Sunday, May 31, 2009

Calgary Half-Marathon Race Report - 2009

I slept pretty awful the night before the race...maybe 4hrs in total - max. I was so nervous I was ready throw-up at any moments notice. The nervousness was coming from my own perception of feeling inadequately prepared for this race. I missed about a month's worth of training with the move so that was feeding directly into my mood heading into this race. I thought was in a great headspace but as race day got closer things changed to what they were.

Regardless of my insecurities, I was comitted to doing this race and was looking forward to getting the first race out of the way. I find the first race of the season tends to clear out the cob-webs and prepares you mentally/physicall for the rest of the season.

I woke up at 5am and decided to not shower before the race...something I normally did in the past. For breakfast I ate about half a slice of peanut butter toast and tried to cram in a banana before taking off.

I decided to park the car at one of the LRT stations and catch the train down to near the race site. I was not too familiar with the area so was hoping there would be someone to follow when I got off the train. That wasn't a problem when I got to the destination station as there were boat loads of runners heading over to the race venue.

Got there with an hour to spare so I meandered around to find a nice quiet spot to do some light stretching and listen to some tuneage. Before the race I hit the porta-potty three times and just before the start of the race I had to ditch into a bush as well. Apparently I wasn't the only one and there were a stream of guys heading into the bushes near the start...LOL. One fellow says to me "It pays to be a guy during moments like this".

With 10 minutes to go I decided to jump into the crowd lined up at the start. I situated myself somewhere in the middle of the pack and just stood there looking both in front and behind me. It is incredible to see that many people crammed into a tight space.

When the gun went off it took about 35 - 40 seconds to reach the start line. The first couple of km's were brutally slow trying to get around people and find some space to run my own pace. Eventually things started to spread out and I was able to settle into my groove. I pulled my cap down and just tried to focus on my breathing - take deep breaths from the bottom of my tummy, keeping my shoulders relaxed, arms close to my side, and my cadence high. Couple of times I noticed myself getting caught up in the moment and running a little faster than I should have been and would dial it back.

The first 14km went really comfortable - in the back of my mind I kept wondering when things were going to blow up as I have never run this pace before. Around this point I was starting to catch a few people I noticed passed me earlier on in the race. This really got me pumped, along with feeling so good I decided to open the throttle a little bit more to see what I could.

Things were great until the 17km when things started to become uncomfortable. We caught up with the 10km walkers so there was a lot of dodging and even a few bumps along the way. They were suppose to stay in the right lane and the left lane was the half marathoners but they spread out across the board.

I slowed down to my goal pace until this one guy caught up to me. He was running 4:00 - 4:05km pace and I decided go with him until I blew up. We were humming along, clicking off the last few km's. I was starting to hurt bad at this point and really trying to shut off my brain to escape.

Last 750m was an all out sprint with me and this guy and some dude just behind us. We crossed the finish line together and I was in a world of hurt. I quickly grabbed my medal and bee-lined to the fence. Even before I could get there I was throwing up along the way. What a mess...I'm sure the people along the fence were disgusted. This went on for about 5 minutes and it took about 25 minutes before I could drink/eat anything.

So how did I do?

I made my pace goal this morning and in the process set a new PB - 1:31:35

Stopping at 5 of 6 of the aid stations costed me a little time but time well spent in my opinion.

Anyways, it was a great start to the season and I am thinking about running another half marathon in the fall to see if I can crack the 1:30:00 barrier.

Friday, May 29, 2009

It is a gorgeous day here in Calgary today. The weatherman says it will be 26 degrees here today and I'm stuck inside working on version 2 of my Google Map application. I did manage a ride into work this morning and a run during lunch so I got to enjoy a bit of the sun. This morning was a little cool but it was hot like heck during lunch. I did a short 20 minute rip down to the curling rink on Memorial Drive with some accelerations thrown in for good measure.

Mentally, I am excited to get the first race of the season done this Sunday. Physically, I feel ill-prepared. I am still over my normal race weight and my legs haven't fully recovered from last weekend. Not a terrible thing at the moment as I plan to have one major peak this summer and that is for the Calgary 70.3 in August. But for someone who prefers to be prepared for anything and everything, this is a great lesson in "letting-it-go".

Apres work, Mel is picking me up so I can drop my bike off to Speed Theory for a major tune-up. After that it is off to the Clay Oven to meet our buds for some eats and laughs. Tomorrow we have a bank appointment to switch some stuff over from Halifax to here. I believe I am suppose to swap out some exterior lights for ones we brought with us from the east coast as well. I don't plan on doing much on Saturday other than hydrating, eating well, and trying to stay off my feet as much as possible. At some point tomorrow I'll have to head down to the Max Bell Centre and pick up my race package.

Sunday is race day! I still haven't figured out how I am getting down town to the start site. I'd imagine parking will be limited.

Happy Friday Friends!

Most Intresting Man in the World on Packages

These commercials are absolutely brilliant!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Home Slice!

Tuesday was a big day, for me, in terms of training. It started out with an hour long ride in the morning followed an hour swim before work. Lunchtime was a 30 minute recovery run on the treadmill. After work it was another hour on the bike to get home, followed by an hour and 20 on my tri bike - which included 30 minutes at tempo effort.

I was beat to snot come bed time and slept in this morning. The ride into work today was a little slow going but nice to stretch some tired legs. Today is a little easier with some cross training during lunch, ride home, and some intervals this evening.

I will take Saturday and part of Friday off to rest the legs for Sunday's race.

Tomorrow evening Mel and I are signed up for a Couple's Massage course here on campus. It is a two hour long course and I'll bet dollars to donuts I'll end up doing the work for the entire two hours. They should just rename it from "Couple's Massage" to "How Husbands should massage their wife EVERYDAY!". Anyways, it'll be fun to learn something new.

Friday evening we are meeting Keith/Linda and Susie/Dale for some Indian food. I have to remind myself to take it easy on the spicy stuff. I love spicy food but it wreaks havoc on the ole system when it comes time to workout. I wouldn't want Sunday to be a repeat of the time I ran the first leg of the Banff-to-Calgary relay. 14km into a 22km run my arse was ready to explode. Worst run ever! When I finished the race I sprinted to the washrooms and just about tore the door off the stall and ripped the dude in there a new one for lully-gagging around.

In retrospect I would have changed one thing about that entire experience, I just would have ducked into the woods and let'r rip instead of waiting for the finish...such a newbie back then...and still in some ways - ha!

"Stay thirsty my friends"

Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World (2009)

Monday, May 25, 2009

And on Monday he decided to rest

I had a rough time waking up this morning. Even though I decided to take today off to rest I was still going to bike to/from work. However, when the alarm went off I reached over and turned it off. Lid there for a few minutes before rolling over and asking Mel for a drive to work. I was so tired and so not motivated to ride today. Thankfully she agreed!

Nothing much planned for today other than a few minor house projects and some sorting. We are unpacked and straighten away for the most part but there are still some odds and ends to tie up.

Been doing a little course review for this weekend's half mary and are getting both excited/nervous for the first race of the season! For all of my races I post little signs of goals I have for that particular race at work and home. I do this to keep myself on track when motivation starts to wane. For this one I have a time/pace goal. This one is a little bit of a stretch for me but I am going to hold onto the pace as long as I can until the wheels start to fall off!

Happy Carpet Day my friends! (Turkmenistan)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Solid Weekend

Friday after work I had Mel pick me up instead of riding home. My legs felt super shot and I had an interval workout to do later that night. We ran a few errands before arriving back at the house and making supper. I was too hungry to not-not have anything to eat before I headed out for an hour trot.

So we ate dinner together and waited an hour and a half before we went our seperate ways to do our workouts. It was close to 8pm before I made it out the door...even though the sun was still out the wind had picked up and it was a little nippy. I did a 15 minute warmup before I found a nice quiet dirt road to run intervals back and forth on. To be honest I wasn't looking forward to hitting the pain train...I was tired both from training and the end of the work week. Not too mention I felt like as big and heavy as a pork barrel from supper.

No matter the excuse, this was my last big interval workout before the half mary next weekend and I didn't want to miss it. So I started out out with 10x 1min on 3 minutes active recovery. I ran some up slight inclines, I ran some down slight inclines and even some on a nice flat stretch. Right from the get-go things were tough but I don't like giving up so I gutted it out. Afterwards I gave the finger to the Pain Train and said "Take that!"

Saturday we had a vet appointment with Jessie to get her shots and a check up. We went to see our old vet from when we lived here previously. He is a Rock Star. Afterwards we returned home to do a few chores. Eventually around 3pm I got out to do a long ride. I headed out towards Cochrane and got a lost a few times but eventually recovered to find my way onto the Calgary 70.3 course riding it in reverse. The wind is funny here in Calgary...I rode into a head wind out and when I turned around I was riding into a head wind. Riding back up Cochrane hill was a ball breaker. It was been years since I've ridden up that beast.

From there I weaved in and out onto back roads. I threw in a 5km time trial at one point trying to hold 40km/h into the wind. By the time I got home I was depleted. Nutrition-wise I had taken three bottles of Nuun water along with about 600 calories from my Carbo Pro 1200.

We BBQ'd later that night and had a few of our favourite beverages.

Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn to pick up my buddy Chris for a couple of workouts. We swam together at Shouldice...maybe 2500m or so...I lost count. It was nice change-up swimming with someone else and following their workouts. It definitely shocks the system. After the swim, it was a quite change and we trotted off the trail next to the river for a long slow distance. However, we quickly forgot the slow part and pretty much pushed the pace for the entire 20km run. It was awesome.

After that it was home to rake the front and back lawns for dead grass. I am f$cking bagged...night night!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Terrific thread on Indoor Trainer Rides

It is reassuring to see other people do the same thing when they are short on time, weather is shitty, and/or want to do specific training.

Indoor Trainer during the summer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yesterday was a "run" focused day. Moderate run during lunch followed by a longer run in the evening. The run the evening was a key workout for the week because it involved a 32 minute tempo effort in there. I have set a time/pace goal for the Half-Marathon next weekend so I wanted to use this workout as a test to see if I could hold that pace.

I haven't run a half-marathon race since the Hypo Half in Calgary in 2006, I believe, so it took a bit of "guess-work" to figure out a realistic goal. For my tempo effort last night I was able to sit, relatively comfortably, under my goal pace for the duration. I am optimistic I can hover around that goal pace for 21km. Regardless, I am looking forward to my first race of the season next week and hitting the Pain Train in the process.

This morning was another chilly ride into work, but I got smart and wore a pair of gloves and mitts to keep the hands warm...ha! The ride overall was pretty good and I worked the hills. Currently I am carrying a 20 lb backpack to/from work and really need to get something to attach to the bike to carry stuff instead.. My lower back is starting to give me grief over the weight.

The swim this morning was a little tough from the get-go. I generally don't eat in the mornings before a workout which is a good & bad thing. Good in the sense I don't have to contend with tummy issues but bad in the sense that I don't have any calories to draw upon. So this morning I bonked about half-way into my workout and decided to call it quits and get something to eat. I didn't feel one bit bad either as I was absolutely starving!

On the plate for tonight is a 75 minute ride in the upper aerobic range followed by 30 minute run, also at the upper aerobic range. The forecast is predicting showers tonight so the ride will either be done on the trainer or on a 3km loop of my neighborhood (13x around)

Thats about it...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

W-T-F

I don't often complain much about the weather but WTF is up with Mother-Nature (MN) lately? Sunday I am in shorts & t-shirt riding outside in 24 degree weather. The next day I am FREEZING my crack off in -3 degree on the way to Rona. Same thing this morning...toes and fingers were chunks of ice by the end of my ride into work. They stung so bad I swore like a sailor at MN. I couldn't wait to get into the pool and warm up...and the pool here on campus is usually cool. After about 750m things started to warm up and I was over being mad at MN.

Today started another 4 week block (3 consecutive build weeks with 4th week being a recovery one). The focus the next couple of weeks to is continue add distance to my long workouts across and stretching out my intervals sets by adding a little more time to them. This mornings swim workout:

- 350m w/u
- 300m drill
- 8x 100m on 10 seconds rest at a medium pace
- 6x 100m on 1 minutes rest at a hard effort
- 300m kick
- 350m c/d

The 100m hard efforts went really well...1:33, 1:27, 1:24, 1:20, 1:18, 1:19. I have seen some big gains in the water this year due, in part, to the off-season strength program I implemented. This basically included weights and stretches designed specifically to promote swimming strength, shoulder flexibility, and injury prevention.

Lunch time I decided to do an easier workout to save my legs for the ride home tonight and subsequent tempo efforts I have planned. Ended up hitting the eliptical trainer for 30 minutes followed by some core and stretching on the foam roller.

And that is about it for now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hung like a horse

There were a couple of "incidents" during todays ride with Keith and Leaha. And with that, I had ample material to choose a blog entry title from. But more on that later...

House projects are still in full effect and we are knocking stuff off our list day-by-day. But that miserable microwave project just won't go away. The latest with it is the ducting installed by the builder was shitty at best and now I am have to fix that before we can use the exhaust fan. Normally it shouldn't be that tough but they cut the hole to the outside of the house in an awkward position so none of the standard ducting pieces you can buy at Rona will fit. I had to run out and buy some sheet metal scissors last night for sheet metal arts and craft today. I'll be sure and let you all know how it turns out.

Training-wise, I got some good workouts in this weekend. Friday was an interval session followed by a recovery swim afterwards. Saturday was a day-off as I felt completely shelled. Sunday was a famulous day! Started with a long swim in the morning before I drove down to meet both Keith and Leaha at Keith's place. Our plan was to ride the 70.3 course.

The ride was terrific...Leaha crushed her previous 90km time record from Muskoka the previous year. Keith is a beast on the downhills and flats. Both have really benefited from some good old fashion hard work over the winter.

During one of the descents I was starting to pick up speed...somewhere around 55+ km/h when all of a sudden a piece of metal smacked directly in the face! One of my CO2 cartridges came loose from behind my saddle...then bounced off something...presumably my back tire...flew forward in front of my bike...flew up under and over my handle bars...and with the momentum struck me in the face. LOL...one of the most bizzarest things ever! What is even weirder was that about 20 minutes prior I had checked to ensure both my cartridges were screwed tightly into their holder on the back of my saddle cage.

Shortly after the CO2 mishap the three of us were riding along a couple of fields with some horses near the fence by the side of road. I can't remember who it was...but one of my riding mates mentioned about a house off to the side of the road looking especially nice. I look to my right and the first thing I catch a glimpse of is a one the horses. This stud of a horse gave a new meaning to the phrase which is the title to this blog post. I almost shouted out to Keith, who was nearest me,

"Dude! Look at the size of that thing...that is ridiculous!!!".

But then I caught myself and realized that it probably wouldn't be cool to point something like that out...at least right away...but it would make for a funny anecdote in my blog post. LOL.

Back to the Calgary 70.3 course...my thoughts:

- If the wind is blowing from the west, as it does normally, this bike course has the potential to be super fast in parts. There are sections on this course where you can effortlessly pedal yourself between 40km/h - 50km/h.

- As Keith mentioned, the pavement is rough in sections. There are a few spots where it is really bad and I found myself riding the centre lane to avoid potholes. There is the potential for a lot of flats on this course. I found some of the potholes difficult to see until you were almost atop of them. They were not big enough to see a dark spot in the ground ahead...but large enough of a hole to cause a pinch flat in the blink of an eye if you ran over them.

- Make sure you bike bottles are secure in their cages, cages are tighten, gels are taped securely, etc. With the rough pavement there is a fair amount of vibrating.

- There is the potential for some vicious crosswinds in sections like we experienced yesterday. This is actually a good thing for those of your aspiring to race in Kona some day!

*** Overall this course is absolutely breath-taking, especially during the first half when you are cycling in the foothills. I found myself in awe from time-to-time.

Some pics from our adventures...










Thursday, May 14, 2009

Starting to fade like a Rock-Star

I am not sure what is happening but I have been super sleepy all day. Even a mid-afternoon coffee can't seem to spark life into this corpse. Hopefully the bike ride home shortly and subsequent ride this evening will wake me up. Thankfully I have an EDO (Earned Day Off) tomorrow so I'll get to sleep in a bit! Tomorrow Mel and I are hitting the gym together for a workout and then heading over to the CheeseCake Cafe for a late lunch! The Cafe mushrooms are one of her favourite dishes...me, I am more interested on the selection of beers they have on tap...oh, and maybe some cheesecake to take home!

Slept in this morning before commuting to work. Nothing exciting about the ride in this morning. I wore some wind-proof gloves and neck warmer so I wasn't cold as the day before. I do find I am much more "refreshed" when I arrive into work after biking...definitely a great way to start one's day!

During lunch I ran my tempo run...no dry heaving/gagging at the end today...close...but no. I left my GPS at home but, based on my heart rate, I figure I was hovering around or slightly under 4-minute kms for the 25 minute duration. Not bad in my books for a tank like me. On the way back the sky opened up and I got dumped on...first it was pea-sized hail followed shortly by rain. The temperature dropped fairly quickly as well. By the time I got back to campus my thighs were like chunks of ice. I knew I was in for a world of hurt when I got inside because my ACL-reconstructed knee gets really bad arthritis in cold/damp weather. I had the surgery in 2003 and was warned that when cold gets in there it will you will experience arthritic pain.

Man, it is a vicious kind of hurt. Most times it is manageable, but there are times when it flares up so bad it will bring tears to my eyes. [I know, poor me...please give me sympathy ;)] Lately though, I have figured out a few tricks to take the edge off flare ups...wearing a knee sleeve helps to keep it warm and stretching it immediately afterwards seems to take the edge off the pain.

I sometimes think back to when I made the choice to get the surgery...at the time I was playing competitive volleyball and really wanted to get back to my old form. That was the pushing factor to do the surgery. I wanted the side-to-side lateral movement back. Of course I could have left it but my knee would give out from time-to-time.

However, after the surgery, things were different. I lost a lot of muscle in the leg, my timing was off, a little mobility was lost...etc. I really tried to make things the way they were before surgery but could never reach that point I felt satisfied.

It was the disappointment from the experience that guided me, in part, down the road of Triathlons. Which brings me back to my original point...what if I did not do the surgery back in 2003? Would things be any different right now? Probably...

I guess certain things happen for a reason.

Happy Unification & Integration Day my Friends(Liberia)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Awesome start to the day...

Last night on the way home from work, Mel & I stopped in over into Speed Theory to have my mountain bike looked at. 10 minutes later I left with my front brake all fixed up - WOOHOO!

This morning it was like Christmas! I didn't have to two buses and a train into work, got to sleep an extra 45 minutes and rode my bike into work in 45 minutes. That is half the time it takes than when I ride Calgary Transit...how cool is that?

The ride in was pretty great albeit a little brisk. My finger tips were frozen solid by the time I got to the campus. So I was all thumbs trying to take my helmet off. The route down to work is pretty straightforward and takes me on a bike path for part of it. I do find that I have to be extra mindful of my surroundings when riding this early in the morning. Some motorists are not fully awake, in a rush, or gabbing on their cellphones and therefore not paying attention to crosswalk signals. I was crossing one intersection, on a cross signal, when I motorist flew through the intersection. It is one of those moments when you can feel that someone is not paying attention and so you prepare yourself in advance. Thanks to my bike fix last night I was able to slam BOTH breaks on and avoid becoming a smear on the front of his truck. I even got a dirty look...haha.

Once at campus, it was over to the pool to bang out a short swim workout. My shoulders are still feeling tired today and my times reflected that:

- 350m w/u
- 4x 400m at a medium effort on 1 minutes rest
- 350m cool down

As for the rest of the day...core work during lunch and a tempo run this evening.

Things in the new pad are coming along...Mel has done a terrific job of unpacking everything and making it feel like a home. The garage/basement is a mess but one thing at a time. Last night I got our computer set up again along with my gaming consoles. LOL, at one point Mel asked me "What is that wooden thing amongst your consoles?". I replied, "That is my Atari!!!! Asteroids here I come!!!!"

Happy Virgen de Fatima (Peru)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last night was a pretty nice evening for a ride outside. I made it home at a decent hour, grabbed a snack, chatted with Mel for a bit, then took off out the door. I had Google Map'd our area earlier in the day to see if there were alternate routes to the one I took last week - the pavement was brutal! Luckily I found such a route which took me through Sage Hill up to where I was riding when I lived in the North West - SCORE! Not much shoulder to ride on, but at least traffic is lighter and the posted speed is only 80km/h.

Anyways, the ride out was west into a stiff headwind. It took me an hour going out and only 30 minutes to rip back home! The wind at my back coupled with mostly down hills attributed to the speedy return. Overall the ride was in my aerobic zone but my heart rate did soar on a few of the steep climbs on the way out.

This morning was up at 5am to commute down to the pool. Shoulders were a little tight this morning, so I was a little slow getting into the workout. Overall it was pretty good.

Lunchtime I rode the stationary bike and did some much needed core work. I have been neglecting core as of late and certainly feel like a slob for doing so.

This evening it looks like I am riding indoors on the trainer as the rain is just coming down. The plan is to ride about 90 minutes with a 30 minute tempo effort sandwiched in there. I have downloaded about 3 weeks worth of shows I normally watch (7 different shows in total) so I am golden for entertainment while I am riding. [I don't know how Susi can sit on her bike without a TV and/or music going...but she is hardcore like that!]

This weekend is looking to be promising...Mel and I are taking somewhat of a break from house "settling in" stuff and are getting out to the mountains for a hike with Jessie! J is a beagle so it is interesting to watch her do her "tracking" thing. Every once in-a-while, she'll start rolling around on the ground in a particular spot...presumably to get the smell on her for future reference although I don't know for sure and should probably Google it.

Weather is shaping up to be perfect for lots of outdoor activities and I plan on riding a shit-ton...including a stint with Keith on the 70.3 course.

Happy International Midwives Day! (Australia)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lets try this again

This weekend past was chaulked full of interior house projects - everything from ceiling fan assembly/installation, to TV stand assembly, and over-the-stove microwave/exhaust fan installation. The last project took me about 12 hours to complete - anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Any factors that would make this job the most difficult it could be were present. If anyone has a questions regarding above the stove microwave installations feel free to ask me...I consider myself an expert on that DIY project now.

In between projects this weekend I was able to sneak in a 20km steady-state run. It was a really good run and amazingly I felt great from start-to-finish. Definitely a confidence boost at a time when I am not getting the training in I would like. With the majority of the packing & and projects completed (for now) I can get back to doing some quality training. I like that I have the support of my wife who is encouraging me to get out and train. One of the many reasons I am in love with her.

This morning I finalized my plan leading up to the Calgary 70.3 on August 2. It is a combination of running/triathlon races which, combined with some creative training, will hopefully see me peak at the right time. I'm excited.

Every year I continue to learn more & more about this sport. I absolutely relish the opportunity to try new things out with every schedule I write and every workout I partake in. It really does provide you with the tools/opportunities to learn more about yourself - both from a physical & mental standpoint. And lets not forget about the cool peeps you meet along the way.

Today at lunch I ran along the river and did a few hill repeats by the curling rink. I made a couple mistakes leading into this run: 1) I didn't drink anything all morning other than a coffee, 2.) I wore thermal long-sleeve under my t-shirt in 16 degree weather - for some reason I thought I was going to be cold in 16 degree weather. Midway through the run I was completely roasted and dehydrated...basically stumbled up the hill back to the campus fitness facility and started dry heaving on the grass. Right above me were about 10 people outside the campus bar having a smoke. LOL, what a sight I'm sure. No matter how many years you have behind you, you can still make rookie mistakes...kinda refreshing sometimes.

Tonight I'm getting out for a nice and easy spin to get reacquainted with my bike. I plan on parking my arse on it as much as I can between now and my first race next month.

Happy Sts. Cyrilus and Methodius Day (Bulgaria)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting back into a routine

I'm an active creature of habit and thus when I can't workout on a daily basis I'm all out of sorts. [Not sure how I am going to get around that when/if we have kids]

Anyways things are slowly getting back to normal and I have been getting back into a training regime. Last night was my first ride outside in my new neighborhood. We live on the edge of the city so I have quick access to some of the back roads which make for some nice riding. I didn't get out until late in the evening so couldn't ride as long as I would have liked. But overall it was pretty great ride which took me through some of my old training grounds when we lived here before.

I sandwiched in a 20 minute tempo effort into the ride...gosh, I am out of biking shape...almost two weeks without biking and it felt more like an entire year. Regardless, it is a starting point and I know improvements will come over the next several months before the Calgary 70.3. I'm excited!

I am pumped for the weekend on a number of fronts. Training-wise I have several longish workouts planned. Outside of training, both Mel and I (well, really more Mel than me) will be doing some unpacking/organizing and shopping around for some furniture pieces. It feels so great to be together again and starting a new life back here in Calgary.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tempo run

It has been way too long since I have done a tempo run last and I certainly felt it at lunch today. I started out at a moderate pace to warm up and once I got down to the trails along the Bow River opened 'er up to test the legs. Things were great and I was going at a pretty decent clip...suddenly this little dude came seemingly out of now way along side of me and proceeded to leave me in the dust. I looked down at my watch to check my pace and swallowed a frog. I was trucking along like a work horse, out of breath like a hooker on a dollar day, and this guy wasn't even breathing hard...heck he didn't even have any sweat going on. I rode his coat-tail for almost a km before he turned off on another path.

At that point I knew I was in for a serious crash - I was way above my tempo zone and haven't done any speed work in a while. Sure enough when I hit the turnaround things started disintegrate pretty rapidly. I was hit with the usual - lungs on fire, shoulders tightening, head swimming, and legs feeling like rubber. I managed to complete the 15 minutes of work and was pretty proud to have gutted it out.

I love that feeling of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone...not so much during the moment but afterwards when you relish in the fact that you did not quit today...effing awesome!

Our stuff arrived from Nova Scotia so that means we get to unpack over the next couple of days. That will be a great reprieve from the painting we have been doing non-stop since last Friday evening. Not too mention I get to start riding to/from work tomorrow!!!

Tonight's plan is to do some unpacking and sneak out for a 50 minute recovery run.

Happy Djurdjevdan Day! (Serbia)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I signed up!

I finally committed to signing up for a race this season - the Calgary 70.3. I know a few of my fellow bloggers are racing it as well so it'll be cool to be doing the same event as you guys/gals. This race will my "A" for the season so I am scheduling a few Olympic distances and running races to serve as tune-ups leading to the big show. My goal is to beat my time from the Bridgetown Half Ironman I completed two years ago in Nova Scotia. Course-wise, Bridgetown is pancake flat on the bike/run...the Calgary 70.3 has a few hills from what I hear. Regardless, it'll be a great race on a number of levels.

This morning I was up at 5:00am to catch my two buses and train to campus. I was in the water by 7:00am and had a solid workout. Similiar to last Tuesdays workout but with an addition of 100m thrown in there somewhere:

400m w/u
300m drill
6x 100m @ medium pace on 10 seconds rest
9x 75m @ controlled sprints on 45 seconds rest
9x 25m @ all out sprint on 20 seconds rest
150m kick w/ flutterboard
150m paddles
400m cool down.

Lunchtime I hit the spin bike for some stregth work...tonight I am hoping to hit the trainer for a spin (Thunder storms at the moment) but that'll depend on if I can finish up the painting.

Our belongings arrive tomorrow! Can't wait to have some furniture and to sleep on a bed again...not to mention...I'll have my mountain bike to start commuting to work on Thursday...30km round trip every day!

Happy Senior Citizen's Day! (Palau)

Monday, May 4, 2009

What week is this?

Friday straight through to Sunday, both Mel & I were painting the interior of our new house. My legs/calves are sore from standing on a ladder all weekend. We got a fair chuck of it done, but still have a ways to go. The colours by the original owners are way too dark so we are lightening them up a bit. We'll both be glad to never see a paint brush for a long time after everything is finished.

To break up the weekend we both went shopping a bit for some new furniture...a sectional for the bonus room and a 32" flat screen TV for the bedroom. We dumped all our old TV's, which were honking beasts, to lighten the load for the move.

My training has definitely taken a back seat over the past two weeks...I hope this week things start get back on track somewhat. The highlight of my training week just past was swimming just over 12,000m. This week I need to get back to running/biking.

Other than that, not much new...trying to sort some kind of race schedule. I got the gears from Chris/Jill and Mel last night for not having signed up for the Calgary 70.3 yet...I dunno what is taking me so long.

Happy Greenery Day (Japan)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tagged by Keith

Yesterday was possession day of our house in Calgary so workouts were pushed aside in lieu of that. Everything went smoothly...both Melinda and I were commenting how well things went here vs Nova Scotia. We both agreed, it is worth it to spend the money to hire a really good Realtor...Kim, our Realtor here in Calgary, is a Rock-Star!

We both love, love, LOVE the house and the location. It backs onto a ravine with a paved walking trail which will get a lot of use I am sure. Jessie has a couple of four-legged friends on one side of us - Shelties! One of them can leap the height of the fence...J is not too sure about that which is funny to watch her reaction...too cute.

New location means new bus route - to get to work I have to catch 3 buses to travel 15.5km to work. It takes approximately 90 minutes...W-T-F! I vaguely remember checking this out before we bought the home but shrugged it off as I thought there would be a way around it. Regardless, the house and location have too many positives to have not purchased it because of the bus route. As soon as my stuff arrives next week I'll be able to cut that time in half by riding my mountain bike to/from work. There...turning a negative into a positive.

In the meantime I am going to call Calgary Transit and my community association to communicate my displeasure surrounding the bus routes in the area and also ask them what are they currently doing about it. I highly doubt anything will change immediately but if you don't bring it up then you are not doing your part.

This morning I got up at 5:15am to catch the first of three buses at 5:37am. Got to the pool by 7:05am. The pool I swim at is never busy so I generally recognize everyone there...especially now that classes are over for the summer. Anyways there was some new faces there this AM...looking lean, mean, and fit! A couple of them were sporting IMC gear and Las Vegas Marathon gear bags.

I pulled up into the lane next to them and jumped in for a warm up. The one guy passed me like I was standing still. I have never been dropped that fast since the time in grade 4 when Tina Cassell kicked me in the nuts. We were arguing over something stupid...like who was the better singer or something. She went on to release a cd just recently...and me...well...I am never allowed to sing during RockBand nor will any of my friends take me out for Karaoke with them...

So, anyways, back to the swim this morning...this guy was super fast and had skulls (or something similar) on his swim cap. That just added to his fa├žade of being a god like swimmer. At one point we were on the wall together and he asked me if the pool was measured in metres or yards? I told him it was metres...then thought to myself "I hope I am right"...lol...I have never really checked before.

After that it was down to business of cranking out some fast 200m and 50m sets. It was good having someone faster than me as it provided the motivation to take you beyond your normal threshold. Workout was follows:

- 400m w/u
- 300m drill
- 6x 200m controlled sprints on 45 seconds rest
- 4x 50 balls-to-the-wall sprints on 20 seconds rest
- 150m kick w/ flutter board
- 150m paddles/pull buoy
- 400m cool down.

I was tagged by my buddy Keith

1. What are your current obsessions?
Working out and being healthy is pretty much a standard. With a new house, we have a ton of fun projects we want to tackle. With work, I am researching improvements to the Google Maps API so I can apply them to the campus Google map I'll be updating shortly.

2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most often?
T-shirts.

3. Last thing you bought for yourself?
Endurox R4 - this stuff is really good for recovery after long workouts or extremely hard efforts.

4. What’s for dinner?
We are going to have some fresh pasta with a creamy white garlic sauce and red wine. Dessert will be tiramisu.

5. Say something to the person who tagged you:
Keith and I share similar backgrounds and interests. I enjoy reading his blog because he blogs well and approaches everything in a down-to-earth manner...I appreciate people who can do that.

6. What is your motivation for continuing to work out? No, your REAL motivation.
I have a problem sitting still - yes that is odd from someone with a desk job but it's true! That and I would really like to participate in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships some day...

7. Vacation spots you must visit before you die?
Italy, parts of South America, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, and course back to
Greece!

8. What is your most immediate short term goal:
Enjoying some reno projects with Melinda in our new digs.

9. What are you reading right now?
Google Maps Applications with PHP and Ajax...I need to start reading some non-technical stuff...I can't even remember the last novel I have ever read.

10. What is the last movie you saw and enjoyed?
Transformers.

11. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I go through phases with this...currently two things are on the list...Big Rocks Traditional Ale in a nice tall beer glass and plain, salty ruffled chips.

12. What’s your favorite smell?
That damp smell you get in the fall when running on the trails through the woods.

13. Whats something you look forward to?
Seeing my wife and our dog at the end of a work day.

14. Favorite Quote?
"pain is liberating, pain is freedom"
My friend Troy once told me that and it has stuck with me every since.

15. Whats one thing you can't go a day with out doing?
Exercising...on days that I don't have an opportunity to do something active I'm like a big ole grumpy bear.

16. What do you have an addiction to?
see 15.

17. Whats your favorite holiday?
Christmas

18. How many pairs of shoes (not just running) do you have??
2

19. Tell us one random thing about you.
I grew up in a remote, northern town in Labrador.

20. Why did you start your blog?
Originally I wrote my own blogging software to learn PHP and MySQL. From there it became a medium for me to share with friends and family with what I am up to.

21. If you had to recommend just ONE place that everyone should visit in their lifetime, where would it be?
The Acropolis of Athens, Greece. Words cannot describe the feeling the first time you see this in person. You need a full day to explore it and surrounding ruins. At night, there is a nice restaurant just below it where you can sit out in the open air and admire it at night as it is all lit up.

Tag three more:
Darryl
Megan
Leslie