Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Countdown 11 days...

Ok, so I haven't posted since last week. Lots has happened since then, kind of.

On the training front last week was a low week of training. Only 4.5 hours. I did a long run and a speed bike session and a run speed work session.

There was a number of reasons I didn't do more training. Fasten your seat belt for them all.

The first was I'm sore. Really sore. I really don't even know why I'm sore. It's not just muscle soreness it's joint soreness. It's like walking down the stairs or period I'm in a shuffle. My Achilles is also tight. My sessions this past week although not a lot of hours were intense. I figured I needed to give my body a break, at least until the weekend. Let the muscles recharge.

The second is I'm sick, I have this hacking cough. Alice has it too. I just can't shake it. We caught it from Alyssa and it's just not going away. I think I'm on week two.

The Third reason I didn't train on the weekend was it rained all weekend. I'm now made out of sugar and figured I'm not going to go out and train in the rain and do a long bike or run. Those days are long gone for me. I'm staying in the house.

Sadly the fourth reason is I fell of the wagon. Yes, I can't believe it. I was doing so well. On Saturday night we went to Yuk Yuks and I had a beer that turned into more than I should have.

I'd like to say it was fun. It wasn't. I didn't do anything stupid. Thank God. Why it was stupid was the way I felt the next day. I was a train wreck. My head and body was hurting. My body needed sleep and recovery it was so bad. It was like getting hit by that train in the wreck.

I know I swore of drinking beer and I'm not undeterred. In fact I think this is just what the doctor ordered. It reminds me of when I quit smoking cigarettes as a late teenager. I quit for a while. Then had one and it tasted so bad that second time after that I was just so turned off I never went back.

The following morning I was just in amazement based on how I felt that I even considered it let alone did it. Absolutely nothing good came of it. My body was hurting. I was dehydrated. I was now unmotivated, I couldn't train if I wanted to (good thing it was raining, I wouldn't have trained regardless), it seemed I gained back all the weight I worked so hard to lose, it overly shocked my body and of course the next day sore head and anxiety is tough to handle.

It was so bad that I sat down and wrote two lists. The first list was all the negative effects. It was long. Much longer than I wrote in the paragraph above. The second list was all the good things, it was incredibly short.

As much as I want to beat myself up I didn't. There would be no good from it. I just hung on to the post beer ride knowing it will be back to normal in 2 to 3 days. A main concern was getting rid of my dehydration and getting homeostasis again. I don't want injury.

The fourth reason I think I do this stuff, and I could be wrong. Is I put myself in these crazy situations that make it even harder and more epic to finish. There is an element of self-sabotage included in that.  I'm one of those people that won't text on a highway until I come up beside a semi-truck, then unconsciously I pull out my phone to text or check my Facebook or Twitter. I guess it's the added adventure and thrill.

And the final reason is my health. It can't be good for the inside of your body, your organs to be pushed from 0 to 100 miles an hour of processing toxins.

Good news is I'm back on track. Monday I didn't train, I got caught up with some work, I had to drive to Toronto to pick up Reid's car, which ate up over 2 hours of my day, and we had friends, Lindy and Reuben coming over for dinner. I lost the window to train, and frankly I was still on the tale end of my beer body detox. They did make me feel good when I opened the door to welcome them, Lindy said "you don't look fat".

I know I've said it before but this time I'm done with beer. Time will tell. I just feel differently.

Yesterday I got back to my training. With only 12 days left this is really the final week for me to train. The reality is I'm ready to finish. I don't want to say finishing won't be a problem because even if you are in superb shape finishing is a problem. I just know I have from these past 8 weeks of training built up a base that is suitable to finish and mentally I'm always ready to finish. My only concern is to minimize the hurt factor and this is really my last week to try and do that.

The reality is two weeks or less before an Ironman you are really not going to increase your fitness. If you do it's a minor minor benefit and probably in my case would be appropriate. When you are a lean mean fighting machine that has been training between 12 - 20 weeks before there is absolutely no gain in fitness and the thing you have to be most careful about is not tapering and getting an injury.

I do know my body and it doesn't need much of a taper. When I qualified for Kona only 3 days before the race I did a 3 hour ride and was training hard right up to that time. Mind you I did the same thing for Kona and it trashed my legs for Kona, even thought it was a respectable time in the 11 hour mark, I could have done better without that ride before.

So yesterday I pulled off near 5.5 hours of training. I did a 4 hour plus ride and an hour plus run in 33 C heat. Which reminds me I need to change my wheels, from my training wheels to my tubular racing wheels. I need to get in at least a few more rides to make sure they settle and and if there is any problems they are identified before the Ironman.

The run I did later in the evening. The ride I was near a bit of a bonk state afterwards. Residual effects from the beer. The run I came home "stinky" once again, it too was the last purge of toxins from the beer. That's also one of the negative effects from the beer, you know you are going to stink afterwards. This time I took a shower right after.

I did enjoy the run. No more speed work. I just did it an an easy pace with a 143 heart rate or less. It would have been even less normally but after beer it shoots up. Opps, another residual negative effect.

Diet wise I'm back on track. The week following I started going to the local yogurt shop almost daily and was falling off the eating track with some chocolate bars. My body was craving and the mind was week. Again, it's that living on the edge and making things a little tougher.

Good news is since Saturday it's like a reset button and that's the weird part and perhaps my unconscious. Doing something crazy like that, going overboard, resets my mind to be back to more determined.

I did weight myself this morning and I'm sure a bit of it is water weight loss from last nights run but I'm now down to 197.0 lbs. That near a 9.4 lb weight lost from my high about 6 weeks ago. That felt pretty good to see that especially with my body back to looking soft around the love handles after Saturday night.

By the way, Yuk Yuks sucked. I often don't have a lot to say good about Winnipeg where I grew up and moved from 10 years ago. In this case I do, they have awesome comedians come to down. Down right funny. In Ontario, and that includes Toronto, I've yet to have as much fun or laughs as Winnipeg. Rumours comedy club in Winnipeg is the funniest period. Now that I think about it even other Cities don't have as funny comedians. We did Myrtle beach comedy a few years back and it was better than Toronto but still sucked.

