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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How smart am I?

Yep, some times I wonder how smart I am?  Yeah, I have done some smart things in my day.  Yep, I have done some dumb things as well! I can't quite figure out if I am smart or dumb on this one.  More on that later!
Today was a good day on the training front.  yesterday, I discovered that the pool at the Y is closed until the 12th of September.  I checked my program and it did not seem to know that the pool was closed and it suggested that I had a practice.  SO today I went to another Y for a taper swim practice.  The swim was an interesting practice for taper.  It was 4000m in 5x800m intervals.  It felt quite good, I was able to get into a rhythm and swim strong for the whole practice.  I focused on taking it easy and not trying to go hard.  Keeping form and continuing to improve on it was my focus.  I think that was one of the smarter things that I did today.  Overall I felt great after the practice.
Overall I actually felt better than I am feeling overall.  As I am doing this last week of work, I am feeling a little tired.  My calves actually feel like they are pregnant.  Compression socks are my great friend right now, helping to keep the part tucked in and rebuilding.  After swimming tonight I had a fast 5k run with the LULU group.  Although tired legs were on my mind I did a great fast run.  The distance was done entirely under 5min/k in the heat and humidity.  I am pleased that it was not much longer as I was able to knock a good run out.  Running smart, running that fast,  hmmmmm?!  verdict out still!
Smart or Dumb?  Yep, usually in life when you make a decision to do something big you want to look at experiences and evaluate the potential pitfalls of making that decision.  Even though you may not have a dirct prior experience, you reflect on other things that you have done that may be similar and base a decision on that.  When I signed up for IMWI I looked back at things that I had done and made a call based on best logic.  Completing the race is going to be one of the greatest things I have enjoyed.  I will have learned a lot from it and will take it forward with me for a long time.  A great lesson to be learned in a few days, I know some of it may be tough but all of it worth it.   On Monday afternoon, I thought about my upcoming IM race a lot, what would it be like?  will it hurt?  what will be the hardest part?  should I sign up for another IM before finishing my first one?  YES!   I signed up for IMCA 2011 on Monday before finishing the first one that I signed up for!!!  How smart am I?  Still don't know, but I do know that I am going to Penticton next summer for IM part deux!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A weekend of wonderdfulness!

I don't know if wonderfulness is a word, but you know what I mean!  It was a weekend of great friends, great fun and a lot of awesome things done!
I guess it started on Friday with an easy 110k ride to get some miles in.  For the first time this season, I went in the other direction.  I guess I may have created a bit of a pattern always heading out for rides in the same direction so I thought I would change it up.  I went out towards the city following a route along the lake and beaches. One of the benefits is that it is flat.  I suppose another benefit is the scenery change is always nice as well.  It was a good ride, nothing too hard or crazy, just turn the legs drink and enjoy!
After the ride Friday we headed up to a friends farm for the weekend.  A group of friends who swim, bike, run and play together were all invited to a friends farm for the weekend for some fun and relaxation.  It was a 2.5 hour drive out of the city, which in itself was an awesome relief from the craziness.  As we made our way closer I could see all kinds of lights in the distance, it looked more like a huge outdoor wedding than a gathering of a few friends.  WOW!  They had set the place up in the best and most awesome style for the visit.  They had a marquis tent, huge fire pit, beer fridge that would make Training Payne jealous, food for 100 people!  It was an unbelievable scene that they had put together!  The games were only about to begin!
As the day started on Saturday, the weather was the first thing to be grateful for.  It was incredible, not a cloud in the sky and deep blue as far as the eye could see!  We started with a great breakfast outside under the tent enjoying stories from the night before.  As breakfast was finished and we rested a bit, they had organized a run through the farm property.
The property is 500 acres of farm land and forest along the Saugeen River.  They had spent the summer planning and cutting trails and completing a route that would give 2 course distances.  The entire group at the event are type A runner/triathlete types, so options for distance was necessary. There was a 11k course and an additional 12k for the hardcore crowd.  Along the route they had set up manned water and aid stations and had patrols riding along the route to make certain that everyone was good.  The course was a definite trail run.  MISSZIPPY talked about the challenges of trail running and she was not kidding.  Every step you take you have to be aware, up hills around corners, down into creeks, up more hills!  It was a tough as hell run!  But the scenery was above amazing.  I was very aware not to turn an ankle and blow a summer of training as I ran along.  I didn't turn my ankle and I had a blast doing the 22k course.
After the run, they has arranged horse drawn wagon rides through the property for the kids and the adults alike.  Another great way to make sure that the entire crowd has fun.  While we were getting ready for the ride I held a yoga practice in the field for all the runners.  It was a great class, beer for hydration, flexibility challenged to non existent in some cases.  But, a desire to try and a great spirit to have fun(possible induced by the beer) was in full force!
The entire day continued to get better!  We sat around and told race stories and enjoyed the sun.  Drinks were flowing and jokes getting better by the hour.  Mid afternoon as huge bbq came rolling in on hte back of a trailer with smoke billowing out.  What was that all about?  They had ordered a side of beef and a pork which was coming in on a smoker on the trailer.  It was getting better still!  Caterers were walking around with tasty treats feeding us awesome food and it was never ending.  We ate drank and were merry into the night.  As the sun set and the fire got roaring, in came the live entertainment for the night.  He was great playing his guitar getting everyone to sign along with him.  It was an awesome party in the making!  The drinks kept flowing, in itself that was entertaining.  I decided last weekend that I would not have any drinks until IMWI, many people thought that was a crazy thing.  Time and time again they would ask, each time getting the same answer.  It was great being on the sidelines watching the entertaining antics build.  The evening was amazing!
Sunday morning was again a beautiful sunny day with blue sky forever!  We started with another awesome breakfast.  The stories were even better than they were on Saturday morning,  i think  I went to bed a little early and missed the creation of some great stories!
After breakfast they has planned a great ride for the group.  Once again, they had  55k and a 110k ride.  It was not a double loop, the entire route unique with great rolling hills and awesome scenery along the way.  The sun was shining brightly as we rode along in the slight wind.  Past the cows, Lake Huron, rivers, pasture and small rural towns.  A great ride with an awesome change of scenery.  I loved every minute of the ride.
The weekend was an overall huge bundle of activity and fun.  Our hosts went to every means to plan a weekend that would please every person in attendance.  The kids are and played awesome games, the adults had fun satisfying their athletic indulgences to the extreme they chose.  Every turn presented something greater than what you has just enjoyed.
It was a great weekend of exercise and relaxation!  Thank you a ton to our hosts for going through the effort to see that everyone had such a great time!
As I played a trained, many were out doing IM Canada and Louisville!  Congratulations to all of you who were out there!  I have always been inspired by people who go out and push themselves to that extreme, I have a different appreciation today than before, greater admiration than ever!   Be proud of what you accomplished and the work you did!  It is awesome!  YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Friday, August 27, 2010

like I was saying yesterday!

