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.


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