Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Paying the price

Every step, I am reminded of the potential (and in this case , actual) nastiness of long distance running.  My blisters, while non issues at the time, have migrated from the base of my big toes to the soft area at the base of the toe before it connects to the foot.  Ouch, with every step as the toes bend when you push off walking.  It's actually debilitating and has taken my runs from me for at least a week.  I emailed my coach today and asked for advice on the plan and if I should increase some ride time.  He agreed and said I should dial back next weekend's run from another 35 down to 20km.  And use Body Glide on my toes.

Another really great comment from my coach:  I mentioned I felt good running, no issues, legs did ok, etc, but I am not a 'runner'.  He then reminded me of something really critical - he said "No, you are not a runner.  You are a triathlete and for you to feel like a runner, you'd likely have to stop swimming and biking for a few months.  Cool.

We expected, and got a ton, of rain on Saturday so we spent the day running errands and had tickets to 'Stars on Ice' that evening, for Jessica's 8th birthday.  I happened to time a jump by Shawn Sawyer perfectly...my girls are figure skaters (as well as skiers!) and have all the moves named.  I made up the name for the backflip though - a Jackrabbit!  The girls talked all weekend about Jackrabbits!!  Ha ha, dad rules!!!

My plan on Sunday was to spin out the legs (given I could barely walk) so I got out for a short 30km ride.  It was my first outdoor ride of the season and I can't believe how easy it was.  It was nice to cruise around the countryside!

Back at home, I've been putting off finishing the deck skirting and stair railing, for oh, 5 years now!!  It's what happens when life gets in the way - I'm sure you are all the same!  I don't have IMLP on the calendar this year so my volume isn't what it is for many in the northeast right now and I can afford to get some of this work done now.  I know, come summer, I'll be lake swimming and doing bricks left right and center and be frankly disengaged from work around the house.  After all, it's triathlon season!  It's getting real when I can ride outside!!

Happy training, thanks for reading.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Couldn't have scripted it better

The 'plan' today called for 35 km of running.  I am not a runner.  Or at least I wasn't.  But anyone that makes it through 35km is, in my books, a 'Runner'!  Obviously my first time at that distance!

Finally we had some nice weather and after a morning of procrastination and gear gathering, I hit the road just after the clock struck noon.  I took a different route today as 35K in a figure 8 loop wasn't going to cut it.  I ran on main roads through a couple towns in a  'Big Loop' as I purposely wanted to stray far from home.  Reduces the potential for 'drift'.

The new scenery was worth it and the pace of the cars was motivating.  It really beat 3.5 hours of running through neighborhoods!    The route took me down some real country roads, though - as in straight, narrow, surrounded by cornfields and farms.  Made that portion FEEL really looooooong.

 My pace held up for each 10K split, averaging only a few seconds + or - off perfect consistency.  I had to push it a little the last 5K to keep pace, though.

At 32KM, I hit a real rough time and felt the reduced pace.  It wasn't an energy thing or hydration - my feet hurt.  I felt the blisters and while I was determined to go the distance, I knew it would be a cost.  I guess my mind was pre-occupied with my feet (sounds kinda strange) and the road started getting long.  At 34km, I got the best boost I could have  ever hoped for:

IMFL baby....I got the message at 34km today.  And the icing on the cake followed it:

'Nuff said!

PS - thanks to Peter for the ice bath tip.  Will see if it worked tomorrow!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kids can be aero too

Notice the Kona postcard from @Bryabrarobry
Two posts in a row and I've got kids kids kids involved!

Everyone living life with vigor knows that sometimes its hard to achieve balance between work, family, training, sleep, pets, and whatever else is going on.  Tonight was another night where I needed to combine both being a parent and Ironman training.

From last post's comments, I learned Peter trains in the wee hours - sometimes as early as 3:30AM.  (ummm, not for me!).  Doru will start this summer with his oldest, Austin remembers riding while his dad ran many moons ago, and BDD wants to be racing long enough so his kids, if he has them, can kick his rear across the finish line some day...or he can squeak in ahead of them!!!  But I'm inspired by others who work so hard to be the best they can and engage family members along the way.  I get the warm and fuzzies seeing family members with signs supporting their athletes at the races.

