Thursday, July 31, 2008

What to do?

Sylvan Lake was a target race for this summer so now that it is behind me I still feel like I should do at least one more. My mission will be to try and find something in the month of August in either Alberta or BC. The Alberta Challenge is an option but I want to check out a few others before I commit.
This summer has been relatively quiet for us. No vacation to speak of as we are still running so short staffed at work. Last week we lost our other Human Resources person, a very talented young lady, and now there is just me as Manager and our recruiting person. We are still short on the accounting side as well so I am back to doing month ends which I haven't had to do for a lot of years! Perhaps in the fall Angela and I will get away to somewhere warm, Mexico is always nice in November.
We have also been busy with working around the house as we prepare it for sale. Living on an acreage is great, but it is a lot of work. Currently we are working on a potential house swap with people in the Town of Hinton. With any luck it will work out as it would be the ideal situation for us.
Before long it will be time to bring Francesca back to school for her 3rd year at the University of Alberta. It is almost impossible to believe that she is already that far along! This year will be an exciting year as she is moving into a house with 4 very good friends (at least now they are!). We are very proud of her as she really works her butt off at school and has done very well. Nicholas will also be heading off at the end of August for his second year of schooling for his Heavy Duty Mechanic Trade. I am still amazed that this is what he is doing because he got absolutely no mechanical aptitude from his father! His grandfather and uncles are highly mechanical so that must have rubbed off on him. Being a licensed trade person in the Province of Alberta right now is a hot ticket and Nicholas has also made us proud with his hard work and by achieving the highest marks in his first term last year. Again, I can't take credit for the smart trait both kids seem to have and that will have to be attributed to their mother.
Heading into work this morning there was already a tinge of crispness in the air and, at 5:15 AM, it is darker already then it was a week ago. It is inevitable that we are on the downhill side of summer in the Rockies. And that's okay, because I love the fall. It reminds me of high school and running cross country and playing soccer. My best running has always been in the fall so I have that to look forward to.
Recovery workouts commenced this week and so far it has went good.
Sunday - 10 mile Mountain Bike Ride
Monday - OFF
Tuesday - 40:00 / 12.4 mile ride on the trainer - legs felt like lead
Wednesday - 37:00 swim / 1,700 metres - worked on some drills. Evening was an easy 7 miler in 52:00 - legs felt great and I could easily have went longer

It feels strange when I log my workouts and there is no plan. It looks so bare!

On the music front, I had a blast last Sunday as Nicholas brought out his guitar and we had a great little jam session. The really neat thing is he likes the same music I do so we can really have some fun. He is an incredible guitar player and can play some wicked blues licks! I am a good rhythm guy, but I can handle myself when he challenges me.

Recently read books include, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. If you haven't read this book you need to. It will put things in perspective for sure! Randy just passed away July 25 after a 10 month battle with pancreatic cancer. This book is about how to live your life to the fullest.
I also read When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris. This is some light reading by a very funny guy. It is a series of essays about life in general and is hilarious.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Post Race Ponderings

