Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year that was!

>"Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow; The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true."

--Alfred Lord Tennyson

Another year in the books!
This year had it's challenges and it's triumphs, but the challenges make us stronger and appreciate things better, and the triumphs remind us of what we are capable of. From a competition perspective I had a pretty good year. I completed my first Ironman in Couer d'Alene in June in a time of 13:02:02. It was an awesome experience and I was extremely satisfied with my performance. The first one was all about completing comfortably and that is exactly what I did.
Next up was Sylvan Lake half ironman. Here I posted a PB with a time of 5:13, good enough for 4th in my age. I made some major improvements on the bike and my run was good, doing the half marathon in 1:35.
I finished up 2007 with a marathon in Victoria, BC. Given my conditioning I was hoping to do a sub-3 and was well on my way until 37 kms when the wheels fell off. Still I had to be happy with a 3:05 and I still have two more years to achieve my goal of a sub-3 in my 40's. I think the Royal Victoria Marathon is the race for me to do it at so I will target that race in 2008.
For 2008, Ironman Arizona is the key race. I am expecting to do better than Couer d'Alene as I learned a lot from my that event. Cycling is my biggest opportunity and it is a matter of putting the time in the saddle which will produce some substantial gains. My nutrition plan worked well so I won't have to do anything there. The Carbo Pro liquid was easy on the stomach and provided the necessary calories to get through the day. Transition will also be an area where I can gain significant time as I was very slow getting on the bike and also for the run. But last year it was all about finishing comfortably so I was willing to take the time.
As for the last few days, my training went as follows: Sunday 45:00 spin on the bike Monday 46:00 swim - 2,100 metres Today 1:20:04 11.5 mile run - nice conditions Wishing everyone the best in 2008.
Hope you achieve all your goals in whatever you try (tri).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Beautiful Day for a Run!

As you can see by the picture, today was an absolutely gorgeous day. Temperatures were about -5 Celcius and there was a slight wind from the northwest. The sun was shining brightly on the mountains and I chose to stay on roads today for a change.
The workout of the day was a tempo run with a mile warmup and cooldown sandwiching 6 miles of brisk running. My warmup mile was actually faster than it should have been, but I was excited to be on the roads with good solid footing. Mile one was a quick 6:30 pace. What the heck I am warmed up now so I proceeded to maintain around that pace for the prescribed 6 mile tempo portion with the following results
Mile 2 - 6:53 due to a bit of a hill
Miles 3 and 4 - 6:35 - nice flat stretch of good gravel road
Mile 5 - 6:40 - working hard but heart rate was still only 145 bpm
Mile 6 - 6:45 - slowing up a bit but still feeling good
Mile 7 - 6:58 - starting to feel this......
Mile 8 - 7:04 - cool down, but probably still a little too fast
Final tally for the day 8.2 miles, 55:34, average 6:46/mi and an average heart rate 140 bpm. Very satisfied with that workout after a solid day yesterday.
Friday's workouts consisted of 2,200 metre swim in just about 50 minutes. Focus was on good body rotation and finding the balance "sweet spot". A little bit of focus was on the lady in the next lane who obviously got some sweet water proof iPod device for Christmas. One more thing to put on my list of gadgets that I need!
In the evening I got on the bike for an aerobic ride of 29.15 miles. Lots of gear changes as I was riding to the Tucson virtual ride of Gate's Pass. Managed to keep a good average cadence of 90 RPM and an average speed of 20.32 MPH. I am really enjoying the Spinerval DVD's. It makes the time go by quickly and it is good to be reminded of keeping a good form and watching your cadence. On the bike you can quickly drift off and lose focus before you know it. These DVDs are helpful training aids.
I have made it through the worst part of the holiday season and have maintained a pretty good level of training. The tough stuff is still ahead, the 3,000 metre plus swims and the 5 hour rides, but there is lots of time until April and I have a good solid base to build on.
Have a great day!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back to Routine

