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.
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.

Multi Layered

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bonked Run

The sign of a great workout? The post-exercise fever. I can't think of a better term for it, maybe you can suggest one? You know 'the sweats' you get, especially after laying down in bed. Not everyone gets this, but many people will know what I am talking about. I looked it up awhile ago and they have no idea what causes this 'fever'. While you feel like you're burning up and you break a sweat just lieing there, its actually not heat related. You body temperature is not actually elevated according to research. You just 'feel' hot. The best they could attribute it to was the body was 'repairing itself' but they don't have actual research that supports this nor understand the process. Well, last night was one of those nights but it wasn't because I had a 'good' workout.....

I haven't stepped on the scale lately, especially ever since a few weeks ago when I was pretty much at my 'Red Flag' weight. I've been eating much healthier and cutting back on the unnecessary calories but yesterday it all finally caught up with me.

I bonked on yesterday's Night Run. At first it was tough to tell I was much slower than usual. When it's pitch dark out on the trails, you naturally go a bit slower as to not fall flat on your face. Except 2/3 through the run I knew I was in trouble when my stomach was screaming for fuel. Famished.

By the time I got home I was lightheaded and chilled. I felt awful. Sure enough after a meal and some rest I got the post-workout fever while my bodied tried to repair itself. It's been awhile since I felt the 'fever'. Anyhow it all came down to not enough input to sustain the output. I had an unusually unhealthy sugary breakfast(Frosted Flakes, so good yet sooo bad) and combined with a less than stellar lunch choice left me with nothing left in the tank. Uggghh what a bad day.

I haven't checked my weight but I'm pretty sure I'm back in the green-zone though. Now I just have to find a balance, I dont want to gain nor lose any pounds. I may have to resort to counting calories, uggh I hate doing that. It's so cumbersome.

During Ironman training I never counted calories. I just at a 'normal' persons proper portioned meal. Obviously the training, especially during the tougher weeks, would burn more than what an average calorie intake could sustain but I was deliberately running a defict to slowly lose weight. About 1/2 pound per week steadily. Anyhow now that I'm playing in the world of 'Ultra' I am going to have to put an end to the calorie deficit - I MUST maintain a balance. I'm going to need every bit of energy I can get. I'll figure out how to count calories in prep for next week. Or at least thats what I tell myself.


Run - 1:00hr
Run - 1:30hr Trail Bonk

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 1 of 305

Well now it's officially official. The real training plan has begun. I can't make up good enough excuses to miss workouts now, it's time get the gameface on.

Spinervals Suck
6 Months until Ultra 50 Mile Trail run. I've had a lot of self-doubt around my running abilities but I'm feeling encouraged after a training run with an Ultra group on the weekend. I have never run with these people before so I was worried I would get my a$$ handed to me and walk it in by myself. Afterall, they are Uber Ultra Runners, I don't belong with them - right?

Well I latched on to the most experienced guy their and rode his coat tails the entire time. A 20Km loop of the race course. This guy has something like fifteen 100 Mile races under his belt so he may know a thing or two, I may as well learn from the best! Immediately I had to calm myself down because the pace set early was moderately quicker than my pace on the flats. It wasn't looking good for me, until we hit the first big uphill - wow, they walked! I haven't walked up the hills in training so I was surprised to see them do this. It was a welcome rest though. I can't say I was in the hurt locker at any time but more like cautiously alarmed that I may need to dig deep to not get dropped by these guys.

Random - This made me laugh
This was my first group run on trails and time flew by. The loop was over and I felt like a million bucks. Heck, I even beat my best timed lap by 10-15 minutes! So apparently quicker on the flats and easy on the uphills translates into an overall faster lap time. I'm not convinced this is my race day strategy, but it was certainly an eye opener and I learned tons. The guy I was running with was kind enough to share insight into what he does for sleep deprivation and nutrition for the 25++hrs of running.

Needless to say I am ecstatic that I found an outlet to test myself against what others are doing. It was a good indication that I am 'doing it right'.

I've been riding this wave of excitement that my training is going well. I nailed a looong swim last night and followed up with a Spinervals DVD this morning. I hate the spinervals workouts - kind of bland and full of hurt. As much as I didn't enjoy interval training, I think I'll stick with it until the spring at least. I was going to leave it to post about another day but I can sum up my concerns into this: My Biking SUCKS! OK well that is my opinon anyways, I have let my cycling abilities slide and now I think my 'strength' is running. I'm disgusted by myself for letting this happen. I am finding it tough to get motivated on the bike because I've kind of lost the spark I once had with riding. I'm not worried yet, just disappointed. I know what needs to be done, I just got to find a way to get it done. My biking is 'under construction'.

During the workout video Coach Troy says 'Now your eyes should have glossed over with that deer-in-the-headlights look', umm dude - THAT WAS 3 REPS AGO!$!!%%!#!! Damn.

All Time Favourite

I'm excited to hear that Rodney will likely do the 50 Mile Sulphur Springs Trail Run too! Training Payne also suggested he might man-up and join me too, but we all know he is a pussy so I'm not gonna hold my breathe waiting on that guy. :) I'm not even sad that I can't make a 'race' of this. I'm in it to finish, and finish WITHOUT injury. I'm already taking a chance by doing and Ultra during an IM training Plan. I can't force the speed so I won't be in it for the friendly competition this time. Besides, everyone already knows I'd mop the floor with Training Payne & Rodney. ;)


Swim - 3500m
Bike - 1:00hr Interval

Tribute to Training Peaks Ambassador Applicant

The single greatest lesson of my athletic career was at the receiving end of utter failure to meet a goal.

