The new Adventure has Started!!!

I made this widget at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Over and out......for a few days!

Training has been awesome this week! I have been pushing the envelope and clocking miles and minutes to build up towards d-day! D-day is coming along damn quick!  Wahoo!  As always I am enthusiastic and pumped for the day!
Thursday this week was the longest swim practice I have had to date.  It was a  4600m swim and felt really strong.  It was made up of long distance repeats allowing me to get into a rhythm.  I find myself now breathing 100% bilateral with a great deal of comfort.  I now have started to pattern it and am finding it far more efficient overall.  Although it was a long swim, it felt like one of the easiest days in teh pool yet.  With the 'new' way of swimming I find it totally relaxing while maintaining a similar speed to before.  I actually did swim a 1:38 x 100m for the first time.  It was one and I am a long way off from having that as my regular pace!
Today was an awesome ride day!  I rode 130k in the AM at an average of 31kmh and a HR of 124.  I was actually not having to push to hard to maintain the speed and cadence.  I am definitely feeling a difference on the ride as compared to the beginning of summer.  Power to weight is moving in my favour big time.
The next 7 days is going to be a recovery/modified training session.   I am heading to a Teacher training intense 1 week boot camp of Baptiste Power Yoga.  It is 6-7 hours a day of hard practice as well as mental and teacher training.    A few friends think I am nuts for going to this.  No way!  I have built up a good training plan, I am actually ahead of where I was to be.  One week of a few less miles will actually be an awesome recovery as well as a huge strength and mental training session.  Yoga has been an integral part of my training and has helped in pushing me through some obstacles, this is a bonus training week for me.  I anticiapte when I return a lot of the work that I have done will have settled in a I can turn in up a few notches for a couple more weeks before a light taper begins.  I think I may be like the Kona bound Bryan, I won't turn it off a 100% before otherwise I will become lazy and lose what I have built!
So, the place I am going has no reception, cell or internet.  I may find it along the week, but otherwise it is over and out for until next week!  Cheers!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's starting to hurt a bit!

Since the weekend I have been pushing my training , kind of like cramming a bit!  I have a week of active recovery coming up and I want to get the most of this week possible.  I am maxing my workouts and pushing it so that the 'recovery' is a good build week.  I will share more on my active recovery in the next couple of days!
I continued my training yesterday with a great 2 hour run in the heat!  Once again I used the run as a time to tune up nutrition and make certain that I am not going to run out of fuel.  I have learnt that I will need to supplement salt as I run otherwise I will end up in a bundled up cramped dude on the side of the road.  At 15k on my run I filed up with water and took in some salt, it was like a big adrenaline rush and it energized the last bit of the run.  As time moves forward I am learning how big a part of this game is the nutrition.  It doesn't matter how good a runner, cyclist or swimmer you are, without a proper balance you are done! Over the next few weeks I will surely continue to learn more, however, I think that I am on a good path to having a strategy in place and an ability to get me from start to finish.
Todays workout was a short swim with a new triathlete as well as some stroke improvement time for me.  It was an awesome experience to coach an athlete on something I could not do a year ago.  Over the course of one hour I could see a change in what she was doing and she could feel a greater efficiency in her swim.  My training today, I slowed everything down to have a chance to focus on the entire pull.  Although not a high energy swim(that is tomorrow) it was a great chance to help gel the stroke and breathing that has been coming together.
I followed up the 'soft' swim with some speed work tonight. I hate speed work, however I need to suck it up as it is the worst part of the 3 disciplines and I need it to get whatever time i am going to race in to a better time.  It is also something that I will stare in the face a ton next year as I want to qualify for Boston and that will be a hard road!  Overall the workout was satisfying!  It is one of those workouts where the little man sits on my shoulder the entire time I am out there.  He seems to feel that at any time in the workout it would be cool if I packed it in.  No DICE!  It is not going to happen.  The little man actually motivates me to push harder and make the hurt bigger!  If it doesn't kill me it is going to make me stronger!  I still don't like the workouts, but they work!
I hope everyone out there is having awesome training days and feeling on the top of your game!  Go hard or go home!~

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to training and getting the big ones under me!

After a great weekend with a good race result, it is time to get back to the work that produces the results! So back at it!
I started yesterday AM with a 120-130k ride to get my legs moving.  I felt great after pushing hard on Saturday and the ride went off well.  I was using the day to get nutrition under control and to make sure that I learning what I need to do on race day!  So the ride yesterday was a success!  It was an awesome day with perfect weather which made it even better.  The rider was also nice as it was a relaxed ride with the average being 29.8kmh and not a lot of super hard push. It was a little windy so it added a bit of work to the ride.
As soon as the ride was done, I had coordinated a run with the run/yoga clinic that I am leading.  The distance worked well into my training and it was a good run to lead the group as they are now learning what it is like to do 10+km runs.  We met at a local private school that has an awesome trail system for a 14.5k run.  I talked about nutrition a little as we set out as they are all new to nutrition and longer runs.  It was a great time to talk about it as I had just finished 4 hours living on gels!  The run was perfect as it was at a relaxed pace and allowed me to do a little longer run than scheduled to test to see if my nutrition on the ride was effective and would sustain me for a run.  2k good -5k good - 10k good -14.5k good!  It worked awesome!  I could have been better with water as i did not have a water belt with me, otherwise it was a great run.  I added some distance running between a couple of groups over the run time.  It was a good opportunity to do some faster running to see how I would feel.  Overall it was a great run. I was super happy at the result of the group that I am training, the best way to find statisfaction!  They all had smiles on their faces and were happy as could be at having accomplished what they did. They were happy as they had all reached a new personal best!  It was great to be a part of that workout with them!
Overall the day was a great success, I am pleased with how it went and how I feel.  My recovery has been decent, today was only a little stiff.
I did manage my longest swim ever today to add to the full day.  Did a 4200M swim and felt like a champ.  I now feel that I am gaining comfort with the new swim technique.  I can feel new muscles working as I move forward and I am able to add a couple of new tips that were given to me.  I am going to focus on making it work and getting smooth at it rather than trying to speed anything up at this time.  If I can get comfortable with this I can get out of the water feeling strong!  That would be good!
A great few days with some good workouts behind me, and a few more big ones this week!

