Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Missed Second Swim Practice Now

Every now and so often I teach project management intro sessions for Multimedia and Web Development at UBC Continuing Studies. Currently I am in such a gig that runs over 4 Monday evenings from 6:30 until 9:30. Of course that means that I am not home until 10-ish and best case scenario am ready to sleep some time after 11.

Yesterday that was exactly the case. I also figured since this is a recovery week I take the car to the pool and don't have to put much gear together in the evening -- don't need much and what I need I can grab in the morning.

The thing with teaching for me is that I cannot do that sitting down. So I am standing and pacing for the three hours. And with Sunday's surprise tempo in the legs still, I was really feeling it. Especially when I woke up shortly after midnight! Oh brother! My legs were killing me. Like I just ran a 10k PB.

At that time I think I started already flirting with the idea to bail on swimming... In any case, when the alarm went off at 4:45 AM and I went to the washroom, it was pretty much decided that I'd go straight back to bed. And that's what I did.

But now I do feel somewhat guilty! I know Macca says that guilt is the triathlete's worst enemy (paraphrasing here) but I can milk that only so much and I already missed Saturday's swim practice without feeling too guilty.

Anyway, I may go for an hour after strength training tomorrow and before work. Or I may go Friday morning with the Dolphins or both.

So, off now to The Right Shoe for our Tuesday run. Today is fartlek on the program I reckon.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Surprise Tempo


After the ride and the dinner party last night a 20 minute tempo run at the end of our 1:45 run with The Right Shoe today was the last thing on my mind this morning. But this is exactly what Lara had in mind for those of us who signed up for the "First Half" half marathon on Sunday, February 13.

My legs felt like concrete blocks before the run - the tempo did not help them feeling any better. But in the end I was glad I did it.

More worrisome is that I was really (!) looking forward to a recovery week next week and Lara told us that we are having another long run next week and then shorter run the next week - the week prior to the First Half. Makes total sense tho. Just unfortunate that we are not getting the recovery Sunday I was hoping for.

When I got home from the run today I was headed straight for the shower and then to bed to finish what I started earlier in the morning. As tired as I was, I could not sleep. Urgh.

After some time I just gave up and went to Costco to get some food for the week including beef for the slowcooker which I will make with a chipotle espresso sauce for pasta. While there I finally got the Kirkland 13-piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set. Awesome quality and super affordable -- $200. Don't be fooled by the $ 300 price tag online - it's $195 in the store.

I am a happy - albeit sore - Running Chef now! 
Thanks for stopping by. 


I Bathed With Santa Claus

Ewww! That did not sound right... In fact you may not want your kids to read this or they are going to be turned off Christmas / Santa for the rest of their lives. Come to think of it, it turns me of Christmas...

Perhaps I better explain quickly then!

Some of the stocking stuffers I got for Christmas from Esther were bath bombs from Lush. One was shaped in the form of Santa Claus and was all red.

Today @LawrenceGrigg, Gen, Grant, Alex, Jason, and I went for a 3:20 bike ride to Horseshoe Bay and back with the add-on up Spanish Banks Hill and back via Chancellor.

Once I was home I was in need for a relaxing soak in the tub. I decided to use one of the bath bombs and chose the Santa shaped one. The other are just plain round. It fizzed and bubbled and turned to water all red. Kinda looked like I was bathing in a tub of cranberry cocktail.

In the end it did have the desired effect of relaxing and me and putting me in a nice a mellow state before we headed out to meet our friends Flora and Chris for dinner at their house.

Dinner was as always plenty and absolutely delicious! We had pork shoulder roasted with a chipotle sauce, roasted potatoes, steamed carrots, and salad. Flora brings the chipotles from Mexico every time she goes home and I the lucky guy who ends up scoring a few cans as well :-)

Add to the dinner some awesome tequila and plenty of cerveza and good company and the evening was a hit!

Not so hot is the idea that I have to get up at around 6:00 AM tomorrow err later today to go running with The Right Shoe Marathon Clinic at 8:00 AM for a 1:45 run. And since I am leading one of the pace groups I cannot bail on it as easily as I did on my swim this morning at 6:30... (and for full disclosure... I am quite tentative as to whether I am going to make up for the swim tomorrow - actually I will probably not!)

Anyway, time for bed so I am not a complete basket case later today!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Shut Up For One Minute!

