2012 is Alive!

A few years ago I decided to start keeping a training log and now that I have data for a few years it has been fun to look back and compare how I'm doing now to how I was doing before. This year with Ironman on the race schedule for the first time I know I need to spend a lot of hours sweating it out in order to reach a level of success that I will be happy with. Below is my progress to date and how it compares to the two previous years (up to May 27 of each year):

2012 Training Totals:
SWIM = 1.6 km
BIKE = 1914 km
RUN = 501 km

2011 Training Totals:
SWIM = 8.4 km (5.3 times more than this year)
BIKE = 816 km (2.3 times less than this year)
RUN = 80 km (6.3 times less than this year)

You can see a big difference but, this is not a fair comparison since I didn't do any races last year. To really get a grasp on how I'm doing I need to compare to 2010 where I completed 5 triathlons (4 at half Ironman distance) and 1 marathon. Also, in 2010 a large number of my personal records as seen on the right side of this page were recorded. So here it goes.

2010 Training Totals:
SWIM = 43.3 km (27.1 times more than this year)
BIKE = 871 km (2.2 times less than this year)
RUN = 198 km (2.5 times less than this year)

Well, it's obvious that I need to start swimming more but with more than double the biking and running totals I feel confident that I will be ready come August. And, those 2010 records I mentioned earlier, I have already broke 2 of them this year. I recorded my best marathon a few weeks ago during the Vancouver Marathon, and I dished out my best Mt Cypress ascent last week. So with my long distance running and cycling currently better than they have ever been, and with another three months of training before the big event, I'm feeling pretty good.

Actually, to be honest, the training progression happens so slowly that it's easy not to notice. Until I did this comparison I had no idea that I was training this much or, improving this much. I guess what I'm getting it is, if our successes aren't measured and recorded it's hard to recognize the improvements. Keeping a log of training time and personal records is important and can help anyone who is seeking to elevate their personal abilities.

So for the next few months the plan is to swim a lot more than I am now and keep biking and running like crazy. This is the home stretch now; it's no time to become lackadaisical. I need to stay focused and determined. I'm hoping to hammer out a good Half Ironman in July, ideally it will be my best ever but we'll see how quickly I can build my swimming up. I'm also hoping to beat my Iona TT record, and go sub 40 minutes on my Mt Cypress climb some time this year. It's only May, there's a lot more in store. I'll keep you posted.

The Challenger

For those of you who have kids and live away from family, you'll know how rare it is to have free babysitting and date nights don't come around too often. This weekend my in-laws are in town and Janelle informed me that she wanted to go see the last Harry Potter movie in theatres Friday night. Sounds good right? The problem with that is I stopped watching them after the third one (there are 8 in total now), and I have no idea what's going on. So starting on Tuesday evening I set out to watch movies 1-7 over three nights so that I am up to speed by Friday night.

Those movies are long man, and after two movies on Tuesday and a late return home Wednesday I accept failure claiming that it is very unrealistic to expect me to do this. On Thursday night however, I decide to read the synopsis of movies 3-5 and then watch 6 and 7. Done. I was up to 1:15am Thursday night /Friday morning and off to bed.

What I'm starting to get at here is I'm then up at 4:45am to prep and leave for my weekly Friday morning bike ride. It was another beautiful Friday morning and I enjoyed a good ride out to Deep Cover and then up Mt Seymour. My legs on the other hand were not very appreciative and rebelled against me most of the way. I could feel the lack of energy restricting my output and I had to settle for a slower than average pace.

When I returned from my ride to work I was 94km in. Not bad for a Friday morning.

After work, now this is where the story gets good, I'm riding home and my legs are still feeling empty. I need sleep more than anything. While riding around Stanley Park I come across another cyclist ahead of me. One thing that I've learned is that you need to be careful who you pass because the last thing you want is to be passed back. If you go for it you have to own it. I recognize from his nice bike and massive calves that he isn't the ordinary cyclist that you just fly by and that's the end of it. If I go for it I'm certain that he's going to challenge.