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is now behind us and time to get back to routine. And boy do I love routine!
Up early at 5:00 a.m. and into work by 6:30 a.m. Check on the previous days production and operation logs and then get into my day. With year end looming there is the usual panic for tax reporting and now Greenhouse gas reporting. That was the issue of the day today as we had to supply details of our natural gas usage over the last 3 years. But by 10:00 a.m. everything was resolved and our reports were being couriered to the Alberta government. The rest of the day was spent reviewing account analysis reports (boring but necessary), and getting some spreadsheets organized for 2008. Slipped out for a swim at 11:30 a.m. and did 2,300 metres in 51:50. The pool is exceptionally warm these days which is nice to get into after you walk over in the cold, but not great for any speed and it tires you quickly. But for now I am quite happy with the swimming and the return to good form. I will start putting in some speed workouts soon as I would like to finish the swim in Arizona in about 1:15 - 1:20. Last year in Couer d'Alene the conditions were very windy and it took me 1:30 battling the waves and crowds.
Tonight I managed a 6.36 mile run at a comfortable 7:28 / mile pace. Mixed it up and ran some on the trails and some on the roads. The trails were still fairly snow covered and I had to run in a quad trail which is good for the balance but not great for any speed. However, the bonus of running on the trails is that you always have a chance of seeing something and today there were lots of mule deer out. There were two at the entrance to the trail and I kicked up a third one that was laying down on a little side loop that I ran. Mule deer are odd creatures, somewhat shorter than a white-tail but stockier and they bounce instead of running.
Christmas was fabulous as usual and we really enjoyed having the kids home. This year was very special as our son Nicholas and his girlfriend Nicole became engaged. Plans are for a celebration in May 2009. She is a wonderful girl and we are very happy to have her become a part of our family.
The training will start to pick up now as I start to build for Arizona. Cycling is my biggest opportunity so I will spend considerably more time in the saddle building strength and technique. My running is strong and I will keep a good base but not really add too much to it until later on in the program.
On the iPod these days I am listening to B.B. King "80", Justin Nozuka "Holly", and the Eagles new double CD "Long Road On To Eden".
Have a great day!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Workouts

The next few days will be relatively light as I shuffle my workouts to accomodate the holiday season.
Yesterday was a 7.0 mile run in 50 minutes. My legs were a little rubbery at the end, but overall I still felt pretty good. The Achilles seems to be responding to the NSAIDs, so that is a good thing.
I'll try and fit in a quick ride this afternoon when I get home from work, but that will depend on my level of preparedness for this evening's festivities. Still a few gifts to wrap and I have to make some scalloped potatoes but I'm sure I will get some sort of activity slotted in.
I'm hoping to get out and do some cross country skiing tomorrow as it supposed to be nice and I know the trails are in good shape for skating. Just need to wax up the boards for the milder temps.
All the best of the season to everyone. Enjoy your family and friends and take a minute to remember what it is all about.
Have a great day!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Post Run Decision

What should it be? A tasty Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale? Cold, creamy and a big can. Or how about a nice festive treat, amaretto and egg nog. Sweet and spicy, just as cold, but a little smaller.....
Today's run was a bear to say the least. Finally decided to head outside today as I had almost 1 hour and 25 minutes to do. The weather was warm enough as it was hovering around 0 but strong, gusty winds. I decided that the trails, although snowy, would be a better choice than the roads as the woods would provide some shelter from the winds. I'm not sure that was the best choice as I seemed to face as much wind and also had to deal with the ankle deep snow. In a couple of places it was nice and still, but for the most part I seemed to be facing this wind. When I run the back woods I am always cognizant of wild life activity. There are always elk and deer tracks and well as various other signs of different animals. The winter is especially good for this as the snow reads like a book of the activity of the animals. With this region having it's share of grizzly, black bear, wolf and cougar, it is wise to be on the look out for any sign of their presence. Today I noticed a lot of wolf sign. So that obviously makes you run with heightened caution. It is shortly after noting the wolf sign that a grouse comes flying out of the woods about 3 feet off the ground and 10 feet in front of me. Needless to say what that nearly made me do!
Back to the run.....managed to rack about 11.04 miles in 1:28. Slow, but given the conditions I am relatively happy with it. When I got home my feet were soaked from having run in the deep snow. I wore my heart rate monitor today and average heart rate was 145 bpm at an 8:01 pace. Today's run climbed about 1,000 ft overall and the starting altitude was about 3,200 feet.
So what did I decide...
I went with the amaretto and egg nog seeing it is the holiday season and all. However, the Kilkenny is still in the fridge!!
Have a great day!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Making Up Time