No, really! Just for one minute if you please.

This is what I wanted to yell at our tri coach at the end of the tempo segment of our spin class today.

Now don't get me wrong! I love our coach Lara Penno with The Right Shoe Tri Club. I have trained with her for my running for over 5 years and for triathlon now in the 3rd year. She is great and really gets people to achieve their desired goals. Couldn't - wouldn't! - ask for a nicer coach!

So here is the scenario:
Long and proper warm warm up at our Thursday night spin class. Then we are doing a 20 min tempo. Now I am no slouch and when we say we do tempo, I will do tempo and push it.

Enter Lara. She does what a good spin instructor is supposed to do: provide the music - check; start out by giving the instructions for the set - check; then provide feedback and motivation throughout the set - check check check check ... !

See I didn't so much mind and was able to basically not hear what I didn't want to hear in the first ten minutes. But towards the end, all I could hear was "stay strong keep up your cadence focus nice big circles focus keep up your stay cadence strong stay nice big circles ... " On and on and on - not a minute or even 30 seconds went by without some razzmatazz! I couldn't take it!

And all I wanted to do... is, well, focus! And stay strong. And keep up my cadence. And pedal nice big circles.

Well, we all survived and the dozen + people there aside from me I am sure appreciated her feedback and motivation. It was just that I was in my typical negative mood that I tend to get into when the lactate mmol/l accumulation gets a bit high.

This negative mindset is really something I need to speak to with a Sports Psychologist - Roger Friesen - who spoke at The Right Shoe this week before the Tuesday Run Clinic. Not helpful to my performance and certainly not fair to our coach during spinning :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

WKO+, Decoupling, and Getting Worse Before Better

The WKO+ software is driving me nuts! It is quite powerful but not terribly user friendly. Then one comes across all those great articles and other write-ups that tell you that you can do this and that with WKO+ but trying to do this is of course a whole different story.

To be fair, I have not really had the chance to dive into it and really grok it.

The latest headache for me is trying to determine my heart rate and power decoupling. In short, the more "coupled" the two are the better your aerobic endurance. Kinda important -- especially for long course triathletes.

When I first read about it in Joe Friel's book Going Long, he mentions 2-hour tests and I only did a one hour ride last night, but for that ride I tried to stay smack-dab in the middle of my Zone 1 heart rate, which I did. After the first 10 min were all over the show that is. The test was to see then what he power would do. The result: the power stayed pretty constant at around 200 watts -- also low Zone 1 for power. This, then, translates into a decoupling of 1.15% as per WKO+. Apparently this is really good... Although I suspect that if I actually did a 2-hour test the power would start to drop off quite a bit at the same heart rate.

Anyway, here is a picture but unfortunately I cannot seem to get the proper horizontal lines like in the examples in the link above:

Anyway, I'll have to invest some time and RTFM and learn the software better to get proper use from it. 

My swim this morning left me again somewhat wanting. Not as bad as Tuesday and I did have a really good pull set (pulling is my strength) but still nothing to write home about. 

Speaking with my friend Lawrence (who is a really good swimmer) after the swim he mentioned that it is quite common that one gets worse when applying all the previously missing technique, before eventually getting better. 

Oh I hope he is right! 

That's all for now! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am such a dolt!

First I had to get up at 6:00 AM for a meeting at work at 7. So I figured I do the meeting and then leave for the YWCA for my strenght training right after.

So why did I set my alarm for 5:00?? What a knob!

Anyway, now I am futzing around with the alarm clock in the dark (it's a really old analog kind with the stuff that makes the hands glow (phosphor?) long since worn off) trying to set it to 6am.

Of course I am not quickly falling asleep again and when I did the alarm went off again and it was 5:24. WTF??

Well, I may as well get up... A venti-non-fat-no-foam-pike-place-misto from Starbucks on the way to work and I was ready! It was a great meeting too in which we got a lot accomplished in little time.

Now it was off to the Y to build some serious muscles! Or maybe not so serious... not sure.

And what do I realize in the change room as soon as I took my shoes off? I FORGOT MY GYM SHOES AGAIN! ARGH!

As I was not about to work out in dress shoes, I re-jigged my program quicly so that I could do most, if not all of the exercises, in the studio instead of the weight room. You see, in the studio its OK to be barefooted/in socks - they just don't like it in the weight room for the obvious injury/liability reasons.

