Friday, May 30, 2008

Wet start to ride home

The swim was good today, back to normal, still.
2K 39:30, nice and easy and relaxed. Chatted with some of the regulars. A trio of kids showed up and took over the lane I was in. Since they had rockets installed by proctologists, I moved into the next lane where people were swimming more my speed. The fastest of the trio was doing a relaxed swim at about my all out pace.

I rode home from work for the first time. Linda dropped me and my hybrid off. The morning looked nice, and just as I was thinking about shutting it down and heading out, it started raining. I didn't care. I could see that it would soon pass. Sure enough, from the office over Deerfoot and it had essentially stopped. From the zoo on it was nice.

The ride home is almost exactly 30 K, and took 1:24, riding nice and easy, just riding along and enjoying the scenery. I worked just a bit to keep cadence high to help flush out my legs and get them warmed up for the monster ride tomorrow. And no, I don't know why mapmyride put that straight line to join the office (north end) to home. It screwed up the milage too, but I have the bike computer for that. I took the scenic route through Sandy Beach scoping out where we're planning to hold our company picnic. Somehow, the hill up and out of Sandy Beach doesn't seem so bad anymore.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

The 4am run, reprised, faster

Back on May 8th, I burst out the door at 4am for a 90 minute run (14/1)in the cold rain. Blogged here. This evening I did that same run in 80 minutes, 19/1. I pushed a bit harder on this run, aiming for a low zone 3 heart rate. In fact my average heart rate is 126 bpm over the 80 minutes. It's about 10.5 K.

There was no steady pace particularly. My heart rate was up and down. I'd start thinking about Vulcan a week from now, and my heart rate would increase. Then I'd think about what I was doing now it it would drop again. Or I'd pick up the pace just a little and the heart rate would go up a lot. I had a strong finish, with heart rate up in the mid 130's for the last 12 minutes. My feet feel a little tired, but legs are good.

Looking forward to a Friday am swim, then riding home from work nice and easy on my hybrid, and (sob!) my last massage from my wonderful therapist until she visits from Cortes Island. Sat is a major quadzilla breaking, lung burning, heart bursting ride with Susi and Jenna. Susi says that if she's going to be given devil horns she's gonna be worthy of them! She has such a route planned! I only hope these two fierce competitors don't push so hard to make the other beg for mercy that they drop me out in the boonies in the middle of the ride. I know Jenna can kick my ass in the pool and on the run, and Susi can easily outrun me. We'll see how close to the hurl zone I come trying to keep up on the bike. I seem to remember Susi saying that if I keep up she'll buy all the sushi I can eat. Look for deets on Sunday. If I have the energy to type...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swim surprise

Well, I haven't forgotten how to swim after all. Faithful readers will know I've been a bit off my feed for the swim lately. Today was back to what I think of as normal. I'm really not sure what was different about my stroke, but it did feel smoother and better coordinated with my kick.

I didn't start off as strong as normal, but swam quite consistent 500 m splits.
First 9:40 (580 seconds)
Second 19:25 (585 seconds)
Third 29:11 (611 seconds)

My inner shark showed up for the first visit in a while. Didn't say where he'd been, just muttered about "secret shark stuff". He showed up just as the two girls in the next lane started some intervals that had them swimming just a little faster than me. For about 10 seconds. Ha! Together we picked up the pace, and left them behind. Then kept the pace up.

Toward the end I was starting to fade a bit, and without the competition of anyone in the next lane anymore, relaxed. I'd thought about carrying on for another 500 m, but decided it was more important to remember it as a faster swim that went well, rather than go the distance and have it fade into obscurity.

Did some core and flexibility work in the dive tank. We'll mark this down as a solid 45 min.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Accidently fast (for me) 5K

This morning was a 5K run in 36:04. Average heart rate of 121. I took lap readings on my watch every K, but then forgot to write the numbers down and then reset it for my ride this evening. The first K was about 7:45, the next two were under 7 min, and the next two a little over. I didn't mean to run that fast, honest! I just kept my heart rate nice and low and was aiming for a nice smooth stride.

This evening the weather web page said it was 18. Lying $#@! After work I drove most of the road to Nepal. Starting after you turn south again, the paving is done both lanes almost down to 586, or whatever the highway is that goes from Millarville to Okotoks. The pavement is nice and smooth, but you have to watch out for some sample cores taken out of the road. Why?? They still have to repave the bit leading south from 22X, and the east west jog.

I really wasn't sure how much I wanted to ride tonight, so I put Estela in the car and drove down to the top of the new pavement. I figured I'd do some hill work. It took me half an hour to go 7.25 Km. Uphill. Into the wind. Freezing my toes off. There was no way it was 18. I'm sure glad I had a sweat shirt in the car. Only 10 minutes to come back that same 7.25 Km. Map my ride says I went up 250 m in that 7 K.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nice and smooth swim

I could have slept more today. Something about all this rain, and fairly big workout yesterday. Felt pretty good getting into the pool. Still getting used to these goggles. Once they seal, they're fine, but there's a hollow beside my nose that is difficult.

Swam 45 minutes, but wasn't tracking distance. 2200 m at best and maybe only 2150. Although I was still slow, I was feeling much smoother as far as my arms were concerned. I started at 18 strokes per length, and fairly quickly went to 20, then to 22. Kick was a bit of a shambles.