I was concerned that I would have trouble making my eight hours this week. But after today's workout(s) I may do it. As of the end of today, I have 6 hours and 35 minutes with one day to go in the workout week. This, despite a two day layoff early in the week.
Wednesday's run did not pan out and I had to cut it short after 35 minutes and 4.9 miles. The Achilles really started to sing and I felt myself limping. Took some more naproxen and stretched. I'll have to watch this as it feels a little different than what I normally get, deeper inside the tendon. Normally I get the pain right in the spongy part just behind your ankle and it is more a nuisance than anything. This doesn't seem to respond to stretching so hopefully the NSAID's will do the trick.
Thursday consisted of 84 lengths or 2,100 metres in the pool. I kind of just mixed it up after a 500 metre warm up. Did some 50 metre repeats and then some 100's and finished up with some 250 metre easy swims and then a nice leisurely cool down. After work I rode 1 hour and 40 minutes on the trainer doing a Tucson Training ride up Mount Lemon. Total distance was 35 miles. Legs felt good and I probably should have upped the tension a bit on the trainer.
Today was a 1,500 metre swim, 1 hour spin on the bike at a high cadence followed immediately by a brisk 5 miles in 33:30. Now I'm tired! The Achilles didn't really flare up, but it was there in the background. As long as it stays there I can live with that.
The Christmas tree is now decorated and the presents will soon start to show up underneath it. Looking forward to a quiet holiday with both kids and their significant others. Christmas Eve will be spent here with the family and Angela's brother Don and his wife, son and mother-in-law. It will be fun to have a little one in the house as Don's son, Nicholas is almost one. He is a great baby and I'm sure he will keep us busy.
Have a great holiday and remember to fit a few easy workouts in over the holiday or else you will look like my cat!
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cerebral Swimming

While swimming today I was reminded how cerebral this sport actually is. It is especially cerebral for those of us that took it up seriously later in life. When you swim beside that guy or gal that is lapping you like a greyhound at a tortoise race, it is probably because they are not thinking about all the stuff you are. As kids they swam hundreds of thousands of metres under the watchful eye of a coach who corrected the mistakes which lead to the muscle memory and cerebral tattooing that makes each stroke exactly like the last one.
On the other hand you have those of us that go through a mental checklist with each and every plunge into the water.
Am I looking at the bottom of the pool? Is my butt dragging? Did I switch hands correctly? Where did my hand enter the water? Was that a 5 degree angle I was supposed to have when I breathed? Did I breathe?? Am I sinking?? Why is everything going black???? (just kidding). However I wasn't kidding about the majority of the questions. That is essentially what it is like as you try to improve your stroke and imprint the muscles with that lasting memory. Running is so different in that it seems like you do a couple of system checks throughout the run, but you are never constantly going over the list like you do in swimming.
Today's workout was 2,000 metres
250 metre easy swim warm up
500 metre continous swim
4 x 250 metre alternate sets with pull buoy
250 metre cool down alternate strokes
Overall the swimming has come back relatively quickly as far as the endurance. I would also say that I have developed some of that muscle memory because I have felt right at home in the pool again.
Tonight I have an hour plus run planned on the treadmill. My left achilles has been causing me a bit of grief lately, so I am taking some naproxen for that and hope to relieve the inflamation. These last pair of Saucony shoes have not been treating me that well and I may have to admit defeat and try something eles.
Have a great day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

Well here it is as promised! Not decorated yet but you can see that it is definitely a big tree. Go big or go home is my motto! We will get it trimmed later this week (if we have enough decorations!)
Last week was a pretty decent week of training as I logged 9 hours and 37 minutes. The introduction of the swim and the arrival of my Spinerval DVDs contributed to the better performance. As long as I maintain above 8 hours for the next couple of weeks I will be satisfied. This week will be a bit of a challenge as I have to go to Edmonton this afternoon and then to Calgary at the end of the week. However, we'll try to get the hours in if possible.
Yesterday's workout was a 25 mile bike ride at a 20 mph pace and an average cadence of 93 RPM. I was riding to the Aero Base Builder DVD which emphasizes working in the "Blue Zone", or aerobic zone and is very specific about maintaining that level. I'm not really good at following this type of training as I rarely wear my heart monitor. Strange, but it makes me feel constricted with it on, but I really should get over it and wear it. Later on in this training cycle I will need to start doing this for my runs.
My season for next year is pretty much set. Ironman Arizona in April, perhaps a spring Marathon (Vancouver?) in May, Lake Wasa Half Ironman in June, Kananaskis 100 mile relay in June, Sylvan Lake Half Iron Man in July, Lake Summerside Olympic in August, Stony Plain Half Marathon in September and the Royal Victoria Marathon in October. That should keep me busy, but it is pretty much what last year looked like with the exception I did Ironman Couer d'Alene in June instead of Arizona.
The RVM in October will be another stab at the sub-3 marathon. I have done at least one sub-3 in my 20's, and 30's and would like to do one in my 40's and I am starting to run out of time! I did the RVM in October in 3:05 and had a great race going until 37 kms when the wheels fell off. 2008 will be the year for sure!
Today calls for a day off, and I will try and get a run in tomorrow in Edmonton weather dependent.
Have a great day!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birthdays, 2 Runs = 1 Christmas Tree

