Thursday, December 26, 2013

Helping the economy big time...

In Canada the day after Christmas is called Boxing day. It's a holiday and its the day that all the stores have post Christmas deals. Lots of good deals.

Our plan was to go and get a big screen TV and Dishwasher. What seemed like it would take about an hour or two turned into a full blown day.

It was a good thing we had a good breakfast at a local breakfast joint. Best Buy was pretty crazy. Through social media advice I narrowed the TV down and bought a 70" non Smart TV and made it smart with Apple TV.

It was a zoo in Best Buy and it took forever to get through the line up and to the cashier and then wait for them to take the TV to your car. I also got suckered into the 4 year protection plan. The guys scared the crap out of me on a 70" model. I normally NEVER fall for that stuff, but on this purchase it made sense. It seems nothing lasts in my basement. Not sure if it's the humidity or what.

The guy was about 34 years old. When we were checking out they asked who helped me. I said Dave. One of the young guys asked the other, "was it young Dave or old Dave?". They said "old Dave". I was like WTF???? He looked young to me. I wasn't kidding. I thought they all looked around the same age. I didn't know there was an old one in the bunch.

Man I'm struggling with this age thing. Big Time. But that's a different story. I'm getting used to being called "Sir" now.

Turns out Best Buy was the easy part of the journey.

We spend the entire afternoon then going to Goeman's appliances, IKEA, Sears and Future Shop looking for a TV stand and dishwasher.

If I never have to go into IKEA again I'd die with a smile on my face. I hate that store. We found something we liked. Then had to walk the entire store, following the floor arrows to the self service warehouse, only to find they were out of stock and then we had to walk all the way back to see if they had anything else we liked. Nope. Now we had to walk the entire store again just to get to the exits.

Turns out that all the driving was for not. Had we just shopped right near our house everything we eventually bought was right there.

Buying the dishwater was a funny experience. Since my 30 days in Arizona training and having to load the dishwasher myself I now have more of an interest and consider myself somewhat of an expert, even though for the prior 25 years I didn't know how to turn a dishwasher on. I'd was getting into the different models and really wanting to know which was the BEST at cleaning grimy dishes. It was quite a site. I NEVER thought I'd be so much into dishwashers. It was like I was asking questions at a bike store.

I did find out that you should never prewash your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. That was new to me. Apparently these things are high tech enough that when they start not having lots of crap in the flush lines it means they are new done and don't have to work as hard. Interesting.

Alice had the final say but I was definitely engaged. It was a sight to see.

Overall, for the day, we did save a lot of money though. I'm not going to focus on what we spent. That's the glass is a glass half empty approach. I'm going to focus on savings. On three items we saved $1300. Only the Apple TV was full price.

Getting the TV out of the truck was a bit of work. I was hoping Reid would help me but he wasn't home so Alice did and I was worried, she has a bad shoulder. I'm so paranoid moving a big TV. If it falls and the screen breaks it's no good. It all worked out.

This is where my diet went off the rails. It was between the moving of the TV and stand to downstairs to assembly. There was a Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake in the fridge and I decided to have one piece which turned into about 5 or 6 pieces. No joke. That stuff is like crack cocaine. I could stop. Until most of it was done. The last three pieces were my proverbial last pieces.

I wasn't looking forward to assembling the TV stand and TV. I'm not the most patient builder. To my pleasant surprise the TV stand was easier than most to put together and possibly the best ever instructions I've ever gotten before.

The TV also went pretty easy. Other than connecting all the wires. I still can't get the surround sound working. I need to call my stereo guy to come and fix it.

I was able to get U.S. HBO, HULU and NETFLIX working. I paid a service to get a U.S. DNS and after about 2 hours of messing around because I don't know what I'm doing I got them all to work. Winning. I can now watch great programming. In Canada the government doesn't allow a lot of the U.S. programming to come over the border unless it's through Canadian licensing arrangements. We get ripped off. But not for me anymore.

The worst part was getting rid of all the cardboard and packaging. The local garbage guys won't pick it up and we have a restriction on the amount of garbage bags you can put out. So I did what I do best. I loaded it all up in the truck and took off at 11:30 pm looking for an empty big commercial trash can or in Canada we like to call them BFI bins.

It didn't take long for me to find the new LOWES. It's around the corner from my place and not yet opened.

I was a little paranoid I'd get caught and these trash cans were huge. The walls were about 10 feet high and it was hard to throw the cardboard and Styrofoam up that high and over the wall. Especially with the wind going and the time pressures. It was like a game. Rush to get the stuff in the bin before someone comes and busts you.

It's not looked on favourably to use a commercial bin for private use. I once got caught at shoppers drug mart and they wanted me to remove the cardboard and put it back in my truck. No joke. My name was on one of the boxes and they tracked me down and called me to come pick it up. I said no way, I shop at your store, consider it a customer service. But they did call and were quite upset by it all.

So here I was rushing to get the stuff into the bin so i didn't get caught and it would take me two or three throws to get it over the walls and into the bin. In the wind cardboard and Styrofoam isn't the easiest stuff to throw.

When I got home I just sat in front of the new big screen TV all proud. It was close to 1 am and I didn't want to go to bed. I just wanted to watch the TV. Movies on it look amazing!!! It's the perfect size. Reid saw it and let it be known that he will now be spending more time in the basement. I figure if he can figure out which remote to use for what all the power to him.

I want to use the TV for the Insanity workout series I got Alyssa for Christmas. In fact buying that was the main reason I was motivated to buy the TV. To do the insanity workouts. The other reason was it's my new office and I can put it on in the background.

There is no doubt it makes it look like a whole new basement. It took it from the 90's with the rear projection TV to the 2014's with the flat screen. The sad part was the flat screen cost me less than the 65" rear projection.

Finally I did have one major baby step win today. I didn't check any of my work emails. I'm on Christmas break until January 6th and I've made it a goal not to check emails. That's something I've never done before and I think it will be as tough if not tougher than doing an Ironman.

This Christmas I'm trying to make it more family oriented. It's part of the new me.

Don't ask me to take a break from social media. That would be way to much way to soon. My head would explode I'm sure. Alice would love it I'm sure, the getting off social media stuff, not the head exploding.

No Training - Just eating.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Another Christmas, another run...

