Posted on May 21, 2013 under etc..., Factoids, training |
This week the City of Toronto is planning to aerial spray for gypsy moths. Thought they say the spray is safe for humans, we’ve all heard that before.
Aerial sprays will begin on Thursday morning between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. in seven Etobicoke areas including Humber Valley Golf Course, Valecrest Road and North Drive, Royal York Road and the Kingsway, Thorncrest Road, Herne Hill, Princess Margaret Boulevard, Kipling Avenue and The Kingsway and Edenbridge Drive.
The second spray will take place on Friday morning at Moore Park, Cherry Beach Park, Toronto Island Park and Tam O’Shanter Golf course.
Please spread the word and everyone train safe out there!
Posted on May 19, 2013 under Mont Tremblant Training Camp |
Day 3 brought us a 50ish KM time trial on the bike and then some short tempo runs with video analysis in the afternoon.
Here’s my TT. Was pretty happy with it, especially given the baked feeling my legs have at the moment.
Was definitely channeling Jens Voigt for portions of this ride.
Fuel today for the TT was EFS Liquid Shot and a big portion of my continual ability to push this hard day after day is definitely thanks to ExtremeEndurance.
Posted on May 18, 2013 under Mont Tremblant Training Camp |
Plan for today was a big brick. Here’s the bike before the ride.
My legs were pretty smoked from hill repeats yesterday and my power file shows it. Saddle sores starting to be a bit of an issue, which sucks, but my tea-tree oil will hopefully help remediate that.
My back started to cramp up in the last 45 minutes and so I scrapped the run and did water support for the folks who did the 21k run. I may still run tonight but my back is still kinda angry, so gonna play it by ear.
My fueling today was PickyBars and Gu Rocktane Drink, used some EFS PreRace to help push through the fatigue and ended the ride with a First Endurance Ultragen.
Most people are here, still waiting for a few to arrive tonight, but those of us who are here start
punishing ourselves training today. We’re doing hill repeats ad nauseum today. Currently it’s a bit cool 6C, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a nice day.
People are drinking coffee, eating breakfast and generally waiting for the temps to come up a few degrees. We’re probably going to head out around 9am, so a few hours to kill.
Individual athlete goodie bags containing ExtremeEndurance, a Finis swim cap, PureProtein bars, socks from TrainingPeaks and 1st Endurance Water bottles were a hit and our nutrition buffet with 1st Endurance, GuEnergy, Pickybars is setup.
Posted on May 15, 2013 under Raves, training |
I’m getting pretty excited about the next 6 days! Tomorrow morning I leave for our annual spring Ironman (and 70.3) Mont Tremblant Training Camp! 2 of the 6 days are pretty much travel days with light training to workout the car-time if scheduling allows, but the 4 interceding days are gonna be all about pushing the body hard and taking full advantage of the following super-compensation training effect
Last year the water was warm enough to swim, but we won’t be so lucky this year, so we’ll be taking 5 days off swimming and just focusing on bike and run.
Unlike last year, this year we “splurged” on a chalet: yes! Showers… real beds.. a real kitchen… internet… LUXURY There are also more of us this year, which makes the chalet much more affordable. Along with the dozen of us crazy triathletes who are going to put our bodies through the ringer, we’ll have 3 or 4 mountain bikers who are in Tremblant for a weekend race.
Like last year, we’re very well supplied. Socks from TrainingPeaks, swim caps from Finis, water bottles, fuel and recovery drink from FirstEndurance, gels, energy and recovery drink from GU, bars from PureProtein and from Pickybars and lactic buffer from ExtremeEndurance. Our athletes will definitely have no excuse when it comes to fueling their workouts and recovery!
Big thanks to all our generous sponsors! You all are amazing!
More blog-entries and photos coming from the camp (hopefully nightly). BOOM!
Posted on Apr 16, 2013 under Pre/Post Race, training |
Wow! It’s been quite the whirlwind 12 days in hot, dry and sunny Arizona! I left Toronto on April 4th, just in time to miss the unseasonably cold spring (winter) weather that hit the area and few to Phoenix with a follow-on drive to Yuma, Arizona where I’d stay for a week to train and try to get used to the desert heat.
