Posts Tagged ‘Commute’

Play Ball!!

May 27, 2014 Leave a comment


yeah, I’m all-star like these guys… in my head I am, at least!…

As is my usual summer right of passage, I’ve signed up to play softball.  With the moving around that’s defined the past 2-3 years, I’ve wound up joining a new team this year.  Well, new to me – they mostly knew each other from prior years already.  A buddy of mine has been on this team for a while, and told me there was a spot open.  Sweet, sign me up!

The past few years, I’ve always played in “C” league, 3-pitch, very recreational leagues.  They’ve been fun, if not especially skilled.  I don’t consider myself a great ball player, but I’m hardly terrible.  Let’s put it this way: relative to my peers, I think I’m a much better ball player than triathlete!

This year, I’m playing slo-pitch, and on a team in “A” league.  It’s worlds different!  I’m not sure if the competition is that much better, or if it’s simply exposed my overconfidence, but either way: I’m playing TERRIBLY!  4 games into the season, I’ve dropped more fly balls than I’ve caught and have only a few singles to show for my batting struggles.

Worse still – it’s getting into my head!  It reminds me of being a teenager, and trying out for the city rep softball team.  I thought I was good enough to play – turns out, they were just desperate for bodies.  I mostly rode the bench – played in the outfield for a few innings each game, and struck out more often than I hit the ball.  And nobody on my team would talk to me.  It was terrible.  And now, in my early 30’s, I’m going through the same self-doubt and anxiety about going out to the ball diamond that I did way back then.  I want so badly to impress my new team, that I can’t do anything!  I thought softball would be a fun bit of recreation this summer – a few extra hours of “cross training”, running around in the outfield and a few beers after the game with my team.  Instead I stand out in the outfield by myself, just praying I catch the next damn ball hit my way!

So during last night’s game, while standing in the outfield kicking myself for dropping a perfectly routine fly ball, I got to thinking about why I love triathlon so much.  There’s a lot of reasons (most of which have nothing to do with this post) but one of them being that it’s a battle against yourself.  You bust your ass in training as much as your own fitness, pain tolerance, life schedule, and personal interest allow for.  When you race, you give it everything you’ve got to try to best a personal goal, or your own time from a previous race.  And if, in spite of putting in the work, you blow a tire or pull a muscle or just happen to SUCK in any given race, you only have to rationalize with yourself.  And even if you’re like me – and usually your own worst critic – you don’t have to look around after dropping a fly ball to see a bunch of teammates wondering why you’re not back on the bench!

Playing ball is serving it’s purpose of giving me some extra cross training though, between the extra hours running around the outfield after all the fly balls I didn’t catch, to the extra bicycling getting to and from the ball diamond, my training hours have skyrocketed this past week:

WIR 140527

My body is a little on the tired side, as a result.  I need to find a way to balance some of my traditional triathlon training with my ball and bike commuting.  My running is certainly sacrificing from my led legs due to all the bike commuting.  With any shift in routine comes the accompanying need to rediscover balance, and I’m working on that still, it seems.  I’m sure – much like my softball play – it’ll all sort itself out.

Do you do any summer sports as cross training?


Friday Stray Thoughts

May 16, 2014 1 comment

FridayImage 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

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With apologies to those who follow me on Facebook (and who’ve already seen me link this) – here the latest cartoon from The Oatmeal.  Seriously – maybe the funniest stuff online.  Go read their website, and buy all their stuff (if my budget wasn’t so tight, I sure would… hmmm… if only I had a birthday coming up…)

Sorry – I digress.  Their latest cartoon, which actually has some relevance to learning to get off the couch and into shape.  And it’s kick-ass funny:

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I’m now a few weeks into riding my bike semi-reliably to work.  And I’m realizing how different my racing bike is from The Iron Pig that I ride to work.  My commuter bike is HEAVY.  It’s old, and the derailleurs don’t really want to shift when I ask them to.  It seems the more I ride it – even predominantly downhill rides – my thighs are KILLING me by the end.  It is the ultimate pedal-mashing experience.  It really makes me long for my racing bike.  But, on the plus side, I’m going to have the strongest legs I’ve ever had by then end of this summer!!

(and apparently I need to get a better picture of my racing bike… Bad Blogger Dave!!)


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This past week has been an utter shit show for me.  Extreme emotional highs and extreme emotional lows.  I feel like I’ve been all over the place.  Where I haven’t been, though, is training.  I’ve allowed myself a bit of an excuse of post-race recovery, but really, 4 days is too long of recovery for a 10k run.  It’s time to get back to work.  And I’m really excited to get back into a training groove.  With this past weekend’s race now in the rear view mirror, I feel like it’s finally triathlon season!  Now if only we could get some consistently nice weather to work with!  C’mon Summer!!

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Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!  A special shout out to Brittany from The Fit Formula who’s taking on her first Ironman at IMTX this weekend!  You got this!!

