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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 199 down! and a good one it was!

It seems today was no different than any other day.  The nervousness from last night is all but gone, I got up this morning and everything was the same.  Yep, I did not like getting up, went to the washroom with the same result, went to work and it continued like every other day.  Life i suppose is a game of numbers and last night the number was first and foremost in my mind.  I am certain there will be other days that pass the same way, all out panic at 8am and back to normal by 9!  What a fun game this is!
Work today was a good one.  It seems that work has been very cyclical lately, last month was a snooze the month before was a great one.  Finally today seems the to be the beginning of some good activity.  I was out to 2 client visits that should both produce some results.  As well, the phone was ringing and activity in general is on hte upswing!  this is a good thing, earning a few dollars will both fund this crazy habit as well as keep the roof over our heads.
My workout today as short but good.  I was out for another short run and managed once again to maintain a sub 5 min/k run.  It is such a blast to be out running and actually enjoying it.  In all the time I have run it has always seemed like a chore to be doing it, now it is to produce a result. As I am getting results it is making the workouts enjoyable and ones that I look forward to.  So far as I have been ramping my mileage I have also been fortunate to avoid the plantar fasciatis that got me before the holidays.  Ideally upping my mileage logically will help me prevent.  I have been very conscious of stretching this time around, I think that contributes a great deal to the overall avoidance of injury.  I have spoken with a couple of trainers and they tell me that the key to success will be to continue to stretch.  WIthout addressing flexibility they suggest that my account with the physiotherapist will increase significantly, that is something i certainly want to avoid.  
Tonight is a big night as a Canadian, it is hockey do or die time. So, I am treating myself to a night at the pub with some friends to cheer them on!  Cheers with me, Canada's national sport is hockey and we need to be in the finals!  Go Canada Go!  Cheers!
I have just returned from a great hockey game!  Canada played hockey like they have played it before!  WaHoo! And hwo about the Canadian women bobsled!  Wahoo x 2!  Skating, lovin it!  It has been a great day! Way to go Canadian Olympians!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Holy Crap!(pardon the language)

Holy!  Yeah, the number on my countdown is 199 days to the start line.  It gives me a bit of a butterfly in my stomach.  It seems like yesterday that the number counted down from 300 to 299.  As the clock turns to 199 it seems to have all of a sudden added a tremendous reality to the event.  Not that I have not been taking it seriously, but now I need to take it seriously.  My official training program is 174 days long, so I can 'goof off' for a couple more weeks, but holy crap it is less than 200 days to the start line.  I have to say that I am totally pumped about the game that is about to kick into a higher gear.  Being nervous about something only adds to my resolve to exceed my own expectations of myself.  With my current expectation of finishing my first IM this is going to be a blast!
As the journey moves forward I have done a lot of periodization in my training, moving up intensity and backing off, adding some tough workouts at key times and then relaxing.  Spending most of my weekends 'cruising' using the intensity of my ski training as my effective cross training.  It seems to have been an effective method over the winter leading up to my harder training days!  Now as the next few weeks burn by and go time arrives, the method to my madness becomes a little more prescribed and scientific.  As a goal driven person it makes the journey simple to follow. With a proven methodology it is up to me to put in teh workouts, and listen to the rules and the rest should all come out in the wash.  I am looking forward to the intensity of the training.  Call me a freak, but workouts that drive me til I feel i am going to be sick make me feel stronger, so that part is not an obstacle.  The part that I find mysterious is the training while I am already at the wall.  From the blogs I have read and the books that I have reviewed it is an inevitable thing.  Oh well, I guess I will have to suck it up, cry a little once in a while and 'git'er done'  Holy crap!  Here I go!
Today was a great day for training once again.  I decided it was time to increase my distance in my swims.  I have been averaging 2200m practices for a while, they have been with decent intensity.  Now it is time to add the distance and keep the intensity up as well.  SO s well as some of my regualr drills, I introduced some strength tools today.  Out came the paddles.  Holy!  After 2000m of swim with various drills, the paddles were a tough end to hte workout.  As I get tired, like most my form begins to drop a bit.  Not today, ever try swimming poorly with paddles on?? It was an awesome training swim.  The paddles  not only made me work like a dog to pull through, they made me keep form so that i did not swim like a water snake.  I did a total of 8 x 100m with 15s.  If the way I felt at the end of the 5 and 6 rep is any indication, I may be sore in teh morning!  Oh well, it can only mean one thing, it will  make me stronger.
Tonight was one of the first night that I went out to a Yoga class as well.  It was a great class once again, as I continue to practice it is helping my core strength as well as my breathing.  I have had great success bringing it into my training which is a great benefit to the practice.   The major physical benefit is also the flexibility element to the training.  I guess it is bonus stretching and it helps a lot.  If you can fit a class into your schedule, I highly recommend it!  In addition to the great benefits of the practice, the owners of the studio are awesome community leaders and mentors.  I have been invited by them to host a learn to run clinic this spring  It is great as I get to share my passion with others and coordinate my efforts into my IM training.  It is a lot f fun being involved in such a great community.
As the evening moves forward I now need to force myself to bed.  I have been sucked in to the Olympics tonight.  First Canada winning hte ski cross, then a little redemption in hockey.  I have just watched a very courageous Canadian girl figure skate after her mom passed away as she arrived to see her skate at the games.  It brought a tear to my eyes seeing a girl live her dream in the midst of such adversity and at such an emotional time!  makes what we do every day seem a little insignificant.  I certainly look up to all the Olympians and what they do for the sport they play.  It is an inspiration!
I hope you had a great day!  Cheers!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I love mondays! (this one anyways)