This Christmas was different. Alice and I got to sleep in.

In fact we were the first up at 10 am. Normally the kids wake us up because they want to open their presents. The younger they were the earlier we'd be getting up. Now they are 23 and 17 years old, I guess that's no longer young. Sleeping in suited me fine.

There is no better feeling than getting up for Christmas morning fully rested. Most Christmas's I remember get up so tired I just wanted to sleep and it didn't was even worse if I had a lot of Christmas cheer the night before.

Before the kids got up I even had time to have a shower. That's another first on Christmas morning. We couldn't wait any longer for them so Alice woke up Reid who then woke up Alyssa and Adam, Alyssa's boyfriend.

Everyone got lots of good stuff as always. It somewhat easy to buy for me so long as it has an Ironman M-Dot logo. I got a couple of awesome cycling Jersey's. Reid like the Michelob one so much he said he would almost get into cycling to get to wear one. I really enjoyed just hanging out and opening presents although it seemed to go by to fast then everyone was gone.

I got Alyssa a kitchen gadget kind of as a joke. The perfect pancake maker. The pancakes didn't turn out so perfect. Reid got an original in the package Farrah Fawcett poster. He's into anything 70's.

The printing and color on it is awful. Yet in the 70's it looked great. It's amazing how technology has made color reproduction so much better. I suggested to Reid he might want to keep it in the package as a collectors item if he has kids or something. He then so correctly pointed out to me that no one in his generation knows who Farrah Fawcett is and that in one more generation definitely no one will know or care who she was. Good point. Frame away Reid.

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and pancakes. Alice makes the absolute bar none most perfect bacon.

I then headed out for a run.

It seems that it's become a Christmas tradition I head out for a run. Regardless of the weather. In Winnipeg there was many a Christmas run that I did in minus 30 C weather. Today the challenge was ice from the ice storm a few days earlier. It was a little better, there was snow on the ground that helped. It was very slow going in order to be safe.

Running in the afternoon on Christmas day with a light snow falling is pretty magical.

When I got back home the house smelt awesome. A Turkey was cooking. Nothing more warming than coming into a house that smells so great. It's like family togetherness is in the air and it's a warm loving feeling.

My job was to mash the potatoes and cut the Turkey. No problem mashing, that's easy. The cutting of the Turkey is a challenge. I've never been taught how to do it and too lazy to watch how to on You Tube. Instead I try to figure it out on my own every year.

Things I've learned over the years about cutting a turkey.
1. Have the proper knife. Very important. I used an automatic knife and although it was super fun to use it wasn't easy to get through the joints.

That's it. That's all I've learned so far.

I'm totally amazed that serial killers can cut up bodies. I can't even get a leg or wing off a fully cooked turkey easily with a sharp kitchen knife. To keep myself motivated I try to think like a serial killer when I cut a turkey. Surprisingly it works in keeping your patience in check.

We are starting to get used to the small family holiday dinners. Today we had an extra guest, Adam. Normally it's just the four of us. We used to have the traditional larger family gatherings when we lived in our hometown of Winnipeg and then when we moved to Burlington 8 years ago it went from big down to four. Now it's 5. I figure it's just a mater of time until it start growing in people. That should be cool to watch. The more the merrier.

Great dinner. I didn't over eat until afterwards. Alice bought chocolate Turtles. I love those things. I couldn't stop eating them and of course you use the excuse in your head "This is Christmas, you're allowed and expected to over eat", and I did pretty much up until bed time.

Highlight of the night was a photo that Alyssa took of Alice and I. I think it's one of the best we've had taken in a long, long time. Definitely Christmas card material. It has us holding the Griswold Christmas cups that I got as a present this year. If I crop it tightly it's such a great family man image with a beautiful wife that I could use it if I decide to run for congress or something.

Mod Run - 1:06:03 / 10.6 km / 6:14 per km

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Final prep...

My email has an auto responder that I'm out of the office on Christmas vacation, beginning today. 

With that said I still had to check email. Out of habit. And I wanted to make sure that if any customers or staff needed to get a hold of me regarding their Christmas deliveries I'd be available if an executive decision needed to be made. 

There was one or two that had to be made so it was a good call on my part. 

This morning was very introspective. I get this way at this time of year. I always have. I reflect on the past and look to the future. One of the things that bothered me was that I rarely buy gifts for the kids, that tends to have become Alice's job. 

Our relationship is very 50's where I take care of work and bringing home a check and Alice takes care of EVERYTHING else. I essentially do nothing. 

As crazy as that sounds as I'm getting older that lifestyle is starting to bother me. For work and personal adventures I think I've missed out on some stuff. Even cleaning up around the house I've missed out on. Yes, I know that sounds crazy. 

There is no time like the present to make a change if you want to change. I personally don't need a lot of ramp up time. I just get it in my mind I want to do something and I do it. In the past week I've even started to load and empty the dishwasher. 

Today I decided I was going to buy the kids Christmas gifts from Dad. It was starting to bother me that when they got their gifts from Alice and I it tends to be as much a surprise to me what they got as it is to them. 

I had in my mind what I was going to get Reid. It was a bedroom light. He has an old Toronto Maple Leaf light that 8 year olds tend to have in their rooms. It doesn't fit with his 17 year old water bed boy image. I didn't yet know what I'd get Alyssa but I knew it would come to me. 

Alice came with me. She wasn't keen on the bedroom light idea. I poo poo'd that. This is from Dad. No mom's influence allowed. I found the perfect light. The minute I saw it I knew it was the light for him. It was retro and modern. (Sidebar - he loved his light when he opened it. Score one for Dad).

Alyssa was tougher in that I didn't have a vision. I know she likes kitchen gadgets so I picked up a fun one that makes the perfect pancake. I know she likes Chocolate, so I got her some chocolate and then it hit me "the Insanity workout". She'd like that. She uses my P90 X (which I bought 3 years ago and have yet to try) and I heard Insanity is even better. Not to mention, I could use it to. BUT with that said, I got it for her first and foremost and me using it is just a perk and the reason I was willing to spend that little extra. 

Aside from the lamp I also bought Reid and old time razor from the 70's. The one with the single blade you load in and has the brush and soap. He's a huge 70's retro guy. Loves the era. I knew he'd love it. It has his name all over it. 

