Saturday, December 27, 2008

I should be working but....

The branch is open today which means I'm at work but with the weather (yup, still snowing) and the season things are pretty quiet around here. So, instead of doing some much needed filing, I'm doing time wasting things like this:

44 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seriously? Seriously?! Seriously.

More snow. A whole week of sub zero temperatures. This is not Saskatchewan. Or Colorado. This is the time of year when we Vancouverites are supposed to be lording our weather over the rest of the country.
What happened to you? Vancouver, you've changed, man.
Tried to run outside yesterday. The temp was -11 Celsius. That's about 12 F. Was feeling OK until I realized my critical error: the glasses I was wearing were made of metal. Metal is an excellent conductor. Metal feels like burning when it gets cold and touches your skin.
1.5 miles in total.
I never thought I'd say this but I miss the rain.
Couple cool tunes. One from The Hold Steady off their new album 'Stay Positive' and a older favorite from The Decemberists off the 2006 album "The Crane Wife'. One is a song about working construction and getting drunk with your buddies on the water tower and the other is based on a Japanese folk tale about a man who rescues a bird who ends up turning into a beautiful woman who spins the most exquisite fabrics and then flees when her husband discovers that she is spinning the cloth out of her own feathers. I'll let you guess which is which.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Laid up

Gunner was fighting the tail end of a cold when we were in Vegas. Violet and Jamie caught it and I was giddy in my endurance athlete smugness for not having gotten sick. Oops. Looks like I gloated too soon. Home from work today resting up. I would have been home anyways because there's about 6 inches of snow on the ground and Vancouver is shut down. This city does not function in the snow. C'mon people, we should be used to this. It's just frozen rain and heaven knows we get enough of that! I leaned out the front of our townhouse and snapped the pic above.
What a waste. It's like getting sick on vacation. I blame the swimming...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fat Floats

What do you know? FatDad can float! Today marked the official beginning of my foray into triathlon. In my lifetime, I have done exactly one Olympic distance race. Training for that race consisted of about 5 bike rides each no longer than an hour, about the same amount of trips to the local pool (never more than 1500 meters) and maybe 2 easy runs per week. This time I've given over my training to Gunner and I'm pretty sure things will be a little different.
Today was 1000 meters in the pool, which actually didn't feel too bad, then about 80 minutes on the mountain bike on some local trails. It was rad to get back on the bike after so long away. The weather has been unusually cold here and everything in the watershed is frozen. I felt pretty bad ass riding when there's ice on the puddles! By the end of the ride, both of our front derailleurs were frozen and wouldn't shift. Sweet!
I'm still not totally sold on the whole 'switching over' to triathlon thing. I feel like it's a big waste to let all this marathon fitness slip away without seeing what a couple training blocks in a row could do. My plan is to get as much running in as I can and hope for the best! Gotta at least keep those long runs!
Here's a pic of Violet in my goggles. Once she got them on, she wouldn't take them off. Imagine her with a toque (or for you Southerners a 'wool cap') on and that's how she looked when we went to the store! Classic.

I've been slacking a bit on the music front because I used up all my monthly bandwidth on I picked up the new 'Hold Steady' album but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I'm sure I'll have something from those guys up here before week's end.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Finish Chute Video

Here's the video of me in the chute. My legs had started to cramp when I began my 'kick' and this is me trying to balance the conflicting goals of running as fast as possible and keeping my hamstrings from cramping. I laughed out loud when I first watched this clip. It felt much, much faster than it looks!!
Sorry about it being oriented sideways.

Las Vegas Race Report

So, I was thinking that maybe I'll need to change the title of the blog. 3:15 to Boston? Same ring? Maybe not, but whatever. Either way, I went to Vegas to get my ticket to Boston and I got it. Sure, I have to wait until 2010 so that I'll be 35 but that's a minor detail....the time from Vegas will still be valid and I'm going to go.
For those of you following along, the score is clearly Beth 1, FatDad 0 in the '1st annual Vegas Online Smack Talk and Marathon Challenge'. There was some chatter about the loser of the challenge needing to dress up like a Vegas celebrity however, someone was a little too enthusiastic in their post race brunch celebrations and missed the opportunity. 'Celine's' time has passed. Too bad...
The race:
First off, for those of you who may be considering travelling to Vegas to race, know that Las Vegas and marathoning are an awkward couple. It is really, really tough to keep your mind on why you're there. I can understand now why there are so many Olympic athletes who fall short of their potential at the games because of all the distractions. Who wants to be sitting in their room eating pretzels when they could be strolling the gardens of the Bellagio? Or drinking Miller lites in the sports book. Or eating cheesecake when you should be in bed sleeping. Hypothetically.
That said, the course was flat and fast and running down the strip is pretty cool.
Race morning, up at 4AM, meet up with Brian and we head to the lobby to grab a pre race coffee. Share a cab with another racer heading out to the start line at Mandalay Bay. Get possibly the angriest cabbie in Las Vegas. I'd say that 5 of the first 10 words out his mouth were f-bombs. Tells us he's been in Vegas for 17 months and working as a cabbie for 14 months and he hates it more every day. Tells us he hates the race and the road closures. I guess he figured that spandex, short-shorts and visors were our 'going out' clothes. Yikes.
Ran into Beth at the start line but she took off to the seeded runners corral. It was my first blogger friend meeting! The interweb is crazy. My Garmin wouldnt turn on, which sent me into a very minor, brief panic. Gunner gave me his and talked me off the ledge. Brian was running the half and was hanging back in the crowd at the start. I started between a chatty Mexican guy who was looking for a 3:20 Boston time and a stoic Irishman who had run a 3:05 in the past and was here to see the sights and shooting for 3:30. Gun went off, fireworks popped and I settled in running alone.
Ran on pace for the first 4 miles and caught up with Beth and Filipe. Ran with them until about mile 9 and by then we had gathered up a pretty good little pack of about 6-7 runners with Beth pulling off the front. I started to have some small issues with my stomach and getting food down almost right after I ate the first gel about 40 minutes in, and by mile 9 I needed to make a bathroom stop. That was the last time I saw Beth.
Ran through the next couple miles with weird stomach cramps and bad burps. Nothing too serious but it was putting a damper on my ability to get fluids and food down. Didn't take much in at all between 9 miles and halfway. Hit the halfway point right on time but I was feeling pretty beat up.
Somewhere in the next mile/mile and a half I can remember catching myself doing the math and trying to figure out how slowly I could run the rest of the race and still finish under 3:15. That's when I knew 3:10 was gone. To say that I made a decision to slow down wouldn't be quite right but it was something like that. More like I accepted a lesser goal for a smaller amount of suffering. I was worried that this exact thing might happen going in to the race. I feared that because I knew that 3:15 would get me where I would wanted to go that I would take the 'good enough' option when things started to hurt rather than digging deep and going for it. I'd even made sure that none of my friends and family knew that 3:15 would get me to Boston so that none of them would say "Well, if you don't run 3:10, 3:15 will be just as good!".
Turns out it didn't matter. I knew that 3:15 was fast enough and so that was my new goal, for better or worse. I settled in, pushed as hard as I could on that day and started gathering the pack that had ran away from me when I stopped to use the bathroom. I'm pretty sure I caught them all but one.
I had slowed down and stopped eating and my stomach was feeling better. I caught Felipe at about mile 20 and had a second wind that lasted until about mile 24. Somewhere around mile 21 I ran up along side a grey haired guy who asked me "What are we holding here, 8:00?" My watch said 7:10. I told him the pace and he said, "C'mon, let's pull each other" but I let him run off. It wasn't until I told that story later in the day that I realized how hilarious that man's homoerotic suggestion was.
The last few miles the half and full course overlap and whole road was filled with walking half marathoners. I could see about 4 guys ahead of me running the full, and about 3000 people walking the half. That was mentally tough! The walkers looked so happy, strolling and chatting, eating. I just wanted to find a friendly looking group and join them! But, of course, I didn't. I ground out the last couple miles, turned the corner and saw the time clock about 150 meters ahead of me: 3:15:31. For those of you unfamiliar with the Boston Athletic Association's qualifying standards: I had until 3:15:59 to cover those last 150 meters. Ordinarily, not an issue. At the end of a marathon it's a different story. I took off in what I considered to be a 'sprint' and covered the last bit of ground in time to see the clock read 3:15:57. That's what I call perfect pacing! I'll try and post a funny video here later that Jamie captured of that finishing chute 'sprint'. Um, I'm pretty sure that when you sprint your feet are supposed to leave the ground. It felt fast, honest....haha.
So, bittersweet results in Vegas. Happy to have earned my trip to Boston, a little disappointed that I quit on myself. Overall though, after having some time to reflect, I'm happy with how things turned out. I took 20 minutes off my previous best time on 5 months of hard training less than a year after I finally quit smoking, and finished 138th overall out of about 4000. I'm OK with that. There will be other races where I can prove to myself that I'm able to push it to the limit.
Gunner's talked me into doing some Xterra this year. He tells me swim training starts next week. That should be interesting....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Just back in from Vegas. 3:15:44. Mentally and emotionally I'm struggling with the result. I'll post a race report when I regain some perspective.
Huge props to the Cali Crew: Beth killed it with a 3:03 and finished 3rd female OVERALL!! James showed up to run the half in support and ended up 4th male overall!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One More Sleep

