Archive for September, 2012

Good Tired

September 28, 2012 5 comments

My wife and I dancing at the wedding this past weekend

First – and most importantly – Happy Birthday to my lovely, brilliant, and wonderful wife.  I love you sweetie.  Hope you have a great day, a fun weekend, and a wonderful year!

* * *

They say it takes 2-3 weeks to adapt to a new routine.  Well, I’ve been into my new running regimen for 2+ weeks now – I’m exhausted, and it’s not necessarily getting any easier.  I guess that’s to be expected – the weekly mileage is increasing (and I keep running uphill – literally – I need to find some flatter routes on occasion).  I was hoping by now I’d be a bit more used to the routine though, even if not the distance.  But fatigue is fatigue, and when the body wants rest, it doesn’t care about your routine on a calendar.

This week’s running distance is 19.84kms (compared to 27.63 last week, and 21.19 the week before).  And I think that’s where it’s going to stop.  I’ve hit on every run so far, but I think my body is telling me it’s ready for a few days off.  And I think I’m going to listen.  I feel good though – last week I re-introduced resistance training (which I carried into this week), and this week I re-introduced swimming back into my program.  I think I’m actually training harder now than I was before the triathlon duathlon.  Yep, time to back it off.

But the pain isn’t without gain.  My 5k run is getting easier, if not faster, but I can run it with less walking more reliably than I could a month ago.  And I can run it with less OMG-I-feel-like-I’m-going-to-die-ing, which is good!  It’s really good.  I actually don’t feel intimidated any more by a 5k run.  I know I can do it!  Now I’m trying to do it better.

Plus, while getting ready for work this morning I walked past the mirror and noticed improvement!  WOOHOO!  We all see ourselves in the mirror every day, it’s hard to see change.  But today I saw it.  Holy shit that’s a good feeling – even if I’m just imagining it, it felt really good.  I actually said out loud “Dave, stop sucking your gut in… oh wait, I’m not”.

This is why I do this – racing is amazing: it feels so good to go fast and be on the clock.  And getting better time splits on training runs is rewarding.  But at the end of the day I’m doing this for my health – my long term health – and it’s working.  Exhausting as it is sometimes (I’m still a couch potato at heart), it’s working.  It’s so worth it!

A few days off to rest and recoup, and then right back into it on Monday.  It’s working!

In other news, I made a decision and registered for the 10k race in the Hamilton Road2Hope race weekend, not the half-marathon.  I’m still stretching myself – I’ve never raced a 10k before, and there will be lots of time to try to stretch out for a half-marathon in the new year.  In light of how busy work is, and my wife’s school schedule, and everything else in life – and wanting running to remain fun – I think 10k is a better distance to focus on… for now.  Either way, I ultimately consider myself a triathlete (not a runner), so training for either of these races is only going to help my triathlon running next year.  I’m excited!

Do you have a moment you remember where you realized “it’s working” (be it health, fitness, family, school, career, or anything else in your life)?  Share your stories and let’s celebrate together!  Let’s make it that kind of Friday!!!


Destination: Mont Tremblant, QC

September 23, 2012 1 comment

Running with my wife (in red) and my cousin (in black) in beautiful Mont Tremblant

What a whirlwind weekend in Mont Tremblant!  Congratulations to Pat & Ashley – beautiful wedding; kick-ass party.  Great day.  So happy for you both!

Mont Tremblant is an 8.5hr drive from Hamilton – 9.5 hours (at least) if you try to carpool it with my family.  I think I’ve decided that 3 adults are not intended to fit in the back of car – no matter what the car manufacturer tells you – for anything longer than a cab ride to the pub, let alone for several hundred kilometers.  Fortunately there were wedding-eve celebration after parties (yes, plural) to welcome us upon arrival.  The tone was set for the weekend very early – several hours and several liters of beer and wine later.  I love O’Grady Family gatherings (and my apologies to whomever’s hotel room that was we were still drinking in at 2:00am – thanks for being great sports).

The training plan called for a 10km run on Saturday.  It took a bit of will power to make this one happen, after the previous evenings shenanigans, and the cold, rainy fall morning.  But my wife decided to join me, and even my cousin came out for the run too!  If you gotta run in the rain, training buddies make it so much better!

