Monday, June 29, 2009

Into Everyone's Life...

Yes everyone must deal with adversity. I firmly believe that those of us that are faced with challenges in their lives and face them with a confident grin are the people who usually win. This weekend has been a true test for Amber and myself. I knew something wasn't feeling quite right on Thursday last week when I met Amber at the pool and said to her, "lets just skip the swim today, I'm bagged." That's not like me, I can usually overcome fatigue but this was different. My muscles were really sore and tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. I had a tough bike workout the previous day so I thought that might be it but I could feel my body trying desperately to fight something off. Wouldn't you know it on Friday I was full-blown sick.

This has been one of the toughest flu's I've had, it simply won't ease up even though I've been doing nothing but resting for the last few days. I did have a good ride planned on Saturday but I knew on Friday that it was not going to happen. It was my last chance to get in a race-pace effort before GWN, I guess I'm going to have to rely on my previous training to get me through. As it turned out I'm glad I didn't ride because Amber called me about an hour and a half into her ride and let me know that she had fallen badly. I was in such a hurry to get out to her I ended up getting a $287 ticket for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign! "Officer did you not hear me, MY WIFE WAS IN A BIKE ACCIDENT AND IS ON THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY BLEEDING!" Amber is pretty beaten up and she'll need to take a few days off but she's still confident she can race.

I'm pretty sure I'll recover in enough time to be 100% on race day, this is my 'A race' for the year and I want to go in as fresh as possible. However it's a little unnerving knowing that you have done little to nothing right before the race. I keep thinking back to the Boston Marathon when I was throwing up every hour all night long because of food poisoning two days before the race and I had my best marathon ever! Think of this as forced rest and your body will bounce back.

What do you think Simon was thinking at the start line of this race when he was up against the guy that beat him in the Olympics. I know he had to face some physical adversity but I'm sure he had on a confident grin and was saying, "let's do this, I'm ready."

Monday, June 22, 2009

All This in Only Three Years Together

It's hard to believe how much better my life has become since I met Amber only three short years ago. I love her more everyday. She put together this wonderful tribute to our little family, thanks babe.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Can a Triathlete be Domestic?

Yes it is possible! I managed to bike 150kms yesterday with Amber and Robert and put the deck boards on our new deck. After taking a couple days off during the week because I was feeling really rough; swollen glands and very, very tired I was a little unsure about training on Saturday. However, I woke up feeling a lot better and had a chance to be lazy in the morning because it was raining. After laying around for a while and taking Harley to his first day at the kennel (which he loved) it cleared up around 10am and Amber was ready to join Robert and I for a long ride.

We headed out towards La Glace (about 50kms away) into a brutal headwind, Robert and I took it fairly easy because we new it was going to be a long day and Amber hung in our draft. The ride out to La Glace was very slow, 2hrs to do 50kms but considering the headwind it was okay. The next 50kms were with a tailwind and I was flying! I kept my heart rate in zone two and I reached Teepee Creek in an hour, that's 100kms in 3 hours. It was a lot of fun, I still felt fairly fresh and I'd finished riding 100kms. Cool! Robert was feeling a little tired from the training he'd done during the week so he was okay with only going 150kms as opposed to the 180kms we had planned for the day. I was okay with it too, I knew the final 25kms were going to be incredibly hard. We made the final turn home and Robert told me he needed to draft, he had nothing left so it was up to me to get us home. I suffered for well over an hour, the wind had picked up to about 40kms/hr in our face so I felt like I was going backwards. I spun as hard as I could and it was so frustrating to go from flying along at 50kms/hr to struggling to maintain 25kms/hr. I made it home completely spent and Robert said he was glad I was there otherwise he would not have made it. That was the longest ride of the year for me and I was happy to be feeling okay afterwards.

Today I did a good 3km swim and spent the rest of the day working on our deck. I'm happy I've made some good progress and now it actually looks like something that complements our house well. Amber did a lot of work in the yard and we put in a solid 8 hours improving our home. There are still a couple things I need take care of before the railing is here in a week, but most of the difficult work is done! Thank God! Who says a triathele can't be domestic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fun In The Sun

It was a great weekend of training even though Amber and I are in the middle of a big deck building project. It's a very tough combination trying to complete house projects, working full time, and training but I think we've managed to do okay. We just have to put the deck boards on and the handrail and it's DONE.