Congrats to all those in Lake Placid this week!  A big one goes out to Bryan at Training Payne who got his Kona spot!  Way to go!  I hope that the beer today is good before you get back at training for the big one!  Awesome job!

An unexpected event result!

This weekend I did another sprint tri up in Muskoka as part of my training effort.  I had planned to do a couple of races to get into the crowd and learn to manage both nerves and adrenaline.  This race was a good one for me!
As we were driving up to it, the skies looked like they are going to open wide and soak us.  As a postive to that was the lack of humidity as a result of that happening.  On the obvious side, it is never fun to race in pouring rain.  Well, Mother nature seemed to be in a good mood and held off for the entire day in our race world.
The event itself was not the most organized that I have participated in  over time.  Registration was kind of scattered, volunteers not very aware of what was suppose to take place, parking was a bitch! Oh well!  
The swim was a one way swim rather than out/back.  We were down a river to our exit with a water start.  The water start was good as it is an opportunity to be doing the same is IMWI.  The route allowed you to swim on either side of the buoy, so I placed myseld in the ideal best shortest line for the swim.  I decided that I should be using the tools that I have been working on to practice in a competitive environment what the coach had told me.  It worked out well.  Although my time was the same as my last event swim with a 2:00 per 100m, I came out of the water far more relaxed than last race and was able to do a faster transition.    I was able to pass quite a few from the heat ahead of me which is also a good mental charge in the event.
The bike course was a typical Muskoka course with hills and hills!  Right out of the mount area was a small hill to start from.  I got out fairly strong and was able to ramp it up from that point.  I kind of dropped my training attitude a bit once I started rolling on the bike.  As I picked up I started flying by people, they set the heats from slow to fast so there were a lot of people on the road.  I felt great on the bike with the exception of one hill.  A long drawn out one that was a bit of a false looking uphill, within 750m of 'climbing' I was in the small ring making my way up, I was happy to see everyone struggling on it!  I quickly got back in my comfort zone and started to push again.  I had noticed a guy playing cat and mouse with me for a good part of the ride.  After the turn he rode past me and thanked me for pacing him.  WRONG for him!  That pissed me off so I hit the throttle and sped off.  In retrospect I want to thank him as it sped me up a tone.  It was the last time I saw him!  When I rolled into transition, there were very few bikes around.  
My transition 2 was fairly strong although I fiddled around!  I got off my bike quick and got my shoes on in a hurry with my new speed laces!  But fiddled with my wet feet getting socks on, BOO!  I then messed around with my Garmin to get it set up for the run.  I have been to dumb to read the directions to get the multisport set up so I understand it!  My time on T2 was fast but I could have been 20-30s faster had I not been messing around!  The run course was a 2 loop hilly out and back course, not the best one I have run to date!  Oh well!  Right out of the chute was an uphill to get the heart pumping.  I need to learn to roll out gradually and build up my speed rather than blowing it all right away!  The run is where I need to make my biggest strategic and logistical changes if I am going to continue to improve, this race helped out on that learning curve.  Once I got over the first hill, I was able to decently manage the course for the run.  You saw a lot of people along the way as you were continually turning and coming back along the route.  I was moderately satisfied with my run, great lessons for future races!
As I crossed the line I did it with a great satisfaction!  I was happy as could be about my effort, I pushed harder than I have before and managed most of the race like a triathlete.  I had nothing to be disspointed about.
As they started posting results I went over to look at the board.  Hmmm, it looks like I am so far leading my age group, kind of cool I though and it stopped there.  Then, my pal looked at me and said 'WOW, you placed'.  I told him that the race was not over and that it would change.  He looked at me like I was a dizzy blonde and told me it could not as we all went out in the same heat!
How cool is that!  I went to a race to train and ended up getting a 2nd place finish in my age group in a triathlon!  Last time I one a sporting event was skiing 25 years ago!  It was a great mental push and a confidence builder for me moving forward!  Wahoo!  I loved this sport before, now I have a piece of hardware to show that the training I have put myself through has some logic!  
Congrats to the IMLP racers I know who kicked butt this weekend!  Awesome race by all of you!  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Getting caught up!

