The new Adventure has Started!!!

I made this widget at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And the Ski Season is around the corner.....

Yep!  I am so excited I could almost wet my pants!  It is getting colder, the mountain regions are getting snow, prodeals are being sent out!!  That means one thing!!!  Ski season is here! OK, so I have to tell the truth, ski season beats tri season any time anywhere!!  If you dont like winter, well, now is the time to take a short break and not read my blog, because the next few months wil talk a lot about this amazing sport!
I promised a while back that I would give some ski tips over the winter for those who might want to polish some skills or push the envelope a little.  I love teaching skiing as much as I love coaching triatheltes and runners.  I am qualified and have spent the last I dont know how many years training.  I am a CSIA Level 3 certified instructor and a CSCF Level 2 coach.  I coordinate a Proffesional Training series for the CSIA in Ontario.  So, hopefully my insight into skiing will help provide you some fun this winter!
On a training note......By the way, any training I have ever done since I was a kid was about one thing....SKIING!  I ran to be a better skier, went to the gym for the same reason....did wall sits for hours to be stronger....pounded hills for weeks for endurance....trained mentally for racing...all for the thrill of flying down a hill or off a cliff on a pair of skis!  This week I spent a couple of days on that very effort.  I had a couple of decent runs this week to keep me going.  On Sunday was out after a great yoga practice that I was privildged to lead at Lululemon.  A fast 8k run to round out a good morning.  It was a great day all around, with 40+ for the morning session.  After my run I also got out to the studio in the afternoon and shared some more yoga with 25+ people joining for my instruction.    This morning I was also in the pool for a good 2000m workout.  I must say the pool is amazing!  I get in feeling strong and come out feeling the same way.
Here is my ski tip as we get set for our impending Ontario winter........
As we finish each season some of us take the time to put our gear away in an organzied and careful manner.  Others, in a rush to get hte golf clubs out and the bikes on the road, throw them in the corner and forget about the gear.  Now is the time to get that stuff out of the corner and give it a once over. 
A few things to think about.....
 - get your skis out and get the summer wax off of them.  If you did not summer wax them, not is the time to get them to the shop for a tune u before winter kicks into gear.  Most shops offer deals this time of year, another couple of weeks and you will be in line waiting for your gear and paying full price to get it done.  Skis are like any other gear, over time they wear out and now is the time to discover that.
 - gets your boots onto your feet.  Over the summer and training who knows how those puppies feel on your feet now??  Before the snow flies learn if you need any adjustments made to them.  You can get a boot fitter to talk to you now, another couple of weeks he is going to be booked up until after Christmas.
 - check your clothing out.  when you put your things away confirm that both gloves made it home and your goggles are not cracked.  Take the time to give them a wash and check the overall condition.  Some shops might still have some deals, but not for long.(winters coming and its time for them to make money)
 - are you buying a season pass or paying for each visit?  look online to see what deals might be available, great time to find some incentives to buy early.
 - are you enrolling in a lesson program(highly recommend)  DO IT NOW!  If you want to be in the optimum group for your ability, this is the time to make your request.

OK, the boring part is now some dryland to get you ready!!  This will be quite simple and I wont elaborate in the nitty gritty, what to think about!!!!
1) CORE! CORE! CORE!......your legs might be tree trucks but your core is what you ski with!!!
2) Cardio!  At 2000' or at 10000' feet your cardio will make day one a pleasure and make the end of the weekend a pleasure.  You are an athlete if you are reading this, so not as big a concern
3) POWER!  Think a little about developing some explosive power.  DO burpees, jumping jacks, step onto a box, hop onto a box......It will make some of the technical elements of your skiiing a greater experience all around.
4) THINK SNOW!!!  If we all wish it bad enough, it will DUMP!!

I am a skier at heart and am jumping for joy as I see ski resorts starting to open.  Off season is a great time and it is here!  Hope you are as excited about the prospect of snow!  Yahoo!  If you ever have any questions about skiing at any level, please feel free to reach out.  I will share with you anytime.  Better yest, if you want to go skiing, let me know!  I do not need much of an excuse to get out there!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another great week!

Yeah, the off season is a tough time to keep things up to date!  This work thing and training and the start of ski season is keeping me quite active!
This week I did a few short runs following Hamilton letting the runs and the training sink in a bit before starting to the gears back on track.  I did a Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday run.  Added a swim in there for training entertainment.  Probably one of the more relaxing weeks this year.  Oddly enough, not a bit of guilt about it.  Chilling out feels damn good some times.
Running this week was not about any goal.  I was out getting some miles in and getting the post race kinks out of my system.  they were slower runs(still a lot faster than in the past) and I enjoyed them without a watch or HR monitor.  I am feeling strong on my feet in comparison to last year,actually almost enjoying being out for runs!  I am going to spend the next few weeks going slow and easy.  I want to ramp up come Christmas time, until then I am going to run easy and keep the legs turning.  Any off season strategies to share with me?  I am going to consider November and December off season for run and then ramp it up from that point.
This week I only did one swim as well.  Kinda of a slacker week if I look back at it!  Oh well!  Like the past couple of times out, it rocked.  I feel myself gaining strength in the water and gaining form each time out.  Quite similar to running, I am putting miles in right now with some light drill work.  Without the intensity I hope to make some gains for when I turn it up.  This week I did do a few kick drills, WOW!  I have gained immensely on the kicking from where I was before IM. I felt like I was going twice the speed at hold the effort.  Don't know what I have changed, but it seems to be working.  I will keep it up for now and then see what happens when I get it going hard!
One of the areas that I was a slacker on for the past season was doing weights!  Enough being a slouch, if I am going to speed it up and get to the end without needing a nap, I need to get it all done.  So this week marks the start of some new pain tools.  I am going to get into the gym after each swim practice whether I like it or not.  I don't know what the black is for me.  I don't really mind it, but just don't seem to get there when I should!  So, now i have put it out there it is time to get it done!  So, I am now going to get pumped up!  LOL
I hope you are all kicking butt in the offseason and looking forward to what next year will bring for you. Remember, LIVE FOR YOUR DREAMS!  It rocks!

Monday, November 8, 2010

OK! Now it's off season,time to get some serious training done!!!

Another swim, bike, run season officially done!  The greatest year of my life and experience as an athlete behind me with a world of memories and possibilities ahead. I can;t believe what I have accomplished in the past year and yestreday was a fitting way to put a bow on a great season.  Usually I would have the Santa shuffle in December, but I am going skiing instead!  If the apres is weak maybe I will go for an honorary 5k at the ski resort, NOT!!! 
I finished off the season yesterday with the Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon.  After IM I decided another race was in order to serve as a benchmark for my first attempt at a BQ next spring.  I had to relax a bit and let IM sink in and not train to hurt myself.  My training was not super intense and was about 1 month worth of some speed work.  My longest run in the training was a 27k run  that sucked.  But, with a base built from IM it was a day to go out and see what I could do.  I had a great day based on what I put into it and I did set a new bar and level to work from and towards.  My previous PB was  a 3:57:25 at my Boston bandit run this year.  Yesterday I managed at 3:45:16!!  I consider that a great run for myself with the lack of non run-specific training I have put in.  A friend of mine paced me for the day and I owe her a great thank you for pushing me to that result.  I though at one time I would puke, another time I my head spinning like I was going to pass out!  She pushed me through it all and made it a good result!
Now, the training starts!  I have the lessons from this year and a platform to build my training from.  For all of the swim, bike and run and know where I can make changes to give me improvement in races.  Mentally I gained insight into pain this year and I can not develop some management tools to push me harder next year.  The next couple of months will be spent swim, bike and running with a little fluff built in and then I will start on a 2 cycle program leading up to IM.  Knowing what I do now will make the next year of training a new adventure.  I will now be adding some intensity to what I am doing.  This past season was a little more about getting the miles in and learning about IM.  Now I know, so it is a year to turn it up a notch and see if I can add a little 'race' element to the season and not just be out there to finish. 
I cant not in a million words describe how 'cool' this season has been.  I am a new person having done what I have this year.  I look forward to continuing to charge down this road and seeing where it brings me.  I hope along the way to inspire a couple of people, maybe turn a head or two.  Mostly, continue to Live for my Dreams and love what I am doing!
A big shout out to Q on the Move!  Yesterday he picked me out at the beginning of the race and came over and gave me the high five.  It is so cool how the virutal world can become real and how it can serve to motivate and inspire!  Thanks Q, served a great help along the road!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's your excuse!