I did get a chance to do a little training over the last few days, no swimming unfortunately but some great bike rides. Friday Amber suggested we take out the new mountain bikes for a spin and we had a great time at the Nordic Centre ripping through the trails while Harley sprinted to try to keep up. He was great for about 40 minutes but then the heat was too much and he just stopped. He went from all-out to complete stop, at least he knows when enough is enough. After a dunk in the river he was okay and Amber and I went out again for another hour while he rested at home.

Saturday I did a run part of the way with Harley and the remainder on my own. It was about 20kms total in 1:20, fairly comfortable pace but I didn't have the energy to keep going. The plan was to get in 2hrs but I'll have to wait until this weekend. Sunday I met up with Robert and a couple roadies and we went out for a hard 120kms. I was pushing the pace a little on the way out, the workout said to do it at 1/2 iron pace so I was sticking to that but on the way back Robert had the energy so he was pushing the pace and I was doing a lot more drafting. It was nice to get in a solid race-pace ride. I'm feeling pretty good about how training is going and other than this deck building project taking all of my additional energy I'm getting in some great workouts. Still need to spend a little more time in the pool and open water but that'll be the focus over the couple weeks leading up to the race, hopefully the weather is cooperative.

Yesterday I wanted to get in another ride before hitting the road again for work (I've determined that taking my bike up to High Level just isn't worth it) but the wind was gusting at about 40km/hr. Arrrrgghhhh! Not again. So I took a page from Amber's book and set up my trainer in the back yard and did a tough spin for an hour. It was kind of nice, it was the first time I'd been on a trainer outside and having the sun on you while the wind is howling isn't too bad. I'm glad I wasn't fighting the wind but still had the chance to be outside on my bike.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

19 Guys- 3 Spots

I received the IMC qualification numbers last week and I'm excited to get out there and race GWN. I really want to push myself and see if I can lock up a spot for Ironman Canada. I wasn't planning on doing an Ironman this year but I really feel lost without some focused training and a BIG goal at the end of the summer. Ironman has kept me focused and healthy throughout the year and it is a real motivator to get on my bike in the middle of winter and kill myself for 2 or 3 hours. I've made such incredible progress with my fitness over the last couple years and I'd like to see how that translates with an Ironman. Last year I was setting PRs at every race and I ended up having a disappointing day in Louisville because of the heat and humidity. This year I'm still setting PRs and if I get the chance to compete in IMC I am going to be FULLY prepared.

It shouldn't be a surprise that I am in the most competitive age category and that 19 guys are going for 3 Ironman spots. I know there is going to be some great athletes there and I'm going to go into the race confident that I can qualify and set another PR. My training is going well, I have no serious health issues I just need to spend some more time in the pool and on my bike and I'll be ready.

Here's the allocation of IMC spots by age category;

Women 18-24 (0 women trying for 1 spot)
Women 25-29 (4 women trying for 1 spot)
Women 30-34 (3 women trying for 1 spot)
Women 35-39 (6 women trying for 2 spots)
Women 40-49 (6 women trying for 2 spots)
Women 50+ (0 women trying for 1 spot)

Men 18-24 (3 men trying for 1 spot)
Men 25-29 (4 men trying for 1 spot)
Men 30-34 (10 men trying for 2 spots)
Men 35-39 (19 men trying for 3 spots)
Men 40-44 (12 men trying for 2 spots)
Men 45-49 (8 men trying for 2 spots)
Men 50-54 (10 men trying for 2 spots)
Men 55-59 (1 man trying for 1 spot)
Men 60+ (4 men trying for 1 spot)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Four Races in Five Weeks- Done and Done

Yesterday was the last race of our early spring season and it was definitely a character building day. It seems all of our races have been in very difficult conditions, other than the Brian Harms race. The GP Tri was cold and rainy and about 2'C, the GP Press Run was in 60-70km/hr winds, and the Hinton Tri was very, very cold as well (Amber's vehicle said it was 0'C when we arrived). After racing in these conditions we should be ready to face anything for the summer, except for really hot weather I forget what that's like.