It has been a whirlwind last few days and I have to say, not posting to my blog has added to my stress!  I look forward to the opportunity to dump my thoughts, successes and challenges here each day.  Not getting to it seems like a part of the day missed!  Since last week I have been running around sharing some awesome training with friends as well as looking at getting back to work reality at some point.
On the work front I have had a couple of opportunities come by me and I am studying them to determine the best long term fit for me.  I also have some irons in the fire to make sure that I am going to get the mortgage paid i the short term.  I am moving along and will hopefully have some concrete direction before too long.  I must admit, this interim time has been great allowing me to get a lot of things done and a lot of training in without cramming to do it!
On the training front, don't know where to start it seems like it has been weeks not days since my last post.
Last week was one of the longer non race runs I have done through training.  A 2.5 hour run in the crazy heat of the day!  I will say that it was an awesome training run with things falling in place well.  As I am doing the longer runs and rides I am gaining great insight into nutrition and hydration.  For 2 hours of my run on Friday I felt like a champ, moving along at a reasonable pace(likely within IM pace).  I was drinking and making sure to fuel along the way.  As I got towards the end of the run, I forgot to fuel for the last 45 minutes.  As I approached home, I started to feel heavy and my HR started to climb without reason.  After looking for answers I remembered the lack of nutrition.  It was a great thing to experience as it reaffirmed to me the importance of ongoing nutrition during longer events.  I am generally quite good about it, forgetting about it reminded once again why I always keep it in mind.
Saturday was a great ride day.  As I was visiting a friend in cottage country, I took advantage of the famous Muskoka 70.3 bike course.  Everyone talks about the course being a challenging one, so I took the time to check it out.    The temperature was about perfect for it, about 27-28C, I guess the wind was a little much with a 30-40k wind at our face for a large part of the ride.  Oh well, mother nature is always going to be there, so I enjoyed the challenge!  The course is an awesome riding course, super wide shoulders, smooth pavement for nearly the whole ride.  Over the course we never had one irate driver beep at us.  I was well fuelled and ready for the ride!  I had my gels, water and magic mix for to be prepared to mimic as feeding during IM.  Can't say the same for the guy I was riding with!!  As we got to about 95k in the ride he started to fade!  WHY?  he asked?  well, when you have only had 1.5L of water for a 3+ hour ride time it is not rocket science!  He was dehydrated big time.  Another 25k up the road we stopped at a local feeding hole to see if we could get him back to speed.  He could not eat thing, for the 30 minuted we were stopped he was going to be sick the entire time.  He did manage to get some water in and I also ed him some salt tabs to help the game.  As we were another 2 hours from our start spot I took the liberty of calling for a pick up knowing he would not make it to the end.  As we headed out on your bikes to meet our pick up, it turned out to be a good thing that the call was made.  As I was rolling down a hill at 60k + per hour my pedals started to free wheel, I figured I had dropped my chain.  I collected my balance and looked down and had not dropped it??  So, I figured I better pull over to see what was going on??  My cassette had totally blown up, all of the rings were spinning and it was totally loose with very little ability for it to catch so that I could pedal productively.  Damn!  My ride had kicked butt on the first 125k with an average speed of 31.5kmh into the wind and up and down the hills.  I truly enjoyed the course and the got an awesome training session out of it.  With that many hills you better learn to be efficient otherwise you will get eaten by the end.  My average HR was 142 for the ride which was great as well.  So although I had to bail on the bike I did get a good T-run done.  My focus on the T-runs is slowly shifting to pacing rather than speed.  Although I left my HR monitor off, I felt a decent pace relative to my perceived effort.  Overall a satisfying day and some good lessons learned by both me and my pal Hugh that i was training with!  Drinking and eating is not a choice!!!!!!!  It is a necessity!
Sunday was a day of recovery and one of the last that I plan to take before now and go time!  I had a wine therapy session with great friends on the end of the dock at the cottage to finish the day, a late night and a restful morning was in order!
Monday was pool time again!  Yes, time to refine the advice given to me to see if I can make it mine!  YES, we have success!  after 3000m it finally seemed to be doable with a degree of comfort and no feeling like I was going to die at the end of each length!  Wahoo!  Now another few 1000 lengths and ideally I can make it better!  I will say that it feels great to make the change and it does feel more efficient as it is starting to pattern.
Tuesday was a short run day with little else going on.  Although only a 7.5k run it was fast and HR was in a good zone.  Felt like a comfortable run and enjoyed the progress shown by the group that was out with me.
And that brings us back around to today!  I started my morning bright and early and enjoyed time with Lululemon staff leading a morning run with them.  They are awesome, so eager to participate and so easy to be around.  A great way to start the day, with a lot of smiles and happy people!  The day then progressed to a great swim!  ONe of those days where it was working!  What I felt on Monday got even smoother.  I have been doing 1:40 x 100m for a short while, but when I was done I would not be up for a chat to quick. Today I was able to do them and felt great when I was finished!
So, after a great week of training, having fun and getting closer to the start line I am caught up on blogging!  Tomorrow I will post photo's from the weekend, the scenery is awesome!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Swim, bike, run....yep, that is what we do!

