Archive for November, 2013


November 27, 2013 4 comments
bwahahahaha... oh the cubs...

bwahahahaha… oh the cubs…

Sunday night I suffered a concussion, playing rec volleyball of all things.  Who knew volleyball was a contact sport?!? I don’t really remember the injury (although now, over 48hrs later, it’s starting to come back a bit).  My teammates tell me I took out the player beside me “like a linebacker”.  Sorry Jess!  Hope you’re okay.

I expected this meant I would have to take some time off physically.  I was ready for that, I guess… though I was pretty frustrated.  Last week was an amazing training week – from a consistency perspective, and from a results perspective.  I was feeling great.  I could see progress.  The last thing I wanted was to have to shut it down for a while… or I thought that was the last thing I wanted…

My MD prescribed 48hrs of “Complete Brain Rest“.  What is complete brain rest?  Her description was:

  • NO TV
  • NO Video Games
  • NO Computers
  • NO Bright Lights
  • NO Loud Noises
  • NO Reading (I was allowed to flip through a magazine, but only to look at the pictures, and only if the magazine didn’t interest me in any way – gee, thanks)
  • NO Movement (apparently getting up to use the bathroom was okay, but after get right back to bed)

In other words: Nothing.  Do Nothing!!  Nothing that requires any brain activity at all.  How terrible!!!  This was a whole new world to me.  I’ve had physical injuries before – when I hurt my ankle, I know to stay off of it.  The body reminds me to stay off of it.  When I get a flu or a cold, I know to try to sleep.  The body wants to sleep to recover.

The mind doesn’t know it needs to recover.  The mind wants to be active – to think, to be stimulated, to be entertained.  When I’m not sick I can only sleep for so many hours.  And when I’m awake, and can’t read, or watch, or listen, or move, the mind searches for anything to focus on.  This is why solitary confinement is used as a form of punishment.  I was so bored!!!  Thank goodness we have cats who are still kitten enough to chase things.  They were my source of entertainment

I cheated a bit.  I had to.  I had my phone on the table beside me.  I checked Facebook or Twitter a few times, and even turned on the radio once or twice just for distraction.  But each time the headache started to come back, so it never lasted long.

Doc was right on about her 48hr prediction.  As of last night I was able to move down to the couch and watch a few movies.  Today I’m trying to move around a little bit – slowly.  So far I’ve cooked breakfast, washed a few dishes, and now (obviously) have fired up the laptop.  Everything in small increments.  She said to start reincorporating activities, so long as there’s no symptom relapse, with the aim to be “back to normal” in 10-14 days.  My only other firm guidelines:

  • No driving for at least a week
  • No running or triathlon training for at least two weeks

I’m still really frustrated that my training schedule is thrown in the trash can.  But at least my period of Complete Brain Rest is over.  Not being able to move is a real PITA.  Not being able to use my mind is a whole different limitation.  I really hope this thing heals up quickly.



I dream of 30…

November 22, 2013 3 comments


Today I hit a milestone.  I ran my first sub 30:00 5k in 29:43… on the treadmill.

I know that treadmill running isn’t the same as outdoor running.  It’s pretty widely credited to be easier than outdoor running (and much less interesting).  I get that.  Still – damn that felt good.  Running sub 30:00 has been a goal of mine for a LONG time.  I feel like (with no real evidence to support this) it’s a significant milestone in the 5k distance.  I’ve done it – not outdoors, and not in a timed race, but I’ve done it.  Which means I can do it again!

15 days to go until the Santa Pur-suit.  Not really knowing what impact running in a Santa Suit has to one’s time, I think that’s my goal: to run it sub 30:00.  That would be a great end to a great 2013 season!

Happy Friday Everybody!!

Back to Basics (or “I Still Hate Mornings”)

November 19, 2013 1 comment


It’s the off season.  Right in the thick of it.  Which means there isn’t much story telling to do (which means there isn’t much blogging to do).  There’s no races to recap.  There’s no new gear to report on.  There’s nothing really exciting to share.

And right now I kinda like it.

I’m focusing on going back to basics, and probably will until the end of 2013.  And for me, basics start at 5:15am…

(Before anything else, let me state here my complete respect and admiration for everyone out there who has children and manages to juggle their routines as well as their own.  At this point in my life, I simply couldn’t do it.  My hat is off to you!!)

ride alarm

5:15am.  That’s when my alarm goes off.  Every morning.  It’s terrible.  TERRIBLE!!!  It’s still dark, and very cold (and is only going to get colder).  And my bed is warm and soft and I would love to roll over for another 2 hours.  But a wise friend of mine once expressed to me [paraphrased] that “the choices you make reflect the priorities you hold” (I think he actually phrased it as “the places you spend your money reflect the priorities you hold”, which is even more true, but spending is a subset of choice and I think this equally applies).  It took me a few years, but I’m finally starting to understand it (thanks Jeremy, if you’re reading this).  I hate waking up in the morning.  But I’m really eager to see just how good I can be as a triathlete (and how healthy I can be as a person) if I commit to a routine and stick with it.  And being a better triathlete – and a healthier person long term – is worth so much more to me than lazing in bed an extra few hours.  So 5:15 it is.

