triathlon and family can mix

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WordPress Still Exists and So Do I.

Was my last post really August 13? Man does time fly.

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So where have I been you ask? Why I am glad you did.

I think I have spent more time in the pool over the past 3 months than anywhere else. The months of September and October were full with fins on our feet, working on body position, catch, and overall stroke efficiency. Our coach was right (I hate to admit it) that with fins you can concentrate on your stroke and work on the parts that are weak.

Goal: speed.

It has worked. Over the past 3 weeks I have seen a drastic increase in my body position and efficiency resulting in my fastest 400m; 5:34 (1:23/100m). To boot, it was at the end of this workout.

Warm Up
400m swim / 200m kick / 400m swim

Main Set
6x400m – swim/pull/paddles/paddles/pull/swim

Cool Down
200m easy

For the record, I still need to work on my finish – “Water past your knees”.

Bike races are a crap load of fun. I raced, yeah raced, in my first Gran Fondo in late September which was put on by Mountain Equipment Coop in Turner Valley. I have never ridden in the Highwood Pass before, and I am glad that I had the chance. I played with the boys up front until the turn, opting to wait for my buddy who got dropped at km 50. It was our deal; wait for each other at the turn.

So much fun I may just race bikes next year. Who needs all that swimming and running? Rule #42.

I am going to get back in the regular posting routine and I do really enjoy reading other posts (Ragtime Cyclist, Single-tracked Mind, and Fit Recovery to name a few), so WordPress will be a regular stop for me.

So stay tuned. I have some really good ideas.

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Where Have You Been?

So it has been a little while.

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Alright, it has been a long while since I last wrote. Hey, sometimes life gets busy and things fall off the turnip truck. Between training for Ironman 70.3 Calgary, travelling for business, and vacation with the family I have been going non-stop for the better part of 8 weeks.

Bummer? Not really.

You want a real bummer? Race an Ironman 70.3 and realize 4km into the bike leg that your timing chip is no longer attached to your leg. Technically I DNS (Did Not Start) but my hamstrings had something to say about that.

Despite falling short of my goal of sub 5 hours by a whole 12 minutes, I had a great race. My swim was great, coming out of the water in 27:58 (1:28/100m) and my bike was fast as well; 2:35:45 (33.9km/hr). The run is where I died; a 2:03:01 (5:50min/km) run split is no better than I did 2 years ago. I wonder what happened, I figured my fitness was better than that and I could target a 1:50 run split.

Ah well, this is why I do this thing called triathlon; go past that point of failure, figure out where your weakness’ are, then fix em’.

Summer is only 1/3 over, my race season is completely over, and the off season begins. I echo Dave here a little bit saying that it is kinda weird that off-season is already here.

I have decided that a year off from the triathlon world is what I need right about now. I was feeling really tired, and to be honest a little bored over the last couple of weeks leading to Ironman 70.3 Calgary. My motivation lacked even though I finished all of the training sessions as planned (duration and intensity). I was really just hoping for a day off.

So the rest of the summer is dedicated to giving back to the sport which I have enjoyed over the past 4 years. My little one races in the Lake Chaparral Kids of Steel this weekend and I will volunteer the following day at the grown-up race.

Oh, and of course, racking up a crap load of km’s on my road bike.

What lies ahead in 2015 you ask? I have no idea.

Question: Have you taken a year off? What did you do instead?


Wind, Flats, and Hills

Another week down and not many left…

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Swim – 2:15:00 (p) – 2:15:00 (a) – 5400m
Bike – 5:15:00 (p) – 5:05:58 (a) – 125.37km
Run – 2:40:00 (p) – 2:30:21 (a) – 31.07km

Total – 10:10:00 (p) – 9:51:19 (a)

That is a wrap on week 5 of the CTS Half Ironman plan, and other than missing the total time for the week, training has been going great. Now I have a legit excuse for why I am short.

Tuesday mornings are usually a bike-run brick. They started pretty easy with a 60min EM ride with a 15min ER. No problem. This week, the plan was a 1:30EM (7x2min PI; 3min RBI)) with a 20min ER. About 1:05 into my bike my dog comes barreling down the stairs, and when he is awake, so are the girls. 5 minutes later my daughter comes down and here is the conversation:

S: “Dad, how long do you have left, I want to play”
Me: “About 40 minutes kiddo.”
S: “Okay, I’ll just play by myself until you are done.”
2 minutes later
S: “Has it been long enough yet?”
Me: “Not yet. Did you want to get some breakfast first?”
S: “Nope, I’ll just wait.”
5 minutes later
S: “Aren’t you done yet?”
Me: “Alright, I will stop my bike and go for a quick run. Can you wait another 10 minutes?”
S: “Okay.”

She asked an additional 3 times when I was going to be done. She gets her patience from my wife and her time telling skills from me.

