Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This one made me laugh. Well, I know it really shouldn't - in fact it should make me cringe and that it did a little bit too. My training buddy Esther (as in Esther Lee - not to be confused with my wife Esther who really isn't all that much into triathlon stuff) posted some of her experiences at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre pool on her blog. Go ahead, read all about "weirdos" at the pool.
Swimming being my nemesis, I am always on the lookout for information on how to get better at it. Usually hoping for a Silver Bullet and then settling for any good tip. This video is great! Five Essential Swim Drills.
Via Stewart on Twitter: "The actual dataviz of that German MP who got Deutsche Telekom to hand over his GPS data: http://bit.ly/hBwRxp Fascinating (and a bit scary)."
Via my physio Timberly on Twitter: "#Run today? Or a good 'ole dose of heroin? I'll chose the run thanks. http://fb.me/VY9r8Mqt RT: @BMOVanMarathon @CardeaHealth #don'tdodrugs"
I am a bit of a fan of the sitcom "Outsourced" and know that a lot of people find this show not politically correct enough - to say the least. I am OK if you don't like it because it is not well enough acted or the jokes are not funny or whatnot. But please don't say that we can not make a little fun of any specific group of people in a kind and well-meaning way. In its own way every sitcom does exactly that. So, please Don't Hate Outsourced!
One of my training buddies with The Right Shoe tri club is Amanda. She and her fiancée Mike just did the ultimate crazy thing: they run 45km in Yellowknife - the Frostbite 45. An adventure that apparently included "Icicles On My Eyelashes" (well, hers - not mine thankyouverymuch)
One of our other training buddies is Kelli. And I just found out that Kelli made the "Athlete Video" for the 2009 Oliver Half Iron. 2009 was also my first time participating in that event. Great video and great event!
That's all for now. Have a great week all!
We also have the Pacific Rim Multisport Spring Training Camp in Osoyoos coming up from May 13 until May 16. Now this is less than 7 weeks away. Ohlalalala! But I am totally looking forward to it! Should be hard work but a lot of fun.
Theme of this week: I am pissed with my calf! Aarrgh!
Monday: Rest day as usual and nothing exciting to report. As mentioned, I did OK in the Harry's Spring Run Off the day before so I thoroughly enjoyed the rest day.
Tuesday: Had to work early again and and went swimming at the Y in the afternoon just before going to meet The Right Shoe group for a Beach Circuit workout.
Wednesday: Again went to work early and hit the Y for my strength training over lunch. And just like the previous week I did 90 min on the trainer in the evening followed by a 20 min run on the treadmill. Since it was reasonably warm that day I went for the first time this year on the trainer in a tri-suit. I can tell you that my backside is not ready for 90 min with just a hint of a chamois yet! (ouch!)
Thursday: The Wednesday strength followed by the brick tends to leave me pretty sore. Combine that with a very much sub-optimal sleep and you can imagine where my intentions to go swimming with the Dolphins went... yep, not happening. Decided to do the Friday run instead in the afternoon before going to The Right Shoe spin class. The run included drills and strides and two sets of 2 lateral drills after a good warm up. I ran from our place along the seawall to sunset beach nice and easy - a good 20 minutes. Already during that warm-up I felt really sluggish and sore. Did the D+S as well as the first set of lateral cross-overs and side-shuffles OK. Just when I took the first few steps of the second cross-overs I got a sharp pain in my right calf. At first I thought it was the Achilles tendon but then I noticed that it was a bit higher. Just on the inner and lower part of the calf muscle. Really painful! So I kinda hobble-jogged home and started icing it right away and took some ibuprofen. In the evening I took my bike to the spin class but took both the commute and the spin super easy.
Friday: Strongly modified strength session with no legs but a lot of foam rolling instead. Naturally also more icing (not the sweet kind mind you!) and ibuprofen. And did an hour swim. Evening was off as Esther and I went to La Terrazza for dinner. That dinner plus an already heavy Dim Sum lunch at Imperial Restaurant may also account for the less than stellar weight and body fat percentage numbers below... well along with another week of lacking dietary discipline in general.
Saturday: 4+ hour bike ride that was mostly dry. A real treat and a great ride. Calf felt excellent throughout the entire ride. Even saw an eagle at the pit stop at Iona Beach:
Sunday: Went to the Y at 9:00 AM for an hour swim and met up with my buddy Gen at 10:00 AM for 1.5 hours of water running. Read that again: 1.5 hours of water running. Thank god I had company! No way I would have been able to do that on my own. About as mind numbing as 4.5 hours on the trainer (not that I have ever done that!).
