Thursday, January 29, 2009

Roller Antics

Tonight I had a lot of work to do, a grant proposal first, and once that was finished and submitted, I had to prepare my lab presentation for tomorrow morning.

Before starting in on the lab presentation, I decided to take a breather and have some fun since I've been working more or less since 8AM straight. Did I want to do a normal 20 minute spin to loosen my legs? I decided to mix things up, since I wasn't really looking for a workout I decided to make a video of myself on the rollers doing some of the tricks I've been practicing. 

So here it is. 

-Getting on without a support
-No Hands
-One Leg
-Standing Up
-No Hands One Leg
-No Hands One Leg Clipping Back In

Let me know what you think. Also what other skills and tricks should I work on?

Next skills to work on:
-Removing Shoes
-Dismount Triathlon Style

The video was a little rushed, although I said I was procrastinating for a little bit, I still felt like I should get back to work sooner than later. Had I put in more effort I could have made it better, but for tonight, I think this was fine.

I'm not all to sure why it cut out so quickly at the end there. I did the other leg as well and then came over to turn off the video but I must still not be good at this whole youtube thing because it cut the video about 30 seconds short. Oh well, I didn't really say anything new.

Oh, and I nearly forgot, last week a fellow triathlete from North Van, Meyrick Jones who I've referenced a few times in my blog got a sponsorship from Lululemon and as a result he held a contest for one of two jacket/sweaters (wow lots of hyperlinks). And I won! This was pretty exciting news this morning, a little cheer me upper in the middle of my research. I've never actually met Meyrick but a few of my friends have and say he's a pretty nice guy, and so next week I'll be meeting him, I'm pretty excited. It will be nice to finally meet the person I've been reading about and put a face to the name.
Anyways, back to the lab book. I will be ready for when this weekend finally comes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5K Time Trial

I won't lie, when I woke up this morning, I thought I was going to pull the "coach" card and not run the time trial and instead simply be a timer.

However, as the day went on I slept in a little later (haven't been sleeping well lately), and had a decent breakfast and went in to work. Stupidly forgot my lunch so got some Butter Chicken from Curry Point in the village and re-evaluated how I felt. Deciding I was doing alright and might as well go out as a pacer for people.

Getting to the practice, there was a good group of about 12 of us who would be doing the time trial. I decided to go out holding 4 min/km pace and see how things went. My watch is currently broken (strap), so I was running with a sweet yellow stopwatch in my hand I was wearing the my new shoes, the New Balance flats, they felt fast. Possibly a little too fast, off for the first lap (5.5 laps make up 5k) and pass the 1km mark in 3:38, oops. Oh well, some money in the bank.

Slowed it down to 4 for my next km and then slowly chipped away some time from there on and picking it up for my last km again.

Finished quite comfortably in 19:00-01, which wasn't too bad since I was yelling out pace times and running with a stopwatch in my hand. I feel if I had really killed myself I could have gone maybe 30 seconds faster but that wasn't really the point in todays workout. I finished comfortable and able to talk with no trouble breathing. Only 5:39 to cut out of that until I'm running as fast as Pre!

All in all, fairly pleased with my effort for the day. It is only January after all. Give it a few month and I should be able to rock that pace out for much longer than 5k.

On a more important note, I have no problems with my knees so thats a good sign that I can start trying to run more frequently now. 

Also big congrats to a few of the people running today, although I'm not mentioning them all, Claire ran a huge PB, she wasn't sure what her pace was going to be (shyly saying in the 22 range early this week), pulled off a 19:54. And Nynne who had never run under 21:30 ran 20:25.


The shoes were alright, I don't know if I liked them more than my Asics though. Although lighter, they weren't as comfy. I'll have to try them out again at some point.

Thats it for now, I decided to get this post out of the way fast so I wouldn't be tempted to later when I'm supposed to be doing my grant proposal that I've been putting off all week.

Take Care, train hard.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fast Running

No update for today, just thought I would post some inspiration for tomorrows 5k time trial.

I still haven't decided if I am running it. What I think I will do is start off the first km running on 4 pace and see how that feels, if I feel tight at all I'll just hold that and be a pace bunny for someone, if I feel good I'll open it up and try and recover the TT.

Bevan Docherty cleary fed the warrior.


Oh, also funny, I discovered on the "FOLLOWERS" feed on the right side, I can follow my own blog, thats right!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back at it.

Before all of these leg issues came up, I had agreed to lead out Monday night long easy runs. Knowing that I had agreed to this, I decided to take the weekend really easy on my legs and stretch all I could with the hope that whatever problems I have had will be gone by then. 

One muscle I noticed this week to be very tight through stretching was my left quads (Coincidence that my left knee was hurting?). How did I discover this? In doing quad stretches

(Sweet Photo)
I noticed that my left foot wasn't going any closer than 6 inches from my bottom. Hypothesizing that this may be the route of my leg problem I began furiously warming up and stretching my left leg. 

