Monday, February 11, 2013

2012 In Review

Well this should be short and simple. Being away from the keyboard for so long it’s scary how time flies. It was only a couple of posts ago that I wrote a 2011 annual review!!

Where have I been!?

More importantly, where am I now?!

Most importantly, where am I going?!

2012 Executive Summary: The year of taking chances and getting fat.

Yes I am fat again. The year started off great! I trained long and hard for an Ultra 50 Mile Trail race in May. I put in quite a bit of ugly cold wet snowy trail runs starting as far back as November. By February I was very injured – a tear in my achilles. It took quite a while for that to heal up, and to this day it’s still not right. I can feel scar tissue.

That didn’t stop me though. I got very few runs in after that yet I towed the line of a 50mile ultra anyways. Technically it was a 100 Mile race as the 50 Mile registration sold out so I had to register for the looong distance. Long story short – I felt like a million bucks at the 60km mark, I even had my wife run home and grab my headlamp because I planned to run all night and attempt to at least get a few extra laps in and maybe the whole 100 miles. The wheels feel off on that last lap – it’s amazing how quick things go downhill when nutrition goes awry. Not enough electrolytes. The last 10km was a death march. That’s what I was there for, to find my limits. I found them and was very happy to stop at 50 Miles. I met my goal but have no medal to show for it as I was in the 100 Mile category, just a series of injuries and perpetual feeling of burnout ever since. Glad to have Ultra running off the bucket list.

This leads into a new job. I’ll describe this position as ‘an old car’. You know the one where you invest more time and money and then it takes more time and money again and again and again. When will it ever end? At what point in time do you just cut your loses and scrap the car? Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets and things are just finally looking on the bright side. Priceless experience.

So those pretty much sum up my experiences of the year and more importantly MY EXCUSES. Yes, the burnout from training all winter combined with the perpetual crisis at a new job and it’s not hard to imagine how I gained so much weight and failed to meet my remaining 2012 goals. Goals downgraded back down to dreams as I had no sustainable plan to get me to the starting line of my main events.

I am fat now.

 

So what’s next?

I’m like that 40year old highschool football jock that talks about the good old glory days as if they were yesterday. As if I could do an Ironman or ride 200 Miles no problem. Meanwhile I’m a far cry away from what I once was. A HAS-BEEN.

I have been here before. I know I can get back to a healthy lifestyle I just need to have a goal. Like many of my old readers MattyO, Training Payne – I am an all or nothing kind of guy. I give 110% or not at all. I can’t just come back and do a 5km fun run. I need to do something stupid.

I have alot of stupid ideas. I just haven’t committed to any of them. Being in limbo gives me pause to train for real. It’s too easy to skip a workout or make excuses. I need to register. I need a plan. The peices of the puzzle are in front of me. I’ve got a rough idea but no actual official commitment.

That’s for another post….

dylstangOne of many distractions this year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Take Two

100km ride.. again
Glad to be training full time again. My achilles is still store but it's a manageable pain. I'm pretty sure it's just scar tissue rubbing.


I've definitely lost some fitness with the time off, my long run on Sunday felt horrible. I'm hoping it was just the rust on the joints as I'm feeling better as I am rounding off the second week to being back full time. I'll know this weekend after my next LSD run. This will help me decide what's happening with the Ultra in May.

I've been getting a ton of cycling in though. I've been squeezing in a few 100Km rides. Sure beats sitting on a trainer! I'm hoping the cycling will help make up for lost running and better prepare me for the Ultra. I haven't done any road riding for the most part - all this is on railtrail on a cross bike. A great workout with constant resistance. I haven't taken the Tri bike off the trainer yet, I'm not convinced this gorgeous weather is here to stay. It's too good to be true!

I sold my mountain bike. I has a sad but only a little one. It went to a good home and while I did some pretty awesome things on it, I don't have the same sentimental value as my older mountain bike. I didn't do much racing on the one I sold so I am OK to part with it. This gives me a chance to buy a new mountain bike better suited to my riding style. The one I sold was stricly an XC race bike but I'm now doing more all-mountain than anything. I like big rocks and double-diamond technical trails. Bring it! New bike is on it's way, I'm really hoping it will be ready for pickup next weekend. I have big plans for it - I can't wait to hit the trails!!

