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Found a new gear

August 31, 2012 1 comment

… seriously, that’s what it felt like

Today, I hurt.  It’s a really good hurt, but it’s a waddle-inducing hurt none the less.  Yesterday I pushed really hard.  I think it’s safe to say I’ve found a new effort gear…

6:30am… damn alarm clock

The alarm went off.  I was supposed to wake up with my wife so we could push each other on our respective training sessions – she for her 1/2 marathon long run, and me for a hard brick.  She got up and put in a full 21+ kms.  I rolled back over in bed.  I promised her I’d get my brick done in the evening.  I promised.  Procrastination is rarely in one’s best interest…

(A shout out here to my lovely and talented wife, who actually did run over 21.1km yesterday morning in training.  That’s a 1/2 marathon distance, and she did it.  While only a side note in my own story, it’s an amazing accomplishment for her and I don’t want to gloss over it.  So proud of you honey!  You’re gonna kill your race next week!)

The move

I took yesterday off work to help my little sister move apartments.  This was a very ordinary move (we’ve all done this before): a bunch of family and friends – who are willing to work for free – take a 1 bedroom worth of furniture and boxes, carry it all to an elevator and jigsaw-puzzle to fit it in, then carry it from the elevator to a rented truck (repeat jigsaw-puzzle).  You all drive 100kms down the road, carry all the furniture and boxes into the new apartment, where inevitably you end up balancing a couch on a flight of stairs while your carrying partner debates the best way to turn the upcoming corner, then eat a pizza (there’s always a pizza at the end).  You’re sweaty and dirty and tired by the end of it and just want to pass out on the couch…

The brick

I did promise my wife I’d haul my ass out and get my brick in.  So after 30 minutes of sitting zombie-like on the couch I gathered up my gear and hauled out to the waterfront trail.  This is quickly my favorite place to bike and brick (I keep meaning to take a picture for you blog followers… but I also keep forgetting.  Bad combo)

The bike was good – 15.41km (as far as the path went in the direction I headed).  But it was a fast ride.  I’ve always told people I enjoy road biking over mountain biking because I want to go fast.  This was easily the fastest I had ever gone on the flat.  I felt great – I had great cadence, great gears.  The breeze in my face was an incredible motivating reward.  I was going FAST!  Then ‘whoosh’ – another rider blew right past me!  I was going fast, she was going faster.  I thought this was great – I now had a pace bunny.  I found another gear.  My lungs were burning, and my legs were shaking.  I found a speed I didn’t know I had.  Even if I still couldn’t catch up, it was incredible.

Then I had to run.  I was worried about the run – I’m not a good runner at the best of times, and I just pushed my lungs and legs harder than ever before.  But things were just clicking last night.  I ran 5.07km at more than 1 minute better than my previous personal best… and… I ONLY WALKED ONCE!!!  Once!  This was, undoubtedly, the best run I’ve ever had.  So pumped.

The swim

I finished up at 9:09 pm.  The pool was open from 9pm – 10pm (20 km away).  “I can get there on time” I thought… I can do this…

Drove it in 10 minutes… to any police reading this: I’m sorry

Made it to the pool and in the water by 9:30.  I can normally swim my 1000m in about 20 minutes – I had made it, I thought.

I jumped into the pool and started my first length.  And very quickly I remembered back to all of the carrying and lifting I did earlier in the day.  My arms had nothing left to give.  I didn’t even realize they were so tired – I was so focused on the growing aches in my legs from jumping right in the car after my brick.  I knew right away it was going to be an ugly swim.  I think this is why the swim is the first leg in a triathlon race, not the last.  When the body is tired, the swim does not go well.

I slugged through 750m (race distance) at a crazy-slow pace.  I think, for the first time in my training life, I now truly know what ‘working to failure’ means.  I barely finished that last length, and honestly had trouble pulling myself out of the pool.

I was 4.5km on the bike short of doing a full Sprint Triathlon last night (and had I done the extra few km on the bike, I likely would have been too late to make it to the pool on time).  Today I hurt, but I’m still celebrating.  I’m going to take today off – relax, (possibly work), have a beer or three this evening, and enjoy this.  Tomorrow I get back at it; today I enjoy the success.  I’m really happy with yesterday’s effort.

What’s your best training/exercise/sports memory?  Tell me your story of finding a gear you didn’t know you had?

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I dream of nachos!