Friday's workouts were shortened up due to a certain special person's birthday. Got a good swim in at lunch, 1,900 metres at a relatively pedestrian pace (or would that be at an aquarian pace or something like that?). I have been extremely pleased with my first week back in the pool. My stroke is in good shape, and I feel like my balance and "feel for the water", are all good. The next couple of weeks will remain the same as I focus on technique and form. I use a modified version of the Total Immersion method for swimming. This method focuses on getting your "sweet spot" in the water and using mostly your arms so that you are saving your legs for the bike and run. I took a two day course a couple of years ago and I really think it has paid dividends in terms of my technique. Didn't do much for my speed, but I do come out of the water fresh and ready to go.
The run on Friday was a quick 5k in 21 minutes just to stretch out the legs before we went for a family dinner for Angela's birthday. We had a wonderful evening together with some good food, a few drinks, and lots of laughs.
Yesterday I was scheduled for an 8 mile run which took the form of two back to back 4 mile runs. The first one was with Angela and was essentially a slow paced run in the snow searching for a Christmas tree. The weather was beautiful and we ran a route we call the Black Cat Trail, just because there is a sign at the trail head that indicates the Black Cat Ranch is 16 kms away. It is a nice loop through the woods and we usually see some mule deer or occasionally an elk or two. The trail was a little snow covered and we took a few detours to check out potentials but after 4 miles when I dropped Angela off we still didn't have the "one". Once I left her off at home I headed west on the rural road towards the mountains and a few other trails which follow the ridge of the Athabasca River Valley. It was nice and the footing wasn't too bad, however I was still in Christmas tree mode and was enjoying the scenery. Lots of them looked good until I got close and then I would notice there was actually three trees making up the bushy one I thought I saw. Finally there was a nice tree that was full and tall so I noted where it was and headed home for the truck and the saw. Run ended up at 31 minutes and 4.5 miles, for a total of around 8.6 miles for the day, first half slow, second half faster. Pictures of the Christmas tree will follow once we put it up.
Today's workout will be a long bike, 2 hours or so. For the next few weeks I will try and hold the training at a total of 8 or 9 hours for the week. My plan will kick in twelve weeks prior to the race. The plan will peak at about 18 hours per week and have an easy week every fourth week. There is a little bit of weight work in this plan but I am not likely to do that and will probably substitute either a swim or a bike for those days. The bike is my biggest opportunity for improvement so I will put any extra time toward it. Plus the word is that Arizona is a very windy course so I will need to have some good strength to manage that. Twelve weeks is short but this assumes you have a solid fitness base. I am coming off a marathon in October that I trained well for as well as having maintained the biking miles so this program should work well for me. Last year I trained too long and had motivational problems near the end. We'll see how this works.
Have a great day!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday Workout

Not much to talk about today. Back into the grind.
Swam 1,700 metres at lunchtime
200 metre warmup
1000 metre continuous swim
400 metre alternate strokes
100 metre cool down
Biked 57:00 mins
17.0 miles
Finally received my Spinveral DVDs so I can start to lengthen some of my weekend rides and not get so bored.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Travels