It was a funny sort of tired. My heart rate was pretty low, and arms were going around pretty good, but they didn't want to pull any harder. I could have kept going. Otherwise they felt fine. Breathing was good. Shoulders good at the time, though they're a bit stiff now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I didn't know my butt could read

Here's the story. The IGP™ says 3.5 to 4 hr on bike, aiming for min 100K. Well, call me a weenie if you feel you should, but 8 C and rain is not an incentive to ride outside. I don't mind cold. I'm not thrilled about rain because of visibility issues but I suppose I could cope with a light warm rain. But cold AND rain? Nope. Change tires and set up trainer.

My bike computer is set to get milage off the front wheel, so I've no idea how far I actually went. My thought was to make this a fairly tough workout and try to replicate riding outside as much as I could. I wore my helmet. I stuffed the bento box full of bites of Cliff's bars. Loaded up the water bottles, and put one in my jersey pocket. Didn't ride the 10/5 the IGP called for, but when up and down hills pretending I was on the 22X course. The first two hours were more pretending I was going into the wind, and going uphill. The second two hours was the ride back, assuming no wind but more downhill and high cadence work. I tried to go from hill to high cadence quickly.

I had a bad bit at 2:15 or so, then settled down again. A little over 3 hours and my butt made it clear that 4 hours was going to be it, and not one second more. I had sort of been thinking about going 4.5 hours just to be sure of going 100 K. At the end of the ride I had finished my two bottles of energy drink, and almost one more bottle of water. Sweated like a stuck pig, with a small puddle under my bike. I had to put a towel over my bento box or I would have had Cliff bar soup. At one point I bent over to pedal standing up, and a small river poured out of my helmet.

Even so, my average bike hr wasn't all that high at 113, so I suppose I should have pushed harder. I did manage to get up to 144 briefly by pedalling like mad. Average cadance was 76, which is pretty close to my outdoor rides. 3837 calories.

5 min transition.

Ran 5 K in 44:32 average hr 133. Legs felt great. Running in rain is ok, but I was one wet soggy puppy when I got home.

Weekly totals
Swim .66 hr
Bike 5 hr
Run 5 hr !!!!!!
Total 10.66

This was a bit of a rest week for me, and with all the running I didn't feel the least guilt about dialing back on my swim. I'm having a weird upper arm soreness. Not sure what I did, maybe slept on it funny. We'll see how it feels during the swim tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weird throat feeling during swim and run

2K swim 41 minutes. It was odd that it felt like I couldn't get a good breath. You know that feeling like there's a belch half way out, or like there is food part way down but won't go up or down? Or something at the top of your shoulders is tight and is almost ready to click? All through the swim, and all through my evening run.

The plan was for a spin on Tues evening, but I was beat and went to bed early. The plan was to run Thursday morning and spin Wed night. However it wasn't raining, but was supposed to rain tomorrow. So I figured I'd run tonight, and spin in the morning.

Ran 5 x 18/2. I don't know how far I went and don't really feel like tracing it out on mapmyrun. However I chugged along at what seemed like my normal pace. My breathing was a bit more laboured than my heart rate would lead me to expect. My legs felt nice and steady with only the slightest of twinges. They were getting pretty tired at the end so I'm glad I didn't try to make it to the 2 hour mark. It was a nice evening for a run, and Fish Creek is beginning to bloom. Walked 3 minutes before, 5 after, and stretched for a while. Bedtime!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday morning run

You'd think after all the weekend activity I'd sleep really well, but not. Still, I was out the door at 5:30 for a short run. "Short run" of course is relative. A few months ago this would have been a major effort. But today, 5K in 41 minutes, with an average heart rate of 118 bpm seemed nice and easy. I'm still getting used to running in the morning with warm weather.

I was a little creaky at first, and felt very heavy. My stride didn't feel really smooth till the 3.5 or 4 K mark. Mostly I kept a steady pace and my heart rate kept dropping as I warmed up more.

Looking for blog news of training camp! Photos!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nice easy recovery run

It being the Victoria day weekend I felt I should do at least a little something in the yard. Cleaned out some of the dead stuff, mowed and trimmed lawn, then raked. Not the brutal de-thatching raking, just the normal light raking to clean up cut grass and leaves. I had a great sleep last night and didn't feel too creaky this am, and the lawn work was a good wake up stretch.

Just after that I slathered on some sunscreen and went out for my recovery run. I had always thought "recovery run" was an oxymoron, but it was just what I needed. Nice and easy. It was a beautiful day for it, warm but not too hot, and a periodic nice breeze. I walked to the 37 street path and headed north. The plan said 90 min max, but I wanted to go a bit further if possible, with a max time of 2 hours. Anything over 90 minutes and I'd walk 10 and 1 if I had to. My feeling was that I'd had a good warmup, I wouldn't be pushing it, and my wonderful massage therapist is coming over this afternoon.

At the bridge over the Elbow in the Weasel Head (57:30) I turned around, walked a minute and a half while I snarfed the last chunk of Cliff's bar. I was back to my starting point in 1:56 total time. The trip back was one minute longer than the trip there, and I'll attribute that to the hill on the way out. I was aiming to keep heart rate in low 120's, but the trip back, especially last 45 min or so it seemed to be in the 130's. Still, my breathing was never laboured, and I didn't get any complaints out of my calves. Toward the end my IT band was getting a bit tired. The pace felt steady and natural. I easily could have kept going, though I was out of liquid and was beginning to get hungry. With a little better nutrition planning, and some aid stations for water, I could have kept going for a while longer. Another hour longer?

