Friday, August 29, 2008

The Bachelor

This week I have been "baching" it, with Angela and Francesca spending the week in Florida. As these things often do, it started off great. No rush to get my workouts done after work, play my guitar at full volume, play my old blues stuff without being chastised, and all the other things that come with having the house to yourself. However, by the end of the evening on day one, after jumping on the bed and eating ice cream, it had already started to wear thin. By day two I was rattling around the house and holding long conversations with both dogs and the cat. After day three I pretty much had the house spotless and packed up a lot of Francesca's stuff in preparation for her move back to school on Monday. The rest of the week has been more of the same. I can't wait for them to come back today!! I am off to the city later this morning to pick them up at 2:00 p.m. From all accounts they have had a great time in Orlando, despite their fears the Hurricane Fay was going to disrupt their plans. Weather has been fine, with only high humidity to deal with an occasional thunder shower.
On the workout front I continue to take it easy and let whatever happens happen. No structure to what I am doing at all and it is great! The only issue has been my swimming which continues to puzzle me. On Monday when I got in the pool it went as poorly as I can ever recall. My head was all over the place like a Barry Bonds bobble head doll, and I just couldn't get balanced in the water. I was churning up the water like a Mississippi River Boat and my time for 100 metres was just below 2:00 minutes. A couple of weeks ago I was flirting with 1:45 and now this! It was a sad, sad day. Children looked away, old men cried, and the lifeguards just stared and shook their heads forlornly. Well it wasn't that bad, but it sure felt that way.
Wednesday things were better as I spent a good 15 minutes doing some of the basic TI drills and after that I had a good workout.
On the running front I have be staying in around the 7 - 8 mile range and not pushing the pace too much. With nothing in my immediate future there is no sense beating up my body.
The air has definitely changed this week and there is no doubt that autumn is here. The temperatures are still quite comfortable, but the air feels different. The running this time of year is just the best and for those of you who suffer high humidity, you would absolutely love it. It is also a great time of year for riding the mountain bike, which I am going to start doing a little more often.
Have a great long weekend!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Change in Plans

My decision to change plans is somewhat ironic since I don't have a plan, but still I am changing my plan. For all intents and purposes my season is done for this year. The Achilles continue to be a bother and I just haven't been feeling it lately to get into any decent training. Originally I was going to shoot for a fall marathon, but since I already have achieved my goal this year, I don't think I need to stress myself to do another one.
The bigger and more important reason why nothing is slated though, is that I am essentially on standby for a very important mission. That's right, I need to be ready to drop everything in the next two months and be ready to take myself out of commission for about 4 days solid and at least two weeks of recovery. You see I have been selected by Canadian Blood services as a potential match as a donor for either bone marrow or stem cells! This is an extremely exciting development that came out of the blue last week. I have been registered as a potential donor since 2005 when my nephew, Kristopher required a stem cell donor. Fortunately for us, his sister was a perfect match and the treatment has been successful. So knowing first hand what the experience is like from the patient's side makes me very excited that I could possibly be able to help someone.
I have already passed the pre-screening which happened last week. That consisted of a very personal interview with someone from Canadian Blood Services. Fortunately for me I have never taken drugs or money for sex as that would have disqualified me.
The next phase consists of some extensive blood work and a complete physical exam. Once that has been done they will know how good a match I am for the patient. They look for six markers when determining a match and only start the process if the donor is 3 for 6.
The whole process will take a maximum of two months and if I am successful the last stage would be going to Edmonton for 4 days for the actual procedure. It it is bone marrow treatment I would be on the shelf for about two weeks while the stem cell treatment would have me out of commission for a few days prior to the procedure and probably a couple after. Pretty exciting and I am very hopeful that I can participate and give someone a chance. I certainly know how they must be feeling as we went through the same process with my nephew.
So my training will be for fun for the next little while. Can't get started training for IM CDA as it is just too far away. This is probably a good chance to work on swimming and cycling technique as they can always use some work.
This week I am on my own as Angela and Francesca left on Friday for a week long, girls only, vacation in Florida. With Hurricane Fay dragging herself through the state the weather is not all that great, but they will still have a great time. Then when Francesca gets back it is time to pack her up and take her back to the University of Alberta for year three! Wow that is hard to believe. Number one is also heading off to school today. Nicholas is off to Red Deer for his second term for his Heavy Duty Mechanic License. So, it's just me, the two dogs and the cat for the next week.
Have a great day!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A New Week

