Archive for February, 2014

Month In Review (or “why my Give-A-Shit is broken, and that’s ok”)

February 28, 2014 7 comments


Hmm… over 2 weeks since my last post, huh?  As goes my training, so goes my posting, apparently…

Looking at it purely through the lens of “Triathlon Training”, my February has been shit a bit inconsistent.  I’ve made it to a few training sessions, but have easily missed just as many.  Excuses?  You betcha!  I got loads of ’em:


  • It’s cold, and dark, and miserable outside
  • Work is busy.  Not drowning-in-overtime busy, but full-intense-days busy such that all I want to do when I get home is collapse on the couch.  But I can’t, because…
  • This volunteering gig I’ve signed up for is taking a lot of time and energy.  It’s like a second part-time job on top of my day job.  It’s an amazing experience (in fact, probably worthy of it’s own blog post… which I should do…), but it eats into my time

Yep – excuses.  The result of which being that my February sucked as far as training months go!  m’ohwell.

Should I be more upset about it?  Maybe.  But my Give-A-Shit is kinda broken right now.  And that’s okay.  I’m really trying to put it in perspective.  What should I be upset about?  About missing a bunch of sessions from a training plan that I took from a website, that isn’t personalized to me whatsoever, and that is almost 100% more intense than the plan I followed last year?  All while I’m working a different job than last year, living in a different city, and dealing with a distinctly colder and snowier winter?

Maybe I should be upset about that.  But I’m not gonna be.

So what lens should I look at it from?  Instead of comparing myself to a random training plan online (or to an ideal I picked up somewhere that all age group triathletes need to be training 7-10 hours per week, regardless of background, goals, or race distances planned), let’s try comparing myself to… myself:

Here’s my training volume so far in 2014 (left), compared to so far in 2013 (right):

MIR 1402to1302

The overall volume this year is a bit lower, though not embarrassingly lower.  Last year at this time I was training for my first half marathon in late February, and a 30km running race in late March.  This year I don’t have running-specific races on the horizon (or any specific races on the horizon), so my training is much more balanced and less urgent.  My bike effort is much improved.  My swim and strength efforts are marginally improved.  My run effort was holding it’s own in January – has slid a little in February, admittedly, but hasn’t fallen off completely.  There’s a base there.  I can still build on that!

(Shout out to one of my favorite blogs: A Promise to Dad, for the inspiration to contrast 2014 YTD vs 2013 YTD.  What a great way to look at my training, rather than solely comparing it to an arbitrary training plan!  Thanks 🙂 )

What other lenses can I look at it through?

  • I’m ~10lbs lighter than I was this time last year
  • My waste size is 4″ smaller than it was last year
  • I’m running at a 6:15/km pace reliably, where last year I was between 7:00/km and 7:30/km

None of those measures are by themselves earth shattering changes over the course of a year.  But progress is progress, and every time I get down on myself that I missed a single training session, I need to remember that over the course of a year I’m trending in the right direction.  It’s all about long term gains, not short term pains!


image from theBERRY

Happy End-of-February Everybody!  Spring is just around the corner!!!


Friday… err… Thursday Stray Thoughts

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

I know… it’s not Friday… but I really wish it was.  And I didn’t feel like writing a full post on anything below on it’s own – I just don’t have the energy for that right now…

– – – – –coke

This feels like deja vu.  Have I written about this before?  Once?  Twice?  More?  Maybe?

Anyway, I’m off the Coke band wagon again (for the bazillionth time, it feels like).  I don’t know why I can’t kick this.  I suffer in caffeine and sugar withdrawal for a few days, feel good for a few weeks, and then fall back into my old ways.  I’m doing okay avoiding the irritability this time, by my co-workers say I definitely look tired.  And I sure as hell am dragging ass around the office this week.

I think I’ve covered it in depth here, and here, but we’ll giv’er a go again.  Shit, one of these times, it’s gotta work – right?  I’m a grown-up, right?  I can choose not to drink a soft drink, can’t I?  (can’t I?!?)


Edit: I actually started this blog post yesterday, and wrote the above yesterday.  Today, I had a coke.  Maybe I should try a weening processes rather than a cold turkey process?  Or maybe I’m just enabling myself?  Or maybe I’m just over thinking the whole damn thing…

– – – – –


Did you know this is an actual thing?  That grown-ups do?!?  They play dodgeball, as a rec sport!  It’s pretty amazing!!!  Friends of mine play dodgeball, and their team was short Monday night, so they asked me to sub in.  I said to them: “So, what exactly are the rules to Dodgeball?”, and they said back “Oh, you know, just like you used to play it as a kid”.


