Monday, September 26, 2011

Offerings in the countryside

So much to catch up and be current and I'll do most of it in photos.  Going to keep it brief:

How can I not start off with this baby?!

This was from my Saturday long ride - 115 miles / 185 km.  Longest I've ever ridden and happy to have kept a 30.8 avg km/h over the 5:55.

I past this sign at a good clip, near Brockville, ON but had to go back to it.  I mean, who names a street after triathlon anyway, haha.  I just thought it was cool and it gave me something to think about after 3 hours on the bike at this point.  I was nearing the turnaround to head home.

These 4 souls were part of the 'Run to Remember' - raising funds for the families of fallen Canadian police officers and they were part of a run across (at least) Ontario and I saw them from Brockville to Ottawa.  I cycled past them in the opposite direction, went for about a km, then turned around as I wanted to know what they were running for.  I cycled, they ran, and I took their picture (and spilled my Chomps all over the road when I pulled my phone out of my Bento box for the picture.

I started cycling again and saw another team - perhaps the previous relay team taking a break - so I stopped this time, gave them half of my $40 emergency fund for their cause.  I felt bad I hadn't given it to the first crew, but thought it didn't matter, it'll help anyway, albeit just a little bit.

My route this time took me south of Ottawa, then West along Hwy 2 into Brockville.  The St. Lawrence river is behind my bike and there's an ocean liner heading from the Great Lakes back east down the river, eventually to hit the Atlantic.  Ogdensburg NY is in the background.

I had actually wanted to bike over the bridge from Canada, but on this particular bridge - it is HIGH and has a steel see-through floor - you aren't allowed.  Way to dangerous for cyclists and those on foot.
Oh yeah, some bike bling and race wheels to get used to.

When you have a family, everyone has to make sacrifices in order to do an IM.  On my long run, however, no sacrifices were necessary.  My 6 and 8 year olds cycled the 23 km from our house as I ran.  They are total rockstars, never complaining, never saying it was too far.  They have their own water bottles on their bikes and we brought some snacks for them as well.

The path is a fomer rail line and has been turned into a multi use trail with fine granulars.  For anyone doing IMMT or MT 70.3, this is what part of the run course will be like.

Along the path, there are some look-offs, usually over marshes or fields so if you are so inclined, you can stop and check out the local wildlife.

While I have tried running in true running shorts and/or a running shirt / singlet, I HATE HATE the baggy wear.  I get chafed every single time I wear anything baggy.  Not to mention my 90 minute ride before the long run meant I was already in cycling / tri gear.

As an aside, I bought a new Kiwami Tri Suit and was hoping to wear it at IMFL.  My other suits have become a little baggy - either stretch or weight loss, but they don't feel like the used to.  Anyway, I tested the new Kiwami on my 6 hour long ride - was awesome and worked like a charm.  It's my new official long distance race wear.

This last one is really sad, actually.  I need to get into a new line of work, in animal rescue or conservation or something. Only problem is, it doesn't pay the bills and if anything, looking after animals is really expensive (we have 2 dogs and 2 cats, so I feel the cost daily!).  Anyway, this guy was hit by a car right near my running path.  He (she?) is a Fisher and has surely preyed on wayward outdoor cats and other small animals.  He was gone by the time I saw him but they are such elusive and shy creatures, they are almost never seen.  I can't tell you how bad I feel that a person (accidentally) took his life.  He's got claws and teeth like a Wolverine and the coat of a mink.  Such a majestic animal for his size, he deserved a much more honorable death than he got.  I stopped twice to see him today in the car, wishing I could do something for him.  Sounds irrational to most, but he's such a rare animal around here and deserved far more than he got.

My hip is really improving, though I have to be very careful...the muscles around it, incluing the hamstring are very tight.  I'll keep up my 1x week ART appointment, which has been fantastic.

That's all for now - thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I saw NY State on my bike, and I left from home!

The river in the South is the St. Lawrence.
Canada above, US below!
Woa, what at amazing day!  Aside from hip pain, an awesome ride took me from home all the way to Morrisburg, along the St Lawrence River through a couple towns, then back north to Ottawa.  150km, 5 hours, 30 km/h average speed.  Better than I could have hoped!

The route was pretty straightforward, even though I had never done it before.  The grid pattern in the roads and highways around all the agriculture was easy to follow.  The best part:  the first time I actually came to a stop was in Morrisburg, 2 hours from home!  Loved the fact the few traffic lights were green in my direction, the roads were pretty wide and in decent shape.  I really can't believe I've never ridden southward before!
In prep for IMFL, I obviously need to ride flats and train staying in the aerobars as long / much as possible.  When you think 180km in Florida vs 180 km in Placid, we automatically assume Florida is dead easy in comparison. OK, I'm realistic...the lack of hills will make it easier, I agree.  But, there are still some unique challenges, aside from the distance:  pedalling for ~ 6 hours continuous (no downhills to catch a break on) and ~6 hours in the aerobars.  At least climbing in the hills, your back and hip flexors (d'oh!) will get a break from being in the same position for a long time.  Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