I also picked up Alice a gift that she didn't know about. A year of monthly massages. 

This is the first time I picked up something for everyone. It felt pretty good. Actually it felt great. It added to my excitement to see what they think when they open them. I didn't mail in this years Christmas gift buying. 

I even wrapped all the gifts myself. It wasn't a pretty wrapping job. But it was real. I was actually challenging myself a bit to see how little tape I could use. I was strategically rationing tape and putting in specific spots. No bows either. My thoughts are no one really looks at the wrapping. Wrapping is just that extra layer of anticipation. I could wrap it in newspaper and still get the same effect. 

The wrapping was fun. It's therapeutic. 

What's happening to me? I'm I losing all my testosterone with old age? Or something else?

On the way home from shopping, which was very enjoyable, the malls are very empty on Christmas eve. We picked up some ribs, wings & Pizza for our Christmas eve family feast. 

The rest of the night was movies. Starting with our traditional National Lampoons Family Vacation and then we watched the original 1976 version of The Bad News Bears (brought back memories - it time travelled me back to being 11 years old in a downtown theatre on a Saturday afternoon watching it with my friend Richard Powell). The last movie was Ferris Buellers Day off. Another great movie. Ferris definitely shared my philosophy about school and having fun. 

Did no training today. I was too exhausted on every level. A new journey is beginning.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ready for a break...

I'm going to try and do something I haven't been very good at. I'm going to try and shut down from work from tonight until January 6th. I'll probably check emails tomorrow just to be safe to make sure everything is taken care from a Christmas delivery standpoint. Then I'm hoping to shut it down.

This will be an interesting year. For the first time I don't have an Ironman signed up for and it feels pretty liberating. Normally I sign up and feel the pressure to train and it takes my focus. It was a good thing in the past I think. Right now I'm not so sure. After 11 Ironmans I have a different perspective.

People have always told me I have nothing to prove, I never accepted that before. I now do. I don't have anything to prove. This year I did feel pressure because I dropped out of Ironman New Zealand and Ironman Tremblant. It was self induced pressure and banter from my social media buddies. It was  monkey off my back and now I'm thinking differently.

I think it's time for me to try to get more involved in living outside of Ironman. I still want to do them, but I need to put it as a secondary goal. I know from this past experience that I only need about 8 weeks to train of dedicated effort. Actually I've done the full 20 weeks in the past and prior to Ironman Cozumel I did a minimum of 12 weeks. I always found that 8 weeks was when I felt my best. I was strong. Then after that the training would become hum drum and I had to push through it. It wasn't enjoyable. Eight weeks is just perfect I think.

This year my focus is going to be more on how to live life outside of Ironman and yet incorporate my need to train and do Ironman races. There is something about being in an Ironman that is very spiritual and addictive. Yet it is a very selfish sport. I get that.

I think I'm ready to be less selfish.

Academically I've always got that. Now I'm feeling that it's time to make it a priority and a goal. Perhaps a start would be a holiday or even a weekend without training during peak times during the day and train before or after the best part of the day.

Time will tell. Although I do feel differently about it. More so than I ever have. I think my motivations and priorities are changing.

The time feels right.

I'm also looking forward to this week off and not checking emails or phone. If I can do this, it's the equivalent of doing an Ironman, maybe even tougher in my mind.

No Training - Exhausted.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's a new world in the gym...

The other day I was doing some weight training and as I looked around something dawned on me. People really know what they are doing.

I remember the good old days in the 80's when I did a lot of weight training as a kid. I'd go to the downtown YMCA in Winnipeg, which at that time was a hole but it was the gym of choice for the serious body builders. These guys knew what they were doing. I got to know them with my buddy Peter Ginakes and we learnt a ton.

At that time we were the pros. Today everyone is a pro and even more.

As I looked around the gym I saw people of all ages, sizes and genders working out and really knowing what they were doing. Especially the girls most impressed me.

One girl was doing clean and jerks, another squats. Both like pros. No intimation. It was an amazing site. The girls at the gym are the ones that most impress me. Many of them have bodies, especially the arms that I would love to have myself. I see people working their core with exercises I've never seen before. There is no doubt that Cross Fit is the reason. It's created hard core machines.

Today I rested.

Today I snacked. I used Alice's Birthday as an excuse. But it's not excuse. I need willpower. I need to get into a groove again. Like I did in Arizona.

In Arizona I ate close to 4000 calories a day, trained hard, gained muscle and lost weight. It was one of those moments in time that I felt like a real, world class athlete. I would constantly think I was Michael Phelps. I'm not sure why but when it comes to eating and training hard I think of swimmers first. I guess because I hear that Michael Phelps eats 10,000 calories a day during peak training to keep his energy up.

Arizona was the first time I ate a lot and healthy and it didn't cause me to gain fat.

My original plan was to run today but there was no way I could and I don't run indoors on a machine. I can't remember the last time I did a treadmill. Maybe 10 years ago? Even at -30 C I will run outside.

I couldn't run today. We had a huge ice storm. The kind of storm that has knocked out power. Some people it's reported will not have their power back until Tuesday or Wednesday, which is Christmas. I couldn't even walk down my driveway without a complete shuffle and hanging on to my car. It's that slippery. Hence no run. It would have been impossible. I didn't feel like training either. I think it was the sugar from the cupcakes and granola snacks I ate.

I do know it could be worse if I hadn't quit drinking beer. I'd definitely be soft again. I think this is the first time I've maintained my Ironman shape for so long. It's a great feeling. Very addictive. Makes you want to keep up training and eating healthy.

My plan is to try and do some self-hypnosis to get myself back on the healthy eating track. I've done it naturally for years before I knew what it was. I went to a hypnotist a couple years back and she explained how to do it and I realized I'd been doing that naturally. I didn't know I've been self-hypnotizing myself for as long as I can remember.

It was a late night. We picked Alyssa up at the airport. She was glad to be back from a week of cold in Winnipeg. I didn't get back home and into bed until 2 am. Tomorrow is going to be a rough day and it's my regular busy Monday to boot.

No training.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Making gains....

Part of this blog post is about my #1 son Reid. He's an amazing kid and I'm pretty blown away that he's my son. He definitely takes all the good stuff from his mom.

