Wrapped things up in Bermuda- Ocean swimming in January- too good.
Quote of the camp goes to Dave- “My wife has littered this island with turds”—Fantastic use of the English language I would say.
Getting back into shape can be fun or frustrating depending on your perspective. I’ve been using the last three weeks to literally get my body used to moving every day. I commit to one session and on the odd day I’m sneaking in another one. I’m doing my best to be smart but on occassion the competitive juices start to flow again and I find myself going a tad harder than is probably wise.
I’ve decided to use the fall running scene as motivation and good energy to get fit running. There are tons of groups going this time of year and a host of events to run in. The other two sports I am doing more sporadically or when a training mate is available. The good thing is that during this time of year most triathletes are either on down time or in their off time so everyone has lost a bit of shape…..except of course those competing at Hawaii, Xterra or 70.3 worlds.
Swimming I’m letting happen more “organically” although a friend called me out on that and said “so does that mean your just going to walk around and wait until you fall into the pool”? Our long course group has started up again Tuesday and Thursday so I’ve now managed about 4000m in the last three days. I feel surprisingly engaged for 50m. Beyond that I can feel my fitness.
Running has some more structure. I’ve spent the last 10 days connecting with Jon Brown and his group who are preparing for the fall road races and cross events. It’s a mixture of triathletes and runners, all very good. I’ve done a couple workouts with them and respectfully got my ass kicked but it’s a fun way to get in shape. You really have to swallow your pride and just accept where you are at which is a good lesson in something. The first session I did with them last Saturday was 3*10 minutes around a 2km loop. By the second rep I was so far back I was nearly on the front again.
So now time to settle into the rythm…..workout, rest, absorb, workout, rest, absorb………..plan is to run vegas half marathon december 5th. Slowly I will add more structure to the framework but for now it’s kind of like play……
Ten years ago I had the great privilege of running with one of Canada’s top University running squads. I was pretty green back then and figured the best course of action was to jump full in with a bunch of runners for the year. I happened to land at a University and coach that has gone on to create a dynasty in Canadian varsity running. I lost count on the number of OUA and CI titles they’ve accumulated about 4 years ago but they recently one the OUA title again this year setting a record for the lowest point tally in history.
The man behind the Gryphons is Dave Scott Thomas, a young, enthusiastic run coach who believes in simple programming and hard work. I remember workouts being pretty basic, nothing fancy but extremely productive. I used to think it was simply the group of guys we had in the 1999-2000 season but after we all graduated the winning continued. Many of the runners that graduated from the program have stayed on in Guelph and are still coached by Dave including Reid Coolsaet who is one of Canada’s top 5 and 10,000 meter runners.
The time I spent with the Gryphons was relatively short all things considered but it has had a major lasting impression on me and my career. My part on the team was relatively insignificant. I was an alternate in the 99/00 season and was a mid to back of the packer in the races. At the time we didn’t really have any superstars on the team although Steve Bendo was pretty dam fast and Reid was winning the big ones by the end but we didn’t have a guy who was truly dominating everyone at CI’s. What the team did have however was incredible depth and matched abilities. The top 5 guys were always finishing neck and neck which made the team scores very low and consistent. I think it was the 00/01 season where the Gryphons won OU’s by the tightest margin in history and it came down to the score of the 5th man who I believe was Kyle “Dezzy” Desmourauex who finished literally one spot higher in a sprint finish than the Waterloo counterpart and that secured the title.
I feel incredibly lucky to have run even for one season with this group of guys and under DST. It taught me that sport has magical moments outside of the larger limelight of big pro sports. These events take place in relative obscurity in the giant world of sport yet they produce some moments that are so intense and so awesome you would need a better writer than I to get the point across with true justice. So in the mean time I hope you enjoy some of the photos that were recently dug up from that 99/00 team. They’re a bit grainy but hey man it was 10 years ago, they didn’t even have wireless back then.
Brett Favre is awesome!
The energy is really building now. The pier is one of the most famous venues of this race, it’s the swim start and home of transition. Every morning from about 6:30 onward it’s a mass of shaved, lean bodies jumping in and doing their swim workouts. It’s also a who’s who of the sport from the young stars to the old legends. Ironman is unique. There aren’t too many sports where the best in the world hang out and do their sessions where everyone else does. The other day at the pool Craig Alexander last year’s mens champion was swimming during open lane swim with two other random folks. You could fashion it to seeing Federer warming up at some public courts in town. It’s rare in the sports world.
Quick swim with a short set with Mike then onto the bike for a 90 minute ride and another prep set. Swimming is feeling really good and riding is as well. Home by noon, some food and a good nap then Finn time on the soccer pitch and in the pool. Short run this afternoon with some strides and now a couple hours of “the office”, best show on TV. Bought first season of Friday night lights that we might get stuck into as well.
FOR SALE: Tubular Tire- $29.95 plus shipping and handling
Used for about 100km of riding
One small hole
This tire retails for $130 and is a must have for anyone who likes to ride their bike. Don’t let imitation tires fool you. This is the real thing. It can hold up to 200psi.