I owe this humiliating lesson to an athlete that showed me what it means to be humble.

Ironman Rodney Buike.

Anyone that knows me has been introduced to my competitive streak. It's who I am, I am the best at everything I do. So it was only natural to enjoy friendly banter leading up to Ironman Muskoka 70.3. I was absolutely certain I would beat Rodney, so my training consisted of a plethora of my main passion - Mountain biking. I relied too much on my natural athletic ability.

Us at Muskoka 70.3
The race wasn't even close. I didn't stand a chance. Long Story short, he destroyed me by a solid hour. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my 70.3 experience but Rodney blew my mind.

Rodney showed me what it is to follow a sport-specific structured training plan. He stayed the course and commited himself to a routine that did amazing things for him. The best part - he didn't hesitate to share what he learned and help me find my way. He made me a believer, that all those monotoneous workouts will eventually lead to something great!

Rodney won with grace. At the end of the day we were no longer competitors, we were friends. He never once rubbed it in my face or had me eat my words. It was the exact opposite. He is a true professional, he never once told me I was doing something wrong but simply offered up advice on what worked for him. I took the best bits of advice and applied it to my new found training regiment.

Us at IM Lake Placid
This lesson in humility would fuel my desire to come back strong in time for our next encounter at  Ironman Lake Placid. I meticulously trained with a fervor like never before. When race week came, I realized - it was never about the race, it was about the journey. I would never have learned this life-altering lesson if it wasn't for Rodney's inspiration. My life would be significantly different had I not been dealt a tough lesson back in Muskoka. Rodney taught me that triathlon is not just a sport, it's a lifestyle.

Rodney's enthusiasm for sport has inspired a large part of our community to take up exercise. Wives, family, friends have been largely motivated by Rodney's dedication to a healthy lifestyle. His patience with newcomers is admirable, I think he can relate to the challenges faced by many of us since he has walked the path from overweight couch potatoe to an Ironman triathlete.

Community - Friendly FIRST century ride
for many of these athletes, including wives and a
Wheelchair athlete!
Most of all though it's his enthusiasm that shines. When he gets energized about something, it draws the rest of us in too. He knows how to sincerely communicate his passion and still remain fair.

He doesn't ask for much, but when he mentioned he was interested in getting on the Training Peaks Ambassador Team, then this was an easy blog post to write. His passion & zeal for training and engaging the community is something you want on your side. It only makes sense to have him as an Ambassador.

Our First Triathlon Ever.

Irregardless of whether his Training Peaks ambitions come to fruition, you can consider this a Thank-You to Rodney for all that he has done for the rest of us.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Gameplans

Legs sore. Body tired. Mind fatigued.

Yup, all the symptoms of an Ironman training program in effect! My legs are unusually sore today, I think the increase in running mileage is taking it's toll. No injuries, I'll back off if I feel anything. The only thing I do notice is that the bottom of my feet hurt. I need new shoes, these tri-specific shoes are ultralight and inappropriate for trail running. I've just been too cheap to buy new ones.

I also think the fatigue stems from lack of calories. I'm eating small portions and reasonably healthy but probably not enough to support the training. I was hoping to drop 5lbs before the holidays as I was just at my 'holy sh*t' weight last week. I dont want to go over 180lbs, it's a slippery slope. It's not uncommon for us first time finishers to pack on a bunch of weight after the race!

How are you preparing to deal with the holiday calories? I'm already thinking it through, coming up with a gameplan on how to keep myself under control. Mentally getting into the anti-holiday-calorie zone.

Of course I'll drink beer, eggnog, candy! Probably all at the same time too, but I need to find a way to minimize the damage. My plan is to stuff myself so full of candies and eggnog at the first party that I get sick to my stomach. I will consume all my holiday calories in a SINGLE sitting. Indulge until I puke.

In that moment I will be so sick of everything that I will not want anymore for the rest of the holidays. That's my theory anyways. It kind of worked for me last year.

I'm also going to watch the scale like a hawk. That should help motivate me to stay the course.

The training is hard enough as it is. I don't feel like lugging around a sack of potatoes in my gut for these runs.

I start back-to-back LSD runs in a couple of weeks. I want to be ready.

Last night's run was tough. Got out on a country road loop of hills that had an absolutely gorgeous view of the sunset but the shoulders and road were littered with holes, cracks. It was really hard to see when the sun set, I won't be going that way again. Too bad, it was beautiful. That run went much longer than I would have liked.


Run - 1:45hrs (That road was longer than I thought. Doh!)

Bike - 0:45hrs (Slow to get out of bed, things are tired after the run)

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Success

Cuz U Luv teh Kittehz (Matty-O)
Well I'm happy to report I actually got BOTH my workouts in on the weekend! That means I completed my FIRST full week of training without skipping anything. I know now that recording my workouts helps motivate me. I haven't been keeping a training log so I don't get to regularly see how much I am slacking. After plugging in my workouts every day, it helps motivate me to get the next workout in. Afterall, if I don't get successive workouts in, then it makes the previous workout more-or-less a waste of time. These workouts depend on each other. Plus I can take pride in seeing my accomplishments when I nail a successful week. It's not so easy to ignore that missed workout when it stares me in the eye everytime I look at the calendar and there is a blank spot in the middle of it. I have to keep this up!

Saturday was an easy day to get out for the long run because it was exciting to finally try to do an entire loop of the Ultra-Trail race loop. I was curious on how I would do.