Lots of people out for a ride, some runners, and one incredible roller blader. Girls, you are sorry you weren't there. Seriously tight abs, great legs, and going like the devil was right behind him. Don't worry, I had some eye candy as well. For a while I was singing "The Girl from Ipanema" to myself. I digress. Saw a guy in a Speed Theory jersey on his bike, but didn't get a good look at him. Looking forward to reading the blogs from Penticton!

13.8 K according to mapmyrun
126 Avg heart rate
144 peak hr
103 min hr
1878 calories

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Big windy Sunday, windy

Saturday I ended up working 5 hours or so do do the final tests on a software deployment. All went well but it didn't leave me feeling like doing much. I hung around the house, did a bit of yard work and tidying, did the prep for the big day tomorrow, but mainly tried to relax. Slept poorly. Damn HAWKS helicoper.

The big day at last! I was thinking of my buddies out tackling Richter, and here I was wanting to do a mere 100 K on fairly flat ground.

During the swim I was feeling Darth Vader-ish. "These goggles have failed me for the last time!". Then I channeld Zorg saying the same thing and nearly cracked up. But leaky goggles. Grrr. Bought new ones. Swimming next to another tri athlete. I kept up to her during her sprints, and watched her nearly puke after doing a set of 9 (count'em 9) strokes on one breath. Not me buddy. We chatted about stuff for a few minutes. She showed me a nasty sunburn across her back, just between where the bike shorts stopped, and the shirt began, from earlier this week. She'll be doing Osooyos instead of Chinook. Better stock up on sunscreen is all I can say.

Swam 2K in just under 41 minutes goggles and all. Drove home, completed transition to bike, but wasn't trying to rush. It was MUCH more important to get everything. I even had a checklist, and even used it. Sunscreen was the top item, in big important letters. Even did a swipe across the top of my shorts just in case. Out the door and off! It was actually more cloudy than sunny, and not too hot. Very nice for riding!

I started the ride knowing I'd being going into the wind. Stated goal, stay tucked, pedal strong, get through the wind and have fun on the way back, nibbling nutrition every 10 minutes. So much for the plan.

Cold Cliff bar chunks are easy to get out of the bag. The way back they all glued themselves back together and that was a bit tougher to deal with. About Priddis I nearly dug the whole mess out all at once for one massive chew. But I pictured 5'2 of fury looking disapproving and didn't. Very handy having Bento Box, thanks again Julie, post race goodies are on me at the next race we're in.

Sure enough the wind was strong going west on 22X. Was tucked in for most of the first hour and could feel it in the top of my thighs. It wasn't so bad near Priddis, and picked up again after. I turned around at a campground on the left, but I forget the name, just a hair short of 5 K past the info station. Washroom!

Heading back is always a good feeling on this route. The tough half is done. The wind was my buddy for now, the traitorous bastard. Back to Priddis was fast, finally seeing lots of other cyclists, and then I ran into a headwind again, and it stayed there all the way home. ALL THE WAY HOME, DAMMIT! Heading back turned into a slog. I knew I wasn't going to have a good time, but I didn't care. I wanted to get it over with. The last hour on the bike was tough. I wanted to get off and do a good stretch, but I was afraid I wouldn't get back on again.

Oddly enough, it wasn't my butt that hurt. From the top down, the base of my neck, my shoulders, my hands, my low back, my hips, IT band, quads, calves a little, and the balls of my feet. I shifted around and stretched as best as I could, which didn't help the time in the wind. And of course, traffic was good so I had no excuse to stop and stand up at either 22X and 37, or the light on 37. Did a short "penalty loop", just to bring the milage to over 100K since I turned around just a little before the 50 K mark.

In one sense, it was good to have the wind blowing the wrong way for about 3.5 of the 4.3 hours I was on the bike. It's not beyond reason the same thing will happen race day, and now I know I can cope. But I was sure grumpy about it at the time.

The run went better than I thought it would. Legs didn't complain. Actually, they liked this standing up thing. I chugged around the neighbourhood slow and steady, no need for a walk, though my heart rate was higher than I liked. I contemplated going a little further than the 30 min called for by the IGP™. Then pictured IG frowning, and pointing to the schedule, and didn't.

Called my emergency pick up person to let him know I was done, walked a bit, then stretched a bit and probably should have done more. Had a nice long lukewarm shower, then a snack and a beer! (Hi Kelsey.) Then a nap with Amelia. Naps are always better with a cat in your lap.

Here's all the numbers for those that care:
100.25 K
4:20 bike time (1st 50 2:24, 2nd 1:57)
23.23 Average speed (wind!)
76 average cadance
77.5 K max speed.

6:45 T2
3.5 K
30 min run

129 bpm overall heart rate
151 bpm peak heart rate
5030 total calories (minus 4 Cliff's bars and 1 litre energy drink)

Total activity time 5 hours (swim, bike, run). Trying not to think of the 17 K further I have to run during Chinook.

