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2013: The Plan

November 25, 2012 3 comments

Fun with lists…

Okay folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is here.  It’s time for 2013: The Plan!

(aka What I did on my Sunday afternoon when I should have been working or doing other productive things)

First off, let’s acknowledge that I’m diving into the deep end here.  I think, looking back on 2012, I’ve turned the corner.  Last spring I would set out for a 5km run with hopes of running sub 8:00/km.  Now, I can almost count on running sub 7:00/km.  Last spring I would start to feel restless if it had been more than 10 days since my last run.  Now I’m writing down training plans and sticking to them – rarely going more than 2 days between training sessions.  Last spring I was actively considering what I was getting out of triathlon – if I enjoyed it, or merely was running to lose weight.  Now I introduce myself to people as an age-group triathlete (who just happens to have lost over 15lbs this training season).

I’ve got a long way to go, but I think I’ve turned a corner.

One of my big frustrations last season was waiting until September for my first race.  In the spring I was wondering if I really wanted to do this.  By the fall, I wished I had a race every month.  The further out I was from Race Day, the harder it was to motivate myself to train hard.  So of course, the logical solution: more races spread throughout the year in 2013.  Many more.

It’s time to Sign Up or Shut Up!

(well, I may not actually sign up for most of these for a few months still – race entry fees are expensive – but I’m listing my plan here, in front of each of you, so it’s as good as signed up, I hope)

May 24th: Around The Bay

Kicking off the 2013 Race Season with a 30K running race.  Still a bit nervous about this one, but very excited.  Already signed up.  Already started training.  It’s a very ambitious running distance for me, but should give me a good motivator to keep training through the off season.  Location: Hamilton ON  The Goal: To finish, and feel like I successfully completed the distance.

April 21st: Toronto Yonge St 10K

Following up my 30K race with a 10K running race.  My cousin sent me a link to this race.  I’m hoping to convince her to run this one with me… nudge, nudge.  On the heels of a longer run, this will be my 2nd attempt at this distance.  Hoping for a bit of a time improvement, but really I’m looking to have a little fun here.  This is for sure a B race.  Location: Toronto ON  The Goal: To improve my Personal Best time in the 10K running distance

June 8th: Multi-Sport Canada Binbrook Triathlon

The Home Town race!  I’ve done a lot of running lately (because it’s the easiest of the 3 sports to do in Canada from September to April) but in my heart I’m still a Triathlete first.  I do hope all the extra run training in the 12 months leading up to this event will pay off.  The distances for this race are a bit longer than I’m used to (750m Swim, 30km Bike, 7.5km Run), which is an exciting challenge.  I’m considering this my A1 race for the season – I’m hoping to peak my training towards this race, but post race I’ll be using it as a benchmark for.  Location: Hamilton ON  The Goal: A strong performance in all 3 sports.  PB time would be nice.  I want to come away from this with an idea of where I stand in each sport, given the work put in, and where I need to focus the rest of the season

June 23rd: Tour de Waterloo

In 2012 my focus was on improving my running, which was laughably my worst sport in 2011.  I cut almost 7 minutes off my 5k PB, but did so at the expense of my bike times a bit.  In 2013 I want to re-invest a bit in my bike skills (hopefully without regressing in the run – can’t we be good at both?).  So I’m going to sign up for the Tour de Waterloo – it is a chip timed race, and I’m going to train for it and push through it as a race, but I expect a fun casual atmosphere.  I think I’m going to sign up for their 70km distance (they also have 130km and 40km distances – training for 70km seems about the right motivation.  A good mix of endurance and sprint).  This is another B race.  Location: Waterloo ON  The Goal: To finish the full distance at a race pace (finish strong – sustain race pace for the full distance), and to enjoy the BBQ at the end.