Travelling in Northern Alberta during the winter months can definitely be a challenge. Case in point, yesterday's quick trip to Red Deer to pick up my son's truck and then swing back through Edmonton to pick up my daughter from University should have been a relatively simple thing to do. I had a good plan, catch the 4:45 a.m. bus in Hinton and arrive in Red Deer at 10:30 a.m. Do an inspection of my son's truck and then hit the road for the short 1 hour trip back up to Edmonton. There I would have a couple of hours to do some Christmas shopping and then I would pick up Francesca from the University of Alberta campus and back to Hinton we would go. Probably be home by 7:00 p.m. As you can guess by now, the trip didn't go anything like this. The day started with me and Angela driving to the bus stop at 4:00 a.m. The depot guy had told us the day before to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure so we were there in plenty of time. bus, bus, bus, bus! Finally at 6:40 a.m. the bus rolls in. The bus driver reels off about a dozen excuses, "we were late out of Prince George", "the roads were really bad",...blah, blah,blah. I can already sense that my plan is going to fall apart. Off we go and arrive in Edmonton at 10:30 a.m., my connection to Red Deer is long gone and the next one is not due to leave until 1:00 p.m. Great I get to spend the next two and a half hours in the Edmonton Greyhound Station. Exactly what I had planned!
Now I am not too prone to judge people, but have you ever spent any time in a bus depot. Seriously, I don't know where these people come from. I'm not going to say anymore, but this is not a place I want to spend any more time than I have to in.
Finally at 1:30 (another half hour delay), we are off to Red Deer. During my lay over in "weirdville", a winter storm has started to develop in the Edmonton area. This will play into my story a little later. Anyway we are off to Red Deer which is about a two hour run. Of course I get beside someone who wants to tell me about their 4 brain surgerys, and while that is sad, at this point I am beginning to think I need brain surgery. Attempts to fake sleep, comma, and even death fail to stop the incessant chatting. Finally as I am wondering if the laws of physics would allow me to leap out the window and roll backwards under the bus, we arrive in Red Deer. I quickly gather my stuff and head for the exit to grab the first cab and within minutes I am headed downtown. Thank God!
By 4:00 I have the paper work done and have done a real cursory inspection of Nicholas' truck. It has been in the body shop since September when he got side swiped at a light here. He was going to school at the time and has been without his wheels since then. Everything looks good and I head off back to Edmonton. The weather here is nice and sunny and about -1 Celsius. Hopefully the squall in Edmonton will have blown over. The first thirty minutes of the trip are uneventful and then I start to notice that the sky is darker and the wind has picked up. Before long the road is a skating rink and I pass a truck pulling a trailer that has jack knifed along with another small car in the ditch. Next there is a tanker on it's side and a little further along a moving van with it's contents strewn about. Now we are crawling along at 40 kilometres an hour. The one hour trip, now turns into a white knuckle two and a half hour trip. The weather reports are also calling for this west of the city which is the direction I will be heading to go home.
Once I get to the University residence, Francesca is packed and ready to go so there is no delay there. We decide we will see how it is and if we have to turn back we will. Fortunately after about another hour of slow going the roads clear up and it is clear, but cautious sailing the rest of the way. Such is winter travel!
We got home safe and sound, however I was pretty exhausted.
Tuesdays workout:
Swam 1,900 metres - 400 metre warm up
4 x 250 swim (alternating one set with pull buoy, one without)
100 metre swim
400 metre cool down
Ran 8.7 miles on treadmill - 1:02:00

Have a great day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Visitors

This is a common site in our back yard all year round. However, it is a little more common in the winter as they come in to clean up the browse in the flower beds. This little guy was right up by our living room window and his mom was off in the bush a bit. Another reason why I love living out here.
Today was a great day as the swimming pool re-opened. I was at the doors right at 11:30 a.m. this morning and was first in. They have done a great job in revitalizing the whole place with a fresh coat of paint and a good cleaning. I was a bit apprehensive about how I would feel as it has been over 3 months without a single stroke. But, once I got in the water I felt comfortable and started off with an easy 300 metres concentrating on balance and form. After that I did 1,200 metre ladder and finished off with a 300 metre cool down. Felt great, although the time was slow, 43 minutes. Still I am quite happy with that.
After work I did a 19 mile ride on the bike and jumped off and did a quick 4.3 miles on the treadmill. Overall I felt good and my run was quite strong.
So today looks like this:

Swim 1,800 metres 43:00 minutes
Biked 19.17 miles 57:00 minutes
Run 4.3 miles 30:00 minutes

Great way to start the week!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter blahs already?

