Friday, August 22, 2014

New Lifestyle...

I'm entering a whole new world. A changed lifestyle. With no Ironman races to train for and work becoming my top priority.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to train. That would be all wrong. We all need to exercise. It not about stopping cold turkey and doing a 180 in a different direction. It's about not having a structured training plan.

I'm still an Ironman and always will be. You get a lifetime membership when you do 12 or more. I love the number 12, it's enough that it's a significant amount and it's not too much that no one can understand your mission.

When I meet the older guys that have done 25 or 30 or even 200, yes I met a guy this past year that has done over 200, I can't understand them. I have no idea what motivates them to train all the time and go through so much suffering. They definitely have issues or demons of some type.

I was on wikepedia last night reading about Chrissie Wellington. What an amazing story. She came on the scene, blew everyone away for about 5 years and then left. Retired. Moved on. And left on top. So did Mark Allen. Chrissie always said she didn't want Ironman to define her. You've got to look her up on Wiki, it's an amazing story. As a side bar I also have a signed 18 x 22 poster of her in the Pig & Whistle.

I'm still hooked on Ironman. I love the history. Last night to relax I surfed eBay looking for old shirts, posters and stuff from Kona. I've bought Mark Allen and Dave Scott playing cards and an original press photo of Mark Allen crossing the line when he won his first Ironman. I know Mark personally and next time I see him I'm going to have him sign it. Up in the Pig & Whistle it will go.

Diet wise I'm eating primarily protein and greatly limiting my carbs. The one good thing about eating that way is it makes it easy to know what you want to eat, especially when you go to restaurants. All you order is meat. The cool part is you can eat as much as you want. My snacks now are nuts, primarily sunflower seeds. The past few nights it's been snacking galore on sunflower seeds.

Yesterday I hit a good milestone. I broke 200 lbs and weighed in at 199.8 lbs. A win, especially since I'm still training and it's not muscle loss. If I got to 190 or less I'd be happy at that weight. 185 or less and I'd be a rock star.

Two days ago I got my Trek road bike back from the shop. They did a complete overhead and replaced the drive train, a $430 touch. Ouch. This bike is a collectors item. It's the same bike that Lance Armstrong used in the Tour Du France. NOT the exact same bike, the same model. That year was the only year they sold a limited number of exact bikes. Normally the bikes on the tour are different than the production model. Not this one.

I've never had it into the shop in over 12 years. The bike has been a machine. I really didn't need to take it in this time. I just thought it was long over due and couldn't hurt. Mind you I am worried it was so perfect for so long I hope the overhaul didn't do more harm than good in the long run. Reid once told me he wants that bike when I die. He doesn't even ride, he just knows it's cool. It's a collectors item.

My original bike is also a collectors item. It's a Dave Scott Centurion. I could never part with that bike either. That bike is now over 25 years old and my first Kona Ironman in 1988 I rode it.

My existing triathlon bike I'll never sell either. Like the others it's part of the family. I bought this bike because it was the exact same model that Chrissie Wellington won her first Ironman on. It's a Cervelo P2. Not a P3 which was the higher end model, a level down. Just shows you don't need the top model to win the Ironman. I even named my bike Chrissie.

Unless you can't tell, Chrissie Wellington is my idol. Yes, a women is my idol. I think she is the most incredible athlete in the world. What she did was amazing. I can't believe that not every young girl knows who she is. Oprah should be interviewing her.

The afternoon I got my Trek back from the shop I took it for an hour ride. It was strange riding a road bike and not a triathlon bike. I'm using muscles I haven't used and I constantly want to get down into the aero position and realize I have no aero bars. Prior to having a triathlon bike I thought road bikes were more comfortable, now it doesn't feel that way. Once I adjust to it I'm sure it will get back to that.

The one thing I do miss is my seat on my triathlon bike. It's so comfortable. It's hard as it's made out of carbon fibre and you would think it would be uncomfortable. It's not. I tried countless seats until I found the right one and it was hard. Too many people think the softer the eat the more comfortable the ride. Not the case, at least in my case.

Ran this morning. It was delightful. Nice slow, easy and it's amazing how the creative juices flow. I came up with a great idea to help promote Salmon Social.

I'm even finding that walking is helping my creativity. Yesterday I did something I've never done. I worked from outside of the house. I walked to a local breakfast joint, had an omelet. Then to Starbucks, then to McDonald's and back home to work in the Pig & Whistle and outside. About 4 miles of walking.

I love the new world. You don't need an office so long as you have a computer, Internet and a cell phone. You can work from anywhere. I don't think I could ever go back to working in an office. For me I'm much more productive working from home than I ever was working in an office. Much fewer distractions and great work and life flexibility.

This afternoon instead of walking I took my mountain bike. In fact I'm writing this post from a local restaurant where I having a nice salad for lunch and a glass of water. After this I'm ride to another place and do some work. I knew I'd figure something out. Working from home 24 / 7 can wear on you.

I used to work in different rooms of the house to change it up, but so far after two days working out of the house this is much better. The short break of going from one place to another clears the head and provides time to do some creative thinking.

Wow, I just realized it's Friday. You know life is good when you don't realize what day of the week it is.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Third day's a charm...

A photo I took from the back of our house in Winnipeg.
This weekend I slept in and when I say slept in I mean 11 am on both Saturday and Sunday.

I'm not sure why I'm sleeping in. I know it's started since the second blind in the bedroom has been pulled down and the sun doesn't shine in my eyes every morning. I'm also wondering if it's my body adjusting to eating healthier and adjusting.