To fuel the day, aside from my pancake breakfast 3 hours before departure, I had an Ensure 30 minutes before leaving at 250 cal and on the bike 3x 270 cal Infinite, 2x100 cal gels, 1x200 granola bar, 1x50 cal banana and 1/2 of a protein bar for 160 cal.   That is about 1600 calories in 5 hours, or 320 calories per hour.  I honestly think I need to gel more during the race so I can get more calories in before the run.  My legs were honestly tired today - aside from hip pain the last 20 km - my legs were still tired.  I maintained a 30km/h avg over the 5 hours though and didn't really slow down at the end.  I didn't push hard if there was a gust of wind or a hill anything, so that slowed me down, but I wanted to make sure I don't overdo anything.  I'm still happy with the 30 k average,'s a first over that time/distance

Here's an interesting situation with my coaching plan:  next 4 weeks (IMFL is in 7 weeks), longest run is 2 hours (about 22km).  Seems a little short in prep for a marathon to me.  My coach said the combination of riding long (6 hours) Saturdays and then Sundays with a moderate 2 or 3 hour ride followed by a 2 hour run on will be enough.  With me being unable to ride or run in August, perhaps this is his best angle...get me through a solid bike, have energy left in my legs, then 'gitter done' on the run in the best way possible.  His advice over the next 4-5 weeks (before taper) was to make sure my nutrition is solid, as in his mind, if I fuel well and right on the bike, my legs will carry me through the marathon.  I have to admit I am a bit skeptical, actually kind of scared, but what can I do?  I missed the big build phase and I am barely able to get 150 in on the bike at this point.  It would be better if my hip would cooperate!

I rode 11 AM - 4:30 (stopped a few times to stretch on the way home) and came home to an awesome stew.  When you spend the day outside in bike shorts and shirt and the temperature at18 at its highest, you get a little chill, especially at the end of the day.  Nothing like a hearty meal with veggies, potatoes, and cut up steak.It was totally heartwarming!  

When I was in Morrisburg, I visited a Veteran's Memorial Park and took a moment to pay hommage to Canada's fallen soldiers, from all wars.  A friend of mine lost his brother in Afghanistan a few years ago and I can't imagine the sacrifice such families make to keep the rest of us at peace.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful spot.

The last pic in the sequence is from around the pool area.  We had a hornets nest growing in the ground and when I went out last night to spray it, I saw the mess that an animal had made getting at it.  I believe it was a skunk who dug the 18" deep hole and pulled out and consumed whatever larvae it could get.  It was a clear message that sometimes nature takes care of itself...I guess we (humans) tend to screw things up a lot!!

More on this later, BUT....we're getting a Big Green Egg soon!!  It's a birthday and anniversary gift from my parents - my birthday (new decade), my wife's, and our 10th anniversary gift all rolled into one.  I couldn't be happier - how awesome!  I see smoked meats of all kinds, charcoaled burgers, and maybe even some fired pizza!  Can't wait!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Solid recovery

Over the last week, I've made some solid recovery gains.  ART is working, along with some stretching and ice, of course, but I am back on track.  You get a rude awakening, however, after 5 weeks essentially 'off'.  The 'edge' you once (thought) you had, is....gone, some endurance and strength...gone.  But there is a bright side:  you get to pay for the last 'x' weeks of sedentarism by lacing your shoes, riding your bars and slicing through the water.  Personally, I'd rather be paying than sitting, so I'll take it.

My chiropractor gave me a 2 hour bike limit.  My coach, eyeing Nov 5 (8 weeks away) as IMFL, is trying not to spew his coffee everywhere.  He basically said I need to be riding 140 - 160km, otherwise it is going to be a really really long day.  On Saturday, I thought I'd compromise and rode a combo of flats and hills for 4 hours - 110km.  Purposely not fast and I'll say the flats were a LOAD easier than the hills.  The overall ride had 3,100 feet climbing and I found myself needing to stretch at the top of all the big hills.  No problem...I took the time and felt it really helped.  Oh, got some new bike bling .... more about that later.

Sunday's long run - 21.5km - started off great and then kind of fizzled.  I just ran out of steam.  It was one of those runs where you have to remind yourself to run faster and not fall off the pace.  The last 2 km were pretty tough, though the whole run was on a railroad turned into multi use pathway.  Nice and flat but unfortunately very little views.

At the turnaround (1 hr mark), I took advantage of the cleanest port a john I've ever seen.  I figured it was just done in prep for the work week coming up, given it was by the airport construction work.  It beat any T zone or run course porta john I've ever seen (which is not many)!

All I could think about over the weekend was that I was missing IM Muskoka 70.3.  I was a DNS - first time and I hate that.  It would have been a great opportunity to meet JohnDoruPeter and race this beautiful fall race in fantastic weather.  In hindsight, I could have done the distance, but I don't think I would have been proud of my time and I certainly didn't want to risk recovery.

I had to post this pic of my girls and one of our hounds - Brucie.  He raced as Doe's Bruciebaby and ran some 115 races at two of America's top tracks.  But that is irrelevant....our boy proves that 1) kids do just fine with greyhounds and 2) that hounds really are laid back and chill with their families.  I know some protect their space, and understandably so, but they aren't ALL like that!