Do I hang back and draft off him for awhile and access the situation more? – nah, I zoom past him at 40km/h and I immediately see his shadow come across as he zips into my slipstream. I keep the pace, the legs aren't happy with me but, I've got to chew what I bite. After about 4km we come to a slight incline and he pulls up beside me and with a big smile on his face exclaims, “Wicked ride man!” We start drafting off each other for the remainder of the loop until we arrive at “the big hill.” At this point he's in the lead.

Within 20 metres from the start of the climb I decide to bring up the pace of the climb and pull up beside him and yell, “come-on, we got this, we got this!” He let's out a yell and we are both giving it, completely red lined the engine is about to explode and I can't wait to get to the top of the hill. Upon reaching the top we are both literally letting out yells and woots and I can't wait to pull off towards the Lions Gate Bridge and have him continue through the park so that I can bring the level down a bit. I tell him to have a good ride and then he pulls off to the bridge too. So I say, “I guess I'm not done with you yet,” and gear up for the climb over the bridge.

He looks over at my and with a smile says, “enjoy your ride,” and off I go and never see him again.

It was a pretty fun experience battling it out with a complete stranger. There certainly is a lot of testosterone when it comes to cycling and I wouldn't have it any other way. Kudos to that stranger for working me harder than anyone else ever has.

Ironman Canada 2012

I'm sitting at work at 9:00pm on a Friday evening before a long weekend waiting for a massive file to upload to a website which will probably take about a half hour so I might as well use this time productively.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering at Ironman Canada and witnessing friends and complete strangers push their bodies to the limits in 30+°C temperature to complete one of the most physical one day challenges there is.

Four years ago I set a goal to complete Ironman in 5 years so if you're amazing at math you'll have already figured out that next year is my target date.

One of the benefits to volunteering is that you get priority over everyone else to register for a for sure sell-out event. This is a good thing too because when Derrick, Scott, and myself showed up to the registration site 2 hours early there were already a couple hundred people lined up to sign up.

I am very excited to officially announce my candidacy for Ironman next year and I couldn't be more thrilled. At this point I feel like everything that should have been done has been done and I'm right on track to hammer out an amazing race. I'm not rushing into this, or signing up on a whim. During the past four years I have gone from completing my first sprint distance triathlon, to completing 5 half Ironmans and another marathon. I will be completing another marathon in about a month and hopefully two more next year. I have finally procured a decent bike (post on that to come), and I have obtained the will to persevere.

While at the race I picked up this wrist band that they were throwing out into the crowd.

This will be my motivation. I hope that when it's raining and cold I'll be able to look at this and remember what it takes to be an Ironman and get out there and train.

I'm hoping that you all will support me in this goal. Without your encouraging words this all becomes a lot harder. I'll be updating you throughout this next year on my progress so that you can follow along with me on this Ironman journey.

Marathon Update

You wouldn't have to look too far back in my blog history to read my Victoria Marathon Race Report as my blogging lately has been quite inactive. If you read it you would see that my time last year was 3:36:31 and my goal for this year was to qualify for Boston. Well, as soon as I heard that the Boston qualifying times were dropping by 5 minutes I decided that that goal was too hefty and gave up on that, instead I figured I would settle for a new PR.

My training has been okay lately. I've been getting a good long run in almost every Saturday and have slowly been building up the mileage over the past couple of months. I've also been doing some uphill strength training by doing the Grouse Grind every Wednesday night. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I did it three times one night. I've also been getting some good cross training by biking about 200km a week including a nice weekly ride up Mt Cypress. I feel like I've been doing a lot of the right things.

Lately on my long runs I've been getting some pretty serious pain in my left knee. I've been pushing through the pain to get my mileage up but end up running at an extremely slow pace near the end (about 6 min/km). Honestly, the pain has made me skip a few runs to allow myself to recover which has pushed me off my training plan and I wont be able to reach the distances I was hoping for prior to the marathon.

With the knee pain it seems unlikely that I will achieve a new PR this year and if I did decide to push hard through the pain I run the risk of injury and with big plans for next year, including Ironman Canada, injury is not something that I want right now.

I've been contemplating downgrading to the half but have now decided to stick with the full and take my time with it. I'll probably walk a bunch and take it nice and easy and just have fun with it. I figure I'll come in around 4 hours but I'm okay with that. I can just tick off one more marathon completion. I'm planning on running the BMO marathon in May so I can shoot for a good time for that one. For now I'm just going to do it for the experience and not so much the time.

