Sunday, September 15, 2019

Ironman Wisconsin 2019 - The Verdict (Two Actually)

This makes my fourth post in 2019, which is the same number of posts in 2017 and 2018 combined.  I guess I had to do something with all this energy.

I ended the last post waiting my doctor's appointment to take out the sutures and get his opinion on Ironman Wisconsin.  I was still going through all the motions.  Bike race ready.  Transition bag packed.  Nervously awaiting the arrival of my new sleeveless wetsuit.

Thursday started pretty early at 5am.  My shoulder was pretty sore actually.  The most sore it's been in over a week.  I think the Kinesiology Tape may have been part of the problem but figured it was helping and it was part of the healing process.  I also mowed the night before.  That bothered my shoulder and my back.

I still had packing to do and I was too tired/sore Wednesday night.  I got a good chunk of it done but still plenty to do.  I got Rieger packed up and took him to my brother's at 8am.  Then drove back north to my Doctor's appointment.  I was afraid I would miss some details so I had a page and a half written up on what happened, what meds I took, what I had been doing, what Dr Sindorf had to say and so on.

Once he came in we chit chatted about the event.  He started to take out my sutures (every other one and then the rest) and said everything looked good and well on the way to healing.  My road rash looked great.  I probably could have taken the Tegaderm off but just left it on just in case.

He basically left it up to me.  He was not worried about the cut but did put Steri-Strips on it in case I did swim.  He did play to the "mental health"card saying I could race but would it be worth it.  Would I be happy with the result, especially since I had backup options.

Note: Parked

I left the office feeling good but cautious.  Next up was a swim to test it out.  I could have driven to my YMCA and did a test, but wanted to give the steri-strips a chance to adhere.  Plus I had lots to do still.  Haircut.  Grocery trip. I had about 2.5 hours to go before I was suppose to leave to pickup Tricia from work.  No signs of the wetsuit at this point.

Finally, about 1:30pm, the wetsuit arrived.  This really would have been perfect because that's when I needed to leave to get Tricia.... but the car was still empty.  Finally got everything loaded up and out the door about 2:30pm.

I was tired and sore, so Tricia drove a good portion of the way to Cedar Rapids, where we met up with Kevin and Ann.  Vicki was already in Madison, WI.  Kristen and John were going to stay in Kansas City and leave early on Friday.  Kristen, Vicki, and Kevin were also signed up for the race.

I say it that way because Kristen was dealing with a sudden new ailment, a self diagnosed pinched nerve.  Hard to swim, sight, and look up on the bike.  Not a good mix for a fun day of 140.6 miles.  She was getting some therapy on it Thursday evening.

Friday morning we took off for Madison around 7:30am.  We had an ETA of 11am at a YMCA near Madison.  Once there and I filled out a form that I hoped wasn't necessary since they have a national membership system now.  Whatever, I was just hoping my swim would take longer than filling out the form.

Made it to the locker room.  Changed into my jammers and went out to the 6 lane, 25 yard pool.  Two lanes used for aqua aerobics and the rest full of swimmers.  One wall of windows looking into the lobby where Kevin, Ann, and TKB were watching back.  Great, I have an audience for my self-destruction.

I got one swimmer's attention and he let me in his lane.  I slid into the deep end of the pool, still wrapped up in Tegaderm and 6 strands of black kinesiology tape.  After a few fake swim strokes to stretch, I started.  Slow.  Very slow but I was moving.  Had some soreness.  I did 25 yards, then 50 yards.  I then pushed to do a full 200 yards.  It took 4 minutes.  My normal "easy" 200 yard is around 3:20.  I stopped and chatted with the guy in my lane for a bit, then went to do another 100 yards and it was pretty painful and I had zero strength in my swim catch. Every time I tried to breathe, it felt like someone was punching me in the back right where my ribs were bothering me after the wreck.   I stopped at 50 yards and got out.  Walked over to the window where the trio were waiting and gave a reluctant look.

To be honest, I was hoping for a Forrest Gump moment. That moment when the bully kids start throwing rocks at little Forrest and Jenny yells, "Run, Forrest!  Run!".  He then takes off while the leg braces fall apart and he speeds away running super fast.  I really wanted my Kinesiology Tape to fly off my shoulder.  Maybe it would stick against the wall or the ceiling or along the windows.  But no...  nothing like that.

Walked to the locker room, changed, and sat on the bench.  A 4 minute 200 yard split?  A 2.4 mile swim is roughly 4,200 yards. So that would take 84 minutes to swim.  That didn't seem right.  It seemed like it should take much longer than that.  84 minutes is less than the 140 minute time limit of the swim portion.  Eventually I pulled myself off the bench and walked out.  Everyone was supportive.  Not pushing me one way or the other.  I decided I needed another swim to give myself a chance.

While the tape didn't fly off, allowing me to swim all the way out to the car as if asphalt was water, I still hoped that the 375 yards did workout some kinks.  Guess we'll see.