Damn that was hard.

A single full loop was completed in under 2.5hrs! I predicted 3.5hrs so I am happy but disappointed at the same time. The average finisher time is 4 loops, 50 Miles in about 12-13hrs. Clearly either I ran it waaay too fast and needs to slow down, OR I am afraid that the final couple of laps are done at a crawling pace which may be closer to the truth. I was exhausted after just one loop, I can't imagine doing 4!! I think I could grin and bear one more lap but anything after that seems a bit stupid.

I'm not sure what to take from this.

I think I'll just continue to train hard and see if the loop gets any easier or something. The 50km course seems pretty epic but doable, however 50 Miles now seems borderline insane. It's too early to have doubts though, I haven't got anywhere in the training program so I'll leave the doubting until March-ish and see how I am doing.

I even stopped for about 10 minutes on the loop to chat with my Dad. What were the odds of being in the middle of a large forest on some obscure remote trail and finding my father out on a walk with his girl friend. Too funny!

Sunday was not as fun. I procrastinated and didn't get out the door right away, so that spells doom for any chances of me actually doing the workout. Then I decided I would just jump on the trainer at the same time as the wife, except she jumped on without me AND put Christmas movie on. Forget that, I don't do Christmas movies. Yuck! So She unilateraly voted me off the island and my only other option was to going outside in the freezing wind and endure. She's so mean to me.

2hrs of cycling later and I'm happy to have got outside, but that was just too cold for comfort. Moutain biking requires alot more muscles and different type of intense output, so I felt like I had just done a 1/2 Iron. I was whooped. It never used to be this tough, I suck at MTB now. I have the skills but it's an entirely different kind of fitness. I have come to the terms that my cycling ability requires grave improvement.

As far as the whole 'commenting' problem I have with blogspot - I can't even comment ON MY OWN BLOG! That sucks. I'll try to turn off the auto-login feature, I suspect you guys are right in that it is what's causing my problem. It would be nice to respond to comments on my own blog haha!

Mountain Bike - 2:00hrs
Hilly Trail Run - 2:20hrs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Blues

I find it's always toughest to pick your wardrobe when the temperature is hovering between 0 Celsius and 10 Celsius. The rick is to go out in layers and shed them when needed but last night I completely screwed that up. I didn't factor in the stiff northernly wind that left my chilled to the bone.

My face is still thawing...

There is no such thing as bad weather though, just a bad choice of clothes. On that note, I'm not complaining about the weather, I'm complaining about my lack of intelligently dressing myself. I really could have used a wind breaker and head dressing. Brrrr!

So far it has a been a perfect week of training. Now comes the hard part - ACTUALLY doing my weekend workouts. I'm already going through the battle in my head and somehow justifying skipping them. Ugggh, bad habit! For some reason weekday workouts are easier to execute for me.

This is my publicly confessing I will get an LSD run and LSD bike in one way or the other.

Tonight is a scheduled rest day - I need it too, I put in some solid running this week.

I think this is secretly a cry for help, as if something someone will say will make me WANT to get these workouts done. I'm not expecting responses, actually I'm completely expecting verbal beatings from the peanut gallery Matty-O. I deserve them too :)

It's cold out. Get over it.
Actually a few housekeeping notes to the people (the both of you) that read my blog: I CAN'T COMMENT. No seriously, it is not consistently failing but enough that I goto your blogs and try to post comments and it just dont work. Blogspot sucks. I know you WordPress fanboys think you're better than the rest of us but I'm beginning to believe you may be on to something. I'd switch but you serverly underestimate my level of laziness.

Oh and I feel bad for not responding to the comments on my blog... Re: Laziness

I'll do better. I promise. Maybe I'll go play Comment-Catch-Up and respond now.

No wait....... that sounds like work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hunting Calories

Doggeh for MattyO
Talk about a completely anti-climatic workout.

The scheduled 3.5hr run turned into a mere 1.5hrs as they closed the trail that the rest of the race course used. I wanted to actually do the entire 20km race loop but they had hunters going after deer so they wouldn't let me pass. Ministry of Nautral Resources suck. Annoying.

Yes that is 20km in 3.5hrs. If you could see the relentless hills, you would understand why it takes so long.  Anyways, I cut my loss and went back to the car. They even had hunters in a conservation area OUTSIDE the marked hunting zone. They shouldn't have been there, but I dont they cared to follow the rules. The MNR should have watched over it more closely. I'm very unhappy with MNR right now.

Not much lost though, as that just means I'm back on my regularly scheduled program. I'll reschdule my epic run for this weekend!

I'm fooling myself though. I thought I've been eating good and exercising regular but clearly I've been dishonest with myself. I weighed in just shy of my 'HOLY SH*T' weight by 0.6lbs. How the heck did that happen!? The scale is going the wrong direction!!! Either I'm holding onto repair water or I've been 'rewarding' myself with too many snacks after workouts. It's easy to get sloppy and justify snacking when getting regular workouts in but its all too easy to snack more calories than what you actually burned. I'm not to happy with myself at the moment. 

I feel good though. I would swear that my core is tightening up and I was on my way in the right direction but damn, that scale is so mean! What a nasty surprise. So no sense crying over spilt milk - moving forward I forgo snacking and I'll tighten up on meal sizes. I'm getting medieval on my diet. No more messing around! Like never before - I need to be extra diligent for a few weeks. Today I even cut the milk and sugar out of my regular 1 cup of coffee a day. It was horrible. Lucky we have many kinds to chose from so I'll try them all until I find one that I can drink black. Yuck.