Thank goodness last week is behind me! I think everyone has moved on from the shock of our boss being dismissed and started preparing for the change. It's kind of funny, but over the last two years we have made some dramatic changes to our operation and have continually preached that our employees need to accept and embrace change. Now when we are faced with a significant change it is not all that easy to accept. And realistically in the big scheme of things the change we have to deal with is minor compared to what some of our people suffered. Somewhat ironic I would say!
The other nice thing is there is no one in my office area at all this week! It is a veritable ghost town, and that is quite alright by me. I am enjoying collecting my thoughts and re-organizing myself for the arrival of our new manager who will be here on Wednesday. The great thing is I know the guy quite well and I am sure that I can work with him. If not, well.....the bus goes east and west last time I checked.
On the workout front I was also happy that it was a new week. Nothing to stellar to report from the previous week so it is time to focus on an event and get training. I think it is going to have to be an October marathon so I will tentatively start getting prepared for that.
Today I swam 1,800 metres at lunch. A warm up, couple sets of drills and 6 x 200 metre repeats focusing on stroke count and good form.
My run this evening was planned for 40 minutes and I ended up with 1 minute extra and 5.75 miles. The legs were good and I could have went further but I got a little sketched out when I came upon fresh bear scat. It didn't help that one of my co-workers was mauled by a grizzly this weekend! He was on a hike near his parents cottage about 40 kilometres from town and he didn't return at his expected time. His folks went out and found him and luckily he was alive. They air lifted him off to Edmonton where he is expected to recover. Still scares the bejesus out of you for a few days.
It is that time of year when the bush is a whole lot more active. You could hear the elk bugling on the weekend and the does and bucks are starting to hang out together. It wouldn't be long and autumn will be fully upon us, and I am fine with that as it is my favourite time of year to run. Nice moderate temperatures, bright skies and beautiful colours make for very enjoyable running.
Have a great day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fast = Rest

That was the theme of Friday's workouts! The interval work I did in the pool was all based on going harder to get more rest.
After a 200 metre warm up, and then 400 metres of drills (I am doing them again!), I started a 12 x 100 metre interval session. The goal time was 1:45 with a descending start time. The first three were to be done on 2:15, the next three on 2:10, then 2:05 and finally 2:00. It was a killer workout and I pretty much was able to stay in and around the 1:45. Just to make it a little tougher I did the odd sets using a pull buoy. The workout finished up with an easy 200 metres of swimming, but I was pretty much cooked. Interval work in the pool is a little more challenging than a run or bike workout as when you get tired there are not many options. While sinking to the bottom of the pool is an option, it is probably the least preferred.
The evening run on Friday had a similar tone to it. It wasn't an interval workout per se, it did have an option to it. The temperature was over 30 degrees celcius so I gave myself the option of 30:00 or 4 miles which ever came first. I chose to stay on the roads and loaded up with some sports drink and water prior to heading out. The result of the run was I covered the 4 miles in just over 27 minutes. It was a tough one as I really didn't do a warm up but just dove head long into some up tempo running.
The running book I have been reading and re-reading challenges just about every belief runner's everywhere hold near and dear to them. A Comprehensive Approach to Injury-Free Running has different opinions on everything from shoes, to stretching, to the value of a warm up, and injury treatment. All of it is backed up with pretty sound logic and evidential research. I am now on my third read of the book, this time with a highlighter as I prepare it for my wife to read. She is not much for the scientific stuff but is interested in what I have been sharing with her so far so she just wants to hit high spots.
Yesterday's run was in the heat again, and with no event planned, 7 miles was enough. My Achilles were bothering me a bit again as was the fact that my feet were heating up.
Today I have to get my sorry ass on the bike. It has been a week since I have went for a ride and it is time.
Have a great day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bit of a break