We drove straight to packet pickup.  Kevin and I went through the line.  Again, I just felt like I was going through the motion.  You wind your way around the Terrace to get all the parts of your packet.  It almost felt like a scavenger hunt.  Get your waiver and walk a flight of stairs to fill it out and sign it.  Walk over to some scales where a guy writes your weight on the waiver.  Seemed very old school, but OK.  Then walk out the door and down more stairs.  Get your actual packet where the woman showing you all the stickers also explains a bracelet you can wear during the race.  "Give it to a volunteer that helped you out to show appreciation", she said.  I should have just given it to her because I was thinking, "you're the last volunteer I will see this weekend".  I tried to push out the negative thoughts but the pain wouldn't let me.

Grabbed my free beef jerky, Red Bull, and backpack, and then we found TKB and Ann.  After going through the merch area (ignoring everything), we grabbed a bite to eat. It was now 2pm and time for the last participant meeting.  After that was over, Kristen and John had arrived.  When I saw Kristen, I gave her a hug knowing she just went through the same frustrating motions I did in the packet pickup gauntlet.  We both had hopes Sunday might happened.  It was reliant on that final swim.

John, Kristen, Tricia and I went to the hotel while Kevin went for his open water swim.  After getting settled, it was happy hour time.  Normally I would have just stuck with water, but I was not in the right mindset.  Margarita please.  Kristen's attempted a swim at the hotel pool and it didn't go well.  She wanted to wait for Saturday to try her bike before officially calling off the race.

I also had Tricia help me take off the Kinesiology tape. I had started to peel it back and it relieved pain.  It actually relieved quite a bit of shoulder aches.  So that's good.

Saturday started off with a text from Kristen that she tried her bike and it didn't go well either.  She was out.  If you can't look up to watch the road, you probably shouldn't race.  Coach Ken texted me and asked about doing a bike ride.  I told him I was still going through the motions.  Bike/Run brick and then the open water swim.  All in the plan.  I'm sure he was hoping to get me to do a long-ish bike ride considering I had already texted him the previous day about the failed pool swim.

Kevin, Ann, and I drove the bike course with a stop around mile 22 to ride one of the hills.  I would then follow that up with a 10 - 15 minute run.  We went backwards on the course down a medium descent.  It was a little bit windy and my front wheel was shaky.  I soon realized it wasn't just my wheel in the wind.  My shoulders were shaky.  This did not bring confidence.  I slowed down considerably.  Once we hit the bottom of the descent, I got a bit more comfortable on the bike.  Aero felt fine finally.  I just needed to work through it as the ride went along.

We hit a turn around and another guy joined us who was aparently the owner of BASE Performance.  Kevin chatted with him mostly and we went up one of the "big climbs".  Didn't really seem bad at all; however, we hadn't been racing or completed 22 miles after a 2.4 mile swim.  The 10 minute run went well.

Finally back at the hotel around 11am, we packed up all of our gear and went to check in our bikes at the race site and drop our gear bags.  Again, going through the motions.  Before I dropped things off, I had one thing to do.  Test out my new sleeveless wetsuit with an open water swim.  They had bleachers by the swim area, so Tricia sat and watched me struggle to get into the suit but I was able to get in without abnormal moans.  In addition, I was actually able to do a full arm swing.  Multiple times.  With good speed.  Hmmmmm.

I walked over to the swim entry. Floated in my new wetsuit.  Christened it (aka, peed).  Then started my swim.  Right, left, right left.  100 yards. Right, left, right, left. 200 yards.  300 yards.  I stopped a few times to adjust the suit.  It was pushing down right on a sore shoulder spot.  I presume a bone bruise.  Then a little further.  I felt good.  Maybe 85% strength on my swim catch.  Hold up.  "Hey Siri, Text Tricia 'This might actually happen'".  (yes, I had my Apple Watch on me.  No, Siri didn't listen to me so it didn't get sent).  The shoulder felt.... good enough.  I started swimming back.  Earlier in the day, Ann had joked about practicing the Side stroke.  So why not, side stroke was a success.  I then looked up and there was Ann and Kevin waiving at me.  Heh.  Coincidence.

I started swimming back.  I wanted to go the entire way without stopping (and not hit someone swimming out).  I started going and then things started to slow again.  I felt like my arm was moving "in squares".  I stopped.  Went a bit.  Still sore.  Stopped.  Went a bit.  Felt like someone was punching me in the back when I tried to breath.  Stopped.  Made the decision: I'm out.

I already had my pitty party. I had tried everything I could to race. I had backup options.  I had great family and friend support.  Unfortunately, I also had a friend to wallow together in misery.

I did some weird combination of side stroke, breast stroke, and water running before I finally felt ground.  TKB, Ann, and Kevin pretty knew the answer before I walked up because of all my wading on the way back.

Kevin had already checked everything in and I didn't need to anymore, so back to the hotel we went.  I showered and then met Kristen, John, and TKB in the lobby.  John had a six pack of the Spotted Cow ale and I had used my new Ironman Wisconsin Backpack to transport  "Ironman DNS Elixirs" (many mini liquor bottles and soda to mix.. DNS: Did Not Start).

