triathlon and family can mix

Posts tagged “coffee

Fartleks and Coffee, What?

I think it is about time for a rest week.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 4550m
Bike – 2:15:48 – 75.3km
Run – 1:46:22 – 20.0km
Strength – 1:30:00

Total – 7:32:10

I have been going pretty steady since the new year with only a couple of missed workouts here and there. I have been seeing some positive gains on both the swim and bike, and being able complete 3 runs last week without cringing; chalk that up as a win.

With 14 weeks until my first big race of the year, Escape from Alcatraz, I have some time before I need to ramp up my training. I am going with the tried and tested ‘Time Crunched Triathlete’ Half Ironman program from Chris Carmichael; my second time through the plan. This time hopefully I won’t crash, break my collar bone, and be able to complete it from start to finish…..

So what do I do? Do I stick with the plan right now, slug it out until the first part of April and get on with it? Or do I switch it up now and have a little fun before the ‘real’ training kicks in?

Oh the questions.

I am enjoying my Friday speed sessions with my new found running buddy, even if he is totally faster than me. I was able to beat him in a sprint over the Peace Bridge a week ago, but it took everything I had. I recently referred to it a ‘Fartlek Friday’ and it got me thinking about the name, ‘Fartlek’. I know that it is Swedish for speed play, but it just sounds weird. Say it three times fast. Go ahead.

Weird right? I wonder if it started as a joke, “hey Sven, I bet you can’t get people to use fart repeatedly in a sentence.”

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Recap – Week 50

So me and my crazy challenges have started anew. This time it is a familiar challenge; ditch the java for 30 days.

Every time I have a cup of coffee with a friend or at home on the weekend, I don’t feel very good. I thought it may be the amount as with my profession, I tend to meet a lot over a coffee, so I switched to decaf for a while. Didn’t help. So as of Thursday I am coffee free for at least 30 days. I have done it before so I am confident it will be successful this time ’round.

As a addition, I am going to count the days that I go not only coffee free, but caffeine free. Even though tea has much less than coffee, caffeine effects the adrenal system. If I am already using it heavily during exercise, and if you swim with us heavily is the right term, why put more strain on it than necessary.


Question: How do you switch up your training plan?


Recap – Week 46

Consistency is just not my thing right now.


Swim – 2:00:00 – 6500m
Bike – 0:56:17 – 26.1km
Run – 1:22:20 – 17.40km
Strength – 0:45:00

Total – 5:03:37

Training went great again this week, we, at least the days I was able to fit one in. With the Remembrance Day long weekend (I say that with a hand on my heart) I took an extra rest day and spent time with the family. This was welcome by both of the girls as I had been hunting on both Saturday and Sunday.

Our swim on Friday was killer, again. The workout looked something like this:

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

Now I like ladders as much as the next guy; they help me reach things that I can’t normally. This ladder was a little different. We ended up swimming the 400m in 5:50 (1:27/100m) which was right about at my threshold pace. I have never swam a 400 in less than 6:00 so I was stoked, but less stoked once the 200m sets were finished, because I was as well.

The rest of my week was steady as she goes. I ran on Friday evening as the weather was going to turn nasty for Saturday. I slipped on my thermal top just as I headed out the door as the temperature was dropping and I really dislike being cold; bad decision. I roasted the entire run. I am sure not many times you will see a guy (or gal) running in the winter with the zipper half open and the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. If you were in NW Calgary on Friday, you would have a story to tell your friends.

Need to figure out the whole ‘dress for the cold’ again. I seem to forget every year.

So in my last post I thought about Ironman, and why there is a stigma around not really being a triathlete until you are an Ironman. To finish that thought, I don’t feel that you have to finish a long course to be considered a triathlete. What we do, swim/bike/run, is crazy enough that no matter the distance. Be proud.

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Recap – Week 35

I met some friends for coffee last week and showed up a little late. By a little, I mean about 15 minutes. They had already waited in line and found a table with their eggnog lattes. So I stopped and apologized for being late, and proceeded to stand in line waiting for my coffee. Now I am not angry that they grabbed their coffee and not mine, it was my fault that I was late. As I was waiting in line, one of them stood up and accompanied me, making small talk with me while I waited.

