Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Long Run

Yesterday was my long run, a 6 miler. Nothing fancy or special about it, except the amount that I can sweat, done in about 50 minutes. Slower then planned, but it was crazy hot and super humid. I started at 8pm and it was still over 30C + humidity. I was dripping before I got through the first mile. I kept a steady 8:14 pace for the first three, then my left calf started to cramp (not surprising given the heat) and the last three were at 8:33. It's still a little tender today, weird. Nothing at all in my right Achilles, that's a good thing.

I've been giving my legs ice bathes for the last few nights. I take our biggest pot, fill it with cold water, add ice and then soak each leg for ten minutes, twice. Getting in is interesting / painful, but it's done wonders for working out the kinks from my lower legs and feet. Very refreshing after a hot run like yesterdays.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Combining Workouts

This week my schedule had a speed workout yesterday and I have a tempo run tomorrow. I've had to do some training for work this week, so I wasn't able to run yesterday and won't be able to tomorrow either. So tonight, I combined my workouts.

I started with the tempo run, just 3 miles. My target pace was 7:35-7:40 per mile, I finished at 7:34 per mile. It was a terrible start. It felt like my legs were made of lead, it took about the first mile to get into it. So sore and tight all over. I guess I've been on my feet a lot at work and I was really feeling it in the first bit. But by mile 2, things were feeling good and the pace was very steady. Overall, this started out as a bad run, but turned into a very good one.

After I was done, I headed over to the high school track a block away. My speed workout was 4 x 400 at a target pace of 91 seconds per 400 or 6:04 mile pace, with 2 minute recoveries in between intervals. I was a little unsure how fast I'd be able to go, with tired legs and having just done 3 miles at tempo, but it was only 4 x 400's, if I can't suck THAT up, what good am I? My intervals were: 92, 89, 92 & 92 or a 6:05 mile. Bingo! I was very happy with that. Not to say that I wasn't working hard on the third and forth intervals, but I did what I set out to do.

A day off training tomorrow and a long ride on Sunday. Hopefully this week I'll be able to bike farther than I ran.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My Achilles Heel

We all know who Achilles was right? An ancient Greek warrior, he is known for being the most handsome of the heroes assembled at Troy, as well as the fleetest. When Achilles was born, according to the most common version of the myth, Thetis (his mother, a sea nymph) tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx. But she forgot to wet the heel she held him by, leaving him vulnerable at that spot, the Achilles tendon. It's kind of a bad break, but that's also where he was fatally wounded. Kind of like Lou Gehrig getting Lou Gehrig's disease.

After I did my triathlon last August, it took me a few days to work some kinks out of my legs. One major stiffness was in my right Achilles tendon. I battled soreness in it for a little while, then added an elastic ankle brace to my running wardrobe and things improved dramatically. No more stiffness, no more soreness. Good deal.

I kept wearing the brace during my runs and at some point during the winter the soreness started coming back. Recently it has been getting worse again. Although it never hurt during the run, the morning after (even if I stretched my Achilles thoroughly) it would be very stiff and quite painful. The only things that would help were more stretching in the mornings and some Vitamin I before OR after the run, but even those didn't really help much. My concern was really starting to grow, as this could really turn into an injury like Achilles tendinosis or worse, an Achilles tendon rupture. I was type-cast in the role of Achilles while getting my BFA, so the irony wasn't missed.

Last week I did a four mile tempo run, with the brace, and felt really good. A good strong run, right on tempo, no worries. But an hour or so after the run, the Achilles was really starting to throb and get that pins & needles feeling. It felt like by brace was too tight and it had cut off the circulation to the area. The next morning things were really tight and uncomfortable. So I decided to try running without the brace.

I did a three mile tempo run on Saturday and was fine. Not even a little soreness afterward, some good stretching, no need for vitamin I, and the next morning my foot felt better than it had in a long time. So on Monday I did a slow six miles without the brace. Again, my Achilles was fine before, during and after. I did take some Ibuprofen, as a preventative measure, but never had any stiffness or pain. There was a little soreness, but I'll attribute that to having to run some hills and the longer miles. Once again, the next morning there was no soreness or pain. YES!!!