The last race of the season is this weekend, I am looking forward to doing it.  I will say I am also looking forward to it being done.  I love training, but I am looking forward to train to train for a couple of monhts and putting away the train to race shoes.  It looks like it is going to be a great weekend for a race.  The temperature at about 5-6celcius and sun.  Can't ask for better race weather than that.  It is a big downhill race with about 6-7k down a fairly agressive down, so a little strategy is in order if finihsing it with my quads still able to move is in order.
This week has been an easy week.  I was in the pool on Wednesday again and had another relaxing swim as I continue and start my build phase up.  I love that I am swimming 1600m as an easy day without any effort when last year, 1600m was a new personal best and I was cooked after doing it.  The only challenge I am faced with is having to get my core re-ignited for the swim training.  I found my lower back gets sore as I have been swimming this week.  Lucky for me a good yoga practice takes care of loosening that up and getting me back on track.
Running this week has been an easier effort.  I did a 6k run with a new athlete on Wednesday and another great Lululemon run last night with a big group.  The group is still growing with a keen interest in maintaining it over the winter.  I am looking forward to winter training and keeping people inspired to be out there in the snow. 
I want to put  a question out to all of you.  Quite easy and promises to be quite entertaining.  We all are craxy type A's who arent big on stopping for much.  But, once in a while we do come up with a great story as to why we should skip a workout.  I want to hear them all!!  PLease share with me your 1-2-3 best excuses for not going out for a run.  Only looking for excuses, the real stuff isnt nearly as fun or entertaining.  I will make up the list for all to share in laughter.
I want to send out a high five to all those racing this weekend!  IM Florida, kick some serious ass!  Love hte race, smell the roses and enjoy the experience, it is awesome beyond words!  New York marathoners, run like you have never run before!  Hamilton Marathon runners, see you on the hill!  Dont run to close to me I dont want to hit yo with a snot rocket, the cold weather makes my nose run!
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yahoo! I love training!!!

A couple of days into a new energy and it is awesome!  It is so crazy how relaxing can be such a tiring process.  A few weeks of only doing one discipline wore me out?  Go figure??  My friends thought it was great that I was 'able to relax' after the pre IM training.  If they only knew how it was wearing on me, heck, I did not even know how it was.  Now, that all being said, I am not going to go bonkers and get back full swing.  Getting back in the pool has been a great reminder of how much I love training and the whole sport of trialthon.
Over the past few weeks I have had some wicked cramps in my glute and quad from running.  About 25-30k into a run it was nasty.  Almost all the time I could feel some restriction in that side as I walked or practiced yoga.  This week I have been out to yoga 3 times as well as the pool a couple of times and it seems to be getting better.  Losing the agravation wont make me any faster today, but it will allow me a clearer mind that I am not about to snap as I start a mini build til the holiday season.  I dont know if it is the yoga giving it a repeated good strtech or if it is the swim moving some focus away from only one area.  Whatever it is I am happy about it and going to keep at it.
Last night I did an easy 6km run with the Lulu group as out regular night out.  With the marathon this weekend, I laid back a bit working to keep it reasonable and not push. It felt good with a good HR and a decent pace.  The weather is amaazing for running right now with it being nice and cool and without win the last few days.  I hope it is like this for the race on the weekend, it would be almost perfect race weather.
After run last night I went to the Power Yoga Canada first birthday party.  Much like them it has been a year sonce I got on my mat.  What a great night!  A good time to thank them for creating an amazing community, as well as a good time to reflect on the past year for myself as an athlete and a yogi!!  It is exciting to be a part of the team there.  I was also told that I will be on the class schedule starting January when the new studio opens up.  Being able to share my practice with others is something that I look forward to, it is a great opportunity for my own practice development and obviously for me as a teacher of yoga and other sports.  I hope you can join me some time for an hour of heat and power vinyasa to experience how good it is for you.
After a great swim to start the day, it is time to go out and start the grind!  I  love the challenge of work, I just beed a couple more years to have that challenge be my dream!  Never stop reaching for that dream, it is in reach you just need to beleive in yourself and it will happen!
Have an awesome hump day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let the games begin!

It appears for me that blogging may be synonymous with triathlon training??  Why do I say that?  Well, I was at the pool today and put my bike on the trainer this weekend.  As I got out of the pool today, right away I was thinking about how I needed to get back to blogging and reconnect with all the awesome people that I have virtually met and all the fun that being here each day can be.  I have been remiss as a have been running and working in sharing adventures and being a part of what you are all up to!  I miss it! So here I am and hopefully can get back to my routine as I get the ball rolling again.
For the past few weeks running has been the menu item of choice.  I can stand to make the most improvement in this area so it not all that and an idea.   I have made some improvement and ideally I can keep the momentum going on what I have started with.  I have enjoyed it even though running is the least favourite of the disciplines for me.
Today after a bit of a break I was back in the pool!  All I can say is WAHOO!  I loved it, I had such a great swim practice it was over the top.  After not being in the pool for 5+ weeks I rocked my swim.  I did a short distance to start, doing a 1600m ladder swim with a 100m to finish up an set a benchmark for my training this season.  The entire swim was relaxed and easy with no issues with any part of it.  I feel like I am picking up where I left off.    My stroke count is a little high, but it is the first day after a break.  It gives me one point of focus as I start the training for the season. After a great swim I finished it with a 100m to see where I was at.  I managed to get it done in a 1:29, it was a sprint swim, but it felt good.  By the 4th x 25m my stroke count was a little higher, but I got to the wall in what is now my benchmark for the year.  Overall a great day and a great start to being back in the water.  I am aiming for a couple of times a week until Christmas to set a base and get ready for some more intense sessions in the New year. As I did not do any kind of speed work last year there will be a lot of that fun stuff this season.  I look forward to the pain and the adventure and seeing where I might get to with a little different work than last season.
I also got the bike downstairs and ready to get on the trainer.  I am going to wait until next week to light that up as I have a marathon this weekend. So getting on to burn the legs is not likely the smartest idea right now.  Last year I did not get on my trainer until March, so this is super early.  My goal is to do a couple of months of maintenance then build some power before starting into the program in early spring. Although IMCanada is my A race next season, I want to see what I can improve in a sprint race as well. This season I managed some good times, but I feel I can pick it up a couple more KMH.  I want to see if I can manage some 40+kmh races in next couple of years.
So, all that being said!!!!  I am back on.  My passive active break is now over and it is go time once again. After all it is less than 300 days until my next IM so I better get busy!
Thank you to all that sent me notes for my current goal that I am working towards.  They have all been sent to the right person and now I wait anxiously!
Cheers and Happy Monday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chasin' the dream! NEED YOUR HELP!!!

So, the past few days have been up and down for training!  This work thing seems to get in the way and I cant say that I am lovin that a bunch!  Well, reality is bound to have to come into play from time to time!
I am doing something about addressing that reality!  One of the great pleasures I get is in organizing events and situations which allow others to accomplish the goals that they have for themselves.  I have had a great deal of fun over the year building that opportunity with LULULEMON.  A great opportunity has come available for me to continue to build and develop this!  They are looking for a community guru for eastern Canada.  A person who helps to coordinate and organize events throughout to promote the LULULEMON culture and ambassadors throughout the region.  An opportunity to work at creating, inspiring and motivating others to reach their dreams and goal!  A position and place to train and motivate each and every day!
Hoping you can help contribute to this opportunity!  If you believe that I can motivate and inspire others to reach for the best they can, please leave a post comment that I can add to my list!  I am going to take all responses and forward them to the recruiter who is going to speak with me about the position.  Any positives that you may share would be awesome!  Thank you for being honest and contributing to the accomplishment of Livin the Dream!
This week saw me take one extra day off !  I missed one speed workout, wont kill me though. On the weekend I had a great tempo run and a good long run on Sunday. Although the SUnday run was good I did have some cramping in my legs again.  I am quite certain that hydration is the key reason behind it!  SInce IM I have not been as diligent with my hydration, and towards the end of my run  can not seem to get enough water into me!  So, I am now back on the counting my water to make sure that I can eliminate that possibility as to why I am cramping.  Otherwise the run has been great, felt strong and smooth throughout, like I could keep going for a while!
Another great development this week has been teaching yoga!  I had an opportunity to teach in a class setting.  It was awesome!  Although a short practice, being able to be in a studio with other instructors getting feedback is a great positive.  The feedback was good and has given me some great direction to move ahead and continue to develop.  Come the new year I hope to have my own class one to tow days a week.  An opportunity to share with others my passion will be a great opportunity to continue to grow in both my yoga and overall training!  Further allowing me to chase where I want to be!  You will have to come out and join me for a class once I get started!  Promise it will be a blast!
I hope you training and of season rest is a good time!  Continue to visualize your gaols and remember not to let a small set back deter you from the big vision!  If you believe in it you will conquer!
Thank you all for any comments that you share!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's HUmp day!