July 21st: Cincinnati Triathlon

Of the 3 triathlons I’ll be doing in 2013, this is my “fun” race.  I want to do a travel destination race, but my budget restricts me to cities in drivable distance.  Cincinnati is about an 8hr drive away, and I’ve heard great things about the city.  I’m looking forward to checking it out.  Plus it has a few places with interesting reviews on BeerAdvocate.com for a post-race celebration (If I’m going to drive down there, might as well make a weekend of it, amiright?).  I’m going to sign up for their “Sprint” race (400m Swim, 20km Bike, 5km Run).  This is for sure a B race.  Location: Cincinnati OH  The Goal:  Have fun, enjoy the trip, but of course, giv’er when the gun goes off!

September 7th/8th: Multi-Sport Canada Wasaga Beach Triathlon

This is my A race in 2013.  My training schedule will be designed to peak for early September.  This is when we put it all together – all the miles, all the hours, all the lessons learned from 5 prior events in the year.  This is where I go for a Personal Best time.  Here’s the kicker: I’m leaning towards trying my first “Olympic” distance race (1,500m Swim, 40km Bike, 10km Run).  I’ll have stretched out my bike and my run distances earlier in the year.  Why not go for it.  Aggressive goals motivate aggressive training (sure they do… don’t they?).  Location: Wasaga Beach ON  The Goal: Personal Best or bust.  This one is for all the marbles!

November 2nd: Hamilton Road2Hope

Wrapping up the season with a repeat of the Hamilton Road2Hope 10K run that I did this fall.  Had a blast running with family and friends.  Hopefully they’ll all come back also.  We even joked about making our own t-shirts (Go Team “Underachievers”).  This is a gateway race from peak season to off season.  It’ll be good to keep me from completely shutting down after my A race, and get into a good routine heading into next winter.  It’ll give me a benchmark to compare this year’s race against next year’s so I can see just how far I come in 2013.  For sure this is a B race (probably even a C race, if such a thing exists).  Location: Hamilton ON  The Goal:  Have fun.  Get custom t-shirts.  Finish the year strong!

-DO’G

Why are mornings so crappy?

November 24, 2012 1 comment

The view that greeted me this morning. Yep, that’s snow on the ground.

Sometimes I’m a slow learner.  I keep thinking that setting my alarm early to get up and do something is a good idea.  Why do I do this to myself?  You’d think I’d learn…

Today looked to be a really full day, but my running plan called for an 8k run.  It seemed to me getting up to run first thing in the morning was the best idea to fit everything in.  The alarm went off at 7:00 (yes, to me, that’s early).  I think it took me 20 minutes just to convince myself to get out of bed.  I checked the weather… -2°C.  I looked out the window… snow, for the first time this year.  What the hell was I doing out of bed?!?

The run ended up not being too bad: 8.34km in 1:01:25.  Kinda slow – I blame the morning for that – but it’s good to get the kilometers into the legs, even if they didn’t want them.  Seriously though, it led me to wonder how people enjoy running in the mornings.  I’m an evening runner.  I much prefer running after work.  I’m awake then.  My legs are awake then.  I think life in general is more civilized when alarm clocks are not involved.

Speaking of alarm clocks, on Thursday I had the great fortune of driving down to Detroit with some old school buddies to go to the Thanksgiving Lion’s NFL game.  That was a blast.  It did call for an early morning alarm clock (again, 7:00 – what is it with this ungodly hour?) but we made the drive down, crossed the border, and were set up in the tailgating lot just after 9:30.

A couple of my tailgating buddies.  I swear beer and BBQ isn’t our normal 9:30am routine… but every now and then we make exceptions

The morning was great – it was surprisingly warm for late November (14°C and sunny – perfect).  The sun was out, the BBQ was fired up and the drinks were cold.  And I had a great chance to catch up with some long time friends I don’t see nearly often enough – cheers boys!  One of my buddy’s friend’s son (everyone followed that?) met up with us for tailgating – he’s on the cross country team at The University of Windsor.  So not only did we have BBQ and brews, but a few conversations about Fartleks too!  Bonus!

The game itself was pretty good too, although the Lion’s couldn’t pull out a win, they did take the Texans to overtime and had a chance to win if not for a missed field goal.

Hey look – I’m actually in one of my pics. Though you can’t really see it, I wore my Blue Jays cap to the game. Playing with fire a bit, doing that in Detroit…

It was awesome!  It had excitement!  It had offense!  It had over priced beers and hot dogs!  It had… Kid Rock in a shiny silver space suit?!?

