April 2006 Archives

The Pit


I worked pretty hard this week on trying to get my training back up to the level it was at in April. All the while, I was surrounded by sick people, both at work and at home. It all caught up with me Thursday night when, after tucking the kids into bed, I eschewed my planned run and crawled into bed myself. 12 hours later, I was calling in sick to work.

I felt better yesterday, but still took it easy. This morning, I felt ok when I got up (though my stomach was unsettled during breakfast, which is unusual). It was with trepidation that I drove down to the store, with a 30km run pencilled in.

They say that there's a two week lag in training - whatever you do doesn't really get reflected in your fitness level for two weeks. If that's true, then today's run was an investment in the future. Two weeks ago I wasn't really running yet, so I expected that this run would be very, very hard (despite last Sunday's successful run). No matter how much I struggled, though, I knew that getting a tough, injury free run would pay dividends down the road.



I guess the gauntlet was thrown down on Tuesday. The swim coach mentioned that she wanted us doing 3000 metres every practice. Somehow, I can't shy away from a challenge like that. So, this morning, I walked into the pool prepared for big mileage.

3000m in 1:15 amounts to 1km every 25 minutes. Our opening set was 400/300/200/100. I don't remember the details, but it was mostly free, with a bit of variety to give the muscles a break.

Since provincials were last weekend, the fast side of the pool was nearly empty. Rather than the two coaches splitting the lanes 4 and 4, our coach was offered 6 lanes. So, after the first thousand, I was in a lane with R. R is pretty much as fast as I am, and will likely be faster sooner or later. The lane arrangement was welcome - R would push me, and we'd have the lane to ourselves.

The second set was 100/200/300/400. I'd taken it easy for the first 100, but it was occurring to me that I needed to start motoring. I tried to cut my breaks a bit short, and forged ahead whenever I could. The 200 was 4x50 kick, I think, which was tough, but the 300 was pull, which was very, very welcome. The 400 was 2x(50 not, 150 free). I just could not think of what I wanted to do as not free. I ended up doing a wimpy breast for the first 50 (some knee pain, so my kicks were, um, lazy) and back for the second 50. Up until that point, most of the optional stuff had been fly, but I was too tired for fly.

I got finished in right around 50 minutes for the 2000m; on pace, but barely.

Our next set was 5x50m on :55, either pull or swim. I opted for pull - no contest. I really focused on a strong, steady pull. The next set was 3x100m descent on 1:55. I went WAY too hard on the first 100, and came in in 1:35. And that was supposed to be my slow 100. The next one went off in 1:40. The last one was 1:35 again, and I paid the price for it.

The last set was 3x150, 30 seconds rest in between. It was either 50 fast/100 easy or 100 easy/50 fast, our choice. I chose to go hard at the end, as it seems, mentally, the easier choice. Shockingly, I dropped R on the first 150. He'd been right on my the whole way, pushing me. He's just getting over a marathon, though, so maybe he hit his limit. The second 150, the gap stayed the same, perhaps narrowing. Knowing that the last 150 would give me 3k, I enjoyed the easy 100, and really pushed on the 50. I'd say I finished up with about a minute to spare.

I think that, out of the 6 lanes, R and I were the only ones to finish the full 3k. I have to say, what an awesome feeling! (Except, maybe, for my shoulders.)

There's something about being issued a challenge that I just seem to respond well to.



I had originally pencilled in a bike commute today, weather permitting. While the rain from the last few days stopped yesterday afternoon, it was -2C when I woke up this morning. Try as I might, I could not convince myself that a ride would be fun.

So, I opted to run instead.

I opted to try an easy 12km run. I was doing 12-13km on Wednesday mornings before around the Bay. I figured if I gave myself a few minutes grace, I just might be able to manage it.

I wore my gloves as I headed out the door into the morning twilight. It was a bit chilly, but with winter such a recent memory, the air felt wonderful. What didn't feel so good were my abs. They felt exhausted for some reason. As a result, I was barely able to muster a 6:00/km pace out the door. (Which was fine.)

As I plodded through the neighbourhood, my gait felt off, as though I was striking the ground way too hard. Whether it was that, my lack of speed, or something else, I'm not sure. When I finally hit Bren Maur I started to feel a bit more comfortable. I think my pace picked up a bit, too. I hit the turnaround in 34:00 (proving to myself that I'd been running faster than I thought I had).

On the way back, the sunrise was in my face, and I could feel it warming me up. I took off my gloves, and enjoyed myself. I watched all the people scurrying off to work, and took some secret satisfaction in the simple fact that I was enjoying the morning.

I rolled home in 1:07 - no great shakes by Febrary/March standards, but faster than I thought I'd manage it. More importantly, I felt ok, and stretched out thoroughly.

