8/26 - 9/1 - Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike, and Run Miles

You would think after my 3rd place performance last week at Ironman Louisville that I may have earned a tiny bit of rest between it and Ironman Wisconsin. However, that is not how I chose to reward myself. Truthfully, I felt better after Ironman Louisville than I have ever felt post Ironman. This came as quite the surprise as although I did have an easier time on the bike there, I still had to run 26.2 in 90+ degree heat. Although I felt good, the ramp up was pretty steep with Monday being a complete travel day. Tuesday was a struggle but I made drastic improvements Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

On Friday I felt good enough that I decided I would head down to Southern Illinois and race in The Great Illini Triathlon. The Great Illini Triathlon is one of those races I always wanted to do and I had it on the race schedule last year but it got cancelled because of a hurricane. The race has been won the last two outings by Andrew Starykowicz and knowing his travel plans I fully expected him to be there to make it a three-peat.

As for the race itself, well Andrew was a no-show but that turned out to be welcome blessing because the Midwest heat wave was still in full force and we probably would have killed each out there. The temperature of the water was bath water, and although "officially" 82 degrees it was still legal to wear wetsuits in this no age-group awards race. Although many opted to wear wetsuits I went without it knowing full well that the greatest enemy of the day would be dehydration from both the heat and the sun.

The loose plan for the race was to find some feet and swim their pace or just swim easy. Then bike hard until I could figure out what kind of time I was putting into my competition. The bike had 24 turns and 5 out-and-backs all with 180 degree turnarounds. I would know exactly where I stood on the bike. Then run whatever pace it took to run for the win.

Execution of the plan was no different from the plan except for a little snafu during the swim. During the warm-up ride I thought the swim course looked a little short, but it wasn't until 60 seconds to the start that Chris Sweet informed me this was a two loop swim and that we don't go around all the buoys. Some additional buoys were out for a longer 1-loop Olympic swim. I really wasn't sure what to think at the time and I didn't know if he was joking, but good on Chris for being a true gentleman of the sport and letting me know.

Not fully understanding the course I decided to hop on Chris Sweet's feet until I could figure out what the true course was. I'm color blind and I already have a really tough time sighting buoys, so I was comfortable swimming his pace until I could get things figured out. Midway thru the first loop I got tired of the pace and moved ahead only to take a wrong turn and have to swim back to a buoy. It is a reminder that I need to be prepared to know the swim course. To cut myself some slack, I don't have a lot of experience leading swims, actually I have no experience, but I will certainly be more prepared in the future.

I exited the water with a solid 1.5 minute lead and headed out on the bike. It was about 12 miles or so to the first turnaround and I would get my first time check.  The lead was already up to 7 minutes. Another 8 miles later and it was up 9 minutes. At that point I was already getting concerned with the temps. The Garmin read 86 degrees and it was only 8am. Knowing that it would be impossible to make up a significant amount of time on the bike and run, and with Ironman Wisconsin coming up, I did the smart thing and just shut it down early. I would bike the remaining 36 miles at or below IM watts.

United States Weather for 8/31/2013
Look at that Southern Illinois Heat Index
On the run and I opted for socks in this 13.1 mile run. With the feet already tore up I didn't want to risk any further injury to the feet. I started the run at solid IM pace. My only incentive to run was to get out of the heat. Tony the race director came by and asked how I was doing. I asked him what the temp and dew point was. He knew the temp had risen to 91. Running thru the cornfields of Southern Illinois provided no relief from the heat and the sun. It was getting unbearable and I could feel my skin burning. Not sunburn, like actually burning. I was taking handfuls of ice at each aid station and wiping the body down - the ice was completely gone in 10 seconds or less. Six cups of water, gels, 2 cup of cola, ice and finding some relief under the tent of each aid station is what it took. It was pretty miserable.  My first time check came at mile 4.5 or so and I had a 17 minute lead on second. I soldiered on from one aid station to the next and took the chance to cool off at each one. It wasn't pretty, but in the end I got it done.

Ridiculous 75 degree Dew Point @ Race Site

Overall it was a great race and my first ever wire-to-wire win. It is always good to be back in Southern Illinois where my triathlon career started way back in 2006. The feel of these small town events is great and I love being able to park right next to transition, register, and do packet pickup on race morning. You also tend to get a lot of lifestyle triathletes and you can still learn a thing or two from people who have been doing triathlon for 20+ years.

Learning Something New - Great Little Way Of Organizing All Those Small Items 

As for Wisconsin, well the Men's list has some 30 pro males with only 6 finishing in the money. Earlier this year I remember talking with former Ironman World Champion Michellie Jones at Wildflower. We talked about lots but one thing we specifically talked about was how too many pro's log too many run miles in high heat and then tend to get "baked" for late season racing. Well in the last 3 weeks I have logged 100 miles in 90+ degree and high-midday sun. 40 of those miles came while racing, and 13.1 came with a heat index well over 100. I could be over-cooked for this weekend's race but it is what it is. I'm going to try to let up a little this week but with Kona on the Horizon I have to continue building as well. With all that being said, I don't think a win is out of the picture, however I'm going to need a season best swim to make it happen.

My weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 178 Miles / 19 hours 17 minutes
Swim: 28,981 yards / ~16 miles / 8 hours 37 minutes
Bike: 141 miles / 8 hours 04 minutes
Run: 21 miles / 2 hours 35 minutes
Core:  0 sessions / 0 hours 0 minutes


  1. I was at this race, live in the area. I was wondering who that fast guy was so far out on the bike :). Good luck in Wisconsin!

  2. Thanks Dina!!! Hope the race went good for you :)