Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I Want To Do On My Summer Vacation

 Remember when you were a kid heading into spring? For some of us, myself included, elementary school was a LONG time ago. I remember around spring my mind would wander towards thoughts of summer - maybe it was the change in season, maybe it was because I'd been in school for too long and was getting fidgety. I just remember thinking I can't wait to just wake up to warm sunshine and go!
This year I vow to put some fun back into my fitness and racing. Doing 4 Ironman in the last 2 years proved to be a mistake. I ended up exhausted, burnt out and 4 unsatisfying results. At the end of last year I decided to take significant time off and let my body reset. I did largely nothing for 6 weeks post Ironman Florida which then transitioned to Christmas and New Years so an additional 2 weeks of rest were added. I did not worry about gaining a few pounds and that worked out to a 14lb gain in weight - as it turns out the extra "insulation" has come in handy for this year's winter deep freeze!
As I entered 2015 I had thoughts of doing the Around the Bay 30K run which takes place at the end of March. As I got back into training I, very innocently, put my low back into spasm. I was lifting an empty box out of my truck - pretty heavy stuff. This, combined with a cold run that put my back further into spasm, and I found myself with limited training in January. Add to that the unseasonably cold temperatures we have had and the Bay race was out. On some level I was relieved - I've done the Bay many times and I find it doesn't excite me anymore. I may learn to like it again but, for now, I'm just not into it.
Early into February my back issues eased up which was good timing as my prep for Ironman Mont Tremblant officially began February 15th (6 months out). I used the first two weeks of Feb to ease the body back into training. These past 2 weeks have been structured and so far the plan has been working nicely. I have been more swim and bike focused than years past - mostly as a result of doing more treadmill running than before. I am slower than usual but that's okay. I'm beginning to feel signs of gaining strength while losing a few pounds in the process. The speed will come eventually but I don't feel like I need to force it.
All of this leads up to my summer plans. At the top of the page is some guy on a SUP. One of my resolutions this year was to be more adventurous and try new things. I wanted to take up surfing (I have done it previously and loved it). The problem though is that the best waves tend to be in the Fall and Winter - a significant challenge for someone who hates the cold. I've decided to get into stand up paddling instead. It's logistically easier - conditions don't have to be perfect, Lake Ontario/Erie is close and I also have the lake at Binbrook conservation area just up the road. It's also a great core workout while enjoying nature - awesome! The only problem is Sara may want to clobber me for thinking about yet another "toy" to play with. Personally I think she would love it!

 My options on my summer season of adventure may include some of the following events: first up - the Sulphur Springs Trail Run. I've done a 20k relay leg over a 100 mile race there in the past and loved it. They have a open 25k run on its own (I believe) and it's at the end of May which works nicely for my work schedule which is a little busy in June - I have 4 day meetings June 1-5 and 27-30.

 I'd also like to get a half Ironman done in June. I've decided my options are Syracuse 70.3, Tupper Lake Tinman or the Welland Half Ironman. All 3 are scheduled late June to the end of June. In the case of the Tupper Lake race, my meeting at the end of June is in Ottawa so it would fit nicely - I could do the race, drive the 2.5 hours to Ottawa from there and be settled before the meeting start on the 28th. Plus I could use the meeting as recovery from the race (meetings are tough to fit in training).

 Back to trail running. There is a North Face Trail Series Run at Blue Mountain mid-July. It's great because they have tons of distances from 10k to a 50 miler. My thinking is to do a long hilly training run on trails with no time or pace goals - long slow distance would be the focus. It would also be a cool scenic environment as well. One day I'd like to try an ultra. I'm thinking in the next couple of years to take on a 50k trail run then maybe (or maybe not depending on how the 50k would go) taking on a 50 miler. We will see...

 Finally it will be on to Tremblant for Ironman. This will mark my 11th Ironman race and I'm happy to do it somewhere new. I've been to Tremblant before - it's beautiful and only 7 hours drive away. Plus being in Canada we will avoid the US exchange issue. Big Rob is doing the race plus a couple of new tri-friends for Burlington so it should be fun.

