Monday, November 10, 2008

The Right Stuff

The biggest problem I have with living in Calgary is the cold weather. Don't get me wrong, I love to snowboard, and I love the crisp, clean edge the air gets. But my training has always suffered in the winter. It's just too easy to have an excuse. My excuses lately have mostly been "It's too cold, I don't have the right gear" and "It's dark out already"
But, I did manage to get out yesterday-- a nice, sunny day. But I'm finding the air so dry, it's aggravating my asthma, so I have to be even more careful about taking my medication.
As for gear, I think I'll be taking water more often, even on short runs. This month's Runners' World featured an article about running in cold weather, and suggested breathing through the nose is more important so you don't dry out as quickly. My nose is constantly plugged, so a bandana over the mouth might be the way to go...
I'm also thinking about getting another pair of tights that are more suited to cold weather. I'm looking at CW-X Insulator Stabilyx (partly, I admit, because they have cool print ads), or I might just go for the Running Room brand gear.
No matter what it takes, I have to keep running, even if it's only once a week. I'm not a huge fan of track running, though I could do that at the Shawnessy Y if it came down to it... but there's no way I'll be running on a treadmill-- they always seem to jump and skip and catch when I run on any treadmill.
I've taken the bike in for a last tuneup for the winter, before it goes into storage, but I'm thinking it would be great to have a spin trainer like one of these, or this one. I just don't know if I could convince my lovely wife to let me keep the bike in the spare bedroom, or spend the money on the trainer.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

9 Miles Through Leaf Piles

We've been very lucky to have amazing weather in September and into the first week of October. Better than August, actually. Today was a perfect day for a run... even if I did wear some of my cool weather gear.

So it also great that I had a couple of running buddies--Kim and Dr. Dan invited me to join them on a 9-miler as part of Kim's training program. Given that I didn't actually run last week (made it to the gym lots, but have been pretty light on the running), 15k was a little ambitious, but having them to talk to really helped! That, and we walked a little.

The route was the same as the last 15k I did, but the best part was that once we got out of Fish Creek Park, all the poplar leaves on the ground made for some fun crunching and swooshing. It wasn't great for our stride techniques, but Dan and I had a blast kicking leaves around.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Goals Update, and A Close Encounter of the Moose Kind

Well, I'm getting there. I'm down to 232lbs, with almost three months left until Christmas. With all the meetings and running around I've had to do lately I really haven't had much time to actually run-- a little ironic, no?

But, I have been making it to the gym early in the mornings. That's probably been my one saving grace; I've managed to go two or three times a week for the last three weeks.

And it's been so long since I've posted, there have been a few other adventures. On September 20-21st, we went to Waterton with the whole family: my parents, my two brothers, and the girls. (It's crazy now to think that what used to always be the five of us is now eight! Well, "officially" six... no pressure, guys) The plan for Saturday was for the boys to go hiking while the girls went horseback riding for a few hours. It wasn't until Friday night that I found out that the only options for the hike were 20km or 5km. Ideal would have been about 10...

It was a great hike, though I'll spare you most of the details. The weather was perfect, the company was great, and the views were amazing. Dad and Daniel did the West Coast Trail two years ago, Chad hikes and backpacks regularly, and I have done some pretty long hiking days myself, but we'd never done anything that long all together, the four of us.

We are all usually pretty quiet guys (except me, apparently?), but we all had a lot of catching up to do, and all knew that the best way to keep bears away is to talk loudly, so we were. Apparenly moose aren't as smart as bears-- Daniel almost bumped noses with a female trying to avoid an amorous bull moose using the trail. She almost immediately took off, crashing through the bush uphill, while we slowly backed away downhill and behind a tree. A fake charge and several tense minutes later, the bull decided to take the "easy" route down the hill and around us. "Hey buddy, she went THAT way!"

I've run into a bear before, and it was not nearly as scary as staring down that moose. That stupid, stupid, rutting moose. I'd rather deal with a predictable, intelligent, wary bear, than a stupid moose with a one-track mind.

Pictures to follow... once I get them from Chad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Enforced Rest

After 35km in three days... I think today is going to be a gym and/or bike day. I was going to do 5km, but I don't think my body will let me. Well, that's not quite true. I'm sure I could do it, but the point was going to be to sprint the 5km, pick up some speed, but my body says that's a bad idea. Specifically, my calves and my feet say that's a bad idea.

The good news is... I've done 35km in the past three days! That's more than I've ever run before in that time. Sunday's 15km run was the longest I'd ever run continuously, and was especially tough after doing 10k the day before. The last 2-3kms were just hellish, but I did it and I feel great about it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to it- only 4 weeks 'till Kelowna!

Guh. Don't have much of an excuse for not running AT ALL last week. I'm a little annoyed with myself, considering I ran last saturday hungover and with about four hours of sleep, but haven't run since then!

I blame the stress. That's not a good excuse, when running is such a great stress relief, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, got out twice this past week, once today (saturday) and once on tuesday. I had to reset my iPod after tuesday's run, though because my Nike+ run files were "corrupted"... couldn't fix it, even with help from tech support. I lost 18 runs since June! But they're saving properly now... here's my run from this morning:

And here's a link to the workout plan that I put together to prep for the next race:,1150905758

Not sure if clicking on that link will actually take you to it or not... the code grabs from Nike+ seem to be a little odd sometimes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Soggy Run!

Just a quick run last night... only 20 minutes. Had to break out the rain gear!

Did push pretty hard; according to the Nike+, I managed an average pace of 5:12/km not bad.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Wall, or Why Does Running Hurt So Much Lately?

Got out for a run again last night-- it was great. Was going to go with Nicole, but had some stuff to take care of first, so she went ahead without me. It was great to get out and go my own pace, but man, was I sucking wind!

Obviously, I haven't been running hard enough lately. Sorry, hon, but I think I'm going to have to limit myself to one run per week, and do at least two other runs solo per week.

If there's any part of the Chaparral race that I was disappointed with, it was the run. Plus, my next race is going to be a 10k, and I want to be faster than last time. So, no more swimming until after thanksgiving-- from now until then, the focus is on the run, with cycling and strength training mixed in for variety.