Weird that what originally helped me overcome an injury in the end almost caused me a worse one. I'm not really sure why I kept running with the brace, maybe out of paranoia, maybe out of comfort, but I wasn't really sure when to stop using it either. I guess that's been decided now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Black Lung

Remember when Zoolander gives up his brilliant career as a male model to go back home and work the coal mines with his father and brothers? Remember how after one day he was coughing and wheezing, thinking he'd contracted the dreaded "Black Lung"? Remember the weak little girl cough he had? Darcy tried that strategy on us yesterday.

Last night we had some running around to do and combined errands with dinner at the mall. Darcy and I always go to A&W, she likes the chicken fingers there (Mmmmm, Yummy, yummy!). Well, we'd forgotten to bring a cup for her, so we tried letting her drink a carton of chocolate milk through a straw (Mmmmm, chalk mak!). She did very well, not even spilling a drop. However, she discovered a really good way to scam her parents.

After coughing on a piece of chicken, we gave her some milk to drink. After that, every bite she took was followed by a couple of tiny little fake coughs and, "Chocolate milk, please?" (Chalk mak, pees?). I don't think she ever took more then a bite without 'needing' to have more milk to stave off the impending choke-fest.

My little drama queen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Need to bike

It's rained here for about a week, which means I haven't biked in a while. And it's driving me crazy. The running is going well, my official 10 week training program starts this coming Monday, but I will go crazy if all I'm doing is running.

Today is nice and sunny. Warm breeze, dry roads. It's my off day. The schedule is such that I can't bike on Wednesdays. Fear not, tomorrow it's supposed rain all day. Clearly the Mother Nature is taunting me. I really need a few good hard rides to get those juices flowing again.

Last year was all about building up to the distance. So every day was a higher step achieved. This year is about going faster (and a little farther), so I'm really anxious to get out there and start hammering.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Marathon Man

Jake (a co-worker) ran his second marathon today, the Forest City Marathon in London, ON. His goal was 3:45 and he crushed it with a 3:44:15. Which, in a race this size, was good enough for a seventh place finish in his age group. Nice.

Good stuff Jake. I hope you're not limping tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm in the pool

This has nothing to do with swimming.

In April, I posted about the possibility of a new job. At the time, I was told that I wouldn't hear anything until June or July about whether or not I had passed the interview. Yesterday, a thin envelope came from them in the mail. I was out of town for an Exalt concert, so Sue had to stair at the letter all night. The suspense was killing her.

The letter was a "pleased to inform me" letter. While this doesn't guarantee that I'll be sent for the extended training or receive a job offer, it is a good sign. I've made it to the short list, now I need to get a couple of certified qualifications because having them "will expedite your future placement".

The waiting continues.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Trying to find my tempo

As I posted in my training plan, my tempo runs are supposed to be around the 7:35-7:40 pace per mile. Tonight the weather was windy and it looked like there was going to be heavy rain, so I decided that this would be a good time to try a tempo run and get home fairly quickly.

My first mile went by in 6:52. I thought, "Woo, a little too fast. But it felt good. Try and slow down some."
Mile two: 7:16. "Hmm, slower, but still too fast. Alright, I don't want to get rained on and there's a nice tail wind, tonight will be a hard run. What have I got in me?"
Mile three: 6:56. "Holy moly. 3 miles in 21:04, that's quick."
Mile four: 6:51. "27:54 for four miles? That's a sub-seven average!" It's a 6:58.5 to be exact.

And the tank was not empty, I could have gone further. Clearly there has been improvement over the winter. Last year, my fastest run home was 28:40 (7:10 pace), I think this is a sign of good things to come.

So it looks like I've got some self control to work on in these tempo runs. But I enjoyed the hard run and it didn't rain.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Training Plan

*** Warning, this is a long post about training ***

Over the last month I've been working on a training schedule for the summer. There are a few races that will be my "A" races, where I plan on leaving it all out on the course, the kind of race where you are completely sucking wind at the end. And I'll have a couple of others that will be "B" races, or races where I go for race experience and use the race a hard training period, but my main focus will be an easier goal time.