Last week I took a wee bit of a break. Just feeling a little dragged out and basically took the weekend off. It was kind of forced, however as I had a disagreement with a toilet tank, not once, but twice and ended up with a really nice black eye. Being an athlete has it's hazards, and one of them is low blood pressure. On Saturday morning when I got up I was feeling a little faint and ended up cracking my head on the toilet tank and splitting my brow open. I followed that up with another face plant in just about the same spot and split my eye open some more exactly where the first cut was. And to finish, a full back flop onto the floor!

So I had a tiny headache for a good part of the weekend and deferred from any working out.
This week I am feeling fine and back at it. I have been in the pool for a couple of swims and out for a 5 mile and a 6 mile run. Legs have been heavy, but it has also been quite warm which never helps.
Work has been very busy and we underwent some major change this week as my boss left the company. A few longer days as we plan the next few weeks until someone new comes in. There is also an added concern as it is difficult getting adjusted to someone new after you have worked for the same boss for almost 9 years. But I am an adaptable critter and I will do just fine.
On the workout side I am starting to think about just taking the rest of the summer off from competition and look towards a 1/2 and a full marathon in the fall. By then it will be time to start hunkering down for Coeur d'Alene. I have already been looking at some training plans and figuring out how I can adapt them to incorporate some of the Run Smart principles for training. The book has been very helpful and as previously mentioned does largely support a lot of my beliefs around effective and efficient training. I really like how the author helps to put training into perspective with the rest of your life to maintain a healthy balance. So I am confident I can come up with something that will help me meet my goals without burning me out.
Have a great week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hot Footing it

The last couple of days have actually been like a real summer. Temperatures have soared into the high 20's which is not conducive to good running for me. My internal thermostat just doesn't function very well in the heat. When I read about the folks who train in Texas, Arizona, Florida and the like, I can't imagine what it is like to face heat and humidity for weeks on end. We have had two days of heat (no humidity) and I am ready for a return to cooler temperatures.
When I ran yesterday I found my feet got too hot and then I just faded like a pair of jeans from Costco. No energy whatsoever! My 7.5 mile run got shortened to an even 6 as I was really not having fun. Today I passed on the run and rode the bike for an easy 22 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes. The legs were fine today and I was really pushing it on the hills.
On the swimming front I was in the pool on Wednesday for 1,850 metres. Lately I have been reading lots and watching videos on I am getting lots of good ideas on drills and other things I need to do to improve my swimming. As well I did some 100's just to see what was up and I am still clocking 1:45 / 1:48 per 100, so I am capable of decent times. I just need to see why I fall apart in the open water swims. My wetsuit is still the prime suspect but I'm not quite ready to shell out $600 and swim the same times!
The pool is a virtual ghost town these days with me being the only person there on most days. It's great when you get in a still pool and the only waves made are from you. You can really focus on a "quiet" stroke in these conditions with no one else creating waves.
On the reading front I have just completed a great book by Greg Mortenson called Three Cups of Tea. It is about a mountain climber, who after failing an attempt on K2 in northern Pakistan begins building schools in the poorest of the villages. It is a great story and inspiring to see that it is possible for one person to make a profound change. It also presents a different slant on Muslims and the Islam religion which is much more positive than we are accustomed to seeing.
Music wise the iPod surpassed the 5,000 song mark this week! Getting some air time lately is the 4 cd Allman Brothers Dreams box set, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Boxed Set, and Taj Mahal.
As you can see I am still in blues / guitar heroes mode.
Still no decision on any upcoming events so I will continue to train aimlessly which is just fine by me.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Holiday Monday