So here I am I have up until Sunday to get ready. I want to put in some mileage and get a little sore and then give myself the final 6 days to do light work. This week I also need to get into the pool, just to get the muscles somewhat ready. Not that the training for swimming matters. Speed is all about technique in swimming and I've never been able to master that. I don't really care even without much or any swim training I can finish it. From top to bottom time it would only be about 15 minutes difference. Not a big difference in the scheme of a 11 - 13 hour day. Hopefully for me it will be a 12 hour and something day.

I just want to finish in at least pain and suffering as possible, at least be able to run the first 13 miles of the run and then it really means you'll finish, even if you have to walk. To me the Ironman doesn't really start until the 13 mile point of the run. Unless you have to walk before that point, then the Ironman starts earlier.

Oh, I almost forgot, even though I bailed on some training (rain) I have been spending a great deal of time working and researching preparing to launch Salmon Social and promote hard in August and September. There is a big part of me that is comping at the bit to get back to my normal all out work pace.

Mod Bike - 4:13:13 / 113 km
Run - 1:09:53 / 11.08 km

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's not easy...

The good news is I only had one training session today. The bad news is it's my running speed work and it's a hurt locker session.

I got caught up in some work this morning and before I knew it it was 4:30 pm and I hadn't yet done my training session.

In the hours prior I was thinking "beer". It was the first time in a while that I had an urge to have a beer. I was self-aware of it and intrigued. Why was I thinking about it? Why did I want some?

I got to thinking about it and played it in my mind what would happen if I had a beer. My keg still has some Stella left in it so I don't have to go to far to have some. I visualized that if I had a beer before my run I probably would have a couple and bail on my training session.

Then I thought about the sabotage it would do to my diet. I'm losing inches and pounds, slowly but surely. I'm not eating strictly healthy, but I'm not binging either. If I had a beer it would most certainly derail my efforts and from history it would cause weight to go up.

Mentally I'm in a really good place. Having a beer would most definitely set me back and if I had one too many it would certainly set me back.

I wondered if I was craving a beer was because I didn't want to do my run. It's not just an enjoyable low heart rate run, it's a go as hard as you can for 11 km run.

The more I thought about it the negatives outweighed the positives and I said to myself that even if I really couldn't hold myself from having a beer I wasn't going to have one until after my run. After my run we'll see if I feel differently.

Before I set out on my run I knew in my heart of heart regardless I was not going to have any beer. I made my mind up, I quit and I'm committed for it to stay that way. I'm so pumped about life right now and the next three years of achieving some personal goals that I don't want to do anything to derail myself.

As I set out on my run I didn't know how fast I'd go. Last week was a blistering 4:48 per km average pace. Blistering for me at this stage. To do that speed it hurt and I had to grind it out. Could I do it again?

The thing about running and racing is you really never know how you feel or how fast you are going to go until you get started. Once I started I was stiff and felt awkward. My newer shoes have been causing Achilles tightness.

About 2 km into the run I was at a 4:47 per km average and it wasn't easy to get there. On one level I was happy it was that fast considering I felt like I was lumbering and going slow. On the other hand I didn't like to see it because I know my competitive nature will be to try to keep it at that average for the remainder of the run.

When I got to my first red light at 3 km I welcomed it. I got to stop and rest until the light turned green. Thinking about it I remember 20 years ago that if I got stopped at a red light I'd run on the spot until it changed. I still see people do it now. For me, nope, I don't do that. I just stop and wait.

My next stop was at the turnaround point. I didn't have to stop. I did. I took a 20 second deep breath and then took off. Just prior I could feel some tightness of the muscles on the front of the foot and lower shin. I can't ever recall having that feeling before. I'm in the paranoia zone about getting injured this close to the race and consciously started to relax my foot area and observed it. It eventually went away.

My Achilles the entire time remained tight and my quads started building lactic acid and feeling stiff. I love that feeling and ran through it. What that feeling tells me is I'm giving my muscles a workout and that's how you get stronger. Or as my son Reid would say "gains".

At the 8 km mark I so wanted to just slow down. At 10 km I really wanted to slow down. I could have justified it in my mind as this last 1 km would be my cool down. For two reasons I didn't. First I was racing against the clock and wanted to see what the fastest was I could go and secondly I didn't want to mail this session in, I wanted to make sure it was a high quality workout that I'd be thankful I did during Ironman Boulder.

I managed to finish with a 4:55 per km average. It was slower by 7 seconds per km from last week and I wasn't bothered by it. I knew I did the absolute best I could and my legs were sore after I got home.

It's still really intriguing me how my legs could be sore after a less than and hour run. That's a baby run. My bigger concern is my tight Achilles. Part of it being tight is from favouring it and walking tight. Mentally the best thing to do is relax and ignore it. Basically walk normal and trust that walking normal will help it and not hurt it. That favouring it will do more harm than good.

When I got back the idea of having a beer was no longer even in my mind. I was also amazed how surreally fast the run felt. I was listening to a auto-biography of Ben Horowitz a Silicon Valley legend and his describing of a business story and adversity he faced early was gripping. Yet at the same time during the run it seems like a lifetime waiting for the run to end and the pain to end.

After the run I had my protein shake, my beta-alanine and had a shower. Then it was off to the movie 23 jump street. Alyssa like it and Alice and I didn't think it was too good. I'd give it a 6 on 10. It was good to get out and walk, it aids recovery. After the movie walking down the stars was a little painful.

I did notice as I was sitting in my seat with my legs up that some of the muscles on my legs that I haven't seen for a while are coming back. It's nice to see that in fact my body is getting stronger. It's amazing how hard it is to see those gains and get stronger and how easy it is to lose those gains, get weaker and soft.

My cough seemed to be going away until after my run. After the run I couldn't stop hacking again and same in the movie theatre. Good think there was only about 10 people at the movie or I would have been pretty annoying.

My big focus right now is to mentally prepare to finish off my last big weekend of training with a long bike and run. After this weekend the taper begins. I want to make sure I finish this weekend strong. It will help both mentally and physically.

