Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Highway of Heroes

Despite the 35 degree temperature, 25 mile an hour wind, and spitting rainshowers, I was clearly motivated to get out and run tonight.  I read a few blog posts at the tail end of the work day and it literally fired me up to get out there, no matter what.  I thought about Caratunkgirl who loves to train in bad weather and my new coach's words "Weather is not an excuse" and a host of other triathlete bloggers and all together, it was enough to heave my ass out the door.  Thanks guys, you gave me an amazing run!

My next big race is a marathon, which will be my first, at the end of May 2011.  Given this part of the world freezes over from about now until April, it's the best I can do.  And I need to log the miles before then anyhow.

I have only run a couple times in the morning so I don't have a lot to compare to, but each of those times, I did not run well, wasn't motivated, lacked energy, and put in 'junk' miles.  I think running on an empty stomach just doesn't sit well with me.  I don't know what early runners do for nutrition - do you gel?  Powebar?  What's your secret to fueling your workout in the wee hours?  As I haven't found one, my preference has been to get my exercise in the evening, after I've had a day to wake up, fuel up, and limber up.

About 15 mins before heading out, I stole some of the girls' sour keys, ate a banana and granola bar.  Oh, what a rush!  But it did the job, though as I kept an even pace on this 12.1km run.  Actually, I was just glad to be out running and given the darkness, I couldn't really read my watch.  I know it has a backlight, but I was actually enjoying running without a clock.  I had my iP playing some great music and was simply bootin'er at whatever speed I felt like running.  I kept up my 5:32/km pace (8:51/mi) which is a decent clip for me after being out for several weeks.

There is a song that my 7 year old keeps singing and humming - it is on my phone and she grabs every chance she gets to put it on.  Highway of Heroes by the Trews.  It's not the fastest paced song out there, but if you want inspiration, listen to it while running.  At least for me, it inspires me to be a hero for my family, if nowhere else, at least in the area of health and fitness.  I've still got work to do, but like I said yesterday about my poster:  "The Miracle isn't that I finished, it's that I had the courage to start".  I hope I inspire my girls to push beyond what they feel are their limits in whatever activity they choose to do.

As I ran tonight, listening to the song, I couldn't help but picture my daughter dancing and belting out the words wondering what it is about the song that gives her inspiration.  She knows it is about war, but I don't think understands enough about war to get the real meaning.  Regardless, I choose to believe the topic of heroes is what grabs her attention and inspires her to belt out the tune. She is 7.

I have many heroes and I thank all of them, and you, for being great examples.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Miracle Poster

As I started pedaling this morning, I realized I haven't blogged about my updated man-cave, as Training Payne(s) would call it.  I'll have to take some pics to show you around and will post a short video further down where you can see some of it, but suffice to say I've got some motivational posters / pictures around, some music set up, as well as a nice floor fan to keep things cool.  Worthy of note, is my Ironman World Championship postcard from Training Payne stuck on the wall next to the "miracle' poster.  He better be impressed I kept it.  Computrainer is rigged to perfection and is an amazing piece of innovation.  I can't wait for the next s/w release to come out, supposedly this fall.

Any other CT riders out there know there are 3 ways to use the machine: 
  1. As a an ergometer - constant resistance defined by the rider in watts
  2. As a rider on a about 50 different 3D computer generated courses - tons of the 70.3's you are familiar with as well as Iron distance events.  The view you get isn't what you'd see in real life, but the resistance profile (hills / flats / descents, etc) mirrors that of the race you can select from. 
  3. As  an Interactive Real Course Video, which, IMO, is the most creative way to ride.  You pedal the course and the resistance profile in the same fashion as if you were there.  So, you can see the hill coming and feel the resistance increase once you get to it.  Similarly, when you crest, the resistance drops and you can visually see the descent coming, then feel the resistance drop and speed increase.  Way too cool!

If you read my blog a few weeks ago, you'll remember I had the most ridiculous back accident.  Here are the details.  I'm still not 100% but am testing the waters (no pun intended vis a vis last weekend's swim clinic) and   went for a 'first' run yesterday and biked today.  I can honestly say I lose my fitness pretty quick!  My plan is to run M-W-F and bike Tues - Thurs and whatever I do on the weekend is bonus.  We'll start traveling for alpine skiing every weekend in about a month anyway.  Come January, I start a 3 night/week swim program and a formalized / coached training program.  My first marathon is planned for the end of May/11 and of course, IM FL in Nov/11.  Psyched for both is an understatement.