So what?  Hump day comes every week!  Yep, what are you gonna do on hump day this week?  Like every other week  I am going to throw myself as high as I can, out into the world and land somewhere new and strange and exciting.  The great thing with throwing yourself out there is the possibilities that exist in that strange place that you land.  Staying with the tried and true is comfortable, but it leaves no new opportunties for you to explore!  I hope your hump day sees you finding something crazy and scary and new!
On the training front I have had a fun couple of days!  Sunday was my long run, after a week of new trainng methods and intensity! My week before that run as at about 50k total with some of them being at a new level of intensity.  I started my planned 34k run feeling great, running at my planned pace and with a reasonable HR.   The 8k to 15k of the run was a long drawn uphill without much of a break.  I started to feel a little tired as I was running up with my HR catching up with me a bit.  I was still feeling OK and pushed along with the miles enjoying the sun and the weather.  At the 15k I turned inot a stiff head wind and started having to push a little.  I was going through water qiuckly not able to satisfy my thirtst, I guess the 3 pints and 1AM sleep on Saturday may have been catching up to me.  I kept pushing along with the run getting harder each KM that rolled along.  After a couple more small hills I started to cramp up.  I stopped for a stretch to see if I could get it going again, seemed to work but for a short time.
I have done a lot of 'tough' workout over time.  Pushing myself through mountain bike hill climbs, running track workouts til I felt I was going to be sick, lifting like my muscle was going to explode!  I have never given in to a workout before this weekend.  At 26k I pulled the plug!  It took a lot ot do it, but it was the logical thing to do.  Was it a failure, statiscally YES!  I quit!  Do I feel like it was a failure?  NO! 
I went from doing 30-40k run weeks to a 75k run week immediately!  I have a lot of miles on my feet and I dont have anything to prove by pushing through.  I was starting to cramp and could not get myseld mentally out of the zone that I was in, so it was the logical thing to do.  From it I have taken a couple of good lessons!
Even though it is a non IM or event training run, dont drink 3 piints the night before, my body does not work like others, I need to be hydrated and fed to run well.  Mentally, I have learned to review perspective on my run and not stress ,myself out about it!  After all, I did ramp up quick and am in far better condition that I ever have been, why mess with that.  Continue to build and it will come, it will  not come in one afternoon!
Since Sunday I have been out a couple more times and felt amazing!  My runs are getting faster and easier every time I am out.  I am enjoying the build and progress and will continue to push ideally without injuring myself before Hamilton Marathon.  After that race I will push along through some fun winter training and see what the possibilities are!
I hope your training is going well!  And I hope that for hunmp day you are going to throw yourself way out there and see where it brings you!  The possibilities seem to be endless when you end up wherever that place is!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Run, run, run!!! In min/k pace not miles!

Thank you to everyone who is saying that I am running fast!  It feels great to be considered a fast runner, although you all have to know that my pace is in min/k not miles!  If I was running that kinds pace in miles I would not be going to work each day I would be a pro!!
This single event training is for the birds!  I enjoy doing all 3 disciplines for better than a single focus on running!  But, in a short time I am starting to see changes and as I suggested earlier these will translate well into my IMCA training when I switch back to full IM training.  For the rest of the fall and into the early part of the winter my training is going to remain here.  The run will make a big difference in an overall IM time and this is the only way I am going to make some big improvements!
Over the course of the week I did manage to collect a cold to help me out with my training as well.  I woke up on Thursday AM and my throat was the worst I can ever remember it being!  I stayed in bed in a little longer in order to try and help it move along.  Over the rest of the week it kinda stayed calm until last night when it came on a true cold.  Nothing like nose dripping down your face as you run down the street.  What  it did not do was stop me from doing my workouts!  I did allow the little man to tempt me though, thank you for the friend who told me to get my lazy ass running!
Wednesday this week my running/yoga group reconvened for the fall to keep running together.  We are going to keep momentum going into the winter before we turn it up for spring event training.  It is great to be able to keep running with them.  We went out and did a fun 5k at an easy pace to get the training started again!  They are all so keen, I love the fact that 5 people are now runners!  I look forward to bringing many more people along for the run ride and slowly building my triathlete group as well.  It is a blast to see people accomplish their goals from a start point of believing it can not be done!
Thursday was my first 'speed' training day!  I had a 35m run to be done at a <4:50 pace.  Most days my mind stops me from going continuous at that pace.  I can get it going for 2-3k and then I let myself believe that I can not continue.  So, getting ready for the run was a mind test more than a physical test.  I let my cold play into it as well.  Hmmmm!  I have a cold maybe I should not do the hard workout!  No, want going to happen, I knew I should be going out and a little nudge I was out the door!  It was an awesome run!  It was by no means easy!  I was training at what is usually a race pace for me, each step watching my GARMIN and seeing myself keep it up.  WOW!  I finished 35m at a 4:47min/k pace feeling good.  I was very happy with the effort and the accomplishment, and having done it with a cold was a bonus!
Friday was rest day!  Wahoo!  And what a great way to rest, I was at the ski show!  THe season is coming quick and I the show is a great way to get pumped up.  I want to do a couple of trips this winter. The first one being a boys trip that we do at the beginning of each season.  We go to Mt Tremblant and ski and drink!  It is a blast and a great way to get started.  The second trip is the big one!  Ideally be off to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a week for scary steep and deep skiing!  It is the birth place of extreme skiing and a place that I have wanted to go for a long time!  What could be better than skiing each day down hills that scare the crap out of you!  A week long adrenaline trip.  If anyone out there has an alternate better place to go, please speak! Or if you have been to Jackson Hole, SPILL!  Tell me about your adventure and what I should be looking for! Promise to have some awesome photos and videos from that trip!  I am going to make a goal to scare the shit out of myself at least once every day!
Today was another great run!  Did a 15k at a 5:06min/k pace!  Again, the run felt amazing, my nose running down my face as fast as I was running and I was up to the challenge of staying in front.  I managed to keep steady the entire run and feeling like a runner the whole time.  At no time did I feel like I had to stop because I was tired or could not keep it going.
I dont know if it is a short time of coming back to run only after IM, or all the fitness gained over the summer.  But, something is getting better.  I have been a 'lazy' runner in the past, not pushing myself like a race when out there.  Being out there to finish.  Now, I have shifted to working at it!  Making each run count and having a race gaol mentality to drive me to go hard.  I am liking the mental shift and I am very lucky to have early result to suggest that it can work!  So, I am going to keep running, run til I feel I am going to be sick once in a while, run so it hurts and makes me stronger.  And, run with my legs and body and not my head!
Thank you for the encouragement!
I hope your weekend is absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now this is more like it!

After a few weeks of 'slacking off' it is back to the program.  I feel that I am now working  in a direction rather than just poking around doing some kind of training!  I guess I need to be working towards a goal to be truly entertained with my training.  Mission accomplished, and it is great!
This week has been good!  Rest day Monday; Tuesday was a great 10k run, the weather was awesome.  I did it a lunch from work which is something I have not done in a while.  It is a great way to break the day up, filled me with new energy to go into the afternoon.  The run was at a 5:10-5:15 pace and felt great along most of the way.  There were a couple of good hills to play on and I knocked them off with no problem and no explosion in my heart rate.  Even though it was a good run, I cant say I really found my groove.
Today was a fun day on the run front.  The group that I coached to the half marathon had a great run for race day and wanted to keep the club going through the rest of the off season.  Tonight we headed out for a great short run as a group.  It was a 5k easy run on a perfect evening.  The temperature with just a little rain coming down.  Tonight I did find my groove, felt like I could keep running for days!  I love those days, wish I could bottle them to trade off for the bad ones.  I have started keeping run notes and studying how I feel and what is going through my head when I have to wonder runs.  If I learn where my head is at it will make it easier to go back to that place when a run is not going so great!
Tomorrow is a tough run day!  A 35m run at a 450 pace, I am getting myself in the groove headspace now, because it is a new effort for me!  The process of becoming a runner is a tough one but,  it is a good thing that I want to be there, I cant imagine anyone wanting to go through the process for fun!  For me as crazy as it sounds and as much as I might sound like I am complaining a bit, I truly enjoy the pain after the workout.  It is a great process in finding new limits and seeing what one is capable of if they don't let the mind tell them differently.  Try it, next time you want to slow down get out of your head space and think about why you want to slow down?  Is it truly because you can not continue, or is it a story you are creating in your head because it is getting tough and is outside of your comfort zone??  I bet it is the story, please share you experiences in how you manage to push yourself when you get uncomfortable.
On another training note, I just finished reading an awesome book!  If you have not read BORN TO RUN, you need to go out and buy it!  It is a wonderful book about running, will inspire you and make you look differently at your training and practice.  It was a great read and I think that any runner needs to put it in their library!
Time to get some rest.  feeling a cold coming on and hoping I can stay one step ahead of it!!  Let me know any secret medicines you know, rest seems to be almost keeping it at bay!  Cheers!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Here we go! Training and mental ramblings....