Aside from training I'm enjoying my summer. I feel like every day is a weekend. Even thought I got to bed around 11 pm last night I slept till about 10 am before starting my day.

It's a really weird feeling in that in all the years I've been in business I've never really taken holidays and when I did I was often thinking about work or responding daily to emails at minimum. It feels like I'm on holidays and I'm trying not to feel guilty about it.

I'm definitely learning. I realize that moving forward I'm taking holidays, real holidays. Were everyday needs to feel like a weekend. I find I'm recharging and mentally preparing myself for the weeks ahead once our app is ready to officially launch.

What's cool is it's all going to be ready to launch right after the Ironman. The timing couldn't be better. Relax, train, do 4 or 5 hours of work each day and mentally prepare for post race. Those following two months after the race are going to be an all out assault to make things happen. I'm pretty pumped about it and making some magic happen.


Speed Run - 55:07 / 11.20 km

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Breakthrough...

So I'm still sick and I decided not to train yesterday. I had a swim scheduled and figured there is no real benefit from swimming. It's not like I'm going to get faster. Aside from feeling sick I was still not near recovered from Monday's long run.

I can tell how recovered I am by how I walk downstairs in the morning. If I'm putting more weight on my arms that are holding on to the railings then I'm sore. If I use my legs and less arms I'm recovered enough. Yesterday morning I could barely walk down the stairs.

Before I shuffled down those stairs I weighed myself and it was the first day that I broke 200 lbs. I came in at 199.6 lbs. You have no idea how awesome it felt to see a 1 and a 9. One month ago I was 205.8 and now I'm down about 6 lbs. The heaviest I was was 6 weeks ago and I was 206.4lbs. My gut has definitely started to go down and now the scale is showing my weight is too.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on my computer, much of it was researching Ironman training on low training hours. I found it very interesting.

If you googled Ironman training in the past you would always get schedules that called for 18 - 22 plus hours of training per week being required. Now I'm seeing people profess that on 6  - 10 hours a week you can have an awesome Ironman time. Not just gaining the fitness to finish, but getting the fitness to do well.

As I think about it it makes sense. The Ironman has now been around over 30 years. It's no longer daunting to many. People are so confident that can finish that they are now experimenting with training programs. One of the trends is less is more. Quality over quantity.

All my training years past and up until now has been what I would call old school. Lots of weekly mileage. The only thing I would say is new school is my last Ironman I trained only about 6 weeks and this one I'm training about 8 weeks. Most schedules call for a minimum of 12 weeks and up to 20 weeks.

Much of what I was reading was interesting. I remember one year I did 26 - 100 plus mile bike rides and 28 long runs between 2 -3 hours. All that in a 52 week period and lets not forget half my year is winter.

Some of the articles I was reading was talking about the toll all those long bike and runs take on the body and that they don't significantly make you faster than if you didn't put in that mileage.

One comment really resonated with me. It discussed that with a proper training program you should be seeing speed gains weekly if you are recovering correctly. The old school ways you didn't see those gains, you basically beat yourself up and then started your taper 3 weeks before the race and hoped your body would recover in so much as you would have your best performance.

This article referred to body builders in the gym that see gains from week to week after proper recovery. It very much made sense. It was also mentally comforting and lessened the guilt of me not training today under the model of recovery first.

There was also some interesting research that came out recently that talked about standing up and movement and that it is more important than we thought. Click here to read a recent article from Mark Allen about this concept.

One thing about reading all these articles about less is more in training is definitely helping me mentally in that I'm not overly concerned about not forcing myself to put in the 22 hour weeks and if not feeling guilty about it.

Today I woke up and walked down the stairs with less arms and more legs. Alice even noticed. First thing she said as she saw me walking down the stairs was that it looked like my legs weren't as sore. She was right. It was that noticeable.

My training session today was a speed bike ride. Last week I went as hard as I could on my 30.30 km loop and averaged 29.6 km. Two weeks earlier I did the same route and averaged 24.6 kph, it was pathetically slow. Today was my test to see if a days rest would give me a faster ride than last week.

I want to first off say that going fast from door to door is not easy. It's painful. Basically I do a time trial ride. The route I take is not flat and there is a good amount of hills. It's challenging.

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to go hard from the beginning or do a 10 minute warm up and go hard. I wasn't sure if I was going to go for the 30 km loop or stretch it out and do 50 km as hard as I could.

The first decision was made for me. My competitive juices started flowing and I went as hard as I could. Perhaps it was a little piss off id-ness as well. My speedometer wasn't working and I had to go into the house and get my garmin to use to keep track of my time.

Right off the bat my legs were pumped and burning. Then my first big challenge is the hill on Appleby line. It's a tough climb and I went as hard as I could and kept it in the big gear all the way up that hill. It's that last 100 yards that's the killer and even those last 20 yards. You so much want to just let up a bit before you crest at the top of the hill.

It's one of those moments of truth. It's one of those moments where it gages your level of mental strength. It's one of those moments that only happen in this type of circumstance and there is something primal about it. It's just you, the bike and the top of that hill and the question is if you have what it takes to stay in the hurt locker and not let the hill beat you. It's you against the hill and it's you against yourself mentally and physically. It's two enemies, yourself and the hill.

The good news is I didn't surrender. I kept going. When I hit the top of the hill I was doing nothing but gasping for air. I couldn't open my mouth any wider. I was forcing it to open as much as was humanly possible and trying to take in as much air as possible. My heart rate was up to 165 bpm. Which is basically my max.

I had about 30 seconds of near no pedalling and just sucking in air, then took a swig of my gatorade and started peddling as hard as I could again. Then it was a turn and into the wind. I kept glancing at my watch and say that for the most part I was typically around 29.5 kph and as low as 29.1 kph at the turn home which would put the wind now at my back. Yet there was a couple of hills and one long climb that could slow me.

In my mind I decided I was going to try and make up as much time as possible and try to average 30 kph or more. I really wanted to break the 30 kph average. If I did I knew that the rest was the right thing to do and that it is true you should be able to see incremental performance gains week to week if you do it right.