What's been blowing me away recently is the way he's been transforming himself at school. Reid was diagnosed as a young kid with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Which means he has trouble processing information the same way as others do. It's been referred to as dyslexia for the ears.

This has caused him to struggle through school his whole life. In fact I was one of the few parents to hold their kid back in the 2nd grade because he was starting to shut down and in my experience when kids shut down the next step is lack of confidence, insecurity and that eventually leads to destructive behaviours like drugs and alcohol.

You have no idea how hard it was for me to fail my own kid. I had to go in front of panels of teachers, administrators and experts to convince them that failing him would be a good thing. I learned they don't fail kids anymore like when I was a kid. It's a much softer gentler world now. Needless to say I told them if they are worried about his confidence and ability to over come this stigma, leave that to me, I'm the parent, I'll take care of that.

Eventually, very reluctantly, they let him be held back a grade. A year later they met with Alice and I again and told us it was amazing the improvement and that I did the right thing holding him back even though it was counter to the research they had.

Reid adjusted so well that he's proud of his failing grade two. He wears it as a badge of honour, as he should. In a world were there is no losers, everyone needs to get a trophy and helicopter parents are the norm flying air cover over their kids lives, Reid learned how to fail early. It doesn't scare him. He gained something in the process, at a very early age, that will benefit him his entire life.

Fast forward to present day. He's 17 years old. He's in high school. He's in some adjusted classes and mostly regular classes. He doesn't like school outside of the social part. For sure he got that from me. He's still struggled and Alice has worked closely with him since he was a kid.

Now before I go to far focusing on grades. Reid is a visual learner and when he puts his mind to something he's unstoppable. Like making movies. The stuff he has done in the past is amazing. He wants to be a director and he knows everything about movies, new and old. He goes to movies like Gone with the Wind at the theatre when they show it and all the classics. You name the movie, he knows it. He's also huge into 70's music. He knows everything about most every director and Quentin Tarantino is his favourite.

I've attached below a couple of the shorts Reid did when he was about 12 or 13 years old. He shot it with a flip camera and edited it himself in iMovie. One of Alyssa's old boyfriends was the actor.

This past month there has been a huge break through in school. Coming off a 17 % in one class something twigged for him and next thing his average is now up to 64%. He had one class presentation he scored 100% on.

BTW, he's  a very common sense and people person. I lost count how many friends he has.

I asked him how he got his scores up so much and he told me on Friday that he figured it out on his own and stopped listening to people and teachers. He decided he was going to learn it the way he figured it out and not the way others tell him he should do it.

I then asked, "well what did you figure out". He verbalized it but it was over my head. Of course part was teacher management and the other was how he was starting to process the work and piece it together in terms he understood visually. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but it's definitely working.

He's also definitely motivated. I know that after grade two one of his big fears is not wanting to fail again. It motivates him. With his current grade in that one class so low it motivated him, he doesn't want to fail. His other grades were not bad, c's and b's.

On Friday night he was home at 11 pm so he could work on 4 units of Math Homework. We went to bed around 1 am and he was still up working on it. He's now a man on a mission. It's like he found the holy grail of how to play the school game and win.

He is motivated to get into film school and knows he has to have specific subjects to do so. He's not taking the highest level courses, but there is a baseline.

The other thing I love about him and school is he doesn't take it seriously. He doesn't feel obligated to show up for classes that he thinks are a waste. If the class is an easy one that day and showing a movie or some spirit week function has shortened the class, he'll just skip out. He doesn't want to waste his time. A perfect attendance record or peer pressure doesn't faze him. He can drop a course if it's too hard or he doesn't like it.

He can see what is really important in the big picture. I wish I had that when I was a kid. I took hard courses because I was too stubborn and proud to go down to a lower level. The result was I took no fun courses or more interesting courses and absolutely hated school. When I think of my school days I think "prison". Up until recently, since moving from a Catholic school to a public school, the word Reid used all the time was school was like "prison".

He ended up failing religion last year and we transferred him to a public school this year, which he loves. He says the teachers treat you more like an adult. I found the same thing when I got kicked out of the Jesuit school I went to and went to a public school. At the public school the teachers were much more normal and treated students nicer, less authoritarian. Then I went back to graduate to the high school out of pride and ego. Again, Reid would never have done that if he was in my shoes, he's smarter than putting himself through more pain and suffering.

I should have predicted he'd be leaving a Catholic school. When he was in grade one or two they had a Christmas exercise where you had to use the word Christmas and tie religious words to it. Reid wouldn't do it. Instead he was into music and put his own spin on it. It's the photo at the top of the page.

It will be very interesting to see where he ends up. He never ceases to amaze me. Nor does my daughter. She's another story I'll have to tell one day. Let's just say I have no idea where she gets her smarts from, she's the top of her University Class, she's in Psychology for the past 3 years and gets awards every year and is in high demand from the Profs for her to do research with them, and they pay her to do it.

It's amazing how two kids from the same parents can be so different.

So Reid's on a roll. I'm super happy for him. Yesterday he heard about some things I was dealing with at work and he told her that I need a Consigliere, like the mob bosses have. I was intrigued, I take what he says seriously as he comes from it from a different perspective and asked him about it today. He told me I essentially need a nerd who worries about everything and knows everything that is going on and can't do anything about it but tell me about it when I need to jump in to fix it. I thought that was an interesting concept and need to learn more about how it would work.

When I ask too many questions Reid rolls his eyes or seems to get annoyed with me because it's so obvious and i don't get it immediately.

I feel really good right now about where Reid's at and where he's going. I'm not cocky about it or thinking we are anywhere near out of the wood yet. Put I'm pretty happy watching this all unfold.

Now back to the rest of my day and training.

After spending about 3 hours making a ring tone from the Russ Meyer Movie Super Vixens, a low budget sexploitation movie from the 70's. All Russ Meyer movies are classics. I hit the gym. Before I did I showed Reid part of the movie. In the credits it showed only one camera man and Russ Meyers, wrote, directed, edited, produced and basically did everything. You can see how Quentin Tarantino follows much of his style of movies. I know on Seinfeld they would reference Russ Meyer movies all the time. Reid wasn't aware of these. Probably because they are some what pornographic. But not really. Okay, really, but they are not that bad.