The human body is an amazing thing. It always wants to be in a state of homeostasis otherwise known as balance. Sleep is that healing state where the body goes to work healing itself. Perhaps some of the healing has still been from Ironman Boulder two weeks ago.

My sleeps are interesting in I'm a heavy dreamer and I'm often in a self hypnotic state. I work many of my problems and strategies out in this self hypnotic state. For those that don't know what a self-hypnotic state feels like it's that moment where you are in a light sleep and able to focus on something.

In many cases it feels real. An example is that I'm thinking of a to do list of things I need to do and in fact I think I'm writing out the list and actually preparing. I wake up to realize it was just a dream. Or there is times I'm strategizing how I'm going to deal with something and visualize myself doing it and  it's like a dress rehearsal.

I find these states awesome. I wake with clarity and motivation. There was many times I'd have to do a long ride in the morning and the self hypnotic would prepare me and I'd wake up motivated to do it.

Right now my self hypnotic sleeps are work related. This week I start my full on promotion of Salmon Social. Last nights sleep was another preparation. I was taken back to the original thought of the app and the enthusiasm and unwavering belief that it's got huge potential. I woke up with my mind reset and clarity of how I'm going to present it moving forward.

The key is to have unwavering confidence, enthusiasm and belief in what you are doing. Anything less and it will not work. This applies to anything in life.

I also woke up fresh and looking forward to doing my run today.

I'm working on a train a sport every third day, giving myself added time for recovery. I've learned that so long as you train every third day you will not lose your fitness. My last run was on Thursday so today, Sunday, was the third day.

What a difference this run was over my first run back from Ironman Boulder on Thursday. On Thursday I was mentally and physically still out of it. I think most of it was because I had done nothing in 11 days and my body needed the kick start. On Thursday 30 minutes felt like 90 minutes. My muscles hurt and my mind felt like I was grinding it out.

Fast forward to today and I was looking forward to it. Right from the moment I started running I felt strong. I knew it was going to be an hour run for sure. I was actually going to go a little longer but persuaded myself that whether I do 60 minutes or 70 minutes there would be no benefit doing 10 extra minutes.

It was the perfect distance and without the pressure of training for a race and just running for fun I found I did not have the same Achillies type tightness I had before Ironman Boulder.

There is definitely a mental correlation between soreness, tenderness and injury. I found that as time has gone on and I didn't have my heart in Ironman racing or I felt unprepared that my body would seem to be more injured or I'd experience more muscle soreness.

I won't discount age as well. Although I think most of it is mental.

Only thing that bothered me after today's run was my leg soreness. An hour run should not have any effect on my legs. I should feel like I did nothing. Instead I feel like I did a mini long run. It's a little bothersome. Is it age and I need more recovery? Or is it something else?

For sometime I've been planning on going in for a medical check up. For the month leading up to Ironman Boulder I had a chronic couch. I caught it from Alyssa and Alice also got it. I've never had a cough that has been so prolonged. Especially after training I'd be hacking and during training the back of my right lung would hurt.

I'm a hypochondriac at times and of course think the worst. Is is cancer? I'm sure it's nothing but I figure it's best to get it checked out. I'm not getting any younger. Or am I just mentally feeling discomfort of muscles than I used to. That I'm not as mentally tough at blocking the pain.

I have been giving a lot of thought about how I want my life to look like on the back half of my life.

On the first half of my life I focused primarily on career. Pretty much all my time was focused on starting, growing and managing my business. From the ages of 19 - 48 my primary focus was work.

People say do you have any regrets? Would you do things differently? Most people say no, that they would not be the person they are today if they didn't experience what they experience.

I feel differently. I would do things differently and this next half of my life is going to be that half were I do things differently. I'm still working through those years and identifying what I'd do differently. I haven't yet got it all figured out and I need to be careful that I don't spend too much time reliving the past.

I'm getting into some really deep thought. Asking many, many questions in my own head. The primary one's are "What is happiness? Why do we pursue happiness? Is happiness even real? Is it even worth pursuing? How do you achieve happiness?"

Like most of us I've had moments throughout my life of happiness. Then moments of struggle. I think many of us think happiness is having moments of happiness strung together in such a way that their is nothing but happiness, that it's eternal bliss.

I'm not sure if that is happiness. In fact I'm not sure happiness is the right word. I don't even know how to define happiness. I can define being happy about something in the moment. I don't know what happiness is.

Frankly my initial thoughts are happiness is a state of mind.

For example, two people could do the same Ironman. One person has a race with no problems other than the long day wears on them mentally and it turns out to be a horrible experience. Yet another person could have all forms of adversity and perhaps even get injured, struggle through it and at the end reflect back on it that it was a great day. That it was epic.

Same circumstance, one person had a positive experience, the other a negative one. One happy, the other unhappy.

One thought that keeps coming back to me is reprogramming. Changing one's thoughts pattern.

The big question is how do you do it? How do you erase previous programming. Keep the positive knowledge and wisdom and erase all the bad stuff so you don't recycle yourself to be the same the second time around as the first time but just with different circumstance.

I was thinking that would be one hell of a business where you could go to a place and have yourself reprogrammed. Now that I think about it I think they made a movie about doing stuff like that and it didn't turn out to well. Maybe it's not a good idea to have others reprogram you. But what if you could reprogram yourself?

Then my next level of thoughts go from wanting to have a better back half than the first, to trying to figure out how to reprogram myself to the next question which is "if I could reprogram myself what would I want the back half of my life to look like?"

Then I think, "why over think it?" I look back at the best times in my life and I just let life flow. It was the times I tried to control a situation or had a preconceived idea of how I wanted to guide the situation or wanted it to turn out and it would never happen or it would be a struggle to make it happen. There was no natural and enjoyable flow.