Upcoming week, as mentioned, is recovery week. I plan on doing my calf some good and going really easy and treating it just right so that next week I am back on normal training.
Week 12 Stats:
- 15 hours completed out of 17:40. 30 min of this is in a substituted Dolphin swim and the rest in the running that had to be eliminated after Thursday.
- Average weight was 0.2 pounds higher than then week before at 201.1
- Average body fat percentage held pace and went up by 0.1% to 21.2%
Hey, thanks as always for checking in. I'll promise that in the coming week I'll try a little harder to come up with some more interesting posts than these fairly lame WIRs.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Monday: Rest Day. Still somewhat sore form the TT the previous Saturday I think. So I was happy that today was a rest day.
Tuesday: Swim at the Y in the afternoon and then off to The Right Shoe for a 20 min sustained tempo wedged between a good warm-up and cool-down. Managed a good average 4:20 min/km for the tempo set and was very happy with that. But the legs got a little sorer...
Wednesday: Due to early morning meetings I did my strength session at the Y over lunch making sure the legs keep their solid soreness levels. In the evening I spend 90 min in zone 1 on the trainer followed by 20 min on the treadmill. I was wondering why the run felt so darn easy... I forgot to elevate the treadmill to 2%. Doh!
Thursday: Happy St. Patrick's Day! Made my guest appearance at the Dolphins early in the morning. And to do one extra green thing for the day I took my bike to the Riley Park Community Centre instead of taking the car. It did help that the weather was nice tho. The spin was - yep, you guessed it - more tempo. For some reason I had 20 min of tempo in mind - broken into 4 consecutive 5 min segments of high Z3, low Z3, high Z3, and low Z3. But after the third segment Lara mentioned that we are now over 50% done. Say what? Oh Sh**! It was actually 30 minutes total. The legs are surely not getting any less tired or sore with that.
Friday: With Harry's 8K run on Sunday I did not have to do any weights. Good thing too as I had early AM meetings again and just managed to get my 50 min run in before I had to go to work. But that was it for the day and I could rest in the evening. Desperately needed too. I was overall really fatigued.
Saturday: 2.5 hour bike ride in mostly nice weather. The first time my Cervelo P2 has seen the outside. I love this bike!! I postponed my swim to the next day in favour of more rest. I actually postponed the bike cleaning as well...
Sunday: Harry's 8k Spring Run-off Race Day -- with a very decent 10:00 AM start time. 20 min warm-up with drill and strides and off we were. My goal was to come in under 35 min by holding roughly a 4:20 min/km pace. I did come in at 34:37 by averaging 4:12 min/km. The course - at least how I ran it - was a good 250 meters long! In any case, I was very pleased with the result and know that if I would have gone 2km (or 1.75km as the case may be) longer I would have PB'd over the 10k. After the mandatory post race mingling and coffee there was still the outstanding hour of swimming at the Y.
Pretty darn good week all in all and I was really happily surprised that the rest on Friday evening and the bike ride on Saturday were enough to take the soreness out of my legs enough for a good race on Sunday. Allowing me of course to pour some more fresh soreness in...
Next week promises to be a bit of a whopper with just shy of 18 hours on the schedule including a 4:20 bike ride on Saturday and a 3:10 run Sunday.
Week 11 Stats:
- Pretty much completed the planned 12.5 hours of training without any notable changes or misses
- Average weight was 200.9 lbs and while this is still 1.2 lbs less than the week prior, it is still not back to the week 7 / 8 level.
- Average body fat was at 21.2% and thus down by 0.1% from the week prior but also not quite where I was on week 7 or 8.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
I went to the passport office today at around 12:15 PM (the worst time to go based on what my friend Paul told me) and the first lineup was not very long - waited maybe 5+ minutes. This was just to collect all the pieces required, making sure that all is there and in order.
I got back a plastic pouch with all my stuff in it and a ticket with my real waiting number: D632. So I start to sit down and stare at the numbers board: there were F's and A's and a B showed up after a while too. Having no patience whatsoever, after about 2 minutes I asked the security/info guy if he would be able to estimate the wait. He looked at my ticket and said "about 40-45 min". OK, so enough to hop down to the food court and grab a quick bite for lunch?!
"Well, if you come out of the elevator and go straight into the food court and then turn left, you'll see a monitor with the most recently called numbers. Just come back up when your number gets close."
