Saturday, January 4, 2014

Riding the getting back at it roller coaster...

I was right about today I woke up in a much better frame of mind from yesterday.

I’m still in poor sleeping habits and that’s going to change tonight. My regular routine is getting to bed by 11 pm or before midnight and get up by 7 am. Normally I don’t even need an alarm to wake up. Which means I’ve had a good sleep.

My training plans got derailed today when Alice told me a big storm was coming tonight and they expect it to close schools on Monday. Not good. I HAVE to be in Washington for a very important meeting Monday, and then West Virginia for Tuesday, they are ones I can’t miss.

Instead of training I had to book a new flight and pack and leave home by 2 pm. Not a lot of time when you get up at 10:30 am and as the morning went on I got more somber. I definitely needed to train today.

Still eating well. Total Ketosis diet. I did have one scare. I ate some leftover vegetables and eggs I made the other day. I forgot I put a red-hot chili pepper into it and while looking at my computer and not my food I put it in my mouth and starting chewing for only an instant. My mouth was now on fire.

I started gagging and my stomach started heaving. I thought I was going to throw up. The heat was so bad in my mouth I couldn’t get rid of it. I tried yogurt, water, milk, diet coke and nothing worked. By this point my nose was running. The only thing that fixed it was time. It took about 20 – 30 minutes until I didn’t feel the burning in my mouth.

I’ll say one thing, if you want to cut down on how much you eat make it spicy.

It was my special day today. I got a visit from my good buddy Shaw and he came with a gift, a Garmin 510 for my bike. It’s a speedometer and GPS, he has a few and offered to GIVE me one. I felt bad until he told me he got it for free too.

I’m one of those people that feel bad when someone gives me something for free or even when a supplier buys me lunch. I’ve always been that guy that picks up the check. When someone gives me something I feel guilty for taking it. So when I heard Shaw got it for free I felt better.

While packing today I changed it up. I normally travel with all my stuff in my Ironman backpack. This time I put it in a new carry on bag I bought and I put my computer in a satchel, otherwise known as a male purse, a murse.

Packing is always such a drag. I think it’s because I always have to figure out what to bring, rather than having a go to setup like triathlon. In triathlon you pack the same and exact gear for every race. I’ve now decided to do that for travel. I’m trying to find the exact same items and clothing to bring on every trip.

My bag is basically broken down like this.

1. Work shirts (Thank goodness I don’t wear anything other than Jeans and polo style Ironman shirts or I would need a bigger bag)
2. Indoor Training clothes & Runners.
3. Outdoor Running clothes and HR monitor / GPS
4. Swimming stuff
5. Muscle roller – “The Stick”
6. Supplements (Yes I’m now putting my whey, recoverite, beta Alanine and other stuff into little Tupperware containers and taking them with me. Opps…just realized I don’t have a glass. DOH)
7. Toiletries
8.  Laptop, 2 phones (U.S / Canada), iPad Mini and backup power source

I barely got it all to fit but managed barely. It took me about an hour to get it all done. Now When I get home I’m going to document it all and make a list and use the list as my bible when packing.

The only thing I’m taking off the list is the Stick. It’s a leg roller and I got stopped at the security checkpoint at the airport. They asked me to remove it from the very bottom of my bag, which was a chore. Then they had to decide if it could be used as a weapon. They had to go to management for a ruling. They gave me the thumbs up but recommended next time I don’t bring it carry on. Done.

Still feeling pretty melancholy with a splash of irritability and anxiety from the food detox and getting back to training. It got better once I got to the hotel and ate.

Diet wise I’m happy. I even woke up this morning down almost another 3 lbs. which takes me to 190.2 lbs. and within 2 lbs. of my pre-Christmas weight. Mind you I’ve lost some muscle so it’s not an exact science.

As much as I had some urges to eat carbs I resisted. Even on the plane I gave the pretzels back even though they were in my hand and looked so temping. When I got to the airport I bought some pistachios and trail mix.

