triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “calgary

One, Two, Ten Not Counting Again

Race week, my favorite kind of week.


Swim – 2:15:00 (p) – 3:10:00 (a) – 9800m
Bike – 3:45:00 (p) – 3:47:51 (a) – 99.57km
Run – 2:30:00 (p) – 3:02:46 (a) – 35.74km

Total – 8:30:00 (p) – 10:00:38 (a)

My first half marathon of 2014 is in the books, and all-in-all, it was a great race. I ran it solo in 2013, race report here, and finished with a great time even though I hit the wall at km 15.

2014 was different. I ran it with my brother, helping him finish sub 2 hours. No need to panic, the race report is to come.

As I was training though the race I didn’t taper this week, and good thing. Swim volume was high on both Monday and Friday, and they both went something like this:

Warm Up
400m swim / 200m kick / 400m drill
Main Set
Alternate swim / pull
2x400m on 6:00
4x200m on 3:30
8x100m on 1:45
Cool Down
200m easy

Needless to say swimming 3600m in 60 minutes leaves me a little tired in the office for the rest of the day. Standing desks don’t help with that by the way.

Speaking of tired, have you ever fallen asleep on the couch at 2030? I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, watching a little TV before bedtime. Next thing I knew the show as over, and my little one was poking me in the ribs.

I am noticing that every day that I have a brick session scheduled (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) I am not only looking forward to my bedtime, I am looking forward to that 20 minutes on the couch before her bedtime.

How sad is that?

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Recap – Week 50
Calvin and Hobbes

Spring is such a great time in Calgary. With the nice weather, the families in our little corner of the community gather once again at the park after supper. It is great to catch up with some that you lose touch with over the winter and seeing how the kids grew.

I got invited by my daughter and her friends to join in a game of ‘grounders’. What an absolute riot, the kids were laughing when I couldn’t hear them on the ground, and screaming when I got close to tagging them.

These kids kicked my butt. I was ‘it’ more often than not, and they had a couple of tricks that took me almost all night to figure out.

Can’t wait to play again this week.

Question: How do you deal with being tired?


Headstands and Spring in Calgary

Wow, Wednesday already. I wish every week would go this fast.


Swim – 3:00:00 – 9400m
Bike – 2:15:05 – 68.3km
Run – 2:24:09 – 28.9km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 8:25:14

That was a good week, training went really well and I had a great time with the girls. Our swim volume ramped up Monday and Wednesday with 3400m on each day. Friday was no slouch either, it was only 2600m but with 600m of sprints it was every bit as tough. Wednesday looked something like this:

400m swim / 200m kick / 400m drill
Main Set
4x600m on 10:00
Swim / Pull / Pull with Paddles / Pull
Cool Down

We were able to hit the wall under 9:00 for each set taking a decent amount of rest. One thing I have learnt in my time with lane 3, I need to improve my pull. I can leave most of the guys in my wake (I was gonna say dust) on a swim set, but when the pull buoy hits the water, I am literally lost off the back. Reminds me of this post from SwimSwam. Which one are you?

Ah, the warm weather last weekend lulled us all into a sense of false security. I was planning on taking my bike onto the road, the sunshine and crisp spring air was calling my name saying “hey, it is never to early to start working on those cyclist tan lines.” I had to give it up as family engagements called and reserved to ride the following weekend. Yeah, not gonna happen with -10 degrees, snow, and wind-chill to boot.

Everyone in Calgary is complaining about the weather, and I can see why. Spring arrived last week and the forecast calls for more snow this coming week than we got in all of January. But hey, in Calgary you can’t discount snow until after the May long weekend, so I am not throwing my hands in the air just yet.

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Ironman Tattoo

I enjoy doing things that are out of my comfort zone; I always joke with my wife that I will “try anything once”. This is how I have come upon some of the best things in my life, including triathlon.

On Saturday afternoon was my little ones last gymnastics class. Why so important you ask? Well the last day is when all of the parents are invited down with 20 minutes left to compete in a competition. Nothing crazy like trampoline, but how cool would that be? This time around was a headstand competition between the Moms and Dads.

With my girls on the sideline, I waited for the countdown, and lifted into a headstand, elbows on my knees. It was actually pretty easy to hold and after a 12.5k run, it felt great on the legs. After a couple of minutes or so, they told us to raise our legs straight into the air. Cool.

Next thing I know, I am on my side, laughing. Apparently I need to work on my core strength.

Question: Have you gotten out of your comfort zone lately?

Runch, Time, and Birthdays

As a triathlete you know what “two-a-days” are.


Swim – 3:00:00 – 9600m
Bike – 2:28:47 – 86.7km
Run – 1:30:24 – 18.0km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 7:44:11

Not only do you know what they are, but you live and breathe them in the winter season. Well, at least I have since November. The only problem I have with training in the morning and again at lunch is the time; it takes a lot out of my day. A 45 minute run at lunch, or “runch” as we call it, can take almost double that time to walk to the gym, change, run, shower, change, and walk back to the office. Not the most efficient use of time.