This picture is not from Hawaii, it’s a random one i found on my computer. This is how tough I look when I’m feeling loving and cuddly.
Yesterday I had my first flat tire on tubulars. In 14 years I guess that is not bad and better to get it out of the way. It also gave me my first real opportunity to change a tubular. I’ve had this old spare from a track bike that is super thin and light and very pre-stretched.
Step 1- Rip the old tire off- no problem there- done in about 30 seconds
Step 2- Fit spare tire onto the rim sans glue and remember not to corner with any great ferocity
Step 3- Pump up the tire
Oh, missed a step, need to put valve extender onto new tube. One problem, I don’t have an extra one and I can’t for the life of me get the one off the flat tire, it’s like someone put it on there with a vice grip.
Mike goes ahead to get into his set which is the wisest thing to do, nothing worse than being the guy with a flat holding up the other guys, i really hate that. So, i struggle for about 5-10 minutes trying to get the bloody valve extender off and no luck. Some eager passerbyers stop to help when i ask if any of them have uber strong fingers. There were even a couple Germans who stopped who were rather large and ripply but they couldn’t do it either.
Just about to hitch a ride back into town and enter Justin and Belinda Granger. Justin has the idea of the day- use a couple lava rocks to get leverage on the valve extender……voila it worked and i promised him i would mention him in my blog if it did so hats off to you mister granger.
Mission accomplished, fresh tire on and back into the set 20 minutes later, no major loss. Moral of the story, spare tires are no good without valve extenders. And when in a pinch lava rocks can solve most problems- there’s energy in those rocks! It was an expensive ride though. Take the two new tires I put on before this trip at $130 each and this one at $130 US plus $50 in labor and that’s darn near $500 in tires in less than a week. So, if the folks at Continental or Vittoria want to sponsor me next year I would be most appreciative.
This morning we swam the course and I felt like ass. Sometimes just not connected from the waste down but seemed to get going in the back half. 75 minute run this afternoon in the heat. Felt surprisingly good and HR was still in control at the end. Acclimation seems to happen more quickly than it did 8 years ago. The heat feels more friendly than it used to. A few more days and it should be no issue. Spent 90 minutes in the pool with Finn after blowing bubbles and jumping in off the side. Kids are the bees knees.
Rich and Heather are here with their two kids which is just dandy. Rich’s 6 year old daughter just finished a two year bought with Lukemia so every time we see her it is a treat. Tough kid and makes you really think about how lucky we are when they are healthy. I can’t imagine watching your kid go through that at any age. All the NFL players are wearing pink on account of Breast Cancer month which looks really cool…..pink shoes, pink gloves, pink hats…..fun to see a whole league get into it that much.
One more day in Victoria and we got lucky this time around. Every key workout in the last two weeks was in the sun. Yesterday it turned into fall in a hurry and today we had some good cold rain. Thursday off to the big island and I can’t wait. In the past i’ve been a bit reserved in excitement about Hawaii. Mostly because I knew I was likely going to receive a thumping and that ain’t no fun. This year, i’m heading in with a better perspective I think. I simply want to go there and see what my best effort can produce. I think we can often tell ourselves we are not outcome oriented but underneath the bullshit we still want a certain outcome. I think this is human nature. This year I feel more at peace with the whole thing, more like a rookie. I have no real expectation because I have no real result there, so far all attempts have lacked any fireworks. A solid day with no major detonations and a chance to see what my best effort produces and I’ll give myself a high 5.
The last two weeks I’ve been on the MNTP philosophy. It’s a method of training developed by a team of coaches years ago. Like most philosophies it’s not rocket science and with only two real weeks to hit some key workouts I figured my body would do well with a small variation in stimulus. So far so good.
Surprisingly I find myself quite motivated after Ironman Canada. But what do you do with only 6 weeks between ironman events. In my estimation not much. It’s a tricky time frame, barely enough time to recover, not really enough time to settle back into training. In my estimation, i think it is a perfect amount of time…..5 weeks too little, 7 weeks too much. I think it’s possible to pull off two good Ironman races in this time.
2 weeks completely off
2.5 weeks of regular training with key workouts only on the bike and run and increased swim volume as well as 1 week heat acclimation before heading
10 days to acclimate, couple more key sessions, keep swim volume and intensity up.
The only question remaining is how to manage the two weeks between Hawaii and Xterra.
Hit the wall today but three good days will do that. Still feeling a bit out of whack from the back but it’s coming around. I always find the first hard run back after an injury time out a bit uncoordinated. Saw Dr. Guan yesterday for some adjusting and that seems to have put me back in alignment. He worked on my right ankle for 35 minutes, guys awesome.
Threshold+ swim- 2500m of work
Threshold+ Run- 20 minutes of work
Bike- Easy spin
Belted it with Mike for 3 hours
Dean Park- ?
Observatory to finish- 5:38—i think the fastest i’ve ever gone up there.
Swim- Easy recovery
Threshold swim and belted–felt like having a sleep
Run- 45 mintues with Finn