Today at the gym was another blast the weights session after taking my Beta-Alanine and C4. I can tell I need to take a break from weightlifting for 3 or 4 days. It feels like my joints are getting a little sore and no joke, that my rib cage is breaking open and stretching. They say that only happens as a kid when you weight train and your rib cage is still not yet fixed. I swear it's breaking open. It feels like it. It's a sore feeling in the middle bone.

Again, I'm still pumping unheard of heavy weight. I noticed that we weight I'm doing is in some cases the same or more than some of the muscle dummies in the gym. That surprised me. The only change I'm making to my routine is I'm adding many more exercises for core. I've come to realize how important a strong core is, especially as you age. It was the bane to my injury this year.

After the weights it was into the pool. Without any training pressure I'm starting to really like swimming. I have a 2000 meter routine. I listen to my underwater iPod and I feel good. The weights has definitely helped my strength and speed in the pool.

Post swim it was 20 minutes relaxing in the hot tub begging. It was awesome. It was a Saturday at 7 pm and I was in a zen like state just relaxing in the hot tub without a care in the world. It was bliss and doesn't happen all the time.

Lastly it was movie night. Alice and I went to the 10:20 pm showing of American Hustle. Good movie, I give it a 7 on 10. Great acting. Predictable ending that was unrealistic. But it was good. I'm glad I went.

All round a great day.

Weights - 50 min
Swim - 40:54 / 1920 meters

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fight or Flight???......CHARGE!!!!

Yesterday was one of those days. I don't get into detailed work stuff but lets say that something went customer centric wrong. We had to send an email out explaining.

Many a company President would not put their name on the email and send out the regular generic company support based email and have them contact support for any questions. I like pain, so I sent one with my personal email and asked people to contact me directly if they have any questions.

I did it because I want to feel their pain. I'm at the top of the food chain and I want to make sure situation never happens again. When I'm solving this problem in the new year I want to have the feelings of the impact from the customer perspective seared into my soul.

The letter went out late in the day to over 1500 customers. I didn't know what to expect. So I headed to the gym. I figured I could take it and ride it out. Or I could take it and workout. I chose the later.

I got to the gym and after a good dose of Beta-alnine and C4 I hit the weights HARD. Weight I've never hit before. I showed up at around 8:30 pm and I was so motivated to train like a mad man. My plan was weights, bike and then a swim. I was a man on a mission.

The weight I'm pushing I've never pushed before. I have veins popping up all over my body. When you start having veins start popping out of your thighs in the morning you know you're getting strong. And I don't have small skinny thighs. Veins in the thighs and across the knee has always been my barometer of getting in shape.

By the time I got on the bike the reply emails started coming in from customers. Not the kind of emails I want to get. But again I'm at the top of the food chain and if you want to run with the big dogs you need to piss in the tall grass. If you can't, go play with the puppies. Besides I've been on the top of the food chain and I've been on the bottom, the top is much better if you like pressure, decision making and dealing with employee issues.

The emails just got me more motivated to push harder. It was like I was getting shot with adrenaline. I knew once I got home I'd need to start replying and I knew today was going to be a day of kung fu fighting.

My only regret was by the time I got off the bike the pool was closed. I was hyper motivated to do a swim next. It was near 11 pm and they were closing the gym period.

I got home and did some email replies. I also wasn't prepared to give up that we could solve this problem somehow.

It's been my experience that a negative can ALWAYS be turned into a positive, sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Many people just give up and look at the options in front of them and not beside, behind, above or below. There is always something that can be done or an approach that can be taken.

This morning I woke up, had my coffee and dug into my first batch of 60 emails that arrived in my box. Some where "no problem" others were "heart breaking" and one or two was just plain "nasty mean".  So I strapped on the helmet, the seat belt and positioned firmly my titanium cup and away I went sending back emails.

I got some of the replies for me to call them now they want to tell me how upset they are!!!! Ok. Deep breath and I did and I appreciated the feedback. I find people at the core are good and those that give me honest feedback, whatever the tone, I truly appreciate as it only helps in the long run if you address those issues.

Now the good news!!!

Aside from getting through all those emails and talking with customers I may have got the commitment from a key resource to do the near impossible and make everyone happy before Christmas. Which would be great.

I also found that most of the people were sympathetic and understanding of unforeseen circumstances. They appreciated some of the options we presented and took us up on them. Even the one's that were really upset after a personal call were continent. Many appreciated that the President of the company was truly engaged and cared. I do.

For some it would have been a tough day, for me I found it invigorating. But I do like pain and suffering as you can tell my the Ironman tattoos I have on my body. I'm also really fortunate to have a great team around me that helped rally and make things happen, quick.

We'll all know if it worked out on Monday. I'll either be a hero or a zero.

By 3:30 pm the work waters were back calm. I even had time to go Christmas and birthday shopping for Alice. Normally I don't go birthday shopping until the day before her Birthday, which would be tomorrow and same with Christmas. I usually do my Christmas shopping Christmas eve. Which I believe is the smartest time to do it. Especially after seeing the malls today.

The reason Christmas eve is the best time to do it is the malls are usually empty. At least of women. You typically can shoot a cannon through the malls and not hit anyone. Parking is easy. There is also better last minute deals.

The normal people all have their shopping done and are at home drinking their egg nog. Me? It's normally 4 pm, malls close at 6 pm. I do a quick recon, the stores are empty, I fly through. I pick up stuff. Finding help is a breeze as usually 3 or 4 of the customer service people are standing around talking in good spirits.

I'm normally in and out and in what would take me a couple hours on busy days takes me maybe 30 minutes. In a way I don't like to talk to loudly about this technique as I don't want to spoil it for myself if others start to pick up on it.

BUT this year I'm ahead of the game. I now have everything bought. Although everything just means Alice's gift. She buys for everyone else. I'm as surprised as they are to see what they got on Christmas morning even though the gift says from Mom & Dad or Santa.

The other problem I have is I can't wait to give my gifts. Buying and waiting is a killer for me. When I got home with my wrapped gifts (yes, I'm also always efficient getting them to wrap it at the store) I had a few and I couldn't resist and asked, er rather forced, Alice to open one of them. She did. It was a necklace. She loved it. I will say I do have a gift at picking jewellery, so I'm told. I can't pick purses, I need to phone a friend on that one, but jewellery I'm good at.