What comes around goes around! Yep, everything happens for a reason. The history of my summer 2010 speaks to those statements in a big bad way! It has been and will continue to be one of the most memorable and fun summers I can remember!
It goes without saying that this IM adventure has been a huge part of the excitement. The training, the new friends, the blog friends and stories, and that is only the start. It has opened up so many new possibilities for me moving forward, I look forward to other IM's (I guess I should finish this one first) and many other races along the new journeys as a result of this one!
One of this summers events was the loss of my job early on(begin of June). In most cases this would be stressful situation, but I took it in stride. after less than a year with the company they paid me until the week of the race. Thanks guys! I could not have asked for a better summer to be paid to not work! It was a relief for me as I was not passionate about what I was doing, in the end I was going through the motions to produce but not excited about it! They afforded me the greatest summer of training and an ability to review my goals and what I wanted to do moving forward. I look forward to the next few years after a great opportunity to take inventory.
I was also able to go and become a yoga instructor in the process. A year ago I would have never imagined doing that. But, training proved to show me that yoga is an amazing compliment to any athletes training program. It adds a great physical release that can be hard to find along the road. As you continue to practice it also adds a great depth of mental discipline and strength. I feel privileged to have been invited by the yoga community that I practice with the become a leader and share my passion. It will serve me well both as an athlete and a coach moving forward.
Being an unemployed bum was also a great way to share my passion for coaching and training with many others. I became a Luluilemon ambassador and was able to be a big part of the community. I also started my own run clinics and continue to play with and train athletes towards their first half marathons at the end of september. I have found a tremendous passion for teaching and seeing the success of others.
These are a couple of the awesome things that this year has given me. Things happen for a reason I said in the opening. Yes, they do! Me losing my job, it was supposed to happen, it afforded me the great summer I have had. Today, the icing on the cake was given to me. On September 15, when I return from IM and Madison I start a new job! Wahoo! I am very excited with the opportunity, it provides me a huge potential to exercise my strengths and it fits perfectly into my revised goals and perspective found over the summer.
Could I have scripted this summer any better? Not in a million years. It has been exceptional and is continuing in a manner that is even better! I named my dog Karma as I wanted to be surrounded by good Karma all the time. I guess it worked!
Today was also a great training day. Had an awesome easy 4.5 hour ride and a great t-run. The whole time I felt great, kept my HR in check at better zones than I have in the past. I got the job offer half way through the ride and enjoyed a great sunny day of training!
So, I have shared my own training stuff with you for my reasons. As I started my blog the purpose is for me and my family to be able to look back on this adventure. Not making these events part of my blog would be missing a huge part of what it has been. Thank you for reading it, your comments are awesome and inspirational and I feel like you have been a huge part of this awesome summer! Cheers!
Everyone racing this weekend, have the time of your life! For those doing their first IM, it is only your first IM once, love it! For those back for another one, may you set a PB and finish with a smile!
To those drinking and running tomorrow and the House of Payne 5k, make it hurt!

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The redemption Run!

So, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?!  Kind of like what comes around goes around!  One is some crazy scientist's theory, the other is what I live my life by.  Tonight they both played true to the written word.
I don' quite understand taper in the context of IM training plans.  So far this week it has been close to the same kind of workout as other weeks. The swim was 300m short, the bike was about the same, but the run???  It was speed work a la big time!! 15-20 warm up, 4min low zone 3, 1min recover, 3m low 3, 1 recover, 2m , 1 recover, then 3 min high zone 3, 1 recover, 2m high 3 recover, 1 min and recover. Then 2 minute mid to high 4 , 1 minute recover, then 1 minute and recover and cool down.  Did you understand that?  So, in the context of full training vs. recovery,  ummm?  It was a bitch workout!
 After putting mu shoes up on my extra run yesterday I did not know what to expect as I walked out the door for this one.  I sat around the house for the longest time procrastinating, putting off the inevitable.  Procrastinating is such a crazy game we play with ourselves!  Yep, I know I need to do it, yep, I am going to do it, yep, I am going to waste time getting myself up in arms about it  for more time!  Someone suggested we are a smart species, hmmmm?  I have to argue that from time to time!
As I started out on my run it was like a new set of legs compared to yesterday!  I felt light and ready to tackle it(when I finally got off my behind).  I started out at a relaxed pace for warm up and caught  myself repeatedly speeding up.   SO finally I just kept going.  The whole run was a blast, I was running at speeds that I have never run before.  Earlier in the year I would have been at Zone 4 at the slower speeds I was running.  I was sub 4min/k for intervals tonight and not breaking 170HR.  I was blown away by the run.
I finished the evening with an additional 5k with the LULU run club that I lead on Thursday.  That is when I discovered my efforts and that I had pushed!  Although running very relaxed I got to 4k and started to feel light.  No not like losing weight, like I was going to fall over.  The only time I have felt that before is when I was out like Bryan would the night before and did not bring any water for a long run. It was crazy, I was bonking on a 5k run.  As soon as I got back to the store I filled up on water and then got home and ate like a horse.  Overall, not including the bonk the evening was an awesome run and a come back from yesterday's rest .
I did learn a good lesson today on the importance of nutrition.  I am already quite aware, but it showed me how intensity increased the need for nutrition, even for short distances.  Speaking of nutrition???  After all this training I am at around 177lbs, from my healthy start point of 223lbs a year ago(see plump guy in photo).  However, I can not stop eating these days.  No matter what I eat, I seem to be able to eat more.  I am focusing on only good food, no alcohol until after my race, but it is not working.  Seriously, I am probably packing back 4000 calories+ per day and not gaining weight.  Let me know if this is par for the course at this point in the process or if I have a tapeworm!!
Gotta go have a snack now and get some sleep!

A quick note to Training Payne who lent me his trainer for a couple of months. Just riding on that thing made me faster!  Spent some time with Bryan today, always an inspiration heading into a race!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The work is done!

