Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beautiful Sunday am ride

Recovery is all very well, and necessary, but I've been feeling pretty good lately. My theory is that the only way to find out your limits is to try to pass them. Cautiously of course, with suitable thought given for the attempt and possible consequences.

I had mapped out a nice 110 K loop out 22x, down 762 to Millarville, across 549 to the Road to Nepal and back home. The Millarville General Store is about the 70 K mark; a good place to rest a bit and water up for the hills to come.

Starting out about 8am today I promised my legs that I'd pay attention to any messages and modify my route accordingly. It wasn't long before I got the message loud and clear that I was ok for easy spin and the flats, but I wasn't up for big hills. My calves are still tired. As long as I was smooth, things were good. Push too hard and I'd get into a pre cramp feeling. It's odd though, I still felt strong, within my limits. I was comfey on the bike, though my toes were going to sleep a little.

So that ruled out Road to Nepal. You can see my actual route to the right. My goal thought was, high cadence easy spin, low heartrate, no concern about pace. I'm actually pretty pleased. It was a beautiful day for a ride. I got out before it got hot, and it's only when I was almost home again that the heat started to soak in. The mountains were stunningly beautiful.

I took along lots of nutrition, since I was hoping for 110 K. 4 Cliff's bars, 2 bananas, 2 energy drinks, and a water bottle. I finished all but a bit of the energy drink and there was a Cliff's bar left. For a 3.5 hour ride, I think that's right in the ballpark.

There weren't all that many people out riding on the out leg. Waved at most of them. Oddly enough, even though I didn't need to go, much of my thinking was about the mechanics of peeing while riding a bike. I'm just assuming that riders don't go in their pants. I tugged a little at my shorts leg. There is no way that is coming up high enough. That leaves dropping the top, and here things get interesting. My assumption is that correctly done there isn't any on you, your bike, or anyone else. You've got one hand to manipulate the material, and the junk. It seems to me that you drop the pants enough to moon the world, sit sort of sideways, and away you go. Lets hope nobody is behind you. That's the out the bottom model. Just for comparison, I considered the "over the top" model, where the front of the shorts comes down, and you twist sideways somehow. This might work if you're much longer than average, but the odds aren't good. It passed the time.

So there I was at my turnaround spot, thinking about bio pressures, or the lack thereof, and decided to eat my banana first. Just as well. You know how it sometimes happen where you go from being all alone to being surrounded by company almost instantly? That's what happened. I wasn't two bites in when a guy pulled over, hopped out, and asked nice where Millarville was, and how to get there. Gave him directions. A small herd of motorbikes thundered by. Just as I was finishing the banana, two more riders came to the intersection coming down from Bragg Creek. We chatted a bit, then rode to Millarville together. They were going to turn around and go back, and I kept on going.

There was a guy way ahead of me, so that became my goal. Pedaling steady, try to reel him in, as the saying goes. It took a long time, but I finally caught him near Red Deer Lake school. The winds were light, and there were a bunch of times I was surprised how fast I was going. There are days I think I need to check my bike computer and make sure the wheel size is set right.

Here's the numbers for those who want to know. My spoke magnet fell out to the rim a few Km from the house, so the numbers aren't totally accurate.

94 or 95 K distance
26 Kph average speed
3:31 bike time, 3:41 stopwatch time
79 Average cadence
127 Average heart rate
3574 calories.

My weekly totals essentially consist of this ride, and a bit of swimming. Looking to get back on the training bus tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shameless rumour mongering

I'm being lazy this week on the training front. Legs are feeling better, back to just normally tired today, thank you very much.

I'm also eagerly awaiting news of Susi's race, and need to do something to burn off some energy. So I'm going to speculate.

Have you noticed how neither Susi or Greg have posted anything yet? It's been 84 hours since the end of her race. What CAN they be doing???

What does Julie look like with her new 'do? And Kelly wanting to get a 'do before her race? What's up with that? By the time you've got your wetsuit on you've worked up a sweat and the hair is plastered to your head anyway, to say nothing of the swim cap, then the bike helmet, then the running cap.

Does Curtis really only get flats because he rides with Darryl? I'd like to see a statistically valid sampling here.

Is Jenna going to give IG a swim lesson during his visit?

Linda has wanted to go to Stoney Plain to visit Country Register shops for a while now. Will her and Keith go the weekend after Canada Day? And no, we already know that Keith is not going to go shopping. What COULD he get up to?

Did you notice that the Chinook Half results were up to see just how awesome Kelsey rocked the bike? Go to

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chinook followup

I still haven't seen the results posted yet, and now I'm starting to get a bit curious. So I actually looked at my stopwatch times, and here they are for you.
38:39 out of the lake, Linda thinks maybe 40 people were out of the water ahead of me.
43:55 out of T1 (5:16)
4:29 off bike into T2 (3:46:xx) (96K, don't know why it's not 90K) Well back of the pack.
4:31 out of T2 (2:36)
7:37 finish (3:04) I think only 6 people finished after me, and I've heard of a few DNF's.

