The new Adventure has Started!!!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is next....

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where does the time go!?

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

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inspire to Inspire!

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reflections of a week gone by.....

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back on the Earth and getting caught up!

It has been an amazing week!

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John Fortin 'You are an IRONMAN' race report

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am still here!

Hope everyone in the tri and running world is awesome!  Thank you all for awesome support!
I am working frantically on my race report and hope to have it done tomorrow.  As I can only do my first IRONMAN one time I need to capture it properly so that I can have it on paper to look back on in 10 years!
Let me just say that 3 days later I am still surfing on the wave, way to hell up there and loving the energy and feeling of it!  I am still totally full of the IM and tri drug and cant wait to get back at it.
Today my legs are feeling a little stiff, moving around has helped out a lot.  I kept busy today as I start work tomorrow, I was out and about sharing the adventure with some close friends!
As a start here are my numbers from the day.  Let me start by saying that I exceeded my expectations of my self in a wonderful way.  I also learnt that I have a lot more in me.
Here is the little stuff before the race report novel coming up soon!

Again, thanks to all of you for awesome support!

Finish Time:   12:02:31

Swim           1:11:04
T1                10:05
Bike             5:46:32
19.76 mph
19.41 mph
18.89 mph
T2                 6:03
Run              4:48:49
9:43 min/mile
10:42 min/mile
12:09 min/mile
11:30 min/mile

615 out of 2389 finishers
110 out 399 in age category

Totally proud to be an IRONMAN!

I am going to learn how to run and see what I can pull off next time!    

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Short and Sweet!

I am not going to say much tonight as I am going out to eat and have a beer!

Let's leave it at one simple statement;


Yes, I have earned my tattoo, did a whole bunch more of theb IM drug and had the most awesome experience of my life!

Thank you to all that have followed and supported me throughout this adventure!
More to come in race report tomorrow or Tuesday!
Finish Tiime 12:02:21

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Here goes!

Another exciting day!  WOW, this drug never wears off!
An early morning bike ride, a swim in the lake that was still rough as could be and then the preperation! 
I spent 1-2 hours getting my bags ready before heading up to drop the bike off.  Making sure that I was not bringing stuff for nothing but amking sure I was prepared for it properly!
The bike and bag drop is awesome!  So much bike and tri porn live right in front of your very eyes!  Hundreds or thousands of mg of adrenaline screaming through veins and through the air,  the excitment is palpable.  The emotion is also very amazing.  Dropping the bike on the rack and taking a step back to realize what it means.  It was a great moment! 364 days and it is go time!
Dropping off the the bags is an even greater feeling of being there!  Each transition bag in its proper spot on the floor where it will be handed to me tomorrow.  Next time I see any of those spots I will be running through sweating like an athlete.
The rest of teh day was spent unwinding!  I went for a great nap, following my instincts.  I felt tired and was out for 1.5 hours.  I went for a walk out to an empty field.  I spent 20-30 minutes out there on my back eyes closed towards the sky.  An awesome time to reflect on the past year.  The things I have acocompished in the process.  It has been amazing, all the new friends, in person and in the blog world.  The new healthy way that I have found, the new awesome habits that I have formed.  The opportunity to learn a ton about myself and about those around me.  Being able to bring a lot of people along this journey with me to the satart line of their own races.  It has been an opportunity to realzie dreams that are about IM and dreams that are not!
I want to thank all of you  for the inspiration, motivation and direction that you have provided, it has been a huge part of this journey and would not be the same without it!
Time for some sleep!  Next time I am here I will have heard the awesome words!  You know what they are, if you don't, find yourself a friend who does and you to can find this awesome drug called trialthlon and this crazy trip called IRONMAN!

The excitement builds....