The reason I bought trail mix is because it had sunflower seeds, peanuts and almonds and raisons and other carbs. I knew if I picked through the carbs I’d eat less than getting a full bag of peanuts. I would have to work for my food and not over eat was my theory. It worked. Other than while waiting for the shuttle bus I was throwing the raisins on the ground, stepped on one and it got stuck to the bottom of my shoe and no matter what I did with rubbing my foot on the ground it wouldn’t come off. Which reminds me I need to remove that.

I had a healthy cobb salad and some chicken wings and plan is to get to bed by 11 pm. Tomorrow I hope it will be a better day. I’m going to try and do some training as well as some sight seeing if possible. Maybe one of the Smithsonian’s. Sometimes just getting out and about in the fresh air puts you in a better mood. And there is no better oxygen that what is piped into a museum or art gallery.

No Training

190.2 lbs.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First training session of the year…

I looked at my calendar and see that I’ve only trained two days in the past 13 days. It was during the Christmas and New Years break and intentional. I wanted to spend more holiday and vacation time with Alice and the family.

It’s really been the first time I’ve done this without feeling too much guilt. It also helped that the weather has been so cold outside that even if I wanted to run it’s been so difficult without the sidewalks even cleaned.

Even though I brought my training gear to Quebec I didn’t train. Really tried to focus on relaxing and not worrying about training. Something I haven’t done in so long.

I’m really learning something from this entire experience. I’m learning diet and exercise is super important mentally.

Throwing caution to the wind about my diet was fun. There was no low’s, until I stopped. Same with Training there was no low’s until I needed to get back into it after eating too much food and much of it unhealthy.

The combination of having to go from one lifestyle of poor diet and no exercise for only about 10 days to now having to get back into it has been tough and I have Ironman will power.

Step one started a couple of days ago changing my diet on a dime. Cold turkey I went from carbs and crap to Low Carb High Fat, a Ketosis diet. I equate it to a mini alcohol or drug detox in symptoms.

What I felt was some will power to stop the insanity of eating. I’m motivated to get back to my pre-Christmas body shape and look so that was helpful. The tough part is I wasn’t yet motivated to train.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve done 11 Ironman’s or no exercise ever. It’s hard to get started. Once you get going and build momentum it’s much easier.

For example I want to start the 60 days Insanity workout. Normally if I was training I’d just plug in the video and start. Instead today since I haven’t been sweating for 10 days I decided to sit down and WATCH it from the comfort of my couch to see what it was all about. Which was a huge step from the day earlier where I couldn’t even motivate myself to put the tape in.

I’ll be straight up with you, the workout scares me, I think it’s age and getting set in my ways. I can train for the Ironman hard, I feel comfortable with that. But this “Insanity Workout” which looks like track and field workouts that I’d have no problem doing kind of scares me because it’s a change of routine. I’m recognizing I’m somewhat set in my ways.

Alice and I talked about doing it together. I’m not really sure she wants to. I’m not really sure we can do it together in front of the TV without it feeling awkward. If we were young people I don’t think it would be a problem. Now that we are older I feel it might be embarrassing. I can’t speak for Alice about that, she may have no problem with it.

I see it as an example of becoming more set in my ways. I’m sure if we did it by the first week I’d adjust and it would be fun and cool doing it together. Even though I’m in Ironman shape I’d be using muscles I’m not used to using and I’m sure it would hurt, that was scares me, I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone.

I know if I start in two weeks I’d be fully adjusted. It’s those first two weeks that are toughest.

Instead of starting the program I decided I’d do it after a run. I figured I’ll get the sweat going with what I know and then it will be easier.

Reality is I’m so scared of getting started that I decided to go for an hour run in -27 C weather rather than start the program.

The run was awesome. It was what I needed. It was still snowy sidewalks but they cleared them so it wasn’t a slow going.

During the run my head cleared. I also got into my major thinking and reflection mode. Nothing gives you time to think than running and biking. Swimming not so much because your counting laps and sets.