Well, I guess I actually did pretty well last night, after the first 20 minutes or so. Did the Fish Creek Loop in reverse, and ran the hill twice-- I think that sort of flushed things out of my muscles and lungs.

8.2 km, 47 minutes

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Simon Whitfield Takes Silver in Beijing!

What an amazing performance! I was jumping up and down screaming at my TV last night!

Colin Jenkins is a hero too, and deserves a great deal of credit for helping Simon win that medal.

CBC recap and post race interview
Simon Whitfield's blog

I'm going to throw my hat on the ground for the final kick of every triathlon I race from now on...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chaparral Results and New Goals

It's official!
Click here to see the full results of the 2008 Lake Chaparral Olympic Tri

My time:
51 | 3:04:15 | 24/27 |Men 20-29 |184 | 77 | 30:43 | 2:03 | 95 | 1:21:57 | 28.2 | 199 | 1:11:36 | 7:58

I was 151st overall in that distance with a time of 3 hours, 4 minutes and 15 seconds. I came in 24th of 27 men aged 20-29 (not that good, but most of the really good racers are in that category).
My bib number was 184, and I was 77th out of the water with a 30:43 1500m swim, which meant my swim pace per 100m was just over 2 minutes.
I was the 95th best cyclist with a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 57 seconds, averaging 28.2 km/h
The run was not so good- my run time of one hour, 11 minutes, 36 seconds was 199th in the field at an average pace per kilometer of 7:58 (on a good day I can run in the neighborhood of 5:30 for 10km).

In the immediate future, the run is the area where I can most improve... which is really a matter of cardio fitness. I had the legs, just not the stamina to run the 52 minute 10k I ran at Open Minds.

My goals for the next Olympic Tri:
sub-30 minute swim
1:15 bike (depends on the course)
50 minute run

This would shave about 30 minutes off my time for a goal time of 2:35

Lake Chapparral Triathlon - Olympic

*Note: Pics in this post still need to be cropped... I'll add a few more when I can crop them later tonight.
I did it! I finished the Lake Chaparral Olympic Triathlon around my goal time. Not the perfect race or results, but not bad considering the heat and the training I've been doing (not so intense).

Here are some hilights of the commentary (aka my inner dialogue):

Should I put on sunscreen before I get in the water? No, it'll just wash off. I'll put some on before I get on the bike.
Okay, time to warm up. Windmill the arms, do the Micheal Phelps floppy arms... maybe i should just get in the water. That's what everyone else is doing. Do a few strokes, get the wetsuit wet.
Should I run into the water? I'm going to start near the back. I'm gonna take it easy at first.
There's the horn, here we go!
Ack! Legs and arms everywhere! Must find space to swim!
Wait a minute. This isn't my stroke... calm the F*** down, Jarrett!
Screw this, I'm going off to one side.
Oops, too far out. Why am I doing this again?
First buoy... doing okay, still breathing too hard. Calm down--at this rate you'll have nothing left for the bike and run!
I can see the dock... crap, keep going too far left! Good rhythm though.
Good corner, I'm back at the start. Feeling good now, just one more lap.
Homestretch! Keep sighting... Why do I feel like I'm not going anywhere? Only a few hundred meters to go!
There's the bottom of the lake... there's the cement of the boat launch.

"Careful- it's slippery" says the volunteer, taking my hand and helping me stumble up the cement ramp. "Thanks!" I think I said "thanks". I meant to.

Need to get out of the wetsuit... where's the zipper? Keep moving...

"Somebody knocked your bike over..." Shit. "Oh well, no big deal." At least they put it back on the rack. Peel wetsuit... stupid timing chip getting in the way! Towel off. Helmet. Sunglasses. Shoes. Gel and Clif bar. Drink water. Grab gloves, can put them on later. Grab bike and go!


Stupid bike gloves... I wish I could pedal "no hands" on this bike...
Crap. Didn't put on sunscreen. I'll be okay. Drink.
Wheeeeee! This hill is awesome! Slow down for the sharp turn! More downhill, s-curve, quick right, stand up and pedal, quick left, stand, right, stand, left around the traffic circle...
I'm loving this course! Drink.
F***ing hill. I have to do this four more times? ... And there goes another elite, like I'm standing still...

"You're almost there! Keep going, almost to the top of the hill! Good job! You can do it..."

I love volunteers! Drink.
Cool, I'm passing some people with way fancier bikes! Drink.
Smile for the camera! Hi Nicole!

Repeat 4 more times...

Rack bike. Helmet off. Shoes off. Runners on. Drink. Grab another gel. Go!
Legs feel like lead... keep it slow at first. Crap, I'm stitching already... breathe deep... waterstation good... I wonder where Nicole is...
There she is! Cowbell!
I'd better walk until this stitch goes away... So hot...
Sprinklers! YAY! Thank you, Chapparral residents!
Keep running... so hot... like Arizona hot!
What?! No water at the water station??! I don't think I'm gonna make it...

You can walk. No, keep running. You're dehydrated. Just walk for a bit. You'd better start running again, even the old guys are passing you. Yeah, well they're all in better shape anyway. But they started half an hour later!

Take a gel... wow, that actually helps!
Made it back. One more time around... Ah water! "Two, please!" Walk. Drink. That's better.
"You're standing in the middle of the course! Move!" Please...
There's Nicole!
This is more like it-- this is my stride.
Hot! Sprinkers!
They refilled the water station! "Two, please!" Walk. Drink. Ahh...
Keep running... good! I actually don't feel terrible...
I made it! There's Nicole! Raise arms in triumph!

I really, really want to just go jump in the lake!

Must... stretch. That was fun. I think I'll do it again!

Swim: 1.5km Bike: 40km Run: 10km
Unofficial time: 3:05 (official times not yet posted)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Overdoing the Taper

I really did plan to train this week. I know I can still finish the race (Chaparral Olympic Tri) this weekend, but I'm definitely not in top form. Too stressed from work and Fiji stuff! Ironically, training helps me de-stress...