What a day!
I have been doing a lot of running lately, between my runs for training program and the extra runs with the people in my groups I have logged a few KM's.  Today I figured I would get out and do an easy short run to keep the legs moving and to get a few more quality km's in.  It was not a scheduled run as today was a swim day.  So, I got my things together and headed out the door to run in the great lunch time weather.  Well, it did not last long!  I got about 750m from my house and my legs felt like I was dragging pipes!  They were 400 lbs each and my HR started climbing quickly.  Hmm!  Guess what!  Like I have been told by man, the work is done!  It is time to get some rest, I have one more long run and I dont need to go out for the 'fun' of it because I can.  So, like any wise person would do, I turned around and shuffled my heavy legs back home!  My legs actually felt like they were bloated, so, into a pair of compression tights I went to allow what I have done to sink in and do me some good!  IN the past I would have been kicking and screaming and bitching about not doing a workout, NOT!  I know I am not going to change anything, and after all it was not even a schedules workout!  So, a day of leg recovery it was!
But, it was not the end of the day!  I did have a swim in the program today.  So, I figured as it was in the program it is not an option to skip it.  Off I went to the pool!  I kicked the ass right out of that practice.  It was 3200m of absolute pleasure swimming.  The entire time I felt strong, good rhythm and no issues.  I was able to keep form throughout and not fall apart in the last 1/3. Even though I was cooked to run, the swim always seems like a recovery type of training.  No matter how tired I have been I have always been able to go to the pool and have a productive day!  SO, the entire day was not a wash!  I was able to  be super productive where it counted!  
Overall a great day in my world!  A little rest for my legs and a lesson in IM training and where it goes after 22 weeks.   A great swim to top off a newly acquired discipline this year!  I am a happy guy watching the clock countdown!
Cheers to all and I hope our day rocked!

Visualization! Do you practice it?

As the countdown continues I am taking each day with a positive attitude and moving ahead towards go time!  As I am completing my workouts, I am spending my time focusing on the mental aspects of the event and not on my current physical state.  My current physical state is one that is where it is at this point, if I feel like I am not ready, too late, not going to make any changes between now and race day!
One of the significant accomplishments I have completed was achieving my Level 3 CSIA certification.  It is a big step in the world of skiing that eludes many in their skiing lives.  A few years back I decided I wanted to get it done.  I spent 2 seasons training for the physical aspects of the sport, repeating some tactics hundreds of times over and over again.  Then it was on to the next part, literally starting from my feet inside my boots working my way up to my head over those 2 seasons.  I spent time teaching and taking lessons to help me along the way.  When I finally reached the exam for the first time, I failed the skiing part of it.  I did pass my teaching with flying colors, but could not believe I had trained so hard and did not pass it.  I spent time reflecting on why that had happened.    What I realized was that my brain got in the way!  I was so focused on trying to do it perfectly that I forgot to do it like I had practiced thousands of times!  I basically let my head talk me out of what I knew how to do.  That is when I started visualization.
For the next 6 months, summer and winter, I spent time skiing in my head.  I put myself in every situation and possibility and skied every turn to perfection.  In my mind I knew regardless of what was put in front of me, I had been there and I had conquered that scenario.  I was then able to ski like I knew how to rather than focus on skiing like the picture book showed it.  I went out to the exam again and nailed it!  The ability to stop focusing on what is expected and instead focusing on what you know that you  know is often the difference between success and failure!
As I am tapering I am spending time visualizing myself at the race.  I can see myself climbing a couple of the big hills on the course keeping my HR in the zone and not getting caught up in having to race up to beat someone.  Feeling myself starting to hurt on the run and acknowledging it and moving forward.  Running around the state building for the last time and hearing the crowd.  Seeing my family and friends who have put up with me for the past year and being with them after I cross the line!  These are all awesome experiences that are making me more excited about my race day!  I am looking forward to this like I looked forward to the day I got married!
Yesterday on the training front was a good day on the bike!  It was a 'sprint' workout with a 45k ride.  As I set out I felt OK, as I got warmed up I felt like a madman!  I rode the 45k over 35kmh feeling strong the entire time.  As I spun my legs and used some new technical ride tips I found myself effortlessly being able to pick up the pace without hammering my HR.  I did keep it in a high HR2 low HR3 zone for the ride.  As I rode along I wondered how it would feel to transition after having hammered the ride, but I did not let it slow me down, I kept pushing to get a burn going on!  It was amazing!  The transition proved to be great as well.   I did go out quite fast, which is a lesson that I will learn from at IM.  I will run at my planned pace and not be a hero at the start. I was able to maintain the faster pace for the 20 minute run, however, it was only 20 minutes!  Overall the workout was great!
Last night was the highlight of my day!   I was at LULULEMON for my community run that I lead.  I had put the word out to friends that we would do a short 5k run and follow it up with a free yoga class in the park.  I usually get 5-7 runners out for the weekly run.  Last night there were 14 people who joined me .  People who were at past run clubs I have hosted, people who I met in the park and invited, it was awesome to have that many out.  The run was an easy run enjoying the group running back and forth between the different pace sections.  When we were done we all headed into an awesome local park for a yoga practice.   There were 20 people out to practice with me.  A friend and I led the class together and had a serious badass yoga experience!  The class was an hour long and everyone who participated had an crazy amazing time!  It was so cool to be able to share with others what I have learned and have them smile and enjoy it with me!
Post IM race I am part of a North America wide yoga event, YOGA AID.  We will be leading a session doing 108 sun salutations to raise money for the Africa Yoga Project(AYP).  HUH?  you ask, what the heck is this?  AYP raises funds to be able to build schools and infrastructure in Africa.  The project also trains yoga instructors to provide them employment and a better life than one out on the streets.  I have been asked to raise $250 for this very worthy cause.  Please click on the link below to make a donation.  I have also attached links to AYP.  Thank you for your support!

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's time to taper, mostly!

So, the program says taper and I learned a little tonight why it tells you to do that!  It is time!
I started the evening with a short 6k run with my run group. It was an easy run to loosed up from a 16k last night and to keep the group running along as well.  I felt no issue with the run at all.
Following the run, I went to the pool to get a swim in.  It was a mad house.  I did not make it to the Y today so I went to one of the city pools for a swim. It was nuts!  Each lane had 10 people in it, one time swimming in one direction another time in the other.  Doing kick turns and swimming underneath you!  It sucked!  Oh well!  Still worked away on completing my workout! About half way through I realized why taper is part of the program.  WOW, was I tired!  May have been that most of my swim have been earlier in the day when my energy level is higher.  My pace did not change a great deal but it was a lot more work to be at that place!  It made me realize that it is time to let everything build and sink in and not to try and be a hero and push hard.  I am not going to change a lot physically  at this point!  It's time to work on the head, stay healthy and enjoy the ride!
Tomorrow I am going to do a last long ride, nothing insane, just put in some more miles and one more long t-run.  Then I will see what the program says, how I feel and go with that feeling!
I hope you are all healthy, happy and ready for your next adventure!  Have fun, it is a great ride!