Heart rate numbers were always about 10 bpm too high for what I thought it should be based on my breathing, and it says I burned 8200 calories.

We went for a nice slow walk Sunday about noon, on still sore legs, mostly calves and hams. Monday I was into the pool for a relaxing swim. I didn't count lengths or time myself, just swam easy. Then into the dive tank for some stretching.

This evening KS came over and massaged me. OMG. I've already paid her for another 6 sessions. She is good. Tomorrow if I'm awake in the morning I'll go for a walk, but if I sleep till the alarm goes off that's fine too. Later this week I'll probably do some easy spin and yoga. Not at the same time; I'm not that talented!

I got to thinking yesterday and today about how incredibly fortunate I am. I'm married to someone that is still amused to be around me, although sometimes I think she hangs around just to see what's going to happen next. I've got a job I like a lot. I've got the physical abilities to do the training and haven't had a serious injury. From my office window I see all sorts of handicapped people coming and going from the facility on the first floor. Some of these people can't even stand up and walk across the room. I can walk, run, swim, bike and to some extent do almost any of the sports that people do. I've gone from being a blob to being what most of the population would call quite fit, though to lots of the people I'm coming to know I'm just getting to the point where I can begin to properly train. I don't have physical health issues (IBS, allergies, wonky knees, bad back, excess pronation, ect) that many people have to take into account. All I needed was the impulse to get off my fat ass and do it. I have no excuses whatsover.

Susi knows this story. I used to give her and her running buddies at Skystone a bit of a hard time about it. Couldn't understand why you'd do that. Then one day as a bunch of us were playing foosball at lunch, someone said "Look, there goes Susi." We all waved from inside the office, but she didn't notice. She was in her own world. She was going through some tough times then. We watched as she ran along. We were just turning back to the game when someone said, "Man, you can just see the frustration boiling off behind her. That is one determined girl. I don't think I'd want to get in her way." Sometime after that she learned to swim, then started doing triathlete stuff. We know the story from there.

I had lots of time to think last summer when I took a package from a job, and had a good chunk of the summer off. Sure, I looked for work pretty regular after the one I thought was flanged up came unbolted. But you can't do that all the time. I started swimming and biking almost every day. I started losing weight and started feeling better. Then I watched IMC 2007, and remembered how I could run a really really long time ago. I watched one girl who could be charitably described as chubby come running out of T2 while Susi was still on her bike. I knew how much time Susi had put into training, and I thought she was quite fit. And here's this girl that didn't look fit at all that was way ahead of her.

Somewhere about then I set myself the goal of completing a half ironman in the allowed time. I've done that. I know I can accomplish the goals I set myself. Remember in one of my first blogs I said that success was carefully choosing goals? Now I'm thinking about the next goals. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chinook Finisher!

This is a major life achievement goal I set for myself last year accomplished. I am so pleased.

First thing is some thank yous.

My wife Linda has supported me, made me put on sunscreen, and put up with the 4:30 am runs. She's helped in a million ways I can't begin to describe. Her scrubbing my feet this afternoon, for example. First of all she didn't put on rubber gloves. Second, it felt great!

My coach Iron Greg Bradley. Let us not understate what he has done here. He took a guy turning 50 soon, about 50 pounds overweight, that hadn't run since high school. Just about my first words to him were "I haven't run in 30 years, and I want to do a half ironman next summer, am I smoking dope?" I will be forever grateful he didn't burst out laughing. Greg has been great, building a plan, bringing me along slowly to avoid injury and over stressing an aging bod. Thank you Greg! Lets have a big round of applause!

My friend Susi. You couldn't ask for a more helpful and enthusiastic person to have around.

There's a ton of others as well, blog buddies, friends, and co-workers who have all been supportive and encouraging.

Finally the number you are all dying to read. It's less than 8 hours, so I'm happy. That was my goal. To finish.
Swim, about 38 minutes, then out on the bike course at 45 min.
Bike, about 3. 75 hours, into a headwind on the way back, which is a bit unusual
Run/Walk, the better part of forever, except for where my new friend Kelly and I essentially walked the last 3/4 of the last lap together.
Total time 7:40 or so.
The official results were posted at the banquet, but I didn't look at them. There will be time tomorrow, or later, when they're actually posted on the web.

I'm really pleased with the swim. There was a tough time just after the start where I was getting squeezed a bit. The second lap was much better, though I had a bit of a nasty cramp in left calf coming out of the water after the first lap. I don't know how the heck you're supposed to seed yourself when nobody was talking about times. I probably went out just a little hard at first, since my second lap was about 2 minutes slower. My friends Sean and Lori joined Linda to see me into the water, and cheer me onto the bike! Thanks! There were a ton of bikes in the transition area when I got there. Then most of them passed me throughout the course.