Pre-Race Training Week in Yuma
I have to tell you: from the weather-perspective, Arizona in April is about as different from Toronto as you could imagine. Arizona was wonderfully hot (30+ Celsius on most days) and dry. The breezes when they blew were welcome friends rather than bone-chilling foes. I love the sun and the dry-heat. LOVE IT! Arizona for the last 12 days did not disappoint.
My friends Elyse and Devin were awesome hosts in Yuma. They opened their home to me, providing me a comfortable and hospitable base to live and train from for a week. I cooked for us all and “forced” them to eat my healthy cooking. I think I made Devin almost like vegetables I was especially happy to hear him rave about using collard greens as burrito/taco shells. Go Devin!
In Yuma, I found a nice outdoor pool to swim in and no shortage of places to ride and run. Even though Yuma isn’t known for being particularly cyclist friendly, I found the drivers always gave me a lot of room and respect on the road and never felt endangered. My training time in Yuma was truly wonderful. One of the highlights for me was a 90km box-route that left Yuma and did a square to San Luis, AZ. San Luis was roughly 2/3 of the way through the ride and a great place to stop quickly to resupply. I rode this route a few times during the week and each time it had a slightly different characteristic.
The 1st ride of the route was a zone3 ride, feeling out the route and shaking-out the flight with a long ride. The sun was hot and I got a bit baked but it was a great ride and definitely one I knew I’d repeat. Wide, freshly paved roads with large paved shoulders and almost no traffic made for a super-comfortable training route.
The repeat of this route brought new challenges: rather than a zone3 easy-ish ride it was to do more solid tempo work. Mother nature had other plans. 15k into the ride, the winds started to wake up. As I was riding south out of Yuma, the winds were greeting me head-on. I thought to myself, “Well this leg of the trip is short. I’ll have a side wind for a lot and a tail wind toward the end when I’m getting tired to push me home. All good!”. As Route 195 bent to the west, the wind also shifted and gained strength: first out of the west, then the north-west. I was now riding in a full-on “Haboob”. Sustained winds of 25mph with recorded gusts to 38mph and me riding directly into it. The big sky of a few days ago disappeared into a brown cloud of dust in all directions. Sand was snaking down the road and drifting across it in places! More than once I had to stop to clear the sand from my eyes, nose, mouth and shoes. Toward the end of the ride I was actually riding with the wind. I took a lane of the 2 lane Route95 and was pedalling faster than cars were driving. Crazy fun! Surprisingly, all this snotty weather only added 10 minutes to my round-trip time. Definitely a good tempo workout!
Running in Arizona was a different beast. Think HOT. No. I mean think hotter than that, plus some. My 1st run was an hour brick off the 1st loop ride. I took my fuel belt with 4 flasks and drained it before the 30 minute mark! Finding resupply was paramount! Refilling the fuel belt and taking a cold shower with the rest of the water got me through the run. Subsequent runs I knew better: Craft Cool Shirt, Ultraspire Surge 3L water-pack and ice in the shirt were the winning formula for keeping the pace up and the body core temperature down.
And Off to Tempe
After a week in Yuma, it was time to transition to a pre-race locale and taper-time: drive to Tempe, race checkin and athlete briefing, grocery shopping, and finally meet with my couchsurfing.org host Cindy. Cindy was an awesome host. Her apartment is small but she’s a generous spirit and opened her home to me as though we’d been friends for years. An added perk was that her apartment was about 3 blocks from the race location. How cool is that!
Tempe was already a triathlon buzz when I arrived on Friday: not only were the 3 distances of the Leadman race happening on Sunday, but on Friday and Saturday the USAT Collegiate Nationals were running. Thousands of triathletes, literally, all over the place. The vibe was electric! The vendors were already setup and TrainingPeaks.com was there. I got to meet Bryan and Justin and had a bit of a home-base in the race-village. Thanks guys! One unfortunate side-effect of the nationals was that it was impossible to pre-ride the bike course because a lot of it was in use by those athletes.