I submitted my paperwork to get my Ironman fees reimbursed to the insurance company.

I texted Coach Ken my final result and we agreed to fill in part of Sunday with a long run.  My Fitness had dropped a good chunk during my recovery so it was time to start moving the needle back up.  I'm no longer in taper mode but full on training.  A 15 mile run and I already had a route planned out for me, the half marathon loop of the Ironman Wisconsin run course.  I might not have thousands of people cheering me on but I did have Ann to run with.

Sunday was race day and now I'm sherpa'ing more iron distance races than I've participated in.  I tried to stay positive.  We didn't get a chance to see Kevin/Vicki before the race but we did watch the first hour of the swim.  It was choppy.  Lots of people being pulled out of the water.  Seeing that, I knew I made the right decision.

The rest of the day was a blur.  Went for the run, which was beautiful.  It is a pretty run course.   Had lunch at Portillo's.  We chased around our triathletes on the run course.  I saw Vicki probably 4 or 5 times.  I saw the other two MTC Racing Team members out there (they likely had no clue who I was at the time, which was fun).  TKB was fighting off a cold, so she stayed in Vicki's hotel room for the evening, which was smart.  The weather went south.  Cold, windy, and rainy.  It was a super tough day with the conditions.  Kevin and Vicki persevered, just like they did in Chattanooga a few years back but that race had horrible heat.

Monday TKB was feeling better so we went out for a 3 mile run.  We finally hit the road about 10am, bringing home a few cases/6 packs of Spotted Cow ale for friends at home.

It looks like I still have 3-5 more weeks of training before calling it good and focusing on my half marathon in November but, ultimately, I'm glad I decided to bail on the race.  As I've said a few times already, this isn't the experience I wanted.  I didn't want to spend my last two weeks hoping I would be able to heal and fight until the last possible moment to determine my participation.  I remember in 2013 enjoying every last workout before the race.  I especially remember finishing my last swim in the lap pool, leaning up against the edge of the pool with Phillip Phillips "Home" playing on the lifeguards boombox and simply taking it all in.

I want that.  I want to enjoy the final week.  The drive to the race site.  The nervous anticipation of packet pickup.  The lack of care spending money at the merchandise tent. The alarm going off at the stupid hour in the morning and pulling myself out of bed, ready to race.

So there is still another verdict to be made.  Ironman Chattanooga or Ironman Louisville. Considering it's been 3 weeks and I'm still not able to swim, I want the race that gives me the best chance at recovering for the swim.  That would be Ironman Louisville.  It's also the first branded race I had signed up for but couldn't do because of injuries.  So it's like a second chance.  I haven't signed up, nor will I until I am good with the swim.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ironman Wisconsin 2019 - Injury Update and "Fun" Klutz Facts

Things are progressing.  It's been extremely up and down.  Day to day but I would call it hour by hour.

Tuesday - Took a day off from work to pick up medicine and lick my wounds.

Wednesday - Worked from home so as to not scare the office floor.  Feeling better and positive.  I was able to get a full swing stroke but it was slow.  Hopped on my bike and rode the trainer for 30 minutes.  It was tough getting into aero but once there it was fine.  I tried shifting my chainring to the outer ring and it simply wouldn't.  Hopped off my bike and called Joe at Cycle City.  He didn't have availability until Tuesday but said he'd take a look.  If anything, that'd allow him to order any parts to be installed next week.

Called my general physician who was able to squeeze me in since it was an "ER follow-up".  Scheduled an appointment for the next Thursday to have stitches removed.  Called Chiro (Dr Robert Sindorf at Elite Chiro Care) and left a message.  I knew he was on vacation this week, so hoping for next week.

My attempt to keep the sutures dry and protected during a workout.

Thursday - In the office but was getting worn out by the end of the day.  That night my right shoulder was starting to get sore.  Really really really sore.  I had been working it throughout the day but this was bad.  I ended up going to bed early with a Tylenol PM.  Couldn't move it at all.  Set back?  Instead I think it was the tetanus booster.  I think I recall that happening last time I got a booster.

Called Cycle City and they had not started on the bike yet.  Eek.

Friday - Back in the office.  The shoulder was still sore in the morning but throughout the day it loosened up.  Texted my cousin Nurse Kari about it.  Figured out my backup plan.  With either Ironman Louisville or Ironman Chattanooga, I could get a free hotel stay.  For Louisville, I could fly in Tricia for free too.

I went for a 30 minute run at the YMCA indoor track and it went pretty well.  So check running off on the list for race day ready.  On the way to the gym I stopped at Cycle City.  Joe said he had all the parts and would be working on it next.  Whew.  Picked it up a few hours later!  Thanks Joe!!

My bike is back!  With new shifters.  Wanted to tell Joe to disconnect my brakes so this didn't happen again.

