Posts Tagged ‘Food for Training’

Consequences of Monday Morning Decisions

April 8, 2013 6 comments
Kings-Bridge-Park, Niagara Falls

Kings-Bridge-Park, Niagara Falls

Story Time!!

This weekend, an announcement came out from MultiSport Canada (organizers of most of the triathlon races I race in locally) that they are adding an exciting new race in late September 2014 – a Half Ironman in Niagara Falls.  Admittedly, my interest was peaked…

Which is kinda silly, really.  I mean – I’ve finished one Sprint distance triathlon (should have been 2, but the 2nd one was turned into a duathlon by mother nature mere minutes before the starting gun).  Sure, I’m signed up for 3 more races this season – one of which being an Olympic distance triathlon… but to start thinking about a Half Iron?  Is that not putting the cart before the horse a little bit?

Well, let’s think about this:

  • September 2014 is at the end of NEXT race season – I have this whole season, an off season, and another race season to train for it
  • I can swim 2000m.  At least I think I can (though I don’t know if I ever have before)… swimming’s my strong suit
  • I can bike 90km.  I’ve biked a century before
  • I can run a half marathon.  I’ve run a half marathon before (hell, I just “ran” a 30k race a few weeks ago).
  • … and sign up doesn’t start until mid summer this year, so I have time still to decide.  Though I suspect this one may fill quickly

I definitely spent last night thinking about it.  Could I do a Half Ironman?  Could I be ready that soon?  How totally awesome would that be?!?

My hour long drive to work

My hour long drive to work.  I kept Toronto and the US border on the map in case anyone has been wondering all this time “where the heck is this ‘Hamilton’ place?” he says he’s from

Fast forward to this morning.  Every Monday morning I drive from my home in Hamilton to my work in Waterloo.  My alarm went off at 5:45.  I made my lunch – a healthy lunch – and got into my car.  In Waterloo, I meet up with my sister for a morning “swim”.  I say “swim” because it’s often much more social than a hard workout – lots of hanging off the edge of the pool and “recovering” while catching up.  But this morning my sister couldn’t join me, so I swam alone.  I decided instead of doing drills (with “recovery” time in between) that I would do a distance swim since I had no one to chat with anyway.

Normally my distance swims are based around my race schedule.  I don’t race anything longer than a 750m swim until late in the season, so I would normally aim for 1,000m.  But that Half Iron was still in the back of my mind.  I started off smooth and easy – focusing more on form than on power.  I finished 750m in 12 minutes, which is pretty fast for me.  I guess there really is an argument to technique in the water (as opposed to thrashing as quickly as one can).

I decided to keep going.  No rest break.  I finished 1,500m in 24 minutes.  My pace was holding.  I kept going.  I finished 2,000m (the Half Iron swim distance) in 33 minutes, or a 1:40/100m pace.  I was pleasantly surprised with that.  Apparently I can swim 2,000m just fine.

As I hauled myself out of the pool I thought “Would I be up for a 90km bike right now (and a half marathon after that)?”  I think I smiled a little at that point – though if I’m being honest with myself, my core and arm muscles were pretty tired and I think I’d run out of gas pretty quickly on the bike… but we’ve got time to work on that.

I drove into work today feeling pretty damn happy with my swim.  2,000m at a 1:40 pace.  Shit that’s good for an early season time!  What a great idea that was to go for it and swim that whole distance!  I was so convinced this was a great idea I didn’t even notice as I sat down at my desk and put my lunch bag right beside me.  By 11:30 it was all gone – the sandwich, the fruit, the muffin.  All gone, and I was starving.  Yep, I’ve already been to the cafeteria for a coke, bacon cheeseburger and fries.  Holy cow I’m hungry.

Lesson learned today: planning for long training sessions really matters, unless you’re okay with impulsive greasy cafeteria food (which, after today’s swim, I sure as hell am!)

Happy Monday Everybody!

– DO’G



Friday Stray Thoughts

April 5, 2013 2 comments

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

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

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Can't beat the real thing!

Can’t beat the real thing!