Neat! So down I go and I see that the D-number is already at D630... oh crap! I quickly wolf down some less-than-healthy Chinese food as this was closest and by the time I was done it had changed already to D631.
Quickly back upstairs I take a seat and start playing round with my awesome new Samsung Galaxy S (that drains battery way too quickly) and within less than 10 minutes I was at the wicket.
This dude was super focused and simply motored through my stuff with most of the validations centering around my request for expedited processing as I may have to go to Buffalo for a few days of meetings. Much like boarder guards, the questions seemed to be designed to ascertain if you just made up the request of if your *really* have a travel date. "When are you travelling?" "Where are you going?" "Why are you going?" "When do you plan to travel?" "Is this for business?" and-so-on-and-so-forth... but no all in a row.
Then it was just paying the fee and I got my receipt and pickup notice for Friday, March 25. Holy Cow! All in all a super quick, painless, efficient, and impressive service.
Well done Government of Canada!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Great recovery week - too bad it is over.
Although weight wise I have not been doing well over the last three weeks and especially not this last week. While in the other two weeks I didn't really lose any weight, in this past week I actually gained some. I am not going to whine about it as I know the root cause quite well: simply lack of dietary discipline. Not more or less than that. So when it comes to nutrition and weight management I am more often than not my own worst enemy.
Training wise I only missed one swim with the Dolphins but made up for it (a tiny bit in any case) with riding my bike in absolutely shit conditions to the spin class on Thursday night.
Monday: Rest Day!
Tuesday: Had to work really early and decided to leave work early as well and went swimming for an hour just before the run with the Right Shoe. For the run we had intervals on the program: warm up followed by ABC's and two sets of 75 meter strides. Then 8 x 1 minute in zone 5 with 2 minute recoveries.
Wednesday: A great day to become a Canadian Citizen! I took the day off from work and went to the Y for an easy weight session. Then off to the citizenship ceremony followed by an easy one hour spinning. The evening reserved for celebrating my new Canadianess.
Thursday: No way that I could have gone swimming in the morning after the amount of celebrating the night before. Just enough time to make it to my early morning meetings at work. In the evening I rode my bike in gale force winds and pouring rain to the Riley Park Community Centre for the Right Shoe spin class. I figured that riding the bike there and back in those conditions just made up a little for the missed swim. Actually Esther was too busy at work and stood me up with the car so I had no choice, but I still took the bike :-)
Friday: I was supposed to take the morning off or just do some stretching but nob that I am, I did not read my training program properly and ended up doing light strength work. Doh! Oh well. I also ran to the Y beforehand but that actually was on the program.
Saturday: Indoor TT at the Peak Centre. Danny kicked my arse over the 15.75 km -hilly!- course by one minute. But I improved my previous time by 1.5 minutes and finished in something like 27.5 minutes. 33.3 km/h and ~ 260 watts average. In the afternoon I met again with Janka for another swim lesson. This time focusing on a timely roll and earlier breath while still keeping it nice and long and relaxed and completing a full circle with the shoulders in the recovery. Eventually I will nail this swimming thing!
Update on TT data: I forgot to hit the lap button at the start so I have to guess-timate it somewhat on the graph, but based on that I averaged 272 watts and 34.4 km/h and 89 RPM with an 7.19% HR decoupling over the 27:30 minutes and 15.75 km distance.Sunday: Lost an hour sleep due to the daylight savings time thingy. Not Happy! But we only had an easy Zone 1 1:50 hour run without any hills or tempos. After the run we met with Lawrence to catch up on his recovery progress and all sort of other things. And we also dropped by the Pacific Centre Mall where the Ride2Survive gang had a spin-a-thon set up to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. My buddy Alex was on his second 4-hr shift over the weekend. Great work guys!!
- Planned: 11 hours - Actuals: a little over 9.5 hours with the missing swim on Thursday being the culprit.
- Average weight was 202.1 lbs and with that 1.4 lbs higher than the previous week.
- Average body fat %-age went in sync with the wight and at 21.3% was 0.2% higher.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Good enough of an excuse to not go to work, but not good enough an excuse to bail on the planned workouts. As this is a recovery week, this was not too much of a problem.
I went to the Y for a short and easy weight training session shortly after 7:00 AM. This is kinda late for a normal day and so I was not too surprised that my training buddy Gen was not there anymore. Just as I got started I see her coming in tho. Strangely not in gym attire... well, she was done already. Gen just came back upstairs to give me a can of Pure Maple Syrup from her home town in Quebec. OMG YUM! Thanks Gen!
