Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dreaming of Summer

I know it's probably not healthy to be thinking about summer vacation plans at the beginning of December but I need some sort of 'event' or goal to be excited about. We are right in the middle of packing and making the move to Calgary and it's a lot of work so I'm thinking about all the things to look forward to in 2015 with the family. The highlight of our summer is definitely going to be our 'Tour BC' type bike trip through SE B.C. and SW Alberta, 7 days of camping and riding with the family in an RV doing some excellent training and having fun with Amber and Ryder. I have a lot of great 1/2s planned in 2015 too so getting back into swim-bike-run shape is going to be a challenge but one I look forward too. The only thing that was missing in our lives in GP was having family close by to watch Ryder for a while. It's very hard for a couple like us who need time to ourselves to just decompress from the day with training to always have at least one of us taking care of Ryder at all times. I think with my parents nearby it's going to make things a lot easier, Amber could take an hour or two during the day to train and I could take some time after work and we'd still all have time together as a family.

Tentative schedule for me next year is; Florida 70.3 (registered), Calgary 1/2 marathon, Chinook 1/2 IM (possibly), Calgary 70.3 (registered), Challenge 1/2 (registered)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Mental Race

All of us who have raced for a number of years know the importance of preparing for a race mentally as well as physically. The physical preparation for a race seems rather easy and straight forward but what does it mean to prepare mentally? Being prepped for a race mentally means not letting all of the issues in life that are designed to throw you off your perfect race from derailing your plan on the day you need to be ready. Most of the excuses I hear from athletes are completely preventable, even some of those that athletes feel are out of their control. Of course when we have a bad race we look for reasons why, I ate something bad the night before... Why? You should know exactly what type of foods are going to cause you issues and stick with the ones that won't, controllable. I got a flat on the course... This happens to everyone and although it's unfortunate you should know exactly the perfect tire pressure for you and your bike that will let you go fast while being able to handle a rough course. There is never going to be a course that doesn't have some debris and your bike should be able to go over most of it, flats of course happen and you should be able to change it quickly and efficiently so as not to ruin your race. I couldn't get in the amount of training required to race to my potential. Ok why? Did you choose a race that didn't take into account your work, family, life outside of racing? You are in control of when and how often you race and you should be the one to critically evaluate what races are going to be your "A races" and what if any are going to be your "B or C races."

Things always happen in life and in racing and we have to be honest with ourselves as to what our expectations are. When I flatted in Prince George this year and I knew I couldn't continue because of a shredded tire, sure I was disappointed at the time but I after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized that racing is a privilage and getting a flat in one race is not the end of the world. Most people would love to live the life of adventure that training and racing brings me and I need to be happy that I am 1. physically able to do what I do and 2. have the mental discipline to continue to keep myself fit and fast at my age.

Mentally preparing for your season is as important as physically preparing and I think too many athletes focus on the physical and just think the mental part of it will take care of itself on race day. Visualizing your perfect race, going through your race plan before, dealing with issues as they come up quickly and efficently as well as keeping your cool are all things that are going to help you have a great race and a great season. Most of the excuses we come up with boil down to things that we can control and for those that we can't we should have a plan in place so that we know how we are going to deal with them when they happen.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Loving the Off-Season

Ryder enjoying our time at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary

It's been a nice couple of months I've been running when I want to run, swimming occassionally and haven't been biking at all. I don't feel stressed about not training and I know I needed a break, even though I didn't do a lot of racing last year the racing I did was very intense and it took some time to recover. I've been able to spend more time with family and my back injury is finally starting to feel a bit better. I went out for a little trail run this week and all of the sudden my foot starts hurting, nice thing about this time of year though is I'm not stressing about getting it fixed and I'll just rest it and it will heal itself.

Ryder's been lots of fun but quite a challenge, he's in this 20 month sleep regression and has kept his parents up a lot recently. I'm looking forward to a time when he'll sleep in his own bed but I don't see that happening anytime soon. For now I'm going to take another week off, wait for the time change and hopefully that will help me get out of bed earlier so I can finally get to the pool on time. I've been sleeping in every morning because of a crappy night's sleep.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Time For a Change

Feeling the cold weather coming
There are certain times in your life when you know you need to make a change and for us the time has come. After nearly 7 years in Grande Prairie and experiencing all of the highlights of my life I know it's time to make the move back to Calgary, it's the best for me and my family. When Amber and I originally came up here we had the intention of staying 3-4 years, but life was so good here and we had so many close friends that it was tough to justify changing. Well now I feel like we are in a much better position than we were when we came up and we can handle a lot of the challenges that we will face by making the move. I'll be very excited to be close to my Mom and Dad and I know they are over the moon happy to be closer to Ryder. I've gotten the approval for a new Financial Planner position in Calgary and we bought a house in Tuscany.