And for the bike bling:  My brother was selling his ZIPP 303's, so I snatched them up!  What a difference from my stock alu wheels.  My race wheels are a HED Stinger 9.0 and 6.0 and this set complements the HEDs perfectly.  I know my bars are high...ya ya ... hopefully as my hip strengthens, I'll be able to flip the stem back and drop some spacers. We'll see!

Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

IMMT Road Paving Update: Sep 3.

Duplessis is 99% DONE!!   This is the route from the base of Tremblant around to the North side of the hill, towards Lac Superieure.  The asphalt is pristine!  I said 99% done because the first 1.0km (0.6 mile) from the base is not yet paved though it is hard pack dirt/gravel, ready for a top coat.  If one were to do the loop on a bike (I drove, as you can see), you could actually take a winding bike trail through the forest and avoid the unpaved section, though the path is multifunctional so you can expect to ride as slow as you would on the unpaved road.  It would be a good alternative.

The road condition is excellent and as previously mentioned, wider than the pre-construction route.  While there were no lines painted on the pavement yet, you could see there would be about 2-3 of shoulder.  This section of the course is constantly going up and down and turning.  It will be a really fun section and take everyone's mind off the workload of racing IM or HIM.

There is no other evidence of paving at this point in the region but at least the shoulder on the 117 Northbound looks to be in great shape.  It is about 6 feet wide and assuming my hip injury continues to improve, I will hopefully be able to ride it in a few weeks.  We know this section of road climbs a lot at the first turn, but the last 10 km or so before the turnaround is relatively flat as it passes through farmland and meandering waterways (Riviere Rouge).  It is beautiful an very scenic, offering views of Tremblant ski area in the distance.  The southbound section of the 117 has been freshly paved, so you will enjoy that if you are up training on the course these days...only the northbound section will be used during the IM and HIM.

I have no idea when they plan to repave other sections of the route, but the one that needed the most attention, got it.  That's all for now.  Thanks for reading.

August (injury month) totals:
Swim - 7.5K
Bike - 91K
Run - 40K

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Motion is clearly lotion

I went to the chiropractor for treatment #3 on Tuesday and felt significantly better afterwards, despite her trying to kill me - or at least make me suffer A LOT - with ART.  She does about 20 minuts of ART, targeting the Psoas muscle in the front hip (known generically as the hip flexor) and the glute mede in the back part of my hip.  She finishes with 10 minutes of electro something or other and an ice pack, which gently stimulates recovery.  I left her office with a hop in my step and a paper with 4 specific stretches to incorporate into my day.  Easy peasy.

I also got a bike re-fit by an awesome fitter I've ridden with a few times this summer.  Not only did he set everything up properly, he took measurements, notes, video, and wrote a report on his findings and recommendations.  I've been fit before by my former pro triathletes and I'll say it's always good to get another opinion, even when you think you're dialed in right.  The focus of the re-fit was to open my hip angle a bit more.

I rode an hour on Tuesday, which went well, ran 5K on Wednesday at about 5:15 pace, which is decent, and then rode again today for 1:40.  Everything was going really well until the last 5 minutes today when I felt an instant flash of hip pain that didn't go away.  The pain-o-meter went from 0-60 in 2 seconds so I did a bit of single leg pedaling until I got home.

This is the second of two weeks where my kids are at my parents place at Tremblant and having far too much fun.  Back to school for them next week so they closing out the summer in style.  Their grandparents have taken them fishing, to parties, to Santa's Village, horseback riding, swimming, to the mountain for activities, cycling 20km, and had many campfires in the backyard, roasted marshmallows, did arts and crafts, played checkers, chinese checkers, and a few card games.  We call it 'Camp Tremblant' and are so happy they can all spend so much great time together.  These are precious moments and for us to have an empty nest for two weeks: priceless!

We were up last weekend to give my folks some relief and took some shots of the fun times we had at the base of the mountain:

Some good signage around the base about IMMT.  We didn't go to the beach where the full IM kiosk is, though.

I meant to add this in my last post.  The Source is an indoor pool activity area with a kiddie pool, a few small slides, a tarzan rope, waterfall, etc.  My girls love going and we find the best fun is to imitate the game 'Splatalot'.  It really involves my trying to dunk them on some floating carpets and stuff.  Just good fun.

There are also an indoor and outdoor hot tubs.

Worth a visit for kids, for sure.

The poutine shop is right opposite the finish line of IMMT though 10 bucks says finishing athletes couldn't keep this down right after the race, though, I would encourage anyone and everyone to have one (just one) serving.  But I'd enjoy it the day after the race, if I were you!

What is poutine?

Fries with cheese curd smothered in gravy.

Enjoy on a day when you aren't counting calories!

Smoke's creates about 50 different kinds of poutine.  This is the vegetarian version with peas, onions, mushrooms.  Sounds gross, looks worse, but is not that bad at all.  I prefer the traditional (above), though - it's like missionary poutine.

Rock climbing, please!

Ride the Gondola to the summit
Send your kids to the Euro-bungy!

And something everyone in the family can enjoy:  The luge!!  It's not cheap, but it sure is fun.  A pic and a video:  Thanks for reading!