I am so going to enjoy this.
After the gym I stopped by Tim Hortons for breakfast. Can't get much more Canadian than that :-)
Of course I Rrrolled up the Rrrim to Win but, alas, was not a winner. Oh well, in my books I am a winner today either way I slice it.
Quick shower and before I could head out I had a quick call from Garmin regarding my last blog post. I'll update that later but it is super good news!
Off I was to the Italian Cultural Centre where the Citizenship Ceremony was held. I got there about 15 minutes before my scheduled 10:30 AM appointment. There were 400 people in this ceremony alone! And they are holding 6 ceremonies over two days. After today we have 2,400 new Canadians from this region alone.
The ceremony started just before 11:00 AM with the assistant (I am sure she had a different title but I cannot recall) telling us how this is all going to go down. Here is the short version:
- Stand as the judges and the Mountie walk in and take the stage
- The Citizenship Judge addresses the audience and gives a somewhat not-so-short speech
- We all stand and recite the Citizenship Oath bit-by-bit after the judge in both English and French
I affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
J'affirme solennellement que je serai fidèle et porterai sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs, que j’observerai fidèlement les lois du Canada et que je remplirai loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien.
- We are now officially Canadians!
- Some more words from the judge
- We stand as we sing Oh Canada
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
- Row-by-row comes up and gets their Citizenship Certificate and Citizenship Card from a judge.
- We get our picture taken with the judges and the Mountie
Then it was time for lunch and so went to a little Quebec diner near our place and had a smoked meat sandwich and poutine.
I still have some training to do: 1 hour easy spinning on the trainer.
Not sure yet what we are going to have for dinner but they have pints of Canadian on special at Jimmy's. We'll, if that is not a sign...
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, March 7, 2011
Last Tuesday my brand new Garmin heart rate monitor premium soft strap arrived. I got it for $50 + $7 tax + $10 shipping from GPScity.ca in Calgary. They consistently have the best price and shipping options for Garmin products in Canada. So much so that Garmin recommends them when their customer service fails yet again and they have no qualms about suggesting to buy a new, replacement product after the original failed only 9 month after purchase.
Perhaps I need to explain...
In June 2010 I bought a brand new HR strap at the Oliver Half Iron race expo as my old one was super unreliable. In all honesty I probably wrecked it as I didn't treat it with a lot of love... showered with it, chucked it in the laudry machine, etc. OK so for the race I wanted a reliable strap and so I shelled out the some-70-odd bucks at the Fresh Air Experience booth.
Then, a few weeks ago on a Sunday long run with The Right Shoe it just stopped working. At first I thought it was the battery and I soon replaced it. Nope... that wasn't it. Also, the performance didn't degrade: on Saturday it worked and on Sunday it didn't.
I decided to call Garmin customer support and prepared myself for a long wait. Instead I was positively surprised by what must have been less than a minute on hold!
After the usual explaining of the issue and going through the requisite process of elemination of what it does not appear to be, the CSR (Customer Service Rep) agreed that it must be a faulty unit and they would ship me a new one. All I have to do is email a copy of the receipt to him as proof of purchase. Err, I bought it at a race expo and don't think I kept the receipt - if I ever got one to begin with. Again, no problem... just send a scan of the credit card statement with the other charges blacked out.
Great! Oh, by the way, I live in Canada. "Oh, wait a moment. That might be a problem. Do you know someone in the US this can be send to?" Was the confused sounding response from the CSR. I told him that I don't really and ideally have it shipped to the country where I live and Garmin sells thousands and thousands of products in every year. Well, I didn't say the thing about the products but that's kind of obvious. He said that I'd have to pay import duties and I told him that if it ships with regular postal service I may or may not have to pay those and that I'm happy to take the chance. Then he asked if he could put me on hold. Of course...
When he came back things took a turn for the utterly bizarre! He basically told me that they could not do that because shipping costs would exceed one hundred dollars. WHAT? How the heck are you shipping? I really don't need the president of your company hand-deliver the replacement with a hand-witten letter of apology, you know?!
OK, so how about I do give you a US shipping address? As I remembered The Letter Carrier service out in Point Roberts. No, sorry, that can now not be done anymore! Why not? Well, you see, now that we know that you live in Canada, we would be committing fraud and be liable for '000s of dollars of funes if caught?
WTF? For What?? Well, clearly we would be trying to evade import duty regulations.