After a couple of days to think over the Sylvan Lake experience, I am still generally satisfied with my overall performance. Poring over some of the Garmin data provided some tidbits of information which indicated some intensity lapses on the bike as well as lengthy stays in transition. While there is no accurate measurement of my T1 and T2, I would estimate that I spent at least 3 minutes in T1 and possibly more in T2. I guess having a shave and blow drying my hair (I know, I know, What hair?) are luxuries I will have to live without in my next race.; )
My run splits were quite good with some slowing near the end but for the most part I stayed quite even paced. The profile of the course was also interesting as it shows a lot of hills, more than I thought!
The swim is still a puzzle to me. As mentioned in my race report, I felt really good out there, probably the best I ever have in the swim portion. But my time just didn’t support what I thought I did. Some of the key points were, my sighting was bang on, I did not have to resort to breast stroke at any point, and I battled through a few tough spots to keep my position. In the end though it wasn’t enough as I came up at least 2 minutes slower and 4 minutes off what I thought I was capable of. In training I had been swimming some very good 100’s with times in the 1:45 to 1:48 range on a consistent basis. One theory I have considered is that my wet suit is too restrictive and I am shortening my stroke and expending a lot of effort just moving my arms. I bought this suit in 2004 and while I have not gained a pound I have thickened up through my shoulders. Perhaps I am grasping at straws but it is something to consider.
The bike was okay as I averaged around 18.1 MPH. There were some periods of time where I did lose focus and my cadence slipped. I also think I could have pushed some bigger gears at times, but I am admittedly lazy on the bike.
After a couple of days off and a few easy recovery workouts I will start to plot my next assault on one more race. The Alberta Challenge at the end of August looks like the only real option so I will begin to formulate a plan for that one.
Have a great day!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sylvan Lake Half Iron Man Race Report

For those who prefer not to read an in-depth race report, here is the Executive Summary.
Race: Sylvan Lake Half Iron Man, Sylvan Lake Alberta
Date: Saturday, July 26th, 2008 8:00 AM
# of Individual Participants : 272
Overall Placing: 54
Overall Male: 44 / 176
Age Group 45 - 49: 8 / 24
Swim (1.9 Kms) 42:38 159/272
Bike (90 Kms) 3:02:03 113/272
Run (21 Kms) 1:37:03 7/272
Total Time 5:21:42.5