So, my BQ goal is now in motion!  Holy smokes, I think I like the years of running like I was on a stroll better!  The runs this week have been tough and are only going to get tougher.  I suppose it is good that somewhere within my fabric I am a masochist, otherwise the effort would get packed in real quick!
As I start this speed training and effort to become a 'fast' runner, I can't help but questions what the result will be?  I think about my abilities as an athlete and seem to talk myself into the fact that maybe I am a slow and steady kind of guy.  Ask myself if I have what it takes to go from 3:57 to 3:20?  The short runs that I am doing now seem to be tough and I have another 35km to go at that pace, the questions roll around my head more and more.
Well, that is enough of that crap!!!(pardon the expression)  I have spent far too much time in my life challenging societies virtual impossibilities to be defeated by this small goal!  The fact that it is tough and the little man is dancing like a teenager on prom night only ads more resolve to my desire to get this done.  It means a few months of juggling a few balls, probalbly a few weeks of living on the borderline to over training and another change in what I once accepted as 'the way it is' taking place.  I do like training that hurts, and this is the time to put my money where my mouth is.
A friend has run a 3:25 Boston and she followed a program that she swears by.  She used it to qualify for New York as well.  So, I have the first few weeks of training working on a similar methodology to get me there.   based on the results she has pulled off I believe that with the work I should be able to get there as well.
One of the great things with wanting to BQ is all the run training it will take.  It means that at the end regardless of the result I will have changed a bit as a runner.  When I put that into my overall training and apply it towards an IM it should help me get to the finish a little faster.  However, it makes training a little longer leading towards IMCA.  This year I did a 24 week program that was all IM focused, next season it will be a hybrid leading up to May 15th race and then switch to IM gear.  Not sure what it looks like today, but over the next few I will draw something that makes sense.  I will be able to spend a little less intensity over the summer with running having built a strong base so My focus can shift to a stronger swim.
Speaking of swim, I am lucky to be training an athlete who is a spectacular swimmer.  So, I am gaining a lot of new tricks and drills to get me going faster this season.  I spent this year learning how to swim and not a lot of time on swimming fast.  So now that I can swim a little, time to turn on the jets.  This week I am back in the pool after my tattoo break.  I have missed it which is entertaining seeing as a year ago I hated the pool.  I would argue with myself before every practice about why I should not go.  Not now, I want to ge in there and get it done!
So after a few short fast runs this week, today was the first from the program!  I did a 20k fun run!  The area that I was running was tons of hills! Holy crap, it was non stop hills. The circuit that I ran seemed to be non stop hills.  But overall it was a great day out.  I did the first 14k at a 5:25 pace then the last 6k I ramped it up to a 4:50-5:00 to finish.  It was tough towards the end but happy to have done it.  At this point I question if I have fully recovered from IM.  The hills today were a reason for an elevated HR, but it was higher than I normally would be.  Maybe the higher intensity is what is pushing it, hopefully not getting sick. Regardless it is in the books now and it was a blast.  Day one of the new running John!  Look out, I am on a mission!
I hope your weekend is full of fun and great times!  Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!(in Canada)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ughh! What a week!

This work thing is proving to be busy in a big hurry!  I have spent the entire week working on a huge proposal for an old customer. It will come down to the next couple of days.  I really enjoy the challenge and it is a great way to learn what I am doing.  In the course of this week I have learned more about the product and the specifications than I could in 2 weeks of manuals.  The deal would be a great way to start at my new job.  I am enjoying the learning curve and being able to push myself towards a new goal direction.
That being said the week has served to help me realize that I am not where I am going to end up in my career.  I do enjoy the challenge, however the end result does not satisfy my ambitions!  I need to see a growth in what I deliver, a product and an attitude change in what I am working towards!  Confusing....yep!  Let me just say that I am inspired to reach my ultimate goal sooner than later, so Monday to Friday right now serves to pay the mortgage and to continually remind me that I should be doing something else!
On a training note, I have started the training towards building my speed so that I can get to BQ qualify!  Training for IM was long hours and slow and steady!  This is going to hurt!  I have been good at staying out of my head with long and steady training, I have to change mental gears for this stage of training.  I am confident over time I will get there, I guess I am not quite in the head game of the work yet.  I have done 3 runs this week that have all been at 4:40 min/k to get me started.  This is a minute faster per km that I could run last year, so it is still pushing it. I do love the feeling when I am done, but the journey is tough!  I am looking forward to seeing what this produces over the coming months.  In January I will start the marathon training for a May race which will ultimately show how this all works!
Regardless of the result, it will lend itself very well to a stronger IM as well as short distance tri's  next year.
As we are moving into winter, I will add a new twist to my blog!  It seems that there are some skiers out there.  So, as the snow starts to fly I will add some skit tips as part of my blog.  It serves a couple of purposes; ideally some of you can use the tips and have a better ski experience, and I will develop my teaching skills as I work towards my ultimate goal!  So far I have some questions on skiing bumps or moguls, keep them coming and I will talk about them!  Cant wait to get my skis going!
Tonights blog was a tough one to write and I will not dare proof read it!  The scattered nature of the post is about where I am tonight so it is all good!
I hope you are all having an amazing week!  Cheers to all!

Question:  What or who inspires you to do what you do?  Why??  please share your thoughts and insight with me!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a great weekend!

The weather this weekend has been fantastic!!  WHAT??  Most people are asking, is this guy nuts!!  It has been cold and wet and just not super conducive to doing much outside.  Well, all those signs point to fall, which in turn points to winter.  And that rocks!
As people who have been on my blog for a while know, I LOVE skiing!  It has been, is, and will continue to be my number one sport to participate in.  Ultimately, all activities that I do, wether it is directly intended to be or not started to get into better shape for ski season!  So, all you non winter people, to bad about your luck.  It is only a month or two from that time when most Canadians forget that winter comes every year and it is going to snow! When you wake up in the morning and it is freezing cold and the tires on your car feel square as you drive away.   When, for 3-4 months, almost each day you will bitch about the weather.  IT ROCKS!~  Buy some skis, send me an email for a lesson and get over it, the winter is a beautiful time and isn't going away in our lifetime.
This winter I am going to also feed this crazy IRONMAN drug that I seem to be particularly fond of.  I am going to take my love for snow and use it further to my advantage.  I downhill ski every weekend from the time the snow is here until spring arrives, and then I will often chase the snow gods.  While I am waiting for the weekends I swim and run and do bike trainer stuff to feed the addiction.  This winter I have challenged a couple of friends to some alternate snow activities after skiing.  The first is a 10k circuit at the ski hill that involved running uphill and around the resort through trails.  I figure that is a good 'run' circuit to get the blood moving and build some new muscle and better endurance.  I will use that as a short run/hill training alternative some weeks to keep the training exciting.
The second self imposed challenge is cross country skiing.  I have read and heard that it is one of the best all round forms of cross training for triathletes.  It gives a full body workout without the impact and constant pounding of running.  Luckily my chalet is 12k from the mountain with a great ski trail along the entire way.  So, for fun I will put on my woolies and ski home at the end of the day!  It will be a great adventure!!  Throw on a head lamp and push through the snow to get home rather than driving or running.  The run is not a bad journey, however most days it is dark and I have to run along the highway.  Running along the highway at 6pm in ski country is not advisable, as much as the drinking and driving laws are tough,  quite a few pops are shared amongst friends before the drive home. It is also right along the bay and therefore the wind is usually screaming in my face.  The ski home is on a sheltered forest trail perfect to be out of the wind.  One thing that I kind of like doing as well is being out in nasty storms!
A beautiful thing about this winter as well!  Due to the warm summer it appears that it is going to be a colder and snowier winter than normal!  So, get your boots ready, put your mitts by the door and get used to it!  Like the past 100000 years, its coming again!
FYI:  if you want to get out for a ski at any time, let me know!  regardless of your skill level i am up and qualified to teach!  Love doing it and any excuse to get out is a good one!
See, how bad is winter!  With a little imagination and a lift ticket it can be a pretty cool thing to do!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

1-2-3- GO!