I headed for a long bike ride on Saturday morning; 2:45 EM planned. It was a great ride for the first long one of the season. The wind really slowed my down heading west, even keeping my speed below 70km/hr heading down into Cochrane. About 50k into the ride I heard a loud clang, the sound of a rock being shot into the ditch from my tire. I apologized to my bike promising not to hit any more rocks like that. Well, apparently it was too-little-too-late as I looked down at a flat tire.

I swapped tubes and took the opportunity for a “comfort break” and a snack before I got going again. I was pretty happy with myself as it took about 5 minutes to get my tire swapped; a good skill to have but one you hope you don’t use very often.

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Finally, The Weekend is Upon Us

I have read all three of Tim Ferris’ books; I have referenced ‘The Four Hour Body’ a lot on my blog. Well I just used some advice from his first book, ‘The Four Hour Workweek.’

He talks about people in your life that don’t add anything positive, or even worse, add negativity. Well, this morning I had coffee booked with a group of Brothers that was arranged by one of them. I showed up at the coffee shop only to realize that the meeting time and place had changed, by 30 minutes and 6 blocks. Not a small change.

This isn’t the first time this individual has done something like this, so I decided after grabbing my coffee solo, that it was about time to cut this relationship.

Tim (we are on first name basis) recommends talking with them and explaining the situation, not taking no for an answer. In this case, I am going to take the other road and just stop communication. Just like that.

Question: Thoughts? Should I put my big boy pants on and chat with him?


Always Be Attacking

I am not a professional cyclist.

Parigi - Roubaix 2008  Allenamento sul pavè

Thou I do pretend to be one from time to time….

The Paris-Roubaix this past weekend was a great race. Between the cobbles, attacks, and unpredictable winner I couldn’t turn away. That is what is so great about the single-stage, or classic races; anyone has a chance to win. That is why I ask this question:

If Cancellara really wanted to win, which I am pretty sure he did, why didn’t he attack or at least attempt to catch Terpstra inside 5km?

Appreciating the fact bike racing is like poker at 55km/hr, did Omega-Pharma Quick Step call Fabian’s bluff and attack at the right time? I can understand why he didn’t go with Tom Bonnen. When Bonnen attacked with 78.5km to go, I thought “wow, cool move but way to early”. With the help of the Peloton, he stood a better chance than if he had gone with.

Even after Boonen was gone, Trek Factory Racing left the charge up to BMC in the Peloton. I figured they would have pushed the pace, reeled in the chase group, and cranked up the pressure to deliver him to the line. Instead it seemed like most of the teams were happy to enjoy the view the in the country side finishing with a nice ride in town. Not bad for a Sunday morning hey?

Now I know that Fabian was held up by a teammate after a crash, scary how fast that happens by the way, and it took a lot of energy to make contact with the Peloton. I reckon that it took a lot of energy for Terpstra to make contact with the lead group, then open a 20 second advantage when he crossed the finish line.

Maybe it just wasn’t his day. It is no secret that a little luck, who am I kidding, a lot of luck is needed to win a bike race. If it wasn’t, there would be no need to start the race in the first place. Was it luck? Or did he know holding on for 2nd or 3rd was the only option?

If I was in his shoes, I would have been right on Terpstra’s wheel when he broke, sprinted to the line, or died trying.

Again, maybe why I am not a professional cyclist.

Question: What would you have done in Cancellara’s shoes?


Finally, The Weekend is Upon Us

Nothing like being able to release the shackles at the end of the day, who am I kidding, lunch time, and head home to hang with the family. Or if you don’t have kids, then you are probably off for dinner with friends and sleeping in. Not that I envy you or anything like that…..

Again, taking inspiration from Dave, if you need a little laugh or inspiration to start the weekend off right then I am at your service.

A buddy of mine has this on the wall in his office; I can’t walk by without having a little chuckle. Probably because it is so true.

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I use visualization in my everyday life, I first learnt about it playing baseball as a kid. My coach would have us see the ball hit the bat, rounding third heading for home, or if the ball came to us what we would do. I do the same on the beach before a race and on the way into the office each morning. If I can visualize it, then I can make it happen.

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I dig music, and by dig, I mean obsess about it. A good song can give you the energy to finish the end of an interval, make Saturday morning chores fun, and inspire. A bad song can do the opposite. Right now I am junto Sufjan Stevens; specifically his ‘Illinois’ album. It is pretty mellow, but most of the time, that is what I need.

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I promised my lane 3 swimming buddies I would make this one. When ever we have an extra 5 minutes after a workout, our coach always has us do sprints. Sometimes it is 4x25m, but it can turn out to be worse. We try our best never to end early.

Eau Claire YMCA Tri Club

I just really thought this was hilarious and fitting for an athlete. Not many days go by that I don’t think about eating an entire pie. We can and we will…..

eyes and stomach

Have a good weekend guys. Train safe and sleep in.


Volunteering, Brusing, and Dressing Like a Grown-Up

Not too bad considering.