Had a great time last weekend at N's race, the Strathmore Women's Tri. She did great, I was so proud! I had a blast making signs with the kids-- our neices and nephew-- and really enjoyed just supporting N, talking her through it, and giving a little bit of last minute advice on positioning her bike on the rack and relaxing, having fun! I felt really terrible though when she came in from her bike a little later than I expected, and told me that her front brake rubbed the whole way, until she held it away from the wheel! Well, she won't find it very hard to improve her time next year.

So aside from me freaking out a little about the increased distance and my relative lack of training, I'm pretty excited about this weekend. Going to be super busy though, as I have to go pick up my wetsuit after work, then I'm going to go buy a tri racing suit. In the Sprints, I've been racing with my Tyr knee-length jams, and throwing on a shirt, but for this race and the others I'm planning for next year, I think it's time for a one-piece suit. Maybe the time it saves me in transitions will counteract my training deficiencies. Yeah, right.

At some point either tonight or tomorrow, I have to check out the course. The bike course has a LOT of corners, and I want to make sure I know it well. If I can squeeze in a run tonight, a lap around the run course (which is also part of the bike course) is probably the best option.

Oh, and I also have to pick up my race package tonight. Can't do it tomorrow, as I have a haircut and a Fiji meeting. Hmm... maybe a buzz-cut will make me go faster?

Just kidding, N. (She married me for my hair ;) )

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sikome "Double Brick"

Bike-Run-Bike. N calls that the "double brick".

We rode to Sikome lake, hauling the bike lock, and my running shoes. For lack of a better means of carrying the running shoes, I had to bring my big backpack... I can't seem to find my old small one since we moved. I must have chucked it-- "That's the dumbest thing you've ever done!" I don't know, honey, I've done some pretty stupid things in my day...

The ride to Sikome through the ever-gorgeous Fish Creek park was perfect. We had a nice breeze that alternated between nice and warm, and cool and refreshing. It was almost like going from hot tub to river and back again.

We locked up the bikes at Sikome, I changed into my runners while N went running ahead, giving me the chance to let loose a little to catch her. I do need to do more training at my own pace, it's just great to do these things with her.

The way back home was very nice, the sun turning orange and red as it set, but it can only be described with one word: buggy. I couldn't believe how many bugs there were! I'd taken off my sunglasses because it was getting dark but had to put them back on, because I could see even less due to my squinting and bugs in my eyes. Seriously, it felt like riding through a small hailstorm.

... and we went swimming on Wednesday night, but nothing much to write about.

Looking forward to N's race on Sunday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Preview Brick

For the non-triathletes, a "brick" is a training session involving more than one of the three triathlon sports. Usually it's bike then run, because it is the more physically challenging transition--your legs tend to think they're still pedaling, making the first few minutes of the run an odd sensation.

It's also a good idea to practice the actual transitions... that is, get off the bike, rack the bike, remove the helmet, put on a hat, switch shoes if you need to, take some water, and go! This transition process (from bike to run) is usually referred to as T2, as in Transition 2. T1 is swim-bike.

So this is what we did yesterday. N wanted to check out the course for her race next weekend, so we made the drive all the way out to Strathmore, drove the bike course, checked out the transition area parking lot, and talked through the transitions. As with any sport, the mental aspect is very important, especially in the transitions. It's difficult to fully practice transitions because you can't really reproduce the transition area, so you have to rely on a lot of visualization, mental walkthroughs and imagination. The maps provided by most organizers help, but ultimately you also have to be prepared to be flexible. After all, you don't know exactly where your spot in the transition area will be until raceday.

As I've been taught, we talked about preparation--arriving early, laying everything out, thinking about each task in each transition, and performing them methodically, and in order. Being focused, not rushed.
Ride hilight:
"Riding your bike costs more than riding the C-Train!" (Tire tube: $5. Transit ticket: $2.50)

"Eating these energy gels is going to take some practice."

"You are NOT buying a 25$ cowbell!"
"Okay, I'll get the 20$ one then."

View Interactive Map on

Total workout: 20k bike ~55mins (need to go a little faster for the race!), 3k run

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Long Ride

We did it! I'm so proud of N... that was one long, hilly ride. Longest I've ever done. 66 km!

The goal was to go out to Bragg Creek from Westhills, have lunch and ride back to the car. We gave ourselves about four hours, and it took us about three and a half, including lunch.

Here's the map, courtesy of
View Interactive Map on

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I don't really care for swimming without a coach, or a set workout. I love swimming, but not enough to just swim laps. I want to feel like I'm accomplishing something, like I'm getting faster. Maybe I just need to find a rhythm, like running.

But it's probably easier to just look up some workouts online, or get a coach. This fall, that's what I'm going to do--find a coach. N thinks it's a good idea; we discussed it while sitting in the hot tub after a strenuous-ish 30 minute swim.

I like the hot tub.
On Saturday before the race, we were standing around talking to some people from N's running clinic (Learn to Run at the Running Room), and were talking about how inaccurate the Nike+iPod is. "Well, at least it gives you an ish."

As in, "I ran 5-ish km" or "I ran for 30-ish minutes" or "last night I swam for 30-ish minutes, at a medium-ish pace. ish."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Busy Weekend: Commute by Bike, Open Minds 10k, and Fish Creek - Bankside Loop

The weekend started off with a lovely, sunny Friday morning, but of course because N had dropped me off at work with my bike to pedal home, Friday afternoon's weather was nasty. Around one o'clock, the sky turned dark... luckily it has cleared somewhat by the time I left at 4, and the ride proved very pleasant. I did manage to lose the path a few times (both accidentally and attempting shortcuts), but all things considered it was a great ride.

Since my office is just off Deerfoot and 16th Ave, I made my way across Deerfoot on the pedestrian overpass that lies halfway between 16th and 32nd. There's a rather nice path next to the CPR tracks along Deerfoot, and I was able to make better time than most of the vehicles on the Deerfoot, which was kind of gratifying. I followed that path all the way to Memorial, and picked up the Elbow River pathway at the Zoo, and followed it all the way to the Reservoir. I may have cut a few bends out of the river, but mostly stuck to the paths.

I made it home in about an hour an a half, including stops to look at the map. Not too bad, but I'm sure I can do better once I know the paths. N had ordered pizza, and I was sooo hungry (didn't bring enough food to work) that I ate about 3/4 of the thing! It's okay though, I had salad too. Then I passed out. Seriously-- I passed right out on the couch, woke up at 9:30 to go to bed. I must have been tired!
8:30 Saturday, we were at Edworthy Park for the Open Minds Run for the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta. N was there for the 5k (her first "real" race!), and I was there for the 10k.