Weekly totals
Swim 3.33 hr
Bike 7.16 hr
Run 3 hr
Total 13.5 hr.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Got'er done

Not much to say here. Felt flat and out of gas, swam slow.

Some distance 45 minutes. 15 minutes in dive tank for core and stretching.

The number is 230, but I think I'm still getting skinnier.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fun easy spin

Tonight was to be an hour of easy spin, high rpm and low heartrate, upper zone 1 if possible. I felt like a dork all dressed up in my gear, pedaling like mad at about 10 Khp. I noodled around the neighbourhood for a while, then when riding past a co-worker's home, found him outside working on a bike computer. I stopped to chat for a minute. His wife showed up a few minutes later ready to ride. So we chatted as rode together up the path from Woodbine to the reservoir. She kept going to the hospital and I went back down 24th street to home, nice and easy for what was really about an hour ride.

What's interesting to me is that the hill on 24th used to be a major effort to get up. I barely noticed it tonight. My legs liked the ride and feel less tight. A swim tomorrow should help as well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ok swim, tired run

Swim 1500 m 29:24 then 30 minutes core and flexibility. Getting back in the groove, but not quite there.

My schedule calls for a long run Thursday morning, but I didn't want to get up that early, so I went tonight. I love the route down into Fish Creek, and there was hardly anyone out tonight. I can't imagine why, it was a perfect evening for a run.

90 minutes 14/1 going a little over 11 K. Calves were tight, tight, tight the whole time. Everything else was good. Walked a little before and after, and stretched pretty good after. Linda's going to put some liniment on calves before I go to bed. Here's my map.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I almost ate a bird

Out the door about 4:15 this morning. I ran the anti-clockwise route shown here. As you can see, it's about 7.7 K, and today I did in the one hour called for by the IGP™, doing about run 15 walk 45 seconds or so. I walked about 5 minutes before, and the first part of the run was slow as it took me a while to warm up. Nice morning for a run, although I didn't see any wildlife except for one bunny in my front patio. Walked a few minutes afterward as well.

The run went well. I didn't feel fast, but I felt strong and picked up the pace a couple times when I noticed I was running comfortably and breathing was easy. The hill out of Fish Creek doesn't seem so steep as it once did, and it isn't as long.

I was thinking about doing the road to Nepal for my ride, but someone at work thought the paving was still happening. They're right. I pedaled out to where the long hill starts. There's new pavement going south, and there was a ton of paving trucks going back and forth. I decided I didn't need to get any closer. You can see the actual route I took this evening.

The wind was something else!! Holy Hannah! Gusting straight out of the west at least at 30 K. At one point I was riding with the wind at about 35, and could feel it at my back. Most of the pavement I was on south of 22X wasn't very good, except for 773 itself. I nearly took a spill on some gravel about the half way point as I was turning a corner. The wind caught me just at the wrong time. I enjoyed riding past some kind of horse event getting set up directly south of Spruce Meadows. No idea what it was, but there were some pretty girls doing stuff.

I was hoping to be out for 2 hours, and it turned out to be 1:50 for just a hair over 40 K. Average speed 22.4 K which isn't bad considering I spent about 3 hours pedaling into the teeth of the wind up the hill between Spruce Meadows and 37th. Most of that was on the drops and I can feel it in my guts now. Max speed 62 and nearly scared the crap out of me doing it. Average cadence 71.

The ride went pretty good, though I wasn't feeling quite as strong as I'd hoped for. I was having some pretty good twinges in my left calf off and on. Still, I did power up a couple of the hills, and had lots of gas left at the end of the ride to try to speed through the school zone.

I can hear Susi asking about the bird. Humongous crow. There were several of them on the road eating something that I hope was dead. I came swooping around a curve with the wind. They scattered, then one caught a breeze and it cut back in front of me. I think if I'd been reaching out I could have touched it. It looked a little startled and twitched it's wings so it went up and away. I was doing better than 50 Kph at the time and a face full of big black bird had NOT been on the agenda. The rest of the ride back was uneventful, except for it getting windier and colder.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Shambling excuse of a swim

I'm consoled by the thought that if you have a choice of which tri discipline to have a bad day at, you pick the swim. As long as you make the time cutoff things can still be good. I felt fine from the weekend workout, and my legs are good, but the swim today was a struggle. Unco-ordinated. Sloppy ineffectual kick that was out of time with my arms. Generally slow and feeble. But I didn't push it, and worked through it, and about 10 laps felt good-ish toward the end of the swim, although still slow.

2K 41 minutes. (covers face and slinks off.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

90 K 3:29:30 then 5K 36:53

I felt the blogger love!

Big time!

Thank you.

90 K
3:29:30 (stopwatch time) 3:27:16 (bike computer trip time)
26 Kph overall average speed
79 rpm average cadence
77 Kph max speed
128 bpm average heart rate overall
148 bpm peak heart rate
4198 calories
5 min transition
1K 7:50
2K 7:16
3K 7:02
4K 7:35
5K 7:10
Total run time if I've done the math right is 36:53
4 Cliffs energy bars
1 litre energy drink

It started off cool and cloudy and I was beginning to think I'd be on the trainer again. But about noon it cleared up and started getting warmer. So I dressed for the bike, got run stuff ready, and stuffed pockets full of energy bars and extra drink.