Most people arent keen about Mondays'.  I guess reality being what it is, back to work and the daily routine is a reason to be hohum?!  I guess it all depends if the glass is half full doesn't it?
Today was an awesome day!  I got back to work after a very action packed ski weekend.  No, nothing wild and crazy to speak of, but the challenge that waits for you when you arrive is exciting.  What will the weekend have brought to the projects I am working on?  What kind of unreasonable request will my customer have for me today? Who will I have to chase to get paid and what new excuse will they have? The variety is both enlightening and entertaining!  Work is a necessary evil so I try and make the best of it, today was a decent day for that!
Truth be known, the best part of this Monday had nothing to do with work.  Let's face it, it would be a little creepy to love my work so much that I look forward to Mondays!  I had a couple of awesome workouts today that have me pumped and feeling great!  Much like many of you in the US, we had an impending snow storm.  As out winter has been very climatically calm, the news and everyone else seemed to be in a panic.  Oh god, we are going to get 6" of snow, call in the National Guard!  Canadians in general are so ridicluous when it comes to winter storms.  Face it, it is the same storm, the same snow, the same road conditions that you have had for the first 40 years of your life, you are used to it, save me the storm drama! Knowing that our world was going to soon be covered in snow, I came home at lunch to do my run. I have started on teh build my mileage route so I am getting out more seriously and regulalry.  It was once again a great day.  As I ran the snow started to fly, by half way through my run my shirt was all white with blowing snow.  It was actually kind of refreshing making my way through the blowing snow knowing that I was one step ahead of mother nature in getting my workout done.  ONce again i was very pleased with my pace of 5 min/k(8 min/mile) with a HR of 150.  That is awesome progress from 12 months ago when I could only run 1 km at that pave with a heart rate of 175. I am happy with my run progress and look forward to seeing what the training and upcoming drills will add to the speed and endurance.
As well as my run I spent some time on the trainer this afternoon.  As the time is coming when my butt will be in hte saddle for hours, I thought it would be proper time to get some calouses built up.  It was a short 10 mile ride on the new trainer, only using the time function rather than racing a course. I have not trained using WATTs in hte past so the numbers mean little to me.  I did a 16k(10mile) ride at an average speed of 34k with an average watt reading of 238W.  It felt decent with most of the workout being relaxing and couple of good hills and sprints built in.  If nothing else it gave me a good baseline ot start my cycling from.  As I said before I have an axe to grind on my bike so some grueling workouts are welcome as they will fuel my hill climbing victory 2-3 months from now.
It was a great start to the week with a great couple of workouts to set the pace.  I am looking forward to this week as I have chosen to add some workouts and intensity before the weekend and play time arrives again!
I hope your Monday was fantastic and your week is off to a great start!  Look forward to reading about your week!  Cheers!

Friday, February 19, 2010

that was a long day! but good!

Today was the culmination of a season of planning and coordinating the Proffesional Training Series for ski instructors in Ontario.  One of those cross training days with a purpose. After 4 months and 8 events today represented the end of the season!  IN one breath I am saying WAHOO!  in the other I am kind of sad as I had a of fun planning, hiring staff and working with over 500 athletes over the winter season!  It was great as I had many people thank me for the training and for a job well done.  As it is a position that I volunteered for, it is great to receive recognition for it.  The day was also a perfect ski day, it was sunny and the conditions were impeccable, what a day!
The moguls today were out of this world.  they were so good, we packed up our gear and went back to the hill tonight to spend a couple more hours skiing them.  I have to day my legs are cooking, skiing bumps for 5-6 hours takes the gas out of my legs!  But,  I would go out and do it all over again!
Last night my nigh of my run club at LULULEMON was awesome.   I had a few people come out, the best thing is the reaction today.   There were at least half a dozen inquiries about the club and when we will meet again.  It sounds like it should be able to grow and build a brand of its own.  It brings a smile to my face to run with others and give back some of the passion that I have.
After a couple of hyper-active days I am ready for a good night sleep.  Tomorrow promises to be another great day on snow, so I must get my rest.
I hope that your  day was great and that your weekend is over the top!  Cheers to you all!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

10 out of 10!