The bike went pretty well as expected. The time is dialed right into what I've done on my training rides. I DIDN'T EAT THE PASTE! I rode my pace, passed a few people anyway. Kelsey caught up to me at about 33 K after a tough swim, I passed her on the down hill again, then she passed me and was gone. Chatted with Kelsey's buddy Graham at the half way point. Good ride back into a headwind, feeling reasonably strong. There were lots of bikes in the transition area again. My buddies Gord and Gail were there to see me in, which was a nice surprise. Thanks!

I ran most of the first loop, getting passed a lot by people doing their second lap. Hot. EFFING HOT! Poured lots of water on my head. Did the first lap in just under 1.5 hours, then pooped out. My run times started getting shorter and shorter. I'd promised my feet if they got to the end of the first lap in good time, we would walk as much as they felt like in the last lap. Kelly caught up to me at an aid station, and power walked me through. We had a great chat. Thanks! And actually, the second lap was only a little slower than my first.

Linda was there for the finish. Classy medal. Drank cold choco milk. Went for a bit of a dip in the lake. Packed stuff. Walked slowly back to the car. Showered, did a bit of stretching, and humped Estela and stuff out of the car. Not a second's problem or worry with Estela, she was a total champ! Sunscreen missed a couple spots, the back of my calves, and the back of my right arm. That's not so bad.

Lastly, the event itself. If you missed a turn, or got lost somehow, then you might as well kill yourself now because you're to stupid to function in the modern world. You couldn't ask for better signage. Every corner was marked, lots of straightaway signs even. The volunteers were EFFING AWESOME!!

So in summary, I had a good day. I've proved to myself I can do this. I had a good time, and I'll do more. I probably won't do Sylvan, though I'll discuss with Greg. I think I'd prefer to put the energy that could go into Sylvan into more training. I've got to leave for the banquet in a few minutes, but maybe I'll come back later and add more detail, and see what photos exist on the camera, and what the finisher photos look like.

This is really the only finisher shot that I liked, and the other is of the medal. It's actually pretty classy, sort of an etched pewter. The girl in the photo with me is Kelly.

I'll be watching for Susi on the internet at IMCDA tomorrow. GSG!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm as ready as I'll ever be...

The checklist is complete. The only things left to go in the car is me and things that are in the fridge overnight. Estela is nice and clean and ready to go. It's supposed to be hot (26 or 27) and mainly cloudy, so I've got lots of sunscreen. We found some corporate swag that Linda got. It's an insulated lunch bag. So I'm going to put a litre of chocolate milk in it, and a bike bottle of energy drink, and top it up with ice. That will sit in or near my tote. The energy drink is for the run, and the chocolate is for after, and the ice if any is left, is for whenever and where ever. Jenna, what is that recovery drink you gave me called? I looked around for it, but didn't see anything I recognized.

Before I put stuff in the tote, I laid it all out the way I will in transition, and walked through it. Putting down swim stuff, putting on glasess, tightening lanyard, drying feet, putting on bike shorts, putting on socks and bike shoes. SUNSCREEN!! Helmet, gloves, and away! I've got two bike bottles of energy drink and one of water for the ride, plus 4 Cliffs bars. At the aid stations they'll give us half litre bottles of water. I figure a couple good chugs of it, then pour the rest over self to stay cool.

Then coming back to take off helmet, gloves, shoes, bike shorts. Putting on running shoes. I even have extra socks in case I simply must change them. Cap and more sunscreen. Then we'll see how the run goes. I have no expectations for time. My goal is to finish in the alloted time.

The phrase of the pre-race meeting was, no peeing while riding please.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First wetsuit swim. PHOTOS!

I got my race package, with lots of goodies. I'm 118.

Tonight was the long awaited, much anticipated first swim with the wetsuit. I got into it ok. Another lady there was nice enough to help Linda get things flat and properly tucked in. The water wasn't all that cold. I was expecting much worse. Linda later said that a guy coming out commented that Arbour Lake was much colder, that this was a walk in the park.

The bottom is nice and sandy, not much seaweed at all. I started out a bit too quick, into the waves, and hadn't anticipated the full effect of the bow wave. Going into the wind I have to roll more. As I relaxed, and slowed my stroke down a little I felt more at home in the water. The suit felt pretty good, aside from the odd trickle of water going places it hadn't been yet.

Remember that I'm quite short sighted, with terrible astigmatism. Put two people in shorts and a T shirt at the other end of a 25 m pool, and I have a tough time telling gender. But sighting wasn't too bad. There's enough big blocks of colour that I think I'll be ok. It's a bit of a trick trying to keep my head up to do the sighting, since all my practice in the pool is to keep my head down. They didn't have the official buoys in yet, so maybe I'll just have to hope I can keep up with the pack.