My best case goal was to do 100 K, and test out this new-fangled nutrition thing, but I was willing to back down the milage depending on how I felt and what the weather did. At first I wondered what the heck I was doing. My legs felt heavy and tired. I probably should have worn another layer. I did a bit of a systems check and decided to keep going for at least a while yet. Plus, the blogger love began to kick in.

Opening a Cliff's bar on a bike at 30 Kph is an interesting experience for someone who's teeth don't quite perfectly meet. A small nibble said I liked the taste. But the whole reaching around to the pocket every 10 minutes is for the birds. I figured I'd be on the bike 4 hours, eat one bar an hour, spaced into 3 bites. Yes, I can get a third of a Cliff's bar in my mouth at once. Washed down with energy drink it's pretty good.

Passing Priddis there was a lot more snow and it was getting colder. Oh, I was wearing shorts and a short sleeved Speed Theory shirt. I can just see these other cyclist all much more heavily dressed blogging about this lunatic they saw on an orange and black Orbea that wasn't wearing enough.

Past the Bragg Creek turn off and things are going pretty good all things considered, but it started getting cold. I was beginning to reconsider 100 K. Then, right at the 45 K mark, exactly at the 45 K mark, almost perfectly exactly at the 45 K mark is the Elbow Valley info station. Open. With washrooms. I took it as a sign, turned in, peed, drank, and turned around. The people that want to call me a weenie for "only" doing 90K can email me at the address

The thing I like about this ride is that it took almost exactly 2 hours to get there, for an average pace of 22.5 K. Coming home is more downhill than up, and usually the wind is behind you. I got home in 1.5 hours for an average pace of 30 Kph.

The ride back was great! I was feeling strong and pedaling well. Passing the on ramp from 22 south I began to realize I had a shot at 3.5 hours, and pedaled a little stronger. I had the gas. My inner shark came to visit about then, as I passed two other cyclists. On mountain bikes or hybrids, but still. My inner shark was all excited and snapped his teeth at them as we passed. I just smiled. As I was coming up to 37, someone crossed coming from the road to Nepal. I tried catching him or her, and if it hadn't been for the damn light at 37th street I'd have done it too. My inner shark was a little disappointed and says that sharks don't have traffic lights. I pointed out sharks don't have to contend with objects 10 times their weight moving at least 3 times as fast and possibly 10 times as fast. He swam off about then.

The start of the run was pretty scary. Somebody taped a big weight to the back of my calves. I had to walk a little bit, maybe a dozen steps or so during the first K. My left knee twinged a few times, but then I settled and chugged along. The 2nd and 3rd K felt pretty good, then I started getting a bit tired. But the blogger love came through and helped push me to the finish.

I walked for 5 minutes after and did about 10 minutes of stretching, then was starting to get cold. Nice shower, pasta dinner, a beer! and some blogging. I'll stretch more a bit later.

For lots of people this would be a hohum experience. But not for me. I'm tickled pink. I'm not sure there's any other time in my life that I'd be able to have done this. Now I'm going to sit in a comfy chair with my feet up, hopefully with a cat walking on my legs, drink my beer, and chat with my wife and her sister. Life is very good.

Hope everybody has a great race in Lethbridge! I'll be sending some blogger love down for you.

Weekly total
Swim 2.3 hr
Bike 5.75
Run 3.1 hr
Total 11.15 hr

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fastest swim in a while

The pool felt good today. Not breakthrough good, but back to what I think of as normal. After the last couple of workouts I wasn't really sure what to expect. I also didn't know what goal to set for the workout. In the end, I decided to do a bit of warmup, then some brisk 100 m intervals.

The 500 m warmup went quick, 9:20. Not a record for me, but only a few seconds off it. I messed up a turn and something went click in my back so I didn't push the last 150 m, but I don't think I was quite on track for sub-9 minutes anyway. At least once before the Vulcan tri I'd like to do 500 m in 9 minutes. I told them I could cause I don't want to be with a group struggling to do it in 11 min. I think I can if I put it all together and have a good day. The first time is the hardest. After a minute or so of rest I got into the intervals.

5 x 100 m on 2:15 start. The time ranged between 100 and 105 seconds. Again, not record times for me but a good solid effort that I'm pretty pleased with. My kick felt strong again and it was nice to be going fast in the water again. The last 50 m was pushing hard to break 100 seconds, and I figured trying for another 100 m would land me well on the way to the retaste zone.

Then into the dive tank for core and flexibility. That's going better too. For one of them I almost got my heels hooked onto the slightly raised tiles. Used to be I couldn't even get my toes that high. The progress is nice to see.

I've been looking at the weather forecast for the weekend, and trying to figure out a bike route that keeps me east. I'd like to stay out of wet roads from melting snow, but I'm also not thrilled about the 22X bridge over MacLeod Trail. It's awfully narrow. I'm thinking of going down toward Okotoks, then over toward Millarville. If the roads get yucky I can always turn around and come back the same way. Or maybe I'll just go west on 22x and see what it's like. Though it's normally my rest day, Saturday is looking like the nicer day. IGP™ says 2.5 to 3.5 hr with a 20 to 30 min run after.

The number is 230, which is the same as a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I have no shame. None.