I pounded and before I knew it I was not just over 30 kph average I figured I had a good shot to get it up over 31 kph and that was my new goal. Turns out I did even better than that and ended up averaging 31.4 kph. FINALLY at respectable ride.

As you can tell I decided to keep it at a 30 km ride and not a 50 km ride. I figured I'd get the benefit from 30 and I really wanted to see how the exact same distance compared from week to week.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at my training schedule and deciding what adjustments to make. I've decided this week is going to be my last long ride and run. I'm not going to be afraid to beat myself up a bit. Then the following to weeks I'm going to reduce the hours and up the intensity. I think a 3 hour ride at a half Ironman race pace effort will be more beneficial than another long slow ride. Same with the run.

I'm still working it all through in my mind and based on how I intuitively feel at any specific day I will make adjustments. This is the art of Ironman training.

On one level I want to make sure I up the intensity and build strengthen my muscles and then on the other level I need to make sure I don't over do it and injure myself. There's really no time to recover from an injury. Then the third element it to make sure you don't crash on your bike or get in an accident.

The other thing I need to remember is to put my racing wheels back on my bike. I've been training on the stock rims and clinchers.

This afternoon I had some fun. I had to drive Reid's car to downtown Toronto to the garage that safetied it. This is turning into a real drama and it's not yet over.

The story is a couple of weeks ago Reid bought a car. An Acura 2001 car that has been modified to essentially be a track race car. He had a friend who is into cars and supposedly a good mechanic look at it and we bought it for $4000.

A week after we bought it the engine light went on and we took it to our mechanic. The guy is awesome and he went through the car and found so much wrong with it it was insane. To fix it all it would be around $4000. What he couldn't believe was the car was safetied. In Ontario you have to get a car safetied by a mechanic before it can be sold.

If the garage is negligent and safeties a car that shouldn't be they can get in big time trouble. Losing their license and getting a fine up to $20,000.

Rather than going to the garage and the hassle we put the car up as is. The minute you do that people think there is something wrong with the car and most definitely they will get it checked out and low ball the car or just walk away from any of the potential headaches.

I took it to another garage around the corner for a second opinion. They duplicated exactly what our mechanic said and there was some pretty basic stuff missed. Like bald tires, no high beam headlights, not to mention ball joints and tie rods, etc.

At this point I decided to call the owner of the Toronto garage. Nice enough guy. I told him what the other mechanics found and he was quite alarmed. He knew he could lose his license and be fined. He told me to bring it down and he'd look at it and fix it. He couldn't though remember doing the safety.

It's a hassle driving to Toronto, especially in the summer and construction traffic. It could be hell of stop and go freeway traffic. But I had no choice.

When I got to the place the owner was a young 24 year old. After he spoke to me he remembered the car and that he rebuilt the car for the previous owner Mo. Mo tried to sell it two months ago and the deal fell through and he bought the safety then.

About two months passed and after 30 days you need a new safety. The mechanic said that he did a safety and didn't date it and let Mo date it. He figured it would be less than 30 days after he gave it, not more than two months.

Now at this point the mechanic is totally in the wrong regardless. You can't do what he did. He should lose his license. I couldn't believe he was telling me this. I think it was because he didn't want me to think he ripped us off yet by him telling me this story he was self incriminating himself.

He went on to tell me he spoke to Mo and told Mo that he is going to have to pay for all the repairs required to bring it up to safety. I told him my plan is to get it safetied and then sell it and if he knew a buyer I'd sell it.

Shortly after I left I thought "why am I doing these guys any favours?" I call the mechanic back and told him to talk to Mo and tell him I want my $4000 back or I'm going to pursue him legally. Which also means that I'll be pursuing the mechanic and he could lose his license. The mechanic didn't seem to know what hit him. I told him what Mo did was fraudulent.

It will be interesting to see where this saga goes next. Hopefully they just come up with the $4000 and are done with it. If not I'll probably just call the ministry, report him and take them both to court. Poor Reid is just so pissed off at himself buying the car and doesn't want anything to do with a car at this point.

Speed Bike - 57:22 / 30.30 km


Monday, July 14, 2014

HACK, HACK, HACK....

I rarely get sick and I can't remember the last time I got sick with a hacking cough.

It's weird I have not headache, or runny nose, only a hacking cough. All I need to do is take one deep breath and I can cough on will.

Sunday my plan was to do a long run. I didn't for a few reasons, physically I didn't feel like it, mentally I didn't feel like it and I was feeling sick. I didn't know if it would be a good idea to not rest. Normal people would not train due to the illness, I'd like to say I didn't because it was part of my better judgement, it wasn't, 60% of the reason I didn't do it was I wasn't feeling it. No mojo.

I was reading an article about low hours Ironman training, about 10 - 12 hours per week. I follow the Mark Allen principles and do about 18 - 22 hours per week. The article went on to say that those long endurance training hours are bad for you, primarily your heart and that some recent Ironman winners are training no more than 12 hours a week. The author and a coach, Ben Greenfield, did a 9:30 finish in Kona with only 10 hours per week of training.

I've noticed in the past couple of years there has been many different coaches and training structures coming into the sport. I see triple brick workouts, something I'd never heard of before. I'm now hearing about 10 - 12 hour per week Ironman training schedules.

Even though I plan on making this my last Ironman I still have plans to continue to stay in shape and continue to be involved in the sport with my longest race distance being half Ironmans. Perhaps some Olympics, although I don't like the idea of driving and preparing the same amount of time as a half Ironman for a short race. Maybe do some 10 km and half marathon races.

I'm also thinking of trying some new training programs. I don't so much need a coach for verbal coaching, I'm pretty self sufficient at that, I just need a coach to help put the training sessions together for me. I was at the website for the legendary Ironman coach Brett Sutton and was thinking I might give his coaching a shot down the road.

The one thing I've recognized about coaching is it's become a flourishing business. Years ago pretty much no one had a coach, there was none and the guys like Dave Scott and Mark Allen had to figure it out on their own by trial and error.

Now everyone has a coach and I think that's a good thing. Before I signed up with Mark Allen Online to coach me I tried to create my own training program. I got the Triathletes Bible and read it cover to cover and then started to do the exercises and build a program. With about 2 hours my head was hurting and I was full of self doubt. I gave up and signed up with Mark Allen.