That is stand up. Not often do people these days practice that kind of ‘old world’ social excellence of going out of their way for others. It has inspired me to the same for not only the people I know and care about, but maybe for a stranger or two. Stay tuned to see how I make out.

Question: How do you dress for a winter workout? Any tips?

Whole 30 – Day 26

So here we are, less than a week from the end.


I am happy to report that I am really starting to enjoy this. I am still missing certain things, specifically cream in my coffee. I really like adding coconut milk, and if I had the choice, I would never use coffee cream again. But when I show up a the Starbucks with my own coconut milk can, they look at me like I am crazy.

I am also missing a good way to get more food into my system. With my training load, I am hungry a lot. Now I can only add so many additional chicken thighs before my body doesn’t want to eat any more. I think on swim days, the days I am the most hungry, I am gonna try bringing an additional meal, and chowing on that mid morning.

Other than that, I am still feeling great. I commuted on my bike this morning to the office, a total of 17.5km one way. Now that distance is pretty easy for me, but the fact I could eat breakfast, bike in, and feel full until lunch was awesome. Not too mention that my stomach didn’t give me any issues. With a standard breakfast, say pancakes, I wouldn’t have been able to say the same thing.

I had to up the amount of food for breakfast and lunch due to the hunger last week. It seems to have done the trick so far, but we will see how tomorrow goes after swimming. I am always starving after laps.

On the menu this week
Breakfast – Burgers with green beans, sweet potato, and a handful of coconut flakes
Lunch – Chick Thighs with salad, roasted beets, avocado, and olives
Post Workout – Burger with sweet potato

My next recap will be Day 30 and the official end of the challenge. Thoughts are swirling in my head of what I want to eat once I am officially finished. Should it be a cookie, muffin, bowl of ice cream, chocolate covered almonds, rice crispy square, or pancakes? I feel this is a tough decision as I don’t want to waste the opportunity as I am sure I won’t have more than one before I revert back to my Whole 30 ways.

Maybe I will just see where the day takes me.

I am going to hit the scale on Saturday morning to see my progress. As I started this 3 days early, I didn’t weight myself before, so I will have to guess on my progress. I don’t feel much lighter, but I am convinced that I have traded in some body fat for muscle. I can visually tell. The numbers won’t lie.

Question: What would you first go for after your Whole 30 challenge is over?

2012 Review – Part 2

It was a great year for many reasons.


I achieved several goals I set for myself and my family became closer as well.

In June, after a coffee meeting with a friend, I decided to give up the java for good. Based on how I felt after each day, the motivation was pretty high. I have to admit, it wasn’t easy especially with the line of work I am in, but I made it through the 30 days and have given it up for good. I feel greet now, especially in the afternoon when I used to get the jitters. I did have a couple of ‘shorts’ of Christmas Blend because, not that I am Superman, but it is my kryptonite.

Nine weeks to the day after I broke my collar bone, I stood on the shore of Ghost Dam getting myself ready for Ironman 70.3 Calgary. It was my ‘A’ race of the year, and all of my training revolved around it. Most thought that I was crazy for starting, but my family stood behind me and cheered me along the way. I learnt alot about myself, triathlon, and how your mental toughness is just as important as your physical. I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t have finished if it wasn’t for them.

It was then my daughters turn for her second Kids of Steel Triathlon; her first open water swim. I swam, ran as she biked, and ran beside her to the finish line. My favorite part of the race? When she grabbed a glass at the aid station and tried to drink while running. I think every person, including myself, were chuckling a little bit. It was so cute.

Pretty much our whole family came to watch, I think we were the annoying spectators that morning.

I said time flies, well we couldn’t believe when time came for her first day of kindergarden. We had to put some effort in her application to the school, so when we recieved confirmation she was accepted, we were ecstatic. She is having so much fun and learning alot. The best part, she is meeting other kids who share her learning style and personality.

The rest of the year was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the fall and the changing of the leaves; we couldn’t experience it like that in our old house. I began planning my 2013 training plan and race schedule. Sounds like a ton of fun? Only a Triathlete would say “Yes”.

Hopefully 2013 will be just has eventful. Well, maybe a little less eventful.

Good luck to you in 2013.

What Is In Your Cup?

This summer, June 12 to be exact, I decided to eliminate coffee from my diet.