This also scares me into committing to the full plan. I'm nailing my weekday workouts and failing the weekend workouts. I told myself December is crunch time but I may have to step up my game. I have to be in moderate shape come January because my training plan calls for unheard of stupidity in the form of back to back to back LSD runs and bikes. Ultra training plans - pfft you think Ironman was hard? Yeh..... well I'll let you know how it goes when I get there. It's easier said than done, my main concern is avoiding injury. Which is why my weight is so important.

The holiday is over. This is me getting my game face on.

Bring it.


Swim 1:00hr
Trail Run: 1:30hrs

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scaredy Cat

Why are we afraid of the dark?

For those of you that don't think you're afraid of the dark, step outside on a night time trail run!

Seriously though, what is there to be afraid of? Where did this feeling come from?

With the Daylight Savings Time rolling back, my trail run had to be done in the dark. Pitch dark with just a lousy headlamp. Well I suspected it was lousy but not as bad as it turned out - this headlamp sucks! As I am running through the trails I can hear many many things stirring in the leaves around me. Big things causing branches to crack, little things scurrying around and sometime I would catch the glare off a pair of eyeballs and have no idea what it is.

How is that scary? It shouldn't be. Right? Is this anxiety some kind of pre-programmed defense mechanism? Did we inherit this feeling from some genetic soup that says night time is dangerous? Admitedly I've never been attacked by anything at night. OK except a Bat that humped my headlamp on a bike ride one night. It just kept flying into me while the wife just pointed and laughed. So I can't say I have any experiences that would make me afraid of the dark. Now I do have a bit of an imagination. I would like to point my finger at Hollywood and that darn TV. Scary movies, I hate them. Not because they pretty much all suck, but because I don't voluntarily enjoy being scared. I'll pass on the scary shows. So as I'm runninng along I can feel the werewolf stalking me, the witch watching me and the guy in the hockey mask weilding a machete is just behind me so I better not stop running now! Is that it? Is that what makes me so anxious?


So my first night run went well. I put in some serious distance but had to back off at the end because my headlamp was not good enough to judge depth, so I kept tripping over roots and potholes. Admittedly I was talking to myself alot, this is the one and only time I would justify bringing music along with me. I do ALL my training sans audio device but I wouldn't mind a bit of a distraction while running in the pitch dark. Sure we've all run in the winter along a dark road, but its not the same when you're in the middle of a dark forest all alone. I don't get scared on the country roads the same way I do on the trails.

I followed up a perfect week of training with a perfect fail of a weekend. I didn't do anything. If I don't get out that door FIRST thing in the morning, I won't get out at all. This weekend - I plan to get up early and get the workout out of the way. That's the plan anyhow.

Trail Run - 1.5hrs

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maybe I Can

Matty-O said he missed the Kittehs
It's cold and raining outside.

I'm going to run on the trails anyways though! :)

Last night I stopped by the local running store to pick their brain over the Sulphur Springs Trail Run Race course in May. I've been torn between doing the 50Mile race or the 50Km race. I've never run that far in my life, nevermind 7000++ vertical feet of climbing. The guy at the shop was more than helpful, he cleared up my misunderstanding of the poorly written map. I now know the race course and we chatted for a good 30 minutes on logistics and race rules. It was great! I'm feeling much more confident that I may be able to do the 50 Miles. Just in case that's a false sense of confidence, I am going to join them for training runs beginning in December. They run a loop of the race course every weekened. Wow. That's a 3.5hrs loop! EVERY weekend! Ouch, sounds painful but I'll be running with some hardcore Ultra runners and as long as I can keep up - I will nag them until they divulge all their trade secrets. Hopefully I can keep up! Hopefully I dont die before the end of the loop!

So thats why it's more important than ever to get some solid training runs in. I need to be ready to go hardcore come December! All or nothing at this point. I hope I can handle running with them, I could use the help.

Yesterday I cheated. I managed to get my early morning bike in, but I moved the evening's run to tonight. I took my son to an I.T. Professional group meeting to introduce him to the world of Geek. This where the network and infrastructure guys share knowledge with each other. My son is going to school for Network Engineering and Security so it wouldn't hurt for him to hear some real world experience. It was suprisingly a good time, but a very long night. After talking so much, my throat hurts. Coupled with less sleep than usual and some cold wet weather running, I hope I can avoid gettting a cold!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Extra Mile

MY Treadmill
It's always lonely on the extra mile.
The race is won in the cold of December, not in the warmth of an August Race Day.

I take solace in this. My mantra these days is just that. It's getting cold and dark out. It's frequently raining. I LOVE IT! I'm all alone on these trails. How can that be? This is the biggest conservation parks and one of the best trail networks in the area for trail running, Yet I never see anybody on them. It's just me and the frequent deer out there. Considering this is the race course for the Ultra Trail Race 6 months from now - I would expect to see more people out training on it. Most are waiting for their 24 week training program to begin. Some are probably enjoying the off season. Some are just making excuses. While those 'someones' procrastinate their race season, I'm out there. Ready.

OK, I'll admit I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I have been sucking it up and nailing my runs, but my cycling has been limited and mostly indoors. I'm inspired by the hardcore types that commute to work this time of year! I wish I had better facilities at the office to accomodate this. Yup, that is me making excuses. So while others are going the extra mile on their bikes, I've only chose to go the extra mile on the runs.

