to ride multiple hours on the trainer, I can manage a 1-hr workout. Last year I also skipped a couple of the longer weekend bike rides. I did the 6-hr ride, but I skipped a couple 5-hr ones. I will attempt to do all the rides as prescribed.

Run: Like the bike, I tended to shy away from some of the run-specific workouts and tended to stick to just easy running. I may consider using the treadmill for some of them, but I think just trying and doing more of the tempo runs will help a lot.

Swim: This is my achilles heel. This was the cause of my DNF last year. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, all the pools are closed and so my plan will be starting off on a really bad leg as I will not even be able to swim. So, the first change will of course be trying to do dry-land exercises in its place and hope the pools open soon. Once they do open, I will have to focus more on drills.. The intermediate plan only does swimming twice a week, but I’ll definitely need to do at least 3 days and possibly 4, even if the 4th is just an easy day.

Weight: I have to lose weight. I have to get to the start line weighing less than I did last year. It will make a huge difference on the bike and run. Also, I will have to get my weight down during the first half of the training as I can’t be trying to lose weight as the workouts get longer. So I figure I have 15 weeks to lose the weight I want to lose and then maintain that or just drop slightly in the latter half. I would love to get to the starting line at 170lbs.

Mental: In the end, I think the biggest change I can make is to keep a constant focus on the goal. If I DNF this year, that will very likely be the end of my Ironman dream

DIY Rocker Plate – V2

In January 2019 I had built a rocker plate and documented the build process here: DIY Rocker Plate.

At the time, I had a Tacx Vortex, an on-wheel trainer. I recently upgraded to an Elite Suito and so I needed to cut new holes to help mount the trainer to the rocker plate. Since I would have needed to take it apart to do this, I decided to upgrade the finish and graphics. Nothing within the mechanism has changed.

My first decision I had to make was how to attach the trainer. For the Tacx Vortex, I had used split hangers. These worked well as the Tacx had round legs. The Elite Suito has square legs. The best options I found was to use velcro straps that I found on Amazon. They come in various widths, but I figured the 2″ width would be nice and sturdy. I ended up using 5 of them. I simply cut slots in the board to run the straps through. Here are the slots

The next decision was on the color and graphics. I decided to put the ELITE logo on the rocker plate so painting id red made the most sense. It matches the Elite logo colors and my bike is also black/red so it matches that too.

For the logos, I used a Cricut to cut permanent stickers. I also added my blog logo and an inspirational quote I came across from Greg LeMond.

I topped off the board with a thin layer of epoxy. This served mutliple purposes:

  • It protected the stickers so they don’t peel or get destroyed from being stepped on
  • It added a layer of protected to the rocker plate from sweat
  • It gave it a great glass-like finish

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

Here is the final result all assembled:

The last enhancement I wanted to make was to make my rocker plate smart. I want to add LED lighting whose color is changed based on my current power output. For this, I added a Raspberry Pi and LED lighting. This part of the project isn’t fully completed, but here is the control box and an example video of how the LED lights will eventually change:

Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

Today was another race, a 15K this time. The event had both a 5K and a 15K race.

The day started off pretty early. I wasn’t sure what time to try and get to the event. The 5K had a start time of 7:30am and the 15K a start time of 8:15am. When I looked at the parking map, they had the participants on the opposite end of Fair Park. Quite a walk away. It was also cold. I decided to try and get there for 6:30-6:45am. I figured the 5K would have the most participants and I didn’t want to end up getting there after them and having to park far.

It turns out that they opened up an additional parking lot right by the start and since I got there early enough, I was able to park there. I was about 25m from the start line and just about 50m from the finish line. It was great.

I got there early and it was cold so I hung out in my car and watched as the 5K folks arrived. The 5K race was huge. Looking at the 5K results afterwards showed 7,945 finishers. It took about 30 mins for them to get all the 5K runners over the start line. BTW, the 15K was no slough either. The final tally showed 4,329 finishers.

Once they were gone, I lined up in my coral and looked for the pacers. My coral had 10:00, 10:30, and 11:00 min/mile pacers. I hung around the 10:30 pacer. Once the race started I was a bit ahead but by the end of the first 2 miles, I was near that pacer. Unfortunately I then started to take walking breaks and eventually the 11:00 min pacer caught me and hung with her for a while. Based on my watch and my mile splits, the pacers were both a bit fast. Eventually I fell behind the 11:00 pacer and ended up just running my own race.

While the weather was cold at the start, but the end, it was rather warm. I almost wore my tights, but I’m glads I stuck to shorts. I wore two shirts, but I could have gotten away with a short-sleeved shirt at the end.

Like my last race, the half-marathon, this 15K course had quite a number of hills.

I ended up finishing the race in 1 hr 45 mins. Here are my results:

Overall, I enjoyed the race and I will definitely consider doing it again. The only downside is that for packet pickup, I had to pay for parking. I wish I didn’t especially since I was only there for 15 mins.