Some of road rash scabs started to flake off

Saturday - Bad day.  Very bad day.  I got up early-ish and got on my bike.  Started leaning into aero and expected a little pain like Wednesday.  This time the pain wouldn't allow me to even reach the handle bars.  Noooo.  I wanted to do two hours but after 30 minutes I had a TSS of 4 (if you don't know what it is, just know it's bad).  So stopped.  I went up to Tricia who was still in bed and said this wasn't happening.  Whatever happened Thursday put me back.  After 6 days I still was in no condition.  8 more days wasn't going to make a lick of difference.

Once I calmed down a bit, we decided to go get brunch and do a little shopping.  I sent out the text to Kevin, Vicki, and Kristen that things were looking grim.  Vicki and Kevin both pushed me to text Dr Sindorf to get his thoughts.  Wait, you both have his personal phone number?!  What kind of VIP plan are you on?  Well, I did.  He agreed to work me in and likely would be Tuesday evening.

Throughout the day the arm was feeling better.  I was again able to mimic a full swim stroke.  I then realized that things are just more tight and sore in the morning and I need to discount any pain in the morning.  The problem with that is the race will start around 7am.  Gotta warm up that arm!

Bloody Mary at the J Rieger Monogram Lounge with brunch.  Needed it after that morning.  Rehydrated after the lost tears sweat.

Sunday - Woke up feeling better.  Better range/mobility right off.  No workout for me.  Went up to Fairfax, MO for a family baby shower and dinner.  Nurse Practitioner Aunt Pam said my sutures/wound were looking good.

Monday - Woke up feeing better.  Probably the best yet.  Things are looking up.  Got in some retail therapy... even triathlon related.   I ordered a sleeveless wetsuit.  Hoping it will be in by Thursday or that they are willing to ship to our hotel.  Swimming with wetsuit sleeves are challenging enough.

I also went for a SEVEN MILE run that evening!

Road Rash under Tegaderm

Really starting to heal up

Tuesday - Finally got in with Dr Sindorf at Elite Chiro Care.  Spent about 30-45 minutes with him.  He did a quite a few range/mobility tests and determined (to his ability without any imaging) that I didn't tear anything.  Could there be? Yes but not likely.  I passed his tests and since I was getting better every day, it's not a labrum tear.  Gave me some homework to do for PT exercises.  He also did some "adjustments" on my shoulder and ribs that were cranky.  Put some KT tape on myself shoulder and on my way!

Ordered new glasses, which are slightly different than my normal style.  Looking forward to getting them and not destroying them.

Did my hour long trainer ride as prescribed in my training plan.  First one since my accident.  Felt great.

Wednesday - This thing might actually happen.  I got up at 4am simply to get my bike race ready and so
I did a 21 mile ride at the downtown airport plus a 3 mile brick ride.  Everything is cruising along.  A little nervous about the new shifters because muscle memory with them isn't there yet.

It really is quite a lattice work of Kinesiology Tape

So it's been over a week now. Nine days, in fact.  I'm icing my should and also applying some moist heat.  The heat seems to help quite a bit.  I'm sitting at about 50% right now on doing the race.  Lots of things to take into consideration.  Do I chance having the wound re-open during the swim.  Even if my shoulder handles the 2.4 mile swim, what about acting as a structural strut when in aero on the bike for 112 miles? :/.

Next test is talking to my general physician at 9:30am Thursday... and hopefully a test in the pool!!!  Departure for Madison, WI is Thursday afternoon (umm... .pending delivery of my wetsuit... eeeeeeek)

Other Interesting Tidbits - I'm a KLUTZ

So I started thinking about my luck with big things in my life and injuries.  It's not looking good for me.

  • 2019 - Bike wreck 13 days before Ironman Wisconsin
  • 2018 - Jacked up my pinky toe 3 weeks before Space Coast Marathon. Opened a door into it while stepping forward.  Nearly took those full 3 weeks to get better.
  • 2016 - Nasty nasty ankle sprain 1 week before a 100 mile Appalachian Mountain bike race, Blood Sweat and Gears.  Ended up backing down to the 50 mile.
  • 2015 - Leg stress fracture diagnosed 3 weeks before Boston Marathon. Cancelled run.
  • 2011 - Bike wreck and broke a rib 7 weeks before Beach2Battleship 70.3 triathlon (with a setback that put me in the ER a month before).  Side note: almost took a codeine pill instead of meloxicam the morning of the race.
  • 2010 - Got a cold the week before my first marathon.
  • 1996 - Dislocated my right pinky finger 3 days before leading a saxophone quartet in State competition.  
  • 1984 - Broke my left arm the weekend (or two) before starting first grade.
I should probably be locked up right before major events.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ironman Wisconsin 2019 Taper - Don't Do Anything Stupid

Once my taper started I met up with Coach Ken and talked about final race strategy, prep, and the taper.  Gotta keep things going so to not lose the fitness gained through a hard last month of training.  Be smart. Don't do anything stupid.

Would love to have ended that right there.  Nope.  Big Nope.  Monday I had an easy one hour bike on the schedule.  Get out and workout the legs from my weekend of semi-long, but challenging training.