OK!  Rest time is over!  Enough of the sitting around, time to be an athlete and get a hurt on again! Even though I am out of the pool for another week to let tattoo heal and 'resting' my ITB, its time to get moving!
I have been out for a few short runs, 5k at decent pace to start to ease back into things.  I am going to try some longer stuff this week and then it is time for a fast ramp up for a marathon in early November.  I am going to do it to see where I am at, NO, I am not racing it. Some people don't get what I mean when I am going to run it without racing.
As I have been building my run for IM I have made some big strides in speed.  I ran a full(Boston, on someone else's bib) and had a good run without any training.  This time I have been training but not specifically for the event so I want to determine where my fitness has brought me without crippling myself. Essentially I am going to treat it as a hard long run to see where I finish it, then I know what I need to do over the following months.  I am hoping to finish it decently so that I can do a rounded program over the fall rather than have to d speed work the entire season. I do know whatever I am up to, my plan is to make it hurt!
I did all my IM training with very little hurt and gained some strength and made some changes.  Now, I have to shirt gears a little and try to build more.  My current plan barring having to spend all my time doing speed will be to combine run, swim and weights until Christmas.  I want to build much more strength overall than where I currently am.  I would ideally like to see if I can gain a few pounds of muscle mass heading into the winter.  As spring comes around and I go into big training for an attempt at BQ I will need as much as I can have to start as it will be a punishing time of training.  I am looking forward to seeing what this part of this adventure provides.
I hope that your weekend is amazing and that you are in the throws of a great off season cold beer!  I think I might go enjoy myself!
Thank you for all your replies and comments over the year, I am putting each and every one of them in my Blurb book that I am preparing as a reminder of my IM Wisconsin adventure!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is next....

I am enjoying the rest time, it is giving me an opportunity to reflect and catch up with myself a little.  A couple of days ago at dinner, I felt exhausted and could not figure out why??  After a little thought about the last few months I figured it out!
Since April I have been quite busy and I did not actually reflect to see how much I was doing during that time.  Looking back I was training 6 days a week as well as coaching within that time, working a day job for part of it.  I guess I never stopped a whole bunch to enjoy what was going on.  This week has been a great time to do stop and smell the roses, it is quite fun!
As I spent time reflecting on my summer and the amazing fun that I had training and getting ready I realized a little more about the journey.  Although a big part of the training was planned, the true spirit and fun in the adventure was not.  It was a matter of 'what is next...'
As I spent my time sim, bike and running it took my mind out of the regular day to day that we can all get caught in.  As I spent a lot of time in that space it created a new perspective for me.  One that was more free of the worrying about the future and more about focusing on the now and what I could change in the moment.  In setting my mind that way, the 'what is next....' allowed a lot of new things to happen.  Rather than being caught up in the what am I going to do tomorrow, I was able to be where I was in the moment.  Truly being there and not in tomorrow or next week.  That allowed me to see and hear new opportunities that I have been missing all along.
Along the way I met new friends, did new things and had a lot of fun.  So next time you are sitting at home wondering how to solve the worlds problems that will occur next week, STOP.
Walk outside, enjoy the colors, smell the roses and be thankful for how amazing right now is!  If we all do that a little more, we may find that we are all bumping into new opportunities that we did not know existed yesterday because we were already caught in tomorrow!
If what I am saying doesn't make sense, you need to try it, It works!
Have an amazing night!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where does the time go!?

It seems since having finished training 2 times a day and getting ready for IM someone has turned to clock onto high speed! I suppose going back to work has cut into some free time, but, I seem to be looking around me for a few extra minutes the past few days.  
The weekend was a great time! I spent Saturday at the race expo for the Toronto Marathon.  I truly enjoy being in any type of race environment and this expo was no exception.  It was one of the best they have had in a while, a lot of good exhibitors and not the typical travel show feel to it.  A fun part of the day was observing the number of people who were out wearing IM finisher gear.  I took every opportunity to stop them to talk about their experience.  It is awesome hearing other perspectives, different race stories and what is up next.  In the various discussions I also found people to join up with me and our group to train with us for IMCA.  It is great to add new people to the training fold and to be inspired by.
Every minute of the day was a sheer pleasure! Talking to nervous first timers, the look of the ultra competitive people.  The focus of those who were out to set PB's of to get Boston qualify.  Like any race there is a different story in every pair of shoes that walks in the get a bib, it is a pleasure and a privilege to be amongst that energy!
Race day was a new perspective and wonderful day for me.  I was not registered to run the race, but I was there with my shoes and ready to go.  Since the start of summer I have been leading a clinic at the yoga studio that was for this race.  I was out to run with the athletes that have been part of the clinic.  It is a thrill to be with people who set a goal and made the commitment to do the race.  Being part of the experience with them was as exciting as being part of  the race myself.  Two of the girls run a very similar pace so I decided to do the run with them as a pacer.  It was an exciting day for them being the first time on the start line.  It is a big race so a great opportunity for them to experience the full excitement of the event.  It was a blast for me as well! As the gun went off we started to start line shuFfle towards the timing mat. 
Like every race a big rush then the walk begins.  We were a little over 5 minutes from gun time to crossing the start of the race.  We started our run and danced around the slower people as we settled in for the race.  As we ran along the girls were amazed at the sea of people, all the heads bopping up and down and the constant patter of feet over the ground. We ran along at a great pace for the start of the day, a pace which represented the training they had done and a desire to leave the efforts on the road and not with them across the finish.  As we ran along it was great for me as I was relaxed and able to see all kinds of people that I knew.  I number of Lulu runners were out running and reaching a goal, friends were volunteering at water stations, people I know from races out pushing limits.  Having a chance to spectate while running is a neat way to run a race.  As we ran along I reminded the girls it was their day and to pace themselves accordingly.  I pushed the pace for them and asked them to be the judge, if we needed to slow they should let me know.  They kept pushing along not wanting to relent.  At the 15k mark I let them know I would begin to pick it up gradually to finish a negative split day.  They were keen to do it so we started to push forward.  At the 19k we pushed harder until we could see the finish, then it was go time.  Up the final hill I ran ahead holding a hand back so they would reach for me.  I pushed knowing they would want to finish with a strong effort.  Together the r of us crossed the line with great smiles on our face and knowing that we left it all out on the course! An awesome first 1/2 marathon for the girls and an amazing day for me being able to share the summer of effort they put into it!  Another runner from the group was a little behind us so I waited along for her to come through. After a short while she came dancing across the finish with a smile and a sense of victory! A great day for each person who put themselves out for a goal.  And for me a true sense of inspiration and motivation having helped them reach this day.  I look forward to running with them towards the next goal which they are all keen to set!
After a great day we all headed back to my car(we car pooled to the race) for the ride home. As we walked towards the car, my knee started to bug me.  After a few more steps, it was a wicked ouch!!! Hmmm?? A familiar feeling from the past, my ITB decided it was time to pay a visit.  
I cant say that it bothered me at all, actually the 'injury' kind of has a refreshing entertaining side to it.  After the months of training injury free, a little temporary discomfort should be expected.  I am so lucky that it happened after my race and not during my training.  See, there is a pot of gold under every rainbow.  On Monday I was able to get an appointment with the ART man who rip me apart.  He leaned into it, tore away at it, pushed and pulled always making me feel like I was going to vomit.  And then before you know it, SAHZAM!!!  The knee tweak seems to be gone.  I asked him what I should or should not do?  He gave me some exercises and told me not to run for 3-4 days.  Hmmm??  Maybe it is someones way of saying, 'DUDE, let yourself take a break and recover!'  So the rest of this week I am doing nothing!  Yep, zero, zilch nothing!  OUch, I think that hurts more than the ITB!  It will do wonders in the long run, allowing months to sink in a little before getting the intensity back up for a couple of months.  This may be a great way to get my sorry butt into the gym to do weights as I should not be running.  WHo knows, all that is certain is that I wont last long 'resting'.
I hope all of you are amazing and reflecting on a wonderful season!  Other than a little rest, the best thing about this time is putting together next seasons plan!  Wahoo!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inspire to Inspire!