Workouts this week have been a real struggle. My heart just hasn't been in it. Friday was an off day and then yesterday again I was just too beat to do anything. Today I managed to force myself onto the treadmill after I ran out of excuses and went through a meagre 47:00 minutes. The weather was nice enough to go outside but I didn't want to. If a winter slump is to be had, now is probably as good a time as any to get through it.
Things should be better this week. The pool will be opening tomorrow and I am certainly excited about that. I'll have to be careful to not try and rush myself back to where I was before the pool went down as it has been almost three months. This first week will be all about getting the feel of the water and concentrating on balance and technique. Actually that will probably be the best part of the month. Then I can start working on distance and speed...., well, we won't worry too much about speed.
Hopefully next week will be better. The weather is warming up so I should be able to drag my sorry butt out the door for a few runs. Also I am expecting my Spinerval dvds which will help to alleviate some of the boredom of riding indoors.
Have a great day!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yesterday's Workout

My run yesterday was under a crystal blue sky with bright sunlight streaming through the trees. The brisk cold lightly stung my cheeks as I glided effortlessly across the crunchy snow..........???
Okay, okay, I wimped out again and did 45 minutes on the treadmill watching two episodes of Season 3 of The Office. I had great intentions but it was still -22 degrees Celsius at noon and I just can't do it. Today is supposedly the last of this cold snap and then we should get back to more seasonable weather. My workout today will probably get scratched since tonight is our company Christmas Party and it starts at 6:00 p.m. I need to get a haircut and all the other pre-party pampering done so it will mean I will pass on the bike ride.
This week was not a banner week for training, but I never get too worried about it. Life happens and I already have enough stresses in my life that I don't need to make my leisure activities become one of them. Plus the qualifying spots for Beijing have already been determined for these Olympics so I can relax ;)! I am pretty disciplined overall but I think I have a healthy attitude towards the whole Iron man training. Certainly I would never attempt one without proper training and inevitably I will get the necessary training done. But a missed workout here and there and cutting others short due to other commitments are not going to effect my complete training plan.
The next couple weeks are always a challenge for most people as they try and balance their training with the holiday season. Bottom line is moderation throughout this period. Watch the eating, but still enjoy the good stuff the holiday brings and also find a way to at least maintain fitness throughout. It certainly isn't a time to be planning an ambitious week or two, but you still should be able to get some workouts in.
Hopefully this weekend I will be able to complete a workout with a more poetic description of the surroundings. But if the weather is still cold I have 4 more discs of Season 3!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time to get going again

With taking two days off this week, it is time to get serious about IM Arizona training.
Essentially I have a good base level of fitness, but to get ready for an iron man requires more than base level fitness. The good news is that I just received notification that the pool is going to re-open on December 10th. It has been closed since the end of August and the only water I have seen since then is my morning shower.
The swim for me in a triathlon is somewhat relaxing and eases you into the event. I am not a great swimmer, probably a middle packer at best. However I am comfortable in the water and know that devoting more time to my swimming doesn't necessarily produce the results that a similar investment in biking would produce. But I do like the swimming training and enjoy the fact that I can walk across the street from my office at lunch and get in 1,500 - 2,000 metres.
Yesterday's workout was just to get back into the swing of things. My plan was to run at lunch but the weather was not cooperating. So I ended up doing a 50:00 minute spin on the trainer followed by a quick 30:00 minute run on the treadmill. The spin was done in easy gears and was just enough to work up a light sweat. The run was a little harder with a 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes of 1 minute at sub-6 pace followed by 30 seconds rest and a 5 minute cool down.
The weather is supposed to improve by the weekend. An improvement means the temperatures should get into the - 7 degrees Celsius range. With the warming(?) we are likely to see more snow which makes for tricky footing (see yesterday's post!). Whatever happens though I need to get outside or I will quite possibly lose my mind.
Latest book I read was the Craft of Intelligence by Allan Dulles. Interesting book about the CIA during the Cold War.
Music I am listening to these days includes the new Blue Rodeo - Small Miracles, and Into the Wild - Eddie Vedder.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On the Road

For the last couple days I have been on the road, so if anyone is reading this, that is why there was no posts.
When I last left off I was contemplating a run in the cold. Well I did go out and slogged through a brutal 5.4 mile run. This includes a face plant at the half mile mark that almost made me turn around and come home.
After just settling in, I caught my foot on a root and did my best impression of Ricky Henderson sliding into home. Hurt my right arm and my pride but I did get up and finish the run.
The run itself was scenic as I was running along the ridge behind my house facing the Athabasca River Valley and the Rockies towards Jasper. You certainly can't beat that for a view. Unfortunately it was -19 celcius and the wind was angling at me from the south east. I just don't like the cold anymore!
Sunday the weather was more of the same and I did a quick little run on the treadmill. After that I was watching the weather to decide if I should leave for Calgary now or in the morning. Based on the weather predictions I decided to leave on Sunday and it was good that I did as the weather got nasty and I would have never made it on Monday. Anyway I went to Calgary for a couple of opthamology appointments and got that done. After driving around the city it reaffirms my decision to never live in a major centre. Between traffic jams, idiot drivers (not that they are limited to cities), and lack of parking, I am quite content to live in my little community of 10,000 with 6 sets of traffic lights. I live 20 kilometres out of town and my daily drive is less than 15 minutes. You gotta love that! Anyway Calgary is behind me now and I can get back to training as I did nothing while I was there. I did get to visit my niece and her family and that was very nice.
So the plan for this week is to get back at it and rack up some miles on the bike and run. Patiently waiting for some new Spinerval DVDs which should be in this week.
I'm looking for a catchy sign off phrase so if anyone has one let me know.
Have a great day!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's another chilly one!