I hadn't really given too much thought to my goal for the race, but so many people asked me before the race that I had to have a target. It's been a long time since I raced a 10k--I think the last one was the Forzani's Mothers' Day race, probably 10 years ago, when I was playing sports every day and running somewhat regularly. And would have weighed about 50-60 lbs less. I seemed to remember being somewhere between an hour and an hour ten. Plus, I've been running at about 5-6.5 minutes per km. So "under and hour" seemed to be a good goal.

Chip-timing is great, but you don't know what your time is until the next day. I was running without a watch or my Nike+iPod, and the large race clock over the finish was not working/ not in use. I knew that the race was supposed to start at 9, so when I got to the finish line, I asked N what time it was. 10:01. "I guess that's okay," I thought. "It's around an hour". I'd counted people at the turnaround, and figured I was about 25th overall, so that was something.

Well, yesterday I checked -- good news! The race started at 9:10! My official time is 51:43... that's definitely a PR.
The plan Sunday was to go for a ride either at Eau Claire or Fish Creek Park around 2. I was a little hungover from 2 bachelor parties the night before, but I'm a strong advocate of exercise/fresh air as the best cure for a hangover, so I was actually looking forward to it. But we didn't go until after dinner, which was probably a good thing, it was so hot!

From our place, we rode east through Fish Creek, past the ranch, then north along the Bow. It's so beautiful through there! We rode past Bankview, to where Canyon Meadows Drive meets the park. We made it up the hill, then followed the "on-road-bike paths" through Queensland Downs, Bonavista Downs, past Lake Bonavista and home. It was a good ride, the hills being challenging but not impossible, and the weather just gorgeous.

Friday, July 18, 2008


With my last bike, I took it places that pretty much dictated I wear body armor. Although it was a hardtail mountain bike, not really designed for "downhill", I did it anyway, riding logs, 10 foot high rampways with turns in them, the odd jump and small drop. My shin and forearm armor came in handy many times, at somewhat high speeds.

Riding my road bike, I'm pretty cautious. I haven't had any actual crashes (especially not while wearing a yellow jersey!)

But my two spills on this bike have been almost as embarrassing. The first was because I was talking to N as we came to a stop to cross Canyon Meadows. The huge line of cars waiting at the light all got to see me topple over in slow motion because I didn't unclip my cleats. That was a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, same story, different setting. I unclip one foot at the parkade exit, to stomp on the sensor that opens the door. It's designed to open for cars, so you gotta stomp pretty hard! It wasn't working, so I started jumping on it with my one free foot, still straddling my bike with the other foot firmly attached to the pedal. Next thing I knew, I was going down.

The damage wasn't too bad... scraped knee, a couple scratches running the length of my calf, and a really sore butt-cheek. At least N was the only one who witnessed it...
Yes, I'm aware of the irony... if I hadn't written about it, N would be the only one who'd know.

For those of you not familiar with the Tour de France, if you're wearing the Yellow Jersey, it means you're leading the race. You can afford to not win a stage one day, and still maintain a lead, but you have to finish pretty close to the stage winner... crashing in the last 500m makes that very difficult!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

20 minute Challenge

Well, it was more like 40 minutes. I'm not sure though, you'd have to ask N, or "the woman with no heartbeat". (The HRM she got for her birthday doesn't seem to work-- but it does tell time and has a nifty stopwatch feature.)

We got to the Running Room at Glenmore Landing just in time to scoop the last two hats. We both thought that it was a little odd that they advertised that you had to pre-register to get a hat, but we weren't asked for any confirmation...

After a little pep talk and a group photo, the crowd (100 people at least?) set out for the paths. I was glad I wasn't out there on my bike! People running on the left side of the yellow line were oddly shocked to be sworn at by oncoming cyclists...

People were going off in all directions, but we decided to head south towards Heritage Park and the Hospital. N didn't think so at the time, but she was keeping a pretty good pace, even though she was chatting with some of the girls from her clinic who were there. While she chatted, I ran ahead, thinking to do intervals by pushing ahead, turning around and running back to N, running with her for a bit, then repeat. But she was kind of keeping up, so I didn't have far to run back, the first time.

At about the hospital, I pushed ahead once again, deciding to go all the way to Glenmore trail, and thinking N would turn around just past the hospital, and I could catch up to her pretty quickly... but it wasn't until I was past Heritage Park again that I even saw her! I think she does run faster when I'm not around.

Total time: ~40mins
Distance: ~5k

Gotta take it easy before Saturday! The plan is to bike for an hour tonight, then swim tomorrow, but I really want to ride my bike home tomorrow too. I'll just take it easy on the way home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Like New!

Did I mention how awesome it is to have a great bike shop next door? I've never been that great at taking care of my bikes, though for the most part, I know how and have the right stuff. But since my last bike pretty much rusted up from neglect, when I found out that Pedalhead offers 2 years of free service on any bike you buy there, I was sold.

I'd dropped the bike off on Sunday afternoon, and managed to just squeeze in the door as they were closing shop last night. They only charge if they use parts, which they didn't, so I just walked out with a shinier, well-lubricated bike. I just had to take it for a spin.

N decided to stay on the couch "so you can go faster". I took full advantage, pushing hard the whole way. I flew past four kids on mountain bikes, and a neighbor on a leisurely cruise on my way to the station and across Macleod, in the drop bars the whole way. As I navigated the wheelchair ramp at the station, a couple of the mountain bikers caught up to me (actually, I think it was two different guys), and I felt bad for making them slow down before they rode down the stairs. I used to do that! I don't think the TCX would appreciate it though.

As soon as I got away from the station, it was back to the drops, pushing hard but keeping a good cadence. It's tricky to find that balance between speed/power and high pedal rpms, but I got some good practice on this ride.