Another awesome day! 
It is very entertaining around here!  In the winter I spend most of my weekends at ski hills.  At the hills there are all kinds of people showing off where they have been, what gear they have and how good they look at the event.  Well, the ski world has nothing on the tri world!  WOW!  There are more people walking around here with 6 event pieces of clothing at one time pushing a crazy ass new bike with Zipp wheels and aero helmets.  If it was my fisrt event ever, I would think that I have arrived at teh world championships.  Hmmm!  I guess there are a lot of posers, because theer are more than 1100 first time IM competitors here this weekend.  It is an awesome scene, tons of people all jacked up on this athlete cocaine IM stuff, walking aorund proud as peacocks!  It is stuff they could make movies of!
Today was a lot about getting some small things done and working on staying relaxed.  I slept until 8AM and then had a casual breakfast to get started.  After some good food, off to the water to get a little swim in.  On the way down I decided to stop by the expo to get some toys for a couple of friends who have supported this game.  It was nuts with people.  Thank goodness I got here early to register.  The line up was out the door around the corner down the bend!  I dont know how long it was going to take but happy I was not in it.  One common thing with it is the shit ass grin on every face in the line up.  Everyone looks like they are on cloud nine!  Great stuff!
Arriving at the water was a schock.  Great scene with a bunch of addicts putting on rubber suits to get in for a swim.  The waves were huge, Lake Ontario kind of waves, 2-3 feet and rough.  Oh well!  No problems, the swim was rough  but my state of mind was great for swimming it.  I had a great short swim enjoying getting trahsed around, all the people around me seemed to be enjoying it as well.  A blast all aroud.
Then a bike course review tour waws in order.  Apparenlty a lot of us decided to do that as there were a ton of vehicles around the route.  I am totally pleased to have been here in June to be on the course, it was a great opporttunitiy to see the course is challenging but very doable.  A great short tour but very well worth the drive.
Than the athlete dinner.  Imagine, like I siad before they pump something in the bair around here, it is a bunch of addicts walking around. Imagine a room with 2000+ of them with the people who support them in the habit as well as the others who oare the pushers giving them more of the drug!  It is an lectric experience.  Getting to be amongst so many people sharing a common dream and vision.  People like me who mushed, trainied, sacrificaed, ate and did their all for a year to be here this weekend!  It is awesome to share with so many people without saying a word.  It is once again proof that all dreams can be realized, we just need to get rid of the stories we make to stop of us from getting there!
Bed time was a relaxing time for teh day.  Although I am not going nuts with tension, stopping for the day is great.  I am reading Born to Run which is an awesome read at this stage in teh game, getting me into an even better zone and space. 
Looking forward to tomorrow, 24 hours and counting, the excitement, the protocal and things to be done.
Yes, it is show time!!!!  364 days of absolute pleasure coming to one gigantic 12-17 hour climax!  Look out Wisconsin I am coming! WAHOO!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And the vibe builds!

Today has been yet another awesome trip down reality row! This is amazing!
I can see how people get sucked into this world. I swear, walking around town and the expo is like cocaine for athletes. Each time I feel like it Is time to relax I look around for another wicked adrenaline fix, just a little won't be bad for me! Crazy thing is, this drug seems totally acceptable, everyone else is snorting it up and breathing in with me. It is a huge crazy athlete orgy, with everyone walking around with big shit ass grins. I love it, I hope my wife and friends don't try an intervention, I don't think I am ready to admit I have a problem or that I want to quit. Good thing I have a stash to last me until next year!
Today was wicked! Going to get registered was crazy exciting for me. Each station I got was more exciting than the one before. I had a huge smile on my face and a gigle to my voice the entire time. Most of the volunteers probably thought I aws high on something, high fives coralline of them, thank you all to each and every one of them it is such a cool scene, a convention centr full of type A OCD fools like myself getting ready for the awesome circus ride in a couple of days.
Going into the expo was entertaining, people everywhere. They were either showingg some restraint, or had arms full of stuff. I am going to go back on Monday and limp around to get my finishers gear. I know I am being presumptuous, but if I need to I will crawl to the end. Assomeone has said to me, pain is temporary, pride is permanent!
Thank you to each and everyone of you for your awesome inspirational and entertaining comments. I am looking forward to them and they bring a smile to my face. Seriously, if you have not tried this stuff yet, it's good shit and you really should. You will like it, you can do it by yourself or today I did it with people in the water and on my bike. Just do it!
Cheers and I will be back soon!