Training Partner - Huge for these parts!
I'm a bit disappointed with my weight. I'm up 10lbs from my Ironman race weight last year. I don't expect to lose all 10lbs again, some had to be muscle but I can tell I've got an extra bit in the kangaroo pouch. I'm worried I won't lose it in time for the Ultra. Quite frankly I don't think I care all that much right now - I'm just happy to be running and holding on a slim bit of hope that I can still show up and suffer the 50 Mile course. Dragging an extra 5lbs around the course is the least of my concerns right now.

I've been working my core, it's slowly getting stronger. I can actually do situps now haha! I have a long ways to go. This my or may not be helping me on my position on the bike. The back pain comes and goes but I can tell that a big part of my problem was my hip angle. I'm making progress but I still haven't applied my new riding position to the Tri bike yet. So far I've only been on the cross bike. I'm tired of back pain.

Took up trigger point therapy selfcare. Work amazing. Got a theracane thanks to Sheila's advice and it is worth it's weight in gold. So happy to be able to release the tension in my back when I need to. Triggerpoints.net has been great for identifying my pain and suggesting the muscles affected. I can take the muscle group and google how to stretch and take care of it. Priceless.

Glad it wasn't this one
Had the greatest swim of my life last week to follow it up with absolutely no swimming this week. oops. The cycling and running took precedence as well as some real life things. I almost went last night until I realised my bathing suit has see through holes in places you don't want to know. I find my suits only last a couple months at best - the chlorine eats the material and it falls apart. These ones lasted a bit longer but not by much. Gotta find a new suit now....

I'm just happy to be training again.... I really hope I can make the 50 Mile race. I guess I should be careful what I wish for though  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Behind Schedule

I injured myself.

Yup, that's why I have avoided a blog post for like umm 7 weeks! Tore something in my achilles.


At first I did 2 weeks of absolutely nothing in hopes that the rest will fix it. Not even 30 minutes into a run and I succombed to pain.
Another 3 weeks of nothing, and STILL it hurt just like back on day 1!!
I gave it another 2 weeks and finally it's getting better. It's been frustrating to say the least.

I am pretty sure all I'm feeling now is scar tissue ripping and rubbing. I'm working my way through this lingering soreness but at least it's not painful like it was originally.

I just put in my first full week of training. I am only about 60% duration and intensity on the run - not just because of the injury but because I've lost a great deal of fitness. Hopefully mostly just rust on the joints and not much muscle. I'll find out this week, I'm hoping it goes better. I'm just happy I'm finally running again. Sort of.

For most of those weeks I skimped on bike and swim as well. I had hoped that would help speed up recovery but now I'm not so sure. I feel like I'm starting from scratch again, except I do feel like I have a decent cardio base. I think I'm feeling mostly rust on the joints.

It's been a tough week but a successful one. So now I look at my training plan, which I've been avoiding as I realize I'm dangerously clost to a DNS for the Ultra in May.

I should be pounding out 50-60 Miles a weeks right now. I'm lucky to muster up 30. I won't force it though, I can't risk getting injured again. So unless I magically feel extra extra good and put together perfect workouts in the next couple of weeks I think I'm forced to drop down from 50 Miles to 50 Km race distance. Technically still an ultra but someone once told me that real men race in Miles. :)

I'm getting worried but not ready to throw the towel in yet with that May Ultra. I'm counting on most of my excellent base training to re-assert itself once I get the rust off my muscles. That remains to be seen.

The other issue to tackle is the back pain when cycling. Working to strength my core and stretch but I'm getting a little annoyed with not seeing much results. I'm still working on it though.


I haven't check my weight in awhile, been avoiding that. I'm pretty sure I'm doing fine. Heck I feel fine so that's why I don't bother checking. I really should since I don't have much time to cut down to race weight if I'm over my upper self-imposed limits.

I avoided posting about the injury obviously. Didn't want to think about it.