 Finally after a couple of months of chillaxing post Ironman maybe Sara and I will do the Run for the Toad 25k again. We did this a few years ago. We did the whole race together, did not worry about pace and had a blast. They also have cool gifts and the BEST post race meal - catered and delicious!
I'm hoping to get this all in  - some may be substituted for other races given the changes that my work schedule seems to provide but the goal remains the same - be adventurous, have fun and then grab a beer!

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Am Not A Sub-Zero Hero!

 I am struggling this winter! Don't believe me - come check out my scale. As for exercise? I have officially started my 2015 IM Mont Tremblant program. First week complete and I came out pretty well. I originally thought about bailing on the race but knowing that I wasted all that money would eat away at me - I paid for it so I might as well race it!

 With the challenging winter conditions and just getting over some back issues I have decided not to race Around the Bay this year. I cannot see a way of getting the necessary training in without injury and still get through the 30k unscathed. I figure the buildup I plan to follow at this point will be the smart move in the end.


 Logan is quite skilled when it comes to computers. He thought it funny to superimpose my creepy moustache look onto a race care in one of his games. The head of the driver (with my creepy face) bobbles all over the place as he drives. Logan found this quick funny while I remain disturbed.

 I've also been traveling quite a bit for work of late. Sara tagged along on one trip and we stayed in Blue Mountain Village. It was nice.

 Sara introduced me to the spa world at the Scandinave Spa. I enjoyed it and even went into the 54F cold pool, albeit for 30 seconds. We went through a sequence of hot and cold modalities such as hot whirlpools, various cold pools, a eucalyptus steam room and a sauna. A lot of the time we were outdoors as well. I admit I did feel pretty relaxed after.

 From there we went to Firehall Pizza in the village and had a big chowdown. It was good. I was surprisingly hungry from the spa or just my usual self - I cannot tell the difference.

 After Collingwood I flew to Ottawa. I took customers out to the Senators vs Stars game. Here's a pic from my seat - great view!

 Then it was back home to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my folks Bob and Bev!! Look at these crazy kids - still running around, busier than ever. Pretty cool!

 I've never been a winter fan but there really is beauty in it. After one storm everything had a frozen glaze. The trees, bushes, etc looked amazing.

 Love this shot for some reason. Logan takes swim lessons at my alma mater McMaster University. I took this pic before the kids got in the water. Seeing the pool that calm makes me want to go cannonball in it!

 Now that's a look! And only a couple more layers to go....

 Oh boy. Sara and I got invited to an 80s party and Logan wanted to try on some of my costume.

 Here we are the finished product. Sara opted for the Madonna look while I went with the 80's style pimp look. The party was a blast and everyone got into it. It was really cool listening to all the old tunes and laughing about life in that decade.

 Another work stop - this time Sudbury and, of course, a beverage to end the day.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flashback Friday and Big Events!

 Yes! Yes! Yes!! TGIF! I am way into Friday this week - an end to work stress is just what I need. This morning I dropped off my oldest son Jesse at the airport - he's goin' on an adventure. He's working at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel where he will work and play with many people in their early 20s from around the world - I'm sure it will be boring!
Also, it is my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary today! These crazy kids accidentally found the mainland from Cape Breton Island many years ago, couldn't find their way back and settled in the Hammer. I came along in their early 20s and my sister 5 years later. Now retired but no less busy they have set down the blueprint on how to get along for a long time (Dad listens to the Boss aka Mom, enough said!). We are heading out for a big meal tonight to celebrate.
 Flashback Friday should start with a pic of the handsome devil that is moi! Obviously this was during milder times.

 Then there's this! My company had a Movember drive and it was suggested (I believe mandated) that I participate. It was, without a doubt, the creepiest, uncomfortable and creepiest 30 days of my life. I vowed never to do it again but I will gladly donate to the cause.