Holy shit!

It is 1:50 Madison, WI time and I am rolling into town. I don't tend to swear a lot, but my title is my turn to let it go. This is such an awesome feeling, 361 days of fun, stories and training and I am almost at the event site. Yesterday was surreal, today is a damn cool reality. I kind of feel a little like a kid getting to the fairgrounds and about to get on a great scary ass ride! The line up is 3 days long but I am not moving at all! This looks like the best damn ride on earth. As I write this I actually giddy with excitement! I am going to bottle this feeling and use it on Sunday to finish this adventure in a fitting fashion. A fun filled, awesome, ball busting, crazy, emotional go like there is no more going party! Wahoo! This is a post that I will be writing over the course of the day as I soak this up. I will add photos after the weekend and in a full summary post of some kind. Stay tuned!
Lunch time! We bellied up to the bar for some lunch. Still no beer for me, but good food! I think our choice of places to eat is a good sign of the weekend. Beside us at lunch is a Swedish man talking about his race. Talk about an early inspiration, he is looking to podium at this event. His IM PB at this point is 8:16, WOW! That is insane! I am a bit of a kid when it comes to discussions with guys like this. It is cool to hear the perspective on the course from a guy that is probably going to seriously kick the crap out of the course. He will be a having a cold beer before I get to the stadium during the marathon! I look forward to seeing how he does. Only 1 hour in town and the vibe is already awesome. You can tell the IM geeks form the rest damn quick.
After some lunch, spent some time going to race site where the set up action is frantic. There are tents going up in every direction, barricades being set up, the IRONMAN marketing monster is in full force. It is fun to see the before shot, the scene before the crime is committed :)
Over the afternoon, visited a couple of bike shops to further get in the groove. I find if I am surrounded by racers, bikes and excitement it builds it up great for me.
The evening was spent at a friends parents where we crashed for the first night. It was a benefit to be able too save a few $ and to visit a friend. Had a great dinner along Lake Wisconsin enjoying the quiet and conversation.
The day was excellent, getting the vibe sparked and being here to get going. It was a long one though, so off to bed early to prepare for the one day sooner adventure! This is so cool!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We are Mobile!

The journey has begun! On the strike of 4am we were rolling down the street to begin the final steps to this incredible adventure! What a journey it has been and what a journey this will be.
As anyone has likely experienced doing their first race, yesterday was mildly chaotic! I did get an early start out to visit a few experienced IM'ers for a coffee. It is great listening to them talk about the adventures they have been on, very inspirational and motivational at this point.
After a relaxing coffee a full day of excitement started. I walked around with a list in my hand all day long picking up pieces and putting them into the proper piles. Reviewing the possibilities of weather and making sure I was ready for any eventuality. Although I was relatively organized it still turned out being an entire day of running around.
As well as getting ready for the race, I had to prepare for the return to the real world next week. When I am back I have one day to get back on my feet and then it is work time. Wahoo! I am pumped to be getting back at it after the craziest best summer imaginable! This time of year is also the start of ski season. WHAT?! I know snow is still 3 months away. I organize a proffesional training series for the CAnadian Ski Instructors Alliance and I start to line my ducks up now. I spent a couple of hours setting the dates in place and getting a theme set for each date. The series works in parallel with the National training initiatives, I need to make sure that I am setting it up well now as it can't be changes once the ball starts to roll! I must say, I am looking forward to being on my skis. It should be a great season as I am going into it in fantastic physical condition.
After a busy day I was out to do some yoga teacher training! I spent the time in the studio assisting students and helping them get into the poses and deeper into the stretch than they may otherwise. It is a great way to further learn the practice and to become more familiar with anatomy and the physical elements required to get into a pose. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the class in this manner.
After a full exciting day - was finally able to get into bed at 11pm for my early rise.
Here I am 445 making my way down the road! All I can really say is WAHOO! I am on my way and feeling a great energy and excitement from the experience to date. Stay tuned, this is only going to get better!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Monday, September 6, 2010

Enough with the pool!!