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind!  Tons of things getting done, from both a work and training perspective.  Work is boring and that is not what this blog is about, so I will stick with the training today!
Yesterday was a tri kind of day, I managed all three disciplines over the course of the day, actually running twice for more fun!
The morning started with some more swimming and working on the technique and drills from the coach.  The start of the practice was a tough few meters, struggling to get into a rhythm and questioning the logic of rebuilding at this stage in the process.  Then I would do a timed 100m and see that it is faster than what I was doing.  I know over time it will work, I have another 150000 strokes and I should have it patterned.  :) As I was swimming along I did notice something new.  As soon as I focused on a stroke count, I would arrive at the end far more relaxed and less out of breath than earlier.  I would maintain my form, bi lateral breath the entire time and find it far less effort.  So, lesson learned, don't work so hard on focusing on every move, just relax and it not so difficult.  Bu th end of the practice it was beginning to pattern a bit, I was far less out of breath and able to build a little rhythm.  So overall it was a good practice with progress!  Wahoo!
Part 2 was a solid speed bike workout.  I started the day thinking it would be on the trainer, mother nature was a darling and held off the rain.  It was a short workout, only 32km, but it was meant to be done in Zone 3.  So far the training has been done in Zone 2 for the most part, so notching it up was fun.  I did a decent warm up and then put the pressure on the pedals.  Much like doing hill training running, I made it hurt.  The entire time I was on the pedal pushing and pulling to see how hard a workout i could manage.  I did manage to hold ZOne 3 the whole time and an average speed of 38kmh.  It was a tough one but felt awesome to be working that hard for a bike workout.  When I do rides that hard, I tend to look back to when I started and it makes me smile.  I remember doing the same route and barely being able to maintain a 29kmh pace.  I guess a few months of training pays off!
Following the ride was a T-run.  While riding I was wondering what it would be like, with the kind of burn that I was feeling it was bound to be a hard one.  So, off with the bike shoes and on with the running shoes.  The run felt great!  I had to make a note to slow down 2-3 times during the run.  If I was doing a short distance it would be a good run, but a 5k pace is no use for me for IM.  I worked on keeping my HR in a comfortable zone that I have found.  My goal is to now to my T-runs in that zone so that I can build up the distance without having to 'take a break'.  Overall the brick was great coming off a tough ride and being able to transition nicely.  Good progress from my perspective.
The evening was followed by another run with the LULU gang!  Another great run with a couple of new faces out to join.  After the bike-run afternoon I did not know how it would feel to get out for another workout.  I wasn't bad.  I had to start slowly to get the legs moving freely, but then it was free and easy,  Another great run with great friends at the store.
Tonight was the best workout of them all!  HILLS!  With the group that I run with at ROGA we went to some big hills for a few repeats.  They rocked!  After a few weeks of the smaller hills they came out tonight and knocked these on their butts.  When they were all done a true sign of how good they were was summarized in one word, I asked how it was, the response, 'fuucckkk'  That can only be a good thing after a hill workout. If it doesnt hurt you did not do it hard enough!  I am so happy with the progress and the workout they did tonight!  I did my share as well.  There is something about me and hills, I don't have anything but 100% when I do them.  As I run I was under 4min/k and feeling like each breath was going to be the end of my lunch.  When I reached hte top my arms were carrying me as my legs were like lead!  I love the workout!  Next few weeks, back to the speed work!  Yeah, they are fun to, but the skier in me must make me like hills better!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oops, I miscalculated a bit!

On the weekend I was putting my schedule together for the rest of the summer to make sure that I get it right.  I want to make certain that I have the times laid out and workouts scheduled so that I don't miss any when I have other events on the calendar.  It was a great exercise to go through and I learned something new while doing it.
I have followed a program that is 24 weeks, and I am presumably in week 17, or is it 16, or is it 17??  Yep, I have an extra week along the way to get ready for IMWI.  At first I was puzzled as to how I got these, but it is a good thing.  I reviewed where I am what I have done and the schedule until race time.  I decided that I will do one of the weeks twice and add in a 1/2 iron distance race along the way.  It is a race that I wanted to do all along, but I was stressed as it fell in the middle of big training days and they can't be skipped.  So, I have another week to get myself into IM shape and a chance to do an event longer than a sprint before I go to the start.
Today was a light training day with only a short run with the ROGA running group.  It was a great run with them, they kicked butt!  I used a route that I have repeated periodically since the group started 5 weeks ago.  Tonight's run was awesome, they took 45s per km off the time that they ran the same course on the first time around. It is very exciting to see them progress and more than ever committed to the goal they have set.
Tomorrow is a heady day, with a swim, sprint bike and a run tomorrow night.  So, that being said it is time to call it a day!  Cheers to all!

A whirlwind and wonderful weekend!

This past weekend was a super active one but it was awesome!
It started at 5:30AM on Saturday with a 3 hour drive to my brother-in-laws new home outside of Kingston.    We were heading out to celebrate a 25th anniversary and visit the house for the first time.  It was worth the drive out there!  The new house is the perfect cottage/home.  It is located on a gorgeous lake that is about 2k long, you can not see a neighbour at all.  It is located about 40 minuted from the nearest major town/city so the traffic is very quiet.
Once we arrived for our visit, I put on my shoes to head out for my long run.  The weather was a little cooler that the rest of the week, but it was still awesome sunny out.  I put on my Dermatone face and lip sun block(which works awesome).  Even with sweat pouring off my face and head it does not get into my eyes and it is still super effective.  With the amount of forehead(lack of hair) that I have i must be careful on sunny days, I am not a big hat fan so I need to use sunscreen.  The run was great!  It was on a country road with very little traffic.  Anyone who did drive by waved at me like I was a brother or neighbour and pulled far to the other side of the road as they drove by.  The route was a good one as well, it was very rolly with a few longer hills along the way.  As it was very hot it was a great day to work on HR and hills.  My entire run I managed to stay in low  HR2, even on the longer hills I did not explode as I have often tended to do.  It was a great learning run as I managed to figure out pacing adjustments to keep my HR from climbing and biting me a later on.  I did a 21k run in 1:55 managing my HR with the hills.  It is not lightning fast, but it is not meant to be.  It is a great deal faster than what I would have done a year ago and progress is what I want to accomplish!