I detailed in a previous post, Valdez Who?, my 30 day challenge to rid my life of coffee. Not that coffee is all that bad; I mean it doesn’t cause world wide conflicts, it is usually grown in a socially repsonsible way, and most coffee companies value the communities where the coffee is grown. If that was my reasoning, I would be driving an electric car……..

Practicing what I preached (point number 4) I replaced coffee with tea. There are so many different kinds out there, so finding one that I wanted to drink over and over was a bit of a challenge. It took a while, but with a little perseverance I was able to steep my way through and find a couple that I really liked.  I have to admit, after finding a couple of teas that I like, I don’t miss coffee anymore.

Here is a list of the teas that I have in stock at my house and where I picked them up here in Calgary.

Yerba Mate (The Bean Stop) – Yerba Mate is technically not a tea but who cares? The caffine in the mate leaf affects the muscle tissues rather than the central nervous system which is why most people don’t feel a ‘buzz’ after drinking it. I have found Yerba Mate great with breakfast after a morning workout and it has also helped with buring body fat.

Forever Nuts (Davids Tea) – Sometimes I like to have a cup of tea without caffine, especially in the evening; this is where Forever Nuts comes in. It is sweet so it also helps with a late night craving for something sweet. The only problem I have is the artifical flavouring, why does it need to be in there?

Stawberry Slender Pu-erh (Teavana) – It is the true black tea that is actually a green tea. Sounds confusing? It is. I am really starting to get hooked on pu-erh tea as I prefer the taste over a regular black tea. The stawberry chunks inside give the tea a smell and taste that has even the old boys in my office asking if they can try it.

Peppermint (No where in particular) – Steeps quick and is caffine free. It is a staple in our house for when a quick cup is needed to warm up after taking the dog for a walk, making snowmen, or skating at the outdoor rink. Bonus, my daughter loves it as well.

There has been many other kinds of tea in our house, but the ones listed are part of the starting lineup.  Oh, and now that the Christmas blend is at Starbucks, I am going to have a hard time not ordering a Grande.

Give it a try, not only do I feel better by ditching the joe, the variety out there is far greater than the average coffee bean.

Question: What tea is part of our starting line-up?

Disclosure of material connection: I have received no compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brand, products, or services I have mentioned.

Valdez Who?

It started with a text to my wife, it was a picture of a cup of coffee, it read; “Here is my last coffee for the next 30 days”.


I meant it. This was a culmination of several weeks, who am I kidding, several months of feeling less than optimal each time I drank a Grande Americano. I have read about the positive effects of caffeine for training, racing, and body fat loss.

So why not consume it at will? But why did I feel worse after each cup?

So I had it and decided that for the next 30 days I would not consume a single coffee product. I haven’t drank dairy since January, so no latte, no problem. It was going to be that Grande Americano I grabbed on the way into the office each morning that was going to be the devil.

I was determined to give it a go, so here is what I found helpful for me to kick the addiction:

1 Find your trigger, replace the habit. There is something that triggers every addiction, starting the habit loop. Mine? The familiar coffee shop on my route to the office and the lull at the office at 1000. Solution? I changed my route to work and grabbed a tea or water at 1000.
2 Decline invitations for ‘coffee’. I have a couple of acquaintances who always want to meet over coffee, typically at a good coffee house. I haven’t seen these people for 30 days now. I know if I agree to meet, I will be restarting at day 1.
3 Remove any temptation. Will power is a tricky thing, sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t. Put a tray of muffins in my kitchen, and I can resist for about 2 days, then they will disappear in a glorious insulin induced coma. Get rid of the temptation and your will power can take a break.
4 Replace with a different beverage. I had to be careful with this one, replacing coffee with say, scotch, may not be the best idea. I researched the benefits of tea, and found Yerba Mate. The health benefits are too numerous to list on this blog.
5 Announce your challenge. It’s is no secret, if there is someone to hold you accountable, you will be less likely to give up. My wife is great at holding me to my words (and promises for that matter).

As of the date this blog post was published, I have gone 31 days without coffee and have never felt better. I didn’t celebrate the end of the challenge by brewing a 20oz cup of java, that wasn’t the goal of the challenge.

Question: Have you given up coffee? What strategies did you use?