32 Weeks to go – Training so far…

Well, Ironman Wisconsin is 32 weeks from yesterday.  I just finished up with the end of my week 4 with my coach. So far, so great!  My biggest worry about training was how were we going to fit in everyone’s after school activities.  It’s worked out great so far, I’ve had a few early morning workouts (up at 4:15am) to help ease any issues with stuff at night or so I can fit in two larger workouts that day.  Some nights, I just can’t do 3 hours of workouts after work, plus get home, eat dinner, and spend any time (at all) with my wife and kids.  The kids have been really supportive also, they remember how much work it was for everyone from 2 years ago when Mom became an Ironman…and they are still excited for me.

Workout stats from January – shown in training hours since most has been indoors:

Bike (14 times, 14 hours and 24 minutes)

Run (13 times, 8 hours, 6 minutes)

Swim (10 times, 8 hours, 25 minutes)

I’ve been feeling great!  Already feeling great improvement on the bike, and swimming 3x per week has really helped also.  I feel like my stroke has already gotten stronger, and my endurance is building up nicely.  I was using MyFitnessPal for the first 2 weeks of training (officially) just to gauge how much food I was eating daily.  That lasted 2 weeks, and I learned I was eating way too little each day.  I’ve worked very hard the last 2 years on training myself on portion control, it’s been an adjustment to start eating more each day.  My wife bought me some trail mix and mixed nuts for snacking at work, that’s been hitting the spot!  And with that, I’m at least choosing better things to eat.

Like I said before, so far….so good!!!



Ironman Training – What I’ve learned in the first 12 days…

Ok, so I’m officially on day #12 (almost the end of week #2) of training with my coach – 34 weeks (and a few days) to go till race day.  And I’ve already learned some great lessons….so far….

  1. Enjoy the rest days!  I’ve only had 2 so far, and I clearly wasn’t enjoying them enough yet. I’m sure this will get worse as the weeks go by…
  2. Bring enough food!  I’ve already learned that I don’t bring enough “snacks” with me each day.  I’ve done almost all of my workouts after work so far, I’ve done great at bringing a granola bar with for my drive to the gym….but I haven’t been bringing enough for AFTER my workouts…
  3. Bring my food indoors with me!  So Chicago had some crazy-cold days last week, -5 air temperature and -35 wind chill.  Last Saturday after my Computrainer class, I had left my food in my car.  Afterwards, my banana was frozen (that’s NOT code for anything!), and my granola bar was frozen solid as well.  I was worried I’d take a transition-ride to the dentist…
  4. House choirs still need to be done!  Learned this last weekend when my wife had shoveled the driveway during the afternoon.  She asked me to do it again that night, and I forgot and was sidetracked by playing Xbox…not good.  She had to do the driveway again and chip off all the ice….she wasn’t pleased…
  5. Eat enough at night!  On wednesday night, I had an hour CT bike ride, then an easy 30 minute run.  I got home and had a bagel with mozzarella on it (along with a granola bar before the workout), but that was all I had post-workout.  Woke up on Thursday and was starving and was SUPER tired all day.  I’m thinking it was because I didn’t have enough food the night before…

I think those are the “high level” things I’ve learned this week.  Clearly, there is a theme….FOOD!  I don’t eat the greatest, not much of a veggie eater at all, but clearly I need to start making some better choices with my pre and post workout meals.  Gotta fuel this high powered engine….or something like that…

Training Starts – 1 Week from Today!

Holy cow, training time is finally almost here!

I’ll be honest, I’d kinda freaked out still by it all.  Not that the training will be intense, but more about how we’ll handle it all at home.  With our daughter on swim team, my wife and I shuttle her back and fourth just about every night, and my son is in karate three times each week.  We’ve been thru all this before when my wife did Ironman Wisconsin in 2013, but we didn’t have the swim team running-around back then.  We’ll see, at least I know I have my wife’s 100% support – been there, done that! 🙂

I met with my coach last Saturday for a bike fit, they wanted to get a good look at my body positioning and all that stuff, plus we started talking some more details on the weekly training.  Felt good, minor bike fit changes, and already a few tips on what I could be doing better.

In case you missed my Twitter posts, here some shots of my new bike I bought in October….Quintana Roo CD0.1…absolutely LOVE IT!!!!!

Me and my new baby!

Me and my new baby!

Smoking hot!!!

Smoking hot!!! (shown with previous bottle cages, already upgraded to XLab Gorilla cages)

My wife and I and our QR's!

My wife and I and our QR’s! This was the day after we bought mine, it was my “birthday bike ride”.