The first bus comes by my house at 5:56am.  The gym doesn’t open until 6:00am anyway, so there’s no point getting up any earlier than 5:15.  That gives me enough time to throw some clothes on, shovel in some food, and be at the bus stop on time.  (PS – standing outside for the bus before 6:00, in Ontario, in the winter, is miserable.  Seriously why can’t the first bus of the day be on time?!?)

Being at the gym gives me enough time for roughly a 45-60 minute training session before cleaning up and taking the 75 minute bus ride up to work.  Really – I wake up at 5:15 to be at work at 9:00… yuck.  Seriously – how do people do this when they have to manage someone else’s schedule as well?!?

I’m trying to do this every day.  Every.  Day.  This is my routine.  Even the rare day when I get to take the car, I still get up at 5:15 because goal #1 right now is to stick to my routine.

Every.  Day.

Am I successful?  I’m working on it.  Last week I made it 3 out of 5 mornings.  This week so far I’m 2 for 2.  It’s a goal – something to work towards.  It’s actually a big lifestyle switch for me.  The more I look back on this past race season – and the more I’m honest with myself – I realize that while I put a lot of good hard training work in, I didn’t put nearly as much in (or as consistently) as I like to think I did.  I had a lot of great sessions – a lot of strong bricks, a number of great two-a-days.  But I also had a LOT of missed days, and mornings where I rolled over when I was supposed to train.  A lot of evenings where I chose to skip a session for whatever social opportunity came my way.  Granted, it was a lot more training than I’d done the summer before (which was nothing, really), but just think where I could be next season if I actually stuck to a routine?!?  If I actually trained as often as my training plan said I should?

This winter is about putting into it what I want to get out of it.  It starts with basics.  Sure, I have training plans for when I get to the gym (mostly focused on running and strength at this time of year), but really I’m focusing now all the way back to the basics: Getting up with that alarm every morning and putting in the work.

I will never learn to like 5:15am, but it’s worth it!


Friday Stray Thoughts

November 8, 2013 1 comment


Image by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a Few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

This morning I woke to snow on the ground.  We’d had sleet and snow in the air already, but this is the first time any of it has stuck to the ground (or that the car has needed to be brushed off).

Nothing says “Skip your workout and stay inside where it’s warm and dry” like the first time you wake up to snow on the ground.

The Off Season is firmly here.  So I thought I’d throw out a few of my favourite off season training quotes to help anyone fighting to get themselves out in the snow this weekend for a run (I sure will be)…

– – – – –

Via one of my fellow triathlete bloggers

Medals are won in the winter, and picked up in the summer.

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Courtesy of another blog I follow, Fit for 365:


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And finally, from one of my own posts earlier this year, a quote from one of my Tri Heros, Simon Whitfield:

 The fight is won, not under the lights, but in the gym, in the dark, in the rain

– Simon Whitfield

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!  Stay Warm!

The 2013 Santa Pur-suit

November 5, 2013 2 comments

Santa-1image credit

I’ve decided to add an 11th race to my 2013 season… ya know, ’cause I’m a bit crazy like that.  But seriously, how could I pass this up?!?

The 2013 Santa Pur-suit

  • A 5k run, marketed as a family fun run (though with chip timing).
  • All entrants receive a Santa Suit as part of their entry fee, which must be worn during the event
  • Funds raised benefit the YMCAs of Waterloo Region, which I’m totally on board with supporting!

Seriously!!!  Who can pass up the opportunity to run a 5k race IN A SANTA SUIT… WITH HUNDREDS OF OTHER SANTAS!!!

If this isn’t the perfect ending to a race season, I don’t know what is!!

If you’re local (or feel like being local to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, for a weekend on December 7th) you should totally run with us.  It looks like a great, fun, family event regardless of ability.  Or at the very least come cheer us on as hundreds of Santas take to the streets!!

If you’re less local (or hell, even if you are local), and want to pledge my run in support of the YMCA, you can visit this link > Click on ‘Pledge a Participant’ > search for myself (or my wife, who’s also running) by name).

– – – – –

In other racing news, this past weekend I ran the Hamilton Road2Hope 10k.  I didn’t do a pre or post race report… mostly because I was lazy… so sneaking in a quick recap here.

It was wet.  It was wet and cold and pretty utterly miserable.

That said, we had a really great time!  I ran with my wife, my cousin, and my wife’s friend from her school (and her husband and even her 3yr old son, who signed up for the 1k kids run!!).  We had a full on team representing.  And even in spite of Saturday morning’s heavy, driving, cold rain we ran.  And I even did pretty good, conditions considering: 1:03:46.  That’s 1min05sec off my 10k PB (which was done on a course 100% downhill – this race was elevation neutral) and 6 minutes faster than my time in the same race last year.  I’m pretty happy with that.

It was actually the first time I’ve raced the same race, on the same course, for a second time.  A perfect opportunity to measure progress relative to last year.  Not factoring for weather (as I recall last year may have been a few degrees colder, but it was dry and sunny and those make a big difference), I’ve managed to drop 6 minutes (or 8%) off my 10k run time in the past year.  I don’t think that’s too bad at all!

Now everyone’s caught up on my recent race news (both past and future).  Anyone else have any fun races lined up to finish off 2013?

Anyone want to come do a 5k race in a Santa Suit with us?  You know you want to…


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