I think what's really cool is not that I'm asking myself these questions. I've been asking them for as long as I remember. I think what's really cool is that I'm determining my direction on feelings.

Basically asking myself "does it feel right?"

An example is I was looking at Riding across america tours. Rather than thinking how cool it would be and thinking I'm going to make it happen. I play it through my mind as it's happening and simulate the feelings. Then observe the feelings. It's like I'm doing it and feeling if it is going to make me happy.

In the case of the ride across america it took me no time to realize, nope, not for me.

As you can tell I'm going deep in my mind. I think the motivation is time. You only have so much time on this planet and when you're young you don't realize time is precious.

More so now than ever I'm understanding more about what Steve Jobs said during his convocation speech at Stanford talking in the spirit is "life is too short, do what makes you happy".

Yesterday I was google surfing and came across a Jim Carrey convocation speech. I'm going to leave this blog post with this most awesome part of his speech.

"My  father could have been a great comedian, but he didn't believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don't want to do, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love". 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Intuitive Turning Points...

Once upon a time, October 9th, 2009 my brother Bob and his girlfriend Darlene came to visit from Winnipeg.

That night we ended up in the Pig & Whistle and before the end of the night the beer bong came out. It's just not any beer bong it's the most industrial looking beer bong that holds 24 beers.

It was created by Davis Sohor, at the time in college, and up to that point he told me "Uncle Bryan I've made so many beer bongs, this one is the best beer bong I've ever made". And Davis never does anything half assed. It was a gift to me from him after Davis, his dad and my good friend Rich and I did Ironman 70.3 Muskoka.

The week leading up to that fateful Friday night I was losing weight and it was continuing to burn off well beyond my standard 180lbs at that time.

Intuitively I knew I was on the verge of breaking a barrier and that if there was any time I could get my weight down to the low 170's or even into the 160's is was by riding this wave.

The only problem was my brother came over and the beer bong was broken out. My brother is a big beer drinker and had never seen it before and by his own admission once seeing it he was scared of it. It's not your standard college type beer bong, it's in a class all it's own.

I had no plans to drink from the bong but I was primed from just having beers and my brother threw out a challenge like 6 beers from the bong without stopping and I win $150. I came short, not by much so then he gave the money to Alyssa and Reid for birthday gifts.

The point of my story is that before I took a pull from that beer bong and even before the night began that if I had beers I was going to stop my body from losing weight. It was going to stop it and even reverse it. I knew this in my bones. I knew if I had too many beers my chances of getting down to the low 170's or high 160's was gone.

In hindsight I have mixed feelings. It was a regret that I stopped the losing weight train and on the other side it was a great night with my brother and his girlfriend and I have some great pictures from that night.

The night was about a month before I did the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater and I ended up doing a personal best 4:38 which should have been faster had I not broken my chain, so it's not like it ruined my race. It just took my body out of the fat burning zone and I lost that special opportunity to see how low I could go.

I do know the lowest I've ever been, it was when I was 19 years old I got down from my high school football playing weight of 212 lbs to 158 lbs. My first Ironman I was 161 lbs. My weight for Clearwater was 183 lbs. I often wondered how much faster I could be in today's world with my weight in the 160's.  I had my chance and I "bonged" it that Friday night.

Today was a similar day to that Oct 9, 2009 night but reversed. I intuitively knew that if I over ate or had beers I would balloon up. That I'm on the threshold and if I make the wrong moves I can blow up 5 lbs in a very short period of time and at 200.4 lbs currently the last thing I want to do is get up to 205 lbs. Not to mention the warm weather will be ending soon and I need to lose about 5 lbs to be able to fit into my jeans comfortably.

Yes I've quit drinking beer but on a cold Saturday afternoon with nothing to do it does enter your mind that enjoying a meal at a sports bar, watching sports and having a beer or two could be nice. It's kind of a romantic Saturday afternoon get away.

We did get out of the house. We did go for a drive. The temptation to stop and have some food and beers was pushing hard.

This time around I thought back to that October 9th evening and remembered what could have been had I not put the breaks on my bodies fat burning. I remembered the regret. It wasn't a split second decision, I worked all the pros and con's through in my mind.

In the end I decided against stopping, eating and having beers. I would stop, eat perhaps and just have diet coke. Even with that we got lost in the escarpment and couldn't find any cool looking places to stop so instead we just picked up sunflower seeds, peanuts and pistachios and diet coke and drove around some more in the dreary rain.

To me I felt this as a turning point. Not just a turning point not to gain weight but as a turning point of the self discipline required to get back to my goal weight. I'd really like to reverse my October 9th regret and put myself in a position to see if I could get into the low 170's and still carry muscle.

We drove around for about 2 hours, I was trying to recreate our Route 66 trip. It was so fun driving through all these little towns. Only problem is the roads we drive on I know all to well. I think the fun of a road trip is not knowing what is coming up next. It's all one big adventure. It's hard to be an adventure when you know where you are and what to expect.

After we got home we chilled. I was in the prone position on the couch and on my computer. Toggling between work stuff, personal social media stuff and checking out things of interest and going down the google hole.

At some point I googled "Cycle Across America" Tours. It's something I've always wanted to do. Yet I haven't even fully enjoyed my retirement from Ironman and I'm looking for another ultra endurance challenge. WTF is wrong with me?

This time it was different, I was looking and not close to committing to doing it. In the past I'd look and then thinking about it for about 15 minutes and sign up to do it.

