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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


A pic from the deck of the resort. Couple cruise ships in town mean no deals to be had from the vendors.

A pic on route from the airport. This was five minutes from the resort and was about eight lit gravel soccer fields all in one place. These guys are playing a little 'American Football' On the gravel. Hardcore.

Land's end. The bottom of the Baja peninsula.

This is the first photo I took when we got off the plane. The fog is all the condensation on the lens from the humidity.
Shore break. No swimming, please. I saw one dude try and duck dive these waves for about 5 minutes trying to get out past the break. I wasn't going to go out to save him but it looked like someone was going to have to before he finally gave up.

The view from the front desk. Pretty sweet.

We have both eaten our eagle eggs and gotten all our nutrients. Ready to throw down, Luchador style.

All in all, Mexico was pretty beautiful but I don't know that I want to do the whole resort thing again. We had a beautiful room, good food, good pools, good booze and the resort staff was fantastic. But while I was out for a run one day something happened that made me rethink who things work down there.

I was running against traffic down a road in the front of the neighbouring resort. A car passed me and turned his signal on to turn left into a gravel parking lot. The driver was a resort staff member on his way to work. The way was clear and I stopped to let him turn. As the car passed in front of me, the driver saw that I had stopped to let him turn and his face totally changed. He started apologizing over and over and calling me sir. He just kept saying "sorry sir' over and over again. He was totally in the right and had no need to apologize at all. But the Cabo economy is 95% tourism and it was obvious he was ready to say whatever he needed to to keep me happy. It felt terrible. After that, I really thought a lot about whether I want to support that kind of social disparity when I vacation. If we go back to Mexico, I'll be pulling for a rented apartment and home cooked meals.

Thoughts On Mexico

It has been a busy time with training, family and social stuff, and work since we got back from Cabo and I've been struggling to find time to write a post about our trip to Mexico. I've had a minute here or a minute there but not enough time to really sit down and write a post worth reading. So, I've carved out a few minutes now during lunch break to get something down. I've decided to break the trip into two posts: one about running in Mexico and one as more of a general recap. I'm at work and I don't have access to any of the photos from the trip so we'll start with the post on running.
First, let me say that for those of you who haven't heard, Mexico is hot! Today's temperature there is currently 34 degrees Celsius (that's 93 for y'all down south)and 44% relative humidity. To be truthful, I'm not exactly sure what that humidity stat means but I'm pretty sure it means if you exercise in that weather you'll lose 44% of your body weight in fluids!
To contrast, today's weather in Vancouver is 18 Celsius or 64 degrees American after you do the conversion. So, yeah, a little bit different.
I ran five of the seven days we were there (including a short 45 minute scamper the afternoon we arrived) and noticed a huge difference in perceived exertion. My HR and pace stats weren't all that different (a little slower if I recall correctly. Again, data at home but I'll add to the next post) but it felt like I was grinding away to keep going.
I couldn't help but think of the ITU World Championships here in Vancouver this year and how difficult it must be to race in climate that is drastically different from what you have been training in. The weather for the ITU race here was brutally cold and wet for June (10-11 degrees and raining) and I remember seeing all sorts of athletes (mostly U-23 and juniors but some pros too) from warmer climates dropping out from the race because of the cold. I imagined what it must have been like for the Mexican triathletes coming the other way. At least in the heat I could slow down, but when it's cold and wet there's no hiding. Not to mention the fact that it's the second biggest ITU race of the year outside the Olympics. The mental and physical strength required to keep going must be incredible. I mean hey, if it's cold for Canadians, what must it feel like for someone from Mexico! It will be interesting to see how things go in Beijing, where I think the weather (heat and humidity) will be a bigger challenge than the pollution.
Keeping hydrated well was a challenge. There weren't a lot of places to get water outside of the resort restaurants and the tap water in the hotel rooms was not potable. I tried to stay topped up during the day by alternating glasses of water and mojitos and that seemed to work well! Aside from the 20-25 daily trips to the washroom.
On the run, I easily polished off a 26oz bottle on a 1 hour jog and could have done two if there had been a reliable place to refill along the route.
Cut off the road and ran on the beach a bit one day which was mega tough. Loose sand, steep canter made for a tough mile or so. The one day I ran on the beach I saw several pinkish lines left on the beach where the tide had rolled up and then receded, leaving a deposit on the sand with every incoming wave. It looked like red tide or pollution or something and it saddened me as I ran past to see that economics and human impact was starting to spoil another beautiful locale. On the way back I ran a little closer to the water and my path took me right through the 'red tide'. Looking down, I started to realize that it wasn't pollution at all, but krill, the food of baleen whales (grey whales, humpbacks etc) millions and millions of tiny, tiny little shrimp washed up on the beach. Kinda cool to see them up close after 'learning' about them on a billion Discovery Channel whale shows. Hey, I'm a nature nerd, what can I say?
I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of times I dragged myself out of bed. The Coronas on the deck in the evening probably didn't help my cause but what's a Mexican vacation without a few cervezas?
So yeah, running in Mexico was definitely different. If i had to choose, I'll take running in the rain and the cold any day. At least you can bundle up. My hat goes off to you guys who train in that kind of heat all the time. Hard-Core! That said, there's something really cool and adventurous about running to the gate of your resort, looking left, looking right, not knowing where either direction will take you, and then taking off down a dirt road into the desert.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


New Mexico post en route but for now a couple videos that I saw on Chuckie V's blog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Canadian Content

CBC radio 3 podcast today was their annual summer mix tape episode. 90 minutes of independant Canadian artists. Here's the playlist:

My Old Jacknife
To The City
The I Spies
Them Kids
Sam Roberts
Good Fortune
Weeping Tile
In the Beginning
The Stills
Private Wars
Grand Theft Bus
Through the Night These Days
Jason Collett
End Of The Beginning
Blue Sky Addicts
The Ballad of El Doucho
The Wet Secrets
I Need A Friend
Small Sins
Fix You
Threat from Outer Space
Vagabond (feat. Shad)
Hey Ocean!
Jon-Rae and the River
The Cheapest Key
Kathleen Edwards
Reach Down To Me
Malcolm Bauld
Tall Trees
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Keep On (Champion's Alternate Take)
The Wheat Pool
The Banks Of The English Bay
Said The Whale
Family Reunion
Corb Lund Band
Where and When
Deeper Than Beauty
No Reason to Cry Out Your Eyes (on the highway tonight)
Hawksley Workman
Put There By The Land
Great Lake Swimmers

A great mix for roadtripping or running. DL for your own listening pleasure here by clicking the podcast link at the top and then the Radio 3 icon and going to past episodes #163. Do it.

75 minutes. 9.14 miles, 8:12/mile 152 BPM average.

Last day before the family and I leave to Cabo at the Riu Santa Fe for a weeks vacation. Bringing my Garmin and running shoes but the room has a fully stocked comp mini bar so we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Incredible Athleticism.

Roman Sebrle, Czech decathlete was named as the world's greatest athlete by the Wall Street Journal. I went to You tube to find some footage of Roman doing his thing (there's a great compilation of all his bests from the various events. WSJ is right. This guy is a beast!) and while I was there I caught a look at this video of Olympic high jumper Stefan Holm working out using hurdles. I'd never seen anything like this. Enjoy.

85 minutes. 9.59 miles. 8:85/mile 147 BPM average. Ate some sherbert before bed last night and slept like crap. The heat and the sugar wrecked me and I almost didnt get up. Once I got going, things felt pretty solid. Ran to the gym at work, did a core workout, ran home.