Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back In the Saddle... Hopefully

It's been a tough couple of weeks, I had fantastic training in January I was swimming, biking, and running three times a week for each discipline. Then one day I went for a swim with Amber and I felt like I couldn't breathe, I tried to run for a bit afterwards but it was no use- I was sick. Arrrggghhh, I have been feeling so good lately that I was starting to think I was invincible but just when you get a little too confident, your body lets you know who's in charge. So for the last couple weeks I've been taking it easy and it was only yesterday where I had a workout where I could say that I feel like I'm back!! Man it felt good.

Sunday Amber and I did our usual 2k- 2.5k swim and then bike, the plan called for a 2.5hr ride but after an hour my legs had given out. I knew it was going to be a tough day, my legs were really sore from the 13 mile run the day before but I never thought I would have to call it quits after an hour. No problem, I'm learning that the training plan is a good guide to keep me on track but it's not set in stone. I can't feel guilty about missing a day or even a few days if my body is not responding to the training. It's better to take the time off and come back fresher and stronger for my next workout. It's taken a while to get that through my head but now that I'm an 'older athlete' (turning 38 on Saturday) I know that my body cannot recover as quickly from hard workouts like it used to. That's okay, Chris McCormak won the IM World Championships last year (at age 38) because he trained smarter, not harder. There is still hope for me yet.

So yesterday the plan called for a 2hr ride and a 15 minute run. I felt bad that I hadn't taken Harley for a walk since Monday so I decided to do the 15 minute run first with him. I'm sure people in the neighbourhood thought I looked ridiculous running in my big boots, snow pants, ski jacket, toque, heavy mitts, face warmer, and ski goggles but it was -22'C and I did not want to be out there long. Harely is always excited to walk when I get home and I didn't want to keep him waiting for another 2hrs until I was finished my ride so it was better to start with a short run. The ride started out okay, but 90 minutes in I started to feel a little lightheaded. I shook it off and drank a little more but 10 minutes later I realized I was bonking hard. I ran upstairs to see what I could eat and I downed about 10 powerbar bites Amber bought on the weekend. My jaw was getting sore from all the chewing but they helped and I started to come around for the final 20 minutes and had a great ride finishing 70kms in the 2 hours.

I hope this means I'm on the mend, I hate down-time and the next couple weeks are going to be the most important for the race. Two weeks of hard training and then two weeks of active recovery and it's go time! I'm looking forward to riding outside as much as I am racing again, I'll give it my best effort and then spend a week laying on the beach and riding the country side with Amber. I can't think of a better way to spend a holiday.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Gift

I think it's easy to go through life day in and day out and forget about how lucky we really are. I'm lucky to live in a country where I can create an incredible life for myself and my family, lucky to have a family who loves me, and lucky to be healthy and happy. I feel truly blessed to have a partner like Amber who understands me and I feel like we have a great marriage. This life really is a "gift" and it reminds me of a quote by one of the greatest runners in American history, Steve Prefontaine. He said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the "Gift." Of course he was talking about his incredible talent on the track but the quote applies to everyone.

All of us have been given a gift and all of us make a decision everyday to develop that gift or sacrifice it. People who see others accomplish incredible things rarely understand the time and effort devoted to those accomplishments. The focus and determination required from those we admire is hidden behind closed doors and is rarely understood. To me the accomplishment is secondary to the mental toughness these people possess. Steve Prefontaine broke every American record in distances between 2000 and 10,000 meters and he lived a very hand-to-mouth existence. He was a world class athlete who lived in a trailer and never made a lot of money but he loved running and he did it to his very best every race he entered. Tragically he died in a car accident at the young age of 24. I can't imagine how far he could have gone had he lived to realize his incredible potential and it reminds me that the gift we are all given is another day on this earth. He was the Lance Armstrong of American running but unfortunately he was never able to realize his 7 Tour victories. So remember to appreciate every day you are here and truly live your life like it is a Gift.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's All About Performance

Training for San Juan in February is all about Performance...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You're EIther Getting Better or Getting Worse, You Decide

That was the quote Amber wrote on our whiteboard in the basement today and it was a good reminder. In life you have to decide which direction you want to take, you have the option to make your life better or worse; physically, emotionally, financially, or professionally, you're either getting better or getting worse. So many people go through life longing for something, they work, they play with their kids, they run errands on the weekends but they describe their lives as being empty. What's missing is a true desire, a true sense of accomplishment. When your life becomes so comfortable that you feel like you are just going through the motions that's when you know that you need to find a tough goal, something to push yourself towards and something to give you what Amber calls "a big scary goal."

Training for San Juan is a big enough scary goal for me this winter I've been working hard and doing all the training inside makes the challange very, very tough. It's always 26 or 27'C and feels like 34 or 35'C with the humidity, yikes! The reason I love triathlon is the fact that most of the training is done outside but winter training in northern Alberta is a tough pill to swallow. However I ask myself as I head out at 6:30am to the pool in -35'C temps "you're either getting better or getting worse, you decide what direction you want your life to take."