The rest of the night was nice and relaxing. Other than the garage door broke and lots of things that need plumbing need to be fixed, but other than that it was relaxing. We watched Reservoir Dogs. I love that movie. I forgot how good it was.

Oh and Reid did his homework. Yes. He came home early on a Friday at 11 pm and on his own started doing his Math homework. Something is really going on with Reid and I'm going to post about it tomorrow. He's going through a major transformation and it's scaring me. In a good way.

No Training - Recovery - Getting Kicked to the Balls and smiling.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'm starting to think water is philosophy

So here's the deal on my philosophy about water. Because I'm a big philosopher on water.

I do an Ironman on close to 20 hours of training per week and feeling pretty good and properly recovered when I wake up to do train every day. I do the race and now I'm training about 6 hours per week and I'm waking up feeling like I got hit by a truck. My body is sore.

I know part of it is from the weight lifting. I've been going hard at it every 2 or 3 day and seeing great results. The rest is just a run, bike or swim each day. Normally I'm doing about 2 of each per week.

The good news about weight training and testosterone is I learned today from a reply I got from Mark Allen and part of it read

You can use strength training to stimulate T release. Without it as you get older it's almost impossible to maintain good T levels. It has to be pure strength work (1-2 sets of 12-15 at most with a very challenging weight done about twice a week on 8-12 overall body exercises)

That was an interesting read. I've been heavy into weight training these past couple months and I've seen incredible gains. More than I ever had as a young adult even.

With the soreness when I wake in the morning I did some reflecting and I think it's partly due to not drinking enough water. Since IMCZ I haven't drank near as much water as I did prior to the race in training and I intuitively know that is the issue. I need the water to flush and rejuvenate my muscles.

Today I was going to ride but decided not to. I wanted to give my muscles a break. I'm not in training. It's the off season. It's post Ironman Cozumel and normally you are to take a month of training off after an Ironman. Essentially one day for every mile of the marathon you run which would be 26 days.

I also have learned that recovery is the key to gains. As counter intuitive as that sounds properly embedding the right amount of recovery moves you forward not backward and when in doubt if you should train or not based on how you are feeling, don't train. Just the fact that you are sore enough to have to ask should be enough reason to take a break. ESPECIALLY in the off-season.

My day was filled with the regular stuff. Always some issue or issues to deal with. I don't mind it, in fact I somewhat enjoy it, it's challenging. Some people would get pretty stressed. I thrive on it. When things are going along to well or not growing fast enough I get bored. I need challenge.

I remember years ago a major problem would happen or a key employee might quit and it would work me up. Over time I've realized getting worked up don't help and this too will pass and someone has to be the calm in the eye of the storm. And that someone would be me. That's why I have the President's title on my door.

The one thing about fitness is it is a gut check if you have things under control in your life, business or personal. If you are unable to get to the gym because the STRESS you are under, you don't have things under control or don't have the perspective required to cope with the situation.

We've all been there.

What's cool is you can use it as a barometer. Then you can use it as a growing agent. It's very liberating when you don't want to train and bury your head in your sorrows and you train anyway. Number one is it builds personal strength and confidence and number two your problems don't seem as big after you finish doing something good for yourself with that endorphin high.

No Training - Rest Day

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My hair is minty fresh...

Yesterday morning in the bathroom I was brushing my teeth, finished up and saw a big blob of hair gel on the countertop. I had no idea how it got out of the container onto the counter but there was no way I was letting this stuff go to waste. It's expensive.

I scooped it up with my finger and put it back into the container.

This morning I was brushing my teeth and again there was a blob of white stuff on the counter again. This time I realized it wasn't hair gel, it was toothpaste. The toothpaste container had a whole at the bottom and was pouring out onto the counter when I squeezed it to load up my toothbrush.

Then it dawned on me that I thought it was hair gel yesterday and put it into the hair gel container. DOH!!!

Sure enough I look and the white of the toothpaste is much whiter than the white of the hair gel.

I had a choice. Scoop the toothpaste out or throw the whole thing out. The hair gel is expensive so I went in to get the toothpaste out.

I thought I got it all. Then gelled up my hair this morning. Not till later in the afternoon after my run did I realize I didn't get it all.

In the shower I felt something hard on the back of my head. I thought maybe it was grit of some sort. Turns out it was toothpaste. As I washed my hair there was this ever-fresh smell. Very strong. As the water was running down my hair in the rinse, it hit my eyes and they started burning. It wasn't ever-fresh hair shampoo, it was toothpaste. DOH!!!

I eventually got it out. It did smell good and my head tingled for a while along with my watering eyes.

The day got better.

I was able to slip out for a run. Near literally. It had snowed the past few days and the sidewalks were not fully cleared of snow. There was lots of slipping and sliding. The difficulty is the equivalent of running on a white sand beach. It's tough. You go slow and it really works your core.

Before I ran I had to figure out a way to charge my garmin GPS watch. The charger broke and doesn't clamp onto the watch. Problem solved. Put the popcorn maker on top of it to apply pressure. Call me Bry-gyver.

I did one of my standard routes which has taken me 50 minutes in the past and this same run it was 1 hour 15 minutes.

The funnest part of the run what when I passed from behind a couple of young boys, probably in the 5th or 6th grade. I tried making as much noise by coughing as I came up on them. It's a way that I give a signal I'm coming up on them. These kids were to into their world to hear me. So I kept running.

I finally came up beside and passed and I've never seen a kid jump out of his skin so dramatically. He not only was startled his whole body started shaking. It was beyond words. He was a wreck. I basically scared the living SH*T out of him.

It was so funny to me. I said sorry as I ran by and then started chuckling and laughing to myself. If it was a girl I'd feel differently, I'd feel bad, but it was a boy and it was funny seeing how scared and startled he was. It took about 5 minutes until I stopped smiling, laughing and chuckling to myself. I wouldn't be surprised if the kids heart was still beating out of his chest by the time he got home.

I must say it's weird only having to do one workout a day. I know am better understanding how normal people exercise. To me a single hour long workout per day seems like it's like doing nothing. That's how skewed my perspective is about training. To do 6 or 7 hours a week versus 20 hours makes it feel like I'm not doing anything.