I'm really going to struggle with leaving all my close friends/training buddies behind and they are all really sad that I'm leaving but I know this is the right move for us long term. I'll look forward to training in all the old familiar places again, Powderface climb, Cochrane to Bragg Creek, Calgary to Banff rides and some amazing trail runs in Kananakis. I have 3- 70.3s planned for next year so it'll be my year to get back into 1/2 Iron shape again and of course spend lots of quality time with Amber and Ryder in an amazing city.

Friday, September 19, 2014

End of the Season

Ryder getting ready to run with Mommy
It's always a little sad when the weather starts to shift and the mornings get darker and cooler but 2014 turned out to be a fantastic season for me. Even though I didn't get to race as much as I would have liked I won every race I entered (aside from a mechanical in Prince George) and had lots of extra time with Amber and Ryder. Focusing on short course racing this year was the right thing to do and even though I wasn't training very long, the hard intense training really broke me down to the point where my body knows that there is no more racing left in it. I did want to cap off my season with the GP Fall Classic 10k but I've been struggling with a back injury for the past couple weeks so I know it's time to stop, rest and recover.

I'll take a good month off all training of any kind and then later in October or early November I'd like to start hitting the weights again, at my age doing some really good strength work in the off season is critical to staying injury free during the race season. It's absolutely amazing how unforgiving my body has been after turning 40, if I don't eat, drink, sleep, or recover right I really struggle to stay healthy and keep training and racing. I only did 4 races this year and I'm not sure I could have done any more, I would have liked to do maybe one more Olympic but the thought of travelling to Banff or Vancouver with Ryder was just not appealing.

The little man is becoming more independent though, he's incredibly fun to hang out with and to watch him grow and change so quickly just blows my mind. We are throughly loving being parents and had him at the perfect stage in our lives, sometimes we wonder why we didn't do it earlier when we had more energy but I think things worked out the way they were supposed to. Ryder and I will cheer on Amber as she races the Fall Classic this Sunday and she has been so devoted to her running that I know she is going to have a great 1/2 marathon in Calgary on October 19th. For me it's time to rest and do some off-season work when the time is right.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Peace River Tri 2014

Ryder and me pre-race enjoying the atmosphere
This is the 3rd time I've competed in the Peace River Sprint Tri and I have to say it was the best conditions yet. Normally it's too late in the season to get nice weather to race in but although it was cool, by 9:30am it had warmed up to a comfortable 13'C and it made for a great day. It's nice to attend these smaller, faster events to keep the training fresh and different- I wasn't expecting to PR here I didn't have Joe pushing me on the bike but Richard and I were doing our best to keep each other honest. I don't think my HR got below 160 all race except for the first 700m of the swim.

Having only 3 SR athletes there was a bit different, last year there were 8 of us and we all placed in the top 10. This year we placed 1st and 2nd males and 1st female with Liz there. I love the short course races for the fact that it doesn't break you down for days afterwards but I have to say that my body is probably more adept at longer distances now. It's very, very painful to hold that effort for an hour straight. The swim was pretty straightforward, I was the last to start and given Richard and I swim at about the same pace I drafted off him for the 1st 700m and when he started to get tired I took the lead and put a 30sec gap on him by the end.

The bike was a lot more comfortable this year with milder temps but I just cannot seem to push any more watts no matter how specific my training is, 254W is what I averaged. It was great having Amber and Ryder there cheering me on but Ryder is not typically up at 6am and he was a bit of a bear all day. Coming off the bike my legs felt like I had just finished 2000 squats and I almost collapsed but I eased into the run and managed to have an excellent one- 17:43, my fastest run on that course. All in all it was a fantastic race and great season, I only have the Fall Classic 10k later in September and that'll be m season. Pretty low key this year but I'm glad I took a 'down year' to spend more time with Ryder and it's such an incredible feeling to go undefeated all year, 4 wins is more than I could have hoped for at the beginning of the season.
Running to the win and a 17:43 5k

Finishing in 1:01.10 just 13sec shy of last year

Speed Rev Crew 1st, 2nd male and 1st female

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer's End

Ryder and Dad hanging out in the park

The last race of the season is always a little bittersweet, on the one hand your body is relieved to have a bit of a break from the training regime but on the other hand you realized the warm summer weather doing the things you love is coming to an end. It's been a great summer, I've been focused on short-course training and although it doesn't take as much time it seems like my body has been breaking down with all the hard-fast efforts. My final tri is this Sunday in Peace River, a little sprint race that I've done twice before and it's always a fun affair with a lot of local athletes coming out. This year many of them have other commitments so only Richard and I are racing but Amber and Ryder are coming out to cheer me on so it'll motivate me to race hard and fast.