Chose my normal hour-ish route.  It's rush hour time and this route mostly avoids that.  Went up over a hill and the small descent to a stop sign.  Was in the small chainring when I learned a little lesson that had never ever crossed my mind.  Let me explain through a photo:

My bike has a little different style shifters than most non-electric shifting Time Trial/Triathlon setup.  I actually really like them when they work well (which is about 5% of the time). 

If you are a cyclist familiar with Time Trial/Triathlon bikes, you'll know this setup.  Shifters are on the aero bars and the brakes are on the handlebars.

So going about 16-18mph I pulled my front brake instead of my front shifter allowing me to test the laws of physics.  I failed... miserably.

I ended up flying over my handlebars.  What happened next was a blur.  I don't remember.  I don't want to remember.  Based on what you will see after a few paragraphs (be prepared) I believe I landed on my right shoulder and then the right side of my face.  I ultimately rolled over on my back and skidded about for about 5 feet.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.  The next few minutes were clearer but not by much.  I got up and checked my faculties.  All checked out but something was hanging from the right side of my face.  I looked for my glasses (it was cloudy so I didn't put on my sunglasses).  A guy rolled up on his bike to check on me.  I found part of my glasses, he found a lens from my glasses.  Right shoulder was hurting.  I noticed the right temple bar was missing. I grabbed the thing hanging on my face and pulled a little... not budging.  Leave it. A lady pulled up in her car and asked if I was OK.  I was covering this thing on my face.  Asked for a rag or something and she gave me napkins and a wet wipe.  I called TKB to pick me up.  Guy on the bike went to the top of the hill to slow down any cars.  The lady in the car left. I  realized the thing on my face wasn't a stick or something but the temple bar of my glasses.  Just kept pressure on it with the napkins.

After a moment I realized I was back in control of myself.  I moved my bike so I was out of the road but in a business driveway.  Just sat on the top tube and watched TKB's GPS tracking to my location.  It probably took 20 minutes but went super fast.  I took a few photos of my face to see what my eyes looked like. I felt like my right eye vision was a little darker than my left.  That's ok, maybe bloodshot, but I could see.

TKB got there and we loaded up my bike and I had already decided an E.R. visit was required.  Urgent Care could be an option but with my temple bar well secured to my face, I wanted the ER.

TKB gave me an old towel we had in her car and kept pressure on my face.  Nothing truly hurt bad, just uncomfortable.  Adrenaline does good things.

We got the the E.R. and after a short time, they brought me back to a room.  Once they figured out TKB wasn't beating me, they brought her back.

Naturally this entire time I was trying to keep hope that my entire summer wasn't a freaking waste in the few seconds of mind drift.

In the E.R., they gave me about 800mg of Ibruprofen and a muscle relaxer and something to dull the pain/feeling around the temple bar.  I asked them to X-Ray my shoulder, which luckily come back clean.  Whew.  They gave me a tetanus booster, just in case.  Waiting for the meds to numb my face, I started sending out texts to Kevin, Kristen, and Vicki, as well as Coach Ken, about some potential bad news about IM Wisconsin. :/

After a while, the Nurse Practitioner (Amanda) started on my new temple bar appendage.  She cleaned out some of the debris from other parts of my glasses and then tried to remove the appendage.  She spent a little time finding a screwdriver that would remove the screw that attaches the temple bar to the body of the glasses, which I was concerned about losing in my face.  Turned out that wasn't what was keeping it attached.  She eventually removed the temple bar and started cleaning all the wounds on my face, ear, back, hands, elbows.  Unfortunately, she couldn't give me anything for my ego.

Next up were sutures.  This made me even happier that I didn't try to rip off the temple bar while standing on the street.  Who knows what would have happened had I done that. I ended up with 8 sutures above the eyebrow and down the side.

I talked with Amanda about the Ironman.  She actually was not concerned about participating in the Ironman.   She recommended leaving in the sutures for the race to make sure the wound didn't open up again.  It would require a bandage and some cleaning during T1.  Hmmm.

After about 2.5 hours in the E.R., they finally discharged me.  Prescription for muscle relaxers (which I have not taken) and some topical and pill form antibiotics and out the door.  I had taken off my bike jersey and shoes.  So I was standing at the exit with no shirt or shoes while waiting for TKB to bring the car around.  Hot stuff.

I took Tuesday off from work and then worked from home on Wednesday.  Didn't want to scare the coworkers on my floor. :)

48 hours later I've got about 80% range of motion in my shoulder. There is no way I could do the swim with my arm in its current shape. Well, I could but I would be swimming in a clockwise circle. I'm confident that I will have full range by the time the race takes place, 13 days after the accident.  Nevermind the fact that I would not be able to wear goggles with the sutures because it would rest on top of the last two sutures.

The question is the sutures.  I have my doctors appointment to discuss and potentially remove the sutures the Thursday before the race (10 days post accident).  If they recommend to leave the sutures in for the race, I think I'm going to bail because of the aforementioned problem with the goggles touching the sutures.  If they remove the sutures, will the goggles and tight swim cap cause the wound to open?  What if I get kicked in the face during the swim?  I can definitely avoid the kick to the face easy enough but the 75 minute pressure from the goggles and swim cap?  Hmm.