My 1st Marathon – Race Recap

Ok, so I’m a few weeks over due with this race recap, but here it is…

Fox Valley Marathon

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

St. Charles, IL

I don’t like running, as I’ve mentioned before, but my wife and I thought it would be best this year to do my first marathon to make sure that I can get thru the training and the race itself – sort of, the first training test for Ironman next year.  I signed up back in January for this race, it’s great because it’s only 45 minutes from home, plus I did my first ever 1/2 marathon here 2 years ago – they know their stuff.  I did a Nike Run Chicago training plan, my wife used it twice before with great success, so I stuck with it also.  My training for the first 14 weeks was spot on, then I came up with a hip injury (strained muscle in my hip) and missed out on 3 weeks of running.  I was still swimming 3 times per week, and biking every night that I could, and doing physical therapy all with the hopes of keeping my endurance level where it needed to be.  I missed my long 16 mile and 18 mile runs, I was pretty panicked when I had to jump from 14 miles up to my 20 miler – but I DID it!

The race expo the day before

The race expo the day before

The race starts off at 8am, we arrived about 7 and met up with some friends from our local run club who were also doing the race.  My brother was also there with his digital camera and GoPro, I felt like a pro with a photography entourage trailing behind me.


Before the race. Look, I was so happy then…

My goal was to finish between 4:30 and 4:40, that’s about a 10:18 pace average. Most of my long runs (endurance pace) was at 11 and was able to do it fairly consistently.  There was supposed to be a pace group for the 4:30 people, at least that’s what the website said and people at the race expo.  I found the 4:20 pacer and ask her about the next one back, she told me there wasn’t a 4:30 group and to just “Stay behind me”.  I asked her pace and she said 10:00.  Well, that’s a bit faster than I hoped, and “just stay behind me” isn’t a good strategy.  So, I was on my own today – but I had my Garmin and my Runmeter app on my iPhone, so I was ready.  Besides….the pacer crept up and started 2 waves ahead of me anyways, so I never even saw them.

I had the best support crew around – my wife and 2 kids!  They were fantastic, and I saw them along the course 5 or 6 times. It was great!!!!!


The start of the race!


Mile 6, still feeling great!

I was able to get thru the half way point with about a 10:05 average, so a tad bit faster than I was hoping for, but was feeling really really good.  Hit the water/gatorade tables every few miles, and was taking in one GU Energy Gel every hour.  Was feeling great!!!!  Also set a PR at the 13.1 mark…


Around mile 15, starting to get a bit sore and tired. You can see, I’m not as happy as the previous photos…

Since this was my first marathon, and I certainly wasn’t trying to qualify for anything (just finish), I told myself that I’d allow a bit of walking after mile 21.  That’s the farthest I’ve ever gone and I was ok with a little walking.  I made it running all the way to mile 21 then walked for a few minutes.  Stretched out my hip, quads, calves, etc – it all felt pretty good.  Then I started to run again.  HOLY COW, that was tough – maybe I shouldn’t have walked!!!!!  The problem with walking is….it feels better than running, and my legs then began to put up a fight with me to get moving quicker.  After each walking stretch, it became harder and harder to start the “run” again. My pace quickly fell back, my Runmeter once chimed in with a 14:30 pace mile.  NOT GOOD.  I was walking just as much as actual running that mile.


Mile 23(ish). Not looking happy anymore…

I saw my wife at mile 23, she gave me hope that it was all mental and to keep moving.  I was at least running when I went by them, so that was good!  Miles 23 thru 25 were the hardest all day.  Once my Garmin said 25.2, I literally had 1 more mile to go! I started running again and wasn’t going to stop that last mile – and it worked.


Mile 25.9(ish), 1 more corner till the finish line!!!!!!! The smile on my face was totally fake, by the way….although this is a pretty good photo!

I had programmed a playlist on my phone for 4 hours and 35 minutes…..I ran out of music and was still about 3 miles from the finish line.  I was rather upset with myself towards the end that I allowed myself to walk as much as I did, I wasn’t happy with that.  I didn’t have that really emotional finish line like I thought I was going to have.  I was happy, but I thought I’d be overcome with the emotions of the race….but it didn’t happen.  Maybe because I was down on myself for the time, or because this isn’t my “end goal”, this was really just the first step of Ironman training.  Who knows.  A few days had past, and I started to appreciate what I accomplished more and more.  I was happy with my time, I finished a freakin’ marathon! 🙂

Finish time: 4:55



Ironman Wisconsin 2014 – Volunteer Race Report

Ironman Wisconsin 2014 – Volunteer Race Report

First off, let me start this post by saying how amazing Madison, WI is! That’s hard for me to say, I’m a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, I’m not supposed to like Wisconsin…haha!

So my wife and I signed up to volunteer at Ironman Wisconsin again this year. We did this back in 2012 in order for my wife to sign up for the 2013 race. That was our first-ever Ironman experience and it was truly amazing, we instantly fell in love with it. So of course, we planned to head up there again this year — even though I was already signed up for the 2015 race from our tri club’s early entry program.