The half time show folks! Seriously – why are Kid Rock and his whole band wearing reflective silver space suits??? Who said ‘yes’ to that?!?

Yep – those are my early morning stories from the past few days friends.  Tomorrow’s first “long run” of my 30k training program calls for a 10k run right on the heels of today’s 8k.  But I won’t be getting up early for that, that’s for sure!

Do you prefer to exercise in the morning?  Or in the evening?

 

Ramblings of a tired man

November 20, 2012 2 comments

my hero!

On Sunday, 2 weeks after my last race, I made the decision to sign up for the Around the Bay 30k Road Race.  During those 2 weeks, I pretty much sat on my ass “recovering” (not gonna lie – it was pretty sweet).  Since then…

Sunday: Full body resistance.  I think I did every lift I know.  I did just sign up for a race, after all

Monday: 10k “slow” training run with my wife.  1:10:04 – just a hair off my PB race time.  So much for “slow”

Tuesday: 1500m in the pool.  24minutes (or 1:30/100m).  Usually I only swim 1000m, but this morning I was feeling a bit extra

It’s funny, when you sign up for something new how excited you get – ready to jump right into the deep end.  Or in my case, more like swam-dive-off-the-high-diving-board-that-ends-up-in-a-belly-flop-into-the-deep-end.  I’m pooped.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to do The Stairs… we’ll see.  If I can get through it, Thursday will be a well earned day off.  I’m looking forward to Thursday’s trip to Detroit with the boys for the Lion’s Thanksgiving game.  Tailgating starts at 9:30am – thank goodness it’s a scheduled rest day.

An early Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends (and to anyone up here taking the opportunity for a 2nd turkey dinner).  Hope everyone has a wonderful day with family and friends.  Go Lions!

Have you ever gone overboard right after signing up for something new?

What did I just do…

November 18, 2012 1 comment

I’m signed up! Are you?

Hol-y Shit.  30K!  What the hell am I thinking?!  Too late now – I’m signed up…

Mark it in the calendar: March 24th 2013.  Somehow, I’ll be running the Around the Bay 30K Road Race.  Umm… wasn’t it just 2 weeks ago that I was celebrating having run 10K.  In what world did I think tackling a 30K next was the right idea?  I sure am a sucker for punishment!

Okay, let’s look at this in a little more supportive light.  The race is 18 weeks away.  4 months.  That’s a long time to stretch the legs out (I hope).  Plus, it’ll give me a good training goal for the off season – no time for slacking now!  Also, my wife has signed up, as have 2 of my good friends (room for more if anyone else is crazy and wants to give it a shot… nudge nudge).  Having other people you know in the race adds to the fun, and helps keep you accountable to your training plan.  Although really, they’ll all be done and have time to go for a coffee before I crawl across the finish line.  But whatever – crazy as this might be, I’m kinda looking forward to it.

2013 schedule has now officially kicked off.  Time to start making a training plan.  Time to get my ass off the couch.  Time to keep telling myself “I can do this” (fake it ’till you make it, right?)

Gulp

-DO’G

 

I’m officially a runner now!

November 15, 2012 3 comments

Yep – that’s my foot. Hope we’re all friendly here…

There are a lot of measures one could use to qualify that they’ve finally joined the inner circle of “runners” (as opposed to persons who have gone out for a jog on occasion).  Maybe by having entered a race, you consider yourself a runner.  Or maybe by having run a Personal Best (thus showing progress), you consider yourself a runner.

You know how I know I’m finally a runner?  Because I finally have my first black runner’s toe (ewwwwww…)

I actually debated for a while about posting the picture on this blog or not – I’m trying to post more original photos, but it’s a picture of a foot, after all.  My foot.  Is that weird?  But, ya know what, it’s a blog about me, and about multi-sport, and runner’s toe is a valid topic of conversation.  Plus, I’m actually kinda proud to have my first runner’s toe.  And besides, we’re all friends here, right?  It’s a crappy grainy iPhone picture of a foot… whatever!