Those are the hard cold facts of the race that I was not particularly looking forward to. After a couple of weeks of struggling with sore Achilles I was really not sure what would happen, but as you can see, they turned out to be a non-issue! Further evidence that this is not an over use injury.
I went down to Sylvan on Friday morning and after a non-eventful drive, arrived at the race headquarters around 2:30 PM. It was relatively quiet, so I was able to register and pick up my package in a matter of minutes. Downtown was just hopping as it was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 30 degree Celsius range. Sylvan Lake is a beach town and the population probably doubles in the summer time. After a quick walk around I decided to head over to Red Deer to check into the hotel. Since Sylvan Lake is so busy there were no rooms to be had so I had to stay in Red Deer which was about 20 minutes away.
The evening was pretty quiet and I just organized my stuff in preparation for the morning. For my pre-race meal I had some sushi and a salad. This has become my new pre-race favourite as it digests easily, is loaded with good stuff and leaves you feeling full, but not stuffed. After some stretching and a couple of bottles of water I turned in around 9:30 PM.
Race Day
I was up at 4:30 AM and quickly got packed and headed over to Sylvan. On route I chugged down a bottle of Gatorade and snarfed a cinnamon raisin bagel. Over all I was feeling pretty good and the massaging of the Achilles had left it feeling better than it had been. My big decision for the day was what shoes was I going to run in, the Newtons or Sauconys. I debated that for the whole drive and finally decided that it was a race so I should wear my racing shoes, so Newtons it was going to be.
Once at the race site I got myself set up in transition and did all the pre-race checks. From a weather perspective it was looking like it was going to be a perfect day. Temperatures were expected to be around 25 degrees Celsius with no precipitation. They were however expecting some wind which would impact the bike.
The swim starts off the end of the pier and is a deep water start. At exactly 8:00 AM the race begins and I have found myself in a great spot to swim. I am feeling really good and seem to be in a group of about four swimmers that are at just about perfect pace for drafting. Unfortunately as I was to find out at the end it was a slow group! However, right off the bat I settled in and was really feeling like I had a good swim going. With the swim, there is really no way to measure your effort other than by how you feel. You can't really wear a watch and it is difficult to see where you are in relation to the field. However at the first turn I felt like I had a good swim going. I was staying close to the marking buoys and wasn't having to make any major course corrections which is usually a problem for me. The last hundred yards or so is in weeds and is very shallow. The temptation is to stand and run but you have a long ways to go and it is not necessarily a good idea, so I kept swimming until I hit the bottom with my hand. As I staggered to my feet I was stunned to see the clock at 41:50. Damn it! I want a recount, I swam better than that!
Off to transition for the bike, still a little pissed at how my swim had went. Oh well on to the bike. The bike course had more hills than I recall from last year. And the first 40 kms is on really rough roads. I had to stop a couple of times to fasten things back on as the rumble strips and generally poor road conditions were shaking the crap out of my bike. However I was still riding relatively smoothly and seemed to be averaging around 35 - 37 Kms per hour. If only I can keep this up! At the 35 km mark the first of the many long climbs began, and to make matters worse this is where the head winds started! In spite of that my legs felt really good and I seemed to be settled in and holding my own. After this long hill there was a series of hills one after another and after about the third one I was starting to feel it. On top of that we were riding through some agriculture land that had just been freshly fertilized! It was enough to gag a maggot! This went on for at least 5 miles. The amazing thing to me was the number of people who were set up in these areas to watch the race. They had their lawn chairs and umbrellas plunked right in the stink zone. There was a reason these spots were not occupied!
At last I could see the lake and we were into the Town of Sylvan Lake. From here it was almost all down hill so it gave me a good chance to stretch out the legs and get prepared for the run. Surprisingly my lower back was not stiff and from what I could tell my legs seemed good. The last mile into transition is a no-pass zone and riders have to stay in single file. The lane we are on is between the main street and the beach and people are going back and forth all the time. The marshalls try and manage it but you have to be very aware. Knowing that all a 7 year old sees is a beach and some water, you have to be ready to jump on the binders at anytime. And I came within an inch of plowing into some little kid as he ran by the marshall and headed for the lake. I hit the brakes and just about ended up in a heap!
Once in transition I quickly got into my shoes and wrestled with a bottle of Ice Cold, I had to put on my Achilles. Of course I had bought it brand new and hadn't checked to see if I could open it, and I couldn't! So I just headed out onto the course. I was fully expecting to hobble for at least 500 metres but I felt great! No pain from the Achilles and my legs felt the best they ever have in making the bike/run transition. This was a pleasant surprise and before you know it I was up to cruising speed.
Now if there is an event to be good at, I think I will take the run every time. Passing scores of people is a very satisfying feeling at this point in the race and I really enjoyed it. The course is nice with lots of shelter along the way and few decent hills. It also has about a 2 Km trail section which is easy on the legs, but you really have to watch out for the roots protruding out of the ground. There was not a moment along the way that I felt uncomfortable at all. My legs felt strong from start to finish and I only had a little bit of burning in my left heel at the end.
So while it was not my fastest time I was still pleased with my results. As usual there was a lot of talk after the race that the swim course was longer than 1.9 Km and that the bike course was also off by about 2 Km, but I hear that at most races. I need to work harder on my biking as that is where my time is. The next training cycle I will try and put some greater emphasis on it.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Race Plan?

Given how I have been feeling lately, I have adopted a new plan for my race on Saturday in Sylvan Lake. It is basically called "the balls to the walls" strategy and will have me attempt to go hard in the first two events and hang on for the run. Since the run is normally my best event, and since I am expecting problems with it, I will go out and see if I can blast through the swim and the bike.
Looking over my training log since May I am, as usual a little light on the cycling side as far as miles go. However, there has been steady improvement in my power output and cadence so I think I continue to get stronger on the bike. Generally I am fairly conservative on the bike, not wanting to trash my legs and have nothing left for the run. But on Saturday I am going to abandon that strategy for something more aggressive and let the chips fall where they may. I was hoping the Achilles thing would have run it's course by now, but it hasn't. Unfortunately the problem is not totally related to my training regime, and I just have to wait for the current cycle of issues to subside. It's just too bad that it came along at this time as I was really thinking that the Sylvan Lake race could be a good one for me. It still can be a good experience for me as I will test myself on the disciplines in which I am not as strong.
After a few swims where I was struggling with technique, this week it has all come back to me. Yesterday's swim was a very smooth 2,200 metres where I think I realized what I was doing that I wasn't doing before. My body rotation was much better and I wasn't swimming so flat. My predilection for the swim buoy more than likely contributes to swimming flatter so I will have to watch myself with using it as a swim aid in the future.
In the evening I did a quick 17 miles on the bike in 50 minutes. Legs felt a little heavy after the ride and my Achilles were very tight. And therein lies my concern, the ability to transition and get to a good running stride after the bike. It's going to hurt like heck and I am just hoping the once things get stretched out that it settles down and I can run.
So there is the plan as it sits right now. Now I just have to have the courage to actually do it on Saturday as I am usually ultra conservative.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Testing 1 -2 - 3