The Speed Revolution family cheering at the Calgary 70.3

I've been trying very hard to keep my workouts hard and fast- interval style to keep my speed up but after a couple weeks of training like that my body was really hurting. I needed a full 4 days off just to get back to normal and fortunately this week has just been some light running and swimming. I did a 'sprint tri' with the boys on Saturday and was okay with my swim and run but a little disappointed with my bike, I was pushing as hard as I possibly could and I could barely hold on to the wheels in front of me. I haven't done as much biking as I normally would have this time of year so I shouldn't be surprised but I hope I have better legs on Sunday.
Selling the HED3's is heartbreaking
I've also decided to sell my tri-spokes, these H3's are the fastest wheel set I've ever owned and I'm a little hesitant to sell them but after getting flats in two races and having it cost me two wins I think I need to admit I just don't have good luck with them. My current wheel set is still fast and better on a hilly course but on a flat TT style course the HED 3s cannot be beat, I'm sure it adds at least an extra 1-2kms/hr. They will find a good owner I'm sure and someone that knows how to put the tires on properly! I'll update on how the race in Peace River went, I'm very excited to do it we'll see if I can pull out another win!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes You're the Nail

The GP Boys trying to show the PG athletes how it's done

The title of this post was supposed to be 4 for 4 being my 4th race of the year and 4th win but unfortunately sometimes things don't go quite according to plan. I was super excited to go to Prince George and race again there, I did the race in 2008 and I remember it being one of the TOUGHEST tri's I've ever done and it was the same this year. Bart agreed to come with me so we made it a short weekend road trip and represent Speed Revolution in PG. We left early Saturday morning and two hyper-hydrated athletes driving 6hrs made for a lot of bathroom stops. We got there and immediately went to the bike check where I pulled my bike out of Bart's truck filled up the tires and heard the dreaded pushhhhhhhhhhhh come from my rear wheel. Ugh, well at least we were at a bike shop where I could get it fixed. Went through the bike check and package pick up and headed out to check out the lake. We previewed the bike and run and Bart was a little deflated seeing how tough it looked, the bike is constantly climbing (or at least feels like it) and the run was a 500m flat, 2k uphill, 2k downhill, 500m flat, repeat. Well we weren't going to set any speed records on this course but it is going to sort out who has been training and who hasn't.

Bart getting ready to rock! Placed 8th in 2:44
The morning of the race was fantastic, very casual we got there at 7am (which is 8am our time) and the race didn't start until 9am. There was plently of room on the bike racks, there was an announcer for the entire race (amazing for a small race), there was electronic timing where your time showed up on a TV screen as soon as you crossed the mat, and the lake, volunteers, and other racers were great. It was my first and only open water swim this year so I was hoping to have a good one in the wetsuit. There was no one around me the entire swim and with only 30 people in the Olympic there wasn't anyone to draft off of. I just maintained my rythmn and tried to stay in a straight line and was absolutely amazed to hear the announcer say I was the first 'non-team' athlete out of the water. Wow nice, well that was my weakest discipline and I just swam a 21:34, I think the course must have been a little short because even with a wetsuit a 23:00 1500m is really good for me.

Now on to the ride where I could build my lead a little. The climb out of the lake was absolutely brutal, I was in 1st gear and griding away for 2kms my heart rate was in my throat and I was thinking this is not a good way to start but you really had no choice. Finally getting on to the main road (which I never saw a car on) we decended for about 5kms, turned around and went back up past the lake and continued climbing approximately another 13kms. I passed the team swimmer that was in front of me and noticed there were still 2 Duathletes I could try to close on. As I made the 180' turn to come back to the lake I heard it again, pushhhhhhhhhh, ugh no, not now!! I pulled out the change kit and changed it quickly there were about 3 guys that passed me but I was pretty confident I could catch them on the run. I replaced my change kit before the race an was trying a new CO2 adapter and unfortunately it didn't fit in the valve cut out and I ended up wasting the 2 cartridges I had. Well the win was over for me but a bike support guy came by and filled up my tire with a pump but immediately it blew again. At that point I noticed the bead of my tire was completely shredded to pieces and I could do nothing but get a ride back and call it a day.