Coke continues to be my single biggest food vice.  I tried to go cold turkey this week to cut it out… made it half way through Day #5 before I caved.   I’ve tried this before… it never seems to work…

I can’t stand the taste or smell of coffee (the first job I ever had was washing out coffee pots in a cafeteria – since I only worked part time, the pots were often well overdue to be washed), so coke is my only source of caffeine.  I definitely have a caffeine addiction, which is for sure a real thing.

It’s not so much that I need to kick the caffeine habit – but the amount of sugar in a can of coke is crazy!  There are 160 bad sugar calories in a can of coke (Note: When I was in the states a few months ago I had a can there and noticed there are only 140 calories in an American can of coke.  Why does our version have to have an extra 20 calories of sugar?!)

I’m not giving up just because Cold Turkey didn’t work the first time – I think the new strategy is going to be reducing to 1 can every 2-3 days (better than the 2 cans per day I was drinking at one point).  Let’s see if I can do that for a few weeks and then go from there.

Why do you have to taste so good, Coca-Cola?!? [shakes fist angrily]

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Layin' Brick

Layin’ Brick

Tonight after work I’m doing my first brick session of the year.  I’m surprisingly excited about it – who the hell gets excited about doing a brick session?!  Apparently I do.  I had a chat about this with my wife the other day – how excited I am to be training and challenging myself.  She reminded me (very adamantly) of how much of a P.I.T.A. I was to live with a few years back when I felt like I couldn’t do it – “I can’t run 5k”, or “I can’t bike for a whole hour”.  It’s nice to look back and remember where we started, and how far we’ve come (and a special Thank You to my wife for putting up with my whiny crap in those early days).

Tonight’s Brick is brought to you by the letter I… for Indoors.  That’s because winter refuses to go away up here.  There’s still snow, and it’s still freakin’ cold.  And I’m a baby and don’t feel like bringing my bike outside until it warms up a bit more.  Not nearly as exciting as a brick outside, but I’m still looking forward to it.

– – – – –

Finally, a shout out to one of my fellow bloggers Chatter who is about to run his first Triathlon this weekend!  You obviously live in a warmer climate than I do!  Have fun, race fast, celebrate well!  Can’t wait to read about it after.

Have a great weekend everybody!

– DO’G

Blue Monday

January 21, 2013 2 comments
Not a good way to start the day...

Not a good way to start the day…

Happy Blue Monday everybody.  I know it’s completely baseless pseudoscience crap, but why not take any excuse to get out and do something extra fun and uplifting?!

My day started off on the wrong foot, but the ship righted pretty quickly.  I got up this morning at quarter past stupid o’clock and drove 70 kilometers from home in Hamilton to Waterloo to meet my sister for a pre-work swim.  When we arrived at the pool…

Girl at the ticket wicket desk “Are you here to use the pool?”

Us, carrying our bathing suits and towels and swimming goggles “… yes”

Girl at the ticket wicket desk “Oh.  Well the pool is closed today.  There’s a leak in the floor, so we had to drain it.  It’s expected to open again in about two weeks.”

(… and I thought to myself, “if there’s a leak in the floor, won’t it drain itself?”  amiright?)

The reasonable response would have been to turn to my sister and ask if I could go back to her place to use the shower before driving into work.  Instead, I turned to her and said “Wanna go for breakfast?”

Yep, what started out as an empty swimming pool and cancelled swim training session quickly turned into Monday morning breakfast plans and a visit with my sister.  Win!  (And yes, I showered once I got to work – hooray for new office buildings with showers in them).  I’ll make it up to myself in my after work training session.  That was a good start to today!

What have you done (or will you do) today to beat Blue Monday?

Odds and Ends

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment
My new Mizunos

My new Mizunos

Finally got around to investing in a new pair of running shoes… actually, a few days ago.  It’s been a grind of a week.  I’m sticking to my New And Improved training schedule for the new year, but I’m finding myself really tired and out of energy as a result.  Really hoping this is just a plateau I need to push through – once I get used to the new routine hopefully I’ll have some energy (and a social life) again.

But until then, here’s a mailed in post of odds and ends I’ve thought about writing about this week, but haven’t had the energy or time to sit down and make a full post out of.  Enjoy!