Sure enough, coming to tonight's easy run, I managed to make it through the full 40 minute 7.3 km run without any pain. I noticed once or twice a slight twinge but never anything more (and I was hyper paranoid so this is good). 

Now I just need to decided how I feel as to whether I decide to run the 5k time trial on Wednesday, I guess time will only tell. 

Note: In that photo, that is poor stretching, ideally you should have a straight line going through your body down to your knee, without arching your back. Here her knee is forward of her hips, this will cause less efficient stretch, you'll feel as though since you've brought your leg all the way in that your getting full stretch potential, but when you push your knee back, you will notice that your hip flexer gets activated in the stretch as well resulting in much better stretch.

And yup, I'm procrastinating writing my grant proposal, you'll probably see a few more updates this week before Thursday is done!

Surprise Surprise

Over the fall and into the winter I've been doing my stretches and rolling on a small ball for my IT bands (Very similar to a foam roller). All along I thought I was doing this pretty well. My physio way back when told me that if I didn't feel pain when rolling on the ball that I was ahead of the game and that I was keeping my IT bands loose.

Well something I never thought about, little exercise ball, loses air over time. Its not that it was flat, however, it was definitely not as firm as a in the summer. Result being it wasn't applying the same pressure as it used to.

All this to say, I pumped up the little devil last night and did a 15 minute warm up on my bike then stretches for 45 minutes. YOWZA! That little ball brought back the pain. I guess this is a good thing because it means I'm stretching properly again and not just wasting my time. But yikes, sometimes I wonder.

So let that be a lesson for any of you out there, a lot of stretches you learn to do properly at physio and then month down the road you notice your not really getting a stretch anymore. Is this because you've stretched it out so well that your not tight? That definitely doesn't describe any triathlete I know, so take a step back and look at your technique, make sure your still doing it properly, you'll be surprised with how quickly the stretch comes back.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Training today was fairly simple, hour swim followed by an easy run this evening. Unfortunately I noticed a small pain in my knee on Monday which is what led to the Training In Fear post. Having skipped the run last night because my Aunt and Uncle were in town and we went to dinner, I had hoped that any pain in my knee would be gone with 2 full days recovery.

Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I got about 1km into my run today, and noticed the pain in exactly the same spot. Although I would refer to this pain as "mild" since it was exactly the same as Monday I figured it was better not to try my luck and call it a day. On that note, I will be scaling down my run workouts. I think jumping into this half marathon training may have been a little much. 

What's annoying about this is that I spent all afternoon preparing for this run, eating well, hydrating, even shuffled my work schedule around to be able to make it, and only got 1km out before turning back. BOO!

On another note. My run coach from MTC, Richard MacKenzie sent out a few weeks ago a training log. My roommate upon seeing this really liked the idea and decided to mimic the exact same thing on google documents. That way he can access it from wherever. I've copied suit and now you can all track my progress as it goes, since I'm often late putting up my training mileage.

Two ways of checking, you can either keep referring to this post and clicking HERE. Or at the very top of the main page of the blog, there is my training mileage and underneath says DETAILS. Click that and it will bring you right to my spreadsheet. I will ask you not to input your own data though because I haven't figured out how to make it view only. If for whatever reason you accidentally hit something. Don't worry, I've got it all backed on my computer anyways. So enjoy! And feel free to copy it for yourselves as well. To do so, simply click File, Save as Copy and give it your own title.

Talk to you later, time for some reading and then sleep.

Masterful Meal Creation!

Yum Yum Yum

Two days ago I was making one of my staple meals, pierogies but decided to try and spice them up a little bit. Not knowing exactly how I was going to achieve this I started looking through the fridge. Lo and behold I had leftover taco meat from a fantastic Taco Fiesta I hosted on Sunday night.

So I boiled the pierogies, and when it came to the frying point I threw them into a wok with the taco meat and onions. Yum Yum Yum!

As you can see by my thumbs up, I approve. 1000 Calories of deliciousness.

I often try and do this, mix and match my meals, one time I had just made bacon and was making pierogies for lunch the next day. Deciding since they were Bacon flavored pierogies, I would fry them up in a thin layer of bacon grease. Although delicious for the first one, as they cooled the bacon grease started to congeal making them slimy and gross. I don't recommend. The thought of what was happening inside my body was frightening.

At least taco pierogies is one for the success books.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


A friend just sent me this photo of Vancouver taken sometime over the last week with the fog from I'm guessing Grouse mountain. Unfortunately I don't know who took it to give credit where its due.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I had somewhat of a first today, or at least a first in a very long time. A friend of mine, Choppy Somjee (Chops) is a physical trainer, and is focusing his expertise in the field of triathlon. I met Choppy this summer as I was traveling the West Coast with his girlfriend Jody. Once we met the three of us became the triathlon trio who travelled to races together ripping up the Subaru series. This afternoon he agreed to give me a training program of gym exercises geared towards my weaknesses. 