There was a number of reasons I didn't sign up to do it. In no particular order, there will be dark moments especially when you ride with a group. I've done these types of rides before where you ride and you camp or stay at a school or church at night. They move your gear, you have to get your camp set up at night, you need to tear down in the morning, you need to do chores. It becomes a grind.

If I do a ride across America I want to do it in style. Staying at hotels not campsites or church basements along the way. I also don't want to ride rain or shine or be under a tight schedule. These tours are typically 60 - 90 days long and by the end it becomes a grind.

My vision of doing a ride across America is to have family with me. I get up and ride 5 or 6 hours a day. They drive the 90 minutes to the next stop to meet me. We relax in a hotel. We sight see. We go out for dinners and if we want to stay at a place a little longer we do. If it rains or there is bad weather we don't ride that day. We stay indoors.

A second reason I wouldn't sign up is time. It takes 60 - 90 days of vacation time. I don't have that time to spare. I have too much other stuff going on.

A third reason is it's too much like an Ironman. It won't take long and it becomes an endurance event and painful. I don't really want that torture. Again, if I was to do it I'd want it to be enjoyable. If I don't feel like riding, I don't.

A fourth reason is I won't do it without my family with me. Being away from home for 3 months is a long time to be away from family. I did it this year as part of the documentary for Salmon Social. It's as tough mentally to be away from home as it is to do anything.

When you are away from those you love, especially at my age, you feel like you are squandering life. That you are eating into quality family time that you can never get back. To take a summer to do a cross country bike ride with strangers and not experience being with your family seems just plan wrong.

Mind you if I was a younger person with no ties I'd probably do that ride in a heart beat.

In the end it really didn't even get down to decision time, I figured as much as it would be fun to do for all the above reasons I wouldn't do it.  If I did it it would be only with my family with me the entire time and at my pace and we would make it a 3 month vacation with more memories of the vacation than the bike riding.

After googling riding across America I then looked at adventure racing. The cool part was I'm not interested in all that stuff. I think about it and then I visualize what the day is going to look like. The up early, the pushing yourself to dark zones and I ask why? I've been there so many times, I know I can do it, I've gotten the T-Shirt(s) literally and I'm not interested.

I am interested in doing something though. Perhaps weight training? A buddy suggested body building? I'm not sure. I do know I'm not going to rush it. It's way to early, it's only been 2 weeks since my last Ironman and I have a lot I want to do with my career. The worst thing I could do right now is commit to something new. A new challenge. I need to just relax and let life unfold.

In many ways I think today was a "Pop Quiz" type day for me and I passed.

One thing I forgot to mention that helped me make my decisions throughout the day was listening to my body.

Over the past week I've noticed that the back of my neck was getting tight. I've had that feeling over the years and for many years it would be chronic and I'd just ignore it. I no longer do. I came to realize that that neck stress is my subconscious telling me something is wrong and I need to address it. When I do it goes away.

I consider it like a compass. If I start experiencing neck pain, or back pain something is wrong. It's not always clear what that is but it gives me a starting point to explore what it possibly could be. Miraculously once I figure it out the pain goes away.

For me as I've mentioned in earlier posts I'm changing a lot of my thought and approaches that I took on the first half of my life for the second.

Friday, August 15, 2014

And the beat goes on...

Yesterday I did my first run post Ironman Boulder and Today I did my first bike ride.

I had to hold myself back from using the word training session. I guess the phrase "training session"doesn't really apply when there is no event I'm training for. Now I guess it's just a workout or "I did some exercise today".

It's been strange. The run was actually tough. Mentally and a little physically.

At first I didn't know how long I was going to run. Was I going to do 30, 40 or 60 minutes? Prior to the run my one hamstring was a little sore. It's strange that it would be a little sore I hadn't done any training in about 10 days. Yes, I'm aware I used the word training. Screw it I'm still going to use the word training.

My heart wanted to do an hour. My mind said lets see how it goes. After 10 minutes my body said this will only be a 30 minute run. My mind was cool with that as it was not enjoying the run. Which is strange, I love running. My heart said I'm sitting back and enjoying the ride there's no need to go further we aren't training for anything, you don't need to gut it out.

Last night I had one of my longest sleeps since getting home. It was about 9 hours. I really needed that sleep. It was such a good sleep that I was pretty much dopey for much of the day. When I mean dopey I mean that I'd go to the fridge and forget what I was going for or mean to search something on google and forget what I was doing.

When focused my mind was sharp. I got a lot of work done and by 3 pm I was ready for a break. I took my road bike into the bike shop to get them to tune it up. It's 12 years old and I've never had to have it tuned up. I still don't I just want to get it checked. I ended up going for the $185 re-build. Where they take the entire bike apart and rebuild it. I also asked them to take off the clip on aerobars. I'm going real road cyclist.

When I got back I went for a nice easy bike ride on my triathlon bike. I love that bike. I like that I can ride upright and then I can ride in the aero position and the seat is most comfortable. There was a part of me that questioned whether I should have took my road bike in to be rebuilt. That I should just stay on my triathlon bike and save the $185.

As I rode I tried to relax. I thought of my new training routine. What sort of sessions will I have? I was playing scenarios over in my mind. I did the same thing on yesterdays run.

One thought I had was mixing sessions. Perhaps an easy run 40 - 60 min, a speed work run 30 - 40 minutes and a long run 70 - 90 minutes.

I'm still wanting to incorporate swimming, biking, running and weight training into my training. A concept I have is not to train in 7 day weekly blocks. Instead train according to relationship between session after session.

For example, if I run Monday my next run would be Thursday and my next would be Sunday. So long as I train every third day I will not lose fitness.  I would do the same with cycling, biking and weights.