Tonight is our last night at home before we take off. Jamie's parents are in town from Saskatchewan to look after Violet while we are in Vegas which means that tonight they get our super sweet Tempur Pedic and Jamie and I are hitting the air mattress in the living room. Oh yeah! I'd sleep in the garage if I had to. I'm so pumped to have them come out like that. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Workouts this week have been pretty light, just a few miles at or slightly below race pace to keep the legs turning over and feeling loose.
I usually run in the morning before work. I slept through one workout earlier in the week and later that evening I emailed Tim to let him know I had missed it and to see if it was cool that I make it up the next day. He sent me an email that basically said:
"I work hard on this schedule. Timing of workouts is important. No, you can't just F^%&*(ing make it up later.It's 4 days before your race. get your head in it! There is no 'make it up tomorrow'". OK, so he didn't actually swear, the email was very professional and I may have been reading waaaay too much into what he wrote but I SWEAR I could feel the frustration.
It was 8:30Pm by the time Jamie got home from the gym that night and I was out the door at 8:31 to make up the workout!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yo, it's RACE WEEK!

Three more days of work and we're getting on a plane and heading down to Vegas! All the work is done. The only thing left is to run the race. Today's title is stolen from Tim. It was the subject line of the last email he sent me with this week's schedule. Just the one key workout for the week: Sunday, 26.2 mile long run. To steal another quote from coach, "Today is going to be easy until it gets hard." Right.
Gunner is down with a bad leg and is about 90% that he won't be running so it looks like I'm throwing down solo. Pretty bummed about it but it sounds like he has some shenanigans planned which will for sure make up for it.
Post race meal is all planned out. The four of us, Me & Jamie and Brian & Julie, are planning on meeting up with James and Beth and hitting up the Mandalay Bay Burger bar. The Cali crew scoped it out online and it looks pretty sweet! Several different types of meat to choose from and toppings that would blow your mind: obviously all the usual suspects like cheese etc. but when was the last time you had the option to add fois gras to your burger? How about black truffles or a half a lobster? Looking forward to it. If you all have any other suggestions for places to eat in LV, let me know. I'll be looking for a post race buffet to hit: off season begins promptly 3:08 after race start.
FatDad is making a comeback!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

Recent studies show that gravy is the optimal recovery drink.
Happy Thanksgiving, southern neighbours.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Final Countdown

I can hear all of you singing the intro: ba da bum bummm... bada bum bum bummmm...

10 days to go and it's been another good week with Tim at the helm. I have to say, as public recognition, that this guy has taken my running farther in a short amount of time than I had ever imagined. Unreal. Not that he needs me to plug him as a coach but I'll do it anyways. When he has a coaching spot available, get it. You won't be disappointed. Sore, yes. Stretched, yes. Tired, yes. Fatigued, yes. Motivated, yes. Sick of hearing your alarm clock, yes, oh sweet mother, yes.

But not disappointed.

It just occurred to me that this kind of public ass kissing could have saved me a lot of pain if I had employed it say, oh, about 15 weeks ago instead of now, right before the taper that I pray every day is coming but never seems to show up.

Anyways, 2 highlights from last week:

Thursday AM: 2 miles warm up increasing to 7:20/mi by the end, 6 miles @ 7:00/mi, 1 mile cool down.

Same workout in the PM. 18 miles total ON A WEEKDAY! It's good thing that I sit in a chair all day at work.

Sunday AM: 2 mile WU, 17 miles at 7:30/mi or better, 1 mile easy.

Same workout in the PM.

Ok, I'm kidding, the PM session was more like me pounding down bowls of ravioli and lounging on the couch watching TV.

Speaking of nutrition, this week calls for a slight reduction in daily/weekly calories. I've eaten two snickers bars already today in addition to the usual shopping bag of things I bring to work . Things have definitely gotten off on the wrong foot there.

For those of you who thought it was coming: As if I'm going to post a 'Europe' song here. Europe is forever linked to the beautiful art of magic, thanks to this guy.

I wanted to post NWA's '100 miles and runnin'" but that's pretty much NSF-anywhere so we'll go with NWA's only radio friendly track 'Express Yourself' from the classic album 'Straight outta Compton' where you can hear a very young, pre-'Chronic' Dr. Dre proclaim that drug use causes brain damage. That Snoop Dog is a bad influence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hungry runner needs help!!

I'm a person who enjoys structure. Enjoy is the wrong word. I'm a person who requires structure and has come to recognize it as a helpful friend who gets me through what I need to do so I can get to what I want to do.
I'm a person who mentally works out how to carry my dishes from the dishwasher to the cupboards in the fewest number of trips so that I can get back to watching 'Flight of the Conchords' in the least amount of time possible.
I'm a runner who loves having a coach who tells me exactly what to do and when to do it.
I'm a person who DOES NOT LIKE AT ALL going to a new restaurant and deciding what to order. Seriously, it stresses me out.
I'm a guy who eats the same thing for breakfast, snack, and lunch every week day for a year. I added some Trader Joe's yogurt to the lunch menu and it took me about 5 minutes to decide to spend the $3 to add it to my shopping cart.
Anyways, it's these last two items that lead to this request.
I'm looking for suggestions for what I should add to my lunchtime salad.
OK, reading this post, the title of this blog is maybe a little overly dramatic, but whatever.

The salad is usually:
mixed greens or spinach
tuna packed in olive oil
bell peppers

It's delicious, quick, easy, and nutritious but it's lacking something and I don't know what that 'something' is. Some crunch maybe? A little goat cheese? A huge glass of beer to accompany it? Who knows...
Thats whay I'm coming to you, fellow bloggers, foodies and all around beautiful and fit people, to help me with suggestions of what I could toss into my salad to jazz it up a little.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Imagine if...