Weaknesses? What? I have none! 

Well Chops would disagree with me, we discovered that I am heavily quad loaded, meaning what? That my quads do all the load bearing without any help from my glutes and hamstrings. We must have done 4-5 exercises before finally finding one that activated my hamstrings. Result of which, Chops has given me some drills that will be bringing the pain. 

On top of this, he has also given me a few to strengthen my back in order to hopefully fix my posture a little bit. I didn't mention this much but one of my new years resolutions was to straighten out my back and to have general better posture.  Hopefully some of these targeted workouts will help out with this.

I unfortunately don't know his professional contact information yet, however, if you hadn't guessed SupaMotion Fitness is Choppy's company that is ever expanding across the Greater Vancouver Area. You'll be hearing about him and the company a lot more through me and I'm sure the active (Triathlon) community. He is in the progress of changing his website so some of the links aren't up. I'm really excited about the prospect of incorporating this type of training into my workouts. We both agreed that this is the area of my training which is seriously lacking and holds the most potential for progress! I'll be sure to keep you all updated on how it goes.

I know I talked it over with my roommate Rob Eso and he agreed, gym workouts could really benefit us both.

First gym workout is on Thursday, LEGS! 

Bringing on the pain.

Training in Fear

I've come to realize these past few month that I've been training in fear. I don't really know how to explain this, but ever since the marathon I've been shaken up.

Every workout I do I hold back, worrying that giving it that extra little oomph my be the move that takes me out. I had somewhat diminished this thought from my mind over the fall and into the holidays because I wasn't training all that much, however, now that I've amped up my training, specifically with running I'm feeling little aches and pains which make my mind scream out catastrophe. Is this normal? Is it just that I'm getting older and my body doesn't rebound like it once did? 

Yikes!!! At 23 am I already starting to head over the hill? I sure hope not. Over the past couple years after a hard back to back workouts I would hear people joke about being young. I think these days are starting to catch up to me.

Or maybe I'm simply demanding more out of my training than I ever have before. Where as I would do two back to back practices, they were filled with junk effort where as now I would like to think every workout is more focused on improvement. Is it simply maturity setting in that I am thinking more into the future rather than simply about my aches and pains in the now?

I think its necessary to have some reservations when training, that being said I'm planning on cutting out some of my run practices to air on the safe side rather than be aggressive. A quote one of my coaches from McGill Triathlon Club gave me and I'll always remember (Unfortunately I can't remember which coach told me!) was

"You will never win a race by doing one practice, however, you can lose one."

This is kinda my modo, if I'm going to mess up my training I rather it be on the low side and have to dig deep in a race rather than be burnt out before it even starts. 

Reading in the Bowerman biography in the chapters about Steve Prefontaine, Kenny Moore (author) describes two aspects of Pre which allowed him to succeed, first was pure natural ability, but the second he was able to push and hurt more than anyone else on the track. Now throwing modesty to the wayside, I consider this to be one of my strength, during races I hit pace times that I can't will myself near during practice, but only if I haven't burnt out before the race. If I'm feeling a tinge of injury I wimp out.

What are the thoughts of some of my more veteran athletes? Is this a normal progression training in fear? Does this hold you back? 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dark Night Reconnaissance

Starting up this half marathon training following the workout plan found here has kept me very busy this week. I'm pleased to say that I didn't miss a workout. I did however have to change a few of them around. The reason being I encountered a few dilemmas along the way.

Since the workout plan is all set up for me, it should be simple, just go out there and follow it. Issue being this doesn't take into account how I'm feeling on any given day. Are my legs doing well, feeling stiff, any aches or pains?

For Sunday I had scheduled a long easy run of 13km. I set out planning to do this and then started questioning myself. Was I starting up this week too strong? What if I get shin splints from the sudden increase in mileage? I should have worked my way into this program and started two weeks from now. This is where the internal debate comes in, pride makes me want to finish the workout so as to not "cheat" at all along the way. Then reason kicks in saying that it isn't smart to push too hard.

In the end reason ended up winning out. I decided that Sunday I would take it easy, and then do my long run Monday so as to have the recovery day off on Tuesday.

That being said I did 8.5/6.5/13.5 km runs Saturday/Sunday/Monday, I feel this is pretty good, but I'm definitely looking forward to my day off tomorrow.