Race morning arrived quickly enough. Transition set, suit on and into the lineup. Pre-race meditation and deep breathing time and we were away! 2.5k swim, 109.5k bike, 13k run! GO! The water was pretty nasty: I don’t think it was pollution so much as just a lot of suspended silt. It was thick. We were swimming by braille. You literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! I had a start spot for the swim at the front of my wave, and generally this was a good spot for me: rather than swimming over a lot of people, I’d only have to deal with being battered by a few who started behind me, but were stronger swimmers. In the 1st 15 minutes of the swim that meant about 3 people. Unfortunately at 20 minutes I was swimming beside someone and they kicked my Garmin 910XT which was on my wrist with the quick-release mount. As soon as they did I knew it’d happened, the 910 was gone. The water deep and mirky like chocolate milk, there was no way I’d find it and no point in trying to. *sigh*! Unfortunately, my swim pacing was being driven by a repeating 15 minute alert on the 910 so, I swam on, holding the best pace and line that I could.
My swim felt good, my line was nearly buoy to buoy without a lot of wasted swim distance/time. Exiting the water there was a chute of wetsuit strippers. I never use strippers as I can usually strip the top of my suit before I’m close to my bike and the bottom in a few seconds once I’m there. These strippers were, um.. aggressive? Trying to run the chute I was mauled by several helpful volunteers who didn’t understand that I really didn’t want their services. No matter, suit off, and then to get ready for the bike.
Knowing how the Arizona sun would bake me and drive up my core temperature, I gave myself only 1 choice for a top for the race. Frequently I got with a tri-top, but I knew from my Yuma experiences that I wouldn’t have enough shelter from the sun or enough cooling from a tri-top. I’d only brought my Craft cool shirt to wear, so that I couldn’t at the last minute change my plan. Unfortunately, putting on the craft shirt when wet is.. challenging. In hindsight, I wonder if I could wear it under my wetsuit. I’ll have to experiment with that. Fortunately, I’d planned to use my Sportiiiis for bike and run output monitoring. Even though my Garmin was with the fish, I didn’t have to ride or run by feel alone.
The bike course was supposed to be a long out-and-back route into the desert, but in the last few days before the race it was changed to 4 loops of a roughly 26km route that had no fewer than 4 tight 180degree turns and countless sharp 90 degree corners. At one point this course would have Leadman, Olympic and Sprint distance cyclists on it. I was very concerned about congestion before the race, but other than 1 close-call I had no issues. One plus of the revised course was that we got 2 aide stations per loop (8 in total), which was super-good as I needed all the water I could grab to drink and wear. I was happy with my ride. With the Sportiiiis I was keeping my power in the 200w average and keeping my heart-rate in upper z3, low z4. Post ride I found that my average speed had been about 32km/h which given all the sharp corners, hairpin turns and congestion I’m very happy with. As I was finishing the ride I dumped 2L of water over my arms, legs and core. I could feel this drop my body temp and refresh me for the run.
Off the bike onto the run I felt good. In fact, other than having to stop to pee, and stopping for water and ice at every aide station on the run, I ran most of the 13k non-stop at a 5:00-5:10/km pace. A good chunk of the 13k was technical trail with some pretty solid hills. Yea I briskly walked those to save my legs, it was a good approach as I finished the run solid and feeling good. I still need to work my run speed as it’s my weakest discipline, but Ian and I are definitely making progress here.
I’d estimated that I’d finish between 5 and 6 hours, my finish time: 5:33:17! Pretty much right in the middle. Comparing myself to the podium finishers in my age-group: my swim close, my ride 15-20 minutes off and my run 20-30 minutes off. I’m very happy with my performance and feel that Ian and I are on the right track for pushing the run, especially the run off the bike, faster. Thanks Coach!
In terms of nutrition/hydration strategy for the race, I went with what I know works for me:
- pre-race EFS sport drink and some EFS liquid shot to top off fuel before the swim,
- a BiestBooster 1 loop into the bike course to boost energy levels for the 2nd half of the race,
- EFS liquid shot on the bike (had 1200 calories of this with me but only got through about 400)
- PickyBars (had 2, but dropped 1/2 of one hitting a bump ) and some dried fruit on the bike
- a HoneyStinger waffle when I was in and leaving T2
- some fruit on the run
At every aide station I brought on water. I’d drink some, and wear a lot. On the run, I’d refill my fuel belt (2 bottles) and dump ice down the ice pocket of the craft shirt. The water in the fuel belt was primarily used for cooling. It was like magic, if my tempo was falling, I’d hit myself with cold water and it’d come right back up. Good to know!