I only first found out about runner’s toe when my wife started to get bruising under her toe nails when she was training for her half-marathon this summer.  I did a little reading up on it (about as much as one can do on their lunch break while still leaving enough time to write this post… and eat… which basically means I read one web page).  According to Livestrong “Soreness and bruising in the toes is not unusual for runners, especially if you are training for a long race or have recently amped up your mileage”.  Sure enough, my toe first started to feel sore after my 10K, although last night (being over 2 full weeks later) was the first time I thought to actually look at it.

Seems the likely culprit is ill fitting running shoes.  Not surprising – my shoes are pretty dead after the pounding I put them through this summer.  The budget allows for a new pair in January – I think this time I’ll actually go to a runner’s store and get fitted properly, instead of buying whatever shoe was on sale from the half-paying-attention teenager working at the “sports” shop in the mall.  Good shoes aren’t cheap, but are probably worth the investment.

In the mean time, I’m kinda enjoying my runner’s toe.  It’s my badge of honor (sort of).  I feel like I’m part of the running community now – I’ve paid my dues.  And it doesn’t hurt too much, except when I wiggle my toes and it brushes against the top of my work shoes.  At least I don’t have to worry about fancy open-toed shoes or painting my nails or such – that puppy can stay black and bruised as long as it wants to.  I’ve earned it!

(and I promise – no more pictures of my feet on this blog)

– DO’G

2012 Season Recap

November 11, 2012 Leave a comment

A bright summer season now in the rear view mirror… but the open road is still ahead of me

The 2012 race season is behind me.  That’s such a bitter-sweet statement.  It’s weird to be doing an end-of-season recap in November (2012 isn’t over yet), but I won’t be doing any more races this year, and I’m excited to start planning for next year already…

davetriing:  I guess, chronologically, the first big success of 2012 was starting this blog (well, in my opinion at least).  It’s given me a great outlet to reflect on the ups and downs of the year, and connect with other bloggers and interested readers.  Those connections and comments, and suggestions, have really helped my race evolve this year (awww… sappy moment!  Group e-hug!)

Health and Training: A big part of why I do this is as a means to improve my health. To change my lifestyle from the couch potato I have been since my University years to a healthier lifestyle focused on fitness.  Shit, this is hard work!  It’s really hard to overcome sedentary habits.  I struggle to manage food cravings for the crap that made me fat in the first place.  I struggle to differentiate between “fatigued” and “lazy” (both of which make sitting on the couch sound like a great idea).  I struggle to know the difference between the good pain of muscles being pushed, and the bad pain of muscles being hurt.  Mostly I struggle to get into a routine.  There’s always an excuse not to go out for a training session.

That being said, I made a lot of positive strides this year.  My weight is down from 256lbs in May to 240lbs as of yesterday.  That’s a lot less weight to be hauling around every time I go for a run.  And while I have a lot of work to do in terms of adopting (and sticking to) a routine, I did a much better job of committing to a run routine this summer than I did last summer – and it showed, knocking over 5 minutes off my 5k PB time!

I don’t think I did a great job of balancing my training though.  Going into this year, my run was the weakest part of my race, so I really focused on it.  And while that helped my run time, my bike time took a slight step backwards due to a lot less bike training time than the previous summer.  My resistance training also became inconsistent (read: non-existent) which led to a lot of leg strength and core strength problems late in the season.

So there’s lots to work on over the next 12 months.  The key is balance.  It’s hard to find enough hours to run, bike, swim, lift, and stretch as much as I seem to need to.  Writing a plan that balances all this will be relatively easy – motivating myself to stick to it will be the real challenge (especially when the weather gets cold and the couch is right there calling to me)!

Races: I did 2 races this year – The Wasaga Beach Triathlon Duathlon and The Hamilton Road2Hope 10K.  Both went as well as I could have hoped.

The Wasaga Beach Triathlon Duathlon was an achievement just for finishing.  I had trained for a Triathlon, and found out mere minutes before the race started that the swim was canceled due to crazy rain and wind, and so I would be racing a duathlon (race organizers would later say it was the most rain and wind they’d ever seen on a race day… though that comment seems a bit out of context given the recent storms we’ve endured… but it was still pretty wet).  I had never run more than 5k before race day – running 7.5k was an achievement, let alone racing in the rain.  Yet I still set a 5k PB time.  Very happy with this race.