With the run out of the way, I had to take advantage of the awesome open water that they live on.   I
 up and headed down to the water for my open water swim.  After spending some time with the coach last week, I have some areas to focus on for 2 weeks to begin to pattern some new things.  So, with those ideas in mind I started along the water.  Ouch!  It is a big change to make after doing something one way for so long and acutally getting OK at it.  But, I know the pain today will pay for the long run.  The concept of bi lateral breathing and making it yours is tough.  The first KM I struggled, stopping to have to catch my breath along the way.  When I did the turn it started to fall into place a little better, but still a lot of work to do.  As you can see from the video, it is an awesome lake to be swimming on, very calm vary quiet, I wish I had that in my backyard!  It was a great day out for training and then to spend time with family and enjoy the new pad!
Sunday AM started at 4:45AM with another drive.  Back towards the city for an event being held by LULULEMON that I was helping out with.  For their customers they host an event called Tri-LULU.  It is spinning, a run and a yoga class.  It is a great event as it it gets their community out and playing together and enjoying a great weekend!     I had the easy job for the day, I was greeting the runners as they got back from a 4 or 6k run and giving out medals and water!  It was great to see them all coming on with smiles on their faces!  The the yoga class was my turn to play!  It was awesome, there were 225 people in a park by the lake sharing a morning yoga practice.  The attached photo only shows the people, it doesn't come close to showing how much fun it was!   I had a great time at the event both helping out and being able to play for a while as well.
With that much fun on a weekend, work had to come into play at some time.  After my morning enjoyment and relaxation I spent the rest of the day in a strategic planning meeting for this coming winters ski programs.  It is tough sitting inside talking about skiing with the beautiful sun outside!
I hope your weekends were awesome and you are off to a great start!

Friday, July 9, 2010's a state of mind!

Yesterday I was beginning to feel physically tired, I felt like doing my workouts today I was going to be dragging my butt!  NO!  It is a mind over matter proposition.  I believe that the barrier to success at anything we want to do is our mind.  Our brain unconsciously puts up obstacles to prevent us from accomplishing what we would like to do.  OK, there may be financial or family obstacles, but those can be overcome.  If you really believe in achieving something your mind will figure out how to get it done!  Enough of the psycho babble!
I started off my morning with an awesome run!  I joined a group who has been doing an AM run on Tuesday and Friday for years.  For a while I joined them and then the timing got tough so I started doing my runs on my own.  As this week has me cramming some workouts, this morning was a great time to get out and join them.  They are all stellar runners, almost all of them sub 3:30 marathon.  Running with them is like a race for me and then some.  I can not keep up with them, but it is an awesome push.  This morning the weather was perfect.  It started off with the same heat that we have had with a couple of drops of rain dropping as we started out.  By the end of the run, it was pouring cats and dogs.  The skies opened up the temperature cooled off and it was totally refreshing.  Amongst the fast people there were also a couple of people who are not part of the lightning crowd, so I was able to run along with them and enjoy a great run in the pouring rain!  The run starts at a cafe owned by one of the guys who comes out, so the end is always complete with a great coffee and stories of the last few days.  As you might imagine, it is a great way to start the day!
The morning run was not the end of oh pour me I am tired workouts!  Without a thought this afternoon I was out for a short 50k ride!  It was awesome, one of my favourite rides of the summer.  Why?  It jsut was.  I was out with a friend who just started riding and is a strong rider right out of the gate.  We rode at an average of close to 34kmh with the last 10k between 39 & 41kmh.  It was fantastic, we were flying!  The best thing was that my heart rate was in low zone 2 the entire time.  As hard as I was pushing I did not blow up as I rode along.  I focused a lot of riding technically sound with a full pedal stroke for 360 degrees.  It helped pick up the cadence and I found myself going up a gear or two in order to stop from freewheeling.
As we rode along the lake, the scenery was awesome.  With the weather breaking for a couple of days there was a great fog coming off the lake.  As we buzzed along there was a great photo of a ship starting to be covered with the fog. I only had my blackberry so it does not do the photo a ton of justice, but it was a great sight to see.
Overall the day was awesome for training.  The whole idea of being exhausted can be a gret deterrent to getting a workout done.  But, it is only a mental obstacle that you choose to accept if you succumb to the physical burn!  As I am certain some people would say, suck it up!  I loved every minute of my workout and I look forward to a few more weeks of times like today and far tougher ones ahead!
Have an awesome training weekend!  CHeers

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day one, new drills, lots of water swallowed!