There are a few obstacles that I'm facing; having to pay for all these races, my schedule could change and trying to plan into September & October now just isn't smart, but hopefully my "A" races and goal times will be:
June 17: Moon in June 5 km or 10 km - 20:00 or 43:30
August 13: Windsor Triathlon (Long Sprint) - 1:30.00
September 16: Montreal Triathlon (Olympic) - 2:45.00
October 22(?): Run for the Cure 5 km - 20:00

My "B" races and goal times will be:
March 19: Spring Thaw 5 km - 22:00 (Done, ran 21:54)
July 14: Beat Beethoven for Breast Cancer 8 km - 34:30
July 30: Tecumseh 1/2 Marathon - 1:36.30 (7:22 pace per mile)

The key race in my schedule is the 1/2 Marathon. It's a brand new race and is being organized in part by the none other then Kona Shelley (she's actually done the Hawaii Ironman!). Building my running towards this race will put me in perfect shape for the two triathlons. Let me explain...

I read a great 16 week marathon training program in the August '05 Runner's World. It involved running three times a week and cross training at least two more times a week. I still can't commit to the time that marathon training requires, so when they wrote a 10 week half marathon version (March '06) I was sold. Now that I'm able to bike to and from work regularly again, all my cross training needs are taken care of. I only need to run three times a week to build up to half marathon distance (13.1 miles).

The three runs are organized like this:
#1 - Speed work; ranging from 4 x 400 up to 3 x 1600 (around 6:30 ppm)
#2 - Tempo runs; ranging from 2 miles up to 8 miles (around 7:35-7:40 ppm)
#3 - Long runs; starting from 6 miles and going up to 12 miles (around 7:52-8:00 ppm)

I got interested in triathlon to begin with because it doesn't focus on one event. For starters, I could never be a competitive swimmer, cyclist or runner, the talent just isn't there. Secondly, if I was only training for one sport I would get terribly bored. I need the constant change of running and cycling to keep me sane. That is what I love about this program, you have to cross train to get the most out of it. I've also read that since triathletes train for three different disciplines, they tend to have more balanced whole-body muscular development than pure cyclists or runners, whose training emphasizes only the legs. Although, I don't spend nearly enough time training for the swim.

So what about swimming? Truthfully, it's a bit of a concern. In a lot of the beginner training that I've read people talk about how nervous they are in open water, how far 1000 m can be to swim, how they are overcome with panic during the mass start. And it's all true, swimming is not easy work and I am no fish, I'm not going to blaze through any swim portion. The 'washing machine' feeling of any mass swim start is a little unsettling, but as long as I can remember, I've been swimming. I used to be a life-guard, I've been on competitive swim teams, played water-polo, so, swimming has never intimidated me. I'm totally comfortable in the water. Last year I was able to get my swims in early Saturday mornings and worked myself up to a decent 1000 m. That is still probably the best time for me to get my swimming in, I may just have to stay in the pool a little longer this year.

Most of my weeks will look something like this:
Sunday: Long bike (1+ hours)
Monday: Easy bike (to & from work) & Long run (6+ miles)
Tuesday: Speed work - bike
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: Easy bike ride (up to half of race distance at an average pace) & Speed work - running
Friday: Medium/Hard bike ride (up to half of race distance at an above average pace)
Saturday: Swim (early morning) & Tempo run (evening)

Last year all, except for my long rides, all of my cycling was done 'in transit'. So only twice during the week is there extra time commitment, and it goes towards running. My long runs will most likely start from work-home (4 miles) and then add on my different routes from around the neighbourhood. One of the most important parts to the schedule is having the long rides and long runs on back to back days. It can be punishing on the legs, but you really absorb a lot of benefits by putting the two on back to back days. I did it this way last year and it proved to be very successful for me. As long as I hit all the runs and have two hard rides during the week, I know from last year that my transit rides make up the slack. If I feel like taking an easy day, I know I'll be glad for the break.