One thing I have come to realize this week, is that if I want to stick to this plan, I will need to plan my days well, I can't just wing it and do long runs every night, sometimes I'll have to wake up and do them before heading into work. Also, I'm going to need to really pay more attention to my body and not beat up on it. I'm really going to focus on stretching and icing right now. The last thing I need is to be all gun-ho in the off season and plague my season with an injury.

Now to the exciting stuff. My reconnaissance mission concealed by the darkness of night. Unfortunately/Fortunately  for this evening, all of my cold weather running gear is black (I really don't know who designs this stuff, they should know by now that winter its dark when you leave for work and dark when you get home, why make the gear all black as well?). The fortunate side of this coin is that my mission which I chose to accept was to break in to the UBC construction side at 16 and Westbrooke and take a peak at the progress on the new track being built there. Rumors have been swirling around as to when it would be finished, ranging from already done to sometime early next year.

With none of these answers satisfying me I decided to check it out myself. This wasn't so much premeditated, I was running by and saw a gap in the fence so decided to detour a little bit. 

Dressed all in black I stealthily passed by the gate, Underarmour sweater with built in hood pulled up for ultimate stealthiness. 

I must say, the layout of the track looks superb! My only complaint is that it looks like it was built in a rush. The track is clearly not flat in some area's and I feel while sprinting that you would have the sensation that the ground is slightly dipping under you. It really doesn't take much to notice this, I remember Lindsay Place High School's floor dipped by 1/8 of an inch on some of the tiles and you felt like you were missing a step sometimes. The one thing I am holding out for at the UBC track is that it still isn't finished. All that was done was the cement base, hopefully when they lay the top layer (Not sure what its going to be, I hope rubber), that they even out all the dips. I'm going to need a smooth surface if I'm going to run a fast mile!

Anyways, that was it for tonight, came home and made myself a milkshake with supper. I think I successfully got 70 grams of protein in me within minutes of finishing my run!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 Preview

Now that the new year is upon us I figure its time for a season preview. 

For starters I've made the decision not to do the UBC triathlon this year. Instead my friends and I are forming two relay teams we hope will be highly competitive and hopefully win the overall.

With this race set aside I can purely focus on getting into shape for my first race of the year, the Shawnigan Half Iron. The reason I am adding pressure to this race is because its the provincial championship, and hopefully I can catch people off guard with their fitness and come out on top.

How am I going to accomplish this? Smarter training. Last season I put in a fair bit of hours but I realize in retrospect that a lot of them were junk hours, primarily on the bike. I did a lot of long hard rides but no heavy interval work. The result of which being my biking power plateaued mid season and I found it very difficult to improve from that point onwards. Unfortunately this means a lot of painfully boring time trial efforts out at Iona beside the runways at the airport. I figure that with good targeting mixed with some weight work I should be able to bring my average speed on the bike from 35 up to 37kph.

For the run, the key will be more consistency. Last summer my running was all over the place. Compared to a normal triathlete let alone those training for a marathon, my run volume was embarrassing. Rarely did my running total more than 100km a month, and usually it was closer to 60k. This year, I decided to follow a program for my runs. I was digging through my old e-mails and came across a training plan for a half marathon that my old run coach Rich MacKenzie gave me in preparation for the Ottawa Half Marathon.  I was originally planning on running the Vancouver half marathon on May 3rd as a warm up for the season, but as my mom pointed out, it wasn't worth the risk. I have a bad habit of running too hard in road races and getting injured. This is fine at the end of the season, but 3 weeks before the start of triathlon season didn't seem wise. Keeping that in mind, I decided to train for the half marathon, but not actually go through the injury provoking activity of racing. This way I should be in tip top shape for my first race 3 weeks after this program completes.

I've posted my training plan here, the yellow are days that I have successfully completed according to the plan, and as the month go by I'll update with how its going posting my progress to keep me honest. Days I miss will be in red or something. 

Click to enlarge

I know many people will be training for spring half marathons. This is a good program with very little high intensity training which should be good for anyone trying their first or tenth.

On another running note, I have been reading the book "Bowerman and the men of Oregon" by Kenny Moore. Its excellently written. Kenny Moore having been one of Bowerman's athletes give a really good perspective. When I finish it I'll have a full review most likely in painful detail.

The reason I brought this up is because a large focus of the book is on the milers that he trained, and it got me thinking. How fast can I run a mile. Back when I was in grade 10 I think my fastest 1600 was in 4:48 but I never really trained for that distance (I was primarily a 400 and 800 runner) and consistency was my biggest fault back then. That being said, since I hope to keep myself honest with the added mileage for the half training, I decided to try my luck and see how I could run a mile. There is a new track at UBC that should be finished being built any day now. Once that is done I will christen it with my mile record attempt. My goal right now is to break 4:30, who knows, 67 laps are fast. I may have to re evaluate.

More of that to come though. 

I'll leave out my swim update because swimming is boring and not much exciting happens there.