To increase my efficiency, I have opted for a mini-brick after my swim sessions on Monday/Friday, hitting the treadmill right after I get out of the pool. Sure after a session of sprints it can be tough but I chalk it up to training my body to run on tired legs. I still split my workouts on Wednesday so I can get a long run in on fresh legs. Once I get in the thick of things in spring, I will drop my swim on Wednesday and push the run even longer.

Speaking of the treadmill, I have been reserved to running indoors over the past week as the temperature in Calgary has been a balmy -25 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees with the wind). Now I am no wimp, but when the wind picks up and I can freeze my skin in less time than I spend in T1, time to hit the treadmill.


I cut my run short on Monday because my left shin was starting to hurt about 12 minutes in. I cursed the treadmill, walked it loose, and headed for the showers. Why does it hurt indoors but no issue outside? I always set the treadmill on an incline (1-1.5 percent) to keep the noise to a minimum. Not that I am loud when I run, quite the opposite, but with repeated beatings the treadmills at the local YMCA have seen better days. If I leave it a 0 the screws and bolts sound like they are gonna bail at any moment.

So the same thing started to happen on Friday, pain in my left shin. As an experiment, I lowered the incline to 0.5 percent and after a couple of minutes, wouldn’t you know it, the pain went away and I enjoyed a decent 35 minute run.

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Fitness Testing

It my my daughters birthday on Wednesday. That kid is getting old, fast, and I don’t like it.

To make the day special I am going to play hookie from swim club on cook her favourite breakfast, pannekoek. Dutch pancakes are the house favourite and when asked the question “what do you want for breakfast?” her answer is always pancakes. I am going to try and wake up early, sneak downstairs, and have everything ready for her when she wakes up. Seeing as I am as graceful as a bull in a china shop, I am gonna need all the luck I can get.

Wish me luck.

Question: Have you started introducing ‘bricks’ into your training yet?

Don’t You Hate it When Life Gets in the Way?

Oh, I wish that I was a professional triathlete.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 6300m
Bike – 0:00:00 – 0km
Run – 0:30:07 – 5.63km
Strength – 1:30:00

Total – 4:00:07

I have a pretty delicate balance when it comes to fitting training into my daily life. One missed day can really mess a guy up. Take this week for example; day trip to Edmonton Tuesday killed my bike and run, and leaving Friday for a drilling rig killed the rest of the week and the beginning of this week. Not to mention I spent my birthday away from the girls. Boo.

Looking on the positive side, the workouts I did get in the week were awesome; I don’t think that I have swam that hard for a long time. Our workouts on Monday and Wednesday both featured my favourite training tool, fins. Here is our set from Monday.

Warm Up
400m Swim / 200m Kick / 400m Drill
Main Set
4x100m Swim on 1:45
2x200m Swim on 3:30
4x100m Swim on 2:00
1x400m Swim on 7:00
4x100m Swim on 2:00
2x200m Swim on 3:45
Warm Down
100m Swim – Easy

Needless to say I pretty much ate everything I saw for the next 2 days. Our coach, while we resting between the last 2x200m set told us to focus on a hard kick with a good long reach off the wall. The sentiment from the lane, “we are just trying to stay alive.” Enough said.

I squeezed in a run on the treadmill Wednesday night, making up for Tuesday. Intervals were on the menu as my time was limited due to a late bed time for the little one. No matter, the less time I spend there the better.

The sidewalks, pathways, and roads here in Calgary have turned into pure ice. Not the “oops it is a little slippery” kinda ice, I mean the “holy crap I just surfed for 10 feet” kinda ice. I guess this is what we get for having above zero temperatures in January. I chose the treadmill on Wednesday purely for that reason; I didn’t want to go for a ride.

Running in the winter can be treacherous, especially here in Canada. Cold weather, wind, and dark can make for some scary situations. I have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for winter running in Canada. Stay tuned for that piece of wisdom…..

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I mentioned that I spent the last 4 days in the field, missing not only my birthday, but spending a lot of time away from the girls. Not something that I want to do on a regular basis, but sometimes it comes with the territory. By territory I mean running my own product line with an international company. Not to make myself sound important or anything.

Being away from the normal day-to-day can be refreshing at times, heading into the middle of nowhere in -20 degree weather is not one of those times. I am glad to be back home safe and sound and ready to spend some quality time with my daughter. Strengthening our connection is going to be my top priority over the next 30 days.

So back to normal for the next couple of weeks. As normal as my family is.

Question: Any tips from you on running in the winter?

Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time

Stairs. Oh so many stairs.


I mentioned earlier this week that I have had a couple of back-to-back less than stellar runs. I couldn’t figure out what was going on; am I losing run fitness as my volume hasn’t peaked over 2 hours yet, do I need some rest, or do I need to switch things up from the usual routes?

Many questions, little answers.

After rescheduling my run to Wednesday as I had a business lunch, I decided to to switch up my workout from the 45min EM that I had planned to a 45min EM with stairs. I was stoked that I had come up with an awesome idea that would get my run training back on track. So I headed out on the 10th street loop for a warm up (~3km) and made 5 ascents of the legendary McHugh Bluff stairs.