Hmmm! It does say 19 days doesn't it?

Yep, it is for real, 356 - 19 days ago I signed up for an IRONMAN to fulfil a dream and it is now around the corner!
The past year has been one incredible journey!  Watching the countdown has been a blast.  Seeing it go from 300 to 299, that was a nothing kind of day.  Gave it some thought, went for a run.  Went for a swim still learning how to get through the water properly.  Finishing each lengths still gasping for air.   Waking up each day and thinking about the race with a smile on my face and an anxious anticipation.
Then from 200 to 199.  Still a little anticlimactic, not feeling any pressure at that point.  I looked at the calendar and counted the days until my 'official' training started but nothing more.  Heck, I was in the middle of ski season and that is my priority that time of year!  I kept swimming and running and started my bike trainer up to get my butt into shape.  Still seeming like it was a long time off.
100 to 99!?  Still no real anxiousness, it was still a ways off!  However, now I was training by my program and being quite religious about the structure and time.  I was going through the motions and getting stronger as I pushed ahead.
Somewhere between that time and now, the time has gone into a free fall.  It is blasting by faster than I can keep track of it.  I am now 6-7 days from going into full taper.  One more big rider, one more long run and then it is time to cruise to the start.  It is now a reality that I will be standing on the start line of IRONMAN.  Pardon the language, but HOLY CRAP!
People ask me if I am ready?  As far as I am concerned, an IRONMAN is ready on the day they give the money to register.  After that there is a lot of swim, bike and running, but it is all a matter of being comfortable on race day!  Making the decision to go there is getting ready!  Mentally I feel like I am there, ready to get on the line and have one of the most incredible experience of my life.  Physically   am I ready?  ONe never knows?  I have done the training and put in the miles and that is what one is supposed to do.  I know I am going to go to the start line.  All the training I have done tells me it should be a good day.  I am looking forward to the experience!
The best thing about going to IM is the past year.  Friends ask me about it and I can not tell them how cool the process has been.  I have lost 45 lbs from a year ago.  I have learnt how to swim, become a tri coach, started a run clinic and training company.  Met all sorts of crazy internet friends that share this same crazy obsession.  Became a Yoga instructor, started riding and running faster than before.  Inspired others to tri something new and challenging.  Most of all I have proven to myself what I have always preached!  Anything is possible if you believe in it.  If you have a dream you can accomplish it! It takes hard work and ups and downs, but you can do anything you want!  This experience will serve me and those around me the rest  my life.  It has been the coolest and most amazing thing I have ever done!
If you are not a triathlete and are reading this, I hope you are inspired into tri-ing something new.  It may not be athletic, but still get out there and get it done!  Anything is possible!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

When to taper??

A question to everyone out there?  As my race day is coming up, I am still in turbo mode with my training.  I have 3 weeks to go.  My intention is to put in one more 'hardcore' week of training.  I will start it Monday with a 5-6 hour ride, Tuesday a 30k'ish run and then add in some strong swims another good speed workout another good sprint bike day and a 2-3k speed OWS.  Then the week after start to drop the miles.  Am I being too agressive to close to the race?  I feel that I get the most out of my training leading to a race keeping a decent intensity towards it.  However, I have not done an IM and do not want to go into it tired.  PLEASE share your thoughts, ideas and experiences!  Look forward to your replies!
Yesterday was an awesome run day!  Did an 18k run with one of the girls in my run Yoga clinic.  The weather was easy for it, sunny and cool with a slight breeze to keep it fresh!  Loved every minute of it!  It was great a well as the girl I was running with set a new distance PB and di it with a smile.  One of the greatest things I enjoyed about the run was the mental aspect of it.  All the time that I have run, it has not been at all my favorite thing to do.  As a matter of fact I thought running sucked!  Every day going out for my run was a chore, I know it was all in my mond because it was no different that any other workout, I just let it get to me!  I have come to the relaization that my lack of passion was driven by my own mental game.  As I have been out following a logic to my run training and putting in teh miles the results have started to arrive.  As I am getting results I am enjoying the runs, go figure!  So, yesterdays run is one which I have done  a ton of times.  The difference was I did the entire thing with a smile on my face.  I started strong and finished hte exact same way!  The only thing I changed is some story in my head that running sucks!
So, as I continue along the training and racing my frame of mind is now going to be in a different bucket!  Love it or don't bother doing it! It makes the whole day a lot easier to do and the results come along much better!
I hope you all have an awesome weekend!  Good luck to those who are racing and, HAVE FUN!@

Friday, August 20, 2010

Looking ahead!

A short but intense day on the training front today!
Started the day off today with my training medicine, a great morning yoga practice.  I find it  a great way to open up my mind and fix what ails me with my body.  The nice thing is the practice is also very physical therefore my HR is up for the whole hour as well.  It is a good workout that I never leave feeling like I have not worked hard.  There are actually a few times when it is harder than a tough run or climbing a nasty hill!  ON a fun note I have started to recruit new people to take do yoga classes.  Many people are intimidated by studios and will not get out there to do it. As I am working to get practical experience, it is a great way for me to get started.  I am offering friends the opportunity to do a class in the comfort of their own backyard or home.  All they need to do is recruit some friends and I will take on teaching the class for them.  It gives me great practice and exposes them to another great training tool! I am looking forward to getting started.
My speed work tonight felt awesome!  It was a short workout and on a hill area of town, the run did not have more than 200m of flat before another 200m-300m gradual hill.  I did a total of 8k with about half being focused speed work.  I feel stronger than I ever have with that at this time.  I struggled a lot in the past with running anything under 5min/k, it usually would feel like I was going to be sick of I kept any distance at all going.  This run seemed to be a better one, able to maintain 4:15-4:20 for a great part of what I was running.  Looking ahead, it gives me more confidence in a being able to get done what needs to be done next year to get my Boston qualify time.  The fun part of running on Thursday evenings is the group that I am running with.  There are a couple of people who join me who are super intense and it is a great way to push myself harder, wanting to be at the front keeps me honest!
So looking ahead I have 2 goals that I want to accomplish.  ONe will be to qualify for Boston.  That is a big one as I currently have a marathon PB of 3:56 and I need to 3:20 to get to the start line.  I have the time tools that I need, now I need to put in the time.  I will likely hire a coach for the beginning of the season in order to change my stride a bit to get more speed out of it.  I have been playing around for the past while and have already seen a change, but  I want to make certain that I am not doing something that will hurt me.  Within the context of training to be a better runner is a sub goal of beating a good friend in a sprint tri.(I actually bet him $100 that I would).  Currently I get him by about 2 minutes going into the run.  But he runs a 4:10min/k and I run a 4:50 so he beats me.  Not next summer!  I am done with him passing me on the road running!
My second goal is to develop my company Sports Performance Adventures.  I want to continue to train runners and triathletes.  With my experiences and continuing development I want to bring the excitement of triathlon and running to new people.  I will tie in my passion for yoga as a great part of the overall development with them.    I will  also continue my ski teaching/coaching and develop a winter and summer performance camp for those who want to go faster and go steeper and deeper!
I guess right now I should focus on the race in 3 weeks, but I need to look ahead.  The thought of not training for IM seems like a lonely time, so I am getting ready for it!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uumm! It's getting closer now, for real!!