That's some tough riding

31km/hr over 25k, wow that's a hard ride

It's not normal for me to see numbers this low but given the course and where I was placed I'm not too surprised. I was in the perfect position for a great run but never got the chance, oh well it's all apart of racing just learn from it and come back to hopefully go for the win at the final race of the season, Peace River Sprint August 24th.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

3 for 3

Anyone who tells you that winning a race is easy- is dead wrong. It doesn't seem to matter how small or how remote a race is, when I get on that start line I'm giving it absolutely everything I have. The Grande Prairie tri is our local race and I decided to line up finally after sitting out for 2 previous years because of injury in 2012 and Ironman in 2013. There were only 30 people in the Olympic distance but you never know who is going to be there and if a speedy triathlete from Calgary or Edmonton is going to run away from everyone else. That being said I had no real concern about what place I was going to finish but I did want to try to race to the best of my ability.

It's been a long time since I'd done an Olympic distance race and I wasn't sure how my legs would respond after a hard 40k ride. I'd done a few tough 40k rides in training but the one time I tried a brick I think I was fighting something because I only lasted 1km before I had to call it a day. So the morning of the race everything was going perfectly, I brought my trainer and warmed up for 20 minutes in transition and completed all the necessary pre-race rituals.

Paul and I coming into transition
The swim went absolutely perfect, there was a female swimmer in front of me and we traded drafts on and off for about 700m until she started to fade and I just held my own pace. I was shocked to see at the end I had the fastest swim but I guess getting up 3 times a week at 6am to swim is finally paying off. It wasn't a stellar time from a swimmer's perspective but for me doing a 23:49 in a 50m pool is very good. On the bike I felt like I just couldn't get any speed for the first 10k and I knew that it was a slow steady climb with a slight headwind but I just tried to maintain my rhythm and get to the turn to head south. I passed a few people who were doing the sprint in the first 5k but after that I didn't see anyone until the turn around. I knew I was riding fairly well but after a hard initial 10k I thought that my chances of setting a PR today were over. I kept pushing while not going completely anaerobic and now I was seeing the 44-45kms/hr I was expecting during the first 10k. I felt really good during the rest of the ride and when I got to the sprint turn around I was elated to start passing other riders again. At the end of the ride my legs were dead but it was a race and I just needed to block out the pain and have a fast transition. I was thrilled to see Amber and Ryder there cheering me on and it got me going for the run.

Trying to get my shoes on after a hard 40k is tough
Chasing after Paul
The run was very painful, I normally don't think the Musko trails are that big a deal even though they are gentle rollers but today they were sucking the life out of my legs. I passed some more sprint racers and saw a lot of the fast guys at the sprint turn around. After that it was pretty lonely out there and hard to stay motivated but I kept telling myself to keep my rhythm and maintain my pace. The turn around was completely unprepared and they didn't have any water ready... ugh. The run back was painful, I wasn't prepared for 2 hours of racing and my body was breaking down. I felt like I was shuffling and didn't have much left to finish the final 5k but when you see the other athletes running toward you, you suck it up and keep pushing.

I ran through the finish completely thrilled to win and was ecstatic to find out later I set a new Olympic PR by 9 seconds with a 2:05.20! All the other Speed Revolution racers were doing the Sprint distance and everyone had a great race. It was an incredible experience and one I'll remember for a long time, winning is always rewarding and winning 3 races out of 3 is beyond all my expectations. I hope to do the rest of the Pomeroy series races in Prince George and Peace River, it's going to be a great summer.

$150 Gift Card for the win!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2 for 2

Robert and I pre-race

This weekend was the first Tri of the year, the Fort St. John Sprint. Having kids has definitely changed not only the amount and way that I train but also my pre and post race routine. Robert and I drove the 2+ hours to Ft St John the morning of the race instead of spending the night and bolted back home right when it was over. Of course our wives didn't want us to waste the whole day racing so it was okay with us to drive, race, drive and get home in decent time.

Racing with Robert is always a good time and we spent the 2hrs talking about how the race would go, what we wanted from the day but also the fact that no matter what the result we are incredibly lucky to still do the things we love at this stage of our lives. Although our Ironman days may be behind us we still are very fortunate to still be able to compete in some Sprint and Olympics during the year. I think things will change dramatically at the end of July for Robert (he and his wife are expecting their 2nd) but it is a great feeling to still be active and healthy in our early 40's (me) and late 30's (him). We had a few Speed Revolution racers with us and it was a great time had by all.