August 28, 2012 1 comment

… anyone else hungry?

Last night I had the weirdest dream – Nachos.  I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of food before (not that I remember at least), but I had vivid dreams of nachos – eating wonderful nachos, how great they tasted, how good a pitcher of beer would be with them!  Needless to say, I woke up HUNGRY this morning!

I think I need to reward myself with a night out once this race is done.  Sure I’m trying to eat healthier, for the most part – I honestly am.  But this took craving to the next level.  But nacho night will have to wait until after the race.  I’m really starting to do well lately.  Gotta keep this ball rolling!

Last night’s training session was really good.  5.6km along the Hamilton Rail trail.  I’ve really started to enjoy running this trail – it’s almost 100% shade, which is really nice when I have to get my run in before the heat breaks for the day.  And it’s through a wooded area.  Much nicer than running along the road.  It also runs along the side (and working it’s way up) the Niagara Escarpment.  So the outbound run is a solid uphill grade, which is a great push.  And the downhill run is a solid downhill great, which helps for a strong finish.  I worry a little bit that I’m short changing myself, getting too used to ending my run on a downhill (which the race will not be).  But on the flip side I’m running longer, with less walk breaks, which is getting my legs and lungs used to longer periods of intense work.  I think that helps… at least a bit?

The Hamilton Rail Trail

After the run I made a simple, but yummy taco dinner (just thinking now: wonder if that inspired my dreamed nacho craving?) and then headed off for my swim.  I really should learn: Tacos pre-swim are almost always a bad idea.  Nothing like Tex Mex acid reflux while you’re trying to side breathe to throw off your swim!

It was a pretty good swim.  I did my goal 1000m swim, stopping only once to check on the older fellow I was sharing a lane with who veered from his side and collided with me around the 650m mark.  It didn’t bother me – 4 years of water polo and you won’t ever be phased again when getting bumped in the water – and thankfully the other swimmer was okay too.  You don’t often think about swimming being a Contact Sport – never a dull moment I guess!

My biggest beef (mmm… tacos… dammit!) with the pool I swim in is that there isn’t a good usable training clock.  And unlike Bike or Run training, I can’t exactly bring my phone along with me.  Most pools have big clocks up on the wall with multicolored hands to help you track your pace.  This one does not.  Totally ghetto!  Fortunately we’re back to a Fall swim schedule starting next week, and my regular pool will be open once again.  Would be nice to have a better measure of my swim progress than “roughly 19-20 minutes, give or take, to swim 1000m”.

Tonight’s a scheduled night off.  Meeting some good friends for sushi after work.  I love sushi – really looking forward to it, but I can’t shake this craving of nachos!

Do you dream of food?  What do you crave when you sleep?  And is the craving still there when you wake up?

Quiet day

August 26, 2012 1 comment

I’ve hit a new low – not only back to using Google Images, but repeating a pic I’ve used before… it’s one of those days…

Today is going to be a quiet day.

My body is reminding me today of the importance of rest days (ya know, the one I was supposed to take yesterday…).  Nothing hurts – everything aches.  So with today being a day off, I figure I’ll spend some time doing some chores and such that I never get to.  That bathroom could use a good cleaning!  And probably spend a bit of time on the couch doing a whole lot of nothing – yep, a quiet day is for sure in order!

Race day is now 14 days away.  It seems prudent to me to map out my training plan for the next two weeks.  Somehow I have a lot of training to get in.  And, in the interest of accountability, perhaps if I post it here in a public place I’ll actually stick (mostly) to it.

Push Week – This next week is all about pushing hard.  One last week to push for some serious results!

Monday – Evening fun run with my wife.  Not messing with that.  And the pool is open, so I’d better get in there.  Given that it’s a commuting work day and garbage night, that’s probably all I’m reasonably going to get in

Tuesday – Plans in the calendar = rest day.

Wednesday – Solo run after work.  Gotta push the tempo here and go for my best run yet!  Quick break for dinner then back in the pool again.

Thursday – Helping my sister move apartments.  Carrying furniture counts as training, right?  Probably try to sneak a brick session in the morning, and if I’m not dead after the move see if I can get back in the pool in the evening.

Friday – Plans in the calendar = another rest day.  Really going to have to make these sessions count if I’m taking 2 rest days this week, although after a day of moving, this comes at a good time.

