Posted on May 13, 2013 under Chuckles |
I was visiting my folks yesterday for Mother’s Day. I love my folks and don’t see them near enough.
Anyhow. Soon after I got there, they asked me if I had seen my picture from the Toronto Marathon in the National Post.
Well, no I hadn’t, but here it is. That’s me at the bottom, in the forefront. Too bad it was a not great day for me otherwise but fun to make the national press
Posted on May 07, 2013 under nutrition |
The Healthiest Sweetener | NutritionFacts.org.
I wish coconut sugar was in this list. I’d guess it to be somewhere in the middle of the pack. Wasn’t really surprised by #1 or #2.
Which brings me to a thought I had the other day. Everyone knows of the much-demonized High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It’s this nasty sweetener found in all kinds of poor nutrition choice foods. It’s 56% fructose, 44% sucrose.
Well.. Agave nector is at least 80% fructose. Making it an even HIGHER HFCS (Higher Fructose Cactus Syrup).
Posted on May 05, 2013 under etc... |
Well today I’d hoped to do a 3:45 marathon, with a stretch goal of a 3:40. I was 1:50 at 21k so definitely in line for my goals. Unfortunately, somewhere around 25k I stepped into a pothole and rolled my ankle.
It didn’t seem damaged so I ran on, but by 30k my entire right side was seizing-up: ITB was super tight, glute-med, ankle (of course) and my pace was terrible. It took a lot of effort to just run a 6:00/km, forget the 5:15′s and faster I had been running.
I pulled the plug. There was no point in finishing for the sake of finishing and the risk of doing collateral damage to myself was too high. The 2 km walk back to the finish line and the subsequent 4k walk home seemed to take an eternity.
Definitely feeling defeated and deflated but I’ll have a shower, ice my sore spots for a while, maybe have a nap, and hop back on the horse tomorrow.
I know every day can’t be a good day, but BLAH!
Posted on Apr 28, 2013 under Raves |
2 Excellence in Customer Service awards today. One for Finis and one for Newton Running.
In the last week I’ve had truly outstanding experiences with both of these companies and wanted to relate them to you here.
In no particular order:
Newton Running: When I was in Arizona I grabbed a new set of Newton Distance runners. I previously had a set of 11′s and thought they may be a little small, so when I was in Tempe, I tried some 11′s and 11.5′s and thought I had a better fit with the 11.5′s. After getting back to Toronto (with no box and no receipt) and putting a couple of hours into the 11.5′s I found that, in fact, they were too big. I pinged Newton customer service to see if there was anything that could be done and to my amazement, after some pretty minor back and forth (proof of purchase in terms of a credit card statement, pictures of the shoes, etc.) I was given an RMA# to send the shoes back and have a pair of size 11′s shipped to me!
Finis Inc.: I absolutely LOVE my swimp3. It allows me to swim my 6+ hours weekly and have music or podcasts or audio books droning in my head rather than just the sound of water (which is ok sometimes but I really do like having some tunes in the background). I baby my Swimp3: I store it in a hard case in my swim bag, never pull it by the wires, etc. Essentially I want to make the device last as long as possible (they aren’t cheap). Well my latest swimp3 started acting wonky last week: it probably had over 300 hours in the water on it and so I could hardly feel ripped off if it’d just died a timely death, but again, I pinged customer support to see what, if anything, could be done. Other than showing proof of purchase there were no formalities with Finis. A RMA# was issued and soon a replacement will arrive!
Companies around the world should look at these 2 examples of how it should be done. So often we’re quick to slam companies for poor service and silent about great service. I wanted to give some praise because it’s due. Well done Finis and Newton. Well done!
Posted on Apr 27, 2013 under Geek Out! |
Saw this today Instabeat and while I was initially curious, I think they’ve missed some vital opportunities to make a valuable tool.
I like the concept of Instabeat: heads-up-display for swimmer’s heart rate plus tracking and logging for other swim metrics; however, I think they could have done so much more.
Rather than just coloured LEDs for HR target, they could have used a multi-line LED display and shown similar data to what you’d find in a garmin swim or finis swimsense. I’d have liked to see them use a multi-line HUD to show distance, time, laps, lap-splits, hr, and hr zone. They could have even built in a metronome like the Finis Tempo Trainer and had a pretty amazing product. Granted with the on-goggles mount they’d never be able to show stroke count or SWOLF scores, but that’d be ok if they had everything else.
I wish Instabeat luck but won’t be funding them. I stick with my swimsense or garmin swim and finis aquapulse until something better comes along.
Posted on Apr 20, 2013 under etc... |
Hey Folks! Slightly off-topic and I promise not to bore you with many of these, but..
In early June I’ll be riding again in the Heart and Stroke foundation’s Ride for Heart. It’s a fund raising event that annually raises over $1m for heart disease research and education. Last year I set my fundraising goal at $5k and together with your help surpassed it! This year I doubled that goal to $10k but haven’t even crossed the 25% mark yet.
Please anything you can afford is welcome: it all helps get closer to the goal. Of course, it’s also tax deductible and you will receive a tax receipt for your donation.
Here’s the donation link. Please be generous and think about this when giving: 1 in 4 will suffer a heart-disease related malady in their lives. 1 in 4 means you, or someone in your immediate family or closest friends. The statistics are too high to ignore, but together we can make a difference!
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 Mar 29, 2013 under etc... |
1st the race is relocated from Nevada with its’ challenging bike course to Tempe, AZ with a promised flat and fast out and back bike route in the desert…
But no. It’s no so…
We’re 15 days from the event, and yet another disappointment about this race:
To Our Leadman Tri Marquee Athletes and Supporters | Life Time Fitness – Leadman Tri.
4 LOOPS?! Come on! Really?! If I wanted to race a crit I’d have signed up for it.
If I weren’t so financially committed to the event (air, accommodations, entry, etc), at this point, I’d just walk away.
After the Nevada version of this race in 2012 it was listed as a race to not miss in 2013. The on-site organization, festivities, post-race nutrition and pretty much everything else about this race had best make up for the crap-show so far.
Yes, I’m pretty unhappy.
Posted on Mar 26, 2013 under Chuckles, Curiosities |
Ok…. yes it’s exciting that there’s a potentially new carbon fiber material out there that’s stronger and lighter and sustainable, but their 1st product:
The first product, called FXR (Front Xtended Range), is designed to be mounted in between aero bars and carry a Speedfil A2 bottle.
Weighs in at:
just 20 grams compared to competing systems weighing 25 grams
Karbon Speed launches all-new Flax Carbon Hydration Product Line for 2013 » Endurance Sportswire.
Now come on… 5 grams? I really did laugh out loud.
Extending this small piece into the full size of a bike frame and I start getting a little excited. Say there’s 100x the quantity of carbon fiber in a frame than this little prototype. That’d be a savings of 500g – that’s pretty serious.