Thursday, February 18, 2010

Congrats Babe

When Amber told me she was going to concentrate on becoming an ultra-marathoner this year and step away from triathlon I thought she was crazy. The only thing I really knew about ultras were two things I couldn't stand; 1. Running through the night without sleep, and 2. having your feet look like hamburger afterwards. She was very excited to take a step in this direction but I was a little afraid for her. I didn't want to be nursing her feet back to health after every long run and live with someone who's always grumpy because she is so tired from running all the time. However since she's been training for her first 50km event since 2006 the opposite has happened. She's still been a little sore after the long runs but not nearly like she has been after a marathon, and her feet and calves have held up really well with just a little massage.

It's just a different mindset going to an ultra as opposed to a triathlon. Last Monday I was having a difficult time turning off my 'competitive nature' for HER race. I was ready to start giving her splits and tell her what place she was in and how far away she was from other women in the race but I could tell that none of that was important. She had successfully become an ultra-runner and had learned that racing like a triathlete is not going to mean you will do well and in fact it probably means that you won't finish. The secret to ultra-running is all about consistency, start the race like you finsh it and you will be able to go the distance. We've both read a few books about ultra running and bought a great movie about Badwater and those have really helped put this type of racing into perspective. In fact I'm not sure you can call it racing because its more of a strength of will that does well rather than pure physical ability. They should call it a battle of wills, who ever collapses last wins.

I'm very proud Amber went into her first race with the right mindset and came out feeling pretty good considering the conditions. It was a tough slough with snowy, icy trails but she battled it out with her good friend Celine and completed the 50kms in 5:08. Great work babe, don't worry I'll definitely be your support crew for the next challenge the Blackfoot Ultra in May!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Decision

Well a big decision for a triathlete is deciding to look for a new bike. Should I, or shouldn't I? Big decision for me. Fortunately I have a good friend in GP who works for a local sports store and is a seasoned IM athlete. He called me on Wednesday and said, "there is no one else in Northern Alberta that deserves a bike more than you do. You work hard and you should be on a Trek." Yes Robert you are a good salesman. He played into my ego and I'm still not sure if I "deserve" a new bike but I'm happy other local athlete's think that I do. I do train hard, although being in the pool today I realized I need to start concentrating on becoming a swimmer again it was a very, very hard 2500m.

I'm still debating whether I should get a new bike or not but Robert said he would put together "an unbelievable deal" for me so we'll see what he can come up with. There is a Trek I designed through their Project One sight, it's $10,000 USD but if he can't come down to at least $6,000, forget it. I do like the idea of riding a Trek I've never been a fan of getting the same bike as everyone else (that's why I bought a Griffen) but my bike is now 5 years old and they have not kept up with the latest technology and I want something that is a lot lighter. As much as I liked Griffen when I bought one, now it seems like it's a bit of a beast to get up the big climbs. I've done 5 Ironmans on it and it's served me well but I think its time to move on. I haven't made a final decision yet but I think I'll become a Trek athlete before the next season. There are a lot of GP athletes that ride Trek bikes and there is no way I can show my support for the local community more than becoming one of them. I think it's only a matter of time, they've already sucked me in.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Slowly Feeling Normal Again

I've started to climb out of this haze of being sick and I'm starting to bounce back to normal. I haven't done very much training in the last couple weeks, a couple runs and easy indoor rides but I've had to devote a lot of my time to work. Yesterday I worked 14hrs and it felt like the longest day of my life. I hate it when my job infringes on my personal time, I need to have a few hours every night that I can train and spend some time with Amber. Otherwise I just feel like all I do is work and that's not much of a life. I do enjoy my job but not to the point where I want to be there 14-16hrs everyday. I need my personal time to recharge and feel ready for the next day.

I'll spend the next couple weeks doing some easy training and helping Amber any way I can to get ready for her 50km Ultra on Feb 15th. It'll be nice to see some friends and family in Calgary and just hang out with AD doing some of the things we enjoyed there. I'm also looking forward to seeing Amber race again, I haven't seen her devote this much time to training since Boston 2008. She's running very strong and remaining injury free day after day so I think she's definitely found the secret to what works well for her.