Patrick wrote a great post on inspiration today, yesterday I wrote a on my Facebook page, "Be inspired to be your best and you will inspire those around you!  it is awesome!'   Being inspired is part of the food of life!
I had one of the most wonderful experiences in my mind yesterday when I was visiting a store.  Yep, I am going to tell you about it!
When I was at the store there was some issues with the billing being processed.  While I was waiting 2-3 people reviewed it trying to solve the problem.  After a while one of the staff came up to confirm that I was John, she then apologized and said that the invoice would be no charge.  I was extremely grateful for the level of service that they provided and the nature in handling the problem.  Then the girl asked, 'are you John Fortin the Lululemon ambassador?"
"Yes" I answered.
Her reply, " You are amazing, I have been following your blog and I am inspired by what you do and what the Lululemon ambassador community does.  You just did an IRONMAN didn't you! that is amazing"
I sat listening to her very dumbfounded, never having been greeted in such a complimentary and grateful manner by someone.
She continued on to say how great she thinks the Lululemon community is and how they provide a great opportunity for people to get involved at a non competitive level in sports they may not otherwise try.  She was totally complimentary of every person she has encountered in the stores and community for the inspiration and motivation that they provide.
It was the most incredible thing to be called out for a service that I do out of love for a sport.  Hearing someone say that to me makes me even more driven to do my best in the sport and for myself every day. It is also an inspiration to continue to do what I do in hopes that I might inspire others to get out and do something new as well.  I have never done any of the Lulu activities or any other activity in hopes of being recognized for it, it is because I love the sport and love to share my passion.  Thank you to the girl in the store for inspiring me to push myself to new levels and to bring friends and family along with me for the ride.  I am loving being able to get others involved and was paid the greatest compliment ever in this surprise thank you!
From a training front I have been coasting for the last couple of days.  I have done some 5k runs at a relaxed pace,  working to allow myself to recover fully.  I am quite happy at relaxing a bit right now, a couple of days ago I was struggling but, NO!  I have a lot of work ahead and I want to go into it rested, strong and excited.  Training for the sake of training is not going to get me anywhere productive.  Tomorrow I am running a 1/2 marathon with people I have trainined, however it is a 100% support run for them.  I will be out carrying warmup clothes, pushing them forward and watching them be amazing reaching a goal they have set.  I am quite excited about getting out to be with them.  It is a true inspiration for me to see others smile when they cross a finish line and know that they have accomplished the, 'I cant do that moment'
On a fun note I went out last night and got my badge of IRONMAN honor!  My tattoo!  My pal Hugh who I trained with for the entire year came out with me as well.  He bought me mine as a birthday gift and set the appointment to go and get it done.  I was quite happy to be going.  It means I cant swim for a couple of weeks but it is a good reason to rest!  I spent a little time figuring out what I was going to do.  I am registered for IMCA next year and want to recognize that after it is done.  SO the tattoo had to allow for it.  I also wanted to do the swim, bike run thingy as part of it.  I looked around the internet and came up with a great one.  I have another tattoo done a couple of years ago.  In my memory it was an easy one, no hurt while I was getting it done.  Not this one!  It is on hte back of my leg and I guess the muscle must have more nerves, it hurt like hell at times while he was doing it.  But, now not only am I an IRONMAN, I am one  who carries my medal with me everyday!  Wahoo!
An awesome week done, a exciting weekend of activities ahead and a lifetime of accomplishment to follow!  WOW, this is a cool thing!  Get on the ride, try something you think is crazy and the worst that can happen is it doesn't work.  You learn something new and you move forward to the next!  Cheers!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The life in the after race......

So a week gone by and still on a great post race high! I am not sure if it as much post race as much as it is the transformation that I experienced over the year. Not only the physical part, I think that is one that anyone can put themselves through if they want to. It is the mental transformation that I think I am revelling in since the adrenaline high has come down. I am a more relaxed and focused person than I ever have been.

Committing to do IRONMAN for me was a huge leap. I was a non swimmer and a someone who could run a marathon with a boat load of anguish. I could bike a decenlty when it all started, but not 112 miles worth at full with a marathon on the back. I suppose I am not a lot different than any of you, but this is my story so you have to listen to me if you decide to keep reading! LOL!!

Over the course of the year, physical changes were apparent each time I went out for a new practice. I cold feel myself getting stronger and moving forward in overall abilities. Each time I stepped on the scale I could see a live note as the numbers went backwards. At the top of the scale numbers I was a svelt 223lbs, at the low end I was at 174lbs. That was a fun thing to be a part of.

The mental part was a little more sublte in the change. When I started the year, I was with the program but somewhat reluctant in the back of my mind. The thought of what the hell are you doing would enter quite often, I would put on a brave face and dismiss it. Ignorance is bliss, as I paddled through the pool wondering about this crazy swim thing i was trying to learn. I pushed through practices and tried to not pay attention to the lack of confidence that was looking at me each tome I finished a lenght or a run.

As I started my training I was introduced to Lululemon around the same time. I started to run with new and experienced runners at the store and found myself working with them to establish goals and motivate and train them towards the start. WOW! That was kind of cool, I was a chicken myself but was helping others to achieve what they thought was not possible. A little time with the staff at Lulu and I found myself in a world of motovation and respect for goals and achievement. I found myself in a bit of a different mental space as I was motivated and proud to be seen as a leader anongst the group, as someone who was getting others to achieve their impossible.

As I was ruinning with the group I also found myself seeming to be able to trach through the pool a little stronger. I was now in there able to squeeze out 1000m and not feel like I was going to be sick. My confidence started to get stronger which pushed me to work harder at what was happening.

As I gained my confidence I also wanted to share what i was finding and feeling with others. I enjoyed sharing my stories and just saying how it was and hearing how it sometimes impacted others.

Part way through the process I started to practice Yoga as I way of stopping myself from breaking from the training. That turned out to be a great move. I enjoyed the physical aspect of the training as it helped with flexibility and gain some strength as well. Kind of a weird thing happened as I kept practicing, I found myself using the mental part of the practice as I was out on the swim,bike and run. In a zone that would allow me to push forward a little harder than the time before.

As I was doing my training and experiencing gains, somehting was going on in my head that was kind of fun. I was gaining a confidence that I had not had in the past. The getting stronger part seemd to come as a result of not blocking myself from pushing harder. It was a passive training that was producing bigger results than I had anticipated. It was awesome feeling like I could conquer whatever I was going to do, training became fun instead of a thinking it was tough thing that was coming up.

I am totally pumped about both changes that I made over the year. A week of 'sitting around' has allowed me to absorb the great things and now take it with me moving forward. The new year is starting now and I could not be any more confident and excited to get it started. 
 MOst of us are now done our season and have a ton of lessons learned.  A few are packing bags to go to the big one to make us all proud and continue to push us forward.  Wherever we are, take what we have learned as you sit for a little off season rest.  Setting your goals next season will be a blast!  A little faster or a little farther, whichever it is we have grown physically and mentally to be able to get us there!  We are now smarter triathletes and IRONMAN than we were last season and that is something to be damn proud of!  Congrats on a great season to everyone one of you!  And I look forward to sharing the new adventures we choose!
Happy hump day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reflections of a week gone by.....

A week after the awesome words, ' JOhn you are an IRONMAN' I am still on an awesome high! I don't know if I represent the general first time IRONMAN population, but this is an amazing trip!  I have spent the week sharing the adventure with friends and telling the story over and over again.  Each time I seem to be more enthusiastic and more passionate about the total overwhelming awesomeness of the event! I cant believe that after a week that I am still moving forward with the momentum of a full year leading up to the race.  When I described being at IM like being in a place and on a drug, WOW, it is so true, it is an amazing crazy high.  I cant imagine only doing one IM, it would drive me bananas thinking about how a crazy wonderful cant be repeated.  Like some of you have seen, a great thing about this week was updating my countdown and seeing the new goal starting to count away!
Over the course of this week I have spent some time reflecting over the past year, my race and the training that I did to get to where I finished.  Overall I am totally pleased with the result that I achieved, I would not change a thing with what I did this past year. Moving into a new season I have awesome opportunity to make it a better experience, better from the perspective of a result not better from the experience.  I could never compare what I experienced this year and would never compare it.  Over the next weeks I will share with you what I believe I can do differently and what I think that can accomplish for me.  PLease share with me your experiences and training history as part of what I am thinking about doing!  you are all part of my chaos, and kicking some serious ass next year will be something I would love to be able to include your input and motivation in.  In the exact way that you all pushed me to an excellent result this year!
Today was another off day on the training front.  I did however get out and do a great workout.  If you practice yoga you will know what a sun salutation A is.  I was out today as part of a very worthwhile fund raiser and did 108 sun salutations.  It was to raise money for the Africa Yoga Project.  This is a tremendous project run by a friend.  She has managed to  build schools, create productive lives for people who were otherwise on the streets, create jobs for people.  It was a workout with a great satisfaction, being able to contribute to a great cause while out there getting stronger.
After a good week off, tomorrow I start applying myself to a new training session.  I am not 100% sure what I am aiming towards, however, I know I am going to get stronger in the process.  I am starting tomorrow with a good recovery swim and over the next few days moving towards some resistance training that will make me hurt.  My goal is to build power and strength before ski season and then graduate to some run training over the winter.  Sounds like a good theory and makes sense based on what I want to accomplish over the next 12 months.  Here goes!
I hope your weekend has been full of excitement and satisfaction.  I hope those who raced kicked some butt!
Cheers and Happy beginning to a new week!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back on the Earth and getting caught up!

It has been an amazing week!