Somewhere along the route to IM the time seemed to take off like a rocket.  Well, the past week it seems to have gone into some kind of hyperspace mode!  WOW, in a little more than 3 weeks, this awesome exciting adventure will be in full bloom as I stand on the start line.
One of the great things at this point in the process is that I am feeling ready!  I am going with my goals in mind and with what I believe is a good physical and mental platform to cross the finish line before the lights go off.  All that being said, it is not taking away from the butterflies that I am feeling each time I think about the day!
At this point in the process I am working to stay healthy and put in the last week and a half of strong training.  I am starting to feel tired, but the miles that I am putting in justify that feeling.  I love doing the workouts, each one of them makes me feel stronger and more like a triathlete each day.  As I am doing my workouts I am visualizing being on the course and feeling as strong as I am right now.  I am capturing those moments in my mind so that I can pull them back when I am feeling like a sack of hammers on the course!
Today was another great day on the road to the start.  I started the day with an amazing 90 minute yoga practice to stretch myself out and get rid of the kinks that are finding their way in.  When I am practicing and sweating like a mad man I have to maintain focus to get through.  As soon as the practice is done I am so relaxed and pleased with the result.  My workouts feel so much better after I practice!  I learned at yoga today that I have also been asked to participate in a mentor program to develop my teaching and practice!  This is a cool opportunity, as I become a stronger teacher I can share my practice for the better of other athletes and friends!  I am looking forward to doing that!
Tonight I was out for another great run through the trails.  Any run is enjoyable, but spending it in the trails along the lake is a huge bonus!  It is so relaxing to be so close to home but seem like I am miles away.  Running through the forest removes you from the rest of the planet so quickly.  My runs have been going great.  I have been doing them at a pace that is where I believe that I will do IM.  As I am running my HR is staying well below HR3 zone which is awesome.  Knowing how I work as I get tired, this give  me a lot of space to allow it to climb and keep moving.  This all sounds good in theory, and should ideally translate onto the road.
As well as awesome training today I also had some great meetings in working towards putting my professional goals together.   I am moving forward on a road of self employment and have the balls rolling in hte right direction.  I will likely have to punch the clock for someone else for a while, but it is a stepping stone to where I ultimately should be!  I am more confident in reaching my long term goals now than ever!  Wahoo! is the only way to accurately describe it!
Time to head off to bed now! Another day of possibilities and opportunities is 8 hours away and I want to be ready to enjoy every minute of it! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What was the best part of your day??

Seems like I did so much today, thinking about what part was best is a lot of thinking!

I started the day with some time to get a bike fit done.  I have a friend who works at Enduro Sport in Toronto, so I visited him and spent an hour and a half with the shop owner getting a fit review.  It was a great fit experience and the store is an awesome tri store!  In the past they move some parts around, tighten some bolts loosen some others and change a couple of things.  Because the have some fancy machines they must be doing something good.  This was a total opposite.  It was a thorough active bike fit.  He asked me a ton of questions about my riding, my experiences, technical pedalling questions  and a lot more.  Each question was followed with a practical discussion on what adjustments he might make and what the affects would be.  Overall the fit made 3 or 4 adjustments to how I was set.  As well as current adjustments he left me with some homework on 'feelings' as I am riding over the next couple of weeks prior to making any other adjustments.  Through the process, he also left me with some great tips on riding stronger.  The experience was awesome.  IF you are looking for an educational and positive fit, ask for Dan when you book.  He does an awesome job and has a new customer.

Another awesome part of the day was an email I received from a girl who found my blog out in space somewhere.  She is trying to get a spot as the Triathlete Magazine August triathlete.  She sent me a note asking for support.  OK, a fit girl asking me for a vote, probably don't have to ask me twice.  :) But wait!  As some may know I am a huge supporter of Cancer fund-raising and her story resonated with me.   In 2007 she was diagnosed with cancer and was able to survive the ordeal.  At that point she started doing triathlon as a way to move forward.  Her passion for tri has grown and she is using it as a tool to communicate with others that you can persevere through anything you want to.  She has completed 7 half IM's and is training for Arizona this year.  Based on what she has done I sent her an email supporting her for what she is doing.  I have added a link below if you are compelled to support her for either her awesome effort to communicate an important cause or if you think she is the best girl to vote for.  Check it out!

After my bike fit today I had to go a give it a spin.  Good thing I had a bike workout scheduled!  I was able to go and ride on the new fit as well as tri out the new technical ideas that he provided me!  It was a kick butt ride!  My way out was super fast, I did 25k at an average speed of 41kmh, I was flying.  I did have wind behind me, but everything was working right.  The ride home was a bitch!  The wind was howling at me and blowing me back.  I still managed to hold my speed at 33 coming home and felt strong when I finished.  A great ride, feeling comfortable with the fit adjustment and the new tips.
I followed it up with a fast t-run as soon as I got home.  It worked well, not a fast one as I used it as a technical run.  I focused on keeping my pace steady and what I imagine running the pace at for IM.  It overall was great, having to make sure to hold my pace was a little tough.  I kept speeding up, I did reel myself back quickly though.
After an hour rest I was out for another run with the LULU group.  Another short run but strong and steady!  Overall a strong day on the training front.
Another great part was being able to teach another Yoga class today.  So, after my LULU run I invited the group out to join me in a  practice.  They all came out!  It was a blast being able to teach the group in my first larger group lesson!  I managed to teach an entire class with all the poses and flows that are part of it and improvised through a couple of stumbles without anyone knowing the difference!  Thank you to the group for participating and for the compliments at the end of the class.

In case you haven't figured it out, my day was a 10!  Yep, another one!  It is all what you make of it and the perspective that you view it from.  Yeah, there were some times where I wanted to say ' what the f%&&^' , but then I thought about it for 1/2 a second and decided it was easier not to!
Hope your day was awesome as well!  Have a great night!  Cheers

Monday, August 16, 2010

And the beat goes on!!