Training Partners
Last night I hit the trails to test out my headlamp. The time change makes it too dark to go without. The main goal of the run was to test out the headlamp but I screwed that up by leaving the office early. I put in some extra extra distance, it felt great! But by leaving early, I beat the sunset. It wasn't dark enough to need the headlamp so I still dont know if it is good enough to run with. It's a cheap headlamp but I'm hoping it works because I dont feelt like spending money on a fancy new one. I'll try again on Friday night's run.

Discover new routes

It was a heavy rain. The trails got muddy and the downhills a bit slick. As soggy as the run was, I find it easy to appreciate the positive things. I love the fact it's DOUBLE digit temperatures still (Celsius for y'all southern folk). I love that it's november and I'm in shorts and a tshirt. For those people hiding indoors, I'm appreciating every last breath  of non-frozen air, every step that is not covered in ice or snow, every easy-dressing day that doesn't require me to get bundled up like an eskimo. Sure the rain kinda sucks, but IT COULD BE WORSE. I did enough crappy weather running last year to make this winter look like a walk in the park. Or at least that's what I am hoping. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lurking Around

Still staring at this big white blank sheet of virtual paper and I just don't know what to say.
Where to say it.

I feel compelled to say something. I don't know why, since I have nothing overly exciting to say. Once and awhile during a run I get some really good material together, but once in front of the computer I just don't have the energy to convert it to text.

So I've just avoided the blog all together.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not in a slump. Life is great! The past few weeks have been my attempt to jumpstart my training program. To learn a healthy routine again, get some workouts in. So far so good. I haven't had a perfect week yet, last week came the closest. I have about an 11hr/week maintenance plan to follow but between life and laziness I haven't put the entire 11hrs in yet.

That is something to look forward to this week. I am enjoying the Daylight Savings Time change. It's still early but I feel refreshed in the morning when I get out of bed. Like I said, it's only been a few days so we'll see how long that lasts.

Even with my laziness I manage to nail all my run workouts. Running is priority #1 right now. I need to have a solid run base if I have any chance of completing my very first Ultra-distance run next year. I've been a good little runner lately. On the other hand my cycling is disgustingly sucky. Pathetic really. I don't know where to start to rebuild what I once had. Admitedly my cycling fell off because I put so much emphasis on my run. This year was not a good cycling year. In my mind I figure I can always pick the cycling back up, the running however is new and exciting and now that it is strong - I should be able to peice the two strengths together. Just as soon as I brush them cobwebs off my cycling legs.

I don't know how to brush the cobwebs off though. I am a bit down on my cycling ability. It doesn't help that more core has gone soft, so sitting on the bike is uncomfortable to say the least. I'm grinding away at it though.

Not worried about swimming. Actually I've somehow justified cutting it down to 1 swim a week. When I first got back in the pool a few weeks ago I felt like I was going to drown. Wow, I lost all my swimming ability. Very worried. However after a couple more trips to the pool, I feel like I'm right back to where I used to be. Cobwebs. That's all. So here's me hoping that the same thing is happening to my cycling. Time will tell. 

Oh so, as far as 1 swim a week is concerned - its good enough for now. I can pickup the swimming in the spring during my long distance open water swims. In the meantime, investing 30hrs into swimming to barely remove 5 minutes off my swim time is pointless. I'm best investing that in recovery or biking or anything but. That's how I justify it anyhow.

One thing I have noticed amongst the blog community - silence. It seems almost all of us completely fell off the regular posts routine. I guess it's the off season for most so it's understandable. :) My off season started a month before most every elses so I'm already recharged and ready to get back to the routine.

The other thing I noticed is the myriad of false starts by alot of the Ironman first-timers for 2012. For all you IMMT people, and others, it's NOT that far away. I know your training program probably calls for a 20-24 week schedule but that schedule is BASED on a solid aerobic base being present. That means you don't have to go hardcore training, but whatever EXTRA you do in the next 8 weeks before the REAL plan start, will go a long way in making life easier when the meat of the plan arrives. Whatever you put in now, will pay big dividends later.

283 Days - MUCH closer than you might think.

I hate to sound preachy. I've been contemplating putting together a page to add onto my blog. One that has a a bunch of tips and tools I picked up along the way. Share what works for me, to help other first timers figure this Ironman thing out. I started to put it together but it sounded a bit ignorant. I mean, I'm not a coach - I just found what worked for me. I do my research and form opinions based on solid info but outside of that I dont have much credibility in the coaching world. I could pretend like most all the other self-proclaimed coaches out there - go write a silly little entry level triathlon coaching money-grab exam. Then pretend like I know what I am talking about. I think I'll pass though. There's enough of those idiots around, no sense adding to the pile. I think I'll skip the making of the information page too. I'll share my thoughts with those who want to hear it over some beer and wings instead.
That - and I couldn't figure out how to add a second page to my blog. With tabs up top to navigate sections. haha! To figure I'm in I.T.....  not worried though, I didn't put much effort in. If the interface isn't so obvious to add a page in 5 minutes time then clearly there is something wrong with the blogger interface :)

Triathlon Coaches - Monkey Business.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Momentum Building

Oh wow - where did THAT come from?!

Either I have a baby kangaroo in a pouch or I may have tacked on a few unwanted pounds in the form of love handles haha! 

So that makes this weeks Training plan kickoff all that much more important! Three nights of running in a row - a first for me. Due to the 'easiness' of doing an Ultra, I need to run 3 times a week in a row to build resistance to the abuse. Well maybe this was a bit much to do in the first week, so I made adjustments to the schedule to make it a little less painful. I scratched a bike and shortened the swim.