As I thought it would be, it was a great day!  I know it always seems to go well, but, I believe it is all in the outlook and the way that you choose to look at it!  I choose to look at it from the glass half full perspective and it is a great way to look at it!
As I always do, my morning started with my Thursday yoga practice.  I will not bore you with the details as I have reiterated them several times. I will say that it is becoming a fundamental part of my training as I move forward in my journey.  If you have not tried it, find a god studio and try it out, you will be pleasently surprised at how awesome it is for you and how much the rest of your training can benefit form it.  I have to say thank you to the girls at POWER YOGA CANADA for the awesome studio that they have established!  The passion they have for the practice is contagious!
My afternoon swim was also a great time today.  A lot of what I id revolved around drills for speed.  Of all my training in the water to date, this was amongst the most intense.  From moment one it grew in intensity as well as speed.  Working for almost an hour at top intensity is a great feeling, getting the results and being able to maintain the required speed is the best feeling of all.  I will continue with this practice intermitently with the goal of maintaining form from start to finish.  Overall I suprised myself with my ability to hold it together like I did. Someone I was training with sugggested I was probably angry when I wrote the practice out as it was very intense.  I certainly went at it with that type of angry intensity as well.
As soon as I was done my swim I out on my shoes and went out for an hour run.  Another great success!  I felt relaxed all the way and was able to maintain my pace without  having my heart rate run away from me.  My goal was to run a LSD run in order to start to ramp my miles.  I only did 11k, but very consistent and my slow pace is where my fast pace was in teh past.  With very little training I have made some good progress, the future should be exciting as I start to sharpen my focus.  My run today was to the LULULEMON store where I was hosting the first night of the run club.  I thought, going to host a run club should probable done as a runner, so I put my shoes on instead of driving.  Once I got to the store, I had 3 people join me for the club.  As it was the first night, in the middle of the Olympics, with a Canadian hockey game and spring break, it was a success.  After our short run my total for the day was 16km running, it felt great. Not our run, I discovered comments on their website, their were lurkers waiting to see what was going on.  It will ideally result in some new people joining us and being able to build up a god run community out of the store.  It sure was fun being able to share my passion and getting others to join in on my run fun!
As I was up bright and early and will do the same tomorrow, it is time to pack it in!  I hope you had a great day and your training went well!  Cheers!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A day of good things!

I guess the fact that it is Wednesday is in itself a good thing! we are 2 days from the weekend and satisfying my winter passion!  However, today was full of a lot of good things that made it move along with a smile.
I must say that looking at my countdown has now started to give me a little case of butterflies.  As the number approaches 200 days the reality of it seems to be becoming very real.  I know that as long as I continue along the path it will be an tremendous and complete accomplishment, but the reality still freaks me a bit.  All the 'training' I have been doing ot date is kind of fun and fluffy stuff, I am about to start teh real thing.  Put my skis away, tie on my shoes, strap my bike seat to my butt and put on my goggles for the next few months!  It is going to be a great journey and I look forward to reading my blog in 7-8 months and appreciating the babble I have been putting down here as I ride the road t Wisconsin.
Today was another light day(they all are kind of light right now), but it was one that saw me maintaining the new pace that I am moving at when running.  All my life I have run at a 5:30-5:45k pace.  As I run these shorter distances I am now more in the 5k pace.  it astonishes me how good it feels, and I am pleased that I have accomplished this without beginning to focus on technique and doing drills as yet.  I am loking forward to pushing my limits and seeing what I can out out there as I ramp up my running.  As I have a couple of early raod races, I am going to start to increase my miles now.  By this time in 2 weeks I want to be doing 20+ k long runs and adding some hills and technical stuff.  I will aslo get in some weights in order to build my strength and power!  It is all good to be starting down this road.  I have to say that when I am running I feel better and healthier than I have in 20 years and it is only going to improve if I stay logical about this jourmey!
As well as an awesome run today, I have learned that I am now part of Tem Running Free. This is a great as it helps to support my race efforts and also gives me a way to give back to the community by paritcating and helping out with the events that they plan.  I ordered my team gear tonight and will be sporting it before long.  As well as Running Free, Dermatone is going to support my training efforts.  If you have never tried their products before, you should do it now.  If you are training in the winter, it is a saviour fro the wind biting your face off.  They have a protector that is better than covering your face up, it serves as a wind block and is not greasy and dripping all over your face.  The lip balm they have will save you from your lips cracking for 2 days after being out in the cold as well.  As I seem to spend more than 50% of my free time outside it is great to use products that work and make the training experience both safer and clean.
Another good thing today.....Yep, there is more!  As I have said I am very keen to coach and help people reach goals.  Tomorrow evening I get to begin to exercise this passion with some new runners.  I have been asked to lead a run club for 2 of the local LULULEMON stores around town.  It is awesome to be associated with a store that has a great community feel and is all about supporting and providing opportunities to the people around them.  It is an opportunity to share with others the success that I have had following my practices and methods and ideally leading and motivating the participants to get up to the start line for a race of their own.  As I continue along this journey it is great to have the opportunity to live some of the things that I love to do.  My passion for skiing is fuelled by the time i have spent training an the improvements that I have made in my own results, then being able to share that with others as a coach and instructor.  Now I have the opportunity to do that with another sport that I love.  As I have said a number of times, 'Live for your Dreams'.  It makes the day go by and the next one far more exciting to arrive.  
Tomorrow will be an awesome day.  Some Yoga in the AM, a great swim practice in the afternoon, a long run tomorrow and then my run club to top it off.  Does that not sound like a way for the day to go by!  Have a great night and I hope that your training is going awesome!  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Way to Go Canada!