Today was a good training day, fit for a long weekend!  Being Labor day and a holiday it was only appropriate that it was an easy workout! The schedule for the day was for some pool time and an easy 2500-3000m swim. At this point I am enjoying the easy and not busting myself to try and go fast.  The pool was awesome today, nobody was there, virtually empty.  WAhoo!
I ended up with about 2500m of easy stroke and HR1 kind of swim.  It was a super relaxing swim and felt quick and like I was sliding through the water.  I will say it was a great way to finish up in the pool.  The posted photos are where I am at today in the water.  A long way from struggling to stay in the water without drowning.  All you techie swimmer types, take a look and please provide some feedback as to what I might change based on what you see.  I have less than 12 months to make the changes before my next IM, so I need to get started soon.  :)
Today was also a great day to be on the spectator side of the world.  Lululemon has a cheer station set up for a local half marathon.  I joined them in the spirit crowd and went out to cheer the runners as they raced down the streets of Oakville.  It is great being on the other side of the spectrum once in a while.   I love watching a cheering as much as I like being part of the race so it was a good day overall!
Another great part of the day was being able to practice and teach one of my areas of passion.  I started teaching a private client yoga today.  They are my first one on one private teaching commitment since I finished training.  It was a very entertaining session with them.  They are athletes and are very eager to enjoy the benefits of the practice and learn and grow with me.  It was a 1 hour session that stretched into 1.5 hours as we were all very relaxed and entertained as we worked our way through the session.  Over the next 10 weeks they will gain a great insight into the practice, gain a lot of new strength and flexibility and have a lot of fun!  If you are in teh Toronto area and are interested in yog in your home, let me know!  I am keen to teach and my rates are really good(too cheap) right now.
I hope that you day off has been a blast and that you made the full use of it!  Did you relax?  Did you sweat?  Did you psuh yourself to a new limit?  If not get out there, the day is not over yet!  Cheers!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I am a number now, not a name!

Yes!  I it is true, I am happy to say that for once I am happy to be a number and not a name!  1350, that is me one week from now as I swim, bike and run through the city of Madison, Wisconsin and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it!  I am thinking that is going to be my new lucky number!  So if you want to get into my house, or use my bank card you know what the code will be now!  LOL
As things get closer one of my only thoughts has been about water temperature at the race.  I have done decent swimming this summer, however I am not so keen on doing an IM swim without a wetsuit at this point.  A few weeks ago the water was getting quite warm and trending towards 80 degrees. That would mean that the wetsuit option would be a no go!  That would suck, but, whatever it is, it is! as the race can deal anything any time. I did look at the water temperature today and it is going down quick, it is in the low 70 as of today.  So, my problem seems to be solved, I will be wearing a wetsuit!
One thing that I have been very realistic about is being prepared for anything.  This summer when I was doing my yoga training, the cardinal rule was to be prepared for anything.  Being that way allowed you to get to an event and not feel like it is some kind of surprise that you are not ready for and subsequently get frustrated about it!  Show up prepared for all eventualities and you are then prepared to do your best.  Trying to be in control of something you can not control is an exercise in futility!!!   The weather!!  So amy people are losing sleep about what the weather is going to be in 6 days!  get over it!  the overpaid weather man does not know, your mom does not know, the baker does not know!  Mother Nature does not know until she wakes up in the morning and decides, and she might still change her mind.  I can control what I bring to the race to be prepared for the eventuality but I cant control the weather. So, all you people who are losing sleep about what the weather is going to be a week from now, STOP!  Get ready for what it could be and you will have a lot more space in your head to deal with more important things at this point! Sorry, that is my pre IM rant and first time race advice!  I'm over it now!
Today was a light day in the taper front.  I did an hour run at a low HR, and it felt good.  OK, towards the end I did run a little faster just to get some cobwebs out and see how it felt.  Felt good, but I did not let myself get caught up in it at all!  I did do the run very relaxed and let it flow.  It was very cool today as I was running.  I spent some time visualizing the race course and seeing myself running past landmarks that I recall from being there this summer.  It brought a smile to my face knowing that I regardless of how I feel, I know I can conquer the course!
The rest of the week will be a lot about the same experiences, not pushing myself to hurt but pushing my mental limits to the finish.  Spending time visualizing the course and being there, good and hard moments and moving forward past them regardless!
This journey is only getting better as it gets closer!  I hope you have had an awesome weekend so far and are planning on having an even better time on our extra day tomorrow!
Cheers  and thank you!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Getting organized!