This morning I was at the shore of the lake bright and early to get a food open water swim.  Damn!  Even though it was 40C for the past week the water temp has not changed one bit.  It was way too damn cold to go out and have any valuable training.  So, off to Starbucks to talk about the new ideas to use in practice.  This is the 3rd time that i have been to the water to get in for a swim and had to turn back.  Boo!
All was not lost, no way!  Had to get into the water today to get this into my swimming.  So this afternoon hit the pool.  WOW!  Summer time has everyone in town at the pool, the good thing is they are all part of summer camps and not doing a lane swim so the training is great although it sounds like a night club in the place.
One of the 'issues' that I have had in my swim is not effectively rolling to both sides.  I tend to breath to one side and therefore found myself rolling well on that side and poorly on the other.  I related it to breathing, I thought that if I breathed on both sides I would improve the roll.  HUH!  I guess I don't know a lot about swimming!  The book I read did not talk about some of the more important aspects.  It is so cool that in one session with the coach she picked out a tactic to help me correct both my inability to bilateral breath as well as improve my efficiency.  I would generally swim a 25m in 20-21 strokes and feel like I was stretchin it.  I know that i am suppose to reach at the end of the stroke, but it was described in a book and once at a clinic and it did not seem to work.  The coach showed us what she meant by giving a dynamic visual and it worked.  I guess I am a visual learner.  Today in the pool I was able to do 18-19 and not feel like I was stretching abnormally.  It was a relaxed stroke with 'ease' breathing on both sides.  I say ease, but it is not that simple.  THe guy I train with was getting frustrated as he was out of breath trying to bilateral.  He could not understand how something more efficient was making him out of breath.  Like anything new, there is a time to allow it to become pattern before you can relax and so it with ease.  I figure since I started learning how to swim last September I have done 150000 strokes the same way.  Guess it makes sense that a new way is going to introduce a little stress and make me breath harder.  It is not totally new I suppose, just refining the way that I reach in the water to make it  a true glide instead of a mechanical unnatural reach. It works!  My best 100 time to date has been around 1:40, today without a sprint effort I was able to do a 1:25.  That in itself is huge motivation to do 150000 more strokes to pattern what the coach has talked about.  I am going to bust my hump so that in 2 weeks at our next session I get some positive feedback on improvement.  Next thing I need to work on are drills to make certain that I am finishing my stroke.  With a good reach, it is a far simpler thing to accomplish.  I am excited about the quick progress in such a short session.  It was a great idea to hire this coach, I look forward to continued progress.
Tonight was LULULEMON run night.  Another darn hot one.  It is a great run to be out as many people  who join us are there for no reason other than to do a run.  No pressure, no race just for fun!  That is the way it is suppose to be.  As hot as it was, a girl joined us who now lives in Texas in the home of the newest IRONMAN!  She comes home to   for July each year with her children as she says it is to hot to hand out in Texas.    She found the run tonight to be very cool and manageable while the rest of us were sweating a storm.  Another great short run for all of us, enjoyed great scenery, new people and the progress of new miles!
Starting to feel a little tired but that is a good thing. It has to mean that I am working a little and building some new muscle. Only 2 more days, 30k more running, 100k+ riding and an open water swim(in a different lake)  then a rest day!
Hope your training is rocking!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can I swim faster??

Today was the first time that I have taken to spend with a true swim coach.  I did do a clinic earlier in the year and got 20 minutes of OK feedback but nothing that I could follow up on later with the guidance given.  So today was great, an hour with a girl who is an awesome swimmer and outstanding triathlete.  (4ht in the Worlds) I am excited about the potential in working with this coach as it could be a breakthrough for me.  I know it wont happen overnight, but with some ongoing guidance and strong direction I will likely become more efficient in the water and may even get a little quicker.  
Swimming today was a great relief to the crazy heat, being in the water was refreshing.  We spent the first 15 minutes at the Y doing lengths where she was able to evaluate what we were doing.  Then the big nasty life guard girl came and kicked her out! She could not be on the deck coaching in any way at all, so we packed it up and went to our pal's backyard pool.  It did not work out bad at all.  As she had done the evaluation, it was time to come up with some solutions to work with.  So we spent on hour building and reviewing drills to get us to be more slippery in the water.  Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to modify swim practice a bit in order to be able to build some muscle memory and pattern what we reviewed today.  Then it will be time for a review and recap to see if I have picked up on anything.  This is an exciting time for me as I think I will benefit  a lot from the sessions.  Not being part of a master group has its disadvantages, so ideally this helps out and will provide what I am not getting.
Today was also hill day with the running/yoga group.  The photo is of the group(less a few) who came out to enjoy hill repeats and oppressive heat.  They kicked butt!  Ran at a faster pace that they have ever and that included the time on the hills!  It is great to see them progress over the course of 4 weeks and to see the results that the program and training is providing them so far.  They are enjoying th training and seem to keep coming back for more!  I have to say they must like it, anyone who comes out to train in this heat is either nuts or wants to get to a goal.  Way to go!  As you can see, I managed to work up a bit of a swat as well.  By the time we were done, I looked as though I had been in the shower!  Hey, if it doesnt kill me it is going to make me stronger. Loving the hills repeats and going back for more!
Happy training!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ho, Ho, Holy Hot batman!

Today was one of the best holy hot training days I have had.  I am not talking medium hot, I am taking sweating before the workout even started.  I tuned my bike in the garage with no AC, by the time I was done I was soaked!  But, that was only the beginning of enjoying the heat.
I am adjusting my training this week as I have a crazy weekend that i can only get one workout in.  Over the course of this week it is my intention to get the other workout done and them some!  As I get into the heavy build time, the extra training won't hurt me a bit. I am meant to be building so I will likely end up with a few extra miles along the way.  As long as I use my recovery days wisely I can only think that it will help.
Today I went out for a long'ish ride in the heat.  I spent a little over 3 hours on the bike with a target of staying in ZOne 1-2 even thought the heat was trying to ramp that up all along.  The heat did slow me down a bit, however speed was not the strategy of this one.  I did just over 90k including a couple of monster hills for fun.  The hills were the only time that I got out of my zone, but I did not feel bad as I was able to kick the hills in the butt.  The same hills last year, I was taking a break half way up so that I would not bust a lung.
I followed the ride with a 25 minute run, once again focusing on keeping my HR in ZOne 1-2.  That was a little more difficult.  I did slow my pace to make sure that I managed to stay in the zone.  It was a tough run as I my nutrition was off and I started to cramp a bit towards the end.  However, a great lesson learned.
As the training get longer, the nutrition plan that I have started is truly going to be tested.  When I have a 'bad' session, I treat it as a lesson rather than a negative.  It is my own fault that I did not take on enough electrolytes on my ride.  Kinda stupid seeing as I had it with me and that I was sweating like a mad man most of the ride.  I now know a little more than I did yesterday and had an overall great workout to lead me to it.
That was not the end of workouts though.  Tonight is a LULULEMON run club event, so after some water some food and a brief rest, I put my shoes back on and hit the road.  With the crazy heat I did shorten the run tonight.  The purpose is to promote and build a run community, not to scare off the people who come out by trying to race them in the heat.  The group were troupers, they ran at a great pace and managed a strong negative split although it was so hot.  Although short another great training session.
As the heat is here I am making the best of it.  Why not take advantage of it?  Race day will be what race day is.  I can control when I get there and what training i have done.  I can not control what the weather will be.  Wisconsin 3-4 years ago was one of the highest drop out IM rates because of the heat, ideally this can only help me avoid that eventuality should it be a hot day!  And, if it isn't, this is only going to make me smarter about my nutrition and stronger with tough training days~!
Hope you are managing to stay cool and enjoying the summer!