And again I found myself stuck to the front of the television watching those crazy Olympics!  Canada seems to have a knack at getting results on snow!  Imagine that, a country that has 5 months of winter!  THAT IS AWESOME! 3 medals on snow in 3 days!  it makes me smile each time I think about those athletes reaching the top!  the years they have spent working towards the dream!  it brings me back to when I was a kid being out a -40  with my mother telling me it is time to come in.  I always refused wanting to be out there to get faster and get better!  These guys have lived the dream that we all worked towards as kids!  it makes me proud to be a cold Canadian!  I look forward to the games as they continue and we get into some of the other sports and seeing the competition heat up!  GO CANADA GO!
Amongst the Olympic excitement I had an awesome swim today.  Although a short 2000m workout, I did some new drills that were extremely effective.  As a matter of fact after only 250 meters of these drills I found myself being able to bilateral breathe with some ease.  As the practice went on I did have to go back to the drill to get back into the rhythm, but knowing how effective it was will be great to add it to each of my practices.  Once again, it was a favorite workout for me.  My speed is picking up, my technique is becoming a little easier than it has been.  Over the next few weeks I am going to begin to make my practices longer so that I can add some more endurance to my swim.
As I finished my swim today I thought back on my 'training' over the winter.  It has been a game of the id and the ego, ying and yang!  I spend all week passionately training and then I ski like crazy on the weekends.  I always feel like I should be running/bike/swim on the weekends but then.....hhmmmm, I feel the workout of my ski day.  Even as a passionate skier, I am looking forward to packing it in this year and focusing on the task at hand.  That is a funny statement for me to make, I kind of feel guilty for saying it.  I told a fiend today and he looked at me like I had done something wrong.  Being a 'skibum' makes it tough to want to hang them for a season, but this tri thing seems to have bitten me a little.  I hope that I can produce the same results over time as my investment in skiing has given me.  I guess only time will tell!
As Canada is now in the throws of a great hockey game, I am going to sign off and go and feed my Olympic addiction!  Enjoy the games!  GO CANADA GO!  Cheers!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Go Canada Go!

The last 4 days has been a whirlwind of activity, it actually makes workouts seem a little restful!
At the end of last week I was on snow coaching corporate groups who were out for their yearly day of fun.  It was a great day being able to contribute to a fun experience for them, seeing them go from being beginners to finally making their way down the hill.  There is no better feeling than the wind blowing across your face on a sunny day as you cruise down the hill.  Being a ski instructor brings me a ton of smiles, it is a sport that I have worked at for most of my life, I have become fairly decent at it.  Having the opportunity to teach others so that they can have the same fun experience is kind of my way of giving back.  I actually cant believe that I get paid to teach skiing as it is something that I love to do.  As I train for IM I feel the same passion and fun as I progress and gain small steps in my quest.  As this summer starts and my training begins it should be a lot o fun and bring a lot of smiles to my face.  After a great day on snow I also enjoyed an awesome run.  The sun was shining brightly, their was little wind and the roads were clear as could be for a February day.  It was absolute pleasure to be running after a great winter ski day, feeling like I was now running into spring.
After a great day, the setting was in place for a historical Canadian moment later in the evening.  Canada has worked for the last 10 years to prepare for the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  On Friday there was not a Canadian who was not anxiously looking forward to the opening Ceremony for the 2 weeks of awesome sports ahead.  Many of your friends joined us to take the time to enjoy the opening ceremonies.  It was an awesome event!  We all watched as the presentation were done, the songs were played, the artist danced!  As the ceremony played, we all sat cheering, the watching silently, cheering again and taking in every minute of all that Canada has to offer.  When the National anthem was sung, the entire room sang proudly with chests held high beaming with pride as the host country going into the Olympic games!  As the torch was run into the stadium we all smiled and enjoyed history unfolding with many of Canada prominent athletes carrying the torch.  Overall it was a great evening to be a Canadian, smiling proudly as we have the opportunity to host the best in the world!
Saturday and Sunday this weekend were epic ski days, the snow, the weather, the people!  It was like all the starts had lined up for the Canadina Olympics and every Canadian was happy and proud to be an athlete.  For me it translated into a lot of enthusiastic students who wanted to ski hard and ski fast.  I am fortunate as most of the skiers that I teach are advanced, therefore we ski at a high performance level .  Skiing this way for a lesson is great as it allows me to ski at the same level, therefore every lesson I teach is a personal lesson for myself as well.  I am presenting material to my students that reflect a technical aspect of skiing that I am working on myself.  Over the course of the winter the intensity and technical refinement of my skiing has been tremendous.  As a result of the great winter I have had I have made a decision to begin my quest towards my Level 4 next winter.  Achieving Level 4 is the Kona of ski instruction, it is a 3-5 year training and development plan that is achieved by less than 2% of the ski instructors! So, after my first IM, here I go!  I have always been driven by tough to reach goals, but it makes the finish a lot more exciting!  Both days of the weekend were filled with exciting skiing that makes you want to go faster, like a great race finish and a desire to go and achieve another personal best!
 Today was the icing on the cake.  After a great weekend, today was a free holiday.  A couple of years ago the government decided we needed a random additional holiday, we now enjoy 'Family Day'.  The snow was awesome, the temperature was great.  I had a request lesson in the morning with one of my students from Saturday.  We spent the morning doing some crazy fast technical skiing.  The best part of teh morning was  a breakthrough by the student as we zipped along the snow.
As the weekend comes to an end, most of my muscles are telling me how hard I skied.  My legs for the first time this winter are talking back to me, my back is talking a little louder and my head is living every minute of it!
I hope your weekend was as awesome as mine was!  Now I am going to go end enjoy the Olympic Games and be inspired by the best of the best!
As I have said before!  'Live for your Dreams', it makes life's journey, fast exciting and worth chasing after!  CHeers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Living the Dream!