I've got a bell, and I use it often on the pathways, especially when I'm screamin' along. I use it on blind corners, whenever I'm passing someone when their back is to me even if they're already off to one side, just in case. And I do keep one hand (usually two) on the brakes. So I think my chances of actually crashing into someone are pretty low. But some people just don't understand the concept of sharing the paths. Pay attention, people! Stay to the right! You don't have to walk three abreast just because there's three of you, and if you do, pay attention! And in-line skaters... why must you wear headphones? I enjoy skating on asphalt, in fact for a few summers it was my primary means of transport. But be aware of the fact that you take up the whole path, don't skate side by side, and pay attention!

/end rant.

I'm not saying that all walkers, skaters or even cyclists are bad. In fact, most of the people on the paths are sensible, and more than courteous. But some people... well, need to pull their iPods out of their heads, and probably put on a brain bucket too.

Even more challenging than dodging people was the hill coming out of the park. This time, I went all the way to the ranch, and up the hill behind it. I thought it would be easier than the Acadia hill. Wrong. I'm pretty sure it's longer, and there's one section at the very top that has stairs parallel to the asphalt. Yeah, roughly 45 degrees. Only for about 10-15 feet, but it took my lowest gear and a lot of will to make it, even standing on the pedals.

From there, I looped back through the community on the "on-street bikeways". I feel another rant coming on about those, but I think I will save it for another post.

Time: ~45mins
Distance: 13km (?)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fish Creek Loop in Reverse, No Flooding

I've been running with N a lot lately, which is great, I'm super happy that she enjoys it and wants to run with me. But let's face it, my legs are longer! And with the Open Minds 10k this weekend, I figured I should get at least one longer, harder run in this week.

We started off together, heading down Lake Fraser for Fish Creek Park. The plan was to go across Macleod at Canyon Meadows LRT, into the park on our usual route. N would keep running for about 20 minutes, then turn around, while I kept going through the park and back up the hill at Acadia Dr., and back around on my loop.

I handed her the keys, and took off just before the station, thinking if I went fast enough, I might be able to catch her again before she got back home. Since my Nike+iPod isn't well calibrated, I'm not sure what exactly my pace was, but it felt good to let loose and GO.

By the time I hit the hill, I was keeping a pretty good rhythm, and managed to keep a good cadence going, even though the hill shortened my stride. I focused on lifting my feet, keeping my stride as long as possible on the steep hill. It was tough, but I made it, and kept going. Down by the creek, I'd entertained the thought of doing repeats on the hill, but by the time I got to the top, I decided that maybe I should save that for another day.

I never did catch N before she got home, but it's okay, because she did buzz me into the building.

Time: 46mins
Distance: ~7.4km
Avg Pace: ~ 6min/km

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bikeride Around the Reservoir

Sunday, we slept in a little (N's surprise birthday party on Saturday kept us out pretty late... in fact I'm sure N thought she'd be home by 10... heh heh heh, I'm so sneaky :-) ) but since we didn't really have a whole lot planned for the day aside from another birthday dinner, we managed to get out on the pathways for a nice long bikeride. (Yes, "bikeride", not "bike ride". It runs together when I say it, so why not when I write it?)

I remember going for bikerides with Mom and Dad and my brothers when we were kids. We used to go all the time in the summer, it seemed. In Lloydminster, we'd ride to Bud Miller park, or even just around the block. When we moved to Calgary, we'd cruise the pathways, stopping at parks along the way. When I got older, I'd explore the pathways with friends, with my brothers, or by myself.

This bikeride evoked a lot of those memories. We were riding pretty fast (after all, we are training), but at the same time, it was a leisurely expedition, a tour of the area.

We set out from our building, rather than trying to pile two bikes into one of the cars. It only took about 30 minutes from our door to the reservoir anyway, thanks to the pedestrian bridges over Anderson, Macleod Trail, and 14th Street SW. Since we didn't have a pathways map, I looked it up online and tried to memorize the route, but obviously didn't to a very good job. Nevertheless, we made it.

Since I'd never actually ridden around the reservoir, when we got to Glenmore Landing, I decided we should go counter-clockwise, because I didn't really want to have to go up the Weaselhead hill at North Glenmore Park. From the Landing, past Heritage Park and the Rockyview Hospital, the path is pretty tight and winding. Once you get to Glenmore Trail though, it opens up nicely. We didn't go all the way to the dam on the north tip of the reservoir, taking the path along Glenmore Trail instead.

Generally, the ride was pretty uneventful. N did a good job of keeping up, but like I told her afterwards, I think she took my "high cadence" advice a little too far, spinning her pedals faster than she needed to, sacrificing some speed. It's a strategy that the tri coaches I trained with last year preached: keep the pedals going fast on the bike, to keep the legs loose for the run. It worked for N, because she said her legs weren't sore at all the next day. I guess I'll just have to push her harder next time. *grins wickedly*

After stopping for a Booster Juice at the Landing, I decided to try a different route on the way home. We needed a pathways map, and no one seems to sell them except for Calgary Co-Op. We eventually found one, and lo, they had the coveted Calgary Pathways Map! I now have a copy in the wedgie bag under my seat. Hopefully I won't get lost any more.

In all, the bikeride around the Res took about three hours. But that includes about half and hour of me messing around with a flat tire before we started.

Props to Pedalhead for their amazing 2-year unlimited tune-ups policy. I left the bike with them after this ride... It's great being able to drop my baby off for a day or two and get it back squeaky clean, lubed and tightened.


Okay, I admit it. This post has been back-dated because I'm a little behind! Rather than write one reeeally long post to catch up, I'll break it into three.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Know You're a Triathlete When...

... you'd rather go running than go to an amazing party;
... you'd rather spend $$ on "multisport apparel", aka training gear, than Guitar Hero*;
... your computer wallpaper (and facebook profile photo) is a picture of your snazzy bike;
... vacation plans begin to revolve around races;
... you start to think of food as "fuel" (as in "an apple is a better fuel source than a Big Mac snack attack")
... you miss the start of your favorite show because of training (we need a PVR!)
... you're still glad you bought the bike rather than the PVR

*That was still a tough decision. C'mon, it's the ultimate air guitar!!

Last night, ~4.5km run with N, 35 minutes
Monday night, bike to Sicome Lake and back home, 45mins

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hardisty Run and Swim

Okay, I know I've been bad with updating! A lot has happened since the last post, but I really have no excuse.