The cause? Running trail hills in the snow with a group that sprinted up them. Well maybe not sprint but my form fell apart trying to go a speed up the hills that I should have known better to push hard up. I've had problems with this foot before, similar issues so this isn't a big surprise. The important thing is that I learned from this - I have to distance myself from running groups. I don't go my own pace and end up hurt. I really enjoyed the company, especially after so much solo training, so I'm sad to go back to running alone, But at least I'm running again!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January Update

I did some workouts.
2 x 100m tempo upside down and backwards running.
It was cold out.
I really need to train more.
Damn I got fat over the holidays.
I hope to do x, y, z, races this year.
I want to qualify for 'fill in the blank'.

Sooo now that I've summed up the jist of the blog posts circulating the triathlon world, I'm not sure what to write about. Things have been quiet out there, very few posts by anyone including me.

I think it comes back to I don't want to sound like the aformentioned topics. Obviously it's too late for that, but it sure makes it tougher to fill this blank sheet of virtual paper if all I can think about is what I don't want to write about.

I have a rule that says I never talk about work and I only share the odd family life detail here and there. So that also cuts into the list of topics to blog about, afterall its supposed to be a triathlon blog right?

Technically a training blog. So I've been training. Regularly since my last post. I'll spare you the boring details but one thing is for sure - I appreciate the most wicked awesome weather EVAR! It has generally been above 0 celsius all winter long. We only had one cold day that I can remember because I had to do a long run in it. Snotsicles suck. After such an amazing weather to-date, I dont mind if it drops to -30 celsius for the rest of the winter, I didn't take our warm weather for granted. I think this could go down as one of the best winters ever! There's hardly any of it left really. I picked a great year to train for an Ultra! I hope the summer delivers lots of dry! Yes, I'm getting greedy now.

As-is, my running is going swell - even picked up some new shoes! Trail running specific shoes, amazing traction. Maybe too much traction actually, but I felt safe on the snow/ice covered trails last weekend! They're not the most expensive or fancy shoes, even got them on sale, but considering the amount of training I'm doing outdoors - I am just going to ruin any pair I buy so no point buying a flimsy set of racing shoes right now.

Cycling sucks. I wrestle with getting motivated to get on the trainer, but I get it done anyways. I've been thinking long and hard about my lack of cylcing mojo and I think I've narrowed it down to a couple of key reasons. 1) Lack of fitness. As I improve, it will be more fun. Or so I hope. I feel like I have a mountain of training to climb before I get back to where I should be with regards to my fitness/ability. 2) My bike fit sucks. I'm fighting back pain, I think it's the bike's fault! Well technically it is my fault, I think I need to get some better posture and also review my configuration. I think the back pain is what makes me want to avoid the bike. I find it tough to maintain a proper posture on the bike when I'm indoors, its not the same as outdoors. I'm working on it though.

Swimming is a breeze. I feel well-worked after my regularly scheduled 3000m swims. I can feel myself getting stronger.

The wife has been working diligently on her own training plan. She's getting it done.
It's exciting to hear the kids talk about triathlon. They've shown a genuine interest in trying it out next year. I've been such a hardcore mountain biker and really hoped the kids would take it up, but it just wasn't for them. I didn't push them on it either, so they kind of did there own sports. I'm new to triathlon, it's only my second year so it's exciting to see the kids WANT to try a sport I'm interested in. Triathlon is contagious, people see others working out regularly and living an athletically-rich life and in time they want that for themselve too. I think it comes down to the whole 'if they can do it, then I can too!'.  Whatever the reason, I'm excited to see the kids try a race this year. This will be a very emotional and proud moment for me, I can't wait! They're getting older, and I came late to the triathlon party but better late than never! We'll work on a simple training plan together with them - just a bit of structure leading up to the race to boost confidence and get a taste of how 'hard' work pays off. Definitely a sprint distance event, but they could be more than capable of Olympic distance. I'll leave that decision up to them and time a sprint distance far enough out that they can choose to train for Olympic if interested.
Actually I better watch what I ask for. The both of them are pretty darn fast. Heck, the younger one is putting out some seriously amazing results for the school swim team and track club. I'm hesitant to admit he may very well be faster than me but we won't know until we really face each other in an event. Unfortunately for him, if either one of them beat me at a short distance triathlon - I would just sign them up for an Ironman the next day and get the last laugh. That should be detterance enough for them to not finish ahead of me. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wrong Foot

I took 2 weeks off.

