Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Desiging Impaired

I am so not a graphic designer...since the weekend I've been working on a new template design for my website. Mainly picking away at it during the evenings...I like simplicity and clean lines in a website. You figure it would be easy to draw a few boxes, lines, and slap some colour together in photoshop...think again.

Anyways, I am close to finishing and have asked one of the designers here at work to review my grade one art project and provide any suggestions.

Didn't get a chance to run yesterday as we had to run out and do an errand last night after work.

Slowly getting back into the routine of getting to bed early and catching up on the sleep I've been missing as of late. Tonights plan is to tape up the ankle and run 16km to see how it holds up. I hope to run 32km on Saturday but we'll see how it feels. Hopefully things go well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Burnt Toast

I dropped out of the provincials last thursday and decided to pull the plug on my other race in September. I have acute achilles tendinitis which is causing me enough grief now, that I can no longer ignore it. Going to physio twice/week and have started taping it for my runs.

Also been experiencing some mental burnout from triathlon training and decided I need somewhat of a break from training to refocus and plan out the next 11 monthes leading up to Ironman Lake Placid.

I am *hoping* to run the marathon in October but I think that goal may be slowly slipping away as I simple can't get the running in that I need...might try water running to see how that is. I don't expect to be in top-notch shape for the marathon but I would like to be in decent shape to get somewhat of an accurate time to base my IM marathon training off of.

Mel and I are heading down to the US this Sunday to do some outlet shopping in Maine and New Hampshire. We both are pretty excited and hope to score some nice deals. They have a Saucony Outlet Store in Kittery, ME which I'm looking forward to....can never have too many sets of runners! The psuedo plan is to hit Freeport, ME (home of LL Bean), Portland, Kittery, Old Orchard Beach...then drop down to Boston for a few days and then back up to North Conway, New Hampshire. Its another outlet village there with no taxes....they have a Nike and Reebok outlet store...more runners?!?

Wanted to say congratz to Jarett, Greg, Glenn, Ian, Laura, the Pinders, Scott (and anyone else whom I may have forgotten) who all raced Ironman Canada this past weekend in Penticton, BC. For some of you it was your first IM, others it was a new PB. I watched from the start-to-finish on Sunday and drank way too much coffee on Monday morning ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fall is in the air

brrrr....it was a chilly and windy ride tonight. You can definitely feel Fall right around the corner. Rode for an hour and 25 minutes out Fall River, Waverly and back. Warmed up for 15 minutes before diving into 2x16 minute interval sets with 10 minutes of active recovery.

The legs were a little slow getting started but found rhythm by the second set. Haven't been training as diligently as I would have liked heading into this race...might be soon time to take some time off from training. Hopefully I can hold it together until the marathon in October...or maybe I just need a vacation.

Started designing a new website tonight (finally)..not sure when I'll have it up as I plan to revamp everything using LAMP (Linux Apache MySql PHP). Exactly the environment I was using before but I plan to upgrade everything to PHP5 and take advantage of its better XML support.

Provincials this weekend in Guysborough.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Taped!

Still training away and enjoying whats left of the summer. Racing in the Nova Scotia Provincials this weekend...would like to try for a spot on the provincial team but I don't think I've done enough point races here yet. Regardless, its in a location I haven't visited yet so it should be fun.

Unable to secure a pet sitter for the girls (Mabel and Jessie) so I'm heading out on my own.

Went to physio tonight and had my ankle looked at. Its not quite tendonitis in the achilles tendon but my physio it has the potential to lead down that road if I don't treat. It appears I'm having some issues with ankle flexion "outwards" which is causing some over-compensation somewhere else leading to extreme soreness...to the point where, wearing socks over the skins hurts it. Its been ongoing for awhile and I figure its best to look at it now.

Hopefully it doesn't impede my training too much for the marathon. She mentioned taping it for this weekend's race but I said it probably won't hold during the swim. So she taped it for me tonight and said run on it tomorrow to see how it holds up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spent

I got up this morning and drove down to the track near the Sackville Sports Stadium. Did a 15 minute warmup then cranked out 5x3 minutes at 3:24/km - 3:40/km pace with 3 minutes of active recovery in between each. The ole legs were feeling a little wobbly after that stint.

When I got home from work I was bagged...both as a result of putting two back-to-back high intensity run workouts together, and just a draining day at the office. I decided to eat first then hit the trainer for my bike workout. 30 minutes into it, I pulled the plug because I had nothing...absolutely nothing to put into the workout. I'm OK with pulling the plug on workouts when I feel like that.