Wednesday I went for a bike ride on the trainer, which went well.  The bike seems OK except I couldn't shift the front shifter.  I called up Joe from Cycle City and he said he'd take a look at my bike to see if he can fix it in time for the race, so I dropped it off.  If it means I get the standard Time Trial/Triathlon bike shifters then fine.  I at least want to be able to get in a good ride to confirm it's ready to race, as well as my body.  Riding on the road and a trainer are very different experiences.

So what are my options?  There are two races coming up 3 and 4 weeks after IM Wisconsin.  That would be IM Chattanooga and IM Louisville, respectively.  That would give me plenty of time to heal and regain some lost fitness.  It would absolutely suck not racing with my buddies but if I completely bailed this year, it would mean I have wasted an entire summer of training.  That's time away from my wife, family, and friends.  That's time my coach spent on my training plan. That's a 3rd Ironman that I have put money towards and not competed.

The next week will be an interesting one.

Something else that's interesting... PHOTOS!!!!  I did warn you earlier, right?

Photos I took while waiting for TKB.  Wanted to see what happened to my ear.  Also trying to judge what's attached to my face.  

Again, a few minutes after the accident.
Hanging out in the E.R.  The techs had wrapped up my head so I didn't have to keep holding the nasty napkins against it, which you can see part of hanging from the temple bar (that's not skin).

What I feel was the inspiration to the medical tech who wrapped up my head.

Another view of my emoji face
Road rash.  That's going to leave a mark.

Starting to get gruesome. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

 The cotton was soaked in something to dull up my skin along with an injection.

No holding back now.  Right before they started to remove the temple bar.

8 sutures later.

After I got home Monday, Rieger was scared of me.  I could tell he knew who I was but just wasn't quite sure what was going on.  I'm sure I smelled of E.R. antiseptic too.  The next day he seemed to still question me.

Are you my 'real' daddy?
Sadly, one casualty of the wreck was my Beach2Battleship jersey.

Two days post wreck.  Really trying to look sad sack on these:

A tiny bit of positivity
My attempt at a bandage to use while working out. Tegaderm and gauze over the stitches.  

My glasses.... with the temple bar re-united.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

2019 Update & Race Report: Ironman Muncie 70.3

Programming Note: I wrote this about mid-July after Ironman Muncie 70.3 race but published in August.... because lazy.

I still keep deciding if I should keep this blog going or just end it entirely.  I do truly enjoy posting as it provides a good journal of my triathlon journey.  My journey has had some hiccups in the last few years and it's amazing how different I approach triathlons now.  For one, I rarely post on social media about my racing/training anymore nor scour all other triathlete blogs.  I used spend hours reading race reports of upcoming races, devouring all the race communications, meticulously planning every aspects of the weekend.  Today?  I would still consider myself serious about triathlons in the training aspect and hoping for good outcomes but some of the planning/prep seems to be lacking.  My coach gives me the direction on if I am stupid about my race schedule and I'm totally happy with that.

Case in point.  My standard race crew (Kristen, Kevin, and me) signed up for Ultramax Halfmax in Innsbrook, MO last June.  It's almost a 70.3 distance triathlon (bike is 2 miles short).  I can do a 70.3, I mean, I'm in the middle of training for an iron-distance triathlon.  This should be a piece of cake.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

This turned into a massive reality check.  For one, I did not fully appreciate the elevation map of this race until the day before when TKB and I drove the bike course.  Had we driven the run course, I probably would have just kept driving back to KC.  This course was hilly.  That's fine, right?  On the bike you just zoom down the descents and then fly up the inclines?  Nope.  Speed bumps were waiting for you at the bottom.  Unless you want to break your carbon fiber framed bike, you better be cautious.  The run wasn't just rolling hills.  It felt straight down and then up.  The decision was should I "run" or simply fast walk.  I usually chose the walk.

Had I done my normal pre-race recon, I might have been ready for this or set my expectations better.  That's not all, unfortunately.  Let's throw in a big thunderstorm race morning too that ultimately cancels the swim and turns it into a duathlon (1 mile run, 54 mile bike, 13.1 mile run).

To sum it all up, I was miserable from the sound of the starting horn to crossing the finish line.  It was wet, hilly, humid, mechanical issue on the bike, hilly, "saddle issues", gut problems, hilly, and miserable.   Did I mention hilly and miserable?

If this was truly my dress rehearsal for IM Wisconsin in September, I did a massive disservice to myself.  I was frustrated, cranky, and stressed out now.  A couple take aways,

  1. The nutrition plan I have been using since 2011 is not sufficient. 
  2. I have to appreciate the bike more to have a better run (Coach Ken has been preaching this since the first day we talked, time to listen)
  3. Stretching/Strength Training for stronger core.
I use the same recipe today that I used for my first 70.3.  Bike: combination of Clif Bars and GU Chomps and a mixture of gatorade and water.  Run: GU gel every 4 miles.  The bike plan has caught up with me.  My Keep It Simple Stupid approach is no longer sufficient.  Be that I now need special fuel for my "machine" or my age can't survive on that alone for 5+ hours.  So I made a pledge to improve.