Today was the most awesome lazy'ish day I have had in a while!  It is an interesting time as it gets closer.  I have been spending time thinking about what the heck I will do with myself when I am not training to do an IM.  That is a lot of extra time to get things done.  On the same token having a day of only working out for 40 minutes seems a little refreshing.  I do feel lazy though, but it is a good break!
I think one of the first things I will do with the extra time is thank my wife and friends for the patience of having listened to me and covering my ass for the last 6 months!  I can't imagine going through this without an awesome support system like I have had the privilege of having.  SO, I think first thing will be a date night with my wife, one where I dont have to get up early in the morning and I cant have another beer while we are out playing because it is not part of the plan!  A night of fun!  Then I think a night of debauchery with my friends will follow.  It has been a while since I have put the bottle of Tequila on the bar  at home and thrown away the cap. I think the time has come!  That night will hopefully be the IM tattoo party night!  Assuming all goes well, it would only be fitting to celebrate after getting the badge applied!
As much as I am looking forward to a few days of nothing, it wont last!  Ski season is around the corner and it is time to get in shape for that.  I have a couple of fall running races that I am going to do as well, so I wont be sitting around too long.  As winter sets in, I am also starting to prepare my training and running program in hopes of being able to get a Boston qualify time next season.  I have my work cut out for me on that one, so I wont waste a lot not training.  I suppose I am at a point where I love to train and I am going to do it regardless.  A few weeks of 'free' training will be a bonus!
GETTING ORGANIZED!  that was the main theme of the day for me.  I have been reviewing a prepping for the race as I am leaving early on Wednesday AM.  For the most part I have put all the pieces together, now I just need to put them into the respective discipline and piles so they make some sense. As I have been getting things together I have been tossing them in a pile on the bed in the spare room.  The pile is getting big and it currently does not make any sense at all.  So the next couple of days is going to be to get it in a form that makes me comfortable and ready to go with no doubts that I have what I need!
After a short swim today, I did bail on a planned bike ride.  The weather sucks, the wind is howling and it was pouring rain half the day.  So, rather than go out in freezing weather and get a cold before the race, I pulled the plug.  Best thing is I don't feel bad about it at all.  The miles are done, today was about turning the feet a little, but some times things are not meant to be and today was that day!  Tomorrow is a short run, which I am looking forward to.  This week has been crazy hot and tomorrow is my first real run in cool fall like weather.  It will be a nice change to be running in this weather and being out to enjoy the start of the change of seasons.  It is so cool to experience the changes and new things that happen first hand out running.  I think winter running is a great adventure as well, this weather is just a tease of things to come!
Time to get some recovery and taper sleep.  I have been sleeping well and tonight will not be an exception!  Cheers to all!

Friday, September 3, 2010

OK! it is time to taper!