Saturday/Sunday – Going up to the cottage (also, conveniently where the race is the following weekend).  Gotta put the work in, can’t let this turn into a beach and beer weekend.  Shooting for a 30k hard ride one day and a full brick the other.  Also shooting for an open water swim both days, with sprints in and out of the water up the beach.  Running in knee high water sucks!  Gonna. Hurt.

Monday – Rest day.  Happy Labour Day everybody!  Cheers to not having to go to work!  Driving home from the cottage a few hours early to get back for my Fantasy Football draft.  NFL season is just around the corner!  Go Saints!!!

There it is! The Short Bus All Start League Fantasy Football trophy! I have to give it back next week, but it’ll be coming home again after this year, I can feel it!
(I’m such a geek sometimes)

Taper Week – This week is all about dialing it back a bit – getting some light work in to keep the body lose, but saving energy for the race.

Tuesday – Plans in the calendar = rest day.  Although I really don’t want 2 rest days in a row… hmmm… maybe I’ll try to sneak in a short easy run or a brisk walk between work and plans, just to get the legs moving again

Wednesday – Brick followed by a pool swim.  One last kick at the can.

Thursday/Friday – Back to back rest days.  Let the legs get antsy

Saturday – RACE DAY (followed by a great nap!)

Sunday – Recovery day, and cheering my wife on as she runs her first 1/2 Marathon!

I always wonder how much to taper – mostly because by the time I get to Taper Week I haven’t done as much training as I had planned to do.  Am I better to taper anyways, or try to make up missed training?

Do you taper your training the week before a race/event?

Should I run today?

August 25, 2012 2 comments

They’re calling to me…

Ha!  Look at that – I used a pic of my own today instead of stealing one from Google Images!

Anyway… So the dilemma today is to run, or not to run.  It’s actually a tough call…

Reasons to run:

  • Because I really feel like running.  I have the itch to go for a run.  And really what better reason is there than that!
  • Because there’s 14 days until Race Day.  Getting a few more miles into my legs is hardly a bad thing

Reasons not to run:

  • Today was a planned day off – I wasn’t actually expecting to run today.  After my brick + swim on Thursday, and my 30km bike ride yesterday, I’m due for a rest day
  • Because as much as I feel like running, when I stand up, my body reminds me of those same sessions the past two days.  I hurt.  Walking around the house today is quickly regressing to a waddle
  • We have evening plans tonight, taking away my evening run.  So if I want to run, I have to go out in the afternoon heat.  Currently 28°C and beaming sun (82°F for those of you who prefer it that way) – not oppressively hot, but hot enough to make me want to stay indoors
  • Those same evening plans mean I would need to be home, cleaned up, and done my To-Do list for the day within about 3 hours
  • Anticipating today as a rest day, the day started off with egg-free waffles (Not deliberately egg-free, but I was so excited to make waffles this morning I started whipping them up in a bowl before checking if we had all the ingredients.  Seriously, how important could the eggs really be?…)

Apparently without eggs, waffles turn into a sticky, gooey texture. But they still taste good!

In short, a whole lot of semi reasonable excuses I could use to keep me from running today.  But I have the itch to run.  The shoes are calling to me.  So I’ll throw it out to you, readers:

Should I go for a run today?

Edit: I decided to go – 4.2km.  Not my best pace, but it felt really good to get out there

Great training day

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Credit to racefor50states.com for this awesome image!

I had a great training day today.  A brick training session right after work followed by a 1km pool swim in the evening!  Yeah Buddy!!!

Brick

My bike ride was incredibly solid.  I decided to throw the bike in the car and drive out to the trail along Lake Ontario shoreline.  Amazing!  So worth it.  Normally I bike from my house, wrestling with residential streets – stop signs, traffic lights, frequent turns, and cars.  Here I could just go.  My end pace time wasn’t as great as I’d like, mostly because this was my first time going to this trail and I had a bit of trouble finding it from the parking lot.  But now that I know where I’m going I think I can cut the searching out in the future!

The run was a bit less solid.  I remember thinking, while on the bike, “hmm, there’s not a lot of shade on this path”.  Didn’t really bother me on the bike, but boy did it suck on the run.  Of course, that’s what I get for setting out right after work at 4:00pm.  It was HOT.  I barely crawled through 2kms at a pace almost 2 minutes/km slower than my normal.  Not cool.  I’ll give myself some credit for slugging through at least a partial run after my ride, but I really need to work on that.