Anyway, this weekend we went out to Hardisty, AB for my cousin's wedding reception (which was a blast-- great to go back and see everyone, especially since I haven't really been in touch in the last few years). While we were there, I figured it would be a good opportunity to practice lake swimming, since my next tri will be my first lake race.

Saturday was a pretty full day, with breakfast at one place, then a mid-afternoon barbeque at another, then the party at the town hall. N wanted to get a run in, and Dad is always up for a run, so we decided to go for a lap around the lake at 8am. About 4.5km, it was a good loop, and N did really well, keeping up a pretty good pace. She's graduated from run 10mins/ walk 1min to full-out running for 30-40 minutes, and is getting faster all the time. She seems to be really enjoying running, and has even been getting me out there on days when I'm feeling lazy.

After showering and going for breakfast, the weather was still pretty nice, so before I could chicken out, I geared up and headed down to the beach. Wading in, the water was a bit of a shock, but really not too cold on my bare legs. I almost thought better of it, but I dove in, sprinting over the weeds and into deeper water.

Very disorienting! I learned to swim in this lake, but never with googles, and not being able to see anything but shadows was bizzare. It took me a while to find the right rhythm and pace, but all in all, it felt pretty good. I decided to practice sighting, aiming for the white buoys at the public beach. I don't know if it was from tying to look up every few strokes, the (relatively) cold water, or my pace, but by the time I reached the buoys, I felt a little dizzy.

I took a bit of a break on the beach, then decided I'd better swim back. I could have walked, but I knew I wouldn't be very satisfied with myself if I did that! So I just took it easy on the way back. N was sitting on the shore in the sun, yelling "faster, faster!" every time I stopped or slowed down. How nice of her.

The lake is much higher than it was when I was a kid, but that's a good thing, because it was starting to get extremely low. I think it was the town council (or maybe the ag society?) that started pumping water out of the river and into the lake a few years ago. The water goes to a holding pond first, to let all stuff that gets churned up in the river to settle out. It seems to be working quite well.

Tonight, we go to MEC to get some bike shorts. No more sore bum! Yay!

Run: 4.5km
Swim: 500- 1000m? (I really have no idea!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rain Finally Gone, I Hope

According to the forecast, it's actually NOT gone yet... but my fingers are crossed!

Last night N and I were able to get out on the bikes-- first time for her. I kind of underestimated the whole dynamic of not having biked for ten years, then hopping on a roadbike. The adjustment to the roadbike was tough enough for me, and I've done a LOT more biking recently!

But, you know what they say: it's just like riding a bike. Once she got going, she did great. A little disappointed in the tuneup from Pedalhead, as she got stuck between gears halfway through. I'm sure if we bring it back in, they'll make the necessary adjustments.

So it was a pretty leisurely half-hour ride, just getting the feel for the bikes. I think I still have some adjustments to do on my bike, especially with the seat angle and handlebar angle.

Also made it to the swim-- felt really good. Not sure what the mileage was, but it was a little shorter than usual, mostly 'cause the guys training for Ironman Canada took advantage of the weather (I suspect) to do some outdoor training.

On the slate for this weekend (weather permitting)-- run on saturday morning (8-10k) and long bike on Sunday with Dr. Dan and K, out towards Priddis on 22x.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tinman Rained Out, New PR at Betty's Run

Given that the drive from Calgary to Vulcan was a challenge, I was not too surprised that the race was called 15 minutes before we arrived for my heat. On their site, the Tinman organizers claim that the only reason to cancel a race is lightning (rain or even snow aren't enough).

I didn't see any lightning, but in my books, rising water and the potential for hydroplaning road bikes is enough of a safety concern to call a race!

I spent the entire drive down trying to mentally prepare for the race-- thinking about how towelling off after the swim would be pointless, about how many layers I'd have to wear, about how I'd have to wear my mirrored sunglasses despite the dark skies... so I was little relieved that the race was called.

At least the Betty's Run for ALS went ahead. In fact, we got there at 9:30, and had perfect running conditions. The rain let up, and it was warm enough to be comfortable, but not too hot to slow anyone down.

This year was the first year they've used timing chips, thanks to the Running Room. I don't see any results posted yet, but I came in around 38 minutes for the 8km race-- I was very happy with that.

I've done the Betty's Run for the past few years, and I'm amazed at how well organized it is, and by how passionate the volunteers are. Last year, the run raised $532,215... which is pretty amazing for an event with around 700 participants.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Triathlon of the Year!

Who gets up at 6am on a Sunday to swim 500m, then bike 16km, then run 3km? Well, I do. And apparently, so do a lot of other people. In fact, it seems that most people get up even earlier to do the same... I had a hard time finding a spot for my bike in the transition area.

Picked up my number (268), and my chip, and then had to wait for about 2 hours. No big deal, since it gave me more of a chance to mentally walk-through the race, particularly the transitions. I had printed the race package (including course maps) to look over them closely, but of course I left them at work! So the extra time was nice.

When I finally did start, I was put in the farthest lane, with 4 other people in the lane. This made the first few laps a little bit more challenging, as I got stuck behind them all, and couldn't get into my rhythm until I was able to pass them. Still, I was pretty happy with my time of 9:54.

T1 (the transition between the swim and the bike) didn't go quite as smoothly as I had planned! I was prepared for the barefoot run around the building, over the gravel (ouch!) and found my bike. I brushed the gravel and dirt off my feet with my towel, got into the bike shoes fast, then pulled on my shirt. Since I hadn't used the now-dirty towel, the shirt got stuck around my chest! I finally got it all the way on, got my sunglasses and helmet, and jogged out to the road.

I have to say, I had a blast during the race, but I wasn't too happy with the transition layout. I mean, the bike racks and whatnot were fine, but they could have swept the area before set up, and maybe laid a mat or even scrap of carpet over the patch of gravel we had to run over. Maybe I was just spoiled by the setup at the Vulcan Tinman last year. But other than that minor inconvenience, the race was great-- the volunteers were all awesome, the course was well-thought out, and the traffic control from city police was outstanding (one cop to an oblivious motorist: "I'm not standing out here for my health-- SLOW DOWN!")