Imagine if this guy:
and this guy:
started a heavy metal band inspired by superheroes, fantasy role playing games, and of course, Battlestar Galactica. Jump on the treadmill, put on your headphones, and buckle up your chinstrap. This one goes to '11' !

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another one bites the dust

The countdown is fully on. Training is clicking along and I'm feeling good. The legs are tired and a few little race day demons started to swirl until Coach gave me a good bit of advice, I beat them down, and added another successful week to the calendar. I'd better pile up the weeks if I'm going to double down against this animal! What a race! Between you, me, and the two other readers of this blog, part of me feels like living with a World Champion is kind of like cheating but whatever! Just jokes, just jokes. I'm stoked that Beth is crushing it. I have someone to draft off of in Vegas now until I can bust out my patented 'finishing chute kick'!

After getting a breather from Tim last week it was on like Donkey Kong this week with intensity and distance in full force.

Two key workouts last week were an interval run and a progression run.
The interval was 4x200m on 50' with 200m easy jog recovery followed by 5x1mile on 1'walk recovery and an easy jog into the next interval. The instructions were to not look at the watch during the mile but to run them at an intensity that felt the same as the 200's. The loose goal was around 6:40-6:45/mile. Crazy ass brain training.

Um, so I guess that works. I swear these felt like they were the same effort as the 200's but turned out they were a little faster. Nice!
Got a couple days to chill before the next big effort so me and Violet went down to check out the Mud Bay wildlife habitat . Gunner and I do our long runs down here. It's a sweet hard packed lightly graveled trail that runs about 15 miles along the coastline through a wildlife protection area. We've seen coyotes, tons of great blue herons and the biggest freaking bald and golden eagles ever! It's crazy to be so close to an animal that incredible. So intimidating. Yeah, I'm as big as you but I have a beak, sharp talons, and did I mention I can fly?
Today, Brian and I saw a bald eagle pull a fish out of the ocean, fly to shore and eat it at a distance of about 20 feet. RAD! Not so cool when one of these giants takes off from a telephone pole and circles around 10 feet above your head. Hmmmm, that's weird. My pace has dropped and yet my HR has spiked through the roof !

Anyways, Violet and I went down there to check it out but not before making sure that we were fully hydrated.

The trail is along the right side (obviously) and goes to the horizon and beyond. Just a fantastic spot to run.

It was very windy and before long Violet wanted me to get her out of there and away from the wind. Well, the wind and all the toddler stealing bald eagles! You can see the grass all bent over and the trees over her shoulder swaying in the wind. The look on her face is classic.

The other effort of the week was a progression run: short W/U, 3 miles@7:10 (race pace), 1 mile at 7:00 and 2 miles@6:45.

I felt good about this effort on a day I woke up feeling a little heavy legged.
Cap that all off with a solid "old school LSD" 24 miles today and I'm ready to sleep in, hit the sauna and start it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is it genetic?

Similar, hey? The top picture is my daughter, Violet. She's the one on the blog header trying to escape from my hoodie. The bottom picture is my wife Jamie at the same age, er, um, a few years back.

I think I have an idea what Violet may look like when she grows up!

Not a training post AT ALL but two cute baby pictures is a good cop out until I can get something put together.

I've included some more music as a special added bit o filler. This track is a song called 'Highway Patrolman' from Bruce Springsteen's watershed album 'Nebraska' released in 1982. It seemed a fitting choice considering the 'family' theme we've got going here. Between 'Nebraska' and 'Born in the USA' you can see pretty quickly why they call him The Boss. It's slow and haunting and I'm not ashamed to say the first time I heard this album I cried. Enjoy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Race Until Your Feet Bleed

"Sometimes we persevere in spite of what we're made to suffer and sometimes because of it."
A great line from an article written by Haile Gebreselassie for Newsweek.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I wanted to throw some music up here but when I went to my BOX account I had forgotten the password. Finally hacked my own account. For anyone who isn't familiar, Arcade Fire is a band from Montreal that became a pretty big deal around here a few years ago with their debut album 'Funeral'. Here's a couple from that release. Enjoy. Sorry southern neighbours, none of the usual maple syrup and dogsled references that you are used to hearing in Canadian music.

Rest and Recovery

The adjusted schedule had me laying pretty low the last few days. I've been doing some aqua jogging and dry sauna in the morning and short, easy runs in the evening. I'm back doing strengthening and flexibility exercises for the ankle and really working my calves over with the stick. All is well on that front.

I'm pretty sure that one of the key requirements to being a coach is the ability to hand out grueling new forms of training. In fact, I would say that all of the great coaches in history do just that:

"Paint the fence? Crazy old man..."

"Wax on Wax off? What the hell does that mean?"

"When can I come down off this dang piling?"

Then, after spending the whole movie trying to show Elisabeth Shue what a pimp he is


Suck on that, Cobra Kai! Crane kick. 2nd best movie martial arts move ever.

Daniel Larusso 1, Douchebags 0

Look at Rocky. He and Mickey. That was some crazy stuff those cats were doing.

"Hey, Rock, pick up this log and run through the snow."

"Sweet, a big frozen beef. Get ready for some punchin, beef!"

Then, after spending the whole movie trying to show Adrian what a pimp he is


How you like them apples Apollo Creed?

Underdog 1, Cocky Champ 0 (for now......)

The magic formula is 'crazy coach+grueling training=success'

At least that's what I was thinking this morning amidst the hallucinations after 20 minutes in the dry sauna.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Make Good Choices

Cut the long run this weekend. It called for some efforts at race pace and I wasn't feeling 'right'. As well, I had some pain in my ankle flare up that had been quite for about a month. Usually it loosens up during the WU, but this time it didn't happen. The sound of my stride said it all: a nice loud slap every time my left foot hit the pavement. Not good. Feels OK now after some stick work on my calves but Dr. Tim moved my rest week up a little just in case.
Southern neighbours: Tomorrow is a big day. Rock the Vote.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I could cop out and say that the delay between posts is because training has left me feeling shelled and too tired to write. But let's be honest here: If Jeff and James can post within hours (minutes maybe?) of finishing incredible race efforts then the three regular readers of this blog will be calling BS on that excuse before you can say DNF. I have been putting in the work but not like those guys. I watched both of them finish on TV and I'm pretty sure that I haven't been on TV (internet or otherwise). If you did see me on TV, it would probably be because something had gone terribly wrong. Like the meth lab in the townhouse next to mine blew up and the news is doing the requisite 'stunned neighbour' interview:
"Nope, they seemed like normal folks, pretty much kept to themselves." Insert me looking stunned here.
Wow, where did that come from?
So, yeah, it's been a bit since the last post but there really hasn't been too much to report. Training has been going well. Lucho (needs new nickname now but how do you come up with one for someone who claims his new last name is 'Wolverine'? And no, I'm not anywhere near brave enough to call him 'Jog Daddy'!) used to deliver my schedule every four weeks and we would confer throughout that time. Now he sends it one week at a time under the auspice that he wants to make sure I'm not broken when he sends the next 7 helpings of 'Pain Cake'. Here you go. Eat up.
In the last four days, I've done 40 miles with about half of those at or slightly below race effort. Feeling good other than the need to eat constantly. My lunch bag for work was big before but now it's getting silly. I'm at the point where I may just shop for the week and leave it in the lunchroom fridge so I don't have to cart everything to and fro everyday. I don't know where my calorie intake stands but I have basically added a whole extra meal per day.
I've also become reacquainted with my old friend the treadmill. This week I'll have done 2 of the 5 workouts on that lovely machine. Great for leg turnover and pace control, not so good for pervy old naked guys in the changeroom and the HEAT! They keep the Y in my hood pretty toasty. Yesterday, I pulled what I call the 'Simon Classic' and fired my hat off onto the floor part way through the workout. Hey, it worked for him (and once for me, regular readers will recall). I have to remember to get a visor for Vegas!
Musically, the weather has changed and that means the iPod has pretty much gone away for the winter. I did catch an Arcade Fire song that I hadn't heard for a while and I'll try to throw that up when I get home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Half Marathon Result

1:32:15. 8th overall, 2nd in my AG. Two loops on a winding trail. Easily the most unique surface I've ever run on. At times it felt like sand or grass. Almost bog like. A beautiful course around an urban lake.
Satisfied with the time, happier with the effort. Passed a guy to take 2nd AG in the chute in sight of the finish. Got passed by no one. On this day, on that course, I couldn't have pushed any harder.
Garmin died sometime in the second loop. I had stopped looking at it and won't know exactly when until I upload the data. Blessing in disguise maybe.
More later.

