Thursday, November 29, 2007

Easy day, finally

I know it seems like all my latest blog posts have been killer workouts but yesterday was an easy swim with AD. She was great to even get in the pool with me, given she didn't want to from the start. I managed to get in 2km, even though it was packed in the lane (damn sincro swimmers) I needed some recovery time before bike class tonight, apparently we're starting some TT work for the next few weeks.

We saw "The diary of Anne Frank" played out by some MRC students, it was really great and makes me appreciate the time and place we live in now. I have no reason to complain about anything in my life given what they went through in WWII. Imagine trying to live on rotten kale and potatoes for two years and never being able to go outside!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Long Runs are Not Supposed to Hurt like That!

Yesterday was a lot more painful than it was supposed to be. I started out okay, nice easy pace out towards Stanley Park and things felt pretty good. My legs were juiced from Saturday's ride and I knew it was going to be tough but the first half hour went quick. After reaching 4th street I started running into a really cold wind and the effort was extremely tough, I could tell that my speed dropped considerably but I was determined to get through it. This is where I started thinking about the run in an Ironman, your legs are tired, you're running into a tough wind, you're feeling depleted, and you just have to KEEP GOING! Don't stop, just think about completing the next five minutes and then the next, and so on...

I reached the top of the hill at River Park and my legs were completely solid, that climb is really steep and the lactic acid burn can really put a damper on your run. I kept shuffling and headed out towards South Glenmore park, one hour down, one more to go. I worked out the kinks in my legs and was going slower but feeling a little better. Once I reached the Rockyview hospital I felt low on calories so I downed a honey stick that AD bought at the farmer's market ages ago and immediately had a stomach ache. I kept running, drank some water and it went away after about 10 minutes. On the way back I hit the wall at 1hr 40 mins, 20 mins to go and I felt like I was in a daze, just trying to put one foot in front of the next, again I started thinking about the next five minutes but this time five minutes took forever! I had chaffing in between my legs, it was really cold out there, and I was starting to bonk, this run needs to end. I kept it up, struggling my way back home and feeling like I had just run a marathon. Another great day of training, is it November or June? Why am I running this hard now? Oh well, supposed to make you stronger, right.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Preparing for "long-run Sunday"

AD and I are having a great weekend, not really training because it's necessary but because we're just trying to stay in shape. Although it's still a little tough to get going when you are really comfortable sitting on the couch and you know you have to get out there for a run that your legs will hate you for. I keep telling myself that it is part of Ironman training, to make your body do a workout even though you really don't feel like it. I know I'll feel better afterwards and I don't really have any time or distance expectations right now so it's nice to run just because I love it.

Friday we did our usual swim and after taking off a week and a half from being in the water, it was a little tough. I got through 3km though and felt a lot better that I was back swimming. Yesterday we rode the bike for 2hrs I was stronger than last week, but it was AD's turn to be tired. We're getting ready to do an hour and a half run this morning and that should wrap up a great weekend of not training, but keeping in shape. I wish all Ironman training was like this weekend, I might actually have time and energy outside of triathlon to have a life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bike Class

Well this week I was a little smarter and took a couple days off before bike class and it paid off. It was a tough class, completing some one-legged drills, a short 4.8 TT, and a 13km 5 hill tough effort for about 25 mins. I felt a lot better this week compared to last and I think taking Monday and Tuesday off had a lot to do with it. Amber and I felt a little guilty missing our regular Friday night swim but every once in a while you just need a "mental break" from the regular training routine.

We've been talking about getting in some cross-country skiing now that the snow has come. We're both hoping to become a lot better than last year, the one time we went out last year we felt like we were skiing backwards.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mental Training Day

Today was a tough day to train, Amber and I were both really tired from this week's workouts and it took everything in each of us to get outside and do our usual long run on Sunday. It was extra motivation to know that Ironman Louisville was on TV today but unfortunately it wasn't being aired in Canada and the bar we went to didn't have it on satellite. We peeled ourselves off the couch around 11:30 and went to work.

The first 10 minutes were okay but when I hit the wind in North Glenmore park it was absolutely horrible! It took everything in me to not stop and turn back home. I knew that days like today are what you need to prepare yourself mentally for an Ironman. I was tired, cold, and barely moving, but I was moving and I needed to keep it up to get through today's training. After descending in the weaselhead area I felt a little better, I was at least out of the wind, but I could tell my body was really tired. I managed to do the reservoir loop in 1:13, not my best day but today was more mental than anything else. I haven't taken a day off since I got back from Toronto so I figure I'm due for one tomorrow, I've just been too excited to ride since I got my bike back.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally! I have my bike back!

Well it seems like I've been apart from my bike for a very long time. I really appreciate Clinton lending me his bike for the past six weeks, I don't think I could have gone that long without riding at all, but now its back and I feel fast again! I picked it up yesterday from Kham at Bow Cycle after delivering him the frame on Tuesday, he was really impressed with the new paint and new components. It seems like it's been a money pit recently but now it's all worth it.