Now if you don’t live in Calgary, McHugh Bluff is just north of Downtown separating the Bow River Valley from Crescent Heights. 167 stairs later and you are at the top, gasping for air but enjoying the view.

The first 2 sets I hit each stair on the up and felt pretty good, not taking too much time before I headed down. The next 2 I doubled up and the last set was a challenge to get to the top without stopping. Partly because I was tired, but mostly because there was a couple of gals walking side-by-side. The last set I hit each stair and took a good break before turning around to head home.

Here is my GPS track.


A couple of notes:

1. The elevation tracking is a bit off. There is no big hill on the warm up lap, or it wouldn’t really be a warm up lap would it?
2. My heart rate doesn’t match with the elevation. I can assure you that I didn’t peak half way up each time.
3. I stopped a little early as my shoe lace came untied, again. I need to figure that out.

I think it worked, getting me out of my funk I mean. On the way home, I took the track as my warm up and noticed that I was striding pretty decent and my pace was right were I want it to be.

The part about it being a good idea, yeah, my calf’s and quad’s are saying this morning that I should have just stuck with the usual loop. The only way to navigate a flight of stairs right now is to go backwards.

No better way to loosen them up than a good old 45 minute distance swim hey?

Question: How do you get out of a training funk?

Ironman 70.3 Calgary

Hometown race baby.


I registered yesterday morning. I was on the fence even though I wanted to pull the trigger on another Ironman 70.3 race in 2014. Why is that?

Why do we want to do something so bad, then when time comes to put up or shut up, we do nothing?

Anyways, hanging in the training pool between our 100m and 400m time trials (more on that in a future post) I chatted with a fellow triathlete that swims with me in lane 3. He asked if I had registered knowing that I participated a couple of years ago. He also mentioned that they expect it to sell out by the weekend. Crap, no more hesitation.

I got into the office and pulled the trigger. Not sure what the wife is gonna say….

The raced has changed; the swim and bike courses were amended in 2013 as the floods rendered the swim course unsafe on race day and I guess the race directors liked the revised course. They have revised it again this year to follow the 2013 race course with a different swim venue. I am not complaining, swimming in a man made lake will be a lot warmer than swimming in Ghost Dam (water temp was 14 degrees Celsius in 2012).

The bike course follows a couple of popular training routes so it should be easy to head out in May and June to get a good feel on the road ; the one of many benefits of a hometown race. It is a tad short at 87.5km, but I reckon that makes up for it being long by 4km in 2012. In my opinion, it is easier than the old course albeit more technical with a potential, good potential, for some decent head wind on the first 35km.

You scared of wind? I’m not.

The run course remains unchanged, and that is a good thing. North/South Glenmore park is great run with some decent up and downhill sections. This is what attracts most competitors; the challenge of the run course.

I actually feel a little nostalgic that without any planning, I participated in the last race on the old course. It was a great ride with some awesome scenery and speed. I am even going to miss that big climb out of the river valley in Cochrane. Really, did I just say that?

So here is to Ironman 70.3 Calgary 2014 edition. I am looking forward to it.

Question: Do you hesitate to register for a race? Why?

Recipe – Sausage and Kale Soup

I promised back in this post, I would not post a lot of recipes on my blog.


Well, this is only my second recipe post, so I reckon I am holding up my end of the bargain. Besides, this one is totally worth it.

It rained in Calgary yesterday, kind of that coastal ‘we haven’t seen the sun in months’ kind of rain. After some pretty hot temperatures over the past couple of weeks, we were surprised to have to turn on the furnace last night; our inside temperature got down to 17 degrees Celsius. It was so cold in the mountains that they now have snow on them again. It is nice to look at, but you won’t see me racing to the mountains anytime soon.

When it is cold outside, we always enjoy a soup or chili for supper, so this hit the spot. Modifying it for a Paleo/Whole 30 diet is easy, and if you dig the Slow Carb Diet, make it as is.

We use our Dutch Oven, one cause the Dutch rule (you aient much if you aient Dutch) and two it makes a large meal easy to contain.

To feed 4, gather the below:

2 tbsp oil, 2 Italian sausages*, 1 large onion (finely chopped), 1 leek (sliced), 3 carrots (diced), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 156 ml can tomato paste, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp salt, 8 cups chopped kale leaves.

1. Add oil to pan, saute sausages until cooked and caramelized on both sides. Take out of pan reserving the grease.
2. Add onion, carrots, leeks, and garlic to pan. Cook to soften.
3. Add tomato paste, coriander, salt, and sausages (with drippings). Simmer for 5 minutes
4. Add 4 cups water. Bring to boil.
5. Add kale. Boil until kale is cooked.

Serve it with some grated parmesan (if you can) and have at it.

*We make our own sausage. Not to bore you with those details, and increase the number of recipe posts by 33%, here is a link to the recipe we use.

This is a modification of a recipe originally published by Chatelaine. Check the original here.

Question: What is your cold weather comfort food?