I guess I will classify the last couple of days as continuing recovery although I don't really feel like I need to recover. My workouts continue to be low intensity efforts while I contemplate my next move. Another tri or a marathon, that is the question.
Monday was a holiday and for a change I actually didn't go into work. It was nice as I enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee from the Tassimo. Man I love that thing! Perfect, hot coffee everytime.
Then Angela decided she would go into the office for the morning and I thought for a moment about going and then made another cup of coffee and got my book. It was glorious.
After reading for a half hour or so I started on a few little projects around the house.
First up was building a frame for a piece of screen I am using to clean up some black earth I have. With scrap lumber from the crate that carried my new treadmill I built a frame to hold the screen over top of my wheel barrow. Not being much of a handyman this little project went off with relatively few hitches or curses.
Next project, pressure wash the house. Sounds simple enough. Plug in the pressure washer, hook up the hose and spray down the house. Not so. Apparently the pressure is strong enough to knock things off the house and break plastic dryer vents and shower vents. See previous paragraph about handyman skills. Oh well, I feel like taking a trip into town anyway to check out Canadian Tire. Twenty two bucks later I have dryer vents and bathroom fan vent covers to make the repairs. One fits perfectly, the other does not and it was the largest size they had. But hold it, if I cut a few pieces off it will actually fit inside the old one. Slightly smaller, but will do the job I'm sure. And it does! Now back to pressure washing the house, albeit with greater respect for the power that it has.
Angela came home from work only to see the completed projects, and none of the repaired damage!
My run for the day was a random route which covered 8.5 miles in one hour. The map produced by the Garmin looked like I got lost or was drunk. I would find a loop that covered .15 miles and do it a couple of times then I would run down a road a little ways turn back and then go back again. It was quite obvious I was just marking time.
Today's run was a short 40 minute run covering 5.7 miles. Most of it was on the trails which was nice since it was warmer than usual today.
By the end of the week I hope to have settled on an event to prepare for. I am also feeling like I need to mix my program up a bit so I will toy with a few ideas to "freshen" it up.
Have a great day!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lazy Summer Days

It has been a nice quiet long weekend. We had no plans to do anything and have just relaxed around the ranch and completed a few chores. The weather has been okay, but not great. There are just enough threatening clouds to make you want to stick around home and not wander too far.
Last night our realtor called and asked if we could be ready for a showing this morning at 10:00 AM. With Francesca off camping for the holiday weekend, this is a doable task as we don't have to worry about rousting her early and trying to get her out of the bathroom in less than an hour. So we agreed and put the place in "show" condition within a couple of hours. Then it was off to town to kill some time while the realtor did his thing.
By the time we got home, my enthusiasm for a long bike ride had waned and I decided on the trainer. As mentioned earlier the weather couldn't quite seem to decide what it wanted to do, and I don't like getting wet on the bike, so the trainer it was.
Today's ride was just over an hour and a touch over 22 miles according to the cycle computer. My legs have been heavy all week and I haven't had much endurance on the bike. Up until today all my rides this week had been less than an hour.
However my running legs have been somewhat better and I cruised through an easy 10 miler yesterday. With no training plan to follow my workouts last week were haphazard at best. I managed to get in 3 swims, 3 bike rides and 5 runs so it was still a solid week over all.
But I am finished with recovery now and I want to get back to following a plan so that is my mission next week! I have been toying with the idea of getting some on-line coaching for Coeur d'Alene. I think I need someone to push me to cycle more and I am not sure I can do it alone. The runner inside of me will always run when given the choice and fears losing conditioning by cycling too much. I know that is not true, but I have been a runner for all my life and only been at this triathlon thing for a few years, so I still have this inherent fear. Maybe somebody pushing me would help. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I haven't put any pictures up in awhile so here is one of my in-laws with their grand kids. The two big ones are mine!

Have a great day!