Another awesome day of living the tri life and being able to share it with those around me! In case you have not figured it out I am quite positive about the whole IM experience and life in general.  It is so great waking up each day and being able to put my feet on the floor and and walk into a new adventure!  Each corner I turn is a cool new experience. Today was another day of fun and training and experiencing how much fun things can be!
This week is quoted as being 'HARD' on the training scale.  It is one of the last tough weeks in the program as it written.  I may add a few more days at the end before I begin my taper, but this week looks like a fun one to tackle.  Today was a short swim practice relatively speaking.  Although short I could feel it as the repeats built up.  I guess my Saturday swim being an 'extra' session provided a little more than I have been accustomed to doing.  This week is also has one extra practice day than all of the other weeks, so I took it easy overall.  Wednesday is an intense practice so my goal was to do quality today and maintain good form throughout.  Mission accomplished!  The practice was much shorter than what I have done in the recent past, but it felt good.  I have to say the pain feels good, it is great to know that some new muscle is coming along!
I followed it up with a short run with the Run/Yoga group.   It is great seeing the progress they are making and being a part of it with them. I am looking forward to running the 1/2 marathon with them at the end of September and enjoying the finish line with them.  The run was a great one through some trails and along the lake.  A great way to take care of the heat and enjoy some great scenery!  Loved every minute of it!
Overall another great day on the training route.  Feeling good and feeling like I want to push some more!  I think I am going to go and work for IM and sell how awesome the sport is!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another one down!

A brief note and then to bed for me!
After a top notch day yesterday I went out this evening for a long'ish run.  I was not sure how it was going to feel  after yesterdays events.
I woke up this morning with very light stiffness in my legs, nothing that I have not felt after a speed workout.  My shoulders were a little more sore than what I would normally feel after swim practice though. I think it is a combination of being in aero for a few hours and the swim yesterday. Although not sore I still wondered how the run would treat me.
I am fortunate in always being able to find people to join m for a run. It works well as it keeps me on pace(stops me fro speeding up) on these workouts.  The run was an 15k.  The entire run I felt great, legs were light, HR was down in low 2 zone and I did not feel like I was losing any steam as I moved along.  I am no scientist but it seems like all this training works.  I am feeling stronger each day and not losing steam at this point.  I am looking forward to this week and pushing the envelope some more to bring it up another notch.  Another couple of weeks of push and then I am told it is taper time.  WOW!  time flies when you are having fun.
I have started to think about post IM and what it will feel like not to train like this??  I am going to have to set a new goal to keep me pushing after a short break.  I promised I would only do IM every 2 years, so I have to figure it out.  I guess Boston qualify it will be!~  Only need to take 37 minutes of my current marathon time, so that should keep me busy!  What is life without an insane goal and wonderful people to share it with!
Cheers and Happy sleep!

The best training day yet!

My weekend started on Friday with some great backyard passive training.  As you know I love to teach/coach almost any sport.  After coming back from Yoga teacher training I was anxious to put some new skills to work.  My wife Trish happily agreed to be my first Yoga practice in the backyard.  It was a great time.  Yes, I was a little rough on a couple of parts, however, did manage to teach the class without any significant hiccups!  I am excited to teach again, I have actually offered to teach from friends in the backyard after a run on Tuesday!  ANother great bonus to the practice was my achievement of my first unassisted head stand.  I have been struggling for weeks to get it done on my own. Finally I was standing on my head on the backyard floating without thinking I was coming down every moment.  It was great!

Saturday was the nest training day to date!  I stared the morning with a 3.8k open water swim race in Lake Ontario.   When I first got in the water I was thinking, 'Oh, Oh?!'  what am I in for.  The waves were 2-3 feet and the water was rolling well, it was not the local YMCA swimming pool.  The line of site I was working on was to  point about 300m away which seemed like 4km.  There were 64 swimmers taking place in the swim.  Before I knew it the horn had sounded and I was swimming away.  Much like I had planned, I started my swim focusing on what I was doing and not concerned with others around me.  I wanted to get into a rhythm and stay relaxed for the distance.  Getting into a groove took a while with the rough water.  After the start I hit a couple of big rollers and thought to myself I might be sea sick if the entire was was like that.  Before long my body was accustomed to the rolling and I got into my groove. As I rounded the first sight line, a lighthouse in the distance was the the new marker to sight on.  It seemed like the size of a thimble, holy crap I thought!  I focused on settling into my groove knowing I would get there.
Thank you goodness I figured out bi-lateral breathing.  The waved were crashing on my previously strong side, had I not been able to move to the other side I would have been full of water in no time.
At about 1.5km I found a great rhythm and found myself moving comfortable along without a lot of effort.  As soon as I started to think about it I would get out of that groove and have to re-adjust to get smooth again.  I actually found the swim somewhat effortless with the exception of the odd wave that would crash into my face or roll me high above the water before crashing me down again.  BUt, the water is what it is and there was no point in getting excited about it!
After a relaxing swim the marker was no real, not a dot in the distance!  I picked up my pace a little for the last 700m knowing that I could spend the tank on my way in as it was almost over.  At 1:12:26 I touched the wall on my first open water 3.8k(IM distance swim) I was happy as could be having knocked off that time in those conditions.  The times were significantly slower than last years race(9 minutes consistently) due to the conditions.  My finish was 25 out of 64 with many of the swimmers being veterans in the water, so my day in the water was a total success!
The water was not the end of the day, only the start!  Before long I was on my saddle for a long ride with some friends.  We headed out north of the city to play on some hills and put some quality miles in.  The day was near perfect as we headed out, very little wind slight cloud cover to shelter from the sun.  It made for a nice ride overall.  As we got into the hills, the group started to play apart a bit.  Some newer riders got eaten by the first one.  A nice switch back road that gets steeper each corner you turn. THe last section has to be 15% after 2 other steep sections, it is a real killer but an awesome feeling when you crest the top and roll away!  We did a few other big ones as well, not as nasty but not easy. A great way to build some strength in the legs and to work on good recovery! Overall the day was a 140km ride at a good pace.
As in any big training day, it could not be left without a run.  So, off the bike into the running shoes for a t-run.  It felt great.  I did a short one as I have a long one coming up, but my pace, my HR and my head were into the groove and I had a great finish to an awesome training day!
As I am now 27 days from GO time, yesterday served as an awesome confidence builder leading up.  I have 2 more weeks of hard training to make it better and I am looking forward to them.  WOW!  This trip has been so much fun!
Thank you to all of you who leave comments , write blogs and inspire me to love this like I do!  Cheers!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seeing it all get better!