Friday, October 17, 2008

That's what I'm talking about! A post in three parts.

Part 1
Yesterday AM: Tired. Fatigued. Dark. Cold. Wet. Miserable. Slow. 8 miles.
Yesterday PM: Tired. Fatigued. Dark. Cold. Wet. A little less miserable. A little less slow. 8 miles.

Part 2
Running in the rain last night I hit a pothole so deep that it sent about a litre of water up the front of my leg, onto my belly and into my face. I laughed and thought of this person's blog header picture. Funny how two people with a common goal from such different places can be connect through the internet. Technology is cool.

Part 3-Overheard from outside FatDad's bedroom.
"That's the spot"
"Longer strokes"
"Up a little"
"Yeah, that's it"
Thanks Jamie. Calves never felt better. Best $30 I've ever spent! What did you think I was talking about?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Update

Good long run, 22 miles in about 2:50. Felt pretty good for most of the run, last couple miles dropped the jacket and Camelback and took off a little for some 7 minute miles just for kicks. I had been running in my warm up jacket and my long sleeve was SOAKED! When I took off the jacket and the cool air hit my soggy sleeves it felt like someone flicked a switch! For a split second I felt like Simon throwing off his visor in Beijing and cranking it up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend Breakthrough

This weekend was a great weekend for me! It was super busy with work and dinner parties (Three this week! People love us!) but still managed to sneak in about 60 or so miles again. I think it was only 59 but I'll round up! That's right, I'm up here in the winter squalls fighting off polar bears and smashing out mileage in my snowshoes and parka! Cause that's how Canadians roll. We're a hearty people. And James thinks Tahoe is cold! Ha!
Saturday was a 10 mile Fartlek workout with 5 mile gradual progression then 5 miles of 1' at 6:30 pace followed by 1' easy recoveries. This workout felt amazing. Average pace for the intervals was probably closer to 6:15 and I felt like I could run them all day. One minute at a time, of course. The long warm up was key. It really woke the legs up and got the blood flowing so by the time I had to get moving it was all good. Really, I can't say enough about this workout.
By the time I was done at work on Saturday though, I was totally gassed. I don't know if running faster means I need to switch things up diet wise but I was done by 3 o'clock. People were coming to my office and then just kinda looking at me and walking out. Oh well. Everyone drools on their desk when they're sleeping. Jeeeez.
After work, Saturday night was grass fed fillet steaks, BBQ'd beets, potatoes roasted in sage garlic butter and a couple cold beers before hitting the bed early to ready myself for Sunday's usual long run. This week was an 18 miler: 3 mile w/u then 15 miles within 10% of goal pace. So anything less than 7:50 per mile for the last 15 was acceptable. Tim was pretty specific about running this on a flat course. No need for hills when you are running a pace simulation for a race in Vegas. Brian said he had a good route so we met up early and got going. Turns out that Gunner needed to cut it a little short and sent me off on my own. The course wasn't exactly flat, and Lucho wasn't exactly pumped about that, but it was a beautiful spot to run. Nice rolling trails through a protected area of forest.

We timed it perfectly and got there just as the sun was coming up. Amazing! I really have to get a camera that I can take with me on these runs. So many beautiful things to see when you run early in the morning.
I can break this run into three distinct parts: the beginning, the part where I wanted to quit, and the last 2 miles. Although my eyes could appreciate the beauty, my legs did not feel the same about the hills. It wasn't really all that bad but when I got tired I was looking for any reason to stop. I tried every excuse I could think of to get myself to stop running: too many hills, Garmin doesn't work in the trees, I might trip and fall and get hurt wah wah wah. There were two things that kept me going: Kerrie Wlad's comments to Lucho and the thought that she might own me on this blog with a similar helping of online bitch slapping and something I learned in GQ. Yeah, I read it. I have a subscription. Look for me in Vegas. I'll be the one with a pocket square.
Seriously, though, this month they published an article about a company in California (where else?) that will help train your brain by hooking you up to electrodes and then teaching you to generate certain brainwaves that are associated with the 'zen-like' state of elite athletes. It costs about 5 large and is currently used by a number of Div 1 football players and some NHL hockey teams. The idea is that you can learn to recreate relaxing brainwaves at will that will help calm you down at moments of intense pressure and stress IE: 50 yard field goal, big game etc. Like meditation and visualization but with electrodes stuck to your skull and a TV monitor that gives you feedback when you generate the desired type of waves by moving a little frog across the screen. Relax and chill, the frog hops. Pretty simple.
The thing that stuck with me, and ended up being super helpful, was a story about a stressed out super A type douche bag executive whose wife had made him come for these sessions so he could learn to chill out and not be such an ass. He was trying with no luck to get the frog to hop around the screen. Then, all of a sudden the little frog just starts booking it across the monitor! The science guys jump out of their chairs and ask the guy what he was thinking about and he says "Oh, I was just thinking about sitting at home with my toddler son reading a book" And the science team is jacked because they've figured out what calms this guy down and gets him focused: thinking about his son.
So, being a guy that has a bit of a chatter brain, and who can tend to get into his head a little and lead himself down the wrong mental road, I decided to give this a shot. Well, to say I decided is a little misleading. I'm not sure why I thought of it. Just one of a few thousand things that flicked through my brain that Sunday AM. But it stuck and I found myself working to focus on times that Violet and I had hung out, played or relaxed together. That's Violet at the top of the blog, not my much cuter conjoined twin as has been suggested. Anyways, it worked like a charm! While I was concentrating on vividly imagining Violet and I relaxing on the couch, wrestling around, chasing each other through the house or sitting watching National Geographic videos on YouTube I didn't notice my legs at all.
This is for sure a skill that I am going to work on during all my runs from here on out. Not just the tough ones either. I think that I need to hone this skill on my easy runs when it doesn't hurt so that when I start to bring the pain I'm ready.
Here's the stats from Sunday. Average pace not including the warm up was 7:40/mile.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Geeked on Sports!