Swim

After a break of about 3 hours for dinner and dishes I hit the pool.  I knew I was swimming almost exclusively with my arms as my legs were DONE by this point (but I’m normally an upper body swimmer anyway).  By 400m my shoulder was starting to bark at me a bit.  By 600m the old man in the lane beside me – who I had been swimming past easily earlier in the session – was now blowing right past me.  By 800m I was really arguing with myself to push on.  Normally swimming 1km is a bit of a breeze.  I guess it’s a good thing it’s the first leg of a tri race and not the last.  That was tougher than it should be

So, in all, I’m super stoked to have gotten all three sessions in on the day.  I feel great – tired, but great!  But I do have to take a critical look at my run.  I’m not a strong runner at the best of times, but that was gross.  Really need to focus over the next two weeks on my run, and a few more brick sessions to run off the bike (’cause that’s a lot harder than going for a straight run out the front door)

-DO’G

My favorite vice

August 22, 2012 3 comments

Can’t beat the real thing!

I’ve started following a blog I found recently: sweating for it.  Today she posted about one of her favorite vices, being Coke Zero, and her efforts to cut back.

Sounds kinda familiar…

Hi, my name is Dave, and I have a problem.  I live off of Coca-Cola.  I’m addicted to it.  I pretty much can’t function in the morning without cracking a can.  Some people need their coffee in the morning.  Me, I need my coke!

I’ve been pretty good lately about keeping to 1 a day (except sometimes 2 on weekends, or when camping, or when I work from home, or when I’m tired, or when I just really want another coke).  It’s a surprisingly hard drug to kick!

It seems that caffeine addiction is a real thing (according to the reasonably accurate Wikipedia):

…people who take in a minimal of one hundred milligrams of caffeine per day (about the amount in half a cup of coffee) can acquire a physical dependence that would trigger withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, depressed mood, and marked irritability.  Griffiths strongly believes that caffeine withdrawal should be classified as a psychological disorder.

Well… crap.

A can of coke has 34 milligrams of caffeine (according to the possibly reasonably accurate internet site Energy Fiend).  So I can afford to have 2 – and most of a 3rd – cans per day before having a dependency strong enough to lead to withdrawal symptoms that [one could argue could be] classified as a psychological disorder?  Phew!  Thankfully I usually stop at 2 😉

But does this really matter?  Well, according to the semi possibly reasonably accurate internet site Livestrong.com (I’m pushing it a bit here, probably):

…some studies have linked caffeine consumption with dehydration, and an excess intake of caffeine can cause nervousness, insomnia and diarrhea.

(okay – that isn’t exactly rocket science, but I thought it seemed better to quote… somebody… rather than claiming this obvious stuff myself… even if they are probably trying to sell me little yellow wrist bands)

So what does this all mean?  Well…

  • Caffeine is necessary to get my ass going in the morning
  • I have a borderline caffeine addiction (read: possible psychological disorder)
  • Caffeine is potentially linked to all kinds of crappy things that make training a PITA
  • Coke is really damn tasty!

Okay, okay.  I know I need to cut back.  I’ll throw it out to you, faithful readers: what’s the one vice you know you should cut back on (but maybe sometimes only try sorta hard to do so)?

-DO’G

Sick days suck

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Google Images makes me laugh sometimes…

Today was a bit of a rough day.  I stayed home from work sick.  It all started when I woke up Sunday morning – I felt a bit rough, but I chalked it up to sleeping on the floor followed by 6 hours in the back of a car.  Monday morning also felt a bit rough – I went to work anyway, but by about 2:30 I had to tap out.  Today simply wasn’t going to happen.

I felt bad missing Sunday night’s run.  I felt really bad missing Monday night’s run (especially since Monday night is my weekly fun-pace run with my wife… I like those).  Today now makes three straight days off from training.  Even if my stomach and head aren’t up for a run, my legs sure are twitching.  All day today I kept getting up off the couch  to do something, wanting to do something, and then quickly sitting right back down.  The mind is ready to go.  The mind is ready for the final few weeks of push before the race.  The body, however, is simply not up for it.  Here’s hoping by tomorrow I’m ready to get back out there or else I’m really at risk to lose all the great progress I made last week.

I did make the most of a bad situation though – it’s been a long time since I’ve had a good Star Wars movie marathon!

-DO’G

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