Have a brick workout planned for saturday and a swim, long run on Sunday.

Outside of training, Mel and I are still trying to find someone to house-sit for us while we hit up the US for a week during early Septemember. Although, with the way the loonie is falling against the american dollar, we may have rethink that trip.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Solid Day minus one

My day started with a 5:45am wake up call to go swim. 350m w/u, 350drill, 5x100 on 2 minutes (1:36, 1:31, 1:29, 1:27, 1:25), 3x200m at moderate effort (no times recorded), 100m c/d. The band drill, both on land and in the water, that Jarett showed me has been helping tremendously so far. Even though its been a couple of weeks I feel the difference through a longer stroke and more roll.

My lunch break during work wasn't so great. Mel and I met as usual at noon hour and headed over to Scotia Square. During this time, I forgot my wallet on one of the benches over there. Almost 8 minutes pass before I realize it missing and run back only to discover it no longer on the bench. I immediately head over to Security and run into a nice woman who was dropping off my wallet there. I'm thankful I got it back but a little pissed I had $15 stolen out of it within that 8 minutes! That is my coffee money for the rest of the week!

Ran for 51 minutes this evening...11 minute warmup, then 36 minutes at tempo pace, ending with a cool down. Felt strong throughout entire run and hope I can run like that next weekend in Guysborough.
  • Swim: 1800m
  • Run: 51 mins

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getting back in the saddle

75 minute trainer ride tonight: 15 minute warmup then 36 minutes of building up to and slightly beyond threshold intensity. The week off helped to not only recharge the mental batteries, but the physical ones too. Felt strong throughout the entire ride.

Working on my schedule up to and including October. Hard to juggle marathon training with two olympic triathlons. I figure I am going to start out running 4x week to see how the right ankle/calf feels before I try bumping up the frequency. Appointment scheduled next week with a physio to start working on the problem.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cross-training

I'll be the first to admit I was a complete lush last week.

With two of my big races for the season over with (Ironman CDA and Bridgetown HIM) I decided to dial it back and relax. Having said that, I drank more beer (17 to be exact) this past week then I have during the entire year. Between the long weekend and Mel's birthday shindig, I think I have had my fill for a while.

We had a great time though for her birthday bash...some family over, bbq, drinks, and...wait for it...Dance Dance Revolution Max (DDR) on the Playstation 2. Holy sh!t, what a hoot to play.

Outside of the festivities I went for a swim/run over the weekend.

I have to sit down this evening and workout a plan for the marathon in Oct while at the same time still maintaining some training in the pool and bike.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Next Up?

I took the last 3.5 days off from training altogether to recharge the batteries. Last night I took the bike out for a 50 minute spin through Beaver Bank and Lower Sackville. This morning it was up for a 45 minute swim...didn't bring my watch and didn't count the laps. Just swam and worked on some drills. This weekend I hope to get a decent ride in and some more swimming...running is going to have to wait until I see a physio. I have been having some trouble the past several months with my right ankle and it seems to be getting worse as of late. Might have to do some water running as I start to ramp up my running for the Kentville Marathon on Oct 7.

Tomorrow is Mel's birthday so we are going to have a bender at the house...should be a good one.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bridgetown Long Distance Triathlon Race Report

We left to drive down to Bridgetown, NS on Saturday afternoon. It was about an hour and 45 minute drive from our house in Beaver Bank. Even though I had signed up for this Half-Ironman (HIM) several weeks ago, I didn't book a place to stay overnight there until 2 days out from the race. With a Kids of Steel, Tri-a-Tri, Sprint, Olympic, and HIM going on, there were few places left to choose from when I started calling on Thursday. Lucklily we found a B&B located about 1 minutes drive from the race site. It was an old merchant's house built in 1896...very cool.

Once in Bridgetown we check into our B&B before heading over to the race site to register. From there it was some eats and then over the MotorInn for the HIM pre-race briefing. I was pretty nervous when I walked into the room...everyone looked extremely fit. Since Ironman Coeur D'Alene (CDA) I've enjoying the eats and drink a little too much :)

We turned in around 10:00pm but it must have been around 11:00pm before I got too sleep. It was pretty hot and humid in our room which made sleeping diffcult. I woke up around 1:30am to use the bathroom and never got back to sleep until the alarm went off at 4:30am. I felt like crap to say the least.