My test run on Saturday proved relatively successful, with only some minor discomfort in my lower legs. Of course, my 3 miler ended up being a 5.5 miler as once I got out I just couldn’t see myself stopping after 20 odd minutes and kept going until I had racked up 40 minutes. By and large I felt okay and I am confident I can hold things together for the race next Saturday.
Monday I finally had a good swim! It was an easy workout where I just focused on making sure my technique was sound. I managed to log 1,500 metres in around 30 minutes. In the afternoon I ran another 40 minutes and ended up with 5.7 miles. Achilles still are extremely tight, even after stretching.
This week will be a relatively light week with no significant workouts on the schedule. Then it will be off to Sylvan Lake on Friday morning. Sylvan Lake is about the only lake of any consequence in the southern part of Alberta and the community swells in size during the summer months with seasonal residents. There is good support for the race and it was a lot of fun last year so I am hoping for the same this time around.
After Sylvan Lake I am going to plan for one more triathlon event and then I will start getting myself ready for the Royal Victoria Marathon in October. Now that I have got my sub-three marathon time under my belt the pressure is off for this race. Although if conditions were right, I still think this would be the course where I could really put together a good race. It is flat, at sea level, and generally good weather conditions. If things did get nasty weather wise though, I could see it being a real monster as there are a number of places where you would be exposed for extended periods of time. Last year the rain hit at the 37 km mark, but since I was knackered at that point it didn’t seem to matter. But had I still been in it, I think it would have been an even tougher finish.
Have a great day!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

3 Days Grace

That's the name of one of my favourite Canadian bands as well as what I have given myself over the last three days. Three days of absolutely nothing! As I read in one of my triathlon training guides, when you rest, rest hard! And that is what I have done. No swimming, no biking, no running, just rest. And you know what, it has felt pretty darn good. The Achilles have responded very well to the rest and I am no longer hobbling around for the first half hour in the morning. Yes you can call me stupid for having let it go this far and that would be fair. Smart and Garry are not often used in the same sentence so I deserve it. Also I am the first to tell other people to rest and take it easy, but it doesn't apply to me. So bottom line the rest appears to be having the desired effect and now I just need to decide when I should venture out again. Maybe this morning for just a short little run, say three miles or so.
The visit with my in-laws has been great. Lots of great meals and some quality family time together. My father-in-law has been busy doing lawn repairs and that has been very helpful. This afternoon we will be heading back into Edmonton so they can catch a 10:00 flight tomorrow morning. We will do an overnighter in the city so that we can help them get to the airport in the morning. Then we can take a few hours to cruise the mall and go for lunch before coming home and starting to get things back to normal.
Next week will be an easy week again and then it is off to Sylvan on Friday.
I haven't been reading much lately as it is difficult with company. However I have been reading a few guitar books and trying to learn a little more theory. I have played by ear most of my life but lately have become a lot more interested in the theory side.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final Weeks of Preparation