Mont Tremblant is beautiful – I’ve only ever known it as a winter village at the base of a ski mountain – turns out they cater well to tourists in the other 3 seasons too.  After about 4kms of running randomly through condo mansion lined streets, and one ill advised turn up a road that veered straight up the mountain, we eventually found an amazing paved run/bike/roller blade path into the woods that wound around the contours of the foothills and down to a fast flowing river.  There was hardly another person in the forest – the river water was rushing, the leaves were starting to change color.  It was breathtaking… or maybe that was the run itself making me short of breath, ’cause it was hard as hell!

Elevation from our 10km Tremblant run, courtesy of – oddly enough, for running around the foothills at the base of a ski mountain, it wasn’t exactly flat

There it is folks – my first ever 10km run.  It sucked!  It was a lot more hills than I’m used to running (and it’s not like I was well hydrated or well rested after the previous evening).  Nothing went right!  Except that I finished.  I was actually a bit down on myself at the end of the run – my time was so slow, and I had walked a ton!  But I got a great pep-talk from my wife.  She reminded me of the hills (and wisely, not of the drinks), and the challenge of the run.  She reminded me of the positives to take out of stretching my personal longest distance this far, and to not fixate on the speed or amount of walking.  She tells me these will get better as my body gets used to longer distances.  My wife is my rock, and amazing at encouraging me.  I really am a lucky guy.

The rest of the weekend was a blast.  The wedding was in a little old white church at the base of the ski hill – seriously, Hollywood couldn’t create something more archetypal.  The we all climbed into the ski gondola in our wedding best and rode up to the peak of the hill for the reception.

Riding up in the Gondola…

… I’ve never sat in one of these things before without the clunky ski suit and ski boots

A view from out the Gondola window, on the way up

The party at the top was worth the trip!  Great food, great beers, great speeches (seriously, I just said that), great tunes, great dancing, great people.  Great night.  Great beers.  Another late night, just like a wedding should be.  My wife and I tapped out a few minutes before the hall shut down, but I heard there were some stories involving a 2:00am poutine run that I missed.  I love O’Grady Family gatherings!

Today was the long drive home, after a pair of late and rowdy nights.  It was a quiet drive, but a good one.  A great weekend, and I’m glad I got my run in.  I really like running in other cities, especially as part of a great trip!  Next weekend’s Destination is going to be tricky to schedule a run – I can’t tell you where it’ll be yet (it’s my wife’s birthday weekend – don’t want to let the cat out of the bag) – but the weekend’s activities may not be conducive to a long run.  Going to have to give some thought as to how I’m going to fit that puzzle together, but for now, I’m happy with how this past weekend went!

Do you like to exercise when you travel?  What’s your favorite destination?

Mailing in a post

September 19, 2012 1 comment

Came across this picture posted by someone on Facebook. My first thought: “I wonder if that’s ‘Race Legal’?”

I’m totally mailing this one in.  I got nothing, but I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve posted that I should write… something…

So… umm… Running is going good.  I ran my 7km today (actually 7.69km ’cause apparently I can’t do math and run at the same time, but if you’re gonna get it wrong, longer is better than shorter, amiright?)  So far I’m completely on pace for my half-marathon training plan.  But they’re getting tougher.  The stats don’t show it yet – my pace is a pretty consistent 7.5 minutes/km, but I’m feeling tired.  The legs hurt a bit more each time.  This is what I was kinda worried might happen.  So there’s that…

What else?  Oh, I lifted weights today.  That was fun.  I phased resistance training out during the last few weeks of my Tri Du race training (kinda by accident, kinda by work/time restraings, kinda by laziness) and I’ve been slow to get back on the horse.  It felt good.  I dove back into one of “The Iron Strength Workouts” listed in The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies (a great book my lovely wife bought for me for my birthday several months ago – seriously go check it out, if you want suggested workouts, or information about various athlete injuries, or just a weird bedtime read).  Holy cow those workouts kick my ass six ways from Sunday.  Seriously.  I have a love/hate relationship with burpees.  So there’s that too…

I’ve been working on a nasty head cold for about the past 5 days (sorry to everyone who was at my table at the wedding this past weekend… you’ll probably start to notice it in a day or two, if you haven’t already).  This one’s been a doozy.  I think the worst part about head colds is trying to fall asleep.  I can tough it out during the day (although my wife may take issue with that statement), but falling asleep congested SUCKS.  It sucks especially when you’re planning to get up the next morning for a pre-work run… or maybe it gives you an excuse to sleep in… I guess it’s a matter of perspective.  But I really honestly am trying to get into a good running routine, so it sucks… I think…