The journey to IRONMAN has been a fun and exciting transformation for me mentally and physically.  I have become far smaller around the waste and believe that I have grown a lot in my little head.  I have learned a ton about myself in the process, and learned a ton more from the virtual blog world that feeds my curiosity each day!
The cool thing about all of this is being able to share it with others.  Yes, IM is about the most selfish training process that a person can undertake.  But, I have managed through the chaos to share my passion with others and see them get better and work towards a goal.
Over the course of the week(and each week this summer) I have led running groups 4 evenings.  Some of them are athletes that are paying others are through a community event at Lululemon stores  to promote health and community participation.  In any case, many and most of the people that participate have not been runners before the summer started.  Sharing what I enjoy doing with them is an awesome opportunity to enjoy the sport from a different perspective.  Hearing them ask questions so that they can continue to improve, listening to the stories of the long runs they did on the weekend, seeing the look on their faces as they push hard through another speed or hill workout.  I get as much pleasure being a part of that as I do in my own progress.  This week has been especially great!  It seems that they have all taken some type of huge leap forward in performance and commitment, and it is great to see that in 'new' runners.  In the spring I was lucky to be with a few athletes who completed their first races and it was an awesome thing to see the smiles when they crossed the finish line, I loo forward to the end of September when I get to see another entire group do it for themselves!  Seeing them make themselves better, pushes me to continue to get better.  Watching athletes who thought they were going to keel over on the first 4k at a 7min pace run now doing 15k at a 5:45min  with smiles!  Hey we can all do whatever we want, we just need to want to do it!
This week as also been a great training week for me.  Although listed as a build week, it has not seemed overly exhausting.  The workouts have been tough but I feel my fitness level is strong and I have been there and also recovered well.  This weekend may be another story.  I am starting tomorrow with a 3.8k swim, followed by a 4hr ride and then a 1:15 t-run.  This will be a good test of what is in me.  I a looking forward to the day and seeing how much fun it can be!  Last night I did a short run at a 5min pace.  It was an interesting run for me to feel progress.  Not so long ago a 5 min pace would have put my HR at about a 170 and I may not have been able to sustain.  Yesterday I was at a 152 and felt like I could have picked it up another few notches and stayed with it.  It is a good feeling as running has been a mental achilles and I am starting to feel like I am improving.  Over the winter I will continue to work on it and see if I can get to the point where I can truly call myself a runner next season!
This afternoon I will start another new experience!  I attended yoga teacher training last week and was able to gain a ton of new insight and knowledge.  This afternoon, my dear wife is going to be my first victim of yoga teaching.  I am going to teach my first full yoga practice in the sun in my backyard!  It should be a great time and if nothing else truly entertaining to her as I continue to learn ow to be the best teacher that I can be!
I hope your day is awesome and your weekend is even better!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feelin' good!

No journey is without it's up s and downs, mine seems to have defied the reality a little.  Since the day I hit send to sign up for IM I have been on a mental and physical high.  I have allowed myself the freedom to go where I want to from both a physical and mental perspective, BUT not allowed it to suck me into an energy vortex when it came along. The process has allowed me to learn a ton about myself and others around me and to enjoy a wickedly cool experience.  I will never get to do my first IRONMAN twice, regardless of what the near future brings, this has and will continue to be an awesome trip!
THis week has been strong a fun for training.  With my 'receovery' last week I seem to have come back feeling damn great.  I have not taken the time to figure out if it is in my head nor will I waste that energy.  There is a strength to what I have done and I am accepting it with a smile!
Monday was a great swim, like I mentioned I felt strong from start to finish and felt an energy to what I was doing.
Tuesday, was a day on the bike with some running.  I did a 2 part interval workout on the bike, my goal was to make it hurt.  The front part of the ride was a 20k uphill ride, no downhills the entire way with a good push up for 34 minutes.  I was able to push hard through the hills and not allow myself to drop out of my big ring.  A few weeks back I was spinning like mad at the top in order to get it done.  Now my HR stays in a lower zone, the leg burn is self induced as I seem to be able to push harder than before.  I followed the uphill with a great t-run at a 5:15m/k pace.  Again it was not an excruciating effort, a smooth relaxed run with some work built in.  On the way home I was going more or less down hill, I changed my route in order to get a little more pushing.  It was a 27 minute ride home, a little heavier in the legs but still feeling relaxed.  I did discover that there was a bit of dehydration setting in.  While practicing last week, the sweat factor was at the top of the scale, I have never sweat so much for so long before.  When I was on the trip back, I slowed water consumption so I would not have to stop at the washroom 120 times over the drive.  Then I was at the cottage where beer seemed to be the drink of choice.  Early in the week I should have hit the water cooler hard but did not.  As I got towards the end of the run I could feel the dizzies coming on and  a bit of a loss in strength.  Lesson learned!
  Wednesday was another great swim day!  It consisted of longer length repeats in Zone 3.   Doing 300m repeats in HR3 is tough, by the time you get to the 6th one, it actually hurts a bit.  But overall I was able to mostly maintain form and knock them out strongly.    A huge energy burst came to me as I was in the presence of IM greatness for the later part of the practice.  KONA qualifier TrainingPayne was at the pool!  In my first 2-3 swim practices a year ago I met Bryan at the pool,  have followed and watched his progress and ultimate success.  He has pushed me to push and to the excitement of the IM world!  It was awesome to see him at the pool again after he has reached his goal, it makes me look forward to getting to mine even more! His arrival pushed me to finish my practice strong and with a smile.  The hydration came back to get me again, I had to take my 30s rest intervals to get a drink of water each time.  WOW, I never thought that a collective dehydration would take as much out as it did.  That swim was an overalll great setup for a race this coming weekend.  If you live in the Toronto area, you should come and check out the LOST swim race.  It is an IM distance swim in Lake ONtario, promises to be both a great training and strength building event.
I did another t-run after swiming.  This one was a little  more relaxed as it was with the Running/Toga group that I train.  We went out for an 80% x 7k run.  The group kicked the run in the butt!  They were tough a pushed the pace beyond anything they could have done a few weeks back when they started the clinic.  I am so proud of the effort they have put into the run as well as the strength that it as given them.  They will all kick butt at the 1/2 marathon!
Overall, it has been an awesome week, feeling strong both physically and mentally.  I am starting to get into the mental zone as the date moves forward.  Mostly, I am loving the experience more than the day I signed up!  We make our choices and this is a great one!  HOpe you have an awesome training day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

32 days....Ahhh!

