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.


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