As the days march on towards Sylvan Lake, I am now starting to get myself more mentally prepared for the event. I haven't competed in anything since the Red Deer Marathon back in May so I need to get together a little bit of a game plan for this race.
Plans have changed somewhat in that Angela won't be accompanying me to this race. We have a critical "second showing" of our property on that weekend and she wants to make sure that everything is tip top. Selling an acreage is a bit of a challenge in that it only appeals to a small segment of the market and within that segment there is another smaller segment that can afford such a property. With that, we don't want to miss any opportunity.
Going by myself in some ways is not totally a bad thing. It does allow me to spend more time in getting myself ready. For IMAZ I found myself a little disorganized since I was spending more time enjoying my vacation time with Angela than getting my act together. With little else to do the night before, I will be more focused on making sure all my stuff is in order.
The swim for this race is great in that it is a water start and the lake is big enough to allow for the entire 1.9 kms to be done in one loop. No getting out of the water at the mid-point and having to run the beach, which for me is good. I find I can get in a much better groove and stay focused without the in and out again section.
The bike is a single loop as well and is relatively flat with a few minor climbs. Hopefully this year I will remember to take my cleat covers off of my shoes prior to trying to clip in! What a dork! Last year I was fumbling around trying to get going until I realized the problem. Then I threw my covers off to the side never expecting to see them again. However, when I was finished the race, there they were in the grass beside my bike. Someone apparently noted my number and was kind enough to place them there for me. God bless them!
The run is through trails and tree shaded roads and is really nice. The only problem is that they don't monitor the traffic going to the beach so you have to dodge people with their kids and inflated mattresses as they cross the path to go the lake.
The next couple days will be resting and trying to get the Achilles settled down. On Tuesday I ran 6 miles and I noticed that I was not running very comfortably. Monday's run was a little longer but much the same in that I was really having trouble getting into a comfortable stride. Today I took the day off and I am thinking I may just swim and bike right up to the race now. My conditioning is good and the rest will hopefully give everything a chance to heal a bit.
Have a great day!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Workouts

With the start of a bit of a taper, I don't feel so bad about only doing one workout a day. This weekend I was able to accomplish single workouts on both days, but they were both of decent quality.
Saturday I ran 13.2 miles in 1:35. Most of the route was on trails and the weather was relatively good for most of the run. It did heat up around the 9.5 mile mark, but within a half a mile I was back into some shaded areas so it didn't seem so bad. My pace was even and the Achilles were okay. Running on the softer trails was obviously a lot kinder to them then pounding on the pavement.
Sunday my outdoor ride got scrubbed due to threatening skies. In it's place I did a 25 mile workout on the trainer. I have a whack of Spinerval DVD's and today's was a triathlon specific workout focusing on leg speed and high cadence work. When I first started doing these I couldn't keep the cadence or gearing in the recommended ranges. Now I am able to keep right up and that is with relatively high tension on the trainer. After this workout my legs were pretty wobbly, but I felt good.
My week ended with 9 hours of training and that was with two goose eggs. This week I will try and keep it in the 8 to 9 hour range again. I would like to get a decent swim in, more from a confidence perspective than a conditioning one. The last two trips to the pool, while yielding decent distance and splits, have left me concerned about my stroke. It probably would be wise to spend one workout just working on drills to remind the muscles of what good technique feels like.
Have a great day!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Starting the Taper