I'm still in the very early stages of figuring out my training routine. Just brainstorming to myself about different options. I'm intentionally not wanting to get input from other or start researching and reading books. I want to figure this all out based on my own concepts and then experiment doing them and monitor the results.

The weather is starting to get a little cooler and less humidity. I'm a warm weather person. Just knowing it's hot out makes me want to train. I think it was around 19 C out today but that didn't prevent me from putting on a long sleeve shirt under my cycling jersey.

It felt good to ride. My legs and mind enjoyed the 1 hour session. One hour on the bike is a perfect amount of time to ride, it's easy mileage.

As I got home I was thinking about my kids. Alyssa is 23 and Reid 17. Both are working out regularly. In fact the other morning Reid went to the gym at 5 am. He didn't get up at 5 am. He was up all night learning about how to use Final Cut Express and by 5 am decided to go to the gym.

Both him and Alyssa know a lot about fitness. Their generation understand so much more about weight training than my generation did. When I was there age the only people that had somewhat of an advanced understanding of weight training was professional body builders. Not anymore.

I listen to them talk about sessions and routines. I look at the routines and they are very much different than anything I've seen before. I don't want to get into cross fit. That is another level of fitness.

As I rode I wondered why my kids workout. I think part of it might be because they see me do it. I remember as small kids they would go for runs together. Even thought I quit doing Ironmans for 17 years I still tried to workout. I'd go in spurts. Just like regular folk. I'd have a good run for a while then I'd do nothing for a long while and repeat. They still saw me do it.

The reason I think them seeing me do it might have contributed is because when I was a kid about 13 years old I remember my dad buying a pair of Nike Waffle runners. They were the original ones. He started to run and I thought that was very cool. It seemed as quick as he started he stopped. I was a little bummed. I got over it as I started to run and wore his Nike waffle runners.

Years later in my early 20's there was a short period of time I'd meet my dad at lunch and we'd work out on the local pools universal gym.

It's amazing how those small episodes can have such a lasting impact.

When I started running it was back in the early 80's. Back then running was not yet a fad. Those that ran were looked at to be a little strange. Today it's so much different. Everyone runs.

I remember my grandmother telling me I should stop running. That it's not good for me. Here generation felt it was bad for you. That you would wear out your joints. I had one older guy I worked with tell me that his theory is you only have so many heart beats and that running speeds up the heart beats and therefore causes premature death.

The early age group marathoners were good. In those early 80's no one knew how to training and figured more mileage was better. Both in running and triathlons. No one knew anything about nutrition.

There was weekend 10 km races I'd go to and some of these middle age guys were putting in 70 miles a week and in their mid to late 40's and early 50's were running 36 minute or faster 10 km races.

When I started my comeback in 2007 I attended a number of 10 km runs expecting to see similar middle aged guys to the early 80's in spirit. Not the case the guys of old were faster than the guys of new. It realized the old days were over. Those early guys were amazing athletes.

Nutrition wise I'm trying to keep up the habit of having a whey protein shake after every training session. I'm no longer using any of the advanced and performance enhancing supplements such as beta alanine. Those days are over for me.

Earlier today I asked Alice if she wants to drive to Mont Tremblant to watch the Ironman this weekend. It's about a 7 hour drive. I enjoyed our route 66 ride so much I'm having withdrawal. She said no. I'm glad. It seems so romantic and then when you get on the boring interstate type highway it becomes boring.

Instead, tonight we went to the movie "Boyhood". I really liked it. They filmed it over a 12 year period using the same actors and it was amazing to see the transformation of the actors and changes to their appearances. Especially the kids. It was a long movie although I recommend it.

You know it's a good movie when after the movie it gets you thinking about your own life or viewpoint. I remember going to the movie Platoon as a young person and being blown away. It caused a lot of post movie conversation and analysis.

Tomorrow is a new day and I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do training wise and when. I do know I need to do something soon with my upper body. Perhaps a swim and weights are in line.

Mod Bike - 1:07:36 / 30.30 km

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Since I've decided to retire from doing another Ironman I've had to purge myself of Ironman reminders, as best I can.

I can't change my wardrobe, I have to much invested in that. However I have been unliking facebook fan pages that are from Ironman and triathlon races. I've been unsubscribe from email lists that share the same information.

I've even started to change my profile pictures on my social media sites. Kind of a new beginning sort of thing. Man it takes a long time to do all that stuff and it's addictive. Once you get going you want to get it all done. It's like re-organizing or spring cleaning. It's therapeutic and feels good.

There is also the catching up on work stuff to get ready to push the launch of Salmon Social as hard as I can. I basically didn't think much of it for the 2 weeks I was away at Ironman Boulder followed by a vacation riding route 66. Now I'm getting my head back into the game and I'm starting to get very excited. There is unlimited possibilities of how to promote the app.

Promoting the app for the next couple months and trying to raise more money to further develop it will be my new Ironman journey. I'm just tying up all my lose ends right now on other stuff so I can absorb myself 100%.

Facebook and twitter and social media in general is one of those time wasters. I consider it modern day TV. At night Alice will watch TV and I'll be on my computer between work stuff and then always  periodically checking out my social media feeds. It's so damn addictive. I downloaded an app last night called Freedom that you can activate and it will go from 1 minute to 8 hours where it effectively cuts off all your internet access. I tried it briefly and was having withdrawal pains.

I'm not sure what it is but for the first time it's been easy not to snack. Mind you it's only been 2 days. I'm not sure if it's the simplification of my life and not having the pressure to train long hours or just a sign from my subconscious that I've made the right decision and the underlying stress is gone.