The bike felt great. 4 laps of the university campus, with volunteers at each corner cheering us on. I was pretty happy that I passed more people than passed me (unlike last year on the mountain bike!). I even spent most of the race down in the drop bars.

The best part of the bike leg was hearing my in-laws screaming encouragement from the side of the road. Everyone loves a cheering section!

On the final little hill, rather than drop a gear, I stood up-- and promptly realized how sore I was! The stock saddle is NOT very ergonomic! (I swapped it for my old Specialized body geometry cross-country saddle last night, so we'll see if that works on the road bike)

T2 (bike to run) was much smoother, and I got out to pounding the pavement. I intentionally took it slow, as the whole first lap I felt a little bit of a stitch in my side. By the third and final lap, I'd loosened up and was really hitting my stride-- just in time for a sprint to the finish.

I finished in 1:00:41.74 for 48th overall, out of about 320. I was shooting for the top 100, so I thought that was pretty good. My rank in my age group (20-29) was 11/20, which wasn't quite as good as I hoped, but I was really treating this as a warmup. Room for improvement this weekend in Vulcan.

My Try This Tri (Calgary) Results:
Swim: 400m 9:54, 35th overall
Bike: 16km 33:39, 66th overall
Run: 3km 17:10, 65th overall

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Sunshine

Gotta get out and enjoy it while we can! Yet another lovely evening last night, and I took advantage by going for a short (30 min) run through Lake Bonavista. (I'm staying away from Fish Creek Park for another week!) It's great when you can go for a run after the hockey game, and still have sunlight!

Run: 30 min, not sure of the distance, because my iPod didn't save the run... (?)

On another note, only 3 more days until T3, my first race of the season, and the start of what should be a pretty intense week. And tomorrow I'll finally be picking up my bike... barring some disaster...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have Shorts, Will Swim

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be, well, absentminded. I tend to forget or "misplace" stuff. So before I leave the condo, I have to do an inventory, like airline pilots do: wallet, check; keys, check; phone, check; laptop, check; sunglasses, check; inhaler, check...

Last night, I left for the YMCA with plenty of time to get to the swim session. I grabbed my gym bag-- bathing suit, check; goggles, check; cap, check; Y card, check; towel, check-- and started out to meet N at the pool.

When I got to the changeroom, I pulled out my suit, and.... it wasn't a suit at all. It was a shirt of similar fabric and color. I must have left it at home, hanging up. So I rushed home. No suit. The only other place it could be (and it was) was at the Y, in the lost and found.

I was actually only 15 minutes late, which just meant that I had to GO... no chatting, short breaks... and I still ended up staying an extra 10 minutes. All in all, it was a good swim-- the bulk of it being 25 drill, 75 free, three times each of six drills. I'm still fine-tuning my stroke, and I find that doing drills in that pattern is the most effective way of doing that.
2.4 km, 40 minutes
As a footnote, the image in this post is from -- Very cool tool.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Adventure in the mist

When I got home last night around 9:30, it was still light, and the air had that crisp, fresh feeling to it-- I just had to go for a run.

I changed, grabbed my keys and my iPod, and even remembered to take my inhaler before heading out the door. I started out slowly, and was feeling great as I got closer to Fish Creek Park. It felt so good, I thought I'd reverse my "usual" loop, heading across McLeod Trail at the Canyon Meadows train station, then continuing south into the park and over the creek before pointing east, through the flats, back north across the creek, and up the steep hill near Acadia and Canyon Meadows Drive, and back home. Well, that was the plan, anyway.

There was a light fog in the low valley of the park--which made sense, considering all the rain we'd had over the past week, and the fact it had warmed up considerably that afternoon. There were still couples walking in the dusk as I crossed the bridge over the creek and under the road, but most were heading out of the park. The creek was running fast, strong, high, and very muddy, but I thought nothing of it-- it wasn't coming over the banks, and besides, it had stopped raining.

As I flew past the picnic shelters by the parking lot, I noticed the distinct aroma of pot. Well, it was trippy place, between the dead calm, and the quiet mist blanketing the valley. I kept running, keeping a strong pace.

As I ran, it was getting darker and darker. I missed the turn to go north across the bridge, but my legs and lungs were going strong, so I didn't bother turning back. I knew there would be another path. When I did turn north, it was perfectly dusk - the white fog muting any color.

Up ahead, just a few feet from the path, a whitetail deer silently appeared out of the mist, standing at attention, watching me intently. I slowed to a walk, and turned off my music. As I quietly stole past, watching the deer, it watching me, I felt incredibly relaxed, calm, at total peace. The run to that point had been so zen-like, a moving meditation, and the encounter intensified the feeling.

I kept running, past more deer grazing by stands of aspen, and soon came back to my usual path, right at the bridge. It was barricaded-- "Closed - Pathway Flooded". Crap.

I tried to remember the map of the park in my mind. The last time I'd gone outside of my running route was on a bike... but I was pretty sure there was another bridge just a little farther east. So I turned around, ran past the deer again, and headed east towards the ranch.

I kept going, but it kept getting more and more difficult to see, and the only pathways branching north were animal tracks. That would be a good way to end up in the creek, so I kept going. I was halfway to the ranch, near the heron sanctuary before I found a map-- that clearly showed the next bridge at the ranch. Definitely time to turn back.

I decided to head up the south bank of the valley, into Midnapore. At least that way, I'd have the streetlamps. Eventually, I ended up at St. Mary's University College. By then, my 45 minute run had turned into well over an hour, so I walked to the Fish Creek train station. As I crossed MacLeod on the pedestrian bridge, I could see a northbound train, so I sprinted across, only to hear the speakers come alive with "This train out of service". Dammit, I only needed to go one stop!

I finally made it home around 11:15... none too worse for wear. Next time though, I'm bringing a cellphone-- if only to call and say I'm going to be late!

On another note, I'm officially registered for the Tinman on June 7th. (It's full, but I got in as an injury replacement) It's going to be an interesting week, racing at Try This Tri this Sunday, then again the following Saturday in Vulcan, and doing the Betty's run for ALS the next day.