It was the best decision I made. It took away any concern I had about whether or not the program was right and allowed me to focus on doing just one thing, train. If I had questions I would as and as time went on I had less and less questions.

I've always felt like a bit of a coaching snob. I would only trust my training to guys that I respect and know what they are doing. I'd hear about guys I know going with local coaches who are also local elite triathletes or others that are being coached by coaches new to the sport and I'd think they are crazy.

Now I'm not so sure. I'm seeing some great results coming from these outliers. Perhaps this is why I'm seeing the training programs and schedules chaining with unique and unorthodox methods. That's one of the reasons I'm thinking of mixing it up, I'd like to see what some of these new programs are like and how they compare. Basically start to mix it up a bit.

Even though I'm still sick there was no way I could miss my long run. Mentally and physically I was feeling much better than yesterday. I had some mojo.

The key to not losing your fitness or have your muscles strength move in the wrong direction is to not let more than 3 days go by from your last session. For example, my last run was on Friday and the 3 day rule means that if I run today my legs do not lose strength. If I wait another day they would have started to lose strength.

Many people don't understand this. If you want to keep up your running fitness you need to run every third day and you will not lose anything. It's when those three days turn into 4 or 5 days that you start reversing all your gains. That's the same for swimming, biking and weight training. Same principle.

Today was the first day in a long time that it wasn't in the mid 80's and above. Most all of my runs in the past 6 weeks has been in 90 F weather. Today was about 75 F.

My last run was a speed work session and when you have one of those your next run tends to be faster naturally and that was the case today. Right out of the gate I was running much faster than normal.

Prior to this run I purchased an audio book and listened to it on my run. I'm not sure if it was the book or just my head space but time during my run seemed to go by quicker. It was also really cool that I was running faster again in the 5's per km pace. First 4 km I was at a 5:24 pace before hitting the continuous rolling hills on number one side road.

To put things in perspective I was running close to 1 minute per km faster than my last long run. I ended up doing 25 km's this week that was over 20 minutes faster than two weeks ago. Same distance and twenty minutes faster.

My legs wouldn't have known it. The increased intensity my legs felt. Those last 5 km are the hardest. My legs were feeling fatigued, sore and stiff. Those last 3 km you just want to stop and walk. What kept me going was looking at my watching and wanting it make it it not fall below a 5:41 per km average.

With it being cooler at only about 75 F I didn't bother bring water. I rarely bring water on my long runs. It's a hassle. When I got home I was pretty thirsty but not desperately like normal. I stretched outside and on the front lawn. My legs were stiff.

The minute I stopped running and started stretching I started coughing like a mad man. It's strange in that I ran for 2 hours and 22 minutes and didn't cough once. I stop and I couldn't stop. It was so bad that it was so deep that I thought I was going to throw up. Our neighbours across the street are getting their roof redone and the workers could hear me and were looking over. I'm sure they were wondering if I was okay.

It took about 2 hours after that run to stop coughing. For the rest of the day it was a constant shuffle from my legs being so sore. I have two thoughts about this, the first is I'm so looking forward to not having to do long runs in the future and thrash my legs and the other is it feels so cool walking around with thrashed legs because it makes you feel like you did something and you're getting gains.

I keep saying how sore I am and I don't understand it. I've done much more training in the past and at higher intensities and haven't felt this beat up. I'm not sure why that is? Is it the added weight? It there something medically wrong with me? Is it mentally I'm not aggressively engaged in my training?

Either way I like it. It's times like this that cause you to learn more about yourself through new experiences. You can read about this sort of stuff in a book and you would gloss over it. Yet once you start experiencing it you never forget it. I do wonder if I'll ever get my speed back? The I wonder if I really every care? I have some next stage in life goals that I want to put in extreme focus for the next 3 years to get to the top so I'm not really sweating it whether I get faster or not.

If I was asked what would make me most happy, it would be that I get quicker on the bike. Riding at a sub 27 per km average pace on the bike is horrible. If I could do the Ironman at an average 29 kph average I'd be happy.

My biggest fear is still having the slowest and most painful Ironman of all time. After today's run I keep psyching myself out thinking that if I feel this sore after only 25 km, how much more sore will I be with another 17 km to go. I just have these dreaded feelings. I've had a 14 hour Ironman in 1993 and that was the one I vowed I'd NEVER do another Ironman again. It took 17 years until I did my next one.

One positive is I'm definitely losing my gut. I'm down about 5 lbs over the last 6 weeks and that's a firmed up 5 lbs with fat being removed and replaced with heavier muscle. I'm losing just under 1 lb per week. Had I not drank beer in June I'd be down probably 2 lbs per week. I don't remember the number of days yet but I think I'm over a couple weeks now of not drinking beer.


Long Run - 2:22:58 / 25.09 km


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Suck it Up.... Payne!!!!

New Route, went by this Scouts Canada Camp....
I'm the guy that coined two terms. PFG (Previous Fat Guys) and SIU (Suck it up). All my blog buddies and kids know my SIU Baby, SIU Baby rants. Along with do you want me to call you an Whammmmmmmbulance.

We'll today was my SIU Baby, SIU.

First off I woke up sick. I tried to go to be earlier and get a good night sleep and initially I thought I shook the cough. Nope. About 30 minutes after being awake I was hacking and even spit one big, nice, brown coloured loogie into the toilet.

I then slithered down the stairs. My legs are so sore. I'm perplexed? I didn't expect the soreness. It's not normal based on the hours and intensity I've been putting in.

It's getting to close to race day and everyday is critical to do the proper training. There is no wiggle room to miss or shorten a training session.

I will say after yesterdays awesomely fast run, by today's standards, I was feeling pretty good about training today. I was thinking I just came off a great running speed work session and earlier this week a good speed bike session, so maybe I've turned the corner and my old speed is going to pick up.

The plan was for a 6 hour 45 minute bike ride. I was up earlier and then saw that our development team uploaded a new build of the Salmon Social app and needed me to check it. With time being of the essence I postponed my ride and put it through the paces. That took about 3 hours and it was past 1 pm and I had a long ride to do. My morning resolve to get it done was now waning.

