Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dangerous Bears and Problem Cougars

Yes it is spring finally. And with spring comes the awakening of all the critters from their winter slumber. I know cougars don't hibernate, but the bears certainly do and now the signs are starting to pop up on my favourite running trails.
Yesterday I went for a leisurely 9 miles on the trails that meander along the perimeter of Hinton. About a mile and a bit into the run I noticed an area ribbonned off and a sign which indicated the presence of a "dangerous bear". Off to the side of the trail was a baited bear trap. Fortunately I wasn't hungry as the trap was loaded with stale donuts from Tim Horton's. It would have been embarrassing making a 911 call from inside a bear trap! But I resisted and continued on. Obviously this bear has been causing some major problems to be labelled a dangerous bear.
After about another 6 miles I came upon another sign behind a lake that advertised a problem cougar in the area. Now if I have my choice I would prefer to come upon a bear. Generally the will take off as soon as they see you. Cougars on the other hand are sneaky buggers and by the time you notice him it will be too late. They are stalkers and opportunists. This trail runs along the backyards of a lot of houses so I suspect that this particular cougar is finding that cats and small dogs are a lot easier to take down then deer and other larger prey. It is also the time of year when the two year old cougars are starting to get chased away by their mothers so they start looking for their own territory. After seeing that sign I did pick up the pace and ran with heightened awareness.
It is eight weeks away from Coeur d'Alene and I feel pretty good. Supposedly the weather is going to change on the weekend and I should be able to start riding outside.
Thus far this week I have run twice for a total of 20 miles, one 10.75 run at 6:54 pace and a 9 miler a more pedestrian 7:30 rate. I also have two swims in, a 2,900 metre swim on Monday and a quick 1,200 metre dip today. Too many boneheads in the pool today to do a longer workout so I will have to try again tomorrow after work. On the bike side I have two rides in a 29 mile ride and a 33 mile ride. So with three days done in the week I am off to a good start.
Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Still at it!

Despite the lack of posting I am right on target with training. I am still shy on the cycling miles but as of yet the weather has not co-operated to allow for the longer outdoor rides. That being said everything else proceeds at or beyond expectations.
A whole host of things has prevented me from regular blogging or even reading the ones I usually follow. Congratulations to Mike, Thomas and Jerry on fantastic efforts at the Boston Marathon on Monday. I think at the end of the day you have to go to Boston for the experience. It is really not one to expect to race, but more to relish. It is unlike any other marathon and is what all others are measured against. My hats are off to the above mentioned gentlemen and all others who raced on Monday. Great job!
Back to my training. The swimming has been a bit of a surprise as of late. Because I do a lot of drills and intervals it is really difficult to note the improvement where it counts which is over the longer distances. But lately, due to crowded pools, I have been forced to swim longer distances with out any breaks. And that is where I am noticing that I am starting to shave some time off. We're not talking tens of minutes, but it is minutes and they all count.
Despite the fact I am still not getting any really long rides in, I am getting lots of saddle time in and have also noticed improved cadence and higher wattage. Again signs of strengthening and improvement. My workouts really have focused on technique and finding that perfect gearing, cadence and power balance. I did try and ride on the roads last Sunday but after a mile and a half it was just too darned cold and I retreated to the trainer.
The running, well, just seems to be steady and solid. I have been using my brick workouts to focus on getting myself up to a reasonable pace and then settling in. Arizona was by no means a race to measure myself by. It was just too hot and I chose survival. In CDA 2007 I struggled to settle into a pace on the run. I really want to get the run done in less than 4 hours.
The next 9 weeks leading up to the race are busy with birthdays, a wedding, anniversaries, and general life happening. The key will be to keep the race in perspective, but to enjoy all the other life events happening. I am blessed that so many of our family is making the effort to come out to the wedding and if it means backing off on the training for a week or so, I'm fine with that.
Have a great day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

It was another good week with some decent workouts completed. I continue to march towards Ironman Coeur d'Alene with growing confidence. Not that I think I am going to knock off any great time, but I do feel I will perform well and complete the race strong.
I should probably finish this week with between 14 and 15 hours providing all goes well with my weekend workouts. I have had a little flare up of the Achilles after last weekend's longer run. But I know how to treat it and if nothing else it will force me on the bike!
It finally appears that spring has arrived as the snow has gone and we are experiencing temperatures in the low teens right now. The layers have been shed and it is nice to be out in shorts and t-shirts. Hopefully I can get on the road with the bike this weekend. I still don't like the fact that there is a lot of sand on the road as it really takes a toll on your chain.
Happy Easter everyone and have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Process Check

The last few weeks of training have been quite encouraging. Although I don't track my progress with a lot of science I can just tell that my strength and mental focus are right on track.
I am feeling distinct improvements in my swimming and while I have not done any time trials, I am sure that I am faster. Maybe not a lot faster, but faster all the same. Last week I had a total of 8,700 metres in the pool, with two 3,000 metre swims.
Cycling has also been on the upswing and I have been able to endure a couple of 3 hour plus rides on the trainer. The long range forecast says that the weather should be improving so I am really hopeful that I can get outside soon. Having said that I also feel the cycling power is coming along. Again I don't have a lot of evidence to that effect, but it is just a feeling.
Lastly the run. The legs have been great and seem to be able to recover very quickly. I did 18.5 miles holding 7:03 pace and I am good to go today. Which is a good thing because I have a long bike ride on the agenda.
I am 11 weeks out from CDA and there is still a lot of work to be done. But at this point in the process I feel pretty good. There will be some interruptions in the plan as we prepare for the wedding and all of the family visits, but life happens. The training is important, but certainly not the most important thing. We are very excited about the fact that almost everyone in the family is going to make it for the big day. I am lucky that I have a very close family and we always make every effort to be there for one another in any circumstance.
Speaking of CDA, I best book myself some rooms or I will be staying in a van down by the river!
Have a great weekend!