I have turned to Tailwind.  I was also considering Infinit as well because many of my friends use that.  I wasn't quite ready to go that route because they offer the ability to tweak your formula and I didn't want to be a chemist quite yet.  So I ordered a sample pack and used that on my next big training day.  I felt it was a success on the bike so I've dumped the Gatorade and Clif Bars.  I'm about to dump the Chomps as well but I like having something solid to eat.  I'll figure out the solids in the next couple months.

Key to a good Ironman is a good run.  The key to a good run is a good bike.  That's what Coach Ken told me day 1.  I know it's almost eye-roll worthy that I posted that I PRd the bike at Ironman Boulder 70.3 last year.  I also personal worst the run too.  Coincidence?  Not likely.

So I pledged to pull back on the bike.  Not push it simply because my power output dropped below what I want to do.

I probably unfairly compare everything I do in triathlon to Beach2Battleship 140.6.  That is one of the top 5 days of my entire life.  I'm sure I've pushed out some of the bad parts of that day but it was truly great.  I do attribute to some of the success to my consistent weight room visit (because I hired a personal strength trainer).  My pledge was to get into the weight room more or at least better focus on the days Coach Ken puts strength training on my calendar.

The problem with my pledges was that I didn't have another race in my calendar until Ironman Wisconsin.  If I'm going to change things up, I need to test it out in a race situation.  Because of this, I added Ironman Muncie 70.3 to the calendar.  Truth be told, we originally elected not to do IM Muncie 70.3 this year because we wanted to cheaper/closer 70.3 to participate in.  Ironically, we ended up doing it anyway.

So with that, let's chat IM Muncie 70.3!

Race Report
This year's participant crew was Kevin, Kristen, John, myself, and Kevin's coach Josh.  Kevin, Josh, and I carpooled out on Thursday and Friday.  We stayed in Vandalia, IL where I proceeded to puncture 3 tubes trying to fix a flat tire on my rear wheel.  Better Thursday than Saturday.

We finally got to Muncie around 1pm on Friday where we met up with Kristen and sherpa-extraodinaire, John (Kristen's hubby) at the race site.  Packet pickup and then a shake out bike ride and run.  At the athlete meeting they already mentioned that it was wetsuit optional, which means no wetsuit for me.  

We did a quick pass through the merch tent where I picked up my obligatory pint glass and then back to our hotel.  I got my bike all setup (except for my nutrition) and then met up with Kristen and John for dinner at Olive Garden.  Kevin and Josh had pre-made their pre-race dinner, so it was just us three.

I was pretty exhaust Friday evening but didn't turn off the last light until about 9:30pm.  I mean, it is July so I had a stage of the Tour de France to catch up on.

Alarm went off at 3:45am.  Shower, suit up, get everything packed up in the car (we weren't staying at the hotel that night) and then off to the race site.  One of the houses next to the race site offers parking for a decent price and we took them up.  Bike checked in and ready to race.  It seriously is amazing how quickly 1.5 hours goes when you consider the transition setup, multiple port-a-john stops, paranoid inspection of your transition.  All during this time I drank a full bottle with two scoops of Tailwind (pledge #1)  We all met up by the beach and I did a quick practice swim.  

Around 7am, Kevin and I went over to the swim start.  Earlier I had looked at my IM Boulder 70.3 time and I finished around 33 minutes.  I was just going to line up there when Kevin reminded me that I would not have a wetsuit, so we lined up between 37-40 expected swim time group.  It took 25 minutes for us to reach the actual swim start, where they were allowing 2 participants to start every 5 seconds.

I seem to never set expectations for myself on the swim.  Probably because I don't want to let myself down.  I'm a middle of the pack swimmer and just got it out and try not to grope too many people along the way.  9 buoys out, turn right to the next buoy, then 9 buoys in.  They changed the swim course so you weren't swimming into the sun for the second half. Cool.

Some traffic here and there and I could tell my legs dropped without the aid of a wetsuit, so I just tried to focus on that.  The big toe on one of my feet was trying to cramp up on me but never fully locked up. Needed to pee but just can't seem to do that in the swim.

Time 39:37
Age Group: 39 out of 128 
Overall: 320 out of 1,500

Again, middle of the packer (or front of middle of the packer) swimmer. 

It's about a quarter mile run to the transition area (per my Garmin).  Put on socks and shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and off to the bike.  Some day I will get back to doing flying mounts with my shoes on my bike.

Pledge #2 coming right up.  Don't push it.  I wanted to keep my power in a specific zone.  This is a fast bike course and I knew it.  Keeping my power consistent should be easy.  Very little elevation gain.  No big climbs. No medium climbs.  Just heads down and ride.  Ok, maybe not. Eventually there are around 1,500 triathletes in a 27 mile stretch of road. It's crowded and full of people deserving of a stop in the penalty box.

