Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Music

Not Andrew Bird: that's still coming. This is 'Furr', title track from the new album by Blitzen Trapper. This tune really stuck a chord with me. It stirred up feelings of my deep primitive connection with nature and reminded me of the great joys I've felt running on those perfect days when I felt fast and smooth and beautiful, dangerous and powerful and free, frothy and breathing heavy, at home charging down the trail, a beast closing in on imaginary prey.
Plus, it's got loons! How sweet is that?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We are the champions!

Brand Champions that is! What do you think of the new suit I'll be rocking this season? A local Vancouver company called Sugoi was looking for some brand champions and my application was accepted. Part of the pitch was that Gunner had already been picked up and we would look sweet racing and training in the same gear. They've got a dope looking West Coast themed line just for brand champions including the tri suit above and the singlet below (the two items I'm going to pick up for sure.)
Pretty pumped about getting accepted and it's pushing me to get going on the bike and in the pool so I can rep them with a little pride. You can check out what's up with me and the other brand champs here.
The first running shirt I ever bought over 7 years ago (an insulated long sleeve) is a Sugoi and it's still in the rotation today on cold days. Yeah, I know, that's kinda gross, but the thing looks as good as when I bought it. And I'm cheap. So it stays! Along with the five or six other items from them that have worked their way into my regular rotation.

Training has been pretty light compared to the build up to Vegas and it's been a challenge to get a handle on where things are fitness wise. I haven't spent any time in the pool or on the trainer in the past so there's nothing for me to compare to. I'm just trying to get as much time in as I can and go from there. One thing that's rad about being a total beginner in the water is that every swim there's so much improvement!
Last year early in the season I spent a lot of time strengthening the core and I've gotten back to that and hope to be well balanced and rangy by the time race season gets here. There's a kick ass core workout on Flotrack from Team Indiana Elite that I'd like to work into the program eventually after the basic stability exercises have addressed any muscles imbalances. An area that I could have worked harder last year.
Almost finished reading 'In Pursuit of Excellence' the first time and I'm going to have to re-read it for sure. Maybe hitting up a few pages in the A.M. while I'm, er, sitting, might not be the best way to retain the info...
Musically, two dudes that I'm big fans of, Andrew Bird and M. Ward, both dropped new albums but I haven't had a chance to hit them up yet. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fixing a hole

Keeping in mind the theme of 2009 (be less of a pussy) I've added a few things to my weekly routine to help toughen up a little mentally.
The first thing was to pick up a book recommended by Bree Wee and Paulo Souza. It's called 'In Pursuit of Excellence' and so far it's been, well, excellent. As a side note, I ordered it from a local library by way of Google books and was reminded once m ore why Google will one day rule the world. Three clicks and my library card number and the book was on it's way to the library nearest me. It was awesome. Yeah, that's right, I just said that ordering a book to a library using the internet was awesome. You know what else is awesome? Nerds like this guy.
Anyways, I've only read a few chapters but so far it's been really helpful in breaking the idea of mental preparedness into small action steps. The plan is to read it once through to get a feel for what it's all about and then go back and start working it.
Last season I started off strong with the core work but later in the year faded off because of having 'no time'. For 2009 I stole a great idea from my friend Brad who did this as his New Years resolution in 2008:
On Jan 1st, Brad did 15 push ups. On Jan 2nd, Brad did 15 push ups. Brad did 15 push ups every day that week. And on the first day of the next week, Brad did 16 push ups. And every day that week he did 16 push ups. On Monday the following week, Brad added one push up and did 17. And so on, and so on. Brad was doing push ups while his wife was in labor giving birth to their first child, a daughter. Brad did push ups EVERY DAY in 2008. And by the end of the year he was doing 67 a day. Brad was pretty much a machine. I voted him 'Most inspirational pecs 2008".
So that's what I'm going to do. I've added one challenging core exercise to the set as well and I'll be doing a few of both every day. In addition I'm doing a really rad core workout that I saw on Matt Fitzgerald's blog 3 times a week (the routine, aimed at runners, is at the bottom of the linked post). That should toughen me up a little. I debated taking a picture of my flabby ass once a month as a way to track the changes but there are probably enough naked pictures of me on the internet already.
A sad thing I discovered about myself last year was that I didn't really like pain. I was OK with a little but I didn't like 'race pain' and I never learned to handle that. When the big pain came, like I knew it would, I started to panic a little, tried to employ any one of my three feeble mental 'tricks' to make it go away, and then slowed down. Not this year. This year, I'm doing wall sits, using the same methodology as above. Started with 1 minute everyday. Added one minute a week. Three minutes of wall sitting gets the pain going in the legs pretty quick. Once I get to 10 minutes I'll start adding weight.
I read a cool quote from Lance Armstrong's book 'Every Second Counts' that my homeboy Jackson picked up for me at the thrift shop. I'm adopting it as my motto for 2009:
I have the will to suffer.
Oh, and I think I'm starting to learn to swim.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Years Photos