All that matter right now is learning the routine. The run is the most important, but the whole point of the next month or two is getting into a training routine. Fitting the workouts in around life and learning how to juggle slots of time to get things done.

Last night I came to the conclusion I really like the idea of getting my run in IMMEDIATELY after work. I was done my workouts and eating dinner by 6:30pm which means I have the rest of the evening to myself! That was wonderful!

You would think re-learning the routine would be easy since I had it down to a science last year - well there is a new peice to it now which adds a bit of complexity. The wife needs to get her workouts in now too! So it used to be I go workout while she made my dinner. Well that won't work anymore.

I have a few ideas on how to make this work for the both of us. Unfortunately every one of those ideas includes me making meals which ummmm I guess I'll have to learn how to cook or something. I'm perfectly happy eating pizza every night but I think the wife and kids might not appreciate that.

I'm also interested in figuring out how to make my own energy drinks and gels. I dont a fair bit of research and I can't wait to play with some recipes! No need to buy the overpriced garbage off the shelf no more! More on this later....

I'm sitting around 176lbs but unfortunately the extra weight all went to my gut. I can feel it on the runs, I definitely need core work! I can tell my core is weak. One thing at a time though - ROUTINE first!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Last Week's Algonquin Trip
Wow. I actually got my phat ass off the couch last night! It felt great getting out for a run, more importantly it was made enjoyable by the company I had. One of the bonuses of training for a Double-Iron is that speed work is not as important. I'm better off training at the pace I will be racing, which just so happens to be pretty close to the pace my wife goes! Actually to my surprise, she's getting quick. I figure that she'll be out-running me before the spring. In the meantime I can run with her and enjoy the company!

The key now is to use this momentum to keep getting those workouts in. Officially my training plan starts next week-ish after another trip north to Algonquin. I figure I'll try to put in another run this evening - the weather is favourable, may as well enjoy it!

I ordered the wife's Birthday present ages ago. Her Bday was almost a month ago and the gift keeps getting back ordered. Luckily it has, because I found an even better deal AND free shipping! She already knows it's a Turbo Trainer but she doesn't know which one. Actually I'm kind of jealous, I want it for myself but I figure it won't be much time before she gives up on it and it becomes mine mine mine! muahahahah! :)

I have just about finished writing my training plan. It's ugly, and will likely need several revisions based on how my body responds to the workload. Regardless I think I'll post the plan up for everyone to see. Maybe it will help someone write a plan of there own one day. Heck maybe someone can throw in some advice. I'll try to put a post together outlining the plan hopefully.

I received some pretty funny feedback after announcing my Double-Iron. My dad was the funniest, I told him over lunch that I'm doing a double-Iron and without hesitation he said "Noo way, you're going to kill yourself!". Thanks Dad. HAHA! Cuz that is almost the exact response he had when I said I was going to do an Ironman. The difference this time though, he might actually be right lol! I just shook my head and smiled - you know those kinds of comments push me to want to do it that much more lol! Either way though, he'll still show up and support me as he did at IMLP.
I'm lucky to have such a great support crew! Especially such a supportive wife - training with her is just a big bonus!


Run - 1:00hrs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Double Ironman 281.2

That is not a typo.
Yes, that is still in Miles.
No it's NOT back to back events, it is ALL at the same time - just as in an Ironman format.

I get some weird questions and some funny looks from even the most experienced triathletes, so let me first spell this out for everyone. Maybe it will help clarify what I am talking about here:

4.8 Mile Swim
224 Mile Bike
52.4 Mile Run

36 Hours to Complete it.

The race starts at 7am Friday, it finishes 7pm Sunday. Just get it done in that time. You can sleep if you can afford to make the cutoff. Most don't sleep. Some take really small naps repeatedly. Just get it done.

Sounds easy right?


OK so obviously I haven't posted in awhile. It's the off-season, and it has been one heck of one so far! I've been drinking like a fish, eating like a whale and I take lazy to a whole new level. Somewhere in there I impulsively registered for Ironman Muskoka 70.3. You know the race I swore I would NEVER ever do again - yeh that one. There's this thing called 'finish line fever'. I had a bad case of it and wanted to do it again and again and again and well lets just say I got my ass handed to me at Muskoka. Burnt out and unprepared I should have listened to my gut and just volunteered haha! My gut ultimately did me in and I did the entire race with no nutrition - now THAT is an experience. I should have quit, I really wish I would have because the effects of pushing your body like that is not just physical, it's mentally damaging. Talk about a loss of motivation, big time. Bummer.

So moving forward the next logical step of course - find the next Big Hairy Ass Goal! Sure I'm signed up for  IMMT next year but I am going there to finish, not qualify cuz lets face it - I dont stand a chance next year. I'll wait until I cat up to the next age group in 2013 and maybe try then. So if I'm not going to try to go FAST I may as well stick to going LONG. So in the world of Long, Double-Iron scares the sh*t out of me. Originally when I set out on this whole Ironman thing I learned of the UltraTri's and I know in my heart that I wanted to do one. It's been a nagging thought in the back of my mind.

Some ask why? Why do it?