I started using my calorie counting site Lose It again – I’d kinda fallen off the wagon on that one too… since February.  But I’m back.  Today was interesting – between my Iron Strength Workout and my 7+km run, by the time I sat down for dinner I still had a negative caloric intake for the day.  Salad planned for dinner was delicious, but did very little to put a dent into a full days allotment of calories.  What am I gonna do with all those available calories?!  Beer it is, I guess…  Cheers!  Tonight’s selection is a Big Wheel “Deluxe Amber” (whatever the hell that means) from Amsterdam Brewery.  I like it – it’s distinctly more drinkable than my usual preference for kick-you-in-the-teeth-hoppy IPAs, but in a good way (maybe I should start the occasional beer post?  ‘Cause that’s totally related to Tri Training, and learning to get off the couch and in shape… right… but it still might happen, for those of us who won’t ever be Pros or Elite racers, there’s an element to training/life balance that could be fun to talk about).

Okay – that’s seriously all I got for tonight.  My beer is empty – time to get another…

What do you think?  Should I start a segment about beers?  I could call it Pizza and Beer Fridays… I might even post it once a week (maybe) 

Football Sunday

September 16, 2012 1 comment

A cheery sunny day picture, courtesy of Google Images

First off, a shout out to my good friends Will and Selina for tying the knot last night.  Lovely wedding, lovely couple, fun party!  And great food!  This morning I sat down with my calorie-counting app Lose It to try to recap the damage from last night.  I gave up – we’ll write it off as a “good taste bud, bad calorie day” and move on.  I ate too much great food.  Thank goodness I did my long run yesterday morning.

Sunday morning has become quite special to me.  Sunday is rest day.  It’s my day.  It’s a day to wear sweat pants, and watch football.  It’s a day to “sleep in” (ha!  remember once upon a time when you could sleep in until noon on a weekend morning – easily?  I slept in until 8:00 this morning!  It felt great!  Yay grown-up life 😉 )

This past week was the first week of my Half-Marathon Training Experiment.  I’d call it a success.  I hit on all three of my planned runs, including my first 9km run yesterday.  It went fairly well – not a glamorous pace, but I walked a lot less than I anticipated.  I did my full 21km week.  I’m very happy with that.  Up next is a 4-run 27km week, including a 10km long run next weekend.  I can do this.

But first today – Sunday.  Rest day.  My “Me” day.  There’s something very satisfying about a planned day off from training, knowing that you’ve met your weekly goals.  I’m looking forward to a day of watching football (with possibly a few house chores and maybe a few hours of work mixed in… Yay grown-up life 😉 )

What do you like to do with your “You” Day?

So, What’s Next?

September 12, 2012 2 comments

I got nothing new, so here’s me again from last weekend’s race…

My triathlon season is over after only one race this year.  Definitely got the itch to race more though.  Must make sure I get into more races next year.

My wife put the bug in my ear a few weeks ago about the Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope weekend.  They do a 5k and 10k on the Saturday, and a Half and Full Marathon on the Sunday.

When I first heard about it I was bummed – I have a known work meeting that Saturday morning that would conflict with the 10k race.  But then I did my race this weekend, which got bumped from a triathlon to a duathlon minutes before the start and suddenly I had to run 50% more than I expected.  Sure, I was one of the slowest in the field.  But I did it.  I really surprised myself with the increased distance.  It’s really got me thinking… maybe I can do the Half Marathon?

Okay – let’s try to think this through.  Excluding my race, the most I’ve run thus far in one day is 5.3km.  And the most I’ve run in one week is about 16km.  The race is in 8 weeks.  So here’s what I think a training plan would have to look like (distances in kilometers)…

I’m completely pulling this out of my ass – I’ve looked at a few training schedules online (surprisingly enough, none of which go from 5.3km to 21km in only 8 weeks).   Is it reasonable?  I have no idea.  A week ago I would have told you I could barely run 5km.  Then I raced 7.5.  Does that mean I can do 21km this week?  Or 27km next week?  One way to find out…

I’m not going down this path thinking I’m going to come in anything other than last in the race, if I race at all.  The goal is to finish – ’cause, shit, could you imagine if I could run a half marathon?!  You know, I’ve been considering this for a few days now, and I still pause each time I think about it.  Me.  A half marathon.  No way…

I think the first step is to get through the first 2 weeks.  The weekly mileage really ramps up compared to what I’m used to in the first 2 weeks.  As long as I don’t fall too far behind the plan here, this thing might happen.