It hailed and snowed today. I saw all sorts of weather go past my office window during the 11 hours I was in it today. When I got home it was 3C outside, and looking like rain. At this point I was still willing to consider going outside for my ride. But after a bite to eat and one last look, I started seeing snowflakes in the rain. That was enough for me. Inside, on the trainer. But that's not the no shame part.

At the end of the Tues ride I got to thinking about Julie and making tiny adjustments to the bike. I'd been thinking of tweaking the saddle position slightly, and finally did it. I moved up maybe a quarter of an inch, and forward maybe the same at most. Riding just a bit more on Tues felt nice.

Then I got on the bike tonight. Hoo-ra! as Susi would say. It felt much better right from the start. I wasn't a minute into it when I knew I'd have a good session. Five minutes into my warm up I'm doing 95 rpm nice and easy. The stated goal was to have a high rpm easy gear workout, aiming to stay over 100 rpm. It turns out I set my goal too low. But that's not the no shame part.

After a 10 min warm up I started doing some max smooth rpm, 30 sec fast, 90 sec easy. OMG! 115 was easy. 120 was good. 125 was nice and steady. 120 for 10 sec then 125, then 130 for ten sec. 130 was a bit of work with a little bit of bouncing at the end. In all cases but the last I could have gone longer. Then I settled into some steady high rpm with some easy bits. That turned out to be 8 min at 100+ rpm and 2 min at about 85 rpm. Five times. At first it was hard to pedal as slow as 100. Really that's what it felt like. A couple times when I wanted to break the rythym I pedaled up to 110 rpm. Then 5 min cooldown for 1.25 hr. Almost all of this happened in mid to low zone 2, with the average heart rate at 103.

This was, no question, the single best spin session since I brought Estela home. I had fun on the bike. I felt strong and smooth and fast and comfortable. Granted, all this happened in an easy gear, BUT WHO CARES! (Ruby Rhod again.) I wanted a light and fast spin to flush out the legs, and get my lungs going just a bit. I could have gone on a little longer, but I was getting a bit tired (duh, with the run this am, do you think??) and wanted to go out feeling good. A bit of stretching finished off. I almost feel like going for another run, snow and all, but I'm not that stupid.

Here's the no shame part. To prove that I was in zone two, and because I was in a good mood, right from the start I sang along with the ipod sound track. Loudly. Where I didn't know the words I sang the lead instruments. Linda said that Amelia the cat kept giving her the most peculiar looks, and for a while tried to hide her ears. Here's the ride sound track for those that are interested:
My Best Friend's Girl - The Cars
Hello There - Cheap Trick (live in Budokan, just about the best rock and roll album ever!)
Atomic - Blondie
Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood
Bat out of Hell - Meat Loaf
Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
The Boogie Bumper - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Balrog Boogie - Diablo Swing Orchestra
Good Times Roll - The Cars
Magical Mystery Tour - Cheap Trick
Rock this Town - Stray Cats
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
Jumpin from six to six - Colin James
We Will Rock You - Queen
Tanzila - Hevia
Wonder Girl - Sparks
One Little Victory - Rush
Learning to Fly - Pink Floyd

4am run in the rain!

Yes sleepy-heads (and you know who you are), I was out the door at 4AM into the pouring rain. It was 2 C out. It was colder than running in -whatever it was during the winter.

But the rain stopped about 20 minutes into it, and it turned into a nice run. I was worried about crashing and burning on my first 1.5 hour run. Rather than a long out and back, I ran a C shaped route through the neighbourhood so I wouldn't have too far to walk back. Just in case. My wife insisted I take my cellphone. (Note to self, next time put the cell phone in a different pocket than the cookies.)

The goal was to have a steady run, at the pace just before needing to start breathing deeply. Without a Garmin I don't know my pace throughout the run, but I know the heart rate where I started breathing deeper gradually got higher as I settled in. At fist it happened about 124 bpm, and gradually rose up to about 130 at the end of the run.

The run divided itself neatly into six 15 minute segments, 14/1. About the 50 minute mark I noticed a bit of a side stitch coming on, but it went away again. Legs were tired, but steady, with no real complaints. Walked a little before and after, with some stretching, but probably not enough. I turned around at the 44 minute mark. It was that or run on Anderson Road. Then I got back to my starting point right on 90 minutes, so the pace on the way back was 2 minutes slower. The last 15 minutes is mostly up hill and mostly into a very cold wind. I was thinking about singing Susi's "my toes are cold" song, but they weren't that cold, and the houses aren't that far way.

Overall a great run! I was a bit nervous about going that long, but it was all good. Ate two cookies early on, and drank energy drink throughout, probably half litre or so. 90 minutes 14/1, about 10.5 K. First time I've ever run that far. Ever in my life!

Biking for tonight looks like indoors. I saw snow this morning, and the weather says there's lots coming. I'll wait and see; I've been surprised by Calgary weather many times.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

nice swim

The goal for today was to have a nice smooth swim at my normal pace. No pushing to be faster, just smooth. I settled in pretty good right from the start feeling better than the swim the other day, and then it only got better. I'm really liking this idea of stating the goal for the workout. It helps with focus.

I communed with my inner shark for a while, just going back and forth in a contented way. He wanted to attack blubber guts in the next lane that swims so splashy, but I wouldn't let him. After a while he wandered off to where ever it is that inner sharks go when humans aren't paying attention, but came back during the last 5 laps.