Undeterred I filled my water bottles, pumped the tires on my bike and headed out for a long ride. In hindsight I was glad I spent the time reviewing the app and getting back to the team. What takes me so long is I record my findings, then I edit them in iMovie, then upload to You Tube unlisted and then record the comments with the You Tube links in the data base. I do it because otherwise the guys are clear on my written instructions. I call it my beautiful mind.

Instead of listening to music I put on the Seth Godin podcast. If your in business or marketing and haven't heard of Seth Godin you are living under a rock. You probably haven't heard of Oprah or Tony Robbin's either. Seth's experience and wisdom is amazing. I've listened to a couple of his books, the Purple Cow and Dip. I don't say this lightly, for what he does he's definitely a god among men.

I love listening to Seth. He has great lessons wrapped around great stories. It's as entertaining as it is learning. He's a very unique person in that he's got an extensive business background, started many non-tech and tech businesses, and is a prolific writer. Often his name is used along side Malcom Gladwell. The interesting part is Seth is brings his wisdom from real world and personal lessons. Yet if you didn't know this you would just think he was a great writer.

It was a nice warm sunny day and I felt pretty good. In the beginning I was even faster than normal. It was good to see and I was thinking maybe I turned the corner. That ended about 90 minutes into the ride.

It was a moment of truth.

The big devil and little devil were having a discussion in my head. There is no Angel in there when it comes to Ironman training.

It was so bad that the little devil wanted me to give up and not only give up but have Alice come and pick me up. It was telling me this is crazy. You should have retired from Ironman's after the last one. Why did you sign up to raise money for Doctors without Borders? Why don't you just phone a friend and have Alice pick you up? You have at least another 5 hours to go and you are going to suffer, why? Why not just not train and show up to suffer at Ironman Boulder and not worry about doing all these long rides and suffering as well?

The hamster was on the wheel in my head.

So then the Big Devil gave his argument. SIU Baby!!!

It was short and sweet and to the point. He knows, like me that the real Ironman is in the training. The race is just the victory lap. It's moment's like this that separate the men from the boys.

So I just kept pedalling and then tried to focus on the podcasts I was listening to and forget about the pain and don't let the little devil talk.

My riding is so slow. Strange part is that if I didn't have a speedometer I wouldn't know I was going slow. I still putting in the same amount of effort I did when I was in the best shape of my life. Looking at the speedometer I say two things to myself, first is "man am I slow" and the other is "man was I fast!!!"

To try and make the ride a little bit more enjoyable I turned off about 3 hours in and took a different route. Then a quick stop at a Hasty Mart and had a slushy. I wanted a Slurpee but it was one of those marts that was low end. Stopping was step one in trying to enjoy the rest of the ride as much as possible and to make it epic. Seeing new sights makes it more enjoyable in that you don't know what's coming up next. I ended up going through the town of Rockford. Right out of a Rockwell Painting.

At around hour 4 I turned on to a new road and stopped my bike. My head was hanging low. I was tired, my legs were sore and the road I turned down was nothing but up and down hills. More up than down. I took a deep breath, SIU'd and started riding again.

This happened around 4.5 hours as well. Stopped. Big breath in, big breath out and back on the bike.

I had my lunch break at 5 hours 10 minutes at a gas station with store. It was some chocolate milk, gatorade and half a bran muffin. I stopped for about 15 minutes. When I got back on the bike I was seized up a bit but with some more clarity from the sugar rush.

By this point I exhausted all my Seth Godin Podcasts and started up Tim Ferris Podcasts. Tim is the guy who wrote the 4-hour work week and others. He has an amazing podcast. What makes it interesting is he has awesomely interestingly guests and lets them talk. Many of the people are Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or leaders. Others have started some cool businesses and have interesting life stories like the guy who started the Spartan Race.

As a side bar, this was the first time I head about this race and they've had 1 million people participate. The guy who started it has a great and very interesting story. Kind of a kindred spirit to myself as he too is an endurance athlete and has done some pretty crazy long running and adventure racing. A guy with issues for sure. No one, myself included, does endurance events because you are normal. There is something that drives you.

The podcast was so interesting that when I got home there was about 5 minutes left and I kept listening until it was finished. Then I asked Alyssa if she's ever heard of Spartan racing and she said yes in such a way that I'm a moron if I'd never heard of it. There you go, I learned something new today, there is a new obstacle type race series call spartan. The moron thing I new about already so that wasn't the learning experience.

I decided not to do a brick run after todays run. I ran yesterday and I'm running long tomorrow. Running three days in a row can be dangerous. It increases your chance for injury. In not doing the brick run I was fully supported by the Big Devil. The little devil was having a shower and getting ready to tempt me with eating non healthy foods and have me constantly snack all night so he wasn't part of that discussion.

First thing I did when I got home was log my training, check email and facebook comments. Then it was the making of a nice big protein shake with fresh banana, pineapple and strawberries. It's so tasty and filling. Then shower and shave time.

This two day beards is killing me. Something has snapped in my head in the past couple weeks and I feel so lousy if I have two day or more stubble on my face. I feel like a bum. The kids have always said I look like a bum with the stubble. I used to like it and think it was cool. Now it annoys me. I was so excited to have a show and shave.

Before showering I asked Alice if she wanted to go to a movie tonight. She would have but it was now 9 pm and most of them didn't start until 10:30 pm and that would be a late night. She figured we could just stay home and watch a movie. I'm totally cool with that. I was just trying to bring some normalcy into my Ironman training.

I know so many Ironman that wouldn't even have asked their spouses if they want to go out. I know others that would have trained early in the morning so they could finish by 2 pm and still have a lot of time to spend with spouse and family. I'm no saint. I'm in the middle of the Ironman continuum. At least today I am.