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Swim – 2:00:00 – 6100m
Bike – 2:17:20 – 75.6km
Run – 1:21:51 – 16.1km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 6:24:11

Considering I missed the first 2 days of the week; dumb job keeps getting in the way.

I tried to scramble to get everything in after getting home late on Monday night but decided against it Tuesday morning. It is funny what a couple of days with little or no sleep will do to your motivation.

I sound like a broken record a little bit, but swim club this week was awesome again. For how hard we swam on Friday, I would have been justified to take the entire weekend off to recover. Alas, it was ‘Fartlek Friday’ and my run partner was not so easily swayed, even though he swam the exact workout I did earlier that morning. I am going to like this partnership.

We sprinted intervals that each of us made up on the fly; the next pole, over the bridge, to the next turn. You get the idea. We set the pace in the first 25m and then tried to lose each other. It must have made for some interesting watching as we were flying down the pathway chatting about when we would stop.

I volunteered with my little one’s grade one field trip and I was lucky to be able to join. To volunteer you need to have security clearance which takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the Calgary Police Service to complete. I procrastinated and left about 4 weeks to get all of the paper work in order. The stars were aligned and I received my clearance Monday afternoon. Awesome.

It was a absolute riot to skate with 80 kids on the ice. Some had never seen a sheet of ice before and others were really good on a pair of skates. I learnt how to skate (actually I knew how to skate, I needed to learn how to stop) last winter to keep up with my daughter. No better motivation I reckon. I am totally gong to take every advantage I can to do that again.

At the end of the day, the teacher called all the kids to center ice, and on my way there, a kid cut in front of me. In my attempt to avoid the collision, I lost and edge and fell on my right side. My hip is a little bruised, along with my ego.

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Over the last 3 months I have been lifting with the ultimate goal of increasing my strength without adding my bulk in the process. Both my squat PR and average wattage have been increasing and my speed on the run is getting better.

You could say things have been going pretty good, but my tailor is the happier of us two. All of my clothes have needed some sort of work since Christmas. Take in the waist on my newly purchased slacks because the only way for my thighs to fit was to buy the size up is the latest escapade. I went into a high end store here in Calgary, and the sales lady who I presume works on commission, took one look at me and told me to try somewhere else.

Are my legs that proportioned to the rest of my body?

Any ways, being an amateur triathlete is wreaking havoc on my wardrobe. Workout attire, contrary to popular belief, is not acceptable everywhere.

Question: How do you get the motivation to train after a hard workout?


Distance Swims and Arguing with a 6 Year Old

I know, I know.

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Swim – 3:10:00 – 9600m
Bike – 2:17:29 – 71.8km
Run – 0:44:53 – 6.8km
Strength – 1:30:00

Total – 7:42:21

Another week in the books, and apart from a missed run on the weekend, everything went to plan. I was really hoping to get out on Saturday, not only because the weather was awesome, but I wanted to see if my stair workout helped shake the funk I have been having on the run.

Alas, it was not to be.

Friday was out annual “Swim 4 Heart” distance swim. The club does it each year to support one of our swimmers and his fundraising goal. I offered to donate $100 if I didn’t have to swim. The result? We ended up swimming 4000m in 65 minutes. Again, not as good a negotiator as I thought I was.

All kidding aside, it was fun to log some laps and switch up our routine.

I love swimming with triathletes; we don’t get in a ‘huffy’ about hitting each other at the wall or grabbing onto each others feet. Hey, in a mass swim start I would welcome the odd foot touch rather than some dude swimming right over top of me or elbows in my face for 200m.

Running needs to take a prominent part of my training plan in the coming weeks. I have been slacking over the past couple of months choosing to focus on strength training and having fun in the pool. Well, the time has come to switch up my approach and log some time (and intensity) on the pathways.

I had a buddy approach me to run with him on Friday at lunch; I jumped at the chance. I think I will rework my schedule to fit in a run Monday/Wednesday/Friday with speed work together at the end of the week.

Let’s call it Fartlek Friday

The good thing about speed work is your partner doesn’t have to be the same pace to get a good workout; if he is a little faster, then you will get faster too. If he is a little slower, then you get a longer rest between intervals.

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It is no secret that parenting is hard, those little ones can spin a normal adult into a ball of frustration and anger in the blink of an eye. Queue the parenting advice…….sorry, no big revelations here.

My wife finished a book called “Honey, I Wrecked the Kids” by Alison Schafer and liked it so much she insisted I read it. Not to go into too much detail as this isn’t a parenting blog, the premise behind the book is parents equally share the causes of the ‘inappropriate’ behaviour. So many times the child is seen as the sole part of the problem, and thus, needs to be fixed.

In our house arguments can run rampant in the evening. It takes 2 to argue, and being the grown-up (kinda), I can choose not to participate. So I am going to try to keep my cool and come to an agreement without yelling.

Let’s see how it goes. I am only 30 pages into the book.

Question: Thoughts on run intervals? Which are the best?