Well now I feel like the race form is coming back and going into the Hinton Olympic Tri yesterday I wasn't nervous at all. I knew I was going to have a good race, the only thing I was questioning was my swimming. I've made good progress on the bike and my running is better than it has ever been. However I seemed to have hit a plateau in swimming ability. I'm going to keep working on it over the summer but I do feel like I can swim the same time with less effort, maybe that's progress. Swimming 1500m in a pool for a race is not a lot of fun but at least we weren't swimming outside today. I ended up with the 5th fastest swim time of 24:29, 30 seconds slower than last year but I felt very comfortable in the water and exited ready to rock! Instead of completely spent like usual.

Transition took a little longer than normal, I needed to get on a long-sleeved jersey and socks and for those of you who haven't tried to put those things on a wet body, trust me it's not easy. The bike was a bit of a challenge, I knew that it was uphill all the way out but I had no idea that it was also into the wind. I was really disappointed when I saw that it took me 39 minutes to reach the 20km turn around but when I turned around I understood. The tail wind on the way back was pretty strong and I was flying along at 50-55km/hr. Everything was going fine and then at about 30kms I felt my back tire start to slide a little and I knew I had a flat. Damn! I hadn't flatted in a race for a very long time so I guess it was my turn. I struggled trying to get my tire off with frozen hands and it was a bit frustrating but I never thought of giving up and I was still thinking that I could still win if I could get it changed quickly enough. However it took a good 6 or 7 minutes before I was back on the road and 4 guys had passed me. I was now riding a little angry and I hammered all the way home and made up ground on one guy (the guy I sold my race wheels to actually).

When I hit transition I ran like I was really determined not to go down without a fight. I approached the mile long climb after the first kilometer and just put my head down and shuffled up. I felt like I was barely moving but I was passing people so I know that I wasn't the slowest one out there. I passed two more guys on the climb and by the 4km mark I passed the first guy in my heat. I was now back in the lead of my heat but I knew Dennis (a good friend and training partner from GP) had an excellent race so I still gave it everything I had to try and close the gap. I ended up the day with the fastest run time 37.13 on a very tough course but came in second overall. I'm not disappointed I know I gave it everything I had on that day and flatting out there is all a part of the race. I'm responsible for checking all my gear before the race and I was at fault for filling my tires the day before insead of right before the race. I take nothing away from Dennis, he had an excellent race and he deserved to win I'm really happy one of us from GP won it!

Amber also had a good day despite battling a leg injury all week and almost sitting out because of it. She found the cold a little tough to take but she fought hard and made it through with a 2:36.38. Great job babe! Now it's time to prepare for a "focus race" GWN in four weeks.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gearing Up To Race Again!!

I'm on the road again this week spending two days in Whitecourt, one in Edson, and the weekend in Jasper with a race in Hinton on Sunday. I know I'll be pretty spent after the last five weeks, Amber and I will have completed four races and although they're not incredibly long the short-intense efforts definitely take a lot out of your body. It's a great way to start the season and have you focused on racing again, it took the first race to light the fire in Amber's belly but now she's feeling like she wants to have a strong season and set some new PR's!! We both had an incredible half marathon last Sunday and it's nice to go into the year feeling like all the work you put in over the winter was worth it.

This week I'm trying to concentrate on sharpening up my swimming. I'm a little concerned that I won't be able to pull off a 24 minute 1500m like I did last year. It's so important to have a strong swim in an Olympic or Sprint race because there is not a lot of room for error and if you find yourself 3 or 4 minutes back, you're out of it. I did a fairly easy 2.5km swim on Sunday and another 3kms this morning and felt really good. I have to remind myself that I don't need to push the pace during the workout, the point is to just get a good "feel" for the water and go into the race relaxed and fresh. I want to get in another swim tomorrow morning in Edson and probably one more in Jasper on Friday.

The key this week is to rest!! I always tend to do a little more than necessary leading up to a race and unfortunately all this does is make me more tired. After 3 races in 4 weeks I need to scale back this week and not feel guilty about it. Just trust that I've done enough and I'll have a fantastic result. There is a big contingent from Grande Prairie racing in Hinton this weekend and I'm really excited to see how well everyone is going to do!! Amber and I love this race and with all the hard training everyone has been doing in GP everyone else is going to wonder why all the GP athletes are walking away with all the hardware. I hope everyone has a great race and safe and wonderful day, this is what makes all the training worthwhile!