Let me leave you with this early morning iPhone video of the CT in action.  Happy training, peeps!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Swim Camp - Day 2

Another busy weekend - last week was IM FL and this one ties me up in a swim camp - it is GREAT!  It's a small group of 9 triathletes hosted by a boutique bike / tri shop in town.  Like any good camp, this is a combination of classroom, video, and practical.  If you've never seen yourself on video - either above water, below, or both - then you have to find a way to get a video done.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a video worth??

I'm an ok swimmer, having taken my first triathlon swim class last fall that lasted about 6 months.  I'd go every Sunday night for an hour with a group of friends and the course was actually taught by my neighbor, a multi-IM finisher and all around nice guy.  My swim times improved from 2:00 min/100m to 1:40 - 1:45/100m.

The swim clinic I am taking now takes things one step further and really teaches us the mechanics and flow, but coupled with demos from the coach and video analysis of our technique, we are getting some amazing feedback.

If you are looking to swim IM distance (or Olympic or longer, for that matter), one of the things we looked at today was stroke count versus speed - in fact, trying to find the right balance.  Here is what we did:
- Swim 50m, moderate effort, count your strokes.  Then
- Swim 50m, moderate effort, watch your time.  Add the two numbers together.  Then
- Play with things a little:

  • Swim faster (hard), counting your strokes.  What did it do to your time / stroke count?
  • Swim as "perfectly" as you can (reach, good tempo, glide).  Effect on time / stroke?
Put all of this in context with IM distance swimming.  We obviously want to swim as fast as possible with the fewest amount of strokes (save energy).  So, we are in search of the right point in busting your tail flailing about in the water.  Be smooth, rhythmic, and glide!

An output of the clinic is a disc with our videos...That will take a bit of time for the coaches to compile so I'll post likely in about a week or so about the finale of the camp.  Until then....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogging from Ironman Florida

 A short update and a few pics as I want to get back to the T-zone as see the guys and gals coming off the bike.

- Temp about 15C winds present, but not like yesterday where there were 3' waves in the Gulf.  It was actually unbearably cold, and this from a Canadian!

- I volunteered and was assigned to the water table coming in from lap1 of the swim and again at the swim finish.

- Saw the elite athletes come through but not being from around here, I didn't recognize any names.  This is too close to Kona so a vast majority (if not all) of the pros there would not come here.

- The volunteering was mostly organized but being a 'process champion excellence' as my wife calls me when I offer 'critiques' on ways to do things, I saw areas for improvement all over the place.  Ironman (WTC) needs to take a 'lift and shift' approach to managing the tasks completed by the volunteers given the structure is the same everywhere and every race.

- Everyone who wanted water got water after lap 1 of the swim.  Given we had a ton of water and cups left over, we moved the tables 100' to the swim exit and started handing out more water.  It wasn't long until we ran out of cups.  We had at least 80 gallons of jugged water leftover, though.  Guess the WTC took recent criticisms about water supply to heart.  They need to get the other half of the equation right though and make sure they have enough cups.

I shouldn't be too critical, though, as our moved water station wasn't really a 'planned' one and the athletes had other water and whatnot after transition and on their bikes, of course.  Speaking of which, saw the latest and greatest in rides there are today.  Even some really odd designs.

Given I was at the swim exit, I got to cheer on the athletes and help give them a bit of motivation along the way.  Especially when we were out of cups.  I became a clapper and cheerleader.

I could not believe how far the current was taking people.  One fella had to run 150m down the beach to get BACK to the swim exit.  He let himself get way way off course.  He wasn't alone, though, there were dozens that missed out on proper sighting.

I'm going to head back to T2 and get in on some action.  Oh, I ended up filming a girl coming out of the swim in what I thought would be enough time to make the cutoff.  I knew it would be close, though.  She had tons of energy, was running strong to the mat, then I looked at the clock.  We (the clappers and cheerleaders at this point), were trying so hard to 'bring her home'.  She looked really good and more capable than about 50 people who were staggering before her, but she missed the cutoff by 25 seconds or so.  How heartwrenching.  She mustn't be a fast swimmer, but I tell you, she had energy to spare as she sprinted for the mat.  My heart goes out to her and the others who were not able to finish the swim.

Have to say good luck to "Dwayne"  No  idea who he is but he's got some supporters in my hotel.  Here's how they are wishing him well: