Friday, July 31, 2009

Tales from the Taper - Part Trois

No training yesterday...a day of running around to pick up some last minute stuff. Dropped downtown into the Expo yesterday morning as it said it would be open at 10am somewhere on their website. Unfortunately nothing was ready and registration would not give me my registration kit as the ATA representative was not there. So, I'll pop down again later today.

I ran into Lisa Bentley in the porch of the Westin and had a grand chat...OK, not really. But for someone who, I believe, is 40 now, man does she look fit. I'm sure she'll do well this Sunday. The last time I saw her was in 2004 at IMC Canada. It was just after midnight and she was taking pictures with the crowd. I attempted to take a picture with her but my digital camera ran out of space. The closest I've been to a celebrity...outside of Melinda/Jessie/Sammy of course :)

After work it was over to Tri-it to purchase a light coloured tri-jersey. Everything I have is dark...dark attracts heat...Sunday is projected to be close to 30 degrees...big guys like me don't dissipate heat too well. And where I am in the last swim heat my finishing time is pushed into the mid-afternoon heat. Anyways, I tried a few white coloured jerseys last night and settled on an awesome Zoot Ultra. It is by far the most comfortable article of tri-clothing I have ever donned. Every little thing helps!

When I got home I was glad to see our new fridge/stove arrived! I was mentioning to someone at work yesterday that you know you are getting old when...when you get excited about getting new appliances! Old Fart comes to mind....

After supper I was out in the garage to clean my bike chain. I have been pretty diligent in cleaning my bike this year and can really feel the difference every time I ride my bike after cleaning the chain. I still haven't spent to the time to figure out how to remove it to clean but for now, I am pretty meticulous with various gadgets...which...seem to do a great job.

Today I hope to do a 20 minute run with some sprints in there, take my bike out for a test spin (fingers crossed nothing falls off or breaks) and head over to Chris/Jill's with Mel and Katie for a delicious Halibut meal!

Enjoy your day my friends!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tales from the Taper - Part Deux

So yesterday was a pretty casual day of training. 30 minute run during lunch with 10 minutes at 10km pace. Later during the evening I picked up my buddy Chris and we drove out to Ghost Lake for another dip. We swam on the "other" side of the lake. Other side being the portion of course after you pass under the bridge. There were a few other triathletes out testing the water.

Temperature-wise, the water was really nice. I wore my thermal cap again and within 5 minutes felt like I was over-cooking so there'll be no thermal cap being worn on Sunday morning. We swam up the shore line for a bit before turning around...about 21 minutes.

After the swim we were both on the shore taking our wetsuits off. There was an old couple above us on the hill sat in their lawn chairs having a drink/smoke. I could see skipper, in his 10-gallon cowboy hat, studying us as we were undressing. Within moments the heckling started...I couldn't really pick out everything he was saying...but this one liner definitely rang loud and clear to me...and everyone in the immediate vicinity:

"Don't be getting a hard-on there or anything"

What
The
Fuck
!

We all laughed and I believe Chris ended up saying something along the lines..."that won't be a problem having just come out of cold water"

Too funny.

Later that night Mel and I were moving the stove/fridge out to make room for the delivery of the new ones today. It was a comedy of errors as we were both trying to move the stove out the door and into the garage. We got it done but decided to hold off on the fridge...that thing is a beast.

Today is another light day...catching the train shortly downtown to pick up my race package and doing a short brick this evening.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tales from the Taper

Not a whole lot has been happening over the past couple of days. Monday was a complete off day. Yesterday I did a short swim during lunch...easy warm-up/cool-down with 5x 100m sprints on one minutes rest. Clocked a 1:15 for the last one...now only if I could hold that for 2000m! Last night was 50 minute bike ride with some 5 minute tempo efforts thrown in there. I am starting to notice that my legs are feeling stronger. For a while there they felt tired during all my bike workouts but last night they held their own during the tempo efforts and on the hills.

Today I have a short tempo run during lunch and a lake swim this evening at Ghost Lake with some buds.

In other news, Mel and I splurged and bought a new stove/fridge over the weekend. It arrives tomorrow so I have to spend some time this evening moving the old ones out to the garage. If anyone is interested in a white stove/fridge...about 4 years hold we are selling them both cheap!

What I like about the new fridge is that it is like the one we had in our house back in Nova Scotia - built in filtered water/ice dispenser! I have to run a new water line up from the basement to the new fridge. I haven't a clue about plumbing but are told from the crew at Home Depot it is easy with PEX piping. Unfortunately, they sold me the wrong waterline kit (one for copper piping) so I have to go back and see them about getting the right kit and a few last minute questions. I don't want to go slicing up water lines in the basement and eff something up....LOL.

I recently signed up for the Corporate Challenge 10km road race in September. I'll be one of the runners representing our college. Hopefully, I'm quick enough to warrant a timing chip as there are a limited number per organization. I think this race will be a golden opportunity to try and crack the 40 minute 10km barrier that has eluded me for the past several years. I believe I can crack it but its not official unless it is timed!

Other than that, not much else happening. Writing out my thoughts for this weekends race, getting ready mentally, tapering, planning some house projects with Mel, and getting pumped about our Las Vegas trip Aug 16!

Monday, July 27, 2009

First dip in Ghost Lake

During our errand running on Saturday, Mel and I made a pit stop into Tri-It to purchase a neoprene swim cap for himself truly. When my forehead and ears are exposed to extremely cold water I experience nausea. So I am not taking any chances with a glacier fed lake. Met up with Keith and Leaha on Sunday afternoon to test the water. The water was chilly when first getting into and required a few minutes to acclimatize. But after that things were great. The neoprene cap and ear plugs definitely helped in my case.

Keith and I did a couple of laps from the docks out to the bridge and back. Too many boats, sea-doos, and water skiers out and about to consider going any further out in the open water.

This week is relatively low-key heading into the race on Sunday. Mel is back this week so I am taking the bus/train to/from work. I had forgotten how long it takes to get to work with Calgary Transit.

A one way trip:

Bike = 45 - 50 minutes
Calgary Transit = 95 - 105 minutes (two buses & a train)

I would ride but I am really trying to conserve the ole legs for Sunday.

On the bus this morning was a collage of "heavily" scented men and women, W-T-F people, do you really need to bathe in this stuff? In addition to the cluster-f@ck of competing aromas were the individuals sharing their MP3 music with everyone else via their headphones. Nobody wants to hear your rap music blaring "Smack da hoes" or some whiny country crooner crying about his heart being broken again...the bar scene clearly isn't working for you so try something else. This all coming from people dressed in business attire...quite interesting.

LOL...as you can see, not a happy camper this AM on the bus. 4 more days of this and I can go back to riding my bike again!

I currently have a Starbucks Americano in my grubby little paws and already my mood is starting to lift.

Have a good one!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

no sleep = no swim X2

I'm taking a page outta Kelly B's book...except I didn't have a child to keep me up at night but rather insufferable heat. Some day we'll get AC for our house...

Anyways, I was feeling sluggish/tired come lunch time so I bailed on swimming and instead worked through lunch.

Ran last night in 32 degree weather....ended up being 50 instead of the 60 minutes stated on my schedule. I had 30 minutes at tempo effort and D-I-E-D during the last 2 minutes. Total train wreck and walked the last couple of minutes before jogging the rest of the way home and cutting the workout short. I am not complaining about the heat though...love it...hopefully it sticks around after Aug 2 to enjoy some beverages in.

This evening I have a brick workout to do...another georgous evening here in Calgary. 60 minute ride with a 30 minute run - both done at a high aerobic effort. After that I have to walk the dogs as I didn't peel the mattress off of my back in time this morning to do it before work.

Happy National Hot Dog Day (USofA)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Train, Eat, Work, Sleep...repeat

This has been my life the past month basically. I am excited to be racing August 2 but I am also excited about taking a break from structured training afterwards. Ditch the schedule, HRM, GPS, and just do what I want when I want. I am looking forward to Keith's post race party for a few wobbly-pops...hitting up farmers markets with Mel on Saturday mornings, taking the dogs to the mountains to hike, drinking beer (in a glass) on my back patio over-looking the ravine, various home reno projects, building out my new gaming PC rig and going to Las Vegas. It is those thoughts that have been carrying me through this last bit of training this month. Each year I arrive at this state so it is not something new to me.

With respect to training this week my volume has decreased somewhat. My mornings begin with a light 45 minute walk with Jessie before dropping Sammy off to doggy daycare. Lunch times are a 1500 - 2000m swim and the evening is either a run or bike of sorts. No biking to/from work this week - Mel is away in Halifax so I am driving.

The bulk of the training has been done now so it is basically resting up while trying to stay fresh for the race. Trying to get some extra sleep each night and are really getting my head into this race. I was half asleep the other morning and had an epiphany - I told myself that I really needed to work on my mental state for this race. The feeling was so strong and clear that I immediately woke thinking to myself this was the missing link for this race. Totally surreal.

Anyways, that is about it. Have an hour run this evening with 30 minutes at tempo effort. After that I have to watch PVR'd Big Brother from last night!

Have a good one my friends.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

As I get older I feel like certain things happen for a reason. Last night was no exception although I didn't realize it at the time. I spent all day yesterday preparing for the Canmore race...running around getting supplies, picking up race package, and meticulously cleaning my bike. The second last thing on my list was to take the bike out for a 5km spin to try out the race wheels.

I just rolled outta the driveway and shifted up into my big chain ring in the front when I heard this grind/snapping sound. Almost like gears moving with dirt in them. I thought it was weird and when I put my left hand onto the shifter I stabbed my finger with some frayed wires. I immediately knew what it was and pulled over to examine the damage. Sure enough, the gear cable has about 90% snapped. At the moment panick set in for a few moments while my mind raced about solutions to my delimna.

I played around with it but within a few shifts it snapped completely. I knew I wasn't going to be racing. Turned around and headed home feeling absolutely deflated. I have never missed a race because of mechanical problems on my bike. It also burned me that I had the bike in not even a month ago for a complete tune-up. But, I can't blame the tech as it was just a freak accident I guess. Although the cables were replaced about 1.5 years ago in the bike shop in Bedford, NS.

Mel was very supportive and even offered to take me out to a "man" movie at the theatre. In the end we rented a few movies and had a couple of treats. As the night went on I was OK with not racing but starting to stress about how this all screwed up my training plan. I am a planner and I always have contingencies but I was caught off guard with this one. This race was an important workout in my buildup to the 70.3. Not only was I not going to race on Saturday but there is a good liklihood I'll be bikeless. I really wanted to get one last long ride in on Sunday because I haven't been deligent with my lsd rides.

Saturday morning came and both Mel and I were up early. We drove down to Bow Cycle to see if they could fix my bike. Thankfully one of the techs said it would take an hour and before I knew I was home with my bike repaired!

Having missed the race I figured it would be a great opportunity to do my 110km ride. I decided to do 90km near race pace to get a feel for how fast I want to go on race day. For the first 90km I kept pressure on the throttle but backed it off enough to not feel like I was racing. I managed to just sqeak under 2hrs29mins for 90km and had loads left in the tank. I am over the moon! I was mentioning to Chris last weekend that I felt like I was screwed come race day because I haven't been able to do enough long rides. It was a total confidence boost today and maybe that is why I was not meant to race.

Tomorrow is a swim/run day and a BBQ!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guess I'm sitting this one out...

One of my gear cables snapped tonight while I was test riding...weirdest thing ever. Too late in the evening to bring it anywhere to get fixed. Should be in bed right now but up watching movies with Mel...

Some things are meant to be while other things are not.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

insert witty title

Not much new today...ran for 40 minutes last night with some fartleks thrown in there. Today on tap is an easy ride to/from work, swim at lunch, and a short spin around the hood to test out race my wheels. I cleaned up them last night and have to do the rest of the bike tonight.

Tomorrow is an EDO so Mel and I are running a few errands throughout the day. I have opted to get up super early on Saturday AM and drive to Canmore. (Thanks Chris for the offer to stay on your guy's pad in Canmore though!)

Just been sleeping lots this week.

The ole legs are still on vacay...I hope they are back in time for Saturday's race.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The last couple of days have been relatively "lighter" days with respect to training. When I woke up Monday morning I was absolutely spent. Took that day completely off. Yesterday was just a 1hr40min bike with 30 minutes at tempo in there. Legs didn't feel quite recovered so I ditched the rest of my workouts and took it easy. It gave both Mel and I a chance to run a few errands which included picking up my race wheels from Bow Cycle. Dropped them off on the weekend to get trued. I can't wait to give them a go in Canmore.

The next couple of days I'll start easing back into training mode in time to race hard on Saturday. After that I'll keep going hard for several more days before starting to taper for the Calgary 70.3 Show!

If anyone is interested, I'm doing a 110km ride this Sunday and could use the company.

No recent developments on the couch front.

We bought a new laptop last week and finally have it setup again. Mel is happy to have her new work area completed. She is off to Halifax next week to do some more contract work for her old employer.

Our Vegas trip is about a month away and I'm getting excited. I need to learn some gambling lingo/games before I go so I can at least try something while I'm there.

Other than that, same old same old

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bad Ass Training Week

This week have been a challenging week in terms of training. My plan for the past two weeks was to "overreach" with this week being the most difficult of two. I really struggled at various times throughout the week. I felt tired, sometimes miserable, and often questioned why I was doing this to myself. I had to take it workout-by-workout in order to get through the week. I reached into the vault many times to draw upon some inspiration. So you can imagine how elated I felt when Chris and I finished up our 2hr run today around noon. That workout was the last for me for this week, but more, importantly for this training block. I treated myself to a few beers this evening...and a delicious treat from DQ!

Tomorrow I am taking my first full day off in a long time to recover. Tuesday-Friday will be a mixture of workouts working towards the Canmore Olympic next Saturday...which incidently is also the Alberta Provincials and should have lots of people racing. My main goal for that race is to use it as a speed workout so I am saving all my speed training for the week for that particuliar race. Secondary to that I am hoping to run off the bike a little better than I did back in Chinook. I can't wait to race!

In other news...

The latest with our couch...the furniture company actually called me this past Friday. I have left numerous messages with them asking to confirm our order. [This is the company making the couch...not where we ordered it from] It turns out they did receive our order...on May 4th but it was sitting in a pile of orders awaiting to be scheduled. I balked at the lady when she told me this as we had placed the order on May 2nd and I could not understand why it was not started when we were guaranteed it by the end of June at the latest. I asked her whose fault it was but she would not comment on it. She wouldn't confirm either if they had received our $1000 deposit. The only thing I took away from the conversation was that they did indeed receive our order. Although, it just seems they must have known back in May what was going on otherwise they would have started the couch at that time and not have the order sitting in a pile of "similar" orders. Following that logic the company we bought the couch from must have know at the time we placed our order they were in trouble.

Later that day the company we ordered the couch from left a message telling us not worry and that we are getting our couch. Lucky for them Mel nor I were there to answer b/c we would have put them on the spot with what the manufacturer had told us.

Bunch of liars and I'm still pissed as hell for getting ripped off. Hopefully VISA are able to get us our money back.

The company in question are called The Living Room and here is an article in an online publication Mel dug up about the bankruptcy: Link to Article

Earlier this week our 3yr old HP laptop bit it. After doing some research I figured out the particuliar model of HP laptop we had was part of a bunch that had defective motherboards. The issue started with the wireless dying (back in May) afterwhich 2-3 months later the motherboard we stop working and you were left with an expensive paper weight.

I have this gem of a website: HPLies.com

There a lot of upset people with HP and their lack of ownership with the issue. I called them on Thursday night and they admitted the issue and had extended the warranty from 1 year to 2 years on the unit...without notifying existing customers. It didn't matter anyways as the majority of the issues started after the warranty period and ours expired back in Sept. 08.

I argued with them on the phone about them admitting it and not doing anything about it...for FREE. I paid $1200 in 2007 and I expect it to last more than three years. The best they could offer me was to pay $399 (USD) + shipping to have them repair it.

LOL.

I told the guy on the phone that it was ridiculous and that I won't be sending it in. Futher to that, I will never buy another HP and will discouraged everyone I know from doing so.

DON'T BUY AN HP PRODUCT...THEY ARE CROOKS AND SELL SHITTY PRODUCTS. VIVA LA HPLIES.COM

I am going to have to start a seperate blog regarding my consumer issues as of late.

That is about it folks...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Go Lance Go!

The TdF (Tour de France) is taking place at the moment. Admittedly, I wasn't paying much attention to it since Lance retired. But now that he is back, and kicking ass, I'm glued to the TV and web streams. I really admire his work ethic. Should be a great show over the next several weeks!

Day 2 of the Week from Hell and things are going good. Bit of a hiccup this morning when I arrived at the pool on campus super early only to find they changed their hours without notifying anyone. Apparently on Tue/Thurs they don't open until 11am now. No worries, changed into my running gear and hit the treadmill for a run.

I hoping the t-showers hold off until after I get my bike workout in. Tonight's focus during the ride will be a 30 minute tempo effort.

Not much else to report...just focusing on training.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Big Week

I have piled on a lot on my plate this week to overcook things a bit. Sat down last night for 30 minutes to visualize how this week is going to play out and to get my head in the right space to achieve my goals. I find it important to get psyched for big weeks like this one and to set realistic goals of what you hope to achieve. It is equally important to let loved ones know what you have planned and the potential "crankiness" the might ensue due to fatigue and/or hunger!

Friday evening I had a great chat with my friend super-star triathlete friend Katie Frauts to go over my swimming. I was starting to panic a bit having not been in the water as much as I would have liked the past two weeks. She gave me some great workouts/ideas to implement in my schedule as I try to do a swim focus block over the next little bit.

Yesterday I had a 22km run which was my best training run to date. Running is definitely my achilles tendon so I am excited to see improvements in that category this year.

Overall things are coming together during this last month of training. If I can stick to the schedule I feel confident I'll have a great race at the Calgary 70.3.