Me doing my best (worst) John Bonham impression.
"John Bonham's playing 'Moby Dick' for real! " Oh 'Stepbrothers'. What a film.

Jamie enthusiastic on M. I. C.

This kid should not be allowed to get a drivers license ever. Look at the crazy grin. I'm nervous already.

This one is pretty self explanatory...

Next morning we all went to the ocean for a little swim. Violet hitched a ride and was dressed appropriately for the weather. Others of us, however, were not.

Rob and I congratulating each other on an excellent swim while Brian looks on. And yes, those are his goggles on his head.

Pretty rad way to ring in the New Year. Thanks Gunn's for hosting such a kick ass party!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 recap and 2009 looking forward

I have to start this post with a big shout out to Julie Gunn who was supposed to email me pictures of Dec 31/08-Jan 1/09. No pics as of yet but when they arrive I'll throw a few up. It was a pretty sweet night of Rock Band where I rocked the mic right. I scored very highly according to the computer but sadly not according my band mates. Haters.
New Years Eve was followed up with a breakfast of banana chocolate chip pancakes and a mid day trip to the Pacific Ocean for a little Polar Bear swim. I'm counting that in the training log as the first swim of the year. Total: 2 meters. Hardest set ever. Is a Speedo supposed to be that baggy in the front?

2008 was a pretty rad year (for training) and marked a number of firsts for me as well as a few personal bests:
I set out (and started this blog because of) trying to qualify for Boston. And I did. So 'A' goal for 2008 acheived!
PB at 10K by 13 seconds, broken by a couple minutes later in the year
PB at 26.2 by 20 minutes! (and a BQ by 13 seconds! Close call!)
First race at 13.1.
PR at 13.1-ha.
First year with a running coach
First online fued/challenge with another runner
First super public race day smack down by said runner...

All in all, a great year for me training wise. I logged more miles last year than any year in my life so far and did it while remaining injury free for the most part. I had always seen 50 miles as my peak weekly milage and this year logged a couple 70 mile weeks with no ill effects (aside from the odd day I sleepwalked through the first half of my work day. Note: If I did your financial planning between August and December, you might want to recheck the math!) which brings me to the big take away for me from 2008:

When done properly my body can handle a heavier training load than I previously thought. This is good news for a guy like me who doesn't have any real natural gifts but isn't afraid to put in the work. I'm making the switch over from running to triathlon this year and although I was a little apprehensive at first, now I'm pretty excited to see whether I can learn to swim and ride a bike up a hill and not just down.

Even though I set some big PB's and had what I consider a great training year, I didn't perform as well as I could have. I neglected the mental aspect or training during the year. That brings me to the big goal for 2009:

Be less of a pussy.

I've ordered "Pursuit of Excellence" from my local library and will focus a lot more attention this year on the mental game with the goal of getting tougher between the ears and bringing pride to my countrymen and women around the world. Long story short: I'm going to learn to "suck it up, princess!"

Oh, and also, I've sworn off candy.