Dinner tonight was a burger and Caesar salad. I was craving a burger. Then did some birthday shopping with Alice. She wanted a purse for her birthday, it's on Saturday. There is no way I'm going to pick out a purse for her. I'm not equipped. I have no idea what is in purse fashion.

I know when I'm out of my league and need to phone a friend and bring her along. She found the perfect purse, I pulled out the credit card. My work was done. Birthday gift purchased. Now I just have to get her some Christmas stuff. That I'm equipped to do.

Along the way I also picked up a bag for myself. I don't have any sort of brief case to carry my laptop or business cards when I go to meetings. I usually just show up with my phone that I used to take notes. I've always wanted one of those metro-sexual bags but didn't want to spend any serious coin. I found the perfect fake pleather bag for $39. Sold. Now I'll have a place to put my business cards if I remember to bring them to a meeting.

To bring cards to me is rare. I constantly forget. The irony is when I'd go to meeting years ago and I was training younger people, if they forgot their cards I'd go up one side of them and down the other for not being in the game. Now I'm Mr Magoo when it comes to bringing business cards.

Finally, buy your lottery tickets. I went out for dinner with Alice and did not wear an Ironman shirt. When I cleaned out my closet on Sunday I found a shirt I forgot I knew I had. I posted a picture of what I look like sans M-Dot

easy run - 1:15:13 / 11.18 km / 6:34 per km pace.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm an Endurance Athlete and I have issues...

I was watching a video for sale about the Tour across America and one of the comments from Lance Armstrong was "All endurance athletes are running away from something inside themselves". I'm not a Lance fan, but I do somewhat agree with his statement.

The statement I always us is "I'm an Ironman which mean I have issues".

There is no doubt that people that do Ironman and heavy duty endurance events have deep rooted issues. Hell, we all do. The only difference is if you are an endurance athlete you are indirectly telling the world you have issues and you are masking those issues in accomplishment.

It's like spinning a negative into a positive. If you have issues and are an alcoholic that's a negative. If you have issues and you are an ironman that's a positive.

Then there is the other extreme.

What if you have issues and you do nothing. You just exist. I would much rather be an alcoholic or ironman. At least I'd be living life to the fullest at some level. I couldn't imagine having issues and just shuffling through life.

But that's just me.

Yesterday I didn't train, er I mean exercise. It's the off season so technically there is no training, there is just exercise. So today I was looking forward to getting back at it. God forbid I go more than 24 hours without exercising. That would be horrible.

Kidding aside I'm more motivated to workout than I think I ever have been. The reason is that I truly value the gains I made in Arizona getting ready for Ironman Cozumel and I don't want to lose them.

In the past I took my gains for granted. Easy come, easy go. Very self sabotaging. I don't have that head space anymore. Perhaps I'm maturing. I know what pain and sacrifice went into getting back into decent shape and I don't want to go through that pain and sacrifice again. At 48 years old it's too hard. Frankly I don't know if I have the energy or willpower to do through another cycle of fat to fit.

Monday's for me are busy. Real busy. Phone calls and meetings from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. As always I wanted to be done by 4:30 pm to go train and it turns out that I'm not done until 7:17 pm, to be exact.

Before I hit the gym I wanted to pick up this product called C4. Davis told me about it and said it's awesome for dialling in weight training. I've been using Beta-Alanine and it's been awesome. Davis says this stuff is even better. It has Beta-Alinine along with a bunch of other ingredients.

I'm not going to sugar coat it, this stuff is dynamite. It made me feel so strong and push such heavy weight that I feel I'm doing something illegal. For example I usually do lat pull downs at 130 lbs. This time it was 145 lbs. Same with Bench, 130 to 145 lbs. Everything went up at least 10 per cent. My muscles were blasted and pumped. It was an awesome feeling. I can't imagine ever going to the gym again without taking this stuff before hand.

It's taken only 48 years but I'm now a HUGE believer in nutritional supplements. I've got more muscle and seen more gains in the bast 60 days on them than anytime in my life prior, even as a young adult.

After weights I did a swim. My first 100 yards, fully relaxed and after blasting them with weights prior was a 1:32 per 100 yards. It was effortless.

I must say that since I don't care about swimming more than 30 minutes and just am swimming for fun and not structured training I'm starting to enjoy my swims. It's been rather nice listening to music and swimming away.

At the pool tonight I met a young 24 year old, Cam, in the lane beside me. An ex-McMaster University swim team member and a guy getting into Triathlons. Watching him and his buddy, another university swim team guy swim is humbling. They go so fast and make it look so easy. Although a full Ironman distance triathlon seemed pretty daunting to him.

Most kids are yet ready to do an Ironman until their late 20's or early 30's for physical and mental reasons. I told him I did my first Ironman at 21 in 1987. I felt like I was an old man telling stories "when I was a kid.....". I also told him that when it warms up if he wants to go riding I'll show him the best routes in the escarpment. I was going to ask him for swim pointers but opted not to as nothing is going to help me. I'm cool with my average swim skills.

When I got home I felt great. Major muscle pump. I can say I've never pushed my muscles so hard in a gym ever before and in 60 days I've really buffed up and want to buff up more. It's addictive.

Weights - 50 min
Swim 40:45 / 2011 meters

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exhaustion to Organized...

I woke up completely and utterly exhausted today. For two days I've felt physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. This doesn't happen to me often.

I'm not sure why it happened. It could be a lot of things and the combination of a lot of things. Starts with the Ironman being over, there is always that post Ironman-depression. Moves into the less training and less endorphin highs.

Then I'm eating okay but starting to snack and diet plays a part for sure. Today I had some pistachios and pork rinds. Salty stuff.

It's that time of year, I tend to get the November, December blues. I usually get out of it by mid-January. This year I avoid the November blues with the nice Scottsdale weather and sunshine.

This has also been a busy and pressure filled year at work. We are just coming into the holiday season and I think my mind knows that and is starting to decompress a bit. We've been doing nothing but accomplishing great stuff and that doesn't come easy. Mentally I'm ready for the Christmas break.

Personally I'm also starting to think of my New Years goals. Since I was probably around 19 years old I set yearly goals for myself. Not so much resolutions. I gave up on resolutions per see. These are goals that include physical, mental, spiritual, financial, career and family.