Most people were swimming the course in reverse since we weren't starting at the same place the race does. I got out at my half way point and ran up the beach, around a volley ball pole, and back into the water. It was warmer than the beach. The swim back was smoother. Still, I swallowed a fair bit of water, and got a bit into my lungs during the 30 min or so swim. I'm trying not to think about that too much. Back to the house for a quick rinse, dinner, and posting this blog!

This is Linda commenting on 'the first wet suit experience'. Well, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be. Keith did the plastic bag trick to slide his feet in & after that things went quite well. I had had visions of my laughing hysterically at the sight..... However, I am convinced that seeing Keith in the wet suit will pretty much convince our cat Amelia that the end is nigh - she has this thing about strangers & I can't think of anything more strange likely to come her way. Swim cap & goggles a must, naturally - otherwise maybe she'd just think it was her human in funny smelling clothes. To really finish the ensemble, fins on the feet!

My big question, am I better off putting the goggles on first, then the cap, or the cap first and then the googles?

So Jenna, here are my photos to match yours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quickie tempo spin

Warm up
3 x 6 min tempo then 4 min easy
cool down

I interpreted "tempo" as meaning mid to upper zone 3, and nailed that. Pedaled about 100 rpm in a medium gear on small chainring. Could probably have kept going at that pace, but was glad enough to stop.

Nice hour on the bike. Stretched after. Could touch toes with knees straight! I'm always enormously amused by that, since there's probably fewer than a dozen occasions in my life when I could. I think that means legs are loosening up as I rest.

Monday, June 16, 2008

First intervals in a while

15 x 100 m, with 30 seconds rest in between. Without a pace clock to look at I was doing a lot of peering shortsightedly at my watch. Mostly they were about 1:50. Good workout, arms not falling off, but getting tired. Breathing hard but not panting. Total 37:11.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taper week begins

90 min bike spin today.
30 warmup, I needed it, the house was cold
30 min top of zone 3
15 min mid zone 3
15 cooldown
quick transition
Run 3K 22 min, nice and easy, average heart rate 125 bpm

The interesting part was getting wet in the shower first, then going downstairs to get into bike stuff, and start workout. It all went pretty well. I decided to stay on the trainer since it was already set up, and I wanted to concentrate on heart rates, not traffic.

Weekly totals
Swim 1.33
Bike 2.5
Run 2.66
Total 5.5 hrs.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

7 days from now

I will either be in my wetsuit milling around trying to be calm, or I'll be frantically running around, trying to put the wetsuit on while setting up my transition area, thrashing around looking for something that is in my tote box but happens to be tucked under a corner of a towel or something. Or maybe that sunscreen stick I'm looking for is the lump in my wetsuit. I remember reading about the guy trying the plastic bag on the foot thing for the first time, and getting one leg into the arm of his wetsuit, and thinking, "that could be soooo me."

But I have my list, I have the beginnings of a schedule, and I'm naturally organized about getting me and stuff into the car and where it has to go.

On time.

Early even.

Like, insanely early, even before they are set up.

Herding everyone around me like a sheep dog on coffee, testosterone, steroids, and viagra ALL AT ONCE.

As my wife could tell you, but trust me, you don't want to get her started on this topic.

I'm even cautious about saying "You married it!" on this topic because she didn't know she had.

But she didn't know she'd married a tri-guy either, though that took mumble mumblety years to come out. She's happy enough about that, and likes the changes all the exercise has done for me. I like them too. Although to be honest, I'm still a tri-wannabe. For another week.

I'm excited and nervous about Chinook, and calm and relaxed at the same time. How is this possible? I'm guessing because the race itself, (but I'm trying not to think of it as a race) is new to me, but the activities themselves are not. Barring some unforeseen setback I know I can complete the distance. IG created a great program that got me out of blob-itude and well on the road to fitness, with more to come. He knows I can do the distance, probably better than I do. It only remains to show everybody else.

The non-tri people reading this might be wondering why I'm not thinking about it as a race. There's a starting noise, right? And you're timed till you finish? And there's other people? And the first people in various categories to finish get goodies? So how is that not a race???

It's not a race in the same way that you golfing with Tiger Woods is not the PGA, and sharing a rink and a puck with Bobby Orr is not the Stanley Cup finals. There is no way I can be the first one across the finish line, not by hours. Some of the people I'll see (briefly, as they disappear over the horizon) are seriously well conditioned and trained athletes by just about any measuring stick you care to use. I expect to learn lots from watching them.

Really, the only competitor in this event is me, myself, and I. Nobody else on the course can help me, and really, excepting a bit of tussling for space at the start of the swim, or an accident, nobody else on the course can hinder me. My finishing time, whatever it might be, is just me. Sure, it's the same course, on the same day, so the temptation is to compare yourself to the other competitors. If you go down that road, you will never think of yourself as a winner, and this is an event where every finisher is a winner.