So I played dodgeball Monday night.  It was a lot of fun (Note: it’s surprisingly difficult to aim where you throw a basketball sized ball of foam!!)  And I was shocked at how much exercise it was – all that jumping, and running, and dodging, and ducking, and dipping, and diving… and dodging (I had to!).  I was thinking to myself: I already did a lift session in the morning, and a bike session after work.  And now this (Note: this could also be why I’m dragging ass this week).  I hope I don’t hurt myself…

… which of course, I did.  One ill attempt at dodging had me land hard on one foot.  I thought for sure I had hurt my ankle, and was actually pretty frustrated at myself for doing so.  It’s now 48+ hours later.  I can put weight on it and walk without a limp.  But it’s sore – really sore.  And more so half way up my calf/shin than at the ankle itself.  My gut tells me running on it is a bad idea (since walking hurts).  I really don’t want to take any time off from running right now, but I also don’t want to really hurt it and have to take any prolonged time off of running.  What do I do?!?  If only I had a crystal ball…

What is it with me and stupid injuries playing non-competitive rec sports?!?

– – – – –


I found this great article this morning on TrainingPeaks: What’s Your Motivation?

If you’re like me, and struggling through this long cold winter: Read it!  Then read it again!  Then probably read it a third time for good measure!  I found it really hit the mark for me.  It sums up well why we do this silly training thing in the first place.  Because it’s not silly: it’s a lifestyle!  In particular, for me, the money quote:

When you have a super awesome, really cool goal for the season and you reach it, typically you’ll ask yourself, “Now what?” We see this all the time. As a coach, I constantly remind my athletes that it’s a lot easier to get to the top of the mountain than it is to stay there. Where’s that intrinsic motivation going to come from once you’ve reached the top?

The top of my mountain was the end of 2013 – having finished my first Olympic distance triathlon.  That was my goal – to finish.  And I did it.  I couldn’t believe I did it, but I did.  Goal accomplished.  Now what?  Last year I finished, having done the absolute bare minimum amount of training necessary to run crawl across that finish line.  Is “finishing” still the goal?  Do I not want to do better?  Do I not want to go faster? And should that not be my motivation to push harder – to set a goal, to be faster?

I think it’s about time I set some goals for 2014 – something other than the ambiguous “be faster”.  I need to get on that shortly…

– – – – –

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

Week In Review

February 9, 2014 5 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140209

I’m just going to take a mulligan on this past week.  Moving on…

Looking Forward:

In a year where consistency is one of my themes, this past week was a big stumble.  It happens – looking forward, not looking back.  This week is about proving to myself that last week was a blip, and that I can get right back on the saddle and be consistent again.

5 Things I Think I Think:


  1. I think I’m watching figure skating a lot more than I expected I would.
  2. I think I’m enjoying watching figure skating a lot more than I expected I would.
  3. I think, since I’ve started doing triathlons, I’ve developed a better appreciation for the sport of biathlon.  It’s all about heart rate management.  I was watching them in awe yesterday – how high their heart rate must get while cross country skiing, and then being able to slow it down enough to steady a rifle.  I wish I could manage my heart rate like that!
  4. I think my favorite sport though is still the skeleton.  It reminds me of tobogganing on crazy carpets as a kid.  But faster!  That looks like so much fun!
  5. I think I’ve spent way too much time awake this weekend between the hours of 1:00am and 6:00am, watching Olympics live when I should be sleeping instead.  This better not continue once the work week starts, or I’m going to be in trouble.

If you were to take up a winter Olympics sport, what would you choose?

Is It Snowing Out There (or am I just lazy)?

February 5, 2014 2 comments

My backyard. You can barely see the chairs and table, and wouldn’t know the BBQ was fully shoveled out and used just a few days ago.  There’s an empty wine bottle somewhere in the middle of the yard as a snow barometer… we won’t see it again for another month I figure, at least

I feel like I’m being lazy.  Am I being lazy?!?

This week is supposed to be Week 1 of my new training plan – 19 weeks out from my semi-planned-but-not-yet-registered first race of the season, the Muskoka 5150.  The plan is 18 weeks long, so starting it 19 weeks out is ideal for me – it allows for a do-over week at some point in the program if real life gets in the way.

I didn’t exactly expect my do-over to come in Week 1…

Monday was good.  Monday was an hour of resistance training before work (and a really good hour at that), followed by 20k of intervals on the bike after work.  I pushed hard on Monday.  Monday was good.

Tuesday was a flop because Monday was too good.  Tuesday morning my body reminded me of how hard I pushed on Monday.  My alarm went off at 5:15, I sat up in bed, and immediately knew I wasn’t going for my scheduled swim.  Fuck.  No.  I decided an extra hour of sleep and recovery would do me more good than the swim… but instead I accidentally slept an extra 2.5 hours and was late getting to work (thus late getting out of work, thus I also missed my scheduled run after work.  sigh).