As can be imagined a week of enjoying the completion of IRONMAN and getting caught up with life in general.  It is a different way of being without having to complete workouts on a schedule and being able to carry on at my leisure rather than a strict schedule. Kind of enjoyed the time, however I am starting to feel lazy not working out as much.
This week I looked back at my summer and how wonderful it has been.  I reached a lot of new highs over the course of the months leading up to IRONMAN.  It was a bonus not working over the summer as it allowed me the privilege of getting a lot of little things taken care of.  Mostly it allowed me to realign priorities and realize what I truly want to be doing.  The greatest thing is, in the process I discovered that I can do them.  I have several things that I have always thought would be great to accomplish in life.  As cool as I thought they were, in my heart and head did not believe that I would truly get them done.  NOT NOW!  The time allowed me the freedom to realize that anything that I want I can accomplish and that the obstacles along the way are merely a way of me learning more about where I am going to end up.  It is a great feeling setting goals and knowing regardless of how lofty they are that the only thing stopping me is me.  Instead of making up stories for myself to tell others about why I can't do something, I have learned to stop wasting time and getting it done!
This week was also a good return to reality.  I started work on Wednesday of this week. I guess I was just like a school kid this summer, and the time to get back to the structure had to come.  I am enjoying the challenge and the opportunity of this new job, it is going to push me into a new mental space as it is a super technical sales process.  As well, the potential is there to build the financial platform I need to realize my future goals, to be a leader in my industry brings home some good bacon.  And I tend not to want to be at the back of the pack, so this is a great time for me.  A chance to do something that is both challenging and rewarding, heck it is like training for an event!
Although it was a 'lazy week' I did get a couple of short workouts in.  I ran a couple of days and felt very strong doing it.  As much as I wanted to get out more, I figured that a week of decent rest is only going to serve to make me stronger in the long run.  I am going to do a couple of fall running races, but they are being done to support friends and clients that I have had the privilege of training to get to these races. So I am not feeling any big pressure to be out training like a mad man.  I am putting together my training for the next year as I enjoy this rest.  IRONMAN Canada is one of my goal races next summer, I am aslo very keen on getting my Boston qualify time.  That is going to require some hard work early in the season.  I want to make sure that I go in rested, but also a lot stronger than I started this years training.  I am looking forward to the next year and seeing what potential is held inside of me and how far I can push the envelope to check that out.  I also want to continue to bring others along on the ride with me.  Challenging others to not allow themselves to think they cant!  Training with them and for them to pass the finsh line!!
It is going to be an awesome year and I am looking forward to it!  After this season and event, it is going to be huge!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John Fortin 'You are an IRONMAN' race report

Sorry, its long, but the story is mine and my thoughts and memories of the culmination of one of the most awesome experiencees ever!  Pictures are in no particular order!

John Fortin you are an IRONMAN!
Words that will likely ring through my head for a while! An experience I will never forget, a drug I won't soon stop doing! A race report for this event can not nearly do it the justice it deserves, you can appreciate it if you think back to your first, I am sure of that.  
WOW! 5am wandering down the road in dowtown Madison with 2340'ish other tri geeks with their families and friends in tow.  Ecery athlete with head hung low in a space of their own, I am sure that was the same space I was in(its that place where we do the drug that I talkd about in an ealier blog).  We drop off our special needs bags on the way over for our treats and things for half way through the bike and run.  
First order of business was to confirm the transition bags to add any extras and make sure all is well.  With tons of athletes in the room you can still here a pin drop, with everyone else standing at the door to the room taking photos of the event.  Bag check reconfirmed, ready to go to body marking. 
The morning is awesome from a temperarture perpective with stars in the sky above us.  As we wander over to body marking the crowd is getting thicker with people.  The participants are still quiet and in their zone.  As we head to the marking station the volunteers are calling out and directing us to the right area.  They are doing as awesome jib at keeping athletes only in the right area so that it moves smoothly.  The body mark volunteers are awesome, big and bright smiles  and a great cheery attitiude to help break the mental ice from the racers.  As I strip down for body marking the true reality of the start line is for real.  I feel more than ever that I am bout to truly compete in this ridiculous event. I allow myself to get caught up in the vibe and gather all the energy that is flying around me from others.  The air is thick with it, it is so easy to grab it and store it for the start line.   
After body mark, off to do bike inspect.    As I get to the bike rack, I don't see my bike where I racked it the day earlier.  No panic, within a minute I locate it and check it out.  With the Zipp wheels I want to make sure that all is good as they can be a pain to pump up, so if a flat is in order I don't want it to be today.  All is in order.  I load up my water and electrolytes for the day.  Now it is time to head towards the start. 
As we move in the direction of the water I spend some time geting myslef into my own space and zone. A bit of a meditation for the mind. I tune out the nervousness around me and build a mental and physical energy from the people around me, leaving out the negative energy they are holding onto.  Before I even head down to the water I am doing fist pumps becuase of the energy that I have built.   I am so pumped to be in the water.   30 minutes before I get my suit on and begin the journy down.  Most of the faces around me have blank stares filled with a million lbs of energy and excitmemnt.  As I head towards the water there is still 25 minutes to go, it is a water start so I figure I would rather be in the water moving and building positive  energy than on land with all the people who are afraid of the swim filled with negative energy.  As I wander in it hits me that I am in, no way back, no where to go but forward for the next 12-17 hours.  I go in to my waist in thw water and look around at those around me, most of the people out in the water are looking confident and seemingly forward to the race ahaed.  Before moving into a swim position I figure one more pee is probably in order, why get out there and have to swim and do it when I can stand like I am wearing a Depends a do it in my wetsuit.  Anyone who tells me they have never had a nervous pee in a wetsuit is either dehydrated or a masochist! 
My water strategy is to get out in the front! Regardless of where I am I figure I am going to get hammered, so at thr front gets me in front a few hundred others in the washing machine pummelling! All around me people are gatrhing in, barely a spot for my elbows, as I floar I push around to work at a place of my own.  As it it crowding in I figure there is no way that I will get out without a kick on the head, but nothing I can do about it.  I focus on keeping calm and not allowing myself to spend any energy on soemthing I can't control.  The countdown to start continues as the pro cannon goes off.  10 minutes and counting, the anthem, 3  minutes and counitng, the question, 'who here today is going to become an IRONMAN', massive cheers and the gun erupts! 
Holy shit! I am really doing this! As soon as it goes off, I am moving forward without a bloody idea where I am headiing.  I figure soemone amongst all the others knows the direction so I paddle like a mad man to find me space.  Within the first 200 yards a kick to the face, people grabbing at my suit cord, my feet, holding my shoulder.  Another 50 yards an elbow to the face and my googles fall off, a quick recovery and back at it.   I remain calm as I kick and swim and tussle in the chaos.  I push and hustle my way for the forst 500 yeards trying to find my own spacen it aint happening so I decide to settle in for a good fight to the swim end.  I work to find a groove and to preserve energy while moving forward.   I find myself in the chaos single side breathing to maintain a good breath and not start hffing for air, I try a couple of bilateral breaths in the chaos but it is not working during the mess so I keep moving with status quo.  I am totally relaxed in my swim even though the pirahna pit is still as fun as ever. 
At one point in thw swim the little man jumps onto my shoulder to have a chat.  I ask him what the hell he wants? He says 'nothing, but did you remember that you are running a marathon today, after 112 mile bike ride?' For a minute I entertain him and think about it, then, NO CHAnCE is that little f€*¤ getting in my head, so I turn to do another stroke and let soemone else pull him off my shoulder and send him flying, I figure the element of surprise should keep him away! 
I keep swiming past the half way mark for the second lap when I fiannly find a little open space, enough to settle in with bilateral and an even more relaxing stroke and rhythm.  From time to time someone decided to draft which I don't have a problem with. Until you grab my feet more than 3 times.  At that point y will get the extra little kick telling you to find your own space.  I did spend some time in drafts, but found it took more energy that it gave back, so went back to focus on getting the swim done and racing my race.   I turn the last buoy and start the swim towards shore, my breath still very relaxed and no unnecessary energy spent.  As I come to the shore I see my time on the board, I am excstatic, 1:10, holy smokes I think to myself, all the training paid off! In a washing machine I was still able to knock off an amazing swim.  I come out of the water pumping my fist high with energy and excitement, I have started this in a great way! I drop to the ground where the awesome volunteers strip me and send me on my way! 
The crowd is insane, they are screaming and feeding so much energy! I love energizing crowds so I run up the helix shouting that I want to hear them and getting them to be loudder.  It feeds more energy into me with each person that joins is.   
Transition one is a great epxerience! The volunteers are amazing, in a flash they have all your stuff laid out and ready for you.  They ask you want you want to do, help you get your shirt over your head, stuff your pockets with whatever you need.  It is crazy how efficient they are and how the focus is on keeping you focused on your race.   I get my bike gear on and I am on my way.  Out the door and the sunscreen gang is waiting to grease you down, then along the bike racks. As you are running to your bike shouting your number it is being passed down the line, by the time I get to my bike he is ready to hand it to me.  Another 200 yards and I am in the saddle and on the road. Down the helix and along a path by the lake settling in for the ride ahead.  I start off keeping my senses about me, no point in blowing up as the course is considered amongst the 2 hardest of all races.  I get my legs turning and get some water into me.  There is a no pass zone early on to help get settled in.  before long we are on open road and it is time to do what I am going to do.  My bike strategy is to ride HR rather than speed.  I know I can ride fast but know full well that it is a long day ahead.  As I look down my HR is still a little high, obviously nerves have not come down from the swim.  The bike is still very crowded and there are 2 draft officials keeping an eye. It isn't long before a guy ahead of me is carded a penalty, people immediately start to back off and allow order to form.  After about 20 miles my HR finally starts to drop to an acceptable zone.  The course is extrmely hilly with less than 5% flat over the ride, so paying attention is in order.  There are 2 corners that are 90degree turns immediatrly into steep climbs.   The camp this summer helps me out and I nail them. On each corner rolling past 1/2 dozen riders and getting to the top relaxed.  At the top of each hill I am able to get up to a good cadence and up to speed quite quickly, feeling good and ready to go for more!  As I ride along I focus on keeping my wits about me knowing the day is young. 