All in all, I’m very happy with the day. I proved some approaches I’d planned. Felt well fuelled but not over-fed and managed my hydration and temperature well.
Big Thanks To
My hosts: Elyse, Devin and Cindy.
My coach: Ian McLean @ Imfit.ca
My sponsors: FirstEndurance, Blacksmith Cycle, 4iiii, and Nineteen Wetsuits
And an especially big thank you to my wonderful wife, Kim, who cheered me on from home and held the fort while I played in the sun for the last 12 days. Staying on top of our place is a big job when there are 2 of us working at it, solo is a daunting task. Thanks baby! You Rock!!
Posted on Feb 22, 2013 under fitness, training |
It’s a generally heald belief that long-slow-distance running, does 1 thing very well: it makes you slow. In fact, the extension is generally true, that the more LSD running you do, the slower you get, unless you’re specifically doing complementatry speed work to keep the tempo up. The same is true of swimming: just logging long distances in the pool with no thoughts to tempo, technique, pace, etc. will make you slower and slower over time.
You’ll read again and again how the best use of time in the pool is focused workouts: some tempo, some drills, some long, etc. I’ve adopted this recently. Mondays are kick days (because my kick sucks and needs specific focus). Tuesdays and Thursdays are easy/recovery/technique-focus days, where I’ll do a solid hour but focusing on streamlining, catch and pull body and arm position, kick connection, paddle work, etc. Fridays are tempo days where I try to spend a lot of the workout near critical speed and really get my heart rate cranked. Finally, Wednesdays are my long-swim days, but even these days are not just mindless kilometer after kilometer: I breakup the workout into segments and each of these segments will have a sub-focus of tempo, technique, drills, kick, etc. The great news is that it’s working for me.
This morning, while I was in the pool, I was pondering this and how it relates to Open Water swimming. I realized that when it’s cold out and I’m in the pool, I’m very focused on tempo, and pace. I’m measuring my splits and pushing for improvement. In the past; however, when I got outside, I’d just swim for time or for distance, but I’d only measure it in the totality of the workout. Its not surprising then, that my swim pace suffered when I got outside. All the months of hard work in the pool destroyed by the lack of marked distances outside and the lack of my new-found understanding.
Obviously, with current technology (specifically the Garmin 910xt which I own and open water swim with), there is no excuse to lose my pool swim mentality when I get into open water. The GPS will track distances for me and I can set alarms to go off every 400m (or whatever) and track my pace and effort to keep up the intensity and not lose all that I’m gaining.
Hurray for those moments of clarity!
Now if only May would get here so I can put this to practice
Posted on Jan 01, 2013 under Factoids, Geek Out!, training |
Here are some of my training stats from 2012.
- Around The Bay (30k)
- 2 Marathons (Toronto Waterfront and Scotiabank)
- 1 Ultra (The North Face Endurance Challenge San Fran)
- 2 70.3′s (Panama and New Orleans)
- 1 Full Iron (Mont Tremblant)
- Shin-splints for IM70.3 Panama – yea this one really sucked
- Shoulder strain from poor swim form – form fixed, shoulder too
- Adductor Magnus strain from 50k mud run in San Fran – repairing
All in all a pretty amazing year. On tap for 2013?
- Chilly 1/2 Marathon (C-Race)
- Around The Bay (B-Race)
- Toronto Waterfront and Scotiabank Marathons (C-Race)
- Leadman Epic 125 in Tempe, AZ (A-Race)
- Ironman Mont Tremblant (A-Race)
- probably 1 or 2 sprint/oly distance Tri’s for shits’n'giggles (C-Race)
My training focus for 2013 divides the year into quarters, generally in the format of “speed, then endurance, then an A-Race event”. Need to push to get faster in 2013. I know I can do the distances, now to just do them faster. Looking forward to some BIG brick workouts leading up to the A-Races in 2013!
Happy New Year Everyone!