I had two bottles of Tailwind (3 scoops per bottle) in my Speedfil hydration system with a third bottle in my bike cage.  My plan was to consume the Speedfil in two hours.  I managed to do that in 1.5 hours.  I loaded up the final bottle in the Speedfil and tried to complete that before I got back.  Pledge #1 on track.

I was focusing on drinking anytime I saw an even number on my bike computer.  If I couldn't remember if I had a drink, drink anyway.  This became problematic when things got busy on the road because it took my attention away from my data.  I still had GU Chews on my bike to supplement my calorie intake.  I only took 4 pieces instead of the 16 I had ready.

I did pretty well managing my power.  In the past when my power dropped low I would push it to get it back up.  This time I just kept spinning and it would return.

Time: 2:38.39 (20.9 mph)
Age Group: 44 out of 128
Overall: 310 out of 1,500

I felt like I hit my goals/pledges on this bike.  I had no gut issues on the bike.  I've started to hate eating Clif bars on the bike and just simply making sure I eat every 15 minutes.  I don't miss the Gatorade mixture either because it was just too sweet and eventually hated the taste once it got warm.  So check and check!


I still do flying dismounts but I didn't judge the dismount line correctly and it was just simply too crowded, so I couldn't get my leg over in time and didn't want to chance doing something bad.

Got my bike on the rack with no incidents.  Grabbed my visor and hydration belt (with bib) and off on the run.

So I had to pee during the swim and now I needed to pee even more.  So I noticed an open port-a-john in the transition area and used it.  50 seconds.... seriously. So much hydration... so much wasted time.

Time to see how well I've done.  Did I burn my legs out?  Will my gut start gurgling?  Will the heat kill my run?  Time to find out!

Flashback: So on the drive up Josh played a podcast in which the host talked about racing in the heat.  Part was how to acclimate yourself to heat.  The other part was how to race in the heat.  One thing the host discussed was keeping the core cool and the best way was chewing ice during the run.

Nothing new on race day?  Sure but this was ultimately a dress rehearsal to IM Wisconsin.   So for each of the 13 aid station, I took in 2-3 cups of water and grabbed an entire cup of ice. I put the ice in each hand and then ran chewing the ice.  By the time I finished off the ice or it melted in my hand, I was about .25 miles to the next aid station.  So not only did it help keep the core cool, it also helped move the run along.

This strategy was great!  Not only was I running but I had to convince myself to slow down the entire run.  I was shooting for 8:30 pace and then walk the aid stations to make sure I got plenty of fluids/ice in me.   I also took in GU gels every 4 miles.

I had considered Pledge #1 here and try Tailwind but I'm not going to run with two bottles in my hand.  My strategy was to super concentrate one of my two hydration belt bottles with Tailwind.  I would sip that and then take in enough fluids at the aid stations to equate to two bottles over two hours.  I did super concentrate three scoops of tailwind in one of my bottles but ended up sticking with my tried and true GU Gels.  I did, however, decide I need to take in some fluids between aid stations so I grabbed one of my bottles and take a big swig of water... but it was the super concentrated Tailwind and just spit it out.  Oops.  I will plan to work on trying Tailwind while running over the coming weeks.

After mile 10-11 I decided to stop convincing myself to slow down and just let go.  My legs were feeling great.  Normally about this time my hips would be super tight and my run would be more of a "Scotty Shuffle".  They might have been somewhat tight but not enough to be a nuisance.

At some point I started having some minor GI concerns.  Nothing horrible but I definitely needed port-a-john soon.  I figured I could keep things "tight" until the finish line and then make a bee-line to the bathroom.

Soon enough, the last hill was upon me and I did something that annoyed me.  About halfway up I started walking.  WTF, Scott!?! It wasn't a conscious decision.  I just walked.  Two steps later I was running again.  I guess I could only mentally keep it going for 70.25 miles?!

Time: 1:51:06 (8:30 pace)
Age group: 24 out of 128
Overall: 198 out of 1,500

Success!!!  My goal was to run 8:30 pace and walk the aid stations.  I ended up averaging 8:30 pace which included walking the aid stations!!!  Boom!  While this course was not as near as hilly as Halfmax, it was hot out with minimal shade on the course.  The ice helped out immensely and I will definitely consider that in future races when available.

Time: 5:15:15
Age group: 24 out of 128
Overall: 205 out of 1,500

My plan on this was to pull myself back.  It was a dress rehearsal and not a race.  Easy on the bike and run the run.  I did not plan to get a personal record on the run for a half ironman.  Nor did I plan a PR for the half ironman itself but I did.  That's what happens when you finally pace yourself properly.

Just a few this time...

Sherpa Crew at Half-Max!! TKB, John, and Ann

Finishing... finally... at Halfmax

Dork, Kevin, and Kristen... getting ready for the swim at Halfmax... that was cancelled due to lightning.  Ugh.

Kevin, Blind Dork, Kristen, Josh.. getting ready for the swim at IM Muncie 70.3... that was NOT cancelled.

Blind again... which is why I'm still wearing my "prescription" goggles so I can find my bike!