When I got home I felt much better. Until the endorphins came down and then as the night went on I got more somber. Definitely brain chemistry from the adjustment of the extreme lifestyle change. Not to mention the late nights to bed and sleeping in. Sleep cycles is also so important.

From my perspective I find myself observing the circumstance and feelings. Almost like I’m outside my body. I notice the melancholy and irritability. Then I put it in perspective. I look at the outside factors rather than think true feelings are the cause.

I know that in a week I should feel much different, that I just need to ride the waves of change, that once the routine and effects of exercise and healthy diet kick in I’ll have an optimistic perspective once again. If not then there is other issues which from experience is usually never the case.

Often less talked about is the mentally high and lows of training from effects of diet and nutrition on brain chemistry.

Glad I’m not drinking because that even makes it worse as it’s another variable.

This outside-in look is no different than doing the same with my training routines and performance. You can read all you want about training but it’s that introspective approach where you do the most learning. It’s looking from the outside in and monitoring things. I think that is why I spend time often recording my diet when I’m doing real well and real poor, same with training session, although I record those all the time. In doing so gives me a factual data I can analyze with the feelings I had at those times and performance.

It’s really self-coaching.

So as the night went on I felt worse until I fell asleep. I knew the next morning I’d probably have a different perspective and not to sweat it. It will take a week and I should be back to normal.

One uplifting moment was stepping on the scale and being down a couple pounds from the day before and completing day two of the LCHF diet.

Mod Run – 1:05:54 / 11.16 km / 5:48 pace.
194.6 lbs.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Getting back on the healthy lifestyle track..

I can't tell you how lousy I felt last night. Even before bed I had a headache and I never get headaches and it didn't go away until this morning.

At 3 am I woke up totally dehydrated with a headache. I knew I needed water. I could tell my body was starting to begin the process of detox. The first two days I know I'm going to feel crappy.

I looked in the mirror and noticed I definitely put on some weight. I figured it's about 5 lbs over the Christmas holidays. I was a good boy until we got to Quebec. Then all bets were off and I ate whatever I felt like including rich foods, fried foods and junk foods.

It's painful seeing my "gains" go away. At dinner I was complaining and my daughter Alyssa was thinking I was crazy, she say's "you're almost 50 years old. You're not supposed to be thin". I told her "hey 50 is the new 30".  She then tells me "thats what people your age believe and made up". I said, "I beat 30 years old in triathlon races, it's true".

I don't feel near 50 years old and in a way I'd love to accept it and lower the bar without guilt as it seems people are telling me I should do but I'm not yet mentality there and I've seen gains I've never had before, even not in my 20's. So I'm going to stick with my approach but I really do like the idea of not caring and lowering the bar without guilt.

But this time losing the 7 lbs feels different. I feel that I know what I need to do. The feelings I've had of being in great shape is intoxicating and I want to get back to that feeling. It's like a drug. Very cool situation I've never been in before.

Best part is I know what I have to do this time. I know what the most healthy lifestyle feels like from my time spent at my Ironman Arizona training camp. I figured all I need to do is duplicate it her at home. I was also thinking if I have to do that again, I could just rent a place in Burlington for a month. I think the change of venue and environment is a big contributor.

To start the day off right I started with my Greens Plus and coffee with coconut oil. There is something about having Greens Plus that takes away cravings for crap food.

Next I went shopping. I was supposed to go for just eggs and milk and ended up spending about $350 on healthy foods. Our fridge was bar anyways from us being away.

Next thing was deciding what diet I'm going to follow. I decided to go back to my Ketosis diet. I felt great on it and I was reading how Gary Pallet a guy I did triathlons with in Winnipeg used it to lose 188 lbs this year. He also listed a website called  . They don't call it a Ketosis diet they call it a Low Carb High Fat diet. You can click here to read about Gary's story.

Some of the testimonials and photos are incredible of the transformations. I find a LCHF diet easy to maintain. It limits your choices and keeps your insulin levels balanced without the sugar swings. Mentally I'm ready again to get on it.