I had an 'easy' ride in the calendar for tonight - 60 minutes.  I'll be doing my 35km long run tomorrow so I certainly didn't push the legs too hard tonight.  Come June and the marathon is behind me, my bike and I are going to be inseparable as I look to recoup / regain some leg fitness.

Supposed to be +11C degrees tomorrow, and SUNNY!  Something we haven't seen for awhile.  Rain returns all day Saturday.  I'm psyched for the long run tomorrow but my knees are still somewhat sore from last week.  Should go away once I get warmed up, though.  Bring it!!!

If you are taking tomorrow off, enjoy it!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Family Ironman Training

I have no idea why it never crossed my mind before yesterday, but how many of you train with your children?  Under 10 years old?  I never gave it a second thought until the conditions were such that if I wanted to get my 60 minutes of running in last night, my (newly turned) 8 year old daughter, Jessica, had to come with me.  As her first triathlon will be in June, she was only too happy to ride alongside my footsteps and was frankly very proud of herself for playing a role in my training.  Seriously, I was elated I had a partner out there and the fact she was so keen to count the kilometers with me, was another proud fatherly moment.

Here's an example of a great team:  The Iron Family  Props to Doru and Miha for getting their (even younger) children already started in the sport of Triathlon.

On the training front, I have 6 weeks to go until my first marathon and I know 'it's gonna hurt'.  My long run is up to 30km and Saturday's distance is planned out at 35.  This isn't speedwork, obviously, but I don't want to be running as slow as I did on Sunday (40 mph wind gusts).  The weather gods owe me some nice conditions!!

I have 2 sixty minute 'easy' rides and a 45 min negative split run planned before the long run on Saturday, and one swim left for the week.  Speaking of swimming, my 1000m time trial (coach's orders) on Monday went well - 16:50.

I've enjoyed catching up on my blog reading recently and glad to see everyone working so hard.  Your progress is motivating!!  Happy training, thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting AERO while running

Bar none, today's run was the most difficult I have EVER done!  Not only did weather gods conspire against me, but I've never run 30km before and that alone made it very difficult.  In fact, I'm typing in compression wear, hoping to regain use of my legs in the morning.  OK, I'm exaggerating...not about my attire...I can still walk, but my legs sure are sore.

Today's weather was about as nasty as it could get for April and I knew I'd have to self motivate for me to get out and do anything.  I spent yesterday burning cedar logs in the forest and downed branches from winter storms and as it was raining 2/3 of the day, I thought it would be more fun to play pyro than to run in the rain and cold.

Winds today were 40km/h with gusts to 70km/h (25-45 mph) and when into a headwind, my pace slowed to a crawl and my heart rate shot up.  It was seriously like running hills - so bad that I would get sometimes blown sideways!!  All I could think about was trying to get as aero as possible.  Sounds stupid, I know.  And it didn't work anyway.

There were a few times today that I wanted to bail and the excuses started coming pretty easily.  Thankfully I shut them down before they festered too much in my head and ruined any chance at running happiness I'd be able to muster.  To keep motivated, I thought of 2 things:  1) several blog buddies who have shown time and again that you NEVER bail because of conditions; 2) the fact that my first marathon in 6 weeks is NOT going to get shorter just because I don't feel like running that far.  Giddyup because there's no giving up!!

I have to give special props to my other half today as she was in waiting mode while I went and ran 3 hours.  She kept the girls busy by doing a craft that my oldest had received at her birthday party this week - that's another story...6 eight year old girls over for a slumber party on Friday night....ouch!  Anyway, today my 2 girls made designs on porcelain cups or something and by the time I got back, there were even fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on cooling racks, calling me the second I walked in the door.  3 hours of running gives you the hungers!!

As I sit here in my compression wear, knees sore, calves and hamstrings sore, I wonder how I'm going to run this week at all.  I'm hoping to wake up clear and fresh in the morning, but I doubt that will happen.  At least I can maybe loosen up while swimming tomorrow night.  But for now, I'm beat!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Clowning around on a snowboard

A little humour to start off!  This was from last weekend at the Caribou Cup, Tremblant.  Here are the race details:  Ski or Ride down about 400m of hill, dodging snowballs and anything else the crowd feels like throwing your way, hoping you have enough speed to make it over the 100 or so feet of water...max depth is about 4 feet.  Then, you grab your gear and run to 2 bars, do a shooter and each, and finish about 200m later at the P'tit Caribou bar and chug chug chug a Canadian beer.  In a way, it reminds me of Brian Payne's 'House of Payne' Beer Run.