Some days I wish I had a photographic memory that I could later share with others or look back at and convey in words.  Today was one of those days that I would want to share to inspire others and to look back at when I am having a bad day to make me smile!
The morning started early with a 730AM start(not early for training, but early for work).  I volunteered today for a high school ski race for athletes from southern Ontario.  Doing this king of work involves moving a lot of equipment, being out in the cold for 4-5 hours straight with no break, setting a course that will be used by more than 200 athletes and most of all managing the expectation of all of the people involved.  It is a great event to be a part of as all of these athtletes are there for a reason.  Many of them to continue the quest towards being the best in the school, others the best in the region, others to be the next Olympian!  On the eve of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics it is awesome to be amongst enthusiastic young Canadians that represent the future of our country in sport and in the world!
It was a bit of a day of self discovery and looking back.  As I watched these skiers making their way down the hill they did it with absolute passion to prove to themselves what they are made of.  It was an effort that did not involve impressing friends, getting new sponsors, winning a world cup, it was an effort of pure passion for a sport that makes them smile.  When was the last time you smiled as you crossed a finish line or pushed yourself in a workout?  It reminded me that sometimes we take ourselves to damn seriously as we play this little game of triathlon!
These 'kids' went at it as hard as they could, some of them fell as they raced down, some came in 10th, one of them last, someone in first.....but they all loved what they were doing and supported each other along the way!   As I was watching them it reminded me what the athletes who will walk into a stadium tomorrow evening have gone through, where they started and why they do it!  I have a couple of friends who are at teh Olympics as athletes, some for the second time.  Although they are not both Canadians, they are over the top excited with the next 2 weeks.  They are at the top of their game and are about to show the world what the past few years of their lives has been about!  I hope that you will spend some time supporting your friends and coutrymen as they live their dream!
As I look back at today I have developed a parallel.  No I am not an Olympian and never will be, never a  champion triathlete, but I am in an awesome world allowing me to chase my dream and be my own champion in my race.  Like the athletes today, like the Olympians over the next weeks I have a chance to give my best and to prove to myself that I love what I do and chasing it  passionately will get me across the finish line.  Like the Olympians in Vancouver who I will watch over the next few weeks over the next 7 months I have my chance!  It is my turn to put it out there and 'Live the Dream'!
Good luck to all the athletes in Vancouver and may the 2010 Olympics meet every expectation they had and be a happy, safe and memorable event!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It was one of those good days!

Today, although uneventful on the training front was a fun one for progress!
I did start my day today with a great Yoga class, got my mind cleared, a few kinks pulled out and a good sweat to get me going!  I enjoy starting my day with a class!  I think it sets me in a good mind space for whatever I am going to tackle for the day!  Other than my Yoga class I called the rest of the day one to catch up on work and a million other little things.  Turns out it was worth it, I was able to get back on top of some loose ends to keep the week going!
My other accomplishment today was one that is an achievement towards a longer term goal.  As I continue in the tri game I hope to be able to inspire others to jump on the band wagon and follow this crazy road of swim/bike/run.  I am following some steps that will lead me in that direction including this little IM journey that I am following.  As I have said in the past, I enjoy helping others towards their goals and sharing in teh satisfaction of accomplishment.  Well, today I got a chance to help satisfy my desire to help others along.  I found out today that I am going to lead a 'run club' at a couple of stores that are in my community.  Although they are not running stores, they are very fitness oriented and are also some of the most community minded retailers I have encountered.  It should be a fun journey working with new runners helping them along the goals they are looking to accomplish.  As the ski season finishes I will spend a couple of hours a week leading a learn to run clinic that leads them towards a 5k race in early May!  I know with my training starting it seems crazy to be taking this on, but the stores are awesome and close to home.  I will actually integrate the tasks into my own workouts and they are also working around my schedule to make it easier.    As this is part of a long term goal for me, it is a great step in teh right direction and it made my Wednesday a great hump day!
I also learned today that I was selected to be part of Team Running Free.  This is a Canadian retailer that specializes in outdoor/fitness gear.  It is a great team to be a part of in many ways.  I will share more with you on this in the next while!
With all the fun things that I did today, I think I am going to call it an early one.  I have some projects to manage tomorrow in the early AM and a workout(or two) planned between conference calls tomorrow evening!
I hope you had an awesome day and reached some of the goals you have set! For all those from the eastern US, hope you are keeping warm and able to dig out again!  Mother Nature is taking her frustration out on you!  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The fun in turning it up a notch!