While I've been running all winter and have got a good start on the cycling, the real build up starts at the end May and goes for 10 weeks to the end of July, leading to the 1/2 Marathon. That will put two weeks away from the Windsor Tri and in prime form. The Montreal Tri is a month after that, which leaves me plenty of time to take an easy week and then build hard again for that race. Well, that's the plan anyway...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rough Weekend

While not as rough as what the Police Officer's family is going through, we haven't had a good few days.

Darcy woke up at 3 am Saturday morning (Friday night) and had puked (we think her milk might have been a day past due). She then continued puking about every ten minutes until 4 am, when we realised that at this pace we run going to run out of sheets and sleepers in about 17 minutes. So there was a 4 am load of laundry, then I made a run to the 24 hour drug store at 4 am and had to drive right passed the spot where the cop was shot, there were already flowers. Then she puked about every 15 minutes until 5 am. By this point her stomach was empty and you could tell it was really hurting her to vomit. At 5 am she went about 20 minutes and then half an hour. Her last puke was around 5:45 am. She slept until almost 9 am, so did we. She ended up having a pretty good day yesterday, she ate a little lunch, had a long nap, played outside a little, had some supper, drank water and wasn't sick again. She slept about 12 1/2 hours.

This morning she and I had breakfast together. I gave her half a cup of milk and she seemed fine. Until we went upstairs to get Mommy. She puked on the stairs and then again twice more in the next half hour. She been begging me "Milk Dada? Water Dada? Apple Juice Dada?" all morning. She's just been cuddling up to me saying, "My tummy oww." No more pukes yet. NO more milk for a few days, that's for sure.

The scorecard looks like this so far:
Darcy's sheets: 4
Darcy's sleepers: 6
Sue's shirts: 2
Sue's pants: 2
Nick's shirts: 3
Nick's pants: 1
Carpets: 2

Friday, May 05, 2006

Not a pleasant post.

You may have heard, a Police Officer was shot and killed today in Windsor. It is the first time since 1957 that an Officer was killed in the line of duty and the first time EVER that one had been shot and killed. Disturbing.

What's more disturbing is that, according to Gmaps Pedometre, it happened 800 metres from our house. I kid you not. An intersection that I cross every day going to and from work, that I have driven, biked and run passed hundreds of times. Dad, this the intersection that you walked to for Chinese food last September. Because much of the area was cordoned off and they were still looking for a suspect, I took a different route home. When I came up our street, I noticed that our normally quiet street was really quiet. No one was around. No kids playing, no one sitting on their porches. Too quiet.

Even more disturbing, is that just as we were leaving to go to a friends house for dinner we saw our neighbour was out on her porch. We exchanged greetings, but you could tell she was upset. Earlier in the afternoon she had been on her way to write an exam and passed the spot literally a minute or two after it happened. Through her tears she told us how she saw him laying on the ground, blood gushing out of his head. She saw him moving on the ground, trying to get up, but unable to do so. She didn't know what had actually happened, she thought that maybe he'd been hit by a car. But she didn't have her cell phone, so was unable to do anything. That's the part that was killing her the most. "What if I had done something? What if I had a blanket in my car? What if I had my phone? No, he died alone on the sidewalk."

Thursday, May 04, 2006


This is a 5 minute video about Ironman. It is the distance that I one day hope to complete. Not because I think I can win, but because doing it is the victory. As Teshie says, "this is about limits, reaching them, exploring them, exceeding or coming to the conclusion that are none."

I've seen this video and others like it hundreds of times. I see their pain and suffering. I've read peoples accounts of doing an Ironman, there is nothing easy about it. I do not take that for granted. Knowing what people go through to complete one of these races inspires me. And somewhere deep inside me is a burning desire and a need to do this.

Thanks to Flatman for posting this.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hammer Time

I want to be 10 minutes faster in the Windsor Tri this year. To do that I need to cut at least 5 minutes out of the bike portion, which means going from an average speed last year of 32.5 km/hr to 36 km/hr. I think it can happen.

Today was the first day that I've really hammered it on the bike. I went from work to home in just over 13 minutes and was able to sustain 34+ wherever there were no stops. The best part is that I still have three higher gears to use.