Here goes!  the next 8 days seems like I am going to be lazy!  what only 3-4 hours on the weekend?  what will I do with myself?  I am looking forward to it, but I know it will probably get old quick.  It is crazy to think I have become accustomed to doing 15-20 per week of training and liking it!
Yesterday was a swim workout with a few 100-200m repeats.  Rather than go and try and set a record, I took it easy and loosened up.  I spent a good deal of the practice doing drafting drills to build confidence in doing that.  I also focused on a relaxed long stroke, quite the same as I want to be focused on in IM. The entire practice was only about 2000m and very comfortable.  I enjoyed the relaxed and confident feel of the swim.  It was great heading to the pool.  As I was walking in to the Y, I felt a relaxed confidence about my swim.  I have not really felt that way  lot, I have not been nervous but also not feeling like I did yesterday!
Last night I added in a LULU run and did a quick 5k.  It was a fun run that I did with a girl that I have not seen in 25 years.  We went to high school together and I coached her skiing many years ago.  She was my younger sisters best friend throughout high school.  She is an awesome runner!  We did 5k at a 4:50 pace, she barely seemed to break a sweat.  She is training for Boston this year which will be her 3rd time, aiming towards her PB of 3:27.  The run was fun and relaxing although quick.  It was a good confidence builder for me though, feeling strong throughout the run.  It did set full taper in motion for me.  The rest of this week and weekend training will be at a slow and relaxed pace, almost no effort!
I picked up my bike yesterday and was able to being it out for a short test spin with the new wheels.  Hmmm!  Not enough of a ride to go fast and truly see what they are like but enough to get a taste.  I don't know about you, the placebo affect is in play here as well!  The sound of the wheels alone makes me feel fast!  and when you ride by pedestrians and they look at you like you are riding a space ship because you are in aero position and have these freaky wheel thingy's, you cant help but feel like you are flying!
After a great day training and playing we had a couple of friends over for dinner. I thought I should put on my best for the guest, so squeezed into my compression socks to get some relief.  Apparently, even though the guests are runners and triahtlete they did not agree with the look.  My buddy Hugh who is doing Wisconsin with me was one of them.  So, I have told him that it will actually be what I will be wearing for the days leading up to the race while in Wisconsin, so he should get used to it.  They do feel awesome though!
Today os an off day which I am looking forward to!  A massage this afternoon and some time with wifey and doggie tonight!  There is some kind of dog nights of summer event at city hall tonight, so Karma gets to go out on the town!  Woof!  She is napping right now in anticipation of a crazy time!
Happy training and happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Single digits!

It's go time!  Down to single digits until race day.  After a long awesome journey, tons of experiences and finally feeling tired, it is almost time to go to the line!  WAHOO!  Other than the day I got married, I can't remember a journey and a day that has been so much fun and that I am looking forward to like this one.  As I look back at the day I registered it seems like yesterday, but at the same time a thousand years away.  It has been one huge trip!
I brought my bike in to ENDURO SPORT today for a last drive train inspection and go over.  Once again they have proven themselves to be an awesome bike shop!  They went over and above with service and suggestions to make sure that my A race is an A race.  I am considering wheels in the future and they spent an hour talking to me about the various options (which they have a ton of) and why one vs. the other.  I also asked about a couple of different gear options and they were straight up and honest with me.  Likely saving me $100 in the process and cost them a small sale.  If you are in Toronto and into tri or bikes, go and see them.  If you are visiting Toronto, it is worth the visit to the store, more bike and tri porn in one place than a person should enjoy! Thanks guys and girls at Enduro!  I will be doing my race in Zipp 404's. I figured if I am doing the race I may as well go all out, I have had a good riding season and this can only add to it.  I hope the win isnt screaming that day or it could be a bit of an adventure.
Training today was a short bike ride.   I did 35k at a quick pace getting my HR into zone 3 for the ride.  It felt good, even while riding into the wind. I purposely kept it short and low intensity as it is time to do that. I also am going to do a short ride tomorrow as I want to make sure that the bike is in perfect working order after its little tune up!
Tonight was a very short run, again to keep the legs turning and not to blow up in the heat!  The start of the run was slower than usual but I have been going for a few days now.  I know that getting off my feet after the brick on Saturday my legs are going to become the best damn running legs I have had in my entire life!  I am confident that they will still hurt late in the race, but also confident that they will bring me to the finish line to a cold drink and my family and friends.  I have a deal with them to rest for a few days after the race, so they have agreed with the terms set out above.
Another great part of my evening was yoga training.  As I have finished the teacher training I am now working on becoming a better leader.  I am part of a program that is dedicated to that process.  Tonight was the first meeting with the group and the mentor that I am working with.  It is going to be a great process and will allow me to share with others one of the parts of my training that I have found very helpful.  It is great to be amongst some of the best at the practice to help me become the best at it as well.
Overall a great day on every front!  Loving life, loving where I am and feeling damn lucky to be here!  Hope your day kicked as as well!  Cheers!