The next step is to get through weeks 3 and 4.  There isn’t much special about weeks 3 and 4, except that the last day to register and be guaranteed a t-shirt is October 1st (and let’s face it – if I’m going to kill myself to run a race, just to come in last, I damn well want my t-shirt!).  If somehow I’m not dead after 4 weeks, and keeping up with the plan, then I’m in.  And as I learned today at work my meeting that weekend is off the books, I can now fall back to the 10km race if need be.  Win!

I started it off with a 7km run this morning.  On track so far 🙂  Gonna need a lot of support to get through this one…

What do you think?  Is this crazy?  Or so crazy it just might work?


Race day recap

September 8, 2012 3 comments

This is me – pushing to the finish line

Holy shit I’m tired.  I feel fantastic, and really proud, but kinda tired!

Today was race day.  Between my wedding earlier this year, courses for work, and other summer conflicts, this was my only race this year (Note: future years will for sure need multiple races).

The alarm went off at 6:45.  I was staying at my folks’ place, which is actually on the bike course, so I didn’t have far to travel.  It was a bit of a rough sleep – every time I tossed and turned I could hear the sound of rain outside.  And boy, did it rain (okay, for those of you who have recently been through Hurricane Isaac, this is hardly much to write home about.  But it’s been a dry summer here).

A view of the bay where the swim was supposed to be… sorry for the crappy iphone picture

I got to the race site by 7:30 – 1 hour before the gun was set to go off.  It was raining steady, and the waves in the bay were cresting.  I very quickly learned that the swim had been cancelled.  My triathlon had been turned into a duathlon.

I guess I can’t fault them.  Safety, and all that blah blah blah.  But shit I was looking forward to the swim.  As someone who claims the swim to be his best race leg (and the run to be his worst) this was not good news.  I showed up expecting a 750m Swim/20km Bike/5km Run.  What I got was a 5km Run/20km Bike/2.5km Run.  That’s 7.5km of running.  My daily max up until now was about 5.5km (the recurring theme of this post: I’m not a good runner).

My race goals quickly changed.  I was losing my swim advantage and trading it for more running than I’d ever done previously.  My goal was now to finish.  I’ve never done a duathlon – as long as I didn’t DNF*, I would be guaranteed a Personal Best time!

The race was scheduled to begin at 8:30.  At 8:20 the race organizer came over the speakers to announce that there were high winds and standing water along the bike leg, and they were out assessing it’s safety.  They were delaying the race start by 30 minutes until they decided if the bike leg was safe.  So we all stood out in the rain for another 30 minutes, wondering if we were standing in the rain for nothing.

But the race went off, only 30 minutes late.  I was in a heat with all Pro Racers, Elite Racers, and Male Age Groupers under 39.  The horn sounded and they took off – pushing the pace right away.  This group ran FAST!

They call them “Elite” racers for a reason… I’m in there somewhere, probably at the back

I quickly fell off the pace, and ran my own race.  Race to your goal: Finish Strong.  The rain started to let up shortly after we set out to make the run quite pleasant.  Around 1km, another runner came up beside me and we chatted for 500m (until having to jump a giant puddle separated us a bit and he – rightly so – ran ahead of me).  He’s a cop, from Orillia.  It was his first triathlon (err… duathlon).  He was running virtually the same pace as me.  At that point, I knew I could do this.

I ran the whole 5km.  The whole thing.  This marks the first time I’ve ever been able to run 5km without having to walk even once.  The whole thing!  I ran in a time of 34:48 – 18th/21 in my age group, shattering my previous PB of 40:08 over 5km.  Hells.  Yeah.

Next up was the bike.  It very quickly occured to me that I’ve done a ton of bricks, practicing the Bike/Run combo.  I’ve never once done a Run/Bike brick.  As a triathlete, why would I?  ‘Cause things like this happen, that’s why (I guess).  I got onto the bike and very quickly had lead legs.  I’m used to coming out of the swim, with tired arms and very fresh legs to jump on the bike.  My legs felt like hell and I couldn’t get any strength over the first 1/3 of the race.  I passed a few people, but was passed by many more.  I kept dropping the gear and focusing on my cadence and full pedal strokes.  It got better as the race went along.  The bike was an out-and-back ride – my ride back was much stronger than my ride out.