I wasn't really keeping close track of time, but happened to check my watch at 1K, for 19:38, and at 2K for 39:48. So I was a hair off my pace for the last K, but I could feel myself getting sloppy during laps 25 to 35, then picked it up for a strong smooth finish.

It was nice to feel the water again, trying subtly different strokes to see how they felt. There's two distinct strokes now, and I'm not sure which is faster. Or which could be faster. I counted strokes per 25 m several times and was bang on 20 each time, without trying to minimize the number, just swimming. I felt strong and relaxed, and never even came close to running out of breath. My legs felt good from the spin session last night, but I didn't want to try to kick too hard.

Rest evening tonight, and that typically means laundry. I might have a go at the mystery inner tube. Pump it up and it slowly goes flat, but I can't find a stream of bubbles when I hold it under water. There's wine bottles to clean, maybe change back to the trainer tire because tomorrow evening looks too crappy for a ride outside. Plus get ready for another morning run. That will be my big run this week, so I'll have to be up ready to be out of the house at 4. That's AM for you sleepy-heads. I'll finish up at 5:30 just as my wife is getting out of bed.

40 min swim
20 min core and flexibility. Big progress on the one that goes like this. (demonstrates) I can almost get my toes out of the water!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tues evening spin

There were some logistical issues at our house last night that prevented me from getting the car all loaded up with bike stuff for spin class. Between the run in the morning, (yes indeed I was out the door at 4:35 AM) eating breakfast and showering I didn't have time today either.

It was kind of cool and looked like it would rain any minute when I got home this afternoon. I had a light supper and relaxed with a cat for a few minutes then headed into the basement for my spin session. Between the longish ride on Sunday and the run this morning I didn't want to put in a big bike session. The plan was to warm up thoroughly and do an easy gear, high cadence workout. I was mostly aiming for low zone 2.

Things went pretty well. I did some max smooth cadence bursts for 30 seconds, then 90 seconds easier. I maxed out about 125 rpm without bouncing. Settled in at 95 to 100 rpm for a while, then eased off a bit to cool down. I had initially though no more than 90 minutes, and called it a day at 60. My legs felt strong and relaxed, but the last max rpm after the main set was not as smooth as the ones before the main set. Stretched out afterward, and bed is calling me.

Mon swim, Tues run

Totally spaced on updating my blog last night. Monday swim was ok. Full lanes. My choice was to swim with the two girls I often see. I usually swim faster than them, but lately we're about the same speed. Or, I could swim with the two guys that swim faster than me, one of them significantly faster. I was feeling rested and ready to go. Guess which I picked? Two guesses and the first doesn't count. In a half K, the one guy lapped me several times, and I think the other lapped me once.

I went out too hard from the beginning trying to keep up, and wasn't smooth. It took about 750 m to get back into the groove, and by then I was tired. It was a good workout, but I suspect if I'd joined the girls I'd have have warmed up a bit and got in the groove sooner by not trying to push the pace. Still, it was an ok time.
1K 19:30
20 minutes core and flexibility in the dive tank.

The run this morning was great! I just happened to wake up at 4:15 or so, with all my running stuff laid out the night before in the other bedroom. I was out the door at 4:35 to start the same loop down through Fish Creek I did a week or so ago. It's 7.7 K back to the house, and I had hopes of doing that in an hour. I got to about 7.3 K in the hour, then walked the last 500 m or so to cool down. I did a short walk and slow start to running to warm up. IG didn't specify a run/walk cycle, so I just ran, nice and easy. About the 35 minute mark I walked less than a minute while I was looking for a water fountain at Bebo Grove, but there isn't one.

But I did see a white tail deer also looking for a water fountain. Or something. It was cautious of me, but didn't go bounding off. I was within maybe 10 steps of it. That wasn't the case with the beaver. I think I startled it. First thing I know is there's a really loud splash in the pond beside the path, and some ripples looking like something big is swimming underwater. There were also a ton of bunnies out for their morning hop.

Legs felt good all the way through. There were tired noises, but no pre-cramp complaints. Toward the end I was getting a bit tired, and I don't think I was going as fast, and my heart rate was up a bit.
For the hour:
123 average heart rate
143 peak heart rate
87 min heart rate
930 total calories

I'd have liked to stretch a bit more, but I'm writing this at lunch time and things feel fine. I'm planning to spin at home tonight, doing easy gear, high cadence work to flush out my legs.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Road to Nepal is under construction

BUT WHO CARES! (Channelling Ruby Rhod from 5th Element there for a minute). Even a bad day outside on the bike is better than on the trainer, and today was a very good day.

The map will show you where I went. The pavement isn't so good when you leave 773 going down toward Millarville Race Track. However there's one spot about 20 into the ride where you're coming to the top of a hill, and you get a stunning view of the mountains and foothills. That's after a very long hill that's deceptive in places. I thought I was on a flat bit of road, and wondering why I'm only doing 12 Kph. The view makes it all worth it.