So the take aways of todays training.
- I SIU'd it up Baby!!!
- I can't under state how I SIU'd it up Baby!!!
- I multi tasked and got 6 hours and 45 minutes of good, relevant learning that was entertaining. Essentially today went from 24 hours long to 30 hours and 45 minutes.
- I increased my fitness, albeit it slow.
- I felt like I accomplished something.
- I turned a regular day into an epic day. It was like being a kid on a Saturday afternoon neighbourhood adventure.
- I'm one closer long ride to not having to do anymore long rides.
- I'm zen.
Barely got a smile out of bike. I'm tired. But I SIU'd BABY!!!

If I would have let the little devil have it's way I'd be having all sorts of negative thoughts and self-talk right now. The ride beat me up in less time than my mind would have if I decided to bail.

Now I can relish in my win for the next 12 hours and then it's a clean slate and I will then have to motivate myself and push myself to do a long run.

6:45:14 / 177 km (110 miles)


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Glimmer of light...

Since I've gotten back from Boise, about 5 weeks ago, I've been putting off doing my expenses and getting some materials to my accountant.

Ideally they should have been there mid-may and without fail I need them to have them done by the tax deadline of July 1st. So yesterday was the dad. No more procrastination.

I'm normally not a procrastinator and I am conditioned to keep every receipt and when I do deep dive into it I go until I'm done. That's what happened yesterday. I started at 10:30 am and didn't finish until 7:30 pm with no breaks, other than a few Salmon Social related calls. It was still all work all day.

By the time I was done it was a mix of happiness and being mentally drained. It was the first moment that I felt a beer after completing would have been a nice reward.

It kind of got me thinking "why would such an event cause me to want to have a beer?". Yes I've quit and have no plans on drinking a beer, I was just self-aware and wondering why?

I wondered if it was my way knowing having some beers will relax me afterwards and revive me from being mentally drained? Was it that I really hate paperwork and it would be a reward if I finished? I'm sure I could come up with more potential reasons over a long bike ride or run.

What I do know is how I resisted the urge. I realized that if I had that beer it would lead to short term gain and long term pain. What would happen is I'd have one beer, then two, then 10. By that time I'd be uninhibited and hungry and grab primarily junk food and eat it before I go to bed and if it's chocolate I also eat it in bed. Then I'd wake up in the morning all groggy, probably with a high level of anxiety and be upset with myself and defocussed about my training.

Then I'd have to start all over again, regain my bearings, refocus after the guilt and lack of motivation and get back at it. Not just the training but the mental work tasks I have to complete.

When I looked at it for what it was or would be the decision was fairly easy. Yet I was still intrigued by why I felt I needed or wanted it. It's one of those questions I'm definitely going to figure out somewhere along the line in my training.

There was also another win I had. From the mental exhaustion and not really eating I was on the verge of ordering a pizza. Very close. I almost talked myself into it thinking that this weekend is my long bike ride and run and it's Carbo Loading.

Then I asked myself the question, "why am I wanting to order a pizza?" Which I know is very high calories and I'll over eat. It will then sabotage my efforts.

I'm proud to say I didn't order the pizza.

One reason I do know why I didn't want the beer and the pizza was I've been working too hard to get Ironman Boulder ready and I don't want to sabotage my efforts. It's going to be painful enough as it is. I don't need to make it more challenging.

I'm not saying I was perfect. I did have some pretzels and a small amount of ice cream. Not perfect but it could have been much worse.

My training plan yesterday was to do a speed run. I made the commitment to myself I would not train until I got all my paper work done. I'd been reversing it up and in the past would put the training in front of the paperwork.

I was really tired and it was cool outside and I just wasn't up to it. I didn't want to do a speed run and not be able to give everything I have. I decided to rest for the rest of the night and make my training run a first thing in the morning priority. Which I did.

This morning I woke up at 6:30 am and I have no idea why. I just did. Then I tried to sleep a little longer. Then to try and put me to sleep I started watching about the KGB and then North Korea. I've pretty much exhausted every Hitler, Mafia and Serial Killer videos on You Tube and now I'm into communist leadership. Didn't work. I actually found the Kim Jong il video pretty interesting.

When I did get out of bed it was now about 8:15 am, before I went downstairs I got into my running clothes. It's a technique I've learned over the years helps keep you focused on making sure you do it now. Fully running dressed it was downstairs to my morning ritual of coffee, check emails, check facebook and check out twitter. I really like twitter because there is always some good links to read.

I guess yesterday did knock me out a bit. I woke up with a cough and can feel I'm starting to get sick. I may also be catching it from Alyssa who's been sick for near two weeks.

There was two things running through my mind, the first was I have training to do and being sick is not an option to stop and the second was I'd rather get sick now and not the week or day of the Ironman.

My planned training session was speed work around the track. I pulled an audible and decided to just do one fast run for 11 km straight. Basically I ran at about 90% of race pace.

Many people would have preferred doing the track speed work intervals. It would have been about 4 or 5 km's fast and the other half slow resting.

As strange as this sounds I like it reversed. The stop and go at the track I find harder. I'd rather just get in the pain locker zone, tune out the pain and go. Which I did today.

Don't get me wrong, I was not looking forward to today's run. I was hoping I would be able to go as hard as I could and not mail it in. I knew it would be painful. That's a given. I just didn't want to mail it in.

I didn't.

Out of the house within 1 minute I was running faster than I have in a long time. Once I see that fast per km average I run out of fear that I'll slow down and see a slower average. My goal is now just to see how far I can go and keep the pace up. The pace I was trying to keep up was a 4:48 per km or 7:45 per mile pace.

The more ground you cover the more pressure there is to keep the pace up. It's a game of constantly looking at my watch to make sure I keep at or below the 4:48 threshold.

My first win was to make it to the 5 km point at 24:12, that's a respectable 5 km run. Even more impressive at 203 lbs.

Now I had this pressure and goal to keep the pace up and see if I could get to the 10 km point without slowing down. My heart rate at this point was around 160 bpm which is high for me as I train at low heart rate. If I was a normal, non low heart rate training person it would have been about 180 bpm plus.

I was not mailing it in. I could feel the pump. My left thigh was so pumped I could feel the lactic acid building. I love that feeling. The right thigh was not as pumped. Yet my right Achilles was tender. I could tell my running style was off balance. All I could do was keep my fingers crossed and preserve and hope I didn't pull anything.

