Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Routine

Swamp Thing!! Don't be alarmed. It's just me in a pool, getting wet, and doing some swimming. I have been inconsistent with my swimming so far in 2018 but I'm working on it. If I get two swims per week I'm currently calling that a victory. I wish Hamilton had a one or two pools that had lane swims throughout the day. The challenge is making the swim times at lunch as this homey cannot get up early to jump in water.


Cycling on the other hand has been good. I'm spending lots of time in the Lavender Room. We converted our basement bedroom into the "cycling studio" and it's working out nicely. I've started to dress up the walls with medals and posters from my previous Ironmans. It's nice to have the motivation. Combined with a 42 inch plasma for YouTube and Netflix and I'm good to go.

How did this get in here?!! All work and no play as they say. I love me my margaritas - my fave summer beverage. I enjoy cranking up the machine occasionally to make these magic elixirs. It has been said that tequila is a natural detoxifier and is good for your health. I totally agree!


Been seeing a little too much of this lately. Nevermind, it's been like this most of this winter. I was even looking up snowshoes online. The conditions have been tough for footing and it's been slippery. I have used the treadmill more than usual but I'm not a big fan. I prefer running outdoors. I leave for a work trip to Tampa in two weeks so I will get a little break from the white stuff.

Training, overall, is becoming more routine and consistent which is nice. Long distance racing is not complicated. You bear down, do the work, and prepare to execute - it's that simple. "Chop wood, carry water."

Cheers!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

December Was A Busy Month!

Maple Leafsmas! Picked up this badboy at the Raptors game in the souvenir shop. Only $10 to boot - bargoon!

Yep. I have big dreams. 2017 was a bit of a write off in many ways but 2018 holds potential to be much better. 2018 will hopefully mark my 34th year in a row of doing at least one triathlon. I've got Tremblant 70.3 in June but I need to populate the rest of my season so I'm looking forward to that.

Look who's frolicking in the ocean?! It's none other than "Frequent Flyer Sara". Actually she's getting some hydrotherapy in for good reason....

Sara fulfilled a dream to do a marathon in her country of birth, Belize. If you did not know, Sara was born in Blue Creek, Belize. Blue Creek is next to Mexico in the upper NW corner of Belize. She came to Canada when she was 10. The marathon was the End of the World Marathon, named after the Mayan calendar from 2012 that was supposed to mark the end of the world. It didn't but the locals in Placencia decided to host a half/marathon to remember it by. Since I changed companies I was unable to go so my Mom tagged along for the adventure.

The marathon course was winding and flat. It basically follows a long sandbar - it starts near the end of the sandbar and travels to where the sandbar meets the mainland which happens around the 21.1k mark. You turn around and head back to the finish. The race started at 5:30am to beat the heat and the ladies had a huge turnout of 11! Sara's goal was to get under 4 hours. Given the epic travel to get there - flying 4.5 hours to Belize City then another 3.5 hour car ride, Sara was tired but excited. One thing Sara is excellent at is pacing. For this race she paced it perfectly and finished in 3:59, good for 3rd female overall. Sweet! In addition, she (unbeknownst to her) won $400 Belizean which is about $250 Canadian - Booyah!

Sara and my Mom didn't have a ton of time to lay on the beach as they were traveling 5.5 hours by car to visit her sister Annie who still lives in Blue Creek.

Here's my Mom, aka Gran, trying some fresh coconut water. The trip was good for her. Since my Dad's passing she's been keeping busy and these little adventures are something she should do more of moving forward. Gonna get you to the Rockies Gran!

Once in Blue Creek you have to experience a "border crossing". Customs consists of a mobile home, the crossing into Mexico is 0.50 and you cross in an oversized canoe about 50 metres. On the other side is a small Mexican village with a couple of small grocery stores. The stores have all you really need. Blue Creek only has about 500 people but it's beautiful there.

Of course there was beer available, especially Gran's favourite Corona. I definitely have the "love of beer" gene from both my parents. Sara and Gran definitely enjoyed themselves. Not so much when I picked them up and they got to see the snowstorm they landed in. Travel is surreal - go from tropics to snow in 4.5 hours.