As I mentioned in a previous post, with my in-laws here it will help me to ease into my taper for Sylvan Lake. And, reluctantly I am having to do just that.
Our trip to pick them up on Wednesday was rather uneventful and we were able to accomplish most of our tasks prior to picking them up at the airport. I didn't get to the tri shop which could be a good thing as I would have found some other goofy gadget to go in the rubber maid container. There is nothing a triathlete loves better than another useless gadget! Gas powered socks, a solar helmet, shoes with no soles, just tell us we will go faster and put some cool colours on it and we will buy it!
We made our obligatory stop at the Italian Centre Shop in Little Italy to stock up for the visit. Angela's parents are Italian so we have to load up with baked bread, Romano cheese, salami, prosciutto, olives,.....all the stuff that makes for good pre-race eating. They also make the most incredible sandwich imaginable which I had to get of course. So by race day I should make weight for the Clydesdale division.
Thursday it was back to work as it is quarter end and a ton of reports have to be done. With our staffing situation I am finding myself back in the nuts and bolts of some of the accounting stuff again. Yuck! Despite the fact that I am an accountant it is the least favourite part of my job. But it has to be done, so done it was.
At lunch time I had another swim not too unlike Monday's version. It was 2,400 metres, but again I really felt unbalanced and fighting the water. My 100 metre splits were still decent (1:45) but no flow at all.
In the evening I managed an hour long run which netted at little over 8 miles. It was a nice evening but I knew everyone was waiting for me to have dinner so I was really just watching the time to make an hour and get home.
Friday the scheduled called for a 50 minute run and an hour long ride, neither of which got done. I got tied up at lunch, when I would have ran and then we had to go to my brother-in-law's for dinner so the ride got scratched. We'll see if we can squeeze the ride in some time today.
It is exactly two weeks until the Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman, so I can take advantage of a little rest. However I still don't like to take too long or too much of a taper. The Achilles can definitely do with a bit of a break, but everything else is great. The Achilles are both really tight in the morning and ease up a bit during the day but are still sore to the touch. Note to self, don't touch them!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I feel like I am cheating a bit as today I have the day off from work. Slept in until 6:00 a.m. and now I am checking all my favourite blogs and enjoying some coffee.
Around 10:00 a.m. I will be heading into the city (Edmonton) to pick up my in-laws who will arrive around 4:00 p.m. We have a little bit of running around in the city, West Ed, the Italian Centre Shop and I'll have to stop by the tri shop! If their flights are on time we should be back home by 7:00 p.m. at the latest.
The last couple of days have been hit and miss with the workouts. I'm getting them done, it just feels like some of them have been much better than others.
My swim on Monday hearkens back to my post "Swimming like a cat". I struggled through a 2,200 metre workout which should have been easier than it was. The workout called for a warm up and some drills and the main set was 4 sets of 3 x 150 m at varying intensities, with a minute rest between them. Well I never quite settled in and I felt really sloppy and the old "sinking" feeling on the repeats without the pull buoy. Despite it all I managed to get it done and hope that I will have a better experience at my workout on Thursday.
Monday night was a decent run. The plan called for a 45 minute run, but it was slightly extended as I was further from home then I wanted to be and ran an extra 3 minutes which gave me 6.8 miles. My Achilles seem to be getting better, but they are really tight in the mornings and I hobble around for the first couple of minutes until they stretch out. I have some topical cream that the doctor gave me and it seems to be working.
Yesterday's workout was a brick, which I really haven't done in awhile. After 1 hour and 45 minutes on the bike I just had a quick 15 minute run to stretch everything out and get used to the transition. The bike part was okay, but I had a tough time hitting my cadence targets. However the transition to running was great and I knocked off 2.3 miles in the allotted 15 minutes.
I have been reading the book "Run Smart - A Comprehensive Approach to Injury-Free Running" by Allan Besselink. This was recommended reading from Carrie at Tri to be funny
and it is definitely worth picking up copy. I really like some of what I have read thus far with regard to periodization and how to build a proper training plan. Definitely supports some of my own personal experience
Well time to start getting ready to hit the road as I need to pop into work for a minute or two.
Have a great day!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Uphill Battle

It was a great weekend. Beautiful weather, couple of great meals with the kids, actually got a few little jobs done and managed a couple of quality workouts.

Saturday was a good hill workout. Now for me, a hill workout is finding a hilly route (which is not a problem) and not just doing repeats on a section of hill. I prefer the former as I don't have the attention span to do the same thing over and over. The choice I have when I want to do some decent hills is do I want them now or later. I can climb north and get the break on the way back or I can go south which starts downhill, but of course finishes uphill. Saturday I wanted a sustained climb so I chose the northern route.