Monday Morning and the Return of the Iron Pig

April 21, 2014 4 comments

ride alarm

I love long weekends.  Do you love long weekends!  I love long weekends – especially long weekends with very little in the calendar.  My long weekend this past weekend was PERFECT!  3 amazing dinner gatherings, great times with family and friends, some lovely beers (really quickly becoming a fan of the new Block 3 Brewery that recently opened in the tourist town of St. Jacobs, just outside of Waterloo), some SUNSHINE!!!, the Easter Bunny, and a great long run on Saturday!

What a great weekend!

But the weekend is over, and it’s back to the grind.  Back to the office, and back to the training plan!  And I actually feel really good about both of these things.

This spring hasn’t been the model of consistent training for me.  Maybe it’s the Winter Blahs.  Maybe I came down with a case of Laziness.  Who knows.  Who cares.  We can only go forward from here!

This week marks a new phase in my training plan.  Today was the arbitrary day when the combination of warm (and dry) weather aligned with morning energy and enthusiasm: Today I busted out The Iron Pig for my first bike commute to work of 2014!

My bike commute is 12.5km each way – a handy 25km round trip, mostly through parks and along trails, and away from traffic.  What a good extra boost to my training this will be once I start bike commuting 4-5 days a week (and where the alternate option is the bus – not a car – I’ll be biking as often as I can).

I struggle though with how to define this riding – is this “training”?  Does work commuting count as “training”?  On the Pro side: Time in the saddle is time in the saddle, and I realized this morning how much commuter training really is just as good a workout as any exercise bike (which is how I “trained” all winter).  On the Con side: My hybrid isn’t my road bike – it’s a very different riding position, I’m riding in sneakers on flat pedals (not clipped in, and thus all the work I’m doing is pedal mashing), I’m not following a training plan but rather just trying to get from A to B, and I’m much more restricted by traffic and traffic lights riding through town than I would be on the country roads.  Waiting at a red light doesn’t feel much like training.

So at the end of this week, when I look back at my ‘volume’ of training, the picture could be remarkably different if I include the 100km and ~4hrs of commute bike riding (assuming 4 out of 5 days) than if I exclude it.  By the end of the summer, this could have a huge impact on my training volume, which I guess really only matters if I look back on it in future years by comparison.  And for pride points.  It matters there too.

I’m honestly on the fence on this one, so I’d love your input:

Would you count bicycle commuting as bike training?

Moving and The Iron Pig

September 4, 2013 1 comment

Moving Boxes

I’ve been off the grid for nearly the past week as we moved from Toronto ON to Kitchener-Waterloo ON.  It feels like a home coming – my job is in KW, my wife and I met and went to school here.  My life is here.  But that doesn’t make moving any less of a beast of a job!

I haven’t had a lot of time for training in the past few days.  I suppose I could have prioritized it more, but that would have taken time away from packing and unpacking.  And I really just want to get the house settled.  Thank goodness for our MacGyver friends who were able to get our box springs (and our couch) up to the upper floors through the windows!

MovingBoxSpringWhile not getting out much for ladder swim sets or brick runs, I have been reunited with my Hybrid bicycle, which has been in storage (or disuse) for nearly 2 years.  My wife gets primary use of the car for her program, and we’re trying to avoid becoming a 2-car family, so I want to bike commute as much as I can.  And I dislike commuting on my road bike – they’re great for racing, but I worry it’ll be damaged or stolen when locked up, or that my route might end up off of well paved roads.  And cycling shoes are a pain when running errands.  So the Hybrid and I are becoming reacquainted.

What a pig it is!  Okay – context matters here: it’s a pig in comparison to my fast, light, fitted road bike – which I’ve gotten quite used to in the two years my Hybrid has been in storage.  And that’s not what this bike is designed to be – it’s designed to get you around town for a lot less money than a racing bike.  It’s actually really good for what it’s designed for – I’d recommend it for anyone looking for something a little nicer than a Walmart bike.  But my legs have become accustomed to my road bike – and comparatively, this thing is a slow, heavy pig.

In fact this morning, during my first 13.2km (per direction) bike commute to work, while struggling to hammer my heavy Hybrid up a hill, I decided it needs a name:  It’s now The Iron Pig.

I think I’m going to enjoy commuting on The Iron Pig.  It sure beats the 70+km commute I did from Hamilton, or the congestion of downtown Toronto.  And while I wouldn’t call it training in the purest definition – more like cardio cross training – it’s a bit of extra time on the bike every day.  And will continue to be time on the bike every day after the race season is over.  26km/day is nothing to sneeze at – especially when that’s on top of your daily training plans (or lack thereof).  Plus, there’s something really satisfying about riding a bike to work – I’ll take the morning air over a seat in a car any day.

Do you commute to work?  Could/Would you commute to work?  Why or Why not?

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