We also did our pre-Christmas party. Here's Julia and Sheila doing what they do best - frontloading a few margaritas and martinis and gettin' silly. Love the consistency ladies!

Of course no party would be complete without a little duckface action. 

Coreen and Tara.

Shawna is always comical. Not sure who's about to grab your head though.

A fine looking group. I've said it before and I'll say it again - we are truly blessed to have such great friends. Sara and I know that our backs are always covered with this group. We would always return the favour as well - y'all rock!!

My daughter Emily with her prized shirt. She loves her car and she had a big sticker on the back window with the word SAVAGE on it. Of course we have to bug her about it so whenever my friends see her they yell out "SAVAGE". Sara found this shirt and it seemed fitting - she loved it.

Gran, Em and Logan. Logan is getting so tall. He turned 14 at the end of October and I'm a hobbit next to him now. He enjoyed the company.

Logan and his big sister - haha.

The bike studio, aka the Lavender Room, is coming along. I still have some pictures and plaques to put up but it's a nice space to train in. I do wish it was a little bigger to have the treadmill in as well but that's ok. We love just heading to the basement and getting it done. Picked up the Nordictrack Rower a few weeks ago - Logan likes rowing and it's a nice substitute for swimming I find.

My motto for 2018. Hope 2018 is good to you and yours. 

Cheers

Monday, December 18, 2017

2018 - Lookin' Forward to Seeing Ya!



2017 is closing soon and as I take stock of the past year I'm reminded that life is full of ups and downs. 2017 was definitely a down year filled with injury and loss but that's life. Turning that page and entering the 2018 chapter renews potential - new goals, new season, and another chance to improve. The quote above is/has been my philosophy. I truly enjoy training with those who are faster, stronger, tougher, etc because it makes me better. It is a simple as that. No ego bruising, just satisfaction that it's making me better.

Currently I'm signed up for Mont Tremblant 70.3. Leading up to it I will do a half marathon over the winter. I may do Around the Bay provided the winter is not a gnarly one. I will definitely do a second 70.3 but will make that decision in May or June as I have some family commitments to attend to. It would likely be September or even October though. Sprinkle a couple of sprints in between and that will make up 2018 for me. 


I'm also using this strategy. Not sure if it's the phase of life I'm currently in or if I simply don't want to waste an ounce of energy on anything negative that crosses my path. It is useful because it makes you look at the big picture. You make an evaluation and, if it doesn't mesh with your values and beliefs, you simply move on.


I have some other seasonal goals in mind that I will leave to another day. For now, please stay healthy and have a Merry Christmas!!

Cheers

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why the Fall Rocks

The fall season is great because it allows time to reflect on the season that was but also what lofty goals are in store for 2018. I've been thinking a lot about Ironman of late. I'm not at the point where I would sign up for another one but I've been back and forth on if I would regret not getting the Ironmans done that would get me a Legacy spot in Hawaii. I currently sit at 10 Ironman races and I need 12 to qualify for the Legacy Program. It probably will take 13 or 14 as the program has been hugely successful. 

I am confirmed for Mont Tremblant 70.3. I was registered this year but a lingering back injury prevented me from toeing the line. In addition, my Dad was battling illness and, unfortunately, lost. I reflected on what I would look back on once my day comes and my feeling is this: I'm able to do this now and hope to for many years - it's time to use or lose it. 

 The weather has been spectacular. I've not ridden without sleeves this late into October. I know it won't last but it has eased the disappointment of the summer we had. The fall is always a time where I work on my run. I love getting to the trails and getting back to nature. I up my frequency and try to get 5 runs in per week til the new year when I will be into more regular triathlon training. I'm back on the trainer a couple of times a week when the weather is not good. I may incorporate some shorter races to test my speed here and there should I feel like it too.