At the 10 km mark I was at 48:10, it was actually a 4 seconds faster than the first 5 km. Negative splits. Yes! Then I had another km to go and up a slight uphill. I'm good at running uphill and into the wind without loosing speed. It wasn't easy and I had to work at it but I didn't lose speed. I made it home and my average was 4:49 per km / 7:45 per mile. YES!!!

It was my fastest run in a long time and more importantly my legs felt like they got one heck of a speed work session. When you do 11 km at 90% race pace over 54 minutes it's like the equivalent of running 2 hours plus slow to get the same benefit.

The strangest sensation I had when I got home was my legs did feel like I did a 2 hour plus run. They were sore. It was sore to walk up and down stairs. That's what's most scary to me. How can sore legs for such a short run happen? It's never happened before. Heck, I've been training now about 6 or 7 weeks pretty aggressively. There should be no reason I have sore legs.

When I got home I was coughing. I wasn't sure how much of it was from a cold coming on and how much of it was from coughing up a lung. As the day went on I think 90% of it is the cold.

After the run I did a little work before having to go to the auto shop. There was a light on in Reid's car. The one he bought 4 days ago. I have a great and though mechanic and against my better judgement didn't have him check the car out before buying it. Reid's friend, who is a student mechanic did and gave it the thumbs up.

Turns out that the light was just the beginning. There was so much wrong with the car that to get it all fixed it would cost $4500. We bought the car for $4000. Much of the problems should have been caught by the safety and our mechanic said he would go after the garage that signed the safety. They could get in big trouble with the province and lose there license.

Needless to say the decision was made to sell the car as is. When we got back home Reid put the car online for sale. As Is and for only $3000. Looks like if we are lucky we are at minimum going to take a $1000 hair cut. I can tell you that the next car we will definitely have our mechanic check it out and not Reid's friend.

This was definitely a good learning experience for Reid. Emotional learning that you can feel the pain is the best. It never leaves you.

Rest of my night is going to be spent relaxing.  Watch my favourite show, "Shark Tank" and hopefully I won't feel sicker tomorrow. We did go shopping earlier today so I need to behave on the food snacking, although I could say to myself I need to Carbo Load. I have a long ride tomorrow.

Today's highlight - my legs have been sore all day - love it. That's the feeling of "progress".

Speed Run - 53:54 / 11.18 km

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Full and Fast(er)...


I'm having weird dreams. Last nights dream was about me getting lost in a smaller airport after getting the run around at the car rental counter and missing a flight to Montreal. It wasn't the run around that caused it, it was I didn't look at my daily calendar. I missed my flight by about 7 hours.

Geez I never had these types of dreams when I was drinking beer. Crazy dreams. 

I had a lunch scheduled with someone who is connected to the Venture Capital market and it was in downtown Toronto. Which means with traffic for a 1 pm lunch I needed to leave at 11:30 am. If there was no traffic it would only be about a 40 minute drive. 

First thing I did when I woke up as have my coffee and then got on my bike for speed work. Rather than intervals I decided to go for it and pretty much do a one-hour time trial. Go as hard as I could for 1 hour. 

The first half of the ride was against the wind and up some hills. I went as hard as I could and it hurt. Sad part was my current top speed is what my slow speed used to be although my body wouldn't know it. I was hurting until about the 40 minute mark and then I was able to block out the pain. 

My nose was running and the snot was poring down my face. It reminded me of old times. I was like a bull. Of course I didn't wipe my nose until I got home. Heck I didn't even have a drop of water until I got home.
No, the snot did not get in my mouth. Just barely. Giving er!!! 

It was my best ride of the year. I averaged 29.6 kph. Still slow, I used to do 33 kph in the past and even as high as 36 kph in races over 90 km long. Even though it wasn't fast, it was faster and I gave it everything I had. I think the reason I'm not going faster is I don't want to go into the hurt locker. Today I let myself go into the hurt locker. 

My performance is so slow I keep wondering if I have something medically wrong with me. I guess I want to believe there is something medical wrong with me and not just that I've become weak and fat. 

I will say I felt great when I got home. It was a definite shot of happiness. I had enough time for a quick shower, a full body shave and then off to lunch. 

My lunch date was about an hour late. It worked out perfectly. We have a new build of the app and it gave me an hour to test it in downtown Toronto. The people in the restaurant were looking at me as I was testing it with one phone and video recording what I was doing with another. I was talking into my phone as a commentator if I saw a bug. My team says I'm not descriptive enough or they can't understand my cryptic notes. 

I did have a win in that I didn't have a beer. I thought I'd be tempted by my lunch partner. Before I got there my mind was made up. Nope. I'm done. He can drink alone I'll have diet coke. It was all for not, he ended up ordering diet coke right out of the gate.

When I got home I spend 4 hours with iMovie editing the footage and uploading to You Tube and then documenting in our tracking system. 

I'm so glad I got my training session done this morning. There is no greater feeling than knowing you don't have to get your training session done hanging over your head. My legs were also pumped all day and it felt good knowing I gave them a forward moving training session. 

When Alice came home they had a McDonald's chicken sandwich for me. I only had a couple bits. No desire to eat it. Instead it was about 6 little containers of yogurt and micro wave popcorn and some hamburger. Not a combination of food you typically eat together.

Alice then went on to tell me that her and Reid took his new used car into the garage. A light was on. This mechanic we take it to is awesome. Very knowledgable, honest and through. He looked at the car and said wow. The kid that owned it before put a ton of money into it.

It's a rebuild and everything in it is racing from the engine to the seats to you name it. The car doesn't even have air conditioning. The mechanic was amazed that Reid was able to learn to drive the car so quickly as even the clutch is a racing clutch and very difficult to shift with. It's very sensitive and you have to hit it perfect every time.

The first time Reid drove it home from where he bought it he couldn't get out of first gear without it stalling. It was bad. He's been practicing a lot and even drove on the busy QEW with bumper to bumper traffic and Alice said he was doing great.

At least one person in the house can drive manual great. I'm a clutch burner.

Full day, fast(er) ride...

Bike - 1:01:23 / 30.30 km