Today was another one workout day!  But, it was one good workout!  I spent my time at the pool today doing a time trial type of workout.
I have been finding that my swim practices are only getting better as I contniue to move forward.  Having focused on drills as well as distance seems to be having strong postive affect overall.  Only a few weeks ago doing 145 for 100m was a lucky break, today it was the norm.  As I do my workouts in teh water I have put a new focus on time in order to have a benchmark to strive from.  The timing tool has proven totallt effective at improvements.  As well as time, I am using a perceived effort scale, only I can figure that one out.  As I go through my practive I push myself to get into the perceived area that I have planned for that day.  Overall, teh days of splashing in the pool are now over.  I am spending the time pushing myself to get to new levels and to do it with form that is to be followed from beginning to end of a practice.  I am looking forward to warmer days when I can bring it all back into the water of a lake and see how the winter has paid off.  While at teh pool today I ran into who was just about to start his practice.  I must say that he has served as an inspiration and made me push myself to this point.  I am looking forward to seeing his result from China after his hard winter work! 
Now thatI have found a groove in teh water I am planning on bringing onto land!  As the weather begins to change I am going to take the same technical approach to running and biking to produce some results on those fronts.  I know as I push myself with the same commitment and intensity I am going to get results, and I am looking forward to the challenge.  The next few months are going to be a huge lesson.  I plan on diggin and finding out waht I am made of and seeing how pushing myself to new places will make me grew all round.  Running a marathon was something I took on as a bet, it was one of those things that I did to prove to someine else not bo ever underestimate me!  And it was fun!  This IM challenge is one that I have made with myself.  I dont know what the wager is, but I certainly can pitcure myself at teh end of the day on September 12th enjoying it! 
As the real challenge to this trip is about to start I want to thank my friends and people who are going to put up with me for the next 7 months.  Hopefull not being around will make it easy on them.  Mostly I want to thank my wife for supporting me on this trip!  She has already been a huge support and I cant appreciate her enough for it!  And, thansk to all of you who are out there in blog land!  Your stories, training, persistence and motivation make this journey even more fun than I thought!  I hope you are having the fun thatI am and we can all compare notes as this crazy adventure rolls along!
Cheers and Happy Tuesday!  I added this random photo, It makes me laugh when I see some of the ridiculous faces we make when focused ona  sport!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Start the week off Right!

Today was a beautiful sunny day, the kind of day that is awesome for running!  Hmmm?  Seems I needed to do that today, what an awesome coincidence!
After running around like a crazy man all day for work, I was able to pack it up early to get home for a run.  I had the timing all figured out, as I had to be done for 5PM to go to a friends 60th bday party.  The day worked out all  good!
When I got my gear on to head out, the temperature was -1C with a decent wind.  Thank you to Missy, for the dermatone suggestion.  I gooped it on my face to be comfortable from the wind and headed out the door.  It was awesome.  Bright sunny sky running is so good for the soul.  Yes, most of my runs are done at night, so this was good!  I find running in the daylight so much more pleasurable and as a result a lot easier to move along.  My run today was a LSD'ish run so I was out for the pleasure not to set any land speed records. I moved along comfortably for the whole run not stressing about my pace a lot.  Although trying not to stress, wearing a GARMIN is one of the most distracting counterproductive tools you can have.  I find myself compulsively checking it every 2-3 minutes even though I am doing nothing about it! It is a necessary evil and I need to learn to use it without obsessing.
Back to the sunny run.  As I ran today there were several people running as I crossed through neighbourhoods.  I tend to be a very friendly runner, waving at people and saying hello!  Here is the deal people, if you have to work to ignore others, go run down the side of the highway where there is no one to have to avoid being friendly to.  I guess it might be a pet peeve of mine.  Be friendly or wave or do something, but dont put so much effort into ignoring others.  And, if you are to tired to wave while you are running at that pace, go and sign up for a clinic before it kills you!
With Monday and one run past, I am now 1 day closer to the start line.  As each day passes I am getting more excited with the anticipation of starting my program and even more so for the start line.  It does freek me out a little as well!   I suppose the things that freek me out is what I tend to gravitate to, the IM is no exception!  This is going to be one cool journey with one awesome reward at the end of it!  How do you feel a about your journey to the start line? Does it make you nervous?  Please share with me some of the thoughts and apprehensions you have felt along your journey!
CHeers to all and I look forward to your feedback!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fabulous Friday!

OK!  If you have any appreciation for snow and skiing, you now know why today is fabulous Friday!  I spent the day skiing bumps from morning until night.  As a skier at  a small Ontario hill, skiing like this make me giggle like a school girl every turn I do all day long!  As you may see from the sky behind me, the sun was bright and the sky was blue, it was a picture perfect day.  The temperature was perfect and the snow conditions were ideal.  The look on my face, believe it or not, is one of absolute pleasure as I barelled down a hill with incoming bumps that would swallow you and toss you out!  I was in La!La! land.  If any of you ever want to go bump skiing, send me a note and I will set it up.  I love skiing them and teaching them is even better!

One of the things that makes me smile and brings me pleasure is teaching and coaching. I am on the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance Board of directors and I am responsible for the Professional Training Series.  The photo above is one that makes me smile a lot.  Today, all 55 people in this photo finished the day with huge smiles on their faces.  It was a smile of having conquered a fear or having reached a goal.  Being part of that is a great experience.  I coordinated staff from the best in the country to lead a 6 hour clinic on how to master the bumps.  Over the day I was able to spend time with every person and every conductor and see first hand the success that makes me enjoy coaching and teaching.  I spent some of my day with students working on technique and pushing their boundaries further than they may have liked. The net result is they smiled, they had fun and they great as skiers and athletes!
Being a coach is a fulfilling process and experience for me and is leading me through my IM experience, I hope that one day I can take from my learning and finish experiences and motivate others to the start and finish line as well!  The thrill of accomplishment is something that every human should enjoy, I want to be part of that!
I hope you had fun today and that your weekend is over the top!  Cheers!

PS.  Looking forward to my next uphill bike ride, as I am going  downhill all weekend, I am sure it will be a nasty climb!

Tremendous Thursday

Yep, that's right, it keeps getting better! Hard to believe isn't it?
It seems that Thursday has become one of my favorite days. Even though I get up at 445AM(remember I am still in counseling over the morning thing) the day turns out to be a blast. At 5am I meet up with 3 others(and growing) for a short morning run to get the day started. The people who run are great supporters of the run club that I am getting started in March, they are hard core and will bring many more out once the temperature gets reasonable. The run is a moderate pace which suits me well as a way to wake myself up. We finish our run at the Yoga studio owned by one of the girls who runs with us. We then do our morning Yoga practice to put the upcoming day in perspective. The hour for me is therapy! Not only from a physical manner, but mentally it is very productive. It has helped me to coach my body and mind out of those holes I can get into when training sometimes. I have also developed an ability to modify my breathing when the going gets tough. With a little focus and a lot of belief the tough moments have become a moment in a workout rather than an event.
Thursday is great because of the overall intensity and number of workouts. As well as the 2 to start the day, swimming is a Thursday thing. The workout was a high intensity workout with very little rest time, it was a push and keep form workout day. With my workout from Wednesday my arms were sore making the swim an even better challenge. As I pushed through the timed lengths, I found myself getting tired on the 10-12 timed 100m. I was doing most at about 146 and slowed to 150 towards the end. Overall I was very satisfied with the workout. With a hard push I was still mostly able to hold form to the end of the workout. It was on the short side at 2300m but quick at around 42 min total including short rests. The workouts I have done focusing on technique pay off in a big way, I will continue them all the way to the start line.
On another note of interest is the timing to the start. It seems insignificant at 217 days but it was 300 in what seemed to be last night. As it approaches I decided to count down to see when I start my official training. WOW, not until the end of March. Lots of fun between now and then. I am looking forward to continuing and adding to this journey, hope you are liking yours as well!
Cheers and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wonderful'ish Wednesday!!

yep, I am at it again!  being happy!  Why not?? you know the answer to that question!
Today was the first day that I got to play with my new trainer!  It is awesome! I chose a 5km route to first start to figure out some of the tools that were available.  There are all kinds of options that I can turn on and different screens and views to ride from.  After an easy 5k ride I decided a 25k mountain ride would be the way to get started.  I chose some Olympia route that sent me into a stage in some mountain race in Europe. WOW!  It was a great ride, first a small hill, then another small hill, then another and get it!  It was almost all uphill except for the last 5k which was straight down  It is fun to ride as it also has the steering module with it.  As you ride technical courses on the trainer you actually do the same as a road ride.  Your neck gets all tensed up and you get the huge knot going!  SO it is great to focus on relaxing and getting into a proper form when you start to push it harder along the latter part of the ride.  As well as being able to set the course you would like, you can also review HRM, power, cadence, speed....  ONce you have done a ride you can save it and review it later.  WIth several rides you can actually overlay them and review your progress on certain parts of hte course based on the strategy you have chosen for a ride.  Being a gear nerd, this is like being a kid on a candy store.  I love to measure so that I can track progress and make educated decisions, this trainer allows me to do all that and then some!
Following a tough ride I did a fast transition to a short run.  I thought that my feet back on the ground would be much harder than it was.  I set off on my run at a great pace, again thinking it was adrenaline from the ride, but NO!  I maintained my pace for the entire run feeling relaxed and comfortable at a pace that is again 10-15 seconds faster per KM than what I have run in the past!  Overall it was a great workout today.
The 'ish part of my blog title comes from my post run activity.  Boo! As I was driving to a meeting this evening I ended up in a small fender bender.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  The thing that frustrates me about the whole thing is that the insurance company ends up winning because of it!  Oh well, I was not hurt and the other guy was fine as well.  At the end of the day it is a small dent and can be fixed, who cares.  I would rather be able to ride my bike to the office everyday, this only motivates me to do it sooner!
I hope you all had a great day and a good workout to enjoy!  Happy Wednesday, hump day is now another one for the history book!  CHeers!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Terrific TACX Tuesday!

I was called Mr Happy pants today!  I think that it is a great compliment!  thank you Missy, it is great that you had a great Tuesday!
Much like yesterday I found a million reasons to find today as another great one!  I wont deliberate like yesterday as I think you get it!
Some good progress on the training front today!  Tuesday and Thursdays seem to have become swim days for me.  So off I went to the pool for some fun and games and a lot of drills.  I find doing drills to be one of those love/hate kind of things!  But the results are amazing so I push and smile to get them done knowing what the result will be later!  Today was a 2100m practice which was all drills and timed lengths.  I liked the fact that there was an intensity to my practice today.  As I was at the pool training with a friend I had a great barometer to the intensity, each time we stopped he would look at me and grimace and suggest that I was trying to hurt him.  No, that was not the goal, however, it serves as a good reminder that I am going at the desired pace for progress.  I did my practice in a little over 40 minutes today, the timing being almost perfect.  As we finished up, the masses of people started to show up.  I dont understand schedules of others, some days it is empty and at the exact same time a week later it it like no one is at work and they all decided to come to the pool.  Oh well, it was a great swim and one that I hope will contribute to the bottom line!