As I approach the first of the hills I am doing it knowing that I will have some mental support along the way. D'rog was volunteering for the race and was at the top of Mt. Horeb.  A dragging kind of hill, one that seems like it is not big bu when you are on it, it never seems to stop.  As I am riding up I take inventory on what I will need and plan to call Derek out at the top.  As I roll up to the station I have a total mental fart and forget to call him, good thing he is sharp, he sees me coming along and shouts out and gives me high fives, it is an awesome recharge!  Thank you Derek for being an awesome cheerleader out there it was a great boost on a good ride!
After Horeb comes the fun hills on the course.  There are 4 hills that are of 'big' to pay attention to.  As i ride along to get to the first hill I think about settling in to have a smooth ride.  As I approach the first hill I start to gear down and ride smooth.  Up the first hill I have an awesome ride and move past several riders on the way up.  The fans are great cheering and pulling you up making you feel like a champ.  At the top of the hill the batteries are fully charged and I roll off with no problem.  The next 2 hills are the same experience.  I did focus on hills over the summer and the results are awesome, I finish each of them comfortable and without my HR blowing up! After the last hill it is back into town for the second loop, again past tons of wonderful spectators charging me up with new energy.  The start of the 2nd loop plays a little on the mind.  A good ride to start, am I riding too hard?  My HR is good, my legs feel OK, I guess all is in order so I start the loop with a confident attitude.  Mt. Horeb the second time is another good experience, there are a ton of people there now and it is a wonderful scene.  I charge through Horeb and onto the hills to come.   The second go at the hills are another strong ride, I charge up them past riders and keep my HR in check for the ride back into town and back to the transition area.  When I did my inspection on Friday, I missed the straight line back to town on the ride. Oops!  It is a bitch with a ton more hills to get you home.  Not knowing is the worst part of the experience, thank goodness I did not blow my brains out earlier because it would have been costly now! As I spot the transition area we also enter into a no pass zone, it is a great relief at this point.  It provides a time to settle the legs get a good spin on and mentally prepare for the upcoming run.  At this point my glutes are a little sore but the legs overall feel OK, in retrospect I had not started thinking about the run yet so it was all good! The ride finished on the coolest finish you can do, spinning up a parking helix overlooking where it all started 6 hours earlier. It is fun as you are riding up seeing it from so many angles as you spin in the helix circle.  Into transition we go!
I spin into the dismount area to be greeted by outstanding volunteers again, I am amazed at how great a job they do!  They tell me immediately to drop everything and get into the change area, they will move the bike pick up my shoe that I did not manage to get off my foot or pedal in an organized manner.  As I jump into forward motion the realization that my legs are still on my bike sinks in!  Holy smokes, I can manage a decent shuffle but not much more.  Oh well, I figure out of transition things will loosen up and I will get moving.  Into transition I go!
The volunteers have all my things ready for me.  I made a choice to change for each segment to be comfortable for the race, after all I am not going to get any speed records so getting it done is first priority.  As I get ready to go, I realize that I did not bring my watch strap for my GPS!  OH!OH!  I had planned on doing the run by HR and not having that key piece was a mental challenge.  Oh well!  I move on and decide it will be a perceived effort run.  Before long I am on my way out the door to start on the journey.  I burst out with an enthusiasm and a bounce in my step thinking I am ready to hammer!  NOT! I get out past the sunscreen crew and feel my quads screaming at me.  HOLY CRAP!!  The little man is on my shoulder and he is dancing and screaming, having a full out party!!  For a flash I questioned my ability to run the marathon.  But to spite the little man, I gave him a slap and decided to go with what I knew, yes I did do the training and I could get it done.  It would be a little different than I had somehow imagined it would be.  I make a call that I will do a 10 minute run and 1 minute walk day, NO, an 8 minute run, 1 minute walk, NO, I am going to walk now and run sometime in a little while.  I look around and it seems that I am not the only one in that mental and physical space.  Everyone around me is walking, those who are running are not going anywhere quickly.  If there are fast ones they are buries amongst all the turtles like me.  As I continue I look at my watch and determine where I am and where I might get.  I determine that I have 6 hours to complete a marathon to reach my C goal, the one that would be the ultimate, somewhere under 13 hours. Quickly I feel some excitement, however move back to the reality of the event.  I came here to finish per the terms of my A gaol and that was what it was time to focus on.  I moved forward shuffling and waddling along in my run/walk routine, enjoying water, ice, power aid(or whatever the heck they are serving) and living the energy from teh crowd.  They are fantastic, cheering and sending great words of encouragement and pushing me forward along the route.  I follow the exact same routine until I can hear the crowd at teh half way point.  The noise sends shivers down my spine and fills me with new energy, it is so awesome to be a 1/2 marathon from being an IRONMAN!  I run into the half way station and see my family and friends screaming, I am so excited and happy to be there!  
I call out my number and they dump my bag out for me.  I have a pair of compression tights which I decide will be a saviour for the second half of the marathon, so I grab them to put them on at the next stop.  I then begin my end of the event shuffle.  When I reach the aid station, I jump in to the washroom and throw them on.  As soon as I come out, I grab a glass of ice and dump into the front of the compression tight, then push the ice down the legs onto my quads.  It is a wonderful feeling! Immediate relief, I feel I am able to hobble a littel faster than I previously was.  I continue the shuffle past each mile marker feeling like I am not getting anywhere quick. Then at the 20 mile mark the reality hits me.  I am so damn close to becoming an IRONMAN, I could crawl and get to the end!  I feel the excitement building and push myslef to run a little farther before I walk more.  Walk/ shuffle/walk/ shuffle enjoying every minute of what I am experiencing and the awesome words I am going to hear in a while. Mile 22, mile 23, mile I am running into mile 25 I have a girl run up behind me and we start talking.  We both share how we are hurting and how awesome it is that we are almost there.  We make it to the aid station and start walking as we drink, I start out and run a little more while she continues to walk.  As I walk a little she comes up behind me and says 'let's go!' I tell her I will go for a bit and likely walk again, she says, 'no your not' you are 1 mile from the end and you are going to finish this running.  So we run side by side towards the finish.  The crowd noise is getting louder and louder, the energy is amazing.  As we turned around the last corner I could now see the crowd ahead, adrenaline rushed and I felt myself actually running for the first time all day.  I turned to tell the girl to join me and we were going to finish this thing together, she looked at me and said, GO, GO and finish!  My family and friends were on the sideline screaming giving me a huge rush and making me run with an energy of 6 months of training.  I could hear MIke Reilly calling out those amazing words, I started pumping my fists with happiness!  I ran with my hands high through the finish line hearing him say 'JOHN FORTIN YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! ' 
 Holy crap, 365 days of getting ready, 24 weeks for IRONMAN training program, thousands of dollars of gear, new friends, real and in the blog world!!  12:02:31, in that flash of a moment all of that rushing through my head, my veins and very bit of me! I was 20 feet in the air, the volunteers trying to hold me down, rushing with excitement and pride, happier than I can ever remember!  THe volunteer has trouble holding me an I am so high with excitement, he directs me to the finish photo and lets me go on my own! I am so high on the triathlon drug that I talked about it is unbelievable!
The event in every way was a realization of something that I once thought I may never accomplish.  Through the process I had the opportunity to learn new limits, conquer new fears, push myself and others to the edge.  An experience that you could not recreate chemically with any drug.  It has been AWESOME, crazy amazing and I am still flying high from it!  
I miss training already, I have been out for a couple of short runs and it has felt great.  I am going to the pool tomorrow morning to get my feet wet and play lightly to continue to recover!  Seems like a waste to waste the fitness.
John's Ironman Adventure continues, I am starting the journey to IRONMAN Canada.  One that is full of new opportunity, a new challenge to conquer.  I learned a ton about myself in the training this year and now I will take the lessons forward.  I am going to run harder and faster, until it hurts every workout(the ones that ned to)  I will take my swim past a swim the miles and put in some swim til it hurts and see if I can get faster.  I will do some short races and see who I can chase down until I collapse across the finish!  I will share my thoughts rants and motivations with all of you and continue to follow and be inspired!