Race day is October 9 in case anyone wants to come cheer me on. Your smiling faces are always helpful.

Almost Certain Death!

So I finally have something blog worthy. Today I was biking home from work as I do, minding my own business and enjoying the beautiful weather. I come to W 1st St in North Vancouver - a nice flat stretch of road with limited traffic and a chance to hold a decent uninterrupted pace. I usually hold around 37km/h here but today I was feeling particularly good and thought I would see if I could hold 40km/h. I gear down and hold on to my dropped bars and with a nice tail wind I easily bring it to 40, 42, 44, 45, 46... I hit a little bump and SNAP! Brief panic, wobble, wobble, wobble, coast to a slower speed and take a look at what happened:

I actually snapped the bar right off!

I don't know how I didn't bite it, I guess I'm a lucky guy. The brakes and shifters still worked so I shifted down to an easy gear and coasted the rest of the way home.

Considering my speed and the hardness of concrete I would say that was one of the scariest moments I've had on the bike. I'm happy to still have all my limbs in good working condition but am not looking forward to the repair bill.

My New Ride

I think I may have suckered a few of you in by my title thinking that perhaps my new TT bike would be making its blogging debut. I'm afraid I have mislead you, details on that will be soon to follow. The new ride I am referring to here happens to be my 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan just purchased shown below.

Yes, I have entered the minivan realm. The practicality wins over the need to hang on to the last bit of coolness that I like to think I possessed. All that has been thrown to the wind and replaced with full stow n' go seats. Lots of room for cargo and road trips are going to be much more comfortable now.

In other news, I'm getting close to getting my new bike. It should be built up this week and shipped out so news for that to come soon.

Yes I'm still here

So yes, I haven't updated my blog since the marathon in October, and honestly my training has been much like my blog writing since then - nonexistent, but I'm hoping to still have a good year.

My race season last year was a little disappointing but there were some highlights:

I was able to swim faster and further than I ever had before including a swim from Alcatraz to shore, a 4200m swim at Kits beach, and a 33:33 half iron swim time at Sooke.

My cycling which had been my weakest triathlon event in 2009 became my strongest in 2010. I was able to push harder and faster. Some of the top moments were riding my first imperial century, climbing Cypress in 44:30, and going from 141st place at the start of the bike to 65th at the end during the 38km leg of the Banff triathlon.

My running took a big toll last year mainly due to a major neglect in training but with a desire to change that late in the season I was able to pull out my best Olympic distance triathlon run leg of 43:14 and I spontaneously signed up for the Victoria Marathon with 3 weeks to go and pulled out a new personal record with a time of 3:37. While training for the Marathon I felt a passion for the sport that I hadn't felt all year and I gained a renewed love of running.

My training totals are as follows:

Swimming - 75km, 28.2hr
Cycling - 4009km, 155hr
Running - 528km, 48hr

Sadly, the last time I swam last year was Sept 11, and the last time I ran was Oct 16. On the bright side, I started my new swimming plan today and got a few hundred meters in (man, did my arms ever get tired fast!).

So what is 2011 going to bring me?

Although I am planning on doing Ironman in 2012, I will be cutting back my training and focusing on shorter distance triathlons. I love the long distance, but this year I want to spend more time with my family. Janelle has been a great support to me, watching the kids all the time while I'm out getting in the miles, and I think it's time that I support her a little more. Besides, with Ironman next year, I'm going to need to be training a lot so I should be home more this year to try to make up for that.

So in planning my race season I think the Nelson Cyswog 'n fun is on the list, not sure what other tri's I will do. I will also be doing the Victoria Marathon again with hopes to qualify for Boston.

I still plan on training, just at times that are more convenient for others like swimming after the kids have gone to bed, running home from work which takes about the same time as busing, and going for pre-work bike rides come summer time. I'm not a student anymore. I don't have hours free in every day. Training now is much harder to do than before, but I believe that if I set my priorities and goals, make plans and work at it, I'll be able to accomplish the things I want to achieve this year.