Finally this time of year is great for getting together with some awesome people. Sara and I are blessed to have some fantastic friends - in fact, we see many of them as family. We definitely have lots of laughs and we also have each others backs. Equally the people I have met through triathlon have enriched our lives and I've learned so much along the way despite the fact I've been at since 1984!



I see some first time try-a-tri participants next year in this pic!! A couple of ladies came out to see a triathlon for the first time and were totally inspired. I can't wait - I know they will be hooked. 

Cheers to lofty goals and doing epic shit in 2018!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ha-Wow-ii Ironman 2017!


That was some race!! Huge congrats to this Beast and amazing Canadian Lionel Sanders who emptied the tank to take 2nd at this year's Hawaii Ironman. This result is amazing for several reasons:
- Lionel's swim has improved to the point where he is solidly in the second pack
- because of his improved swim he doesn't have to burn as many matches to reach the lead bike train
- he was able to work with the other uberbikers like Wurf and Kienle
- he rolled into T2 in 4:14 - holy crap!
- he rolled the dice on the run and went for it - gotta love that!
- his ability to dig way deeper than most serves him well - just take a look at his face on the coverage over the last 5km and how he looked at the finish is a testament to that



Hats off to Patrick Lange as well. The comparison of running styles between Lange and Sanders is like night and day. Sanders looks like every step is a battle and Lange looks like he floats. Lange's run form is beautiful to watch. Lionel, despite not displaying an equally beautiful stride, still ran a 2:51 marathon. When Lange passed Lionel it looked like Lionel was standing still but this is more of a reflection of just how amazing a runner Lange is.



Watching those amazing performances is so inspiring and makes me want to train and work on my running. The great thing about the fall is the ability to take the time and look after weaknesses and muscle imbalances. I know I have them and I have a proper plan in place to address them. I can give the attention they deserve so that come the new year I will be good to go.



Ain't that the truth! It's funny because it's amazing what we spend on this sport. Not only that, in my household, there are two crazy people who race. To combat that I put money away starting at the end of this season's last race. This gives me plenty of time to save and it's fun to have a nest egg come spring to use when registrations are fast n' furious!

Cheers!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Next Year Starts Now

I love summer. We really didn't have one this year. Second place for me goes to fall. The colours, the mild temperatures and relaxed nature before the heading to Christmas are all great. I've had a 2017 to forget - not every year goes smoothly but I accept it and move on. Injuries, career move, loss of a family member all contributed. I managed to "race" but my fitness was quite low. With all that said I'm excited for the off season and the potential to make 2018 a great year! That's the beauty of triathlon - we can hit that reset button every year.

As I head towards winter I am taking stock of all facets of my life and set goals toward them. With regards to fitness I'm going back to my plan of running more frequently. When I employed this strategy I had the best Tri season of my life and managed a nice PB in Lake Placid (11:09). My marathon in that race was 3:53 - proof that my plan worked. Back then I ran 76 of 100 days from mid December to mid March. Each of those runs lasted at least 30 minutes and the pace for the most part was relaxed. Slowtwitch.com is where I first saw this and it's goal is to build the aerobic system gradually and incorporate tempo/speed after a period of adaptation. Very basic and very sound.
I won't be employing this for the off season. I did the November thing a couple of years ago. I was so creeped out by my own appearance that I vowed I would not do it again. I will, however, donate to the cause!

 This is me in 2011 at Lake Placid. Everything came together that year and the race fell into place. I'm currently at 165lbs and I entered that race at 150lbs. My current tempo pacing reflects the extra weight I'm carrying. I don't deny myself, especially craft beer, but I can clean up my diet as well. Sara and I will meal plan and get more fruit and veggies into the mix. Sara has been telling me I don't drink enough water. I usually count my 3-4 coffees but beyond that I really don't hydrate enough. This camel is going to improve that!

 Jazzercise anyone?!

No fartlek for me just yet but I've got the fart nailed down.

 So true. I know lots of people who are genetically gifted, train hard and excel in triathlon. I also know lots who may not be so genetically gifted but put in the work day in and day out and excel on their own terms. Either way the consistency of chopping wood and carrying water daily over the weeks and months is what brings success. It may not be glamorous but it's a necessary habit. I know I've gotten away from it but the beauty of it is you can restart any time.