Even the DNF (Did Not Finish) are winners in that they tried. Maybe they goofed on their race plan, or there was something beyond their control. At least they tried.

Today, while it's still nice, I'm going to go over to the lake and check out the transition area. I'll walk or ride the run route into Fish Creek, and back out again, but I'm not sure if I'll go down into the park itself. There have been flood warnings. Then I'll ride or drive the bike route between 22X and the lake.

After work yesterday I picked up my new wetsuit. I also got a swim cap that I expect will provoke a strong response from Susi. My thought is that sometime this weekend I'll trim my fingernails, put on the suit and cap for practice, then come out of the bedroom and scare the bejaayzus out of Amelia the cat. She's always believed that the two-tonned tusked monster from the black lagoon is coming to get her, and demonstrates this every time the doorbell rings.

Well, it's 8:09, and I'm nibbling on a cookie and sipping good cofffee. Thinking that a week from now I'm going to invite my inner shark to cut loose. Remember, there's lots of things that swim faster than sharks, but none so purposefully, or determinedly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Longish, slowish swim

Just wasn't into swimming today. I started off well enough, but soon slowed down to a slower than normal pace. There were a few times I picked it up for a few laps, but that just got me back to a just barely normal pace. I did some playing with my stroke, but that didn't make any difference.

My kick still sucks, and I don't really have the excuse of the run yesterday, because my legs feel pretty good. They just don't want to kick. My arms and legs had quite the interesting conversation about the division of work.

This went on for 50 minutes watching the fast kids in the next lane, and the ■ ■ ■ ■ floating by. Actually, today was a bad day for the pool, what with the ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■, and the ■ ■ ■ ■ ■, to say nothing of the ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■. It wasn't as bad as the ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ I'd expect to see in open water, but still, in a pool you'd expect better. (note, this post as been censored by Susi, and it's for your own good, gack, dry heave.)

Oh, and back up to 232. Not so much exercise and eating my head off.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last long run before Chinook

After all this rain it's wonderful to see some sunshine again! And to be out for a nice long easy run is even better. You can see where I went. 12.2 K in 100 minutes is about 7.3K per hour or 8:11/Km. This is my last long run before Chinook.

Even running through puddles is kind of fun. It cools down the feet, but it sure slowed me down and changed my gait. Overall the run felt pretty good, especially from minute 10 to about 45. That's when I got into some big puddles and it took about 20 minutes to get my pace back. My feet are a little tender, but I walked before and after, and stretched pretty good.

My watch says:
125 average heart rate
140 peak heart rate (I thing that was slogging through long wet marshy grass.)
1565 calories

I'm busy making lists to get ready for Chinook. The guy at the store says my wetsuit should arrive Friday. That's really the only thing on my list that isn't under my control, but it should work out. Then my first open water swims in a wetsuit! That should be interesting.

This weekend I'm going to try to scope out the transition area, and bike the run course and the parts of the bike course that I haven't seen yet. Lots of other stuff to do. Including, mow my lawn!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A wet workout day

Wet is the word of the day, both inside and outside.

Once again, I was out the door at 4:30 am. Only a light rain this time, and only cool, not cold. I started with a few minutes walk, then into an easy run down the path towards Fish Creek. Right at the top of the hill I turned around. The run was supposed to be 35 to 45 minutes, and turnaround was 20:36. Back the same way in 20:37. Now I call that consistent. My heart rate was a little higher coming back, but it is a long gradual hill all the way. Average heart rate throughout was 119.

Remember that I said it was light rain? That was at home; it rained harder and harder the further south I went. Then on the way back it eased off again. Once home again I hung my wet stuff up to dry and did some stretching. When I came upstairs again it was raining really hard.

This evening IG suggested I do 3x10 min easy, medium, and hard, with 5 minutes easy between them. That translates to upper zone 2, mid zone 3, and whatever I can do for the last. Warmed up gradually, taking about 15 minutes to get to the 85-90 rpm I wanted to maintain. Then dropped a couple gears and started in. The first 10 were good, pedalling smooth, heart rate low 120's. Started a good base layer of sweat.

The next 10 min were a solid workout. I could have maintained that pace for a little while longer, heart rate low to mid 130's for mid zone 3, and maybe a touch higher. That added a good sweat layer, and started dripping off pretty good. Concentrating on going around and around, keeping the upper body steady. Amazing how much the ipod cords sway back and forth.

For the next 10 I made sure some good songs were cued up on the ipod, and it worked out well. Started high 130's and pushed a steady build to 150 bpm. Same gear, just gradually higher rpms ending up at 100 rpm. The last 5 min were above 145 bpm and the last two of that 148 to 150 bpm. For the last minute I could feel the burn begin. 150 is 85% of my max heart rate. I was about as wet as I was after my run this morning, and was happy to dial it back to an easy spin for 20 min to cool down. Did some more stretching.