Well there's two sides of this answer and I haven't completely shared them with even those closest to me. The quick and dirty short answer - to 'one-up' everyone else. I never lose, I'm always the best at everything I do. So instinctively I have this inner desire to set myself apart from the rest of the Ironman athletes out there. I'm incredibly proud of my Ironman finish and don't think any less of it, but lets face it - I am just another Ironman finisher in a sea of finishers. Ironman finisher is a rare breed, but not rare enough for me. Looking to go longer (double) or faster (Kona) would set me apart from the rest.
I said that was the quick and dirty answer. I say dirty because it's the easiest for the average person to understand and relate to. Sure I'm competitive, but deep down that's not the real reason for this. It's just the easiest one for people to wrap their head around. I risk looking like a shallow I-Am-Better-Than-You douchebage but people generally don't care to understand the real reasons for someone attempting such a crazy event.
The underlying reason for me setting out on an Ultra-Triathlon attempt comes from a desire to explore my own limits, to see what lies just beyond the impossible. One of my original goals of Ironman was to find this mythical wall - the point where I absolutely cannot continue no longer. I measure this by my state at the time of the finish line - If I can still breathe and walk and talk coherrently then obviously I could have kept going. Obviously I could of gone further or faster. I'm looking for that ultimate collapse at the finish line, knowing that there was nothing left, nothing held back and I exerted every last drop of potential. In theory this wall would come BEFORE the finish line, and in that moment I would find the willpower to endure and continue, or simply quit. I want to get beat down, stripped to my raw core, visit the deepest darkest places of my mind and in that moment... maybe I will learn something about myself. Some might call that Hell, I'd like to call it home, even for just a moment.

The beauty of it is I don't expect anyone to understand. I am doing this for me. It's like saying to someone you are doing an Ironman - those that get it, do. Those that don't get it, will never get it. You cannot explain it to them.

So where to begin? Well getting up off the couch and stop eating so much candy and potatoe chips would be a good start. I'm a solid 12lb-ish up from my Ironman weight,  maybe more but I am afraid to look haha! MUST. GET. OFF. THIS. COUCH.

I admit - I have no idea what I am doing. I don't know any Ultra-Triathletes. Actually I lied, I do know of one but I just found out. I fully expect to chain him to a chair and have him divulge all his trade secrets. Other than that though, I come to this event armed with the least amount of experience than all the other athletes. So this year there were less than 30 Double-Iron contendors. Yes, less than 30 in the whole world. I may be one of the few Canadians attempting this. A list of this years athletes and there resumes include some seriously Bad Ass Mother F*ckers. Ultra-Athletes with scary resumes, I mean look at this list of athletes and  their amazing accomplishments. These people are tough-as-nails and then there is me. Little gurly computer geek with a single Ironman finish under his belt. Frig, I'm gonna be the greenest one there. haha!

2011 Athletes
2012 Athletes including ME!

I just HAD to throw 'PFG Triathlon Club' in there cuz we all know that to gain membership to the Previously Fat Triathlon Club is tougher than a simple Deca-Ironman race. aha! That and the list under my name is patheticly small haha!

So I am self-building my training program the other day and I've come to the conclusion it's going to be much harder to build a training program with pretty much no reference material. I could find tons of Ironman training programs and peice together what works for me but in the case of Ultra-Triathlon I am hard pressed to just find ONE training program. I can't find one ANYWHERE. I did find a couple websites with Double-Iron training tips so I'm using that in conjunction with the myriad of Ironman training plans to come up with what I think will work for me. I'm really venturing into the unknown here, but I'll keep looking for resources. The plan I have built so far looks really really scary. I'm beginning to doubt it's supposed to look that scary. I'm more worried about doing TOO MUCH than NOT ENOUGH.

My state of mind right now is - I am confident I can get the 4.8 Mile swim done because I am a strong steady swimmer. I've never swam that far but I am pretty good in the water so other than the water being too cold from being in it that long, I'm not very worried. Oh and I need to learn how to do nutrition in the water because for that distance I'm going to need to take in calories during the swim. My stomach has never experienced that. Do you think you could swim for 3 Hours straight??

The bike is definitely possible. I've done a double century before. It was awhile ago but it gives me confidence. The key to success will be my nutrition and a proper pace. As long as I dont screw up my nutrition, I should be OK. The other part is bike fit - I need to dial in a fit that is comfotable, not necessarily the most aero/fast. I know I'll be dead tired off the bike so that leads me to the death march - errr I mean run. Do you think you could Bike for 15 Hours straight?? Oh and YES you bike through the night with lights.

The run scares me to death. I've never run that far. OK I'll go as far as saying I've NEVER run a marathon in my life. The only time I've gone as far as a marathon was at the end of my only Ironman. Yeh, I'm asking for a world of hurt here. I'm venturing into the borderline STUPID category. So needless to say I'll be working on my run alot. This comes with a great deal of risk, injury is apparent. I will train the winter with the intent on running an Ultra 50 Mile trail race in the spring. Whether I actually do the race is questionable, I dont want to risk injuring myself and screwing up the whole season by pushing too hard. I WILL however do the training necessary for it. The race is extremely hilly and historically these hills have injured me in some way so I need to be smart about this. I use the term 'smart' lightly. Do you think you could run 14 Hours Straight? And yes, you run through the night, including your 'witching hour' which I've seen videos of and it ain't pretty!

So ummm maybe I should start training then eh?

The next chapter of my Endurance 'career' begins......

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Post-Ironman Week

What happens the week after an Ironman?

The Post-Race festivities were just about as brutal as the Iroman itself. Last year at my first 70.3 in Muskoka I missed out on some get togethers with friends because I was not feeling well. While that is understandable, I regretted not celebrating my big accomplishment with friends and swore I would not make the same mistake here at Lake Placid.