Right now, the plan is to swim tomorrow, but not run unless I really feel up to it. The weather promises to be mediocre until the weekend, so I may hold off cycling until Saturday morning. We'll see.

Paying the Price


I was very pleased with how I felt on Sunday. I didn't bonk or fade late in the long run. I was able to stay awake and active for the rest of the day. All in all, things went well.

I had a hard time getting up early on Monday morning, though. I slept in until 7, when I'd hoped to be up at 5. When our house guests left at 7:30, I found myself headed immediately to bed.

But it wasn't until this morning that I realized that I was paying a price for Sunday. I put in a fairly solid 9+ hours of sleep last night, and I was still a wreck this morning. I could barely function. This did not bode well for swimming.

Our opening set was 2x 5x50, with various drills and such. The first time through I did freestyle, and the second I attempted fly. The free was ok, the fly was yuck. I took lots of breaks, though, on the fly. We then did some build work, followed by some drills.

The main set was 10x100 free on 1:55. I'm pretty sure we did something like this last month, and I breezed through it. That certainly wasn't the case this morning. My first 100 was done in 1:35, but I slowed down almost right away. My arms felt like lead, and I just wasn't transferring any power to the water. I started swimming a whole lot of 1:45s, which would have been ok 6 months ago, but based on last month felt kinda slow. On the 8th set, I barely pulled out a 1:50. Knowing I was close, I pushed hard to try to finish strongly, but all I could manage was 2 more 1:45s.

More important than my times was how I was feeling. No power.

Our next set mixed in a bit of non-free in a mostly free set. Somewhere in the first set (250m free, 50 fly), I rediscovered some form. I was able to get a good catch at the top of the stroke, and had a nice, solid (not fast) pull, combined with better body rotation. I was probably a bit stiff and my form might have been exaggerated, but I opened up small gaps on my lanemates, so something was going better. It felt better, anyways. I struggled to hold that form for the rest of the session.

Since swimming, I've felt like it was Thursday; meaning I've been eating nonstop. I have a feeling that my energy levels may oscillate a bit this week, but I'm determined to ride the waves. The marathon is coming up fast, and my resolve continues to firm up. I'm running it, one way or another!

Superheroes and Cliches


Funny story.

I'm cycling with Bill, and we pull into Stonington for a break. I'm kneeling down, because resting is easier when you're closer to the ground, when Bill takes my picture. Oh, yeah. So, I take out my camera to reciprocate, and I have to laugh.

From my vantage point, it's pure Hollywood. There's the american hero, with the flag conveniently placed over his shoulder.

Then again, he did drop me on the hill in Mystic.

My Own Backyard

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My goal for this morning was to survive a 20km run, and to use the run to gauge my fitness. Running-wise, April's been fairly off, and I need to answer some questions fairly quickly, with the race weekend coming up next month.

I decided to tag along behind the 4:00 marathon group, but I wasn't really impressed with the route they were running. About 1km in, I passed M, running the other way. I turned around and ran with him, to say hi and to chat. I ended up running with him, and while it was a bit faster than I'd planned on, I ended up being very glad that I did.

M was running 30km, and suggested that I could run 10km with him then turn around. He said that he'd be running through my old stomping grounds. We ran up the canal, through the arboretum, then on to farm. M had run Around the Bay as well, so we chatted about the race, and various other goings on. On the far side of the farm, we picked up the bike path, and ran along the northern edge of the farm. The ground rose steadily here, to one of the highest points in the city (don't laugh). Eventually, we broke into a fairly wooded area, right as we hit the 10km mark.

My return journey was obviously downhill, but it was also into a stiff, cold breeze. It had been drizzling all morning, and my hands were burning from the cold and the damp. As I hit the farm, I realized that the road I was running on was shared by both the Hypothermic Half (PB) and Barrier Breaker 5km (PB). My old stomping grounds indeed.

I had some quad tightness both at the start and towards the end of the run, but my consultant tells me that's likely due to the cycling that I've been doing. All in all, the 20km came fairly easily. I was pleased with how I was able to handle it (though I'm SO sleepy right now).

Hopefully, though, I won't be seeing too much more of today's weather.



I came back from New England full of excitement. I had a lot on my plate, and suddenly I couldn't wait for the courses to arrive.

Tuesday, though, was a day of reflection. A day to spend time with family. A day of eating. Non-stop. A day of sleep. Basically, a day to balance the two travel days which preceded it.

Wednesday, I was up at 5am, and out the door just after 6. I was aiming for 8km, but had absolutley no ambitions as to pace. After the first 10 minutes, I found that my pace started to pick up a little bit. I let it, but did not push it. My time was reasonable, but unspectacular.

This morning, I was back in the pool. We did a fairly long set - 2550 metres. I finished in time to be able to tack on an easy 200, with plenty of rest between the 25s.