I finished the 20km ride in 45:46, just off my previous PB of 44:03, and 15th/21 in my age group.  I’m actually pretty happy with that, given the surprise of riding off the run (and the relatively small emphasis on bike training I did this summer).

… you try running in bike shoes.

It seemed a really cruel torture that I had to run a second leg after the bike.  I had already run 5km.  What the hell?!  Well, rules are rules, so off I went.  2.5km on it’s own isn’t too bad, but I’d already run once this race.  I was a bit unsure how it would go.  But it actually went pretty well.  Again, I ran the whole thing (well, that’s a lie… I walked about 10 steps when I passed the drink table and took a cup – I learned during the first 5km that drinking from a paper cup while running doesn’t work, you get more of it on your face than in your mouth.  This time, I needed water, so I walked a few steps).

This run was another out-and-back.  A mere 1.25km to the turn around point.  It actually seemed short.  I realized that, once upon a time, 2.5km was hard.  I could barely do it.  This wasn’t hard at all – it had been so long since I’d set out for a 2.5km run that I hadn’t realized how much I’d progressed this summer.  I finished in a time of 16:06 – great for me, but still 20th/21 in my age group.  Apparently 2.5km is a pretty easy distance for most other runners too!

Here I am, running down the final 100 meters. My wife came out to meet me, and ran me into the finish line. She’s amazing!

I finished.  I finished strong.  And for a surprise duathlon, I was really happy with it.  I finished with a time of 1:40:537.3, 18th/21 in my age group.  It was my first duathlon, so it’s technically a Personal Best, but in fact it was faster than my 1:47:21 triathlon time from last year!  Shit!  I actually did really well!

So now I’m home, having finished about 6 hours ago.  I’ve eaten (a lot).  I’ve napped (a lot).  I hurt a surprising amount, but it’s good hurt – fatigue, not pain.  I think I’m going to take a few days off training – enjoy the end of another race season before starting into my fall training plan.  But the weekend isn’t over.  Tomorrow my wife runs her first 1/2 marathon, and I’ll be out there cheering her on, just like she did for me!

At the finish line with my cheering squad – my mom, and my wife (and my dad, behind the camera).

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages, Snail Mail, Smoke Signals, and seemingly everything else.  Your support was awesome!

And now that the rain has finally stopped, I think it’s time for a walk on the beach with my wife.


*DNF = Did Not Finish

Final tune up

September 5, 2012 2 comments

I finally remembered to snap a picture of the Hamilton Lakeside trail before starting my workout

Well, that’s it.  2 more rest days, and then Race Day.  Tonight I got my final tune up brick in – a 15km ride followed by a 5.2km run.  Overall, not bad.  A great ride, and an acceptable run.  It was hot out there, even as the sun was going down, it was still over 30C with the humidex.  But the race, being in the morning, that shouldn’t be an issue.

I’m excited for the race.  The past few days I’ve been a bit frustrated at my relative lack of fitness this year.  I think I’m going to struggle to match last year’s times.  I should be able to run a PB – my running is so much stronger this year than last year.  But my cycling is weaker as I’ve moved my focus this year from the bike to the run.

I’m starting to be at peace with my current training.  I’m working on taking this a lot less seriously.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my all – I think the adrenaline of Race Day will take over and help me do my best – but I’m not so worried about the numbers at the end of the race.  Barring a catastrophe, by noon on Saturday I’ll have finished my 2nd sprint triathlon.  I’ve already achieved my goals through the training and health improvements this summer.  It’s time to race and have fun!

… but speaking of catastrophe, while pulling my gear out of the car post-workout tonight, I grabbed one of my cycling shoes and pulled it out minus one strap buckle.  Shit.  Fortunately I was able to find the buckle lose in the trunk of my car.  Even more fortunate, I was able to find the screw that should be holding it in place, also lose in the trunk of my car.  You’d think I’d set right to work fixing this when I got into the house, but like a true blogger, instead I snapped a picture and reached for my laptop (seriously though – I better try to fix it as soon as this post is done)

okay, so it’s a crappy iphone picture – but that’s the buckle that should be on the side of my bike shoe, and the screw that should be holding it to the shoe

now, where did I put that screwdriver…


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