One of the things I'm also doing is somewhat changing my environment and now that we have a 70" awesome TV in the basement I'm trying to spend more time down their, away from temptation and enjoying some good movies, which Alice and I did today.

I'm still staying away from my work emails. Which has been great. I really needed this break I'm learning.

I do find that what is very helpful to get everything kick started is to read a lot about diet on the net. It seems to keep me motivated. The other way is to log food. I use . They have a feature where you have to close out for the day. I find that really helpful. Once you do it your really telling yourself you are done. Other than water.

I'm also wanting to start to learn how to cook more and I mean really cook. I don't want to take cooking lessons, at least not now as that's a time commitment. But I'm thinking YouTube videos. Tonight I cooked French Cut Pork Chops and Sauteed Asparagus. I also tried to enjoy it and savour the flavour eating slower.

I was going to train but figured that will be tomorrow. Today was a big win. A great kick start.

Originally I wasn't going to weigh myself. I wasn't going to be able to bare it. But I did after lunch and shower. 196.4 lbs. Yikes. I figured. It's about 7 lbs higher than I was before Christmas. Mind you I'm probably retaining a lot of water. Tomorrow will be a more indicative day. At least I had the courage to do it, it was painful.

196.4 lbs.
No Training.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Having fun is costly....

So I haven't posted since December 26th, intentionally.

I decided to shut it down for a mini Christmas vacation with just Alice and I.

Instead of going south were I was pointing, Alice thought it would be more fun to go East and North to Quebec. I figured why not, it's about the journey not the destination. I'm so glad I listened to her.

First off I want to say that I come from this era where people from Quebec were viewed as separatists and often stories would be told of how rude they are to English speaking people. That even though they could speak English they pretend they can't.

So this was the mindset I had going into Quebec. I was defensive.

The reality couldn't have been more opposite. Our entire time in Quebec the people were beyond awesome! It seemed that once they knew we were English they became even nicer to us and spoke English or brought us English menu's. They are definitely not the Quebec generation of old, or at least they hid it really well.

We broke the trip down into about 3 hour driving blocks. We made it to Montreal. Then to Quebec City. Then Back to Montreal and finally a stay in Kingston. It was 6 days that flew by and aside from the cold, which I HATE with a passion, it was a great time.

Part of what made it fun was it was just Alice and I on a road trip. Reminded me of when we were 17 or 18 years old and went on a similar road trip from Winnipeg to Minneapolis in the winter. At that time I had my mom's old car, a Pontiac Ventura, with a big hole in the floor boards that when you went over a puddle you'd get splashed.

To this day I still remember that trip. I remember stopping in Moorhead, having beers and shooting pool with these over sized pool ques, then getting lost in Minneapolis. This was the era of the map, not the GPS.

That was one of my favourite trips and not I think our Quebec Trip topped it or is at least right up there.


There was no destination planning. It was just go where the magic truck took us. There was no hotels to be booked until we were minutes away from needing one and when we needed one it was on to or Tripadvisor to find and book a hotel. I absolutely love those apps and the reviews. In every single case we got awesome hotels along the way.

We had not time table. We didn't know if we were going to be away 3 days or 10 days. We just let it happen.

We had no scheduled agenda. We would just find a hotel in the heart of a place and walk around and sit our selves down in a place that looked cool. We never go to live music and by chance we had 3 of the nights out where we found a place playing live music. Damn is live music awesome. I forget about that. There is an energy live music throws off that you don't get with recorded music.

Each of the live music days were completely different.

One of the nights it was a cover band and it was the location of a bachorette party for a young 19 year old girl getting married who was definitely partying hard. Definitely too young to get married in my mind. Mind you this is Quebec....maybe it's different there....

Second night it was all French music and it was all young people. Very cool. It is very apparent that in the French culture the women are most in control. It was cool to see, almost reverse of what you normally see. Instead of the men partying hard like the movie "Top Gun", it was the women. Quebec is definitely "women power". I liked it.