I was so excited to try it out that I jumped on the trainer for an hour right after work. Amber came home to see me suffering on the new ride and she was very excited as well. I finally have the Griffen that I wanted when I bought it from JR three years ago, thanks JR, and no you can't have it back.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Riding in Lance's Last Tour

Sunday AD and I were feeling really lazy in the morning but the nice thing about living with another triathlete is that you can usually motivate one another even when you're not feeling 100%. I motivated her to get on the trainer Sunday morning after our hard race on Saturday and we did two hours of fairly hard effort while watching Lance's last Tour victory in 2005. Watching him, Ulrich, and Basso who always manage to drop everyone else motivates me to work harder, because you know that they were going through a lot more suffering than I could ever imagine.

Seeing the Tour in it's glory days almost makes me forget the tragic events of this year's Tour. I am very happy that Tour officials have taken a hard line against riders who are doping, but it really was sad to see so many elite athletes get kicked out this year. I remain hopeful that one day the sport will be completely clean and that every rider will be tested throughout the year, just like Lance was when he was riding. I laugh at people who say he used drugs when he won his Tours, he was the most tested athlete in the world, while he was riding and during the off season. He tells one story in his book, "Every Second Counts" about officials showing up at his door to do a random drug test when his wife started to go into labor. He was not allowed to take her to the hospital until he completed the test! My God! Give the guy a break, can't you test him after he takes his wife to the hospital?

Today my motivation was lacking, but AD wanted to get in the pool, which forced me to do so as well, thanks babe. I managed to get in 3k and although the pool was really busy, I kept my lane and got in a full hour. It's so nice to be back home!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great way to spend a Saturday!

Yesterday was the third race of the season in the Calgary Roadrunners x-country series, Edworthy park, and I was really looking forward to getting back into some hard training. After killing myself in bike class on thursday, doing a nice easy 3k swim on friday, I wanted to get in a hard running effort. Hard was an understatment of the effort I put in that day! The course starts out fairly easy with a little 1km flat section then there is a steep, twisting downhill section where one of my spikes caught a rock or a tree root and sent me tumbling. Ouch! Great start to the race, my hands were covered in mud and thorns and I had a couple scrapes on my right arm and leg. Oh well, time to get up and get back to the race.

I managed to not lose too much ground, only one guy passed me, and then I hit the big hill. After the first 150m my legs were burning and anyone who's ever run that hill knows that it seems like it's never going to end. I tried to keep driving up at a steady pace but there were times when it was faster to just walk with some long strides. At the top of the hill my legs felt like there was nothing left, but there was still one more lap. I negotiated the downhill the second time without any issues and by the time I hit the uphill the second time I had to walk a lot of the really steep sections. The final stretch back to the start/finish seems like it is going to take forever and it was like I was jogging slowly at that point. I finally saw the finish and I could hear someone coming up on me really quickly, knowing that there were still some really fast guys right behind me I gave it one last sprint for the line. I finished in 29:43 and 4th overall and in my age category. I was happy with my effort but I'm looking for some improvement over the winter as AD and I start back into some run focused training, preparing for the Boston marathon in April.

Amber had a great race as well, finishing 2rd in her very strong age group. She didn't feel up to the swim on friday but a good meal and night's rest and she was ready to race. The next race is Okotoks on December 1st, we missed that one last year so I want to give it another "lung busting" effort.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Payment for Living the Good Life

I arrived back from TO on Wednesday and it was so nice to see AD again and be back home. The facility in King City was beautiful but really isolating, I did whatever I could to keep on track but with catered meals every afternoon and night it's really hard to resist indulging. The plane ride was long and leaving the Kingbridge Centre was the first time I'd been outside in 8 days!

Yesterday in bike class I paid for the lack of training. We did some single leg drills followed up by a short 4.8km rolling course, then 8.5km with a graduating incline 1%- 6%, by the time I hit the 4% grade I was really suffering. I could feel myself getting really lightheaded near the end and my heart rate was consistently above 160 (really high for me). I was quite disappointed to only be pushing an average of 267 watts but I knew I gave it everything I had. AD really impressed me last night, you could tell she hasn't fallen off the wagon with training, she finished right after me only 2mins back and pushed another guy in the class to the point of cracking! She had passed him on the climb and the final section was a long straight away, he was catching up to her and she put the hammer down! Pushing right to her max she was not going to let him catch her and he let up in the final 150m with a cramp. Great job babe!

It feels good to be doing something other than treadmill running and tonight we are going to do our typical long-swim Friday night date. Saturday is the CRR Edworthy cross country so than will be another 8km suffer-fest, my body is going through a little bit of training shock right now, but I know it'll get better I just have to keep at it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Out of my Element

Life has been really tough here in "the compound" I've been just outside of King City, which is about 30 mins from Pearson airport in Toronto and it feels like the middle of no where. I've been learning a lot in regards to my new job and I'm really excited to get started, but the training is really dragging on (probably because I haven't been doing my usual- swim, bike, run with my girl as a "stress relief"). At this point I just want to get home and get back to life with AD, I really miss her.

This place is like a "white collar prison," there are four of us in the training program and none of us have left the compound in seven days! You are treated like a king here, catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner, hotel-like accommodations and snacks throughout the day, but there is nowhere to go! It's a nice facility (it used be a "fat camp") but not really appropriate for a triathlete, I ran all the trails the first day I was here in about 15 mins.

Only four more days here and I'll be back at home, back into my regular routine, I'm looking forward to it!