I am sitting here contemplating an outdoor run. Currently the temperature sits at about -16 Celsius with not a breath of wind. I should probably go out but I'll do this first.
Yesterday's workout was an all indoor brick. Now isn't that fun!
Started with a 31.19 mile bike. 15 minute warm up, 20 minutes of various drills, individual legs, variable gearing and then just hunkered down and rode for the remainder. Most of it was in the big chain ring with alternating tension on the trainer. After 1:40:25 I hopped off and headed up to the treadmill where I ran a quick 3.3 miles in 22 minutes. Surprisingly my legs felt fine.
Noticed a little bit of clunking on my bike when I was riding so I will look at that today. I leave my road bike on the trainer pretty much all the time. It is a Trek 2000 Alpha SL. Great bike for the trainer. I put a retarded looking set of aero bars on it, but they work and it is set up about as good as it gets. So it's a pretty good ride. This was the bike I started my triathlon adventure out on and I used it right up until Ironman Couer d'Alene this summer. Anyway I should check out the noise, possibly instead of running outside. Did I mention I am inherently lazy and a bit of a wimp!
Have a great day!

Friday, November 30, 2007

First Cold Snap

Today is our first real taste of winter. Temperature this morning was a brisk -23 degrees Celsius. Time to put on the woollies!
Workouts for this week were as follows:

Monday - Ran 5.0 miles in 36:02, nice easy pace. Biked 1:00:11 on the trainer at a tension of 3. Distance was 16.17 miles, average cadence 98

Tuesday - Ran 8.0 miles in 1:00:19. This was through the streets of town and along a back trail. Footing was decent but you still had to be careful.

Wednesday - Ran 6.2 miles in 44:47. This was an aimless run with no particular plan. Not really an unusual thing for me to do. Biked 1:16:51 at a tension of 2. Distance was 25.04 miles, average cadence 94.

Thursday - Ran 7.8 miles in 1:00:00 on the treadmill. It was too bloody cold to run outside. (Plus I'm a wimp!)

Plan for today in another two hour workout. Our swimming pool is out of commission for at least another two weeks so that is why there is no mention of swim workouts.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Okay, here goes nothing!

I have thought about putting together a blog for sometime, but for whatever reason haven't until now.
So what do I want to do with this, I'm still not sure. Possibly motivation, or connection with like minded people, or maybe I have too much time on my hands. Not quite sure.
However, what I will do is keep you up to date on my training as I get ready for various triathlons and marathons and other such events. Certainly I don't have any magic formulas or advice for doing these things so take anything I say with a grain of salt.
A little bit about me first.
I am a middle aged, happily married accountant working for a forest products company in Northern Alberta, Canada. Early in my life I started running and it has always been a big part of who I am. From high school to present day I have demonstrated some reasonable aptitude for long distance running. My personal best is 2:49:49 posted at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in 1989. Since then I have run about 9 other sub-3's and lots of train wrecks as well!
My last marathon was the Royal Victoria Marathon in October 2007. Having run sub-3's in my 20's and 30's I was hoping to post my first as a 40 something. After having trained for Ironman Couer d'Alene in June I had a high level of fitness and felt this would be the year. Not to be! Although I knocked off a 1:26 half, the second half reminded me just how difficult running a marathon is and I limped in with sore feet at 3:05, respectable, but not the plan.
Now my focus is Ironman Arizona in April 2008. Should be interesting as I will not ride a mile outside until that time. My training will largely consist of treadmill runs, pool swims, and trainer riding, up to 4 hours!
Anyway now that I have my first post I will start to update you on a regular basis as I journey towards the perfect race, be it a triathlon or marathon.