The HIM was slated to start at 6:30am so I wanted to be up in time to get some calories into the system. I managed half a bagel with peanut butter before giving up on the solids. I was able to drink two ensure which provided approximately 500 calories. I bought a Tim's coffee the night before, warmed that up, and drank about 3/4's of that. 5:20am came and I packed up the car, said good-bye to Mel (who was still sleeping) and drove myself to the race site.

We were only 3 blocks from the race-site which was pretty handy.

Set-up my transition in record time and was putting my wetsuit on before too long. The swim was in a tidal river which is controlled by a dam about 20 kms to the west, so there was guaranteed to be a current in either direction. It also had been very hot in the area during the past several days and water temp was at 23 degrees...cutoff for wetsuits was 23 degrees.

With 15 minutes to go, they made the ruling that wetsuits were allowed...thank goodness! I got into the water for a 10 minute warmup. The water was extremely warm and dark.

It was a water start so we all were just treading water underneath the start line. The river was narrow in town so they were able to string a start line up and over the river.

With about 30 people racing the Half, I decided to start front and center. We were heading east starting out I believe, the river wound through town and under two bridges (I thought that was cool). Just past the second bridge was the turnaround to come back. The current was moving east as well.

When the gun went off I immediately start swimming. I sighted frequently to see who is the faster swimmers and hence get a draft. I see three heads form a group and start to break away so I tried to tag along. Unfortunately they got away and I wasn't willing to work that hard to catch up. I swam sans draft down to the turnaround buoy but had two people behind me catching a draft.

Nearing the turnaround I was starting to get really warm in my wetsuit and decided to ease off the pace. The two swimmers I had trailing passed me and I tucked in behind one of them for the draft. I stayed behind their feet for the trip back against the current. A couple of times I thought about passing them but decided not to in order to conserve some energy.

When we rounded the corner of the final turnaround buoy to head back to shore, the two in front of me put on the jets so I followed. We arrvied on shore one after the other with me bringing up the caboose.

After a quick change in T1 (finally a fast transition) I was out onto the bike.

The course was two loops and pretty flat...couple of small hills but nothing to write home about. There was absolutely no wind at this time so I decided to let it fly...my speed was hovering between 37km/h - 40km/h on average.

By this time I figured I was in 6th place as the other two swimmers with me beat me out onto the bike course. I eventually caught up to them and moved ahead. Not longer after that I was passed by someone who was absolutely flying.

When I hit the turnaround I counted 4 people in front of me, with 4th place not too far ahead. I eventually caught him a short time later and we played leap-frog back into town. Speed was still 37-40km/h and no wind. I was beginning to wonder if I was pushing too hard.

Into town it was a quick trip through the transition area and back out for the second lap. The sun was starting to come up now so the temperature was rising. We continued to trade places back and forth on the way out to the turnaround at the dam. About 4 km from the dam I let the guy go because I had to go to the washroom.

At the turnaround I saw 1st and 2nd were well ahead. 3rd and 4th place were in reach and with that, some renewed vigor to work a little harder. I put the jets on and sat on 40km/h for the next several km until I worked myself into 3rd place. I was pretty excited.

However, that was short lived when I decided to dial back the intensity as I got closer to town. I eventually got passed and moved back down into 4th place.

I was just over 2 minutes in T2 with the majority of the time spent switching my orothotics out of my cycling shoes into my runners. The run course was four loops through town and flat.

The sun was roaring by now so it was pretty hot and I figured I would be toast shortly for pushing the bike a little harder then normal.

My initial run pace was between 4:30/4:40. I was doing my best to keep it down during the first half of the loop so as to not blow up later on.

During the first lap I caught the 4th place dude (who was having some cramping issues) . The 1st and 2nd were way out in front so there was no way we were going to catch them. 3rd place was just ahead of me by about 100m but putting distance slowly between he and I.

The first lap went quick, second lap was pretty uneventful although I really started to hurt towards the end of it and had to stop in a porta-potty (1:43, I timed it). Out on the third lap things came around and pace picked up to 4:25. By this time the course was littered with people from the Olympic and Sprint races so it was hard to tell who was racing what.



I took in liquids at every aid station, pushed hard when I could, and eased off when I felt tummy trouble brewing.

On the fourth lap I was still in 4th place but knew I was going to eventually lose it to a guy from New Brunswick who ended up running a 1:23:00 half marathon off the bike. He passed me with 2.5km to go and I had nothing to fight back.