Since I just figured out (thanks Susi) that there aren't change rooms at Chinook, I tried wearing my bike shorts over my swimsuit. For a short ride it worked out ok, though I'll try to remember to pull the fabric down a bit; it was beginning to guddle up on me. I don't think I'm quite up to 96K on a bike without some sort of padding.

I'm not sure what I did yesterday, but some of my core muscles sure hurt starting with getting out of bed this am. It's the ones just under the ribcage. You use them when you want to stand, or move your office chair around, or when you lean forward and tighten up your guts. Maybe I overdid some of my core stuff in the pool yesterday.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Quiet, peaceful swim, till the end

Back at the FOMC pool this morning. My lifeguard buddy there was telling me her adventures getting rained out of Vulcan Tinman. And she was camping! She was happy to know that it had been cancelled, and the weather had worsened after they had bailed out.

I had a lane to myself this am, but wasn't sure what to expect. The first couple laps were Jenna paced, but then I slowed to Keith paced, and cruised back and forth. For some reason the swim seemed to take a long time. I ended up swimming 1500 m in just under 30 min, having slowed down quite a bit in the last 500 m. Then into the dive tank for 15 minutes of core and stretching.

At the very end of the swim a couple more people came and joined my lane, but it all worked out well. If they hadn't showed up I might have gone for 2K, but I was feeling surprisingly lazy today and didn't want company in my lane. I don't know if I was doing something different with my stroke, but I was getting a weird feeling on the inside of my elbow bones. Not sure how to describe it. The IGP has some intervals coming up, and that's good. I need to work on those.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Getting back on the ....

Today's IGP assumed I'd be a burned out wreck today after giving my all in the Tinman. It called for a rest, or EZ spin. I actually looked at the plan for the next two weeks. Can this be right, no biking till next Sunday?

Maybe it's just as well given the weather. I opted for the EZ spin today. 1 hour, and my butt was killing me in about 20 min. My thought was to have a light fast spin, spending most of the time at 90 rpm at the top of zone 1, with some short bursts of faster rpm, but not going above zone 2. Lots of warmup, then about a half hour of 15 to 30 seconds high rpm, starting every two minutes. Started them easy, built to several that were all out, then came back down the pyramid. Then about 15 min cooldown.

You'd think from what my butt had to say about it that I'd never been on a bike before! Complaints complaints complaints! My legs were good, and really liked it. The spin woke them up, worked my core a bit. I was concentrating on spinning form today, keeping feet light on the pedals. I've noticed my toes tend to go to sleep, and I think it's because I press down too much, leading to pedal plunging. Max rpm without bouncing is going up very nicely. The jiggly back fat just above my hip bones is either going away or muscling up.

After a short transition I went out for a short, easy run. 2K 15 min, 8/7, heart rate maxed out about 126 or so. I could have kept going but didn't want to stress anything. This was mainly to remind my bod that the workouts aren't going to stop. Then about a half hour of stretching, with some calf massage to work on the knots in there.

I got lucky on weather. There was just enough of a break in the rain to tempt me to ride outside, but I didn't. Less than 2 hours from the rain ending, it started again. The run was no rain, and even a bit of sun. Now it's raining again.

Weekly totals
Swim .5 hr
Bike 1 hr
Run 1 hr
Total 2.5 hr. (Seems like a vacation!)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vulcan Tinman cancelled

I would have gone! So would Kelsey! We're pretty sure we'd have gone. Almost sure. Well, maybe not. But it wasn't our decision.

Susi must be recognized for her efforts in getting me organized for this. She gave me her secret lucky checklist, and all sorts of advice. Just to be sure I wouldn't back out, she came here, ostesibly to carpool to the event, but I know she was here to double check the list, and make sure I had everything. She even brought purple pom-poms! How cool is that for a cheering section for your first tri event?!

Off we went, in the pouring rain. We took the scenic road to Nepal I've talked so much about, and she totally wants to do it with me after IMCDA. The road is now paved all the way from 22x down to 586 or whatever it is. Very nice, can't wait for the first nice day to get out on it.

We went through torrential rain getting to Vulcan. It was still raining hard when I got lucky and found a parking place near the registration booth. As I was lining up, or rather milling around, they were announcing it was cancelled. Simply too cold, too wet, too windy, and with reports of thunder. They hadn't made a final decision, but it appears they will roll us over into next year's race. So that goes on the agenda.

We met up with Kelsey about then. She had already been numbered. I caught my buddies Kris and Sophia before they left home, and IG was texted. He'd just started and turned around. Jarrett from work and his wife were there as well. We milled around some more, then headed back to Okotoks and met Kelsey for tea and a snack. We had a great chat as we dried out and warmed up.