We headed up for the 8am volunteer meeting (we live about 3 hours south of Madison), we made it just in time. We were in the change rooms during T1 this year, I was in the men’s one, of course. We did our walk-thru of the change room and the Bike Bag room, figured out where and when we needed to be there, then took off for a quick buzz thru the expo.   I tried on some Newton Fate running shoes, they were awesome, I should have bought them, but I didn’t….(insert sad face here).

For those of you who haven’t been to Madison, they have a MASSIVE farmers market! So we walked around there and bought tons of food, it was great. Then, I needed to get in a 12 mile run, my last “long” run of my marathon plan. I found a good route along the lake on the bike path, it was me and (maybe) hundred Ironman athletes doing their last run before their big. It was a tough run, hot and sunny, plus I didn’t have a whole lot of food in me just yet, and we were running basically at lunch time. Not fun. Everyone was probably wondering why I was there running a longer distance with a full fuel belt on…

After the run and some lunch, we hit the expo again. Walked thru the Ironman store, making a mental checklist of the thousand Ironman items I want to buy next year, after I deserve it, of course. I did buy a “Ironman in training” shirt, my wife said it’s the only Ironman/M-Dot item I’m allowed to wear right now!

Madison Farmers Market

Madison Farmers Market

Dinner was at the Great Dane Brewery, another must-see stop in Madison…the food is great! We ate here in 2013 also, it was THE place for us to eat at again this year.

The final goal!

The Final Goal!


Sunday – Race Day!


Woke up and headed into downtown, hit the Starbucks for some “fuel”, then to the Terrace (where the race starts and transition is). We checked in at our volunteer spots, then were able to grab a spot by a window to watch the swim start. It’s awesome! I love hearing the washing machine sound as all the swimmers chug by us, it’s was pretty freaky thinking I’ll be out there next year!

The "Calm" Before the Storm

The “Calm” Before the Storm

The change tent was intense, I was shocked at the huge wave of athletes that come thru there, it was a madhouse, but really well organized. The scope and size of volunteers it takes to put on an event like this, is truly amazing. It was so much fun! Sorry, didn’t get any photos, that would be weird….haha! Our shift went from 7:30am until about 10:30, after the last athlete comes thru T1, we helped out move the Bike bags to the other side of the room and sort them out in preparation of the run bags and morning clothes bags later on that day.

Our tri club (Endure It – www.endureitsports.com) always sets up a tent on the last hill — there are 3 big hills on the bike course, the 3 sisters, or 3 bitches, depending on who you are talking too — so we drove out there and cheered on all the athletes. Our club had about 9 athletes racing this year, 2 of them are good friends with my wife from last year’s training, so we HAD to see them. This was my first chance at seeing the bike course, let me tell ya, those are some BIG hills! I teased my coach (start in January) that I wanted to give up my race entry already, but she won’t let me. I was kidding of course. There is some crazy stuff on this hill, here are some photos….


Endure It Tent

Endure It Tent

View Down the Hill - this doesn't do it justice, by any means...

View Down the Hill – this doesn’t do it justice, by any means…


After we saw our last athlete come by, we packed up the tent and moved back to downtown and the run course/finish line. We cheered on the runners for a few hours then headed to the Tipsy Cow for dinner. Another great place for a burger!

Then we headed over to the finish line, found some Endure folks there and were able to get right up to the fencing. We stayed there for almost 4 hours and cheered our brains out! I gave out LOTs of high-5’s, to anyone wanting it! We were right at the last corner where the runners turn as they see the finish line.

The Run Course - Down State Street

The Run Course – Down State Street

The Finish Line

The Finish Line


The Last Stretch!

The Last Stretch!


Team Triumph, make the last turn on the marathon. Truly amazing! We cheered these guys on EVERY time they passed us, all day long!

Team Triumph, make the last turn on the marathon. Truly amazing! We cheered these guys on EVERY time they passed us, all day long!


I loved watching everyone’s face as they see that last stretch before they can hear their name called out as an Ironman. I admit, I got chocked up multiple times by the sheer joy of looks athletes had on their face, it was awesome. This is why I’m doing this race. I’m going to be that guy next year. Teary eyed and soaking up every second I can. I can’t wait!


Woohoo!!!  I’m pumped!

It’s Official – 367 days till Ironman 2015

Ironman, please take all my money…

Well, well, well, look at what I did last night….I’m officially registered for Ironman Wisconsin 2015, which is in 367 days from today (not that I’m counting…).  Pretty scary to think of the next few months, official training will begin in January with my coach.  Our tri club was one of the top in the country last year for Ironman points, and with that, we were given some early-entry slots for next year.  My wife and I are still doing our part and heading up to Madison tomorrow morning to volunteer on race day. Can’t wait!