What a difference a few days of rest makes! Last Tuesday, an hour at 25 K and I was done like dinner. Today I could have kept going for a while yet. Here's the numbers:
65 K total distance, well, 64.89 according to the bike computer.
2:48 trip time
23.25 Kph average pace
75 rpm average cadence
77 Kph, max speed
129 average heart rate over bike leg

4:50 transition average heart rate 112

1st run K, 7:30 min, 130 average hr
2nd run K, 7 min, 132 average hr

128 average heart rate over whole workout
152 peak heart rate
80 min heart rate
3128 total calories

I started about 10 am, and the weather was PERFECT! Warm, but not too hot, with some nice cool breezes every now and then. My thought was to have a nice ride, with my only goal to keep my cadence up. I even stated that out loud as I got on Estela.

The construction slowed me down a bit. They're paving the transition from the road to the various driveways along the way and it makes me think they're going to put another layer on the road itself. I got slowed down twice, going down hill of course. There were a pair of flag girls holding a STOP sign, till I got close. Then once they realized I was old and out of shape, and not the young buff single rider they were hoping for, they flipped the sign around. I'm just glad they didn't point to the SLOW sign, and laugh at me.

On the way back I was riding with a guy called Marcus, and we had a nice chat about stuff. I don't know if it's the extra weight or what, but Estela goes down hills like a Peregrine falcon after prey. As I get stronger she'll start going up them faster too, and that's all good.

I took a long transition, mainly to take Estela back downstairs, and being careful not to fall down the stairs because of tired legs. The run felt heavy, clump, clump, clump to start, but it gradually got a bit better. I could really feel my legs wondering what was going on. Whereas I could have kept going on the bike, I was happy to stop the run and do some stretching, then have a nice warm shower.

Taking the rest was exactly the right thing to do. I had a couple nights with long deep sleep. I feel refreshed, had a great ride today, and I'm looking forward to getting in the pool tomorrow. I hope everyone else had a great weekend for workouts!

Oh, and I picked up a tighter cycling jersey. (Linda says oooh!) I was tired of the now loose jerseys flapping in the wind. Red and black from Speed Theory, of course, and chatted with IG a bit. While I was there Laura from spin class showed up to pick up her new Cervelo. Very nice!

Weekly totals, which are low because I took several days off.
Swim 1.0 hr
Bike 3.75 hr
Run 1.0 hr
total 5.75 hr, and now that I look at the IGP™ I'm only a couple of hours low.

No number this week because I haven't been to that pool. And last, but not least, the energy drink recipie. I swiped this from Impact Magazine, March/April issue and tweaked a bit. There's some other recipies in there as well.

Make 1 litre hot lemon tea. I use Celestial Seasoning Lemon Zinger.
Add 4 tsp honey
Add 1/4 tsp sea salt. (I actually use about half this)
Let cool a bit, then add a glug of orange juice. They say 8 tsp.

I like to refrigerate it overnight before a long ride. It has a nice clean clear taste, and best of all, it's practically free! Even better for my peace of mind, I can pronounce all the ingredients. I suppose if you wanted you could stir in some protien or electrote powder.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Floating Elephant Rule

Given some of the interest about this rule, I thought I'd write it up in more detail since I'm not downstairs spinning my brains out and legs off.

Picture yourself minding your own business on a river bank. The river is a metaphor for the world. One day an elephant floats by in a canoe, or in a barge, or whatever. You've heard of elephants, but never seen one. You stop what you're doing, and watch it float by.

Now, it is futile to speculate on how the elephant got there, where it's coming from, where it's going, what will happen there, if the elephant is enjoying the process, who is worried about the elephant, or an infinity of other questions. There are an infinity of answers to each of these questions, and to explore them is to follow a road that George Cantor has already explored. You have better things to do with your time.

It is even more futile to swim out and try to ask the elephant questions or investigate the situation. You will only be dragged further from home every minute. There will be no explanation written out neatly for you and elphants are known for not having much to say. You will only discover more questions. Plus, you run the risk of the elphant thinking that you are interfering with it's plans or that you are a toy to play with. You have better things to do with your time.

Worst of all is to bring it back home with you, even if it seems amiable. It will eat you out of house and home, and since it's found an obliging human, it will never leave. If you try to make it leave, it will resent you, and keeping coming back. Elephants are known for having good memories and being stubborn. Whatever else you had going on in your life now includes taking care of an elephant until it chooses to leave. You do not want this to happen.

The odds of getting rich from the novelty of owning an elephant by charging admission to ride it, or by taking a commission on the paintings it creates is very, very small. Don't forget that many municipalities have rules against having pets that large, and the few that don't charge large licensing fees.

So what do you do? You just watch it go by, then go back to what you were doing. You might want to look at it carefully so you can describe it to your friends and family. But that's all. It floated into your life, and if you let it, it will float out.

Now, this came up in the context of married men, and their relationships with their wives. Everybody that's been married knows what I'm talking about. Guys, virtually everything your wife says and does is a floating elephant. The correct response is to smile, say "Yes, dear", and go about your business. At least, that's as correct as a married man can ever get.

But I've discovered it works everywhere. As soon as you start identifying situations, or people, or ideas as floating elephants, you wil find your life is enormously simplified. Plus, in some circumstances, it's outright hilarious in ways that you can never explain to anyone else.

There is one further possibility related to floating elphants that you need to be aware of. Very rarely the elephant will come aground beside you, either by accident or on purpose. I'm sorry to say that once this happens the elphant is not likely to float away again, and you probably have to DO something about it. The rule in this case is known as the Andy Kelp rule. "Every day is another opportunity to triumph over the unexpected." Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.