Now that I am back home and staring at the calendar, reality is HERE!  Holy crap, 32 days away I will be standing on the start line!  It is going to go by quickly and the day that I have spent the last year working towards will be in front of me to tackle.  Am I nervous?  of course!  Am I ready?  Yes, I believe I am!  The next month is going to be an awesome adventure in mental and  physical yoyoing ever!  Bring it on!
As I suggested yesterday, there was a concern about fitness with the week at 'camp'.  I thought maybe I may lose some fitness.  Well I testes it today!  I am rocking and rolling!!
Tonights practice was 3500m at the pool.  It was a ton of repeats with very short rest periods.  From start to finish I felt strong, was able to hold pace and able to hold form as well.  My perceived level of exertion was not at all a concern throughout the swim.  A couple of times I bumped in my rhythm and was able to get back on track with no issue and no loss of time at all. Half way through I actually pulled off a 1:35 x 100m without busting my lungs to get there.   I realize that there is a taper effect that is at play in how I felt, however, mentally I was in a better space than i have been since the adventure started.  My open water swim yesterday was the same way, feeling light with myself physically and mentally as I am doing the same thing I did 2 weeks ago!
I got out for a short run tonight with the run club I lead and felt the same ease as in the water.  Although only a 7k run, it was like I was walking.  My HR was in the 120's and I felt no issues at all as I moved along.  I am digging the feeling and will likely hold my training more intense until closer to race day in order to work at recreating this.
I know that the work I did last week is at play in where my training was at today.  Off of a great experience that has affected how I am thinking! I have always believed that at this point in training it is a mental game.  If I am not ready now, 4 more weeks is not going to get me there!  If I am ready, 4 more weeks will make me stronger and allow me to work on the little mental man that hangs out on my shoulder convincing me that something hurts to much.  Well little man, I just drank a whole shit load of Kool aid so you are in for a bad month.
I am in a great space and I am ready to continue the road to becoming an IRONMAN!  Wahoo!

The awesome journey of Life!

I'm back!  The last week has been the most enlightening, empowering experience I have ever had the privilege to participate in.  I week of intense learning, training and facing the world in a new way!  I am not becoming a soap box preacher as a result, but the experience has allowed me to view each day in a new light without the coloured glasses that design the world that we live in.
As I am now in the home stretch to the Wisconsin start line my decision to 'miss' a week of training was not an easy one to arrive at. I weighed my current physical level, the 'cost' of not being in my 'program' for the week, the opportunity cost mentally following the week and feeling confident that I have not lost fitness.  A million reasons why I should not have participated in the past week.  Then I looked at the other side of the balance?  Why not, I am at a point that allows me the time to participate, I have experienced yoga in a manner that has been a huge part of my physical development along the way, I have found a mental edge in practicing, I have a level of training that was not going to disappear because of the level of practice that I would participate in each day.  Weighing one against the other, I reached a decision that I should follow everyday of my life!  If not now, when?
The past week I attended a Baron Baptiste Level 1 teacher training bootcamp.  It was held at a Buddhist Mountain retreat in the Catskills Mountains of New York.  It was an opportunity to develop my skills in my own personal yoga practice, as well as apply my skills towards sharing my passion with others through teaching.  I had heard from many that it was a great experience in many ways, however, I allowed myself to go to the event with a totally open mind to what I could learn of gain from the time there.
The past week has turned out to be a physical, mental and spiritual enlightenment beyond any level that I could have expected.
I arrived at the retreat last Saturday to begin the journey that the week would bring.  It is high in the Catskills with no phone reception, no red meat, limited internet and no hidden agendas.  I registered for the event with an anxious wonder of what the week would bring.  Others around me smiled as we walked by each other with a nervous acknowledgement of 2 people who are about to meet.  We enjoyed the serenity of the peaceful surroundings of nature and sounds as we imagined what we were in for.   Then we made our way to out hotel to check in to our home for the nest week.  I registered quite late for the event, so I was housed at Emerald Resort and Spa a short drive from the bootcamp facility.  My room was over the top beautiful, it was almost the size of my house. But, I was not there for a spa I was there to learn!
Saturday evening the activities started with a review of the materials for the week and a short 1.5 hour yoga practice.  It was done without direction or intention, just a way to start the weeks activities.  I did not think much of the material reviewed as it sounded like some other training that I have done in the past.  I focused on being there and beginning the learning process.  It was a good start point with some introductions of ourselves and a break the ice kind of time.
The next day was a little more intense!  We started each day with a meditation and then evolved the meditation into a yoga practice.  OUr first practice was nearly 3 hours long!  My yoga mat and towels were soaked, I was practising on more sweat that I have ever experienced in my life.  The physical event was tough, like the end of a marathon with your legs cramping and you singing the song to yourself that you should stop and walk!  However, we made it through with big smiles and looking forward to the next event.  The afternoon was spent beginning the process of learning!  I wont get into the finer points of what we did, I will leave it at a week long lesson of learning to be present with yourself so that you can be the best teacher and student of yoga, people and life!
Each day was made up of 4-6 hours of yoga practice and 8-12 hours of 'mental' learning.  If I was to summarize the of the entire week it might be made up of the following points;
- we do all that we do to satisfy the deep need to look good to others
- most of the world is not present in themselves or the environment that they are in, we are 3 steps ahead of looking back to figure our why?
- we all have a deep need to 'know' that pre-occupies our being
- our failures are not based on our abilities, they are based on the stories that we make up to justify to others why we quit so that we can continue to look good!
It was a week that started with 130 total strangers from around the globe, scared of each other, scared of themselves and somewhere other than the room we were standing in.  We finished the week as best of friends having shared our true individual selves, learnt from those we were with, opening up to the possibilities of what we can do if we don't limit ourselves to satisfy others.  I feel that I have made 130 soulmates from around the world!  I may never see most of them again, however, I will see  each of them  every day in our actions, our words, our presence and our lack of fear to be the best that we can be!
Although I have not specifically 'trained' in the disciplines of IRONMAN for 7 days, I am back!  I am stronger than ever with the fitness that I maintained through the intense physicality of the daily practice.  But, more important I am back with a mental presence and strength that will allow me to move beyond my self perceived physical and mental limits over the next 5 weeks.  I am present in the adventure that I started over 300 days ago and ready to kick this IRONMAN adventure in the ass with a smile on my face, a pride in my step and the knowledge that I am in control of this step of my life!  BRING IT ON!!!
Thank you to all my friends who have motivated me on this journey and been there to share it with me!  I hope that you all know how awesome I think you are!