Immediately after the race I went straight for the food zone. I was so happy to have caught Derek(DRog), Training Payne, Simon(TriTwins) at a table that I ignored my body screaming at me. In the 30 minutes I sat there chatting with them, my body temperature plummeted and legs seized right up! I was dangerously hypothermic and my wife had to escort me to my warm clothes bag as I struggled to walk on my own. If there is one thing that I take from this it is - GET YOUR WARM CLOTHES ON ASAP!! It was an extremely trying time after the race. It took hours to get warmed up again. Oh and don't sit down for 30 minutes without stretching or massage. You may never walk again if you do haha!

I've never BONKED post-race before. I've 'hit walls' and 'bonked' during exercise but never post-exercise. While crashing hard on the side of the road on some building's wooden steps, Training Payne was going by and caught me in my broken down state. Awww phuck, thats twice today this guy has got me! lol!  Of course he snapped a pic and followed it up with an awesome one-liner - "Welcome to Ironman!"  haha!

After struggling to warm up we hit a local restaurant to satisfy a craving I had all week - Wings! The hot chicken wings at Northwoods Inn are excellent! After about one bite though my body stepped up and gave me a big middle finger. It was only fair really. My mind won all day and forced my body to push through and finish the race, and now with the race over my body put a stop to it. My Body gets whatever it wants, so shut up Mind. lol! The wings were hot sauce, and the body decided it has had enough pain for one day - and refused to eat them. I understand.

Being my first Ironman I wanted to take it ALL in. I looked forward to hitting the Midnight party at the finish line. I was tired, cold, sore but who cares - those poor people out on the course are probably having a much tougher time. We got a wicked seat in the bleachers as to see the faces on the finishers as they came down the finisher's chute! The emotions on them were awesome to watch. Between finishers though I had to sit down and gather my strength to cheer. At first I was freezing so I was wrappedin a blanket, then I got super-boiling hot and stripped everything off, then I got teeth-chattering cold again. This cycle went on for the entire night but I mustered up the strength to cheer every finisher through from 10:30pm on until the last finisher at 12:07. Lois didn't make the cut-off. I cried.

Over 350 Mdots - Approx $6 Each
Some sick sick individual decided it would be funny to open the Finisher's clothing store at 7am the day after an Ironman. I was determined to get some finisher's gear so we were up at 5:30am after less than 4hrs sleep to get in line at the store. WHAT THE F*CK!? There was already a line-up out around the corner!? Triathletes are a strange breed.

No matter, I dropped many more dollars on everything I wanted, got all the sizes just before the people behind us were left with slim pickings. They only let people into the store 10 at a time. Probably a good idea. We met some awesome people in line though, seriously you could chat with ANY triathlete that day and they were like your best friend for life. Everyone had an awesome story, some happy and some sad but all extremely interesting. The most surreal place on earth is a Town the day after hosting an Ironman event.

We hooked up with Training Payne for a post-race party that started at noon hour. Fran and I ducked out in the afternoon to do some touristy stuff. Afterwhich we returned at 9pm to find the party still going on. We stayed until 4am, didn't get to bed until the sun rose while Simon and Bryan got kicked out of the room by hotel staff since they were about to serve the breakfast haha!

This made for an exhausting Tuesday of which we put in the remaining touristy stuff. If there is one thing you MUST do at Lake Placid - drive to the top of Whiteface Mountain. Wow. Well worth post-poning the extremely late drive home. Another all nighter.

If that wasn't enough, we pulled another all nighter getting shit-faced drunk at another party back home that Bryan was hosting. I think we left at almost 7am that night. So needless to say the following Canadian long weekend consisted of sleeping for almost 60 hrs straight. It was a really tough week, but its all part of the experience. I didn't want to miss a single moment of a chance to celebrate or drink beer Post-Race week. Well worth it!
No THAT's a Bong.

I didn't get any workouts in during that post-race week. Between all nighters and hangovers I was desperate to find time to sleep. The weekend was more sleep than I had planned, especially with the weather being so beautiful. I just gave-in and let my body rest. I've never slept so much in my life, it felt so good even with my mind stomping it's feet and having a hissy fit because my body refused to go out an enjoy the nice weather. It just wasn't going to happen.

My first workout was 8 days after the race. I read that you're supposed to wait 2 weeks before a run but stupid me thought I'd try anyways. The first 5km felt OK, the last 5km almost killed me. At the turn around my HR skyrocketed and I felt like vomitting. I was running with friends so I just kept running and stressed my system out to keep going. Not one of my brightest moments but oh well, I tried. More on this later...

I also ate like an absolute slob. My SNACKS alone were thousands of calories, I held NOTHING back. I satisfied every craving, and believe me I had alot of them. It was disgusting really. I'd polish down 4 pop-tarts and 6 Reese Peanut butter cups, just because I felt like it. I ate entire bag of Crazy bread with EXTRA EXTRA garlic butter and cheese. No portion control whatsoever. There was no limits to my disgustingness. It felt goooooood. PFG's know how to eat. I think I gained a record amount of weight this week.

As of 9 days post-race though, I've gone back to healthy eating. I'm happy to say I'm back on track as of Tuesday. I only have one more craving that needs to be satisfied - McDonalds. Guess what I'm doing for lunch? Mmmmhhhhhmmmmm yum yum! I promise to behave after this. I think.

Goodbye Lake Placid
View from our Cabin

Miracle on Ice
Olympic Ice

We swam down there in the flume!
Nice Bling. I'm feeling inadequate haha!


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