It seems like this past week everyone I know (or sorta know) was just geeked out on sports. Jameson is killing it getting ready for Nationals and pumped on the 'Bolts, Beth is lighting it up in 'The Hills' and obviously isn't playing, Gunner put in his biggest mileage week by almost DOUBLE!!!!! his previous highest total, Lucho is turning into some sort of Zen master under the watchful eye of 'Bob' and Uli, Geb set a new marathon world record in Berlin (Beijing pollution my ass!), and things have been pretty sweet for me as well.
Last week was my biggest week ever at 65 miles. During the week I covered more ground on my feet than I did in my car. 4 of the 6 sessions were quality efforts, including short max effort hill repeats, a tempo run, a 3x2 miler, and a 20 mile long run with 3x1 mile at 7:00/mile on 1 minute rest at miles 7, 8, and 9 and then again at miles 18 and 19. Today was more of the same with 8x800 meter repeats in 3:40 on 400 meters in 1:55. Today I just ran how fast I thought 6:30 pace should feel and was pleasantly surprised. I was pace checking against my Garmin and almost always felt worse after seeing the pace than when I just rolled along and pushed through the interval. This whole 'external limiters' concept that Lucho has been wrestling with has some validity I think. I have the sweetest deal going: Lucho buys the books, sift through for the good stuff, and I can spend my evenings watching Entourage and Mad Men!
I posted the workout from this morning and last week's tempo run below. Today's workout really got me pumped. 11 miles including warm up, average pace 7:36 at 156 average BPM. I'll take it.

Anyways, with 10 1/2 weeks left until the race day, I am starting to get excited for Vegas!
Musically, I haven't been listening to much lately. Now that Gunner is done triathlon for the season, he has joined me on a couple of workouts and in an effort to get better handle on my internal dialogue I'm trying to get away from needing to listen to music during the heavy efforts. Today I was mindful of the cadence of my footfall and tried to keep the rhythm consistent which was kinda hypnotic and worked out out pretty well. I did download a PodRunner podcast and listened to it during last week's tempo run. PodRunner is pretty much just a hour of techno music at a certain BPM mixed by some dude specifically for running, spin class, whatever. I'm not really into techno, house music etc. but the consistent BPM was actually pretty helpful and after a while I wasn't really listening to the music anyways. It was more to try and drown out the little voice trying to tell me to stop! I counted my footfalls at 6:22 pace at 146 per minute so I dl'd a PodRunner podcast at 148. It's called Paradiddle-Drums from the Deep. Check it out. TV on the Radio has a new album out now so I'm sure that next week there'll be something here from those cats.


Things have been busy at work and busy at home but a real post is in the works for tonight. It's been a good week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No measure

Race Report

Ran a local 10K race on Sunday: 43:53 which was a minute faster than my previous PR. I went in with instructions to try and do 40:30 so even though it was a PR I felt a little disappointed. Another case of finding a comfortable level of pain and then just settling in. I ran about 5 meters behind the first place female for most of the race (foreshadowing for Vegas?!?!?!?) until the last mile or so where she opened the gap to about 100m. Finished 11th overall and 6th in the AG which was M20-35! The whole race I knew that if I wanted to meet my goal I would have to pick it up and pass her but I couldn't, or more accurately I wouldn't. The thought of passing her, blowing up and getting passed again made a perfect excuse and kept me from pushing ahead when I had something left in the legs. After a day and a half of reflection on Sunday's race, Kerrie Wlad's comment on Lucho's blog today really hit home for me. Tim was writing about the anticipation of pain and how that can be a limiter for performance. I was reading the post thinking about my race and about last week's tempo run. I ran 3 miles at 6:40 pace in training and then raced at 7:00/mi. The fear of blowing up all over the race course kept me from even trying to hold goal pace. Then I read Kerrie's comment:

well princess, it's time to toughen up! ditch the numbers, shut up and just run.... you know how to suffer so that's not an issue, you know you can endure discomfort, so just stop focusing on those external limiters when you are racing. and if you do blow up, just make sure that it is pretty spectacular, like crawling/projectile vomiting spectacular. i think that i broke 40 min for a 10k for the first time when i was 12, almost 13...and i wasn't super fit and i didn't know much about racing/training(not like now ;) ) but i just wanted to WIN. there was a little tv for the prize and i desperately wanted a tv. it was pretty simple.

A couple things:
1) she called Lucho a princess. That's awesome!
2) she broke 40 minutes as an out of shape 12 year old. That's ridiculous!
3)She's 100% right.

It was pretty simple and it still is. I wanted to avoid failing more than I wanted to succeed and as a result did neither. Lesson learned.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I just wanted to write a quick post to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the blog with words of encouragement for my upcoming race in Vegas. The comments were so moving that I printed two copies: one is taped to the mirror in my bathroom next to my training schedule and the other is on my bedside table next to my alarm clock so I can see them on those mornings when I just don't feel like getting up at 5AM to run. Happy training!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Beth



It's on!

This is why people think we're crazy

That's how I spent my Sunday morning. Take special care and notice the start time of the first lap. Yeah, that's the good stuff. Nice, long 22 miler Sunday morning. Felt good for the most part. As with all long runs there were times that it hurt and I felt like stopping but that's the name of the game. My instructions were not to over think this run so I set the Garmin to only display time and distance so I would know 1) when to eat and 2) when to turn around on my out and back route. I was pretty happy with how things turned out. Better average pace with a lower average and max HR.

This next chart, and the accompanying instructions, is why people think runners are nuts. My instructions were basically as follows:

Think of the steepest hill near your house
Run there
Run up and down it until you puke
Run back

The chart doesn't include the 'run there' portion (6 miles) The 'until you puke' portion is about mile 2 1/4. Hard hill repeats + lots of water right after you finish = predictable result. Training is fun! And to think I voluntarily trade my hard earned cash for these kinds of instructions. Crazy is not too far off!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pick it up!

20 minute WU with 4-30' pick ups at the end. Fast but controlled were my instructions. Then a three mile tempo in 20:30. Works out to 6:50/mi pace. I was up late last night watching 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and I was soooo tempted to sleep through my alarm. The thought of having to explain to Lucho that I skipped my workout because I was 'sleepy' got me up and moving. Another intangible benefit of having a coach. Tempo chart below:

This run was tough. I did it on a track near my house that's not exactly flat. There's a drop of about 15' in the first 200m and a climb of the same amount in the last 200. It becomes more and more noticeable as the laps pile up. I made a deal with myself that if I wanted to stop running I would have to do it on the down hill stretch. No copping out on the uphill portion. And of course on the downhill section the legs got rolling over, it hurt a bit less and I didn't feel like stopping anymore. Around the back stretch, legs and lungs complain a bit more and the deal making begins again. It worked really well for me to break this run up into smaller portions rather than thinking of how far I had left to go in total. I just focused on running smoothly with good form to the next line on the track (every 10m?) instead of saying "OK legs, I know you're burning but we've only got another two miles". I've found that strategy to be about as effective for keeping me going as the spectator at the marathon who yells "You're almost there!" at the 22 mile mark! Good workout for both the legs and the mind.

Today, two songs jumped out at me. They sound totally different but both have a sexy vibe.

'Wolf Like Me' is frantic, insistent, overt and a little rough. It reminds me of a drunken backseat hookup. Except for a slow section in the middle, a pretty good song to run to.
Spoon's track has a seductive rolling beat but it's not really that great to run fast to. It's got a more laid back, bluesy red wine rhythm. It could be the soundtrack to a 'For Your Eyes Only' sort of photo shoot. For that one night a year when endurance athletes stay awake past 8PM. Click the player to fire it up or the song title to download. If you like either of these and want the whole albums (which are both very good) drop a comment and I'll throw them in the Box as well.

22 miler tomorrow should leave my legs trashed just in time to take the day off on Monday. Big shout out to Gunner who's lighting it up at the Grand Columbian Triathlon this weekend in Electric City, Wa.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It works!

Click the Link to DL. More to come. n

Content Sharing!