Monday, July 5, 2010

That is damn hot!

Today is the hottest weather that I have trained in.   I have done a few days in heat, but this wins the HOT prize!  With the humidity it seemed like 40+C.  If  I was not training for an event I likely would have done the run first thing in the morning or late at night, but that was not an option today.  It was one of the clinics that I lead so the group was coming out and I had to lead my great example.  Because of the heat I made a decision to shorten the distance a little so that the group would keep motivated and not burn out.  ALthough it was damn hot the group had an awesome run, keeping the same pace that they do on cooler outings. It is a good sign that the training they have done to date is beneficial for them.  In exchange for the shorter run today, I introduced some drills for them to try out.  Doing ABC's are a tough workout on the best of days, let alone in 40 degree weather.  The group that I am training is awesome, they cowboyed up and were 100% committed to kicking the repeats hard.  As an intro to drills they rocked, they did them and did them strong from the first to the end!  It was great to see them progressing and pushing that hard towards the gaol.  It will be awesome to see them all crossing the line in September.  I am truly enjoying the challenge of working with them and the extra training that I am getting out of the adventure.
As well as a good run and drills today, I also enjoyed a great swim practice as well.  The repeats today were getting longer, they were 500m repeats with 45s rest.  Each one of them was effortless and I felt like I was improving as I had a chance to get into a rhythm.  That is likely why I enjoy open water swims, it allows me to get into a rhythm and work on technical issues as I don't have to turn around every 25m.  Overall the practice was 3500 and it was a strong one, I felt smooth and rested as I made my way through.  As I count the days closer the swim is becoming more rewarding as I am feeling the months of training up to this point.  Now, I need to take the swim mojo and bring it onto the run course.
I hope your training day rocked, you stayed cool and you found the fun in this crazy sport we chase!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Redemption Run!

Today was one of the most perfect days that I can imagine for training.  Warm temperature, humidity not out of control, a light breeze and the sun was as bright as it has ever been.  The entire day there was not a cloud in the sky to be found!  It was amazing!
I started my day today with a pal who is new to cycling.  It is great to have someone who sees the passion that so many people share and goes out and jumps on board. What a way to start!  Perfect weather, little wind and smiles all along the road as people are so enjoying the summer!  As today was a recovery ride it was a great day to get out and get someone started in the awesome sport of cycling.  He has made the investment and bought a new bike so I wanted to make certain that he got a good drink of the Kool aid while out on a great first morning ride.
We headed out on a route that was quite flat with very gentle rollers and great scenery along the way.  For a new rider I always think  about having an environment that shows both the physical fun of a ride as well as the awesome scenery that you can enjoy along the way.  The great thing is that the guy is physically fit so we rolled along at about 30km/h for most of the ride.  As we rode along I made sure that he was enjoying rolling along and all the things that are great about being on a bike. it seems that he got the bug, he was asking me about tri's and races and when they are so that he could start to consider riding and working towards his first event.  I consider that an awesome day and another person into the fold of the awesome sport of tri!
After a great ride I had a run scheduled with the Running/Yoga clinic that I lead.  I offer the run as an extra to the sessions that I lead as I know that I am going to go out and do a run at some point.  Although this weekend I did my run yesterday, I figure the extra few miles would not hurt me in any way.  As I was on my way out I got an email from one of the participants saying they were not coming out as they were at a pool party.  Can not blame them as it was such an awesome day!  I figured with the great hot weather it might be a thin crowd.  Oh yeah it was!  It was me!  So, I figured I had a couple of choices.  Not run and go home and enjoy the day, or run and then go home and enjoy the day!  Option 2 was the best one!  I did my run so that I could make up for the struggle I had yesterday.  I am happy that I made that call.  Although it was crazy hot, the run was very productive for me.  It help me to determine a little about my HR as I was out in hotter weather, I chose a route with some hills which compounded the benefits of what I was looking to learn.  With the heat, I am learning to adjust my pace so that I can keep it at a level that will ideally allow me to continue to move along without hitting the scary wall because of the heat!  It was a great run!  Stopped along the way and visited LULULEMON to say hi(and get some water), saw all kinds of smiling people enjoying the sun and best of all, redeemed the tough run that I had yesterday with a good result this afternoon!
Overall a great weekend, as the clock continues to tick I must say I loved it.  Good training, good mental space and a good feeling of the event that I am working towards!
I hope that all my American friends had a great Independence Day and are looking forward to the day off tomorrow.  TO everyone else, I hope your training rocked, your race was a blast and you had time to smile!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

an IM nightmare!