There were neat costumes on everyone and while most made it across the water, the ones that didn't were the winners losers in our minds.  We saw some great flips, crashes, bangs and booms, attempted 360's, etc.  But the clown takes the cake as the dude who came up the shortest - he barely made it to the water!  Maybe he thought the race was reversed and powered back a few before the start.  In any event, he was too close for comfort, narrowly missing my kids beside me!!  As I was filming with my phone, I couldn't tell how close he was until it was too late...and you can hear me thanking the guy standing beside me who pulled my girls to safety!  The kids had a blast watching and I have no doubts they'll be out there when they turn 18!

Training was ok this week, though I had to skip my bike sessions.  Just not enough hours in the day.  I have a 2.25 hour run tomorrow, which should be awesome given our weather forecast is for a beautiful day.  About friggin' time!!

Last thing...I ordered a sign for our backyard gate...love it!!  Happy training, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where has the time gone?

It's clearly been awhile since I've had the chance to blog.  Like everyone, life has gotten in the way!!  But that is a good thing, right?  It means there is a lot going on that isn't being done in front of the TV and we (you) are living life to the fullest.

We have been struggling with some big decisions lately.  Both my wife and I work for a large corporation and work at home.  We have the flexibility to live and work anywhere in Canada and we've been asking ourselves why we choose to live where we do.  We've asked friends and neighbours the same question - if you could go anywhere, where would you go and why?  

We have considered going to Whistler, BC..."for a year".  They have great public schools, a self contained town, the best skiing in North America and more off season activities than you can shake a stick at.  From a timing point of view, I think we're missing the spring home sale rush as we have some things we would like to do on the house prior to placing the For Sale sign at the end of the driveway.  So, our plans may get put off by a year or so.  I am pleased to mention by 7 year old made one of the Tremblant ski racing teams for next season!!  They took 12 out of 31 who tried out, and only 3 girls.  If you ask me, being so selective at this age is not a good thing.  I expected them to accept about 85% or more of those who tried out, for they are all decent little skiers. 

 Spring skiing was a long time in coming this year with the snow JUST softening up last weekend.  With the girls having skied so much this year, they really improved a ton and we were able to ski the steeps, even with my 5 year old.  Double black diamonds were no match for her as she has not only really good balance and skill, but she is a very disciplined skier.  Her turns are round, controlled, and her timing is bang on.  I included a video of her on 'Devil's River'.  I taught / coached skiing for a LONG time and I'll tell you there are plenty of current instructors who can't pull off long turns like Amy's in this video.  For sure I'm a proud dad and I don't mean to brag, but this girl can ski so well for a 5 year old!!

On the training front, March was nearly a write off, which annoys me to no end.  Work was terribly busy and even my week off at March break was spent working 15 hours a day.  I couldn't get away, unfortunately.  As I have my first marathon in about 7 weeks, I'm stressing over the missed sessions.  I guess the next few weeks are going to make or break my participation in May.  I'm running comfortably 20 km at this point and my training plan has me at 25 next weekend and 30 the following.  Then two weekends in a row at 35 before things ramp down a bit in prep for the race.  Clearly for me, however, it's not a 'race'.  I'm going for a 'finish with the least amount of pain possible!'.

I've enjoyed catching up on everyone's blogs and seeing the universal determination to close the winter pages and get out in the nicer weather on the streets.  I have yet to pull my bike off the CT and probably won't for a few more weeks.  It's still pretty nasty out there most of the time and I've got a training tire on my bike now, which is a MAJOR PITA to take on/off.  Sound lazy?  I guess so!!  But the CT can still get some more use in the weeks to come.

For anyone thinking of signing up for IM Muskoka 70.3 on Sep 11 this year, sign up by Sunday to receive 20% off the early entry fee...making it somewhere around the $200 mark.  Happy training!