One of those weeks was because I was sick. Caught a cold of course.

The other week was just plain Holiday laziness.

I'm ashamed, but it felt right at the time. I feel bad cuz I was on such a roll and had a solid base well on it's way to building.

I went for my first run last night and today I feel like I've been hit by a train. Yeh, I suck.

No more excuses now though, I'm going to chalk my two-week hiatus as a simple 'Calm before the storm'.  It's crunch time now. The Meat of the training program begins.

The last couple of months were just 'the extra mile'. Getting in some base build before everyone else. Taking some time to prop myself up to help make the January work load just a bit easier. I can't say it feels any easier, but give me a few days to work the cobwebs out and free up my rusty joints. I'm sure you don't lose much of anything in just a couple of weeks off.

I know I gained weight. I feel it. Understandably so, I ate like a porker over the holidays. Sickening but the urge to feast has been quelled. Actually I'm the complete opposite, I over ate by so much that I don't even want to eat anything anymore. I ate THAT much.

Anyways, I'm so happy to be kicking off the official training plan. This is for real now.

Given how beat up I feel after just one workout, I'm afraid of Sunday's long run with the running club. It's going to hurt. I would hate to let anyone down because I can't keep up. It's important to me to have a respectable run with these guys and learn from them. Show Up and Suffer, that's my plan.

My training program streaks in a couple of weeks. No days off. I might just bump that up a week or two to play catch-up, I could really use the training. I'll do what the body says to do. As far as my mind is  concerned I plan to streak starting right this very moment. Let us see how that goes.

There's an essence of excitement in the air. Anticipation, I can feel it.  The wife is all Training-plan happy. She went and setup the spare bedroom as a Yoga-like room and tv/dvd stuff. She organized the bike clothing, mostly mine and has been getting everything prepared for the commencement of her own program. She's hanging printouts of her training plan everywhere. In the Yoga-room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and the ceiling of the bedroom. There's printed photos of Chrissie and Craig in the Yoga room, motivational tools galore. I'm a bit disappointed there's no Macca anywhere, but I'll bring some reading material of my own. Actually, Xhamster.com could probably help me with finding material.

It's crunch time for all you Tremblant athletes. The season has started with or without you. Which one are you? :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Year in Review

2011 will go down as one of the greatest years of my life.

This is the year I learned about myself, what I am capable of and what it means to know that Anything Is Possible.

There was alot of self-doubt at the beginning of this year. A long journey to reach my first Ironman, and then the question of what to do once it is 'all over'. Firstly though, I had to learn to stay the course and honestly fulfill my training plan. I learned how to motivate myself, how to turn off those negative thoughts and just get the workouts done. Indeed the toughest part of all this training is just getting a workout started. No excuses. Along this journey I have acquired the tools necessary to do anything I could ever want. Don't ever question my commitment. ;)

Along the way I measured progress and found out what works for me. Here is a summary of my season, and what each race did for me.

March 2011 Around The Bay, 30Km Run Race, RACE REPORT
My first running race ever. After a looong cold winter this was the place to validate all those snowy wet runs. This race gave me the confidence I needed to finally call myself a capable 'runner' as I succeeded in nailing my most optimistic goals. I even beat the LBG (experienced runner friend) which I hadn't thought possible in even my most wildest dreams. I got lucky, but it meant alot to me to finally put 'sucky' running behind me.



June 2011 Woodstock Triathlon, RACE REPORT
The day before this race I did a very intense 100 Mile bike ride. This was just a 'training race' to see what all the training has done for me. I had my first panic attack in water and survived, but I didn't feel like I 'pulled through' it. Had a blistering fast bike and run that was fun the entire time. 4th place finish DOH! Extremely happy but I missed the podium by 4 minutes. I can't help by wonder 'what-if' I hadn't done the 100 Mile bike ride the day before? A podium finish... I ache for a podium finish one day.