Ross and Sonya coming out for some Ft St John fun
A race this size is always a ton of fun and there is absolutely no pressure but you still get the 'pre-race adrenalin' rush- one of the feelings I love before a race.

A crowded swimming pool made getting out to T1 tricky
I started at the back of the swim heats and it was in the format of once a lane empties, 5 of us fill up the lane. It was a 750m swim and I paced myself fairly well, passed Robert within the first 2 laps and once near the end and surprised myself by coming out with the fastest swim of the day at 11:15. Yes it's true the non-swimmer has actually trained into a 1/2 decent swimmer but if you do races small enough you are bound to get lucky once in a while. It's unbelievable to think about the fact that I once was just hoping to get through the swim without loosing too much time and now I'm actually seeing it as one of my strengths, crazy! There have been races where I wouldn't have won or placed as well if it wasn't for my swim, that just blows my mind.

The bike was a lot tougher than I expected, I've been training on fairly flat fast courses and I think I just wasn't prepared as well for the rolling nature of the course and didn't really have the bike I was looking for. Irvin was right behind me at the bike turn around and was closing fast, fortunately I barely held him off before the transition and as I started running out he was just riding in. He has been gearing up for a 1/2 Ironman this weekend so he is in incredible bike shape and I haven't had as much time in the saddle as I usually do but I managed to be within 40s of his time, 43:08 bike. Considering this is his home course I'll call that a victory, he also started racing with the Speed Revolution crew so it was okay with me to have the 2 fastest people in the race battling it out.

When I started running my legs had the usual, holy crap what the hell is wrong feeling, but I looked at my 1st km split and it was 3:34 so I know it was just my mind telling my body to stop. The run went up this trail that was a little rise and single-track gravel so it got the heart pumping immediately and made it tricky when people were running at you as you were running out. The 6km run was a bit of a leg burner and not as flat as I've been training on but I still managed a decent run with a 21:27 6k. All in all a 1:15.49 was a great time and although I was hoping for a sub 1:15 I didn't expect the bike to be that challenging. Great start to the tri season and excellent way to shake the rust off for the GP Olympic this weekend.

11:15 Swim, 43:08 bike, 21:27 run- Great Race!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1st Win of 2014

Yesterday was the Grande Prairie Press Run 1/2 Marathon and I was very excited to get the win, especially considering the lack of long run training. It's been a tough few weeks leading up to the race work, family, travel have taken up the majority of my time by I've managed to squeeze in a few runs but only a couple 21k's outside. Most of my training runs were in the 12-14km range and it's a long way to race when you've been training 2/3rd's of the distance you are racing. Needless to say I felt great for the first 10k, heart rate was under control, legs felt really good, and pace was right on track at about 3:45mins/km. When I got to the turn around however I knew it was going to be tough to hold on. There are some small rollers at about 12 & 13k and they just zapped my legs.

I was really struggling when I got to the 14k mark and was just in damage control mode after that. The rest of the race was a real mental battle and I needed to take a couple short walks just to get the heart rate under control but the final 1/3rd meant I wasn't going to meet my goal time of 1:20 or less. I wasn't too worried about my time, I knew I was giving it everything I had and based on my training it's definitely what I knew was going to happen. I just held on the best I could and was glad I opened a 4min gap in the first 10k, the 2nd half I didn't gain any time but didn't lose any either. Finished with a great 1:21.05 and my 4th win at this race.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Balancing Act

Ryder in his new Speed Revolution Tech T
It's really tough being a father and an athlete but I do my best to be good at both. I know sometimes things get out of balance but I make sure I have enough time in my schedule to do the things I love and spend time with my family. I came to a big realization last weekend, maybe I was getting a little too 'into' my training and I wasn't pulling the numbers I was hoping for but I finally had the slap across my face to give my head a shake and just be appreciative of the time I do have to train. I said to myself if this is causing you to be depressed or to have more stress in your life then why are you doing it? The truth is I absolutely love training and racing but I love my family more and if one causes stress on the other then just don't do it. I don't know if I can ever see myself not racing at different points in my life, but there are times when it needs to take a backseat. I do feel like I spend quite a bit of time with Amber and Ryder but it's tough when the day is filled with laundry, cleaning, yard work, repairs and chores. There never seems to be enough hours in the day. I want to keep this year fun and fresh, light and easy and that's why I made the decision to not race IM Calgary 70.3 this year. The truth is that I don't think any IM events are healthy for a relationship unless you can do it with your spouse, at least not for me.