Nearing the end things got hairy as there were guys sprinting to the finish around me...not knowing for sure if they were in HIM or Sprint, I had to work hard during the final km.

Crossing the line I felt great...even better when I saw my time!

  • Swim: 29:46 (1900m)

  • Bike: 2:34:07 (94km)

  • Run: 1:38:28 (21.1km)

  • Finishing time: 4:45:54


I had the bike course measured out by an extra 4km and change over the 90km...talked to another dude in transition and he confirmed the same. I am happy with the results...especially the run b/c I haven't been able to run anything better then a 1:47:00 off the bike...my half-marathon PB from two years ago is 1:37:00 so things are definitely improving in that department.

Its all about having fun, meeting new people, visting new race locations and beating your old PB once-in-a-while ;)


Friday, August 3, 2007

Ready to Rock n Roll

Yesterday ended up being a day off. I had the opportunity to sleep in which was great. In the evening I had to meet up with an old highschool friend and have her sign as a guarantor on my passport re-application. I hadn't seen her in over 12 years...crazy how time flies.

We are taking 2 weeks holidays during early September...a week or so of that will be spent driving through parts of Maine, New Hampshire, and maybe even down to Massachusetts to tour Boston. One of our main goals is to capitalize on the exchange rate by hitting outlets in Portland, ME and North Conway, NH. It was a bit of a mad scramble to get a new passport because my old one was set to expire in early September.

Up this morning for a short 1000m workout in the pool. Started off with some drills (including my new fav called the "Paint Scraper") then did some speed sets. I feel like the monkey is off my back because this morning I'm starting to get some of my speed back. I hit a 2:59 on one of my 200m sets...I can't remember the last time I was sub 3min on 200m. My 50m sets were all on 36 seconds as opposed to 42 during IM training.

With the stretching and new drills, my shoulders actually feel a little looser in the water and hence I'm able to rotate them more and keep a higher elbow. I'm still no where perfect but I am working at it.

This evening, I will ride for 30 minutes to keep the legs loose and do some packing afterwards. We leave tomorrow around noon, or shortly after, to drive out to Bridgetown.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Price Check?

This weekend is shaping up to be a great one for racing...it is calling for 23 degree weather and just a 10km/h warm westerly wind. Did I mention we have Monday off as well? I see a couple of cold ones in my future after the event.

Speaking of which, I was just reading the latest Triathlon Nova Scotia Newsletter and it looks like there will be some really fast dudes at the Long Course race on Sunday. I would like get in a 4:50ish time but in order to do that I need to beg my stomach not to turn itself inside out halfway through the run. That, and not dick around so much in transition...which hopefully won't be a problem with Mel there to motivate me this weekend. She laughed at my transition times from Coeur D'Alene and asked: "What were you doing in your transitions all that time...having a cup of tea and a bickie". Point taken.

The swim is in a tidal river which means we'll be going against the current either during the out or back portion of the course. Bike I hear is pretty flat, 2 loops. Run is flat too...should be some fast times.

I look forward to a good hurt this weekend...if nothing else, I'm hammering the bike.

Onto the topic of swim training: a friend of mine, Jarett, (see link to his blog on the right) took some time out to post pics and explain some stuff surrounding swim band training on his blog. I gave the dryland part of the band training last night...good grief my shoulders sore today. They are pretty stiff to begin with so hopefully these daily stretches will help loosen them up.

This morning I hit the pool and tried swimming with a band around my ankles to prevent me from kicking my legs. Two words: holy sh!t

I was told up front, be prepared to feel like you are drowning...and it certainly felt like that. I did 4x100m with the bands during my drill warmup. The first few meters (after you push off the wall) feel fine, but then the legs start to sink. By the time I reach the other end I'm almost swimming upright because my feet are almost directly below me...LOL.

Its primary goal is to help with body positioning: rolling by leading with your hips, keeping your head down, and high elbows. Secondary to that, it develops your core abdomen muscles...which by the way, I have absolutely none. After the workout, I talked to one of the instructors at the front desk of Sackville Sports Stadium to see when I can get into a Pilates class and get some core muscles development action happening.

Despite the difficulty in doing the drill, and looking like a flailing fool in the pool, I really enjoy this drill and can see making some significant strides in the swimming department from practicing it. I plan on using them every workout I can until Lake Placid next year.