OK, so I was thinking that it wasn't much good to have all these musical recommendations without a way to actually hear the songs so I set up a account so that I could have a spot to host this stuff so you guys could get at it. I'd done this a while ago with the same intention so now I'm going to follow through with it. Hopefully I'll build a nice little library. I believe that account size is limited to 1GB for the free account so be sure to DL anything that you enjoy as it may not be there the next time you go in! The account has a feature that allows multiple users to add content to the Box and once I get that figured out I'll let you know.

Sunday Long Run

A post race 20 miler was on tap for Sunday morning. Lucho wanted me to run the first hour between 140-145 BPM, take the average pace over that time and then hold that pace for the rest of the run even if my HR started to climb a little. Average pace for the first hour: ~8:35/mi.

I finished the 20 miles in 2:45 with an average pace of 8:17/mi. That's a five minute neg split between the first and second halves. I've attached the 20 mile totals and the mile splits for anyone who might be interested. HR was starting to creep up there towards the end but I still felt pretty good. I've got a 22 miler on tap for this weekend so I'll find out how good I feel after cracking the 20 mile barrier.

Lots of time listening to podcasts this week and two songs jumped out at me. The first is from a hip hop artist named Shad. The track is called 'Rock to it' and it blew me away. I'm not typically a hip hop 'fan' but this was pretty great: a simple beat and clever lyrics. Shad was nominated for the Polaris Prize this year and after hearing this I can see why. The song isn't up at MySpace so I'm not sure where to check it out.

The second was a song called 'Secret March' by a group called 'The Wet Secrets' (dirty name!). This song is up at MySpace so click the link to check it. Good beat, fantastic chorus!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Race Day

Saturday was the Canadian Off Road Triathlon Championships and I headed up there with Gunner to throw down in the 10K trail run. The group that organizes this event really has their hands full. They run 6 events on Saturday! Half and full tri and du, as well as a 5 and 10K run. Pretty impressive.
Race report is as follows: They didn't have the start of the run course marked so I had to wait through the whole pre-race meeting to find out where I needed to be. By the end of the meeting, they still hadn't said where the run was starting so I asked. By this time, we were about 5 minutes from the start of the race. So, no warm up to speak of. The course was two loops with an out and back section. One loop for 5K and half du's and two loops for everyone else. At the start line (which was made in the gravel by the starter with his foot. Sweet!) all the duathletes, half duathletes, 10K, and 5K runners all lined up together. It wasn't really clear who was running what race. The gun went off and two guys, Kelly Guest and one other dude, took off flying. I got stuck behind a small group of about 4 guys. I found some room to pass at the top of the first climb and rolled along by myself for the next mile or so. Two guys passed me on the next climb and I was suffering, mentally and physically. My legs were not ready for that much climbing. 2200 feet over a 10K course had my calves burning! Last year, there were only 7 runners in the 10K race and the winning time was 48 minutes. I had secretly hoped to win the race this year, and sitting in 5th (or worse, at that point I couldn't say for sure) had me feeling beaten already.

There were two things that kept me running: I didn't want to drop any more time to the guys that passed me on the climb. I thought that I had enough to catch them on the second lap if I could keep them close. The other was a kid that I passed coming down the first climb that was hanging on my shoulder. He was about 15 and running with his dad and there was no way that I was letting him go by me.
So, I kept rolling along by myself working to keep an eye on the guys in front of me. Approaching the turn around, Kelly passed me going back out for the second lap and I knew he was long gone. I surged a little to try and catch the two guys in front of me before the turn. I got there just in time to see them running off into transition. Two half duathletes. Oops. Probably shouldn't have chased them. Another lap to go, and I felt like that kid was still pressing somewhere behind me. Ran the whole second lap looking over my shoulder. It's a windy, hilly course and another athlete could be right behind you and it would be tough to see them. At one point, I was running down a fire road while Mel McQuaid, Jordan Bryden and another male elite were riding up heading out on the bike. They were flying! I was so busy watching them hammer that for a minute I forgot that I was supposed to be racing. Woke up and ran it in to the finish. 51 minutes was good enough for second place behind Kelly who clocked in at 39 minutes and about 5 minutes ahead of third. Kelly is an animal. He finished the run leg of a relay in 40 minutes about 1/2 hour later. When I crossed the line, I saw the kid and his dad sitting in the grass looking fresh and rested. Oops. I guess the kid only ran the 5K. I was running away from someone who wasn't there the whole second lap! Whatever keeps the legs moving, I guess.
All in all, I had a good time out at the lake, even if I wasn't super happy with my run. I definitely learned the value of a good warm up in a race like this. As well, I learned a lot about running my own race and not getting caught up in what's going on around me. I spent alot of mental energy getting down on myself for dropping spots to athletes who weren't even competing in my event. If any one knows of a good book on mental toughness for runners, or has some tips, tricks or resources that might help me to develop some strength between the ears, I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Update

Saturday's race was tough but good. Ran into second place behind Kelly Guest but it wasn't even close. He hung 13 minutes on me over 10K. Sunday was 20 miles with a huge negative split. More later, including a couple sweet songs that I found today.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Product review, musical highlights and one more sleep

Only one more sleep until the Buntzen Lake 10K trail run. Legs feel good, a little tired from coming into the weekend with no rest but I'm looking forward to getting it on! The schedule that Lucho put together for me says 'Race effort-hold nothing back". Who am I to disobey my coach?

I bought a pair of earbud headphones a few weeks ago that just would not stay put in my ears no matter what size bud I was using. So, I took them back to Wal-Mart to exchange them for a new pair. I picked up some from Sony and they are super sweet! The loops that go around your ear keep them from slipping or falling off and are made from rubber that is flexible, soft and barely noticeable. Another great feature is the clip on the cord that keeps it from bouncing around, getting tangled, pulling on the headphones when running etc. Priced at $20 I would recommend these for any runner looking for a good pair of comfy slip free headphones.

This week's musical theme seemed to be 'Songs with a crescendo'.
In no particular order, standouts from the week were:

Andrew Bird-Darkmatter
Okkervil River-Unless it's kicks
Modest Mouse-Parting of the Sensory (with an honorable mention to 'Missed the Boat' for the lyrics "We floated round on bubbles then thinking it was us who carried them")
Led Zeppelin-Dazed and Confused

And I'll throw out a little country yee-haw to JW and include:
Neko Case-Maybe Sparrow (just DL the whole 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood' album)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Charts on demand

The last five miles of an eight mile day that Tim had me do last week. The first three miles were just gradual builds and I reset the Garmin before I started tracking the intervals. Six 400s in 86' and four 200s in 42' both with 100m walk, 100m easy jog recovery. A mile and a half of easy jogging afterward to top it up to eight miles for the day. Solid.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Race Week!

This is the view looking down on where I'll be spending my day this Saturday. This weekend is the XTC Canadian National Offroad Triathlon Championships at Buntzen Lake in Port Moody. Gunner is going to throw down in the full distance triathlon event and I can't wait to see him unleash all that furious fitness! He's as fit as I've ever seen him.
I'm going to toe the line in the 10K trail run and I'm super pumped about getting up there and letting it all hang out. Figuratively speaking, of course.

I've attached the course description for the run this year. Font's a little small but give'r a click and it should be legible. Last year the field for the trail run was comically thin (I think 7 runners) so it will be interesting to see what things look like this year.

Either way, Saturday will be awesome because after the race all of us are headed back to the Gunn's townhouse for a little BBQ action, free meat provided by Jamie's folks in Saskatchewan who ship us a half a beef every spring! Organic, free range, grass fed strip loin anyone? Good times.

You know you're a nerd when....