Which brings us to today.  Wednesday.  Where yet again mother nature has dropped a metric fucktonne of snow on us!  I’m seriously done with this winter.  I worked from home today – which seemed a much better idea than braving the bus system.  On dry roads, my daily commute takes me 75-90 minutes each way.  I didn’t have the patience to deal with the bus and the snowy roads this morning.  Which means I missed my morning swim again this morning.

So now my work day is done.  I’m at home.  There’s several feet of snow on the ground (and neither roads nor sidewalks in my neighborhood have been plowed yet… apparently we’re at the bottom of the pecking order).  I supposed I could venture out into the unplowed roads to go to the gym.  Or I could stay home, pull up online yoga videos and cut my losses (shout out to Fit for 365 for pointing me to this series of DoYouYoga videos back in September – seriously recommend them to anyone who’s into free at home yoga).

Am I being lazy?  I feel like there’s some expectation of a triathlete (even a beginner, amature triathlete like myself) that we persevere and overcome all obstacles to make our training schedule.  Am I really going to miss my 4th training session in 2 days?  And does it really matter in the long run?

Or maybe I’m over thinking the whole thing.  I think I’ve just been cooped up for too long and need a break from this winter.

If you could go on a vacation anywhere in the world, right now, without worry about ‘grown up responsibilities’ like cost or your work schedule, where would you go?

Week In Review

February 2, 2014 1 comment

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140202

I love recovery week.  I slept in a few mornings, I went to the gym a few one morning.  It was nice to listen to my body instead of my training plan – push when I felt it, and rest when I didn’t.  The lion’s share of the work this week came from a brick yesterday – 60 minute bike ride followed by a 50 minute run (all indoors – it snowed 20cm yesterday thank you very much).  It was great to do a brick like that – the first I’ve done since the summer.  As my wife told me after: I’m going to be in much better shape this triathlon season than I ever have been before!

January’s now in the books.  I’m really happy with how this month went.  Without a doubt, the most consistent training month I’ve ever had!

MIR 1401

MIR 1401 weekly

Looking Forward:

I’ve decided this year to follow a modified version of a 1/2 Iron training plan I found on – modified, for the most part, because I’m not training for a 1/2 Iron, but rather primarily Olympic distance races (with a Sprint or two likely to also happen this summer).  In short, where the training plan calls for 20 miles of biking, for example, I’m doing 20kms.  It’s an easy way to keep the structure of the plan, while dialing back to roughly 60% of the volume.

I’m also making a few other adjustments – incorporating some bike and run workouts from One Hour Workouts, a wonderful little training guide my Mother in Law gave me at Christmas; moving a few sessions around to better fit my personal schedule.

Throughout January I repeated week one 4 times over, focusing on consistency and getting used to the every day (and often twice a day) schedule.  Now that it’s February, it’s time to start progressing through the plan.  Ironically enough (and I didn’t realize this until just now), the plan is for 18 weeks leading up to the race day, and this coming week is 19 weeks out from the Toronto Triathlon Festival, which is my A race this year.  How convenient is that?!?

Edit: Turns out I’m 19 weeks out from the Muskoka 5150 that I hope to race in June, but haven’t yet signed up for.  Not from the Toronto Triathlon Festival, which is another 3 weeks after that.  In case that’s important…

So… Week 1 this week, for keeps this time!

56 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I think I’d forgotten how much I love swimming.  I’m a half decent swimmer and cyclist, but a lousy runner.  So I spend a lot of my training effort running.  In fact, in 2013 I almost didn’t swim train at all (a total of 25.3km swam in all of 2013 – including races).  But the more I swim now, the more I remember how much I enjoy swimming.  I’m looking forward to it being a bigger part of my 2014 training.
  2. I think I need to remember that riding a bike machine is different from being on a stair master.  I try to remember to spin full circles, but when I lose focus for a few minutes I fall back into mashing the downward stroke like we were taught to ride bikes as kids.  It’s amazing how my power goes up, while my perceived effort goes down when I remember to spin full circles.  A very simple thing, but one I need to keep working on.
  3. I think Wiarton Willie predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  I think Wiarton Willie’s historical success rate is close to 37% (which is lousy for what is essentially a coin flip).  I think I don’t really believe in this crap anyway.  I think this is one of the lousiest, coldest, snowiest winters in a long time and I’m so ready for it to be done!
  4. I think there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes of organizing a race.  It takes a lot of volunteers, and a lot of planning.  I’ve done volunteer coordination before, but never for a race event.  I think I’m learning a lot, and my brain is kinda pooped.
  5. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  Go Seahawks!!  Though I think my cat wishes the Saints were in it…OlwynSaints
  6. I think this is my 200th post on this blog.  I think that should mean something, but I’m really not sure what.  Thanks to everyone who’s read so many of my random ramblings, and for all the comments and conversations!

That’s my week in a nutshell.  How was your week?

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