Yesterday I only had about 4 hours of sleep. I was up until 2 am the night before working. I was pretty much in a daze all day yesterday. It just shows the importance of sleep. Today is much better I had a good night sleep last night and I feel like a new person. I also had a shower, first since Monday. Again, I just get into something and I'm like a mad scientist to work on it until it's done.

My muscles are definitely atrophying. I can feel it. The upside is my weight is going down, but it's misleading as I'm losing muscle. As of this morning I'm 201.4 lbs. Not bad considering how poorly I was eating on our vacation. I threw caution to the wind for pretty much the last 2 weeks.

All I need to do to maintain my muscle is train 30 minutes a day and at least every 3 day do something. Today is the day I start to get into that groove. I'll use my Freedom app and just prevent myself from going on the Internet for an hour. I'll have no choice but to train.

My plan that I'm working towards is to simplify and focus. No more than 3 key objectives. Salmon Social, regular exercise and spending time doing things with family, which basically means Alice as the kids have their own stuff going and hanging out with me is not one of their priorities.

I still haven't fully got the road trip out of my system. It was a lot of fun and part of me just wants to get back into the truck and do more of it. I was telling Alice that next time it would be great if we did it in a convertible and had minimal luggage so transferring our stuff from the car to the hotel would be a breeze.

I updated my 4 year old images for an image that is less than 6 months old. May as well as I was much thinner 4 years ago. Want to keep it real. Too many images I see are the "best of the best" for someone and when you meet them you don't really recognize them.

As I was looking for new profile images I had no choice but to see the transitions over the years from super fit and 180 lbs to fit but 200 lbs. I saw the transition really began after I qualified for Kona at Lake Placid.

It became apparent to me in hindsight that I pretty much lost my overwhelming desire to continue to train as hard as I could. The reality was even if I wanted to I wasn't ready yet to retire. After every Ironman I still had the Ironman Blues and immediately had to book my next Ironman race.

Looking at the photos has been very motivating. It's me and I know I could look and feel much better and healthier dropping 20 lbs. I really feel I'm ready to do it. I've always said and have learned first hand that diet is 90% of losing weight. It doesn't matter how many hours you train you will not lose significant weight unless you watch your diet. Now I'm ready to watch my diet and in reality it's easier to diet, at least its less painful, than it is to train 18 - 22 hours a week.

Staying of the beer is critical as well. It is just not possible to lose weight and drink alcohol in my world. The alcohol screws up your insulin levels not to mention inhibits you and you want to eat more.

Another goal besides weight loss is to get out of the house more during the day. Alice does it all the time. In fact she walks near 5 - 6 miles every day just doing errands. Me, without Ironman training I'm about 1.5 miles a day. Working from home is great for me, I can work independently, it just makes me burn less calories.

I'm not yet sure what the routine is. I know some people get up and go to McDonald's or Starbucks for coffee and have some sort of a routine. Haven't figured mine out yet, I will be the end of this week.

I can't stress how much I feel like a new person. It definitely feels like a re-birth. It's not a mid-life crisis. I went through that last year and I no longer am pining for a Corvette.

The big test will see if these feelings and focus last 90 days. It's been said it takes 30 days to make a change and 90 days to make it a habit. A motivation for me is to get to 70,000 km of training, I'm currently at 68,434.31 starting from May of 2007 when I started my comeback and lost 50 lbs.

For my American friends that 42,460 miles. I've circled the earth once which is 24,901 miles and I'm only 6,000 miles from finishing my second lap. It should take me 1.5 or 2 years more at my more relaxed training pace.

I will say I hit a pretty decent milestone on my fit bit. I wore it during the Ironman. Put it on my cycling shoe during the bike and wrist during the run. Got my 75,000 step badge.

So now enough blogging. I need to get out and go for a run to stop the atrophying.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No Post Ironman Blues...

Ironman Boulder ended 8 days ago. Lots has happened.

Since leaving Boulder Alice and I did a route 66 road trip. It was an audible. We had no plans to drive  Route 66. I just didn't want to drive the boring interstates home and when we realized that in an 8 hour drive we could get south to Albuquerque and get onto Route 66 we went for it.

I won't give a blow by blow of each day. We saw a lot.

I always envisioned Route 66 to be this sole highway that was an epic drive. I've always said to the kids that I'd like to rent a big old Cadillac and drive Route 66 and stop at all the roadside attractions. I don't have a formal bucket list but informally driving Route 66 is on it.

Then to pull and audible and do it and be able to say we did it was really cool. It was unexpected and yet it's something so simple that anyone can do. All they have to do is decide to drive it. It's not like signing up and preparing for an Ironman. It doesn't take anything more than a decision followed by immediate action.

Route 66 wasn't exactly how I thought it would be. In my minds eye I thought it would be this well marked old type highway and run through the country and through all sorts of towns. Turns out that's not the case, most of the time.

Route 66 in many spots has been eaten up by Interstate and it's not the best marked. We had to pick up a couple of books and maps and try to figure out if the interstate we were on was route 66 or not. Most of the time we picked correctly.

Before we got onto route 66 we stopped at Santa Fe. For those that have never been. Go. It's an amazing little town. We didn't know what to expect and now I can see us living there in the winter. It's a hidden treasure. We had no plans to go there, we just needed a place to stay the night and viola we realized we could spend at least 2 - 3 days exploring downtown Santa Fe easily. I had the best omelet of my live in Santa Fe. Our waiter was a real character and when he heard we were from Toronto he mentioned that Don Cherry has a place in Santa Fe.