Thankfully the studio was available at that time and so I got a good workout in nonetheless. Albeit with a modified program -- but better than nothing.

My goal for tonight is to ride 1hr on the trainer at pretty much exactly my mid zone 1 heart rate. Then see how the power relates to that. Ideally it should be a pretty even line to the heart rate. Although I suspect it won't be... Stay tuned.

After the ride I'll do a 20min brick on the treadmill.

Good times!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Really Crappy Swim Today

Not sure what was going on, but I had a really lame swim today.

Serious lack of general motivation, slow, un-coordinated, blah... Not Fun!

Maybe it was because I was a minute late to the pool and seemed to be playing catch up all the time..?

Nonetheless, now I am glad I went and did my hour and a half. Also, the weather is dry and not too cold so the ride to the pool and then to work was nice.

And I am looking forward to the beach circuit run with The Right Shoe later tonight.

So its not all bad! Let's hope the rain stays away.

Train On! Only about 13.5 more hours of training this week :-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Big Training Day Today

Holy Cow! Today was a big day. And an early day for a Saturday too.

The day started with the alarm going off just before 6:00 AM to get ready for the swim training at 6:30 AM with the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre (VAC). 1.5 hours of what is hard swimming for me today with my favorite (NOT!): a lot of kicking. Ouch!

Then rushing home for a quick shower and breakfast and getting ready for our long ride. We were meeting up at 9:30 AM at The Right Shoe on 4th and Fir. The Right Shoe Tri Club is our triathlon training club but today was not a coached ride.

Even though I still had to put fenders on my road bike and pump the tires, I should have had plenty of time. But I could not for the live of me find my Garmin Heart Rate Strap -- and still can't. This is driving me nuts!! So of course this put me way behind in time and I ended up leaving without. Oh well...

I also had to pack a small back pack with swim gear for another round after the bike. I had a swim lesson with my swim coach Janka scheduled for 2:30 PM at the VAC. So I needed the backpack for the swim stuff and a lock so I'd still have a bike after the swim.

So I just made it in time for 9:30 AM to meet with @lawrencegrigg, @gencauffope, and Lorena. Grant and Jason would meet us later along the way.

We were aiming for about a 3 hour ride and decided to do the Steveston Loop out via Spanish Banks and UBC and back via South West Marine and Camosun. Bang on 3 hours!

Along the way my cadence sensor stopped working. Dang! Something else to fix... And we lost Jason and Lorena. Double Dang!! Especially since they did not know Steveston that well and got a bit lost. In the end they found their way home and had a good and safe ride too.

After the ride I quickly picked up my backpack from The Right Shoe and met up with @lawrencegrigg and @gencauffope at the Bean Around The World on Cornwall for a large Soy Latte and a Blueberry Scone! Yum!! That hit the spot and gave me just enough time to rest before going back to the VAC to meet with Janka.

Sharply at 2:30 PM my lesson started and Janka was kind enough to call it "only a slight regression of my swim technique over the holidays". Thanks Janka! :-)

Today we worked first on the length of my push through and not just with the full extended arm but also with a relaxed shoulder for some extra distance. Then we worked on keeping my elbow higher longer in the recovery phase. And finally we went to work on kick coordination as well. Or as Janka put it: "your arms and your legs are really doing their own thing but not very coordinated". Yea, no shit! She had me do a bit of Dolphin kicks with just kicking at first. Then with single arm and then with both arms. That went really well and made a lot of sense! We she had me then translate it into the 2-beat kick it kinda came apart.

Oh well, lots to work on over the nest 30+ weeks before Ironman Canada! Here is my training plan for the next 2 weeks exported from TrainingPeaks.

After this was all set and done I went home, showered and had a little snack. Then my wonderful (and incredibly patient!) wife Esther and I went for a walk in the rain. Went to H&M and then to Yew for a lovely Champagne Cocktail called Vaastu Shastra and some more snacks (after a training day like today I cannot seem to stop eating!).

Then it was home and making dinner: Spaetzle with cheese and over easy eggs and a side of romaine lettuce and tomatoes with a citrus - yogurt dressing. And some red wine of course.

Now... I am really tired and am ready for bed!
Tomorrow... Run with The Right Shoe Marathon Clinic for 1.5 hours.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!