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My wife has started making smoothies for breakfast before our 6:30am weekday training session (yep – 6:30!  Have I ever mentioned I’m not a morning person).  She’s been kind enough to make a big enough batch for me to partake, since lord knows I don’t have my wits about me enough at that hour to eat anything nourishing.  She puts bananas, Greek yogurt, mangoes or peaches, spinach, milk, flax seed, and some kind of pixie dust into them I think – there must be pixie dust in there because somehow I drink a glass and I stay full through my training session, but I don’t think there’s any bagels or pancakes or fried eggs or buttered toast or bacon in there, so I don’t really know how I stay full… must be the pixie dust…

– – – – –

I was tidying the house the other day and came across a scrap piece of paper with a quote on it that I’d written down while watching an interview this summer with Simon Whitfield, Canadian Triathlon Olympic Gold Medalist (Sydney 2000) who had an unfortunate DNF in this past summer’s games.  I think I need to have this quote properly mounted or framed, because he hits the nail right on the head (possibly slightly paraphrased – there was a moment between when I was watching his interview on TV and I heard the quote and knew I had to write it down until I was able to find pen and paper…)

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

– Simon Whitfield

I’m not generally one for celebrities, but he’s one of the few athletes who I would love to meet and share a beer with someday.  I would love to talk Tri with him!

– – – – –

My wife emailed me yesterday while I was at work and asked if I wanted to run in the Grimsby Half Marathon in 6 weeks.  Of course, I’m a crazy glutton for punishment, so I said yes.  After my initial moment of panic though, I thought about it a bit more: I’m currently 10 weeks out from my 30k race – running a 21.1k Half Marathon 4 weeks before then is not a bad idea (I’m in trouble if I can’t run 21.1k by that time).  My long run is already stretched out to 16k, with an 18k run planned for this weekend.  I’ll treat this as a C race – have a bit of fun and use it to get some feedback about how ready (or not) I am for Around The Bay.

Still… my first Half Marathon… yikes… (I should be anxious, shouldn’t I?)


I Need a New Fueling Strategy

January 10, 2013 2 comments
The 4th sport of triathlon

The 4th sport of triathlon

I’m just back from a 5k run at a 6:45 minute/km pace (which is fantastic by my standards).  I ran strong.  Strong really is the best word for it – a very fast pace by my own standards, and I crossed the finish line without gasping for air.  My lungs got a a great workout.  My legs didn’t hurt at all.  Everything felt strong…

… and then I came home and ate everything in the house.

I’m having an issue with fueling lately.  On Sunday this past weekend I stretched my run up to 16k.  I came home and ate for the rest of the day.  On Tuesday I ran 6k followed by a weight lifting session.  That night I ate two full dinners.  Yesterday stopped in at the gym on my way to work for a quick 1000m swim (ok, it wasn’t very quick at all, which I think is part of the problem here).  At work that day I felt hungry and low on energy all day long.

It seems this year, as my training amount is increasing, my fueling strategy needs to be reviewed.  My “long runs” used to be 10km – now they’re getting longer, and I’m running out of energy fast.  Check out the splits from my 16k run this week…

16k splitsYou can see right around kilometer 13 I started to run out of gas, and by kilometer 15 I’d hit the wall.  I used to eat a Clif Bar roughly 20 minutes before I start training.  Now what do I do?  I know a few folks who run long(ish) distances.  How do you handle fueling?  Do you eat more before a long run?  Do you bring food with you?

I remember a few years back I did a long charity bike ride, and tried bringing gels with me.  Yuck!  The texture was so off putting, I haven’t tried one since.  But I need to think of something to manage my calorie level so I don’t eat everything in the house for the rest of the day after a training session (because inevitably, those aren’t all “good” calories).

How do you fuel for a long session?  How long does a session need to be before you think about fueling?