I am a very detailed planner when it comes to tackling new adventures.  I study them, plan for potential outcomes, evaluate risks, prepare the required equipment to get it done.  Then I prepare in an organized and logical manner to arrive at the most suitable outcome.
The main person I train with tends to do things a little on the other side of the spectrum.  He accepts an invitation as he doesn't really want to miss out on what is being done.  He moves through the preparation according to the direction of the most educated(maybe not smartest) person taking place in the adventure.  He makes his way through not missing any other event that he is invited to.  And when the event arrives he tends to want to get there about 3 minutes before it starts as he is to busy getting to all of the other things he has planned.
My plan generally has me relatively well prepared both physically and mentally for the challenges that I choose to attack, his plan generally has him looking forward to the event being done as it means he can move on to the next challenge.  It is quite an entertaining existence as we do our training together, most races together and spend a lot of free time with one another s family and friends.
This is the background to my IM nightmare!
I have planned in going down to Wisconsin for my IM on Wednesday of the week of the event.  It will give me plenty of time to get my head into the proper space, get registered, do some swim, bike and run.  I have friends in the area and I will be able to chill out before what I have to assume will be chaos begins!  He thinks that is totally ridiculous to be going down that early.  He is suggesting Friday, that way we have Saturday to get organized and race Sunday.  It is a 11-12 hour drive  from Toronto so getting out of the car and stretching will take some time.
This morning I woke up to the following dream/nightmare in my mind:

Race morning - 30 minutes before the race begins running like a mad man going to find someone who can number me
20 minutes before the race - running back to the hotel to get my bike and put the wheel on then running back to convince someone to allow me to put it in transition
10 minutes before the race - running towards the start without a wetsuit realizing that I am bike shorts and a cotton T-shirt with rain starting to fall
5 minutes before  - trying to convince a vendor to sell me a bike jersey although I had no money with me

Then I woke up!  Thank god!  That is my worst nightmare!  Getting to an event that I have planned for an entire year and being late and totally disorganized to the point of failure.  It reaffirmed the reasons that I plan and prepare for events the way that I do.  Ideally the only challenges that I encounter are the ones out of my control.  The others I can deal with if I allow myself time to properly set up.
I was out for a run later in the morning and told my buddy about the dream I woke to, and told him I didn't care what day he went to Wisconsin, I am going on Wednesday!  He did get a great laugh about my sleeping adventure.
Training today was a tough one -  the weather was as hot as it has been all summer.  I had a run to get done.  From 10 minutes in I felt like I was dragging lead pipes.   So far this season I will say it is the toughest run I have had.  The good part of it, because there always is a positive!  I completed the run at a decent pace and was able to use it as a good tool to manage HR under adverse conditions.  I chose a hillier route in order to challenge myself and I got a ton of benefit out of the run.  I finished the run with a freezing cold bath for my legs!  OUCH!  But what a great feeling, an instant relief from the lead that I was carrying.  I am going to use that over the summer, it was recommended by a coach as a tremendous recovery assist.  
\Tomorrow is another hot one, suppose to feel like 40 with the humidity, it will be a great character training day!  Bring it on!  A great ride planned(not to long) as well as another run to keep building!
Happy training to all and for those racing tomorrow, have an awesome day and have fun!

Friday, July 2, 2010

And the fun begins!!

Yesterday was an awesome day for training!  The weather was great, I was well rested and had the attitude to go along with it!
I started the day with my traditional Baptiste Power Yoga!  It is both a mental training session as well as an awesome hour of stretching and opening up my muscles and body for recovery.  I honestly think that I would have likely injured myself along the training journey without this practice.   It is one hour of total awesome training to start the day.  If time allowed I would likely more often as I truly see the benefits of the practice as part of my training.
Part 2 of the training was turning up the intensity on my running training a bit.  I have been doing the intervals and speed work as laid out in my program.  However, it is void of any hills.  When I have been running and had hills, they have gotten the best of me.  So, I have decided to add hill training to my sessions as I know the overall benefits are huge.  So, in the greatest day of this summer to date, I got my running shoes on and my HR monitor in hand to go out for a great session.  For my first hill session I did 4 repeats of an awesome hill area.  Each repeat is likely is more than 500m on a fairly steep incline.  It was an awesome session, my HR goes anaerobic and it stays.  Mu recovery is great, within 1-2 minutes from the top I am back into Zone1-2 and ready to tackle another.   It was a great session, when I got to the 4th repeat I was still able to push the hill at a sub 4:45 pace and not collapse at the top.  Overall I am 100% pleased with the hill training as I know that it is a great way to kick up my cardio and my overall run performance.  I am looking forward to having this as part of my training for the next few weeks, I know it will contribute to an overall improvement!
Today was another fun day on the training session.  As I talked about earlier, yoga is a big part of my training.  The yoga that I practice is Baron Baptiste Power Yoga, it has a very loyal and strong following throughout North America.  It has taken the traditional yoga and transformed it into an energetic and challenging practice that appeals to our generation of both yogies and athletes.  This morning I was invited to a session that was being taught by Baron Baptiste, it was an awesome experience.   THe session was attended by 75 people and every person in the room was 100% spent by the end of the session.  I likely sweated out about 10lbs in the course of twisting, holding and shaking through a great 90 minute practice.  I was grateful to have been invited as one of the few to experience this session. Baron no longer does studio teaching as he spends his time leading training camps and leading new instructors into the practice, so being there was great.  The photo shows the room as people were arriving. Imagine a 25' x 25' room with 75 people.  Each time you did a pose it was a body contact session with others around you.  If you have a Baptiste Yoga studio near your home, try it, give it a chance you will see a great opportunity to add it to your training.
I did also attempt an open water swim today, but 48F, NO WAY!  I froze my ankles helping the spotter put the boat in the water.  Try gain tomorrow.
To all the American blog world, have a wicked Independence Weekend!  Enjoy your friends, family and training.