When you are driving route 66 and stopping in the little towns along the way the drive is much slower. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just something I didn't fully expect. Driving 7 hours on Route 66 is the equivalent of 3 on the Interstate.

We started in downtown Albuquerque. A cool downtown although no where near as cool as Santa Fe. It was then mostly interstate from Albuquerque to Amarillo. Lots of ghost towns. We drove through them. It's amazing to see all the buildings and businesses completely closed up. We drove by some towns that where literally ghost towns. Houses, churches, etc, totally abandoned.

The journey was a bit of a blur and a bit of "ground hog day".

Our routine was get up when we woke up, usually around 10 am. We stayed in nicer places. My days of Motel 6 are over. Too many horror stories. I'm not going high end, just nice. We stayed at a lot of Marriott and Hilton owned places.

So we'd get up at 10 am, shower, then get on the road, stop at a McDonald's for coffee and road food, then drive. We'd drive till around 7 pm and drive through every town on the route and stop at as many places as we could. We picked up a book that was excellent and showed us the places we should stop at. Alice was in charge of the book and would tell me what was coming up and we'd stop. We pretty much hit every attraction in the book.

We hit cafes, restaurants, bars, ghost towns and museums all along the way.

There was no pressure to rush back home and I savoured the flavour. This was the first time I could ever remember taking a vacation where I wasn't thinking about or doing work. Other than checking my emails in the morning or along the way I didn't focus one bit on work.

For the first few days I kept telling Alice "I can't believe I'm done Ironmans". I didn't mean it in a nostalgic way, I meant it in a "Damn I'm so glad I'm retired from Ironmans".

It felt so right. So complete. I was still in disbelief that I was able to over come the adversity and mental pressure to quit and still overcame and finished.

I was thinking what it would feel like if I had quit and what would the drive feel like?

Reality is I didn't think about it enough to really figure that it. It wasn't meant to be. It was meant for me to finish.

What makes my life so blessed and I feel almost scripted is when the last person I see before crossing the finish line is Alice. She's there and I'm able to give her a big kiss and then a second big one and they get it all on film and camera.  Now lets put this into perspective.

I wasn't 100% sure how I was going to finish my last ever Ironman. I had thoughts of getting across the line and kissing the ground. Which I did. I had thoughts of getting a sign and writing on it "Final Ironman, #12, Retired" and caring it with me as I ran down the finishers shoot and high five everyone. I didn't get the sign.

Reality is I didn't know what I was going to do and let fate take it's course. As I got to the finishers chute it came over me to start high-fiving everyone. I think it started with a couple of young kids and then I decided whether they wanted to high five or not I was high-fiving everyone.

I kept my hand out and just focused on high-fiving every hand. Many saw I was a man on a mission and weren't prepared to high five and saw me scrambled to high-five. I don't know how many hands I high-fived, could have been 100 plus.

Then out of the blue less than 10 feet from the finish I'm high-fiving and I look up and it's Alice. Completely unexpected. She was visually feeling what I wanted to be feeling. She was tearing up. She knew it was "our" last and I just stopped and gave her a couple of big kisses. I can't remember the words but I think she said "glad it's over" but not in a negative way. It was more like "this is the right time, I can't believe the journey, glad it's over, on to the next phase".

When I saw Alice crying I was more jealous than anything. I wanted to be in tears too. I wanted to relieve that first Ironman cry in 1987. I would have done it but I was too self-conscious.

So as we were driving Route 66 I'm thinking about how perfect the day unfolded. I almost thought I was going to die within the first 100 meters of the swim during Ironman Boulder. I think back now and I still can't believe I was able to pull myself through it and finish. It was so bad that I don't even know if I could do a regular triathlon swim ever again, or even an open water swim. It was pretty traumatic. Most so even afterwards as I reflect on it.

Then I think that I was able to get through the bike and then literally walk the run. The race was literally what Ironman is all about. Overcoming all obstacles and finishing.

Then to think that as I finished my 12th and final Ironman that special moment between Alice and I was captured on film and in photo's is what makes me wonder if life is scripted. From the moment I saw the finish line and started running I had no idea of what to expect. My mind was empty. I was zen. I just ran and did what came natural.

When I spoke to Alice about it she too mentioned that it was surreal how she got such a perfect spot on the fence and to see me. The fact that I finished in 15 hours helped. Less congestion and she had a perfect spot at one of the restaurants across the sidewalk from the space.

At one point as I was running and high-fiving I was going to go to the other side and start high-fiving. I've done that before. I thought about it for an instant and then something said no, just stay on this side. Had I went to the other side I would have missed Alice and our special moment.

It was an epic race and a more epic finish. It was a picture perfect finish. Stuff movies are made out of and none of it rehearsed. It just happened.

So as I was driving down Route 66 I was replaying everything in my mind and there was just this feeling of perfection in my mind. Everything ended perfectly. It was like I was able to break free with no regrets and on my terms.

Many times in the past I've decided to change course using my head and in my heart I didn't want to. It often ended up with regret. This time I ended with my heart not my head. Its' the first time this has ever happened to me.

The drive down route 66 was a vacation driven by my heart, no thought. We just did it without even pre-planning it. Which pretty much sums up my life. 80% of the time I live completely on intuition and go with what feels right, the other 20% of the time I try to pre-plan it and script it. When I try to script it it never turns out the way I wanted it to be and have disappointment and regret. When I let it flow that's when magic moments happen.

Prior to finishing at Ironman Boulder I mentioned that I see crossing that finish line as leaving my old world and entering my new world. In a way I see it as the halfway point of my life. I see it as a turning point of my life. I see it as a re-birth.