The unexpected extra running of the Duathlon (and “holy shit I didn’t just die” feeling) led me to tackle a longer run next.  The Hamilton Road2Hope 10k was a great success, as it proved to me that I could go further than 5k.  It was nice to stretch the distance out a bit.  And I was thrilled that I replicated my Wasaga 5k PB pace over a 10k run.  I wasn’t able to replicate that pace even a single time in training, not even over a 5k distance.  There’s something about Race Day that helps you find an extra gear.

(photo credit: My Sports Shooter)

If I had one – regret – about the 2012 race season, it would be the race schedule.  I did 2 races, up from 1 the previous year, but they were both in the fall.  I think motivating myself to stick to a training schedule through the spring and summer would be much easier if I had races to train towards earlier in the season.  A better spread (and possibly more races – ’cause they’re fun) might be in order in 2013.

Gear: A few subtle new additions to my gear collection this year have made a big difference.  My wife hooked me up with birthday gifts this year.  A fantastic new water bottle with a compartment to put my keys, or my work swipe badge when I want to run from the office after work, has been a wonderful little toy.  Not having to worry about pockets for keys = less excuses = more runs.  Win!

(source)

The other great birthday haul from my wife was a copy of The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies.  I think I’ve linked to it on a dozen or so posts already this year, but in case you’ve missed it, here’s another link.  I can’t get enough of this book – injury home remedies, workout plans, performance tips – and all written for the weekend athlete.  Fantastic.  It’s helped give me direction several times this summer!

The other gear addition that really paid off this year was the acquisition of our Race Number Belt.  It seems like such a little thing, but it really helped with my T1 time.  In my 2011 Triathlon, my Swim -> Bike transition (“T1” it’s called in race circles around here at least) had all kinds of issues with my race number pre-pinned to my shirt, and trying to pull my shirt on – pins catching and falling off all over the place – before I could get on the bike.  Not having to fuss with safety pins while the clock is running is a huge time saver and stress relief.  You can buy little water bottles that clip onto it – I think I may make an investment soon on a pouch I can put my phone onto the belt, so I can bring my tunes and GPS with me on training runs even if I don’t have any pockets.

Overall, I’m really happy with my 2012 season – lots of things I want to work on over the next 12 months, but this year was my step forward from simply hoping I could finish a triathlon without embarrassing myself, to making progress.  It’s nice to look back 12 months ago and know that I’m lighter, faster, and fitter – even if I have a lot of work I still want to do.

More than anything, this season has convinced me that I’ve caught “the bug”.  I may still cross the finish line nearly last in my age group, but I love it.  I love race day.  I love proving that I can do it.  I love going faster.   I can’t wait for 2013!

-DO’G

 

All is quiet

November 7, 2012 4 comments

Found this on a real estate website. Apparently it’s a street in Grants Pass, OR

I’m feeling a real sense of calm tonight.  The race season is over.  There’s nothing immediate to train for.  My wife and I went for a nice 5k run tonight.  It was good to lace ’em up again, and nice to go for an easy run.  We walked a few times, just ’cause we felt like it.  We had more of a conversation than we normally do while running.  Easy.  It was what I always think running should be.  Before the training plans, pace trackers, and intervals, there’s easy.  There’s fun.

As nice as it was to go for a run without a plan – and it was – it’s starting to feel too quiet.  I feel like I need a plan.  I need a goal – a race to be training towards.  I’m trying to tell myself to relax.  To enjoy the quiet.  To enjoy the off season.  But I still need a plan.

I’m working on a post to reflect back on the 2012 training and race season.  And another post to plan for 2013.  I think those are going to take a bit more time and though than most of my posts, so they may wait until the weekend (work gets in the way during the week… *sigh*).  So until then I guess I’ll continue to enjoy the quiet… or try to, at least.

Do you enjoy the quiet time after a goal?  Or do you jump right into the next one?

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