December 10, 2012 5 comments
... so tasty

… so tasty

One of my best friends growing up has a French Canadian mother.  Every year (in the rough vicinity of Christmas time… or was it the start of winter?  or maybe just when the grocery stores had them?) she would have a tin of Pirouline cookies at their house.  Loved it.  Ever since I moved out on my own I’ve always treated myself to a tin (or three) at the start of the holiday season… or, ya know, when I saw them in the stores…

Tonight I had a great run with my wife.  Only 6.5km, but she helped me push the pace faster than I would normally run.  My body responded well.  It was a fantastic cardio workout.  I love runs where my heart rate is the limiting factor of how long I can push before a walk break, not the aches and pains in my legs.

So in reward for my good run, while at the grocery store tonight I picked up my first tin of the season.  Such a yummy treat!  Now it feels like the holiday season has begun!

In other unrelated news…

Happy 100th to me!

Happy 100th to me!

… apparently, this is my 100th post.  Cool.  Who would have thought back in January of last year when I started a blog on a whim that I’d stick with it long enough to write 100 posts.  My readership is small (though I love to see where my readers come from – I know there’s a bunch of you lurkers out there… don’t be shy!  I love comments!  I try to respond to them all… except when I get busy or distracted, which happens… a lot.  Best of intentions, right?)  I’m grateful to everyone who takes a moment to read about my adventure.  Slowly but surely, I’m making progress, and I love having you all along for the ride!  Here’s to the next 100 posts!

A pictorial representation of where my blog hits come from... I wonder if I'll ever get to visit all these places.  That'd be amazing!

A pictorial representation of where my blog hits come from… I wonder if I’ll ever get to visit all these places? That’d be amazing!



I dream of nachos!

August 28, 2012 1 comment

… anyone else hungry?

Last night I had the weirdest dream – Nachos.  I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of food before (not that I remember at least), but I had vivid dreams of nachos – eating wonderful nachos, how great they tasted, how good a pitcher of beer would be with them!  Needless to say, I woke up HUNGRY this morning!

I think I need to reward myself with a night out once this race is done.  Sure I’m trying to eat healthier, for the most part – I honestly am.  But this took craving to the next level.  But nacho night will have to wait until after the race.  I’m really starting to do well lately.  Gotta keep this ball rolling!

Last night’s training session was really good.  5.6km along the Hamilton Rail trail.  I’ve really started to enjoy running this trail – it’s almost 100% shade, which is really nice when I have to get my run in before the heat breaks for the day.  And it’s through a wooded area.  Much nicer than running along the road.  It also runs along the side (and working it’s way up) the Niagara Escarpment.  So the outbound run is a solid uphill grade, which is a great push.  And the downhill run is a solid downhill great, which helps for a strong finish.  I worry a little bit that I’m short changing myself, getting too used to ending my run on a downhill (which the race will not be).  But on the flip side I’m running longer, with less walk breaks, which is getting my legs and lungs used to longer periods of intense work.  I think that helps… at least a bit?

The Hamilton Rail Trail

After the run I made a simple, but yummy taco dinner (just thinking now: wonder if that inspired my dreamed nacho craving?) and then headed off for my swim.  I really should learn: Tacos pre-swim are almost always a bad idea.  Nothing like Tex Mex acid reflux while you’re trying to side breathe to throw off your swim!

It was a pretty good swim.  I did my goal 1000m swim, stopping only once to check on the older fellow I was sharing a lane with who veered from his side and collided with me around the 650m mark.  It didn’t bother me – 4 years of water polo and you won’t ever be phased again when getting bumped in the water – and thankfully the other swimmer was okay too.  You don’t often think about swimming being a Contact Sport – never a dull moment I guess!

My biggest beef (mmm… tacos… dammit!) with the pool I swim in is that there isn’t a good usable training clock.  And unlike Bike or Run training, I can’t exactly bring my phone along with me.  Most pools have big clocks up on the wall with multicolored hands to help you track your pace.  This one does not.  Totally ghetto!  Fortunately we’re back to a Fall swim schedule starting next week, and my regular pool will be open once again.  Would be nice to have a better measure of my swim progress than “roughly 19-20 minutes, give or take, to swim 1000m”.

Tonight’s a scheduled night off.  Meeting some good friends for sushi after work.  I love sushi – really looking forward to it, but I can’t shake this craving of nachos!

Do you dream of food?  What do you crave when you sleep?  And is the craving still there when you wake up?

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