So as you can see, I got my work out of the way early and did the long climb at the start. It was a good run and the weather was perfect. Climbing is something I don't really mind. Once you kind of get in the groove and zone out it doesn't seem like work at all. This workout ended up being just shy of 14 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Sunday I got up early and since it looked like it was going to rain a bit, I decided to get on the trainer and get my ride done. Riding on the trainer is great from an efficiency standpoint. There is no wasted time and your workouts are comparable since you can repeat everything exactly. My ride was 25 miles at a steady pace (around 20 mph) and despite the legs being a little cranky at the start, I settled in and rode well.

This week we have my in-laws coming on Wednesday for 10 days. We are looking forward to having them and it gives them a chance to see the newest addition to the family. My brother-in-law, Don and his wife had a new baby on June 25th. Her name is Brooke Paige and she is a cute little thing, but so tiny! The timing of the visit is good as well since it will force me to taper and limit myself to shorter workouts.

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Morning!

Ah, Saturday morning! Time to relax and update my iPod for the week and enjoy some good coffee. Still in my blues mode, so I am adding some Albert King and Allman Brothers.

Last week I splurged and bought a new guitar.

This is a Gibson Les Paul Classic Antique. Yes, it is a little self-indulgent but what the heck! I love music and it is an investment. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

No big plans for today other than to do a longish run a little later in the day.

This week has been a good strong week on the training front and I have done pretty much all my workouts as planned. Yesterday was a semi-rest day as I only swam 2,350 metres at lunch. On Thursday I did an hour and a half time trial workout on the bike that was a killer. It was a progression work out that starts at 20 minutes at 95 RPM and drops by 5 minutes and 5 RPM but you keep getting up into bigger gears. It is really meant to be done with a power meter so that you can see the watts you are pushing. Anyway it was a good workout and my legs were singing the blues after that. I had run a little over 5 miles earlier in the day. The run was deliberately short in anticipation of the evening ride.

Next week the hours will start to drop slightly and I am kind of looking forward to the break. I feel like I have been training non-stop since last October so this break will be good for me.

I have had to alter my racing schedule as a couple of the ones I was planning have been postponed for this year. Next up will probably be the Alberta Challenge at the end of August. This is another half iron man, but there is also an Olympic distance as well. Depending on how I do at Sylvan Lake will determine the distance I enter. Then I think I will be doing a half marathon in September as a tune up for an October marathon in Victoria.

Well, back to getting some more music and enjoying another cup of great coffee from my Tassimo machine.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What the Hail?!?

Last night we had a heck of a hail storm with golf ball sized hail stones pounding our house.

It made for quite the racket as the hail came down unbelievably hard and was bouncing off the metal roof of the house. As well both dogs were barking like crazy.

This morning there is debris all over the place as the storm knocked down lots of branches off the trees. I also noticed the hood of my truck and the roof of the house is dimpled from the hail stones. So I will have to give the insurance agent a call today. Apparently the storm just had a narrow path through our sub-division and never touched the town of Hinton itself.

On Tuesday when I went to run the Town trails I was greeted with this sign...

It's probably hard to read in the picture, but here is what it says:

Caution: Problem Bear suspected in this area. Natural Resources service personnel are attempting to remove this bear.

We ask you to be especially careful.

The have a description of the bear, light brown, walks upright, and was last seen wearing a green hat and neck tie.

Police Artist Drawing

Seriously though, it is that season again and the bears are starting to be sighted in and around the town. Once they start getting a taste for garbage and human food they are really difficult to get rid of. I have met a few bears on the trail and usually if you stop and make some noise they will take off. Unless of course you have a pic-a-nic basket with you!

Tuesday I did a brisk run on the trail despite the bear warnings and managed 9 miles in 1 hour and 10 seconds. It was a beautiful day and I was in a good groove.