Please donate if you can at my ALS site.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Runnin' in the Rain

Well, I didn't run at C.O.P with Dr. Dan, but I did 35 minutes through lake bonavista. It felt pretty good, even if Milo (the cat) wasn't very impressed when I came back home, dripping all over him as he greeted me at the door!

Went a little too hard out of the gate... gotta remember to warm up first.

I'd like to head out on the bike today, but it's just too wet still. Tuesday is supposed to be drier, maybe I'll head out then before the swim class. Gotta get out at least once before the race this weekend!

In case you haven't seen it, I've got a calendar at the bottom of the blog, that shows my planned training (not very detailed) and races. Let me know if you're entering any events, or if you want to join me on a run/ride!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back to square one with a swim

See, this is why I need to shoot for 30 minutes every day. I've missed two days this week! But I did get back in the pool today for 2.5k... felt okay, but kind of heavy. Just wasn't pushing very hard-- too much on my mind, I guess.

We had a great weekend out at Wasa. Did two runs around the lake; one with N and B.A, and the other with Mr. A. Both felt really good-- it was hot, but not too hot in the mornings. Perfect running weather.

Of course, now that we're back in town, the weather is pretty nasty. I was thinking about doing the trail run at C.O.P with K.V and Dr. Dan, but I don't think my shoes would survive!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Days 8 and 9 - and a Surprising Weigh-In!

Yep... I'm up to 9 days in a row in my quest to do 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Last night was the usual 1 hour swim at the Y... about 2.5 km. The program was almost intervals-- most of it was "50 hard/50 ez", and a lot of pull drills.

I kept thinking about my 500m time from the Tinman last year. Am I faster than I was? Can I pull off a sub-10 minute 500? Or will I blow that time out of the water? I really have no idea, as I'm told the pool I'm training in now is actually 25 yards, not 25 meters. So I guess I really won't know until June 1.

I'm more worried about the bike. I haven't been training for it at all... (kind of hard when you don't own a bike!) I might have to borrow dad's bike again for the week, just so I've got something to train with. At least I know I'll have the bike before the race.

I also weighed myself last night at the Y (we're a no-scale household)... 234! That's pretty awesome, considering I was 246 a month ago! And it means I'll have to get a little more specific with my weight-loss goal of -20 lbs by Christmas. I'm told my healthy weight is closer to 210, so that's my revised goal. I will be 210 by Christmas.

Oh, almost forgot...this morning's workout was day 2 of my weight program-- chest/ triceps/ core. I'm definitely feeling stronger, but the iPod was absolutely crucial this morning! I like to think I'm a morning person, but doing core work at 5:30 am requires some loud, pumping music.
We're off to Wasa Lake for the weekend. I'll probably do two runs, one long and one with N (she says she's going to run around the lake with me-- I think she can definitely do it!). I'm also bringing my swim gear, but I haven't had time to rent a wetsuit, so if I do make it into the water, it will probably be sprints out from the dock and back! I'll probably wait until Monday, just to give the sun time to heat it up a little.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Betty's Run for ALS

I'm running 5 miles on June 8th, 2008 in support of the ALS Society.

If you don't know what ALS is... well, let's just say IF I had it, I would not be able to run, bike, or swim very shortly after being diagnosed. I would be completely lucid, intellect untouched whilst neuromuscular control deteriorates. If I'm "lucky", I might live five years. ALS is also known as Lou Gherig's disease. (And no, I don't have it)

Please visit my Fight ALS site to learn more or to donate.

I'm aiming for a personal best time- under 40 minutes.

The time to beat

Last year, the only tri I entered was the Vulcan Tinman-- it was what got me hooked. And to think, the only reason I entered was because I couldn't get into the YMCA program I originally wanted (weights for snowboarding, I think?), and ended up doing a Tri training program instead.

It will be interesting to see how my races go this year, since I haven't been training regularly since last June, and I'm only getting coaching in the pool.

As long as my bike time is better, I'll be happy.

To make it a little easier to read:
Pool Rank 75
Pool Time 9:42
Bike Rank 270
Bike Time 35:49
Run Rank 127
Run Time 26:03
Overall Rank 158
Overall Time 1:11:33.4

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Run: Bonavista-Fish Creek loop

**(sidebar) Ok, apparently the Nike+ site is experiencing some bugs with it's "run sharing" functionality.... you are supposed to be looking at my run from earlier today! I did 7.82kms in 45:07, avg pace 5:45/km

I've decided this is my standard loop. Target time 45 minutes, head to Fish Creek, in at Acadia Dr, down and across and head west under the train bridge, back across the creek and up to Canyon Meadows train station, chug home and end with a 2 block walk to cool down. Nice!

I'm not so sure the distance is accurate, though. I calibrated my Nike+ on a treadmill, then read the instructions after (which, btw, say don't use a treadmill to calibrate!)

All in all, it felt pretty good. Once again, I forgot to take my rescue inhaler before going, so I was a little wheezy in the last five or so, but not too bad.

Yeah, that's another thing. I really need to get the athsma under control. I've been taking the control inhaler twice a day like I'm supposed to, but I need to take it on a stricter schedule. First thing in the morning is okay, but waiting until 10 at night is not good. And again, need to remember to take the rescue inhaler before exercise-- especially cardio. I guess that's another goal to add.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


3 km, 1 hour ... in flippers.

Saying it out loud

They say that when you say your goals out loud, tell people about them, you stand a better chance of reaching those goals.

That's what this blog is all about. Me putting my goals out there into the world. Sure, the only people likely to read it are my wife, my family, and the friends I tell about it, but so what. If anything, I'll be able to find the words in a year or five easier than I would if I were to write them down in a notebook like I usually do.

I'm a strong proponent of "S.M.A.R.T" goals. Even if I can never remember what the "R" stands for-- I always think "Realistic", but then "A" as "Attainable" doesn't make much sense, because they're kind of the same thing. Thank you, wikkipedia. So RELEVANT!

Anyway, here's the goals (and for now, these are just the ones related to fitness)

1. I will exercise for 30 minutes every day
2. I will compete in two triathlons this season: one sprint, one olympic
3. I will lose 20 pounds by Christmas
4. I will .... set a more specific goal related to eating better sometime soon

Yeah, #4 isn't very "smart". Whatever.