When I made that statement it was from my heart. It just came out. It felt right. In fact it's grown to feel more true and more profound than ever.

The drive gave me time to digest, absorb, reflect and relish everything that has happened in the first half of my life. It was just like the drive, non hurried, enjoyable, relaxing and fun. Just hanging out with Alice was fun.

There was also things I noticed about myself and how I think that changed. I know it seems unreal but I swear the moment I crossed that finish line it's like I changed. There is a deeper level of zen that I have. I feel so much comfortable in my own skin.

At times I'd think of what the future is going to hold. What do I want to accomplish? What do I want the back half of my life to look like?

I intentionally didn't go to far down that path. Intuitively I just know it's wasted effort to over think or try and script it. Best to let it flow and trust.

Frankly I wouldn't even know where to begin. So much of what went through my mind is eliminating societal thought and teachings from my mind. The first half of my life I did a combination of others beliefs and my own. This back half of my life I want to erase others beliefs and teachings and replace them with my own.

Essentially I'm describing the following of my internal compass versus the compass of others. There is a saying, "the map is only as good as the map maker". I keep thinking what if societies map is way off?

If societies map was right why are so many people unhappy?

These were the types of thoughts going through my mind in a very non-forced and natural way. All passed on a question, "what do I want to do with the back half of my life?"

I do know that everything that has happened to me on the front half of my life has prepared me for this back half. I have many regrets. Most of them from just being young, inexperienced or intoxicated. All of them I've learned from.

One thing I think about and don't want to regret is losing my virtual true friends. As much as I've met them online through twitter or my blog I've come to trust them and them me. I've often thought of it and if I was in trouble I'd without hesitation know that I could call on anyone of them and they would help me and me them. I don't say this lightly.

I don't want to lose my connections with those people. They know who they are. We regularly abuse each other on Facebook and I don't want to lose that community. Sully gave me a post on twitter that said " Bravo on your final Ironman and final bathroom update. Will miss them and always wish you the very best!".  It seemed so final. Like he figured I was gone. That it's the end of an era. I didn't know how to respond. I didn't.

I've given it some thought. The reality is in my heart I'm good with never doing another Ironman and I'm not sure if I'll ever do another triathlon, cycling or running event. I have no desire to do any right now and even thinking about a triathlon swim is freaking me out.

I do know I don't want to lose my friendships I gained from triathlon and Ironman. Many of them said they followed my original blog and became inspired. I was always surprised by this. It was never my intent to inspire. It still isn't. I was just blogging as a way of recording my journey.

I've been thinking about it some and decided to take the original blog out of private and make it public once again. It's over 1000 posts of me going from the start of my journey to Kona Qualifier. I'm not sure why, I'm not over thinking it. It's something that just feels like the right thing to do. In it's best month, (Kona Oct 2010) it got up to 8000 unique visitors in one month. Amazing since I had no plans for it other than to be a personal diary for me.

You can view the old blog by clicking here.

I have many questions about my future and wonder how things are going to unfold for me. It's not something I'm stressing about, whatsoever. If anything the minute I start stressing about it I know I'm going in the wrong direction.

What I do know is we got home last night and these past two weeks have been really great. I had the dream Ironman race. Yes, a near 15 hour Ironman has already become a fond memory.

We got home, unpacked and had to take the bike off the rack for the last time. If there was any hassle the entire trip it was having to take the bikes on and off the truck and shuttle them up and down from the room.

I also had my last pig out of junk food. The entire ride to Boulder and every day post Boulder we ate junk food. Caution was just thrown to the wind. Especially when going through Texas and Oklahoma, you tend to eat nothing but beef, lots of burgers and steaks. If I didn't gain 66 lbs I at minimum gained 6.6 lbs.

We came home with lots of swag. Shirts and stuff for the kids and stuff for the Pig & Whistle. I've come to realize that I have so much cool stuff in the Pig & Whistle that after seeing the museums on Route 66, I can make the Pig & Whistle a museum. It definitely has stuff in it that has the cool factor.

Talking about the Pig & Whistle. I checked it out and guess what, my kegerator fridge is no longer working. It died. No longer cools. It couldn't have died at a more opportune time. Post Ironman Boulder. Perhaps it's a sign.

I'm not sweating the weight gain. I know it's coming off.

What I'm most curious about is my next goal.

In the past after every Ironman I'd get the Ironman Blues. It's that moment when you've done your Ironman and about a week later you get depressed. A real depression. The only thing that takes it away is when you sign up for another Ironman or marathon or endurance event.

I remember those Ironman blues. They are real. And every time I signed up for my next event the blues went away.

This is the first time I have no post Ironman blues. In fact I have no desire to sign up for any races. I've thought of marathons, nope. Then adventure racing, nope. Then running races, nope.

All I want to do now is train for enjoyment. I have thought about kayaking. I'm curious to come up with my own training plan, sans-conventional wisdom. Like I said earlier I don't want to focus on societal thought or teachings. I know what my goal is and I'm curious to figure it out intuitively. To explore directions and routines that have not yet been explored.

I'm giving myself a couple days to get back into the swing of things now that I'm home. I need to wrap up my old Ironman home life. No I'm not selling my bike. But I'm doing the next best thing. I'm purging and cleaning.

I started with the garage. I boxed all old bike parts and stuff I haven't used in years. I threw out old tires, tubes and bike parts. I took my road bike out from downstairs and it's now going to be my regular riding bike. Next I'll be going through my bedroom drawers. I may end up putting a lot of it up for sale. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all the bags I've gotten from races.

I'm just in the mode to purge. It's part of the re-birth.