Tuesday evening I took the mountain bike out for an hour long ride. I didn't feel like packing up the road bike so I opted for a ride on some single track trails. I only crashed once, which is pretty good for me when I get on the mountain bike. My left elbow and right knee got scraped up pretty good, but nothing major.

Wednesday's swim was cut short when some old guy got in my lane and started doing sidestroke and elementary backstroke. The whole lane was in total confusion and since I already had done 1,500 metres I didn't feel like enduring the frustration and called it a day. I finished off the day with a 7.5 mile run in 56 minutes.

This will be the last big week prior to Sylvan and I already have 6 1/2 hours logged.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day

Ten Things I Love About being Canadian
  1. Hockey - You gotta' love hockey. It has it all, speed, skill, and physical play. In Canada the hockey season never really ends. Sandwiched between the end of the playoffs and training camp is July 1, which is free agent season! As an added bonus with hockey you get Don Cherry who has jackets made out of the wallpaper pattern in your Grandmother's living room.
  2. Snow - I know I have complained about snow in the past, but actually I do like it in moderation. Canada also has a fairly moderate climate which is good for training. I often think that I would like to live in a warmer climate until I suffer through a day like yesterday. It was only about 28 degrees Celsius (about 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit), with no humidity and I was dragging my sorry butt. There is nothing like running in freshly fallen snow to really make you feel like you are alive.

  3. Eh? - Probably the most overplayed aspect of Canadiana, but admittedly, something that we do say. It can be used in a number of different ways. As a question, Eh? As a substitute for an exclamation mark, Eh! Or just as one of those dumb little filler words when you are stuck for something to say.

  4. Bob & Doug MacKenzie - The original hosers who helped to popularize #3. Great news! Apparently they are coming out as a cartoon this fall. Hopefully it will be better than their foray into the movies. What? You haven't seen Strangebrew! Didn't that win an Oscar or something?

  5. CBC - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I can already hear some of you saying what the heck is he thinking! Okay if you ignore shows like the Beachcombers, Danger Bay, and the Secret Lives of Hockey Wives (I thought this one really had a chance, a show about Puck Bunnies c'mon!), it has really good documentaries and sports programming. Okay this whole thing is a little thin, but their radio programming is really good. Well, it's not really good, but it is okay (kind of).

  6. 6.Tim Horton's - When the only thing your troop's overseas want is a Tim Horton's coffee you know it has to be something good. Actually I think they add something to it to make it addictive. Every once in awhile I get hooked again and I act like a crack addict trying to get my fix everyday. My whole day is focused around trying to score another "hit" and maybe even a crueller or a dutchie to go with it.

    7.Beer - Canadian beer is the best. Now I like my exotic beer, but when it comes to sitting down and making a pig of yourself with the stuff you are best off sticking to Canadian beer. It packs a punch and has great taste. Molson Canadian, Alexander Keith's, Moosehead, and any number of the smaller breweries all make a delicious malt beverage to satisfy the most discriminating palate.

8.My Hometown - Marathon, Ontario - What a great place for an endurance athlete to come from, Marathon! Nestled on the north shore of Lake Superior, this was the greatest place to grow up. Living next to the big lake we enjoyed every outdoor pursuit imaginable and it is probably why I have always been active. If you have never been there, it is worth the trip.

9.Simon Whitfield - Since this blog is supposed to be about triathlon I thought I had to tie something about that in and what better way than with our own Olympic gold medal winner in triathlon, Simon Whitfield.

10.A whole bunch of other good things - We are lucky in Canada. For a small country (what is there now, 25 million of us), we have a lot of good things. Universal health care, stable government, good sound economy, and we are a humble people. We like to stay under the radar and mind our own business. If there is something that really needs our attention we will be there, but we don't go looking for trouble.

My name is Garry, and I am Canadian!

Have a great day!