I'm starting to reflect on the past year. What I did well, what needs improving and what I want it to "look" like. I need to visualize it. I need to see it in my minds eye and that can't be force fed, it takes time to reflect.

Around noon Alice and I dropped Alyssa off at the airport. She's off to visit family and friends. We had lunch there which was crazy expensive. Three people at Swiss Chalet for $53. Crazy.

Anyways, I was beat. On the way home we did some grocery shopping and all I wanted to do was get home and sleep. Which I did. For 3 hours and when I woke up I was a new man. Albeit it took a while to get up. Nothing like falling asleep in the afternoon and waking up in the dark.

I felt so good when I woke up I felt like cleaning out my closet. I have so much old clothing in there that I can't even find shirts to wear. Seems I always end up going to the old faithful shirts anyway so why have so many?

With 4 green garbage bags in hand I got started. It wasn't easy. I'm going to drop them off at the Salvation Army. It will be Christmas come early for some. There is some good stuff in those bags.

The hard part was deciding which shirts to throw out. It sounds easy but it's not. Especially when you have something emotionally invested in them like a triathlon race. The non triathlon shirts are easy to throw away. It's the ones with a logo and if they have an Ironman M-Dot logo it's near impossible to throw away.

It probably took me 3 hours but I managed to figure out a system. It was based on comfort, then appearance. I also saw some clothes that I've had for over 10 years that I still wear but I threw them out. I felt out with the past that far back, in with the present. Other than my old jean jacket even though it's about 4 sizes to large and doesn't fit. That is a "legacy piece" of clothing. Something Reid or future generations would find cool.

In all I think I threw away 2 Ironman shirts and it was TOUGH. I'm sure I'll be driving through downtown Toronto and under on of the off ramps I'll see a guy with a cardboard sign begging cars for money and he'll be wearing one of my Ironman shirts.

Next stop was my dresser drawers which is socks, underwear and training clothes. Each drawer represents something. I threw out a bunch of cycling and running stuff. Either it was too big or in the case of cycling the shorts were torn and I just didn't have the nerve to throw them out. Like my Ironman Kona cycling shorts. Even though I can't wear them with the ripped crotch.

I can't begin to count how many swim caps I threw away and that was hard. I don't know why, they are cheap rubber, but they are hard to throw out for sure.

By the time I was done it was near 11:30 pm and it feel great. It's like cleansing the soul when you throw stuff away. It's like a new beginning of sorts. I really liked cleaning the room.

As a matter of fact I'm going to continue it throughout the house. There is room after room of junk that we have collected. My rule is that if I forgot I have something or I haven't used it in a year or's gone.

I do have to be careful though. If I think it can be a legacy piece I need to keep it. I learned that lesson the hard way. When I moved from Winnipeg to Burlington I threw out my first Macintosh SE and my high School Football Helmet. To this day I regret doing that, they were legacy pieces. Live and learn.

No training today. Just some sleep and recovery is what I needed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ironman training and racing on the cheap...

When I started doing triathlons back in 1986. I was 21 years old. I remember my first race ever. The Morden Tin Man. A half Ironman Distance Race. They only had two distances back then in Triathlon. Ironman and half Ironman.

It was grassroots back then. I love looking back at the old photos and seeing how your friends and family could help you get ready in the transition zones. Much different than today.

I think about 60 people were in the race and those early races hurt a lot. They hurt much more than today's half Ironmans. We had no idea how to train for them and they scared the crap out of us just to try and finish. I was bonked out after every one I did.

Yes. I had a mullet back then. With Ozzie Yodel a Runner.

David Markham behind me.

Rich Sohor and Sharon behind me. Still hear the yelling. haha

First ever Triathlon - Broke 6 hours for a half. Nice.

Race bib holder was the elastic band from cutting top off underwear
My youngest brother Barrett

Ozzy Congratulating me at the end

I also remember organizing my own half Ironman. We called it the Steel Man. About 10 people just showed up and did it. The only fee was for the shirts I made up. They are collector items, I still have mine. That one was BRUTAL race. It was 33 C plus and there was no aid stations. You had to figure it out on your own. My youngest brother Barret followed in a car and would run me my water bottle on the run. The finish line was a piece of rope from the trunk of someones car. I think a girl won the race, Deanne Murray.

Here's Some of the photos....
I'm in the red. If you noticed I split the seat of borrowed wetsuit

Me and My brother Barret my my support guy

Gary Pallet Finishing

Dave Nitsche Finishing

The STEEL MAN collectors shirts.

Triathlons back were "inexpensive". All you needed was swim goggles, a bike & helmet and running shoes, a lake and a road. That's it.

Today triathlon is said to have become a RICH MAN's sport. The average age of an Ironman is 40 years old and the average income is $180,000 per year.

My most expensive year of training and racing was $38,000 of after tax money. In Canada with over a 50% tax bracket I had to make $80,000 to race.

That's madness.

Why does triathlons have to be so expensive. Is it possible to train for an Ironman and do an Ironman without breaking the bank? I'm up for the challenge to find out.

This year I'm going to prove it could be done. I'm going to do triathlon on the cheap and I'm going to do at least one Ironman this year.

It will be interesting to see what happens. I want to know what the bare minimum costs would be. I have a head start. I have all the gear. But I do need to pay for new pedals, nutrition, race fees and travel.

Maybe I need to get creative. Buy my pedals online or used on eBay. Start taking Bananas and baked potatoes and the McDonalds $1 hamburgers on my long rides. Drive to the races and find the cheapest hotels (although I do that now) or maybe camp? Refrain from purchasing any piece of Ironman clothing and merchandise I can get my hands on. Start riding on my clinchers so if I get flats I only have to replace tubes for less than $10 rather than tubulars for close to $90 each.

Is triathlon really a rich man's sport? Or is it just a sport that is expensive if you buy into all the innovative technology hype and think that an expensive bike, a power meter, coaching, carbon fiber wheels and all sorts of gadgets are necessary to do triathlons. Maybe I don't sign up for "officially branded" Ironman races and do Ironman distance races that are much less expensive but don't have the M-Dot logo?

We shall see. This challenge I'm sure will be music to Alice's ears. She pays the bills. I just charge the cards.