Then, after a second breakfast and a litre of water, I was on the bike, for the 13 mile commute to work. The wind ended up being from the north, so it was rather in my face. I didn't feel too awful, but nor was I flying. On the way home, same deal, but with wind at my back. I eased up on all the downhills, not aiming for speed, but for comfort and stability. I got plenty of clipping practice, and with the exception of a near fall when nobody was around, that part was uneventful. (Thank goodness!)

I think that commuting is going to influence me towards a more rounded, triathlon approach to training. I want to keep my mileage high, and I'll probably aim to run 20km on Sunday, if I can manage it. The bike can no longer be kept at bay, so I might as well put it to good use and save myself some gas.

Ok, so we saw some of the fastest runners in the world sprint by. Time to go home, right?

Not a chance. It was time to start the jeff watch. The running chicks had been given his expected timetable, so we knew when, roughly, he was hoping to come by. As the time approached, I got out the sign my kids had made for jeff's qualification attempt back in January.

I was up early Monday and, with a fistful of directions in my hand, I made my way to Framingham, Massacheussets.

Once I arrived, I scoped out the general area. I found Waverly Street no problem. Even though it was 10am (and the race didn't start until 11:30, with no runners expected until after 12), there were already people starting to line the streets, setting up booths and barricades, and generally being festive.


Cycling in New England


In some circles, it's considered wimping out to drive to a location just to bike there. The theory is that you should ride from home, ride the location, then ride home. I think that in this case, I can be excused for wimping out.

I was out the door at 5:30, and headed east. There's an old adage about never living east of where you want to go for the day, because you'll always have the sun in your eyes. Yeah, it happened, but I also got to see some pretty nice morning skies.


After a while, the words turned funny, then the numbers did. But nothing told me that I was in a strange new world quite like the scenery. They don't have hills like this in southern Ontario.




Back in February, I remarked to my wife how 2006 really hadn't been a good year. It wasn't so much about us, but about people we knew. It's April now, and if anything, the news is getting worse, not better.

I heard yesterday that a member of my swim club had died over the weekend. He'd been cycling, and had collapsed.

I wasn't sure until today exactly who it had been, and if I'd known them. Turns out I did know them, though not well. If you'd lined up all the people in the pool, you'd have probably picked this guy as being the most fit. He was better at all three triathlon displines than I am. He was younger than me. His wife is pregnant with their first child.

It's pretty sobering when you first see someone your own age die. I'm still in my early thirties, and it has happened far, far too often already. Peter, Brian, Ian, Katherine, Chris. "Only the good die young" seems like a stupid saying until your collection starts to grow, and you're left to wonder why.

When a friend of mine got home from swimming yesterday, having heard the news, the first thing he did was hug his kids. There's not much else to say, is there?


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Sunday, the family went for a bike ride together. We hooked up the trailer to my as yet unnamed bike, and the whole family went for a quick spin around the neighbourhood. We ended up going 6km, which felt short to me but long to everyone else. It was a reasonable 10 degrees outside, though I still dressed warmly.

Yesterday, I was admiring the 18 degree weather from my office, and seriously thinking about trying to fit in a ride before dinner. On the drive home, I passed my family out running errands on the bike. I really didn't need any more incentive than that. I put on my tri shorts and Around the Bay tee, and off I went. After an around-the-block with the family, I took off for a short ride of my own. (I was already feeling the saddle, and didn't want to go too far too soon.)

I opted for a modified version of my usual 5km running loop. I tried to keep my speed up, and was able to hold ~35 km/hr for a bit. Once I turned around, I was lucky to hold 30 km/h into the breeze. I was gasping for air, and tiring quickly, but loving it.

Oh, this is going to be a fun summer.

A Tourist in Boston


Well, it's confirmed. I'll be spectating the Boston Marathon next week. I can't express how much I'm looking forward to the trip. I can't wait to see jeff run his race. I can't wait to see my (fast) friend who will be running. I'm going to be close enough to a legend to touch it.

I can feel the excitement. It's already transforming itself into motivation. 'cause you know, once a monkey sees something, he'll probably want to do it, too.


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Recent Comments

  • Cheryl: Right on Wendy! read more
  • Wendy: That swimming fitness will be back before you know it! read more
  • deene: you have to listen to your body, you probably needed read more
  • Cheryl: The heat, mixed with the humidity were extreme and it read more
  • Wendy: Sorry to hear you were so ill, Warren, but good read more
  • Cheryl: Sounds like a tough go! It's a shame that everyone read more
  • deene: anything timed in seconds and with repeats sound tough to read more
  • jank: Ease comes soon while riding in a group. As long read more
  • warren: Sadly, no. Nor did I delve into the Leguminosae family read more
  • jeff: WOOHOO! did you ever come up with a name for read more

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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