I'm disappointed that it was cancelled, but I have to admit to a bit of relief as well. It was fricking cold! You could see your breath on the air. I don't mind riding in the cold, but the wet doesn't thrill me. Cold and wet is no fun at all. I'm hoping that weather for Chinook in two weeks will be good. Looking over the IGP™ for the next couple weeks and beginning to get pumped!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

happy bouncy feet

My deal for Tues am was that if I was up early to go for a run, I would. But if I was sleeping till the alarm clock, actually sleeping, then no guilt. zzzzzz

Tues evening was my first wetsuit experience. I'm just guessing here, but you probably want the details. There were only 2 XL in Try-it, a starter and one almost twice that price. You can guess which one I hoped fit. I tried that one on first. I'm just glad there were no cameras. What was funny is that a girl in the next change room was complaining about getting into a tri-suit or a swimsuit. Once I got the first one adjusted and pulled on further than I thought possible it actually fit pretty well. Just for practice I tried putting on the other one. The torso was just a bit shorter and smaller. It zipped up, but just barely. The nice man helping tugged at it a little here and there, made me put my arms over my head and said it wasn't worth taking the time to snug it up, it couldn't be made to fit as well as the other one. So it got ordered and should arrive within a week. I sweated into both suits, and felt a little sorry for the next person to try them on. I tried not to think about the last person to try them on. Also picked up an new swim suit and race belt. Once I got home, Estela growled at me when I even thought about putting her on the trainer. I think she's still on the rush from the weekend's ride. I did wine stuff and went to bed early.

Wed am. Running clothes still laid out. Woke up at 3:30, listened to rain, rolled over and went back to sleep. Really didn't want to swim, I had my brain full of work stuff and wanted to get it down on paper while it was fresh in my mind. Wed evening the IGP was R 30 min ez. Great! Off I go. My goal was to concentrate on form, nice quick strides, leaning forward a little, light and quiet footsteps. For most of the first K I'm looking at my heart rate monitor and not believing it. From my breathing I was guessing it should be about 130 or so, and the watch is saying 80 to 90. Then suddenly it jumped to more real numbers.

I kept going, not trying to push the pace, listening to my feet and legs. They felt strong, with the exception of a twinge here and there. I was pushing my heart rate up a bit. From my breathing I think I was in a solid zone 3 pace. So technically, not an "ez" pace at all but I didn't think I was really working all that hard. I've had some rest and was feeling pretty good. Walked over to the ball game to stretch on the bleachers and watch for a while.

1K 7:00
2K 6:37
3K 6:30
4K 6:57
5K 6:40
Total 33:46.

Starting to prepare for Vulcan trip. I'm looking forward to a fun time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vulcan Tinman is THIS Sat! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Somehow it just recently sunk in that this coming Saturday I'll be getting packed up and driving down to Vulcan for my very first tri. For me, when it's a date, its somehow just out there, sometime, and I'll get to it soon enough. Next week is real to me. I've begun the planning to make sure I take everything. It's looking like rainy weather for the day, but who really knows?

The heats are posted on the site, and mine is at 2:45. I'm 1014. I'll probably still get down there early. There are a few people I know in it, and it will be fun to watch them. Some of my friends are promising to come down for the spectacle, I mean, to cheer me on. I'm not making any predictions or having any expectations about time.

Swim this am was short and sweet. I wanted to do some intervals and remind myself of what it's like to swim near my top speed, such as it is. Well, the elbow owie I got on the weekend protests a bit doing that. Just a little under full speed is fine.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Susi tried to kill us!! Well, no, not really, tho Jenna thot so for a while

There are several competing titles for this post.

Estella sets a new blog-group speed record. 87.75 Kph down Cochrane hill!
Jenna's face getting the news at the Shell station.
Horse Creek/Lochend road is an awesome ride!
Susi chicked 3 boys, big time.
Jenna has heart out the wazoo.

Firstly, the map of our route. Jenna had no idea at all where we were, and wanted to see the map, WITH elevation, if you please. She and I were convinced Susi had been to coach-land and found a route that was essentially all uphill.

You'll note I start the route at the centre of Cochrane. Susi wants to publish a map to her home that's her business, but I'm not gonna. So add on a few more K. We got going a few minutes after 9am, and after Jenna put herself back together after her adventure on the hill, we got started in earnest. Toon-town, remember? No hills. Keep this firmly in mind.

They're paving just west of town, and the turn off to Horse Creek Rd is right there. It's wonderful to go from busy highway, lots of cars, icky paving smell to no cars, and gorgeous scenery. It was a perfect day for riding, not too much wind, nice and sunny, but not hot. We quickly got strung out a bit, Susi up ahead, me in the middle and Jenna a bit behind figuring out how to cope with hills. Periodically me or Susi (mostly Susi) would ride back to see how she was making out.

The ride up to Bottrel is really quite pretty. The pavement alternates between good and ok with some bits to be careful about. We saw 3 large deer/elk/things that went kaboink when they saw us coming. Lots of predatory birds floating along looking for prey.