Ryder with the new Speed Revolution bottles
I'm still hoping I can do some local races and get in my training and racing 'fix' but it'll be a lot easier not to have to worry about when I'm going to get in my 3hr ride and 2hr run. I just want to hang out with my family and friends and be active doing it. I put away my Garmin, heart rate monitor, and now I'm just going out and treating every swim, ride or run like it's my first one. Remember when you had no expectations about how your run 'should have' gone and you were happy to do the training and felt excited about getting it done. That's what I'm feeling again, it's nice to just put away my expectations and forget about hitting certain targets before IM and just feel active and healthy again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Run Focus

It was a fantastic week of run focused training, I managed to tick off 58kms during a week when the wind was averaging 40kms/hr and the snow returned on Friday and Saturday. I had to be a bit flexible with my schedule but Amber and Ryder were away from Wednesday to Sunday so I had quite a bit of free time. I missed them terribly but I fell into a groove of training and taking care of Harley and the time passed really quickly. This was the first time I felt like my run shape was starting to come back and I was really excited to see what fitness gains this would bring.

I started off the week a little conservative a 10k run with Harley in about 40mins, then 5k Tuesday with 2x1kms intervals thrown in there- it was extremely difficult with the wind blasting you in the face and that's why I kept it to 5k. By Wednesday I couldn't handle another fight with the wind so I did a tempo 8k on the treadmill and held 10.5M/hr so I was feeling pretty good about how things were progressing. Thursday I met Robert at his work for some more 1km intervals and he was doing the same run focus but instead of feeling stronger as the week went on he was starting to break down. We managed to bang out 3x1km at about 3:33-3:39 mins/km pace for a total of 7k and I was feeling so good I took Harley out for another 5k with a couple more intervals thrown in there. On Friday I couldn't believe how good I felt and I probably overdid it a little bit, seeing that the week was almost over I decided to do the regular Friday swim 20x50m, bike 40k at a tempo pace, then run 8kms on the treadmill. By the time I was done all of it, I was DONE... I laid around trying to think how I was going to recover for tomorrow's run. I was hoping to do a 13 miler but there was no way feeling like this.

Saturday I woke up still feeling a bit rough but decided to meet Bart at the Multiplex for a treadmill run at 8am. If I was still going to run I would rather get it over with early. I hopped on the treadmill and tried to ease into it but I could tell my legs were absolutely toast. I know it was from the bike the day before and I should have just kept it to running and swimming but my ego got the best of me and I caved to the desire to try to keep doing all 3 sports at once. I managed to slug out 15kms in an hour but it was not pretty and afterwards I felt like death. I laid around for the rest of the day and just recovered.

All in all however I'm really pleased with my week, I'll do one more run focused week at the end of April and hopefully that will get me into race readiness. I'd like to do a couple 'race pace' kms on the actual course so I don't go out too hard like I always seem to do. If I can nail down that 3:43 mins/km pace and hold it I should have an excellent result, if not it'll be another 10 mile sufferfest.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Back in the Groove

Well after the never ending winter, the weather stayed in the -20'c to -25'c for the entire month of March it seems like it's finally broken. It's starting to feel like spring again and the snow is very slowly melting away. Ryder and Amber were very sick for the past week and there wasn't a lot of sleep going on in our house but Amber's recovered and Ryder is just a little stuffy. Training has gone pretty well for me under the circumstances and I've had some solid swims, 1/2 decent indoor rides and some tough runs. The running is the toughest to take because I've been feeling invincible on the treadmill and did a 1:18.03 21k the last week of March but as soon as I got outside WOW, it was tough. True the trails are still icy and the wind has been howling but I thought running 4:00/km would feel a lot easier. It's not that I don't feel like I could do it but when I do have an outdoor run my legs feel like I just finished a marathon. I know I just need more outdoor runs and I'll adapt but it's tough to take mentally when I'm gearing up for a race in 5 weeks. I'll get there I'm very confident of that but I need to put in a couple run focused weeks to jump start it, that will be this week and the last week of April, first week of May. The Brian Harms 10 miler is on May 11th and it's a new course this year so I think I can break my 2010 PR of 58:45 and finish around 58:00. It's a flatter and faster course and I need the confidence for the upcoming race season, this year is shorter faster racing so to get a good start would set me up for a great year. A week later is the Jasper training camp and the following week is the Press run 1/2 marathon so if things go well and I prepare properly I should have an excellent May. I think it would be tough to break 1:16 in the 1/2 but to do a sub-1:20 would be a fantastic result for me, post injury. We'll see how training goes in April and if I can have some solid runs, paced properly then I'll have an excellent season.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March Training

Suffering in the basement still...