Now I am sitting there on the phone and all I could think was that I must get my hands on whatever it is they are smoking at Garmin.
The remainder of the conversation continued to be utterly odd and seemingly pointless:
- you agree the unit is broken and needs replacement? Yes.
- if I lived in the US I would receive a free replacement? Yes.
- you sell your products legally in Canada? Err, yes.
- for accessories you do not have a Canadian service provider as you do for main units? No, but we recognize we should and are working on it.
- so my only option is to go out and (quite legally) buy a new heart rate strap in Canada less than a year after the last one? Yes, but I can give you the web address of a retailer in Canada that sells them really cheaply.
- and you are sure that this does not violate any import laws making you liable for '000s of dollars in fines? Err, yes, quite sure.
-- rant --
See, Garmin does make the best (accuracy, usability, features) GPS enabled fitness watches and accessories. And when they work all is super-well. Unfortunaty they tend to not work for some reason or another. Maybe that is because they (Garmin) push the boundaries of technology? I don't know. And maybe living in the US this is not a problem. But I spend my money (and lots of it - ask my wife!) on Garmin products in Canada. And here their customer support falls short. Way short. Is abysmal. Sucks really!
-- end rant --
Sunday, March 6, 2011
- Weight: from 206.6 lbs on 01-Feb to 201.6 on 28-Feb - down by 5 lbs
- Calories: net 16,842 consumed more than burned assuming a 1,981 cal RMR per day
- TSS: 583 (average)
- Workouts: 51.5 hours
The funny thing is that I seem to have consumed just shy of 17,000 calories more than I have burned in the month of February. Assuming that each pound we gain or shed is worth 3,500 calories, I should have gained 5 pounds and instead I lost 5 pounds. Hey! Not that I am complaining, but it does mean that I am severely over-reporting my intake, or severely under-reporting my expenditure. Both of which I really don't believe. I need to look into that.
Strange thing is that although the workload did markedly go up -- Training Stress Scores of 648 and 971 respectively -- my weight really has not dropped one bit. In fact it slightly crept up by almost one half pound (average for the week) from the end of the last recovery week. I am not going to stress and/or obsess over this as I know that I have made some, err, questionable nutritional choices along the way that included Red Wine, Guinness, and Poutine among other things. Discipline in that area is something I am still severely lacking!
Mondays: Rest days as usual with week 8 being also a recovery from the half marathon and illness.
Tuesdays: I have taken to skip the Dolphins on Tuesday for good now and am going to the Y instead. Evenings with The Right Shoe for the group run: week 8 hills and week 9 tempo. This last Tuesday I had also strength training with my coach to update my program and fine-tune it.
Wednesdays: Bricks in the evening but due to life-getting-in-the-way I skipped the run this Wednesday. So I guess it really wasn't a brick then but rather just a bike. It was supposed to get really cold and windy so I brought my bike and trainer into the living room and watched "In Bruges" (love that flick!) on my laptop.
Thursdays: Both weeks I went to the Dolphins in the morning and The Right Shoe spin class in the evening. I enjoy the Dolphins so much more now that I am only going once a week! And I always love our spin classes.
Fridays: Last week I ran around False Creek to the Y in the morning and then did the strength session. Week 8 I tweaked my groin a bit by having been a little too aggressive with the loaded squats and so I didn't want to aggravate it any further and decided to skip the run. Good call too as it cleared up pretty quickly over the next few days.
Saturday: Both weeks we rode indoors at the Peak Centre for Human Performance on their CompuTrainers on various sections of the IMC course -- 3:20 and 3:45 hours respectively -- and followed it up with a short 15 minute brick run. Also on both weeks I went swimming afterwards. On week 8 with my swim coach Janka. She has really great feedback and while I think I am right now getting slower, I am also a lot more aware of what I am doing in the water. Especially after she video recorded a few goes... SHOCKING! Say no more... I am planning on another session with her next week.
Sundays: Long runs with The Right Shoe as usual -- 2:30 and 2:45 respectively. Week 8 was interesting as we had a quite a bit of snow which made for interesting footing.
- About 15 and 16.5 hours respectively out of the 17 planned hours completed.
- Average weight for the weeks was: 200.3 and 200.7 lbs respectively. Which is down nada - nix - nothing - riente from the week prior. In fact as mentioned above, week 9 is 0.4 lbs up.
- Average Body Fat % for the weeks is 21.0 and 21.1% respectively. Again, pretty steady.