 Ah yes the days when I was in shape. This is IM Lake Placid 2011. My 11:09 time there was a perfect day for me including a 3:53 marathon. Everything came together - I was at my lightest, strongest, and most positive. I've had very rough races since and hope to one day recapture this.

 Sulphur Springs 100 mile relay - had a blast. Posted a great time on very hilly course. I vow to do more adventure-type events in the future.

 Love me beer! This was in Brooks, Alberta near Dinosaur Provincial Park. Logan had a blast there doing the paleo thang.

 More beer but this time a beer in a margharita - in Kona Hawaii at Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant on Alii Drive. Heaven!

 This has been me of late - most of it due to back troubles.  I pleased to be getting back into a groove - now if the weather will cooperate a little.

 Our yard looks like this at the moment.

 I prefer to refer to farts as afterburners.

 Sara and I many years ago (probably 10) at our first Finish Line TriClub Training Weekend in Muskoka. We don't belong to the club anymore but we did enjoy our time there. Holy crap we look so much younger then (and leaner sadly)!

 Miss this! Webers on Hwy 11 on the way to Muskoka. Usually if we're stopping here the weather is good and tri season is upon us. C'mon Spring!

 Good times with great friends. Miss you Don!

 Dork on a dock!

 Beast in hibernation - if by hibernation I mean 3 empty beer cans resting on the arms of the chair. Beast is on the comeback trail after severing his quad tendon. An operation, too many weeks in a cast cannot keep the man down though. He's making terrific progress and I know he'll be back soon with a growl!
 Beer with a blond! Coachie Coach, aka Sara - my support crew chief. Allows me to do these crazy races, does crazy races herself and keeps me grounded.

 Logan - my little computer genius. Will likely give me grief for posting this picture without his permission.

 One of my race photos from IM Lake Placid 2013. It's of me and my friend Mark Trafford after I told him his wife Diane had crashed out of the race. At her insistence Mark finished the race in a worried state, Diane (one tough cookie) has since recovered and will fight another day. Their son Tyler had a great race with a 11:23 - as an IM rookie!

 Good times - we love camping. This is our site near Lake Placid in Wilmington. Check out the view in the background.

 Dork in a bear hat!

 Pretty much sums up my race in Placid.

 IM Florida 2013 - Mister Casual. Despite not being in great form I did 11:39 there. Nice warm sunny day - not like 2014!

 Ahhh - finished!

 Peter had a great race going sub 11:00, around 10:57 to be exact. Great result for the rookie!

 Big Rob also rocked the race with a 10:58 - outstanding effort!

 Beauty sunset with my handsome Dude.

 Sara and I in Mexico - I lucked out with this chick!

 No flashback or memory here - I just think this is the funniest picture I have ever seen. Makes me laugh every time!

 Here I am in St. John's NFLD at the Terry Fox Memorial - where he started his Marathon of Hope. With work travel I have been to many places including the Terry Fox memorials in Newfoundland, Ottawa and Thunder Bay (where his run sadly ended).

 IM Lake Placid 2014....

 Enough said. 2014 was the year of triathlon bad weather for me. Torrential rains and dangerous lightning in Placid, 40-60km winds and single digit weather in Florida - good times.

 My support crew - Gran and Sara writing the book on smart spectating!

 Aero-Gramps. Like a Boss!

 Ahh beer I've missed you so much.

 More camping in upstate New York.



 Logan and I post IM Florida 2014. He was a trooper braving the wind and the cold to make sure I came in safe. He worries and has a huge heart.

 One of my heroes Lew Hollander at IM Florida 2014. He qualified for Kona for the 24th time and will toe the line in the first ever 85-89 age group. That is freakin incredible!!!

 Post IM Florida with Doug and Linda - great people!

 Sara all bundled up for her marathon. On a hilly trail run with less than favourable weather, Sara came through big time tom complete her first 26.2. I'm so proud!

 Lost my glasses in Los Angeles. I went to a dollar store and found these. I thought - perfect specs for a Dork! Is that Clark Kent, no, that's SUPER DORK!!
Keep misbehavin'!  Cheers!