Stopped at Bottrel General Store for water and chatted with other cyclists. This is a cool store. Then up the hill and over to 22, then over to the golf course. You have to know where it is, because there sure aren't many signs. Lots of golfers, and several other cyclists as well. Chatted with some of them. We left a little before them, but they caught us as we were stopped at the top of Lochend road taking pictures. Jenna took a ton of pictures, and some of them will almost certainly show up on blogs. She is sorry to disappoint people, but there are none of Susi or me with our pants down showing off our pasty white butts. Well, mine is, shouldn't presume to talk of Susi's.

Going south Susi and I were going along pretty good, gradually gaining on the boys that had passed us. Then she got that glint in the eye I know so well. "Let's catch them" she said, and was off. I can only keep up with her on the flats by driving my heart rate up to the top of zone 3 or so, and that isn't something I can keep up for long. Off she went, and chicked them all! Way to go Susi! I came to realize there are certain difficulties in a guy well over 6 feet tall on a road bike trying to draft someone 5'2, in aero, on a bike with 650 tires.

We met up again, and coached Jenna on how to go down Cochrane hill. There's brand new pavement on the road, but the shoulders are pretty icky. I coasted down, deciding to scope it out, knowing I'd get another run at. Which Jenna didn't know. (hehehe). We met up again at the Shell station at the bottom of the hill. Then Susi told Jenna we were going to ride back up the hill. Jenna's face was priceless!

If I could have thought of a reasonable excuse to have her camera in my hands, we could have documented it for posterity. But here's where she showed the heart that is going to get her through IMC. Here she's been on a long hilly ride, without much hill experience, and at least one good scare. She's tired, her legs are about done, her butt is killing her, and she's still game. Up the hill. In the granniest gear and wishing there was a great-grannier gear, but up the hill. No walking, no puking. Awesome! At the top, where Susi and I were waiting, Susi gave her the little devil horn sign. Perfect! Priceless moment.

We swooped back down the hill through the Glen Eagles golf course. I don't know what it is, but Estela LIVES to go down hill fast. There's Susi in aero, pedaling like mad, I'm up and relaxed, and swoosh. Under the bridge and back onto the main road. No cars, onto the good pavement, a pedal up to about 130 rmp, and hope there isn't a cop there with a radar gun. Though if I got a speeding ticket on the bike, I'd copy and frame it. Whoosh! Yeehaaawwww! What a great finish to a long ride. Through town, back to Susi's, change, and out for 30 minute run. Slow run, though trying to keep up with them put my heart rate way up.

We gradually got ourselves showered and cleaned up, Jenna still muttering about how she couldn't believe what Susi had done to her. Then sushi. We ate about a million pieces. burp. Susi showed me some transition stuff, then I packed up and Linda drove me home. I slept like a rock, and feel great today. Maybe that's the coffee talking, but my waking heart rate was only slightly higher than normal, and other than my elbow that got a bloody owie, I feel great today. Not great enough to join them on the Highwood ride today but I've got a good excuse. The lawn simply MUST get cut today, or I'm going to have to call in a local farmer to cut and bale it. Plus we've got friends coming for a BBQ this afternoon.

Even though our total ride time was 7 hours, the time wasn't the point. We weren't racing. We had a nice stop at the store and the golf course. We stopped periodically to regroup. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It almost wasn't like a workout, though my watch says I burned over 6,000 calories. I don't have the formal numbers because my bike computer reset itself a couple of times.

In honour of the occasion, my wife came up with this little ditty, sung to the tune "Lord of the Dance".

Let me tell you a story 'bout a girl named Jenn
Little prairie chick training for an Ironman
She swam and she ran and she rode her bike with pride
Till her good friend Susi said "Let's take a little ride!"

Jenn, Jenn, tell me what you see
A big bad hill instead of bald prairie
A little trick played by your pal Susi
So what on earth's a prairie gal supposed to do?

Poor Jenn did not know what to do at first
But she told her pal Susi "oh do your worst!"
So Jenna, Susi, and Keith began their climb
3 kilometers of hard hilling time

Jenn, Jenn, tell me what you see
A big bad hill instead of bald prairie
A little trick played by your pal Susi
So what on earth's a prairie gal supposed to do?

The time has come to bring this story to an end
Jenna climbed the big bad hill
and IronSusi's still her friend
So the moral of the story is plain for all to see
Whatever else you do, stick to your IGP!

In honour of Susi, since she loves George

My name's Iron Susi,
I train on big hills,
That give my pal Jenna
The shakes the chills.

I like my pal Jenna,
She stays at my home,
But she should have remembered
That I'm bad to the bone,


I rode a thousand hills,
Before I met you,
I'll ride a thousand more baby,
Before I am through,
You should have remembered
That I'm the devil's own

I'm telling you Jenna,
That I'm bad to the bone


Weekly total
swim 1.5 hr
Bike 9 hr (not sure I should count the ride as 7 because of the breaks)
Run 2.45 hr
Total 12.9