In other news, Mel and I are "negotiating" an Ironman race for 2010! One of my goals in life is to try as many of the different Ironman races throughout the world. So we are discussing possible destinations and the timing of them. Stay tuned for the results on that one.

Happy Eino Leino Day my friends! (Finland)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Putting the head down...

Last week wasn't a stellar week of training with the weekend being a total write-off. I *thought* I had the flu but it turned out to be super bad allergies. I've never allergy problems until about 4-5 years ago and each year they seem to get worse. I was out of commission Fri - Sun...missed the big BBQ in the park and all my workouts. Oh well, I can't change the past but can influence my future.

The pool re-opened on campus today which is great considering I haven't been in the water since Chinook! I have written in a few extra workouts this month to get back into the swimming groove.

Cycling is feeling relatively good as I have been doing it 6x week. I have gotten my commute to/from work down to 95 minutes round trip. This extra bit of cycling is definitely paying off. The first month of so of doing this was a struggle across the board. My legs felt tired for my other workouts...but things are slowly getting better.

Running is feeling good and will fine-tune that this month with some more key workouts.

This month is it...last bit of dedicated training for the Calgary 70.3. The next two weeks involve a little bit of "over-reaching" with the hope I come out a little stronger on the other side of recovery. The Canmore Triathlon is shortly after that which will be a great tune-up race for 70.3. After that, another half week of peak training followed by a taper into the Big Show.

I am super excited to be racing Calgary 70.3 as it appears everyone and their dog(s) are racing. It'll be great see some peeps I haven't seen in a while since the move back east and to meet some others for the first time.

I haven't made any plans for after the Calgary 70.3 other than the Corporate Challenge 10km in Sept. Been thinking about doing a Fall Half-Marathon but we'll see. Either way I am scaling back training for a bit to take a mental/physical break. But for now, it is head down and get the f@cking work done!

In other news, Mel and I are out $1000 on a down payment on a custom sectional couch we ordered back on May 2nd. We went with a "local" business, with several shops throughout southern AB, and were told expect it in 6-8 weeks. 8 weeks were up last week and when we called to inquire where our purchase was, the owner of the store said around July 15th. Mel being an auditor and me, a web programmer, we both pay attention to detail and are finicky about deadlines.

Mel told her it was unacceptable as we were *promised* a couch during the 6-8 weeks and was part of the reason we ordered through them, outside of trying to support local businesses. She said she would contact the manufacturer they order through and get back to us.

Four days later, and 3 voice-mails left by us we hear no word from them. We go down to the store front earlier this week only to see the store went into receivership!!! The next day I call all the locations throughout Alberta but are not able to reach anyone. I contact the manufacturer directly to see if they even got the order but I can't reach anyone there either! I left several voicemail with those guys and my next move is to show up on their doorsteps on Friday to see if the even exist. Meanwhile, I am also trying to reach the firm in charge of selling off the store's assets. Eventually I reach the gentleman and inquire what is going on. Basically he gave me one option:

1.) Wait around for the next three weeks and see if the owner calls you about your couch. They are *apparently* working hard to satisfy existing customer's orders. If they contact you, then you would obviously have to pay them the other half required for the sectional BUT would be responsible for figuring out your own way of delivering it home. Originally, the delivery was free!

Getting our money back will not be happening...for us or any other customer as the secured creditors come first and even they won't be paid off in full. But he did invite me down on July 15th (does that date look familiar?) to buy some of the stuff they are selling!

For the most part, I am pretty easy going and can let a lot of shit roll off my back. But at that moment, if were possible to reach through the phone receiver and grab someone by the throat I would have. After a brief pause, I replied "Yeah, but I am still out of pocket $1000 of MY money and I also don't have a couch".

After that phone call I was ripping mad...still am. As a consumer, what protection do we have? We just laid down a $1000 on a custom couch that probably wasn't even ordered...that is our money that we earned. I don't know what grates me more...losing $1000 or the fact the couch probably wasn't even ordered in the first place.

In my opinion that is fraudulent and I am not letting it go.

One option we may have is to call Visa and see if we are somehow protected. If we don't get our money back through them then I am going through legal channels.

Do you know how many Timmy Ho's coffee/tee you can buy with $1000?!?

On a relatively MUCH better note, Mel and I are going to Las Vegas during mid-august for her birthday. Tickets/Hotel are booked - we'll be staying at the Wynn for 4 nights and have secured tickets to see the Cirque Show KA! Both of us have never been to Vegas so it'll be great...I plan on eating & drinking lots...can't wait.

Anyways my friends...thanks for reading!