Is it wrong that one of the highlights of my labour day weekend was getting new socks? Bought my first couple of pairs of Balega Enduros and they are plush. Put some miles on in them this morning and I already feel a little faster. I'm pretty sure it's the socks that make this guy such a beast!
This morning was a scheduled recovery day with an easy 6 miler at HR less than 150. The idea was to just get the legs moving and allow them to soak up some of the heavier training from the weekend(which I'll cover in a bit. Be patient!) Walked from the townhouse to the road and fired up the trusty ole 305. I know that elsewhere on the interweb there is a lively debate raging about the necessity of 'gadgets' in running, but for me buying a Garmin with HR resurrected me (for better or worse) as a goal oriented runner. Again, is it a bad sign that the more numbers I can look at at the end of a run, the happier I am? I feel like if I go to the bike rack after school someone might shake me down for my lunch money.
Anyways, the 305 found the satellites and the HR monitor fired up and showed 57 BPM, which is about 10 beats lower than normal. Didn't think too much of it, just chalked it up to being well hydrated and rested. Shuffled down the street for half a block, and when I looked again the HR read 159 AND CLIMBING!!! By the time I was 1/2 mile from my house, the Garmin said 192 and I was toddling along at about 12 minute miles trying to get the HR to drop. At that point, I actually wondered if I might be having a heart attack. Ok, not really, but what the ???? If I stopped to walk, it would plummet to about 100 BMP but as soon as I started to jog again, BANG back up through the roof! I told myself that I would run another mile or two and if it didn't settle down, I'd call it a morning. Sure enough, another 1/2 mile later I'm bumping up against 8 minute miles at 140BPM. Weird. If any of you have experienced something like this I'd love to hear about it.
Overall, training is cranking along and the body is holding up well under the added stress of increased intensity. No lingering pains, no missed workouts, no sleeping in. Still hovering around 50 miles per week and feeling good. One thing is for sure: having a schedule that doesn't just include more long miles at 135 BPM sure helps to get me up and out the door.
This week had two pretty tough workouts back to back on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was an eight mile progression run laid out as:
2 miles @ 8 min/mi.
2 miles @ 7:45
2 @ 7:15
2 @ 7:00.
Hit the paces right on the money and felt good about the effort. This is the first time I've run guided by pace rather than HR in a progression run and the difference was noticeable. I had the Garmin setup to only display pace and distance so I wouldn't be distracted by HR data while I was running. I really felt a jump in perceived exertion when I crossed below 7:30/mile and looking at the HR graph later, there was an uptick in BPM at that pace. And truth be told, the 7:00 pace felt hard. But hey, if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing!
Sunday was 2:20 at somewhere between 8:00 and 8:40 without the HR monitor. Started off slowly and built towards that pace range. Ended up averaging around 8:20/mi overall with the later miles being closer to 8:00. Total distance about 16 miles and with some more water and a couple more gels could have carried that pace for another 10 miles no worries. If I ever figure out how to do it, I'll throw some workout graphs from the Garmin software up here. There's a good one from last week's track session!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The internet is like a high school girl

Man, gossip travels fast in the interweb! I post last night and when I get to work this AM there are already comments from some super sleuths who've unravelled my little clue. I have to say, though, that I'm no Agatha Christie (couldn't think of a guy who writes mysteries. Who wrote the Hardy Boys novels?). Brian had flat out said that we were thinking of doing the Vegas marathon in his blog post on Wednesday. Next time I try to 'build a mystery' it will have to be a little tougher.
So, yeah, it's about 95% decided that I am going to switch my target race from Seattle to Las Vegas. I think what may have clinched it was the hour that Brian and I spent running in the pouring rain on Thursday morning. Imagine that, but 5 degrees. And windy. That's Seattle.
There's actually a lot of good reasons to consider Vegas over Seattle, precipitation and temperature being a big one! Average highs in Vegas in December are 17 degrees with lows around -2. That's 62 and 29 for those of you south of the 49th. Seattle doesn't get quite as cold, with an average December low of 3 degrees (37F) but it never really warms up either: average high for Seattle in December is a lowly 8 (47F). And let's not forget the precipitation. Any one who's ever grown anything in their garden, be it tomatoes or something more exotic, knows that if you want a plant to grow up nice and green you have to water it. Well, in keeping with today's theme, I'll bet you can figure out the mystery behind why they call Seattle the 'Emerald City'. Yup, it's rain. Lots and lots or rain. No wonder this is the city that brought us the world's most famous hot beverage chain. They average 6.1cm per month in Seattle in December. Compare that to Las Vegas squeezing out an arid 0.3cm PER MONTH. To summarize: Vegas, start cool and dry, finish warm and sweaty. Seattle, start cold and wet, end colder and wetter. Ummmm, right.
After round one we have Vegas 2, Seattle 0.

Plus, the course in Vegas is alleged to be a faster course. Any help in that department is welcomed.
Vegas 3, Seattle 0

Add to that the fact that Lucho is racing Vegas and I would have a chance to actually meet the bringer of the pain instead of just thinking of him as an email address with a beard.
Vegas 4, Seattle 0
And lastly, I have heard rumours of an after race party hosted by a famous reality TV contestant and the chance to win some $$$ racing against his speedy girlfriend.
Frankly I'm starting to feel a little bad for Seattle. It's kinda like picking on the slow kid. Or watching a Canadian boxer in the Olympics.
I'm still shooting to throw down a 3:10 and earn myself a trip to Boston, but it's starting to look more and more like I'm going to do it here:

rather than here:

Vegas, baby. It's on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


After a lot of discussion about whether or not my training would continue, Jamie and I decided that I should continue on with my efforts towards qualifying for Boston. I was really feeling like it was selfish of me to ask Jamie to support me in that goal given everything that's happened but she was quite insistent that I not quit now, with only 14 weeks (yikes) left. She made the great point that probably in a month, or two, or three, when I had healed up a little, I would look back with regret on my decision to stop running. And I think she's right.

With that in mind, and getting closer every day to my goal race (which may be changing!Stay tuned for the official announcement. Let's just say it's a little dryer than Seattle) I figured that I should probably switch over from base building and start adding some faster (relative term!)efforts to my schedule. Problem was, I didn't have any idea how to do that. So, after a couple emails, some begging and a very generous bribe, Lucho agreed to help guide me through the next 14 or so weeks. Just kidding about the bribe. That man has too much character to accept a bribe. All I had to do was ask. And just in time too. I can't tell you how excited I am to have a coach like Tim willing to work with me. This is a fast dude who's just geeked out on running and has some pretty impressive athletes already in the stable, including this California Speedster! I better change it up from FatDad to FastDad if I want to roll with this crew!

To get away from things for a bit, Jamie, Violet and I headed out to Saskatchewan to see Jamie's parents. For those of you who may not have heard of this extraordinary place, I've attached a map. It's the one in red with the creatively drawn borders.

The shape of the province gives you a good idea of what you should expect from Saskatchewan if you should ever go there. If you can imagine what a rectangle would look like if you could turn it into a landscape, you'd get Sask. It's one massive prairie.

Jamie's folks have a 20 acre hobby farm about 20 miles outside of Swift Current in the Southwest corner of the province and it was awesome to get out there and chill for a bit. We stayed a week and the weather was sunny and hot the whole time we were there. Early mornings even on vacation to get some running in before it got too hot.