Third night was New Years and all older people with grey hair dancing to 60's and 70's music. They rocked it out. I felt young being there by about 20 years, we were ALMOST out of place. It was stimulating to just people watch. The guys in the band were not very good singers but it didn't matter to anybody, it was the beat and the memories that song carried.

In all the cases we closed the places down. It was just awesome.

Food wise?

Well lets say that's all we did was eat. I threw out all governor on the food. I ate more french fries and poutine and crap that I've eaten all year long in just 6 days. I ate so much I could feel myself growing and my clothes tightening up. But Alice got me through it with some sage advice like "get over it" and "you still look good to me". All good enabler advice.

I figured what the hell, what I lose in 6 days I can make back up in 12 days if eat properly and workout.

We had some great sleeps. No alarm clocks. Wake up when your body says it's time to wake up. We slept so much I had to get up some days because my back was getting sore from lying down.

Even one of the most fun parts was my screaming how "F#CKEN" cold it was over and over almost every night we were walking around. In Kingston we got lost and could find our hotel and I felt like I was 15 years old again walking around in Winnipeg freezing my ass off. In a twisted way it brought back some good memories.

I screamed about the cold from Kingston to Montreal to Quebec City and it was only about -12 C. Mind you with windchill it was probably - 20 C. I have no idea how people live in that cold. Yes, I used to, and I can't recall how I did that. That's insane.

With that said we are definitely coming back in the summer. If it was warm out I could see us walking around for days and days on end just exploring aimlessly.

It also just goes to show that destination isn't as important. What's important is hanging out with someone you want to and just having fun and being open to any possibilities.

Heck we should be doing the same thing at home in Toronto. There is so much to do here we could just rent a hotel room downtown and explore. It's easy to not even see what you have in your own backyard.

Alice and I both agree this might be our best ever holiday together. It was definitely fun on so many levels.

The kids said with was hard to miss us with all my Facebook Postings.

I find that really interesting, it shows the power of social media. That even though you are away, if you are connecting with each other online it doesn't feel like you're away. The web sure removes distance. I find the friends I have online I kibitz with, most are not within 1000 miles of me and it feels like real genuine friendships. Some I've yet to meet in person.

Social media also got us to some restaurants. People I know referring us to stop somewhere. Again the power of social media never ceases to amaze me. It's a whole new world. I like it.

One highlight of the trip was on the way back there was a huge accident on the 401. A tanker truck flipped and crossed the entire road. By the time we got there the road had been shut down for a couple hours. We happened to make it to one of those EnRoute rest stops and were locked in there. On my iPhone I saw there was as back way out but when I checked it out the road was locked off by a big gate. If I was able to get through that gate we were free.

I walked up to it. Pulled on the lock. Nothing.

Turns out that somebody got someone to open it for only a brief moment of time. I found out and it wasn't easy navigating the cars and semi trucks in the parking lot but I got to the gate seconds before the guy was closing it. Yes!!!! We were free. I felt like I won the lottery. Had we not got through it would have been at least another 30 min to an hour waiting as traffic was just starting to move. I've never been more pumped and excited in all my life. Especially as I drove out and the route was along the highway and I could see all the people in gridlock.

Also, now thanks to Alice I'm also becoming very metro sexual. She bought me some Nivea for men skin creme. We'll see how long that lasts. It seems like a lot of work to have to put it on daily and I'm narcissistic but not sure if I'm that narcissistic. Or I may just be more lazy than anything.

What can I say...It was an awesome Christmas vacation. Now I have 5 more days to relax before getting back to work and by saying relax I mean "stop eating crap food and get back to exercising".

It's definitely going to happen. Since coming back from Arizona in great shape and maintaining up until Christmas it's been like I'm on a drug it feels so great. Highly addictive. I want that high back.

I also want this cold to stop and snow to melt. In Toronto we normally don't have snow on the ground very long. I'm done with it. Christmas is over. Please melt. Fun was fun, now lets get back to reality.

Other than that....It was an awesome Christmas with family and mini vacation hanging with Alice.