Training in March was going so well during the first couple weeks, I was getting in some consistent (but short) workouts in all three disciplines. I had a fantastic brick on the 13th riding 40k on the computrainer in about 1:04 and then knocking off 5k on the treadmill in 17:13, doing 10m/hr for the first mile, 11m/hr for the second, and 12m/hr for the final mile. I was feeling so good about my progress and upcoming season that something had to bring me back to reality. The next day I started to feel that my glands were a little swollen after the swim I was struggling with so I decided to take the weekend off so my body could fight this thing. Unfortunately it was a lot worse than I expected, my throat was raw and sore so I went to the doctor on Monday. She didn't confirm that I had strep throat but Amber and I suspect it so I was put on antibiotics immediately. All this week it has been the worse experience I've ever gone through, I haven't eaten much all week because every time I swallow it feels like an electric shock through my body, if food is involved it's worse. After a few days of not eating much I feel extremely weak and tired and I can't even imagine training again. It's extremely frustrating but it's just something I have to wait out. I have a few races I've signed up for but feeling like this it seems that being on the start line ready to go is about a million steps away. I know I'll get better I just have to wait this one out. With any luck I will get in some solid training in April and be ready for the spring running races in May. I've signed up for the Brian Harms 10 miler, Press Run 1/2 Marathon, Fort St. John Sprint tri, and the GP Olympic tri. That should get me motivated leading into Calgary 70.3 where I hope to have my best race.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bike Baby Bike

I treated myself to a 41st birthday present and finally got a road bike. Found this baby for $2500 on Pink Bike and it's never been ridden, it was a demo bike for a shop outside of Toronto and it's amazing. 15lbs is under UCI regluation weight so I guess I won't be going pro anytime soon. I just wanted something I could ride in the early spring when it's wet and dirty out that I wouldn't mind getting messed up. Now that I have it I'm not sure I want to get it dirty but I'll have to get over that. I cut the seat post, changed the seat, handlebar tape, put speedplays on it and changed the stem and it's ready to go. It's an incredible ride now I just need the weather to change, one more week of this brutal winter and it should get back to normal for this time of year.

Training in February went surprizingly well, I was pretty consistent except for the week went I was sick. My swimming is feeling really good, I'm not quite ready to 'race' 1500m yet but I'll get there. The biking is coming back I've been consistently doing about 8-9 bikes a month but only for an hour. Yesterday was the first 90 minute bike I've done since September and I felt pretty good, I started to get a little bonky at the end but that is to be expected for this time of year. Running has been fairly good, I haven't been doing as much as I'd like to but a couple runs a week seems to maintain my run fitness and I need to be careful because I did a 10 mile run last weekend and my achillies was hurting again. I'll keep it short for the time being and slowly ramp up the distance again as I move outside.

I'm excited for the season to begin I've signed up for the GP Olympic race already and I heard Calgary is pretty much sold out now. If I can have a great start in June with a couple shorter races I'll work on the endurance I need to have a solid race in Calgary and hopefully qualify for Montreal. There are 5 of us Speed Revolution guys racing in Calgary so it'll be fun to watch. For now I'll watch that I don't get injured and keep building a good base, April and May will be a lot of speed work and June- July more endurance work.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family Life- One Year Later

Meeting Ryder for the first time
Most of the people I talk to say the biggest change in your life happens after you've had a kid, that is probably the most accurate statement I've ever heard. However I never thought becoming a Dad would fundamentally change who I was, I would still love to train and race, accomplish big goals at work and have time for my family. When Ryder was first born he was very needy, just like any newborn, and there wasn't a lot I could do for him or with him. Amber's life changed immediately and she was now the primary caregiver but I continued to do my thing, all be it with a lot less sleep.

Ryder at 3 months
Me and the Little Man at the end of Calgary 70.3
As the months went by I started to become more fond of the little guy, he was becoming a little less dependent on his Mom and a little more interactive. I loved the fact that he wanted to try to stand up at a very early age and I would try to teach him to walk any chance I could get. Amber would make fun of me because I would show him how to step before he could even crawl. Still I was having a little more fun with him everyday. During this time I was also training for Coeur d'Alene and it was hard on Amber to have to do almost everything. I had a rough Ironman but a very good season of shorter races after that, from there I realized that having a family and Ironman training are not compatible. I enjoyed the rest of the 2013 season, training enough to enjoy racing and racing an excellent 1/2 IM and sprint tri in Peace River.