June 2011 Guelph Lake Olympic Triathlon, RACE REPORT
This is where I learn to SIU. Panic swim, but actually felt like I regained my composure and I gained the confidence I needed for swimming. I held back way too much on the bike, and wholly screwed up my calorie intake. Lesson learned, balance the gel intake with water! I had the most wicked stomach pain on the run. Some pain just cannot be 'run through' and I walked a bit to start. Valuable lesson, happy to have figured this out here instead of Ironman. Biggest highlight was beating Training Payne. He was running me down but ran out of race course. I take great satisfaction in this :)

June 2011 Welland Half-Iron Triathlon, RACE REPORT
Most fun race of the year, even above Ironman. Cold but steady swim, was killing the bike until I got two flat tires. I took it in strides and never lost my cool. Luckily I got going again with help of some bystanders and I went deep into the hurtlocker intentionally. I wanted to start my run with empty legs and see just how I could handle the toughest Brick-run of my life. The run was my most fun run EVER! Running down a fellow friendly competitor, reeling him in and succeeding in an extraordinary effort made this a very precious moment for 2011. I could do anything if I just believe it is possible.

July 2011 Ironman Lake Placid, RACE REPORT
I could not have asked for a more perfect first Ironman experience. I showed up confident, knowing that I was well-trained, ready for anything. Killed the swim, beat even my most optimistic goal. Died on the bike. Got absolutely murdered on the bike, I was taken back by just how quickly things fell apart on the second loop. I acknowledge the fact I concentrated on my inept running ability and inadvertantly let my cycling fitness slip. You can't fake an Ironman, it will reveal all. Glad to have regained composure and put together the exact run I had trained for. Happy to have run down Rodney, just barely though, and vindicate my failure at Muskoka. :) I did leave room for improvement though, obviously on the bike but I had also missed the dream goal of a sub 12hr finish by a small margin. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, and looked forward to continuing with endurance events.

Muskoka 2010
September 2011 Ironman Muskoka 70.3
I swore I would never do this race again after the first time. What a mistake this race was. Coming off a 'finishers-high' of excitement after Lake Placid I impulsively registered for this race. Horrible experience, a really tough course made tougher by GI issues from hell. Mark my words - NEVER AGAIN. Muskoka, forever on my sh*t-list. One of those races I just want to forget, I didn't even write a race report. Let us pretend this just never existed.



For 2012?

This is the year of Ultra's. Instead of going faster, I'm going farther. Stupid-far! :)

Ultra Trail Run 50 Miles
IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant 140.6 Miles
Double-Iron Virginia 281.2 Miles

I don't see me doing any other races. My training plan is hard enough as it is without squeezing in races!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MDot Cookiessss


Tough weekend.
MDots
Mediocre bike followed by a real grind of a run. The bike trainer really taxes my legs, the resistance is just way more than your average trainer. 90 minutes feels like 90 kilometers ugggh. I dont know if this was the reason for my run feeling so tough. Maybe I'm still semi-bonked from earlier in the week but I couldn't move my legs at a pace I would have liked. Tough Slogging (Slow+Jogging). It might also have to do with the fact I've run a hilly half-marathon every weekend for 5 weeks now.

It's Xmas cookie time! It was much easier making the M-Dot cookies this year since we have an actual M-Dot cookie cutter! Last year we did them all by hand manually with a knife....



Swim Exit
The Swimmer
Off-Season'r Cookie
I like my chocolate so I weighted down my cookies M&Ms and chocolate chips for the most part. The kids made theirs mostly with sprinkles. The sad part is more than half the cookies have been eaten already. I have alot to do with that. During last night's tough swim I decided I will not eat anymore cookies. The sacrifice made easier by stepping on the scale in the morning - I haven't lost any weight after several weeks of proper eating and training. Disappointed, a little, but I could also be retaining alot of repair water after such a tough week of training. I'm just going to stay off the scale until the new year.







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