Love this quote. I find when I race I use people around me to push me further. I'm not necessarily trying to "beat" them - I'm simply trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. I also like that it implies breaking down lofty goals  into bite-sized pieces. To seek out what I can do today that will get me to the finish. 

I look forward to crossing paths with everyone in the future. Share your goals and dreams - you never know who might be able to help with them. Stay healthy and don't forget this is meant to be fun!

Cheers!



Friday, September 22, 2017

Out With The New, In With The Old

 2017 has been a rollercoaster so far. I went with Wordpress for my blog but there have been nothing but problems trying to do the simplest of things so I'm back to my original Blogger setup. It's much easier to handle and I will end up posting more. I've not been on top of it with Wordpress due to frustration. 

Summer, or a lack of summer, was personally preceded by a back injury that just wouldn't go away. I did everything I could to in terms of rehab but it was a stubborn issue. I did what little training my body would allow but not enough to push any sort of pace, let alone get in some racing. 

Combined with starting a new job in a new specialty meant my focus was on getting up to speed in as little time as possible. The move has been a rewarding one and I'm enjoying working in mental health. It's satisfying knowing you have a direct positive impact on patients lives.

Chasing my shadow. So back to the racing summary. I originally was signed up for Mont Tremblant 70.3 but due to the back issues I did not make the start. All was not lost though as I got to cheer on Sara and many triathlon friends. Mont Tremblant is a beautiful course - I'm signed up for 2018 so I'm looking forward to getting back there and having a go. 

I did manage to race the Niagara Sprint but the lack of fitness was clear. I was gassed going up the escarpment and took a while to recover.  I got passed a lot in the later stages of the run but had nothing in the tank. Even still, it was awesome to be out there giving it a go. I also kept my streak of doing a least one triathlon in each of the last 32 years which is nice.

Finally Sara and I were signed up for Barrelman. As we were ramping up our final build we went to the US on a road trip. Upon returning I learned my Dad was admitted to the ICU for complications due to the lung disease he had, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). IPF is incurable and the prognosis is 2-5 years. My Dad had it about 4 years. It was a cruel irony that he contracted this disease given he played hockey all is life, did several marathons and triathlons but life is sometimes not fair and my family is certainly not unique in having to deal with tragedy. The honeycomb scarring of his lungs became too much and his ability to generate life sustaining oxygen was proving too difficult. He passed away on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend and we were able to be with in the end. Sara was amazing during this difficult time - she also enjoyed spending the mornings with him and providing support as much as possible. I have a wonderful wife.

I did talk her into doing Barrelman and she did an amazing job on a very hot day. She was on the fence about doing it but I'm so glad she did - my Dad would have wanted it that way. No question there were tears during the race and the fatigue over the previous two weeks had definitely caught up but she managed to get it done. I couldn't be more proud of her.

On a lighter note, my Dad or Gramps as he was mostly known, had a thing for wondering around in his underwear. Not sure why - he just did. Due to his love of the Red Wings we got him some boxers to spice things up. I've seen him paint, water the gardens, take out recycling, etc in his underwear. Again, not sure why but he'd always say he didn't want to get his shorts dirty. He was one of a kind. My passion for hockey and endurance sports are directly a result of this amazing role model.

So where to now. I have some ideas in mind but first I need to strengthen the system. Now that I'm in my 50s the gym will be regular stop during my training weeks to come. I'm also going to get some much needed stroke correcting. Finally I will do a slow steady build to the new year then seek out faster athletes to train with the goal of getting my ass handed to me on a weekly basis. My ego is just fine with that.

I also want to spend some quality time with my best friend. If the winter is anything like this year's then an escape southbound will be in order. Finally, congrats to everyone on the racing scene this year. There were numerous outstanding performances that were truly inspiring. I hope to be out there gettin' after it next year! 

Stay Healthy Friends - Cheers!