Why the title for my blog today?  Well, I got my new toy this afternoon!  My new TACX Fortius VR bike trainer!  Wahoo!  Biking is what led me into this whole IM chaos(and a bet) and I have not done hardly any winter training because I cant stand turning pedals doing nothing.  I am very lucky that an old training partner has become very bored with this trainer and gave it to me for an absolute steal.  It is awesome, it has all the training tools that you could want for winter indoor rides.  And the best part is that I am actually on a road riding a course that has some challenge to it.  It gives me a great incentive to get on the bike and beat the crap out of the little computer man that I can race against.  As well as being a very realistic training game, the analysis tools are great as well.  I can begin to track all my rides and then monitor progress based on what I have done for training.  It will be very effective in making certain that I  an maximizing my pedaling opportunity.  Deep down I am also excited as I have a little cycling grudge to settle.  Last summer as I rode my bike as a fat asz, some friends of mine took the time to smile as they past me on hills that I once killed them on.  I know that same friend wont train indoors.  SO guess what! HAH!  I am going to train like a good little boy and come spring, LOOK OUT!  I will let him see what the back of my bike shorts as I blow by him going up the same hills as the fall!  All kidding aside this trainer is my missing link to complete my non-training days and get ready for summer!  With a fun training tool it will get me pedalling and building the other group of muscles that have been ignored for a few weeks!
I hope that you have had a great day and that your training is putting a smile on your face!  And if not today, guess what, tomorrow is only a few hours away and it will be better!  Cheers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

Yes, that is right, marvelous Monday!  Why?   Why not!!  What was not marvelous about it?  I woke up this morning, I was able to put my feet on the floor!  My dog licked my face before I even had both my eyes open to thank me for nothing!  I had a hot shower in my washroom in my wonderful house in my wonderful neighborhood !  When I got to the kitchen my awesome wife had a great breakfast waiting for me in our wonderful kitchen.  I sat down and read the paper while getting ready for the impending marvelous Monday!  What, what am I talking about?? Think about it, your day was likely just as great if you put it in perspective.  Look around you and see what is happening in the world and each morning becomes a new positive adventure with a ton of opportunity and privilege that the rest of the world might not enjoy!  So, I decided that I should enjoy it and I did!
This weekend was a ball of fun!  It started with the frigid run that I talked about in my last blog and only got better. When I got up to go skiing on Saturday AM, the temperature was -24c(I think that is about -6F).  My thoughts as I was driving to the hill was how unpleasant the day would be, that is stupid cold and there is no logical reason to be out in it all day intentionally.  Oh well, my choices were limited as I had 3 groups that were likely going to show up to learn somehting. So, I out on my happy hat and headed out to the drop freeze!  It was absolutely amazing, the snow conditions were out of this world.  There was 6-7" of fresh snow and it was light as could be, it was one the few perfect days of the winter.  The cold was not factor at all, the sun was shining bright and no wind was to be found at all.  Over the day, I came of the hill for 15 minutes to have a small bite to eat.  I skied from 8am until almost 4pm non stop skiing every turn with passion and excitement, I loved every dam freezing moment of it.  It is winter and if you get dressed for it, it isnt all that bad!  Sunday was significantly warmer, but the skiing was eqaully as spectacular.  I had another day of being out for the entire day, with the exception of my snack time!  It was a great weekend of skiing.  Last night I slept like an baby!  My head hit the pillow and I was out like a light.  I did not stir the entire night!  I guess in a few more weeks I wil be trading my skis for goggles, shoes and bikes and be just as tired every night!  I cant wait to get it going!
Today was a fun day as I get closer to starting my official training program.  I am 222 days away from the start line and I am starting at day 170.  Until then I am doing the 'base' thing and having fun so that I dont hit a wall.   Doing the fun thing without any pressure prodices some fun days with some results which are also at times very pleasing.  To date, swimming has been a huge gain for me, I am most surpised with that progress.  I hope to continue on my journey to becoming what could be called a 'swimmer'.  Along my journey I have been somewhat passive with my running.  When I started this I was pulling arounf an extra few pounds and it made running a struggle.  I have never been a fast runner and an extra tire on my ass did not help the game.  Today I had a run like never before.  Although it was only 8k,  with boogers freezing all over my face,  I ran lose to half of my run at a sub 4:45/k pace.  I felt awesome!  In the past that would have been a pace that I would have been able to maintain for 500m then slow downs o that I did not collapse. Today I moved along at that pace feeling little stress or effort.  I hope that it is the results of training and will continue to move along in the positive direction.  I finished my run with a big smile on my face, almost feeling like I could call myself a runner! Wahoo!  I now am learning to like the previously frowned upon discipline!  This journey to the start line is more enjoyable each day!
Another fun part of the day was my trip to the weigh scale.  As some of you know I am a member of .  I started this IM journey at a plump 225lbs and a bet.  Today I got on the scale and was 187lbs and 20%BMI.  My weight or BMI has not been in that zone since I was in my 20's!  It is a great feeling that as I move long this journey and chase what is becoming a true passion that I gain the result of becoming more fit and more healthy than ever!  I do have to say that I am now going to put more focus on my diet.  As my training ramps up I do not want to suffer because I am not getting proper fuel.  As I get closer to the start line I will put a focus on losing what I dont need to bring along, but I dont want to get to that point 3 months early.  This journey is a blast and I hope that everyone else on the IM train feels the same small victories as they go through their day to day training.
Until tomorrow wonderful opportunities, I am heading out to do a little bit of nothing now!  Cheers and Happy training!