Trip was good, and it was the first week on the new schedule from Tim. I told him I was looking forward to hurting a little and learned quickly that I need to choose my words more carefully! This definately wasn't base building anymore. 60 mile week and felt great.
One thing about the prairies in the Summer: they are a runners dream. In the morning, I walked to the end of the driveway and looked to the right:

Then to the left:

And off I went. Hundreds of miles of dirt and gravel roads in every direction. Just me, the moose,(yup, two crossed the road about half a mile in front of me. HR spiked up and I was stopped!) the antelopes, the owls, the gophers, the cows, the buffaloes, the falcons, and the grasshoppers. Oh, sweet mother, the grasshoppers. On my Sunday long run I was out for 2:30 and I saw four cars and a tractor. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Heavy Heart

It's been a little while since my last post and I wish that it was just the usual laziness/busyness that has kept me from my computer. Sadly, that's not the case.
As many of you know, Jamie and I were expecting baby #2 in the first week of November. On Thursday August 7th, Jamie had some bleeding so we went to the hospital. When we got there we found out that our baby had passed away. Our son, Oliver, was stillborn at 27 weeks on Friday August 8th at 2:11 am. He weighed just over 2 pounds and was 34cm long.It has been a long hard couple weeks with many more to come. I know this blog is usually a place to post about training but it didn't seem right to not write something about this. Thanks to all our friends and family who have offered support. Your thoughts and prayers have been much needed and appreciated.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back at it!

After a rough week and a half, I'm back at it and feeling good. Two eight mile efforts the last two days and although I can tell my fitness dropped a little and I am still sluggish from being sick, things are definitely on the upswing. My legs were feeling really springy and i couldnt help but add some hard efforts at the end of last nights session. Man, it feels good to run fast. Average HR 144, but I maxxed out during the heavy efforts at 190!
Ran another 2400 meter test and I'll post the results here tomorrow. The numbers were pretty good considering the context of the test. Thanks to Jamie for helping me keep things in perspective! Expect another old school result picture post.

Sent off my registration for the XTC Canada 10K trail race yesterday and I'm stoked to toe the line. September 6th is race day and Brian and I are heading back to pre ride/pre run the course on Monday. Last time we went it was rad and I can't wait to get back there again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bumps in the Road

Been a bit of a crazy week. Felt something go 'ping' in my calf last week that went from kinda sore to pretty painful in a mile or two and caused me to cut it short. That was Thursday morning. Thursday night started to feel not right in the stomach and by Friday morning, things were, um, upset. Missed a couple days work with some sort of stomach virus that has been tearing it's way through pretty well everyone I know, including Jamie and Violet.
Understandably, the training log has looked pretty empty, and there were 6 zeroes in a row until this AM. Felt OK, enery levels were good and things are back to normal from being sick.
The calf is still tight but not painful. I'll have to go and get someone to have a look at it before running it through too many more hard efforts.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Great Weekend

Oh man, what a difference couple of days make. I had a great three hour long run on Sunday, covered 19+ miles and felt great. Put back a ton of calories after the run and the next day my legs felt awesome. There's something to this MAF training: I used to feel smashed after my long runs because I was running them way too fast. Monday I felt super fresh and ready to go.

On Monday, Gunner and I grabbed the bikes and headed out to Buntzen lake, the site of the Canadian National Off Road Triathlon Championships in September. It was an AMAZING day for a ride. The weather was great and because it was a Monday the lake was pretty quiet. We had planned to pre-ride the tri course so Brian would have an idea of what he was in for come September but that didn't really work out. We caught some of the course, but mostly we just wound up and down the singletrack. What a sweet way to spend a Monday. Man, I was impressed with Brian. That guy can climb like a mountain goat. He had me sucking wind within the first ten minutes. But I would get him back later with the heavy dually on the descents!

We spent most of our time on a trail called Lakeview and this photo shows why its called what it is.

Gunner checking out the sights. Note the new helmet with no cracks. Yet.

Another peek at the lake. So hard to do it justice in the pictures, but it was awesome.

One cool thing about getting lost is you never know what you'll see. Buntzen lake is actually a BC Hydro reservoir and we stumbled across a tank up on top of a steep cliff with some pipes running down the side of the mountain.

Brian on a little stretch of trail called Academy that will be part of the triathlon course in September.

Remember, its all about balance!

Put in about 2:10 in the saddle yesterday and for me that was A LOT!!! I was bagged this AM but got my run in after work and after a tasty roast chicken dinner feel great.

Being out on the bike really got me stoked to sign up for the race there in September. I can't really swim, so the tri is out, but they have a du and a 10K trail run. I'm leaning towards doing the run but I could probably be convinced to do the du! Either way, I can't wait to get back up there.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekly Recap July 13-19

39.43 miles
146 BPM average
6 hours
Longest run: 12.80 miles
Shortest run: 8.13 miles
Average run: 9.86 miles

The pic above is a trail I spotted while I was out today. I ran down it hoping to discover something exciting but sadly it was only a shortcut to the back of a townhouse complex. Good pic, though. Ran after work rather than in the morning and it was an amazing sunny day in Vancouver.
Training's a funny thing. I felt like this week was a total failure. I missed another workout due to my own weakness for sugar, then a couple more because of a cranked neck. I only managed 4 of 6 of my scheduled workouts. But as I was typing this recap, I glanced back at my training log and noticed that the miles, times and paces for the previous two weeks was very nearly the same as this week but it took me two more workouts to do it. So, average miles and longest run mileage this week was actually HIGHER than the previous two.
I had set myself the goal of breaking 50 miles a week (something I have never done in any training year) and I really felt like this was the week I would do it. Not getting there really had me feeling like I had dropped the ball with my training but looking back on the log tonight changed that around for me a little. It's been a good reminder that 50 is an arbitrary number and that it's easy to get focused on the wrong things if you aren't careful.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This is the cause of all the trouble...

Or maybe not...
I'll start by saying that I don't usually eat a lot of sweets. I used to have a pretty bad sweet tooth but now it's more or less under control. However, like everyone, I have my weak moments. And those moments usually involve large amounts of ice cream and regret! Tuesday night was no different. A nice big bowl of Island Farms "Moose Tracks" at about 8PM. So delicious and rivals any B&J flavour out there. If you're looking for a habit that falls somewhere between cigarettes and crack on the 'Addict-o-meter' check it out.

The trouble for me is three fold:

1) I am naturally a little 'wound up'

2) I don't eat a ton of sugar normally

3) When I eat sugar, I can really, really feel it.

So, 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, I'm still awake thinking maybe the ice cream wasn't such a good idea. No way that I'm answering the bell for my workout at 4:30. Third time that something like this has happened in the last three weeks. One missed workout a week because I cant sleep after downing some late night sugar is unacceptable. I'm a slow learner. And the worst part is, when Jamie asked who wanted ice cream I could hear a helpful little voice in my head saying 'Don't do it, you know you won't sleep'. Then the ice cream junkie shanked that little voice, dragged it in to an alley and came back with an empty bowl saying 'Me please!'.

So, I make up for missing the run Wednesday morning by running Wednesday night. Good run, easy aerobic effort. Home by 9, bed by 10.

Woke up Thursday morning and I could barely move my neck. I have NO IDEA what happened during the night but I was messed up.

So, no run Thursday AM.

Came home early from work on Thursday around lunch, popped a couple muscle relaxants and called it a day.

Friday morning: Still really stiff, but a little better than yesterday. No run Friday AM.

So, whether or not eating ice cream has anything to do with my sore neck and the subsequent missed training sessions is debatable.

But the point for is that:

I did something that I knew would have negative effects,

I'm missing workouts,

and with about 20 weeks to race day I'm stressing out about it.

Great Quote

A great quote from the sidebar of Meyrick Jones' blog:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.- Theodore Roosevelt, speech titled "Citizen in a Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910