Now I really enjoy spending time with Ryder and look forward to seeing him everyday, I still see myself training and racing in 2014 but it feels different this year than every other year. I don't really look forward to 6 hour rides like I used to and I'm not planning on doing any. This year I see myself training for 2-3 hours early in the morning and then having the rest of the day with Amber and Ryder. Having a family definitely changes your outlook on what you see as important and although I would still like to race well, having fun seems a lot more important this year.
Happy Family

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fun in the Sun

Family Time at the Market

After my last post people must have been thinking I'm getting depressed with this long cold winter and that was probably true, what was needed was a nice warm holiday where you live in shorts and t-shirts. Last week the family and I took a much needed vacation to Los Ayala, Mexico about 65kms north of Peurto Vallarta and it was fantastic. Aside from me catching a terrible stomach bug on Tuesday and wiping out one full day of holidays it was a terrific time. The flight took us from GP to Fort MacMurray to Puerto Vallarta in a total of about 8hrs including a 2hr delay in Ft Mac. not easy with a 1yr old who thinks he's a tasmanian devil, spinning in circles all flight long. It was soooo nice to feel the warm Mexican air and sun on our pale white faces that we didn't really care about the travel drama.

I was incredibly stoked to be able to run every morning but the first day I made the mistake of waiting until about 10:30 to go and it nearly killed me. I got home and was wasted after only 40 mins of running. After that I made sure I was back before 9-9:30 before it got too hot. The place we stayed with Amber's parents was fantastic in a little fishing village with calm waters and I managed to get in a couple swims as well.

Mom and Ryder enjoying the Beach

Unfortunately Ryder didn't like the sand or the waves but he had a great time in the pool, his mother was hilarous smearing sunscreen all over him but very smart because we didn't have to deal with a cranky baby. He slept better than I've seen him sleep in a long time and his days were full of fun things to do with us and the Grandparents. A great time was had by all and I'd definitely do it again but probably take something before to prevent getting sick, it's not that I ate anything wrong it's just that there is different bacteria there and us Northerners are going to get sick at some point.

Running Strong!

Dinner Time

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Long Winter

I remember the year Amber and I were training for a 1/2 Ironman in March in Puerto Rico and the fun we would have together riding in our basement dressed in layers of clothes with no fan and riding for 2.5 to 3 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. We had so much fun training for that race and the winter just felt like it flew by. Things are a little different now but still lots of fun, just a different kind of fun. Even though I'm a Dad and I know I have more responsibilities at home I still like to try to train a few times a week. I feel like I'm a more well rounded person and I'm able to be more present with Amber and Ryder when I've taken some time for myself and put in a little training, even if it's just 20 minutes on the treadmill. It hasn't been easy, Ryder is not an easy kid and constantly needs someone there for him which puts a lot of the workload on Amber while I'm working or on the road. That being said I wouldn't change him, he is who he is and when he gets a little older it'll be nice to have a kid with lots of energy who wants to go for a run with his Dad.

I have done a few swim-bike-run sessions with the boys on Saturday morning and I look forward to it every week. They absolutely wipe me out but it's very good training and nice to get together with everyone and work hard once a week. We usually do a steady 1500m in the pool at 6:30-6:45, get on the trainer at 7:15 and try to get in 20 minutes bike, 3kms run on the track. The track is only 200m so there is a lot of turning but I prefer it to the treadmill because I'm able to play catch up with some other guys.

The swim seems to still be pretty good for January, I'm hitting 1:25 100s without completely gassing out but I don't have a lot of endurance right now so I'll have to just build that up slowly over the next few months. The bike is okay, I can only get in 2 rides a week and that's probably all I need right now but it's a challenge for me because I'm used to riding at least 3 times a week. I'm sticking to 40k maximum distance and I think my body appreciates it, some of the other guys are riding 2- 2.5hrs and I just can't do it, nor do I see the point on the trainer. Hopefully in April or May I'll get in a few 3hr rides and be ready for some fast June races and Calgary in July. The running is holding steady, I'm running quick- still able to hold a decent pace but again my endurance is not where it should be and that's okay. I can only run a max of 8 miles and I'm normally running 5-6 miles, just fine for this time of year.

I'm taking the family to Mexico for a week as Amber's parents are there and we only have to pay for our flights so I'm looking forward to running and swimming with Amber everyday and having some live in babysitters for a week. It'll be nice to feel the warm sun on our faces for a short while in the middle of January and come back refreshed and ready to get through the remaining winter.