Monday, September 28, 2009

Sick Sick Sick

This is pretty much what I do when I'm sick, draw in my coloring book, play with my toys, lay with my teddy bears and act sick in bed.

Well, if the title of this blog post doesn't tell you enough, I'm kinda sick. To quote my mom, I've been "Burning the candle at both ends". Unfortunately, unlike the photo, my mom lives on the other side of the country, so I had no one to complain to. Fortunately I'll be seeing her on Wednesday.

Work has had me really busy lately, and I've also picked up a few extra responsibilities. Just over a week ago, the UBCTC club president stepped down because his course load was too heavy and wouldn't allow him to dedicate enough time to the club.

We hung in limbo over if we would hold another election or simply promote a current club exec. My role on the executive was somewhat undefined, I was run coach, however, also played a role simply as consultant, for which I brought up the McGill Triathlon Club probably far too often.

It took about 2-3 days before Andrew suggested to the rest of the exec that I should take over. Before I could come up with a rebuttal for this, I was already voted in. I didn't really want the responsibility, however, I must admit, I enjoy being in the position. I find that I am working hard at it and hopefully doing a good job. The only downside I can see is that sometimes I push unimportant things like sleep aside for a few hours while I get things done. Last week after having a few 12AM nights in lab followed by 6:30AM wake up calls, led to a tired Vincent and I got sick.

Tri Club out at Iona, man we will look good when all dressed alike!

All of this to say my half marathon training has taken a hit. The only real exercise I have done over the past week has been the group ride that the triathlon team did on Saturday. We had a group ride followed by a beginner cycling clinic at 11, and midway through the ride I realized I wouldn't be back in time to lead the clinic. With that Matt and I had to put a pretty strong effort for a 2 person TT to get back to campus. Killing ourselves we got back by 10:58! SUCCESS! As a result, I've had no voice since. Oh well.

Today, Monday, I'm on the mend and hopefully in two days I will be all better. Lab has settled down and I should be able to get some nice early nights before I leave for Calgary for a few days. More on that later!

On a finishing note, Saturday was a beautiful day and we had as I said our first group ride, followed by a cycling clinic and the UBCTC welcome back BBQ. Everything in my mind was a HUGE success. To read more details about the day click here to read Winston's report.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fast Mile

I mentioned in an earlier post, my first of the new year that one of my goals for this season was going to be to run a fast mile. I still want to do that.

Now that the UBC track is finished, it offers the perfect location for my mile attempts.

I don't really have a reference for my potential time, so instead of guessing at a whim, I'm going to use the McMillan Running Calculator to come up with a similarly arbitrary estimate of my potential. Warning, website has loud annoying music.

Using my 10k PB of 37:30 it estimates I could run a mile in 5:12. This sounds slow. Especially since at practice I've run them in 5:30. I find that the McMillan calculator for me shows the short stuff as being too slow, however my 5/10k times are dead on, and the marathon/half times are too fast. For example if I use my 800m PB, it gives me a mile time of 4:42, and my 400PR a time of 4:32. I guess this means I have speed but I just don't train enough.

That being said. My original goal that I set in January was to run a 4:30 mile as my A objective, however, before getting there I am setting my preliminary goal as simply breaking 5 minutes.

Last week I pushed at the end of practice to a controlled 5:42. Tomorrow will be my first attempt where I am actually pushing the limits. I doubt I will be near 5 simply because my training hasn't been focused on this, however, I shouldn't be too far.

Maybe I'll get lucky and have some pace bunnies for the first laps.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sooke Race Report

I decided to wait before writing this report and for that I'm glad I did. After the race I was very disappointed with the outcome, however, now a week later I feel as though I have a different perspective of how things went. Believe me, had I written this report fresh, it would have a very different feel.

It was a typical race weekend, the only difference being not nearly as many people involved. Sooke was a small race and many of the regulars decided to skip it because they were either competing elsewhere or had already finished their season.

I stayed at Dereks place once again, thanks for that, and woke up race morning as rested and ready to go as ever.

From Dereks we had a short trip to T2 where we dropped off our shoes and then hopped on the bus to Camp Barnard where the swim start is.

After a nervous bathroom wait where there was 1 bathroom for the 100 athletes, Derek suggested wondering the camp and finding others. Sure enough we found port-o-potties that had clearly never been used. It was funny how relaxed race morning can be when you don't have any of the usual stresses.

Derek and I quickly got to the water just in time for the last announcers words and waited for the canon to go off.

Check out this photo, do I look prepared (bottom right)?

I didn't feel good in the water, I felt as though I was being passed by everyone and that I just wasn't giving it 100%. My right knee started getting stiff in the fleshy part behind the joint but that settled out after about 1000m. I exited the swim with a descent time just under 29 minutes. Fairly comparable to my other swims this year. I can't really complain seeing as how much swimming I've been doing.

I've never seen myself in my goggles, now I know why people make fun of them

After a quick transition I was off and on my bike. Right away I was feeling great. Pushing hard and catching up to a lot of people. I was told coming out of transition by some friends and spectators that I was in 10th, turns out truth was 11th. Quickly in the first 5 minutes of the bike I had caught myself up to 7th and after 15km was in 6th. Things were going my way. That is, until disaster struck on the bike. I was riding in the big ring starting to slow down. I reached up to shift down to the small ring just as the guy in front of me swerves a little to the left. His derailer cable snapped and he was investigating it. His swerve wasn't anywhere near me, but it was sudden enough for me to shove my shifter down and brace my hands on the handle bars. In doing so my chain fell off over the small ring. No big deal, shift up keep pedaling and everything will be fine. Well no such luck today. The road in Sooke is rough to say the least, and I'm assuming I hit a bump which threw my chain up between the small ring and my frame. When I pedaled I just cranked the chain further up wedging and twisting it. Chain was instantly locked. Got off the bike and first thought it was my rear wheel from the bump. Opened the quick release, no luck. Loosened it again and thats when I noticed my chain. I tried as best I could to get the chain out but it was in there good. In the end it cost me about 3-4 minutes to fix. I had to jump on my left pedal in reverse to get the chain out putting a nice little scratch down the side of my frame. Great.

After this is all dealt with I flip the quick release back and get on my way. Instantly my gears are shifting all funny. Awesome, but no matter. I just keep pushing, trying to control myself from going 150% for the next 10 minutes and blowing up. I went from 6th to 20th in those minutes.

After a descent next 30km I am coming down a steep hill and one of the volunteers waves an ambulance bus in front of me. I'm conveniently going 65-70km/h and have to slam on the brakes. The ambulance didn't have its lights on or anything, it was just commuting. As I slowed I got to about 20km/h before my breaks put my rear wheel into a skid. Once this happened, I guess my rear quick release wasn't tightened enough in my haste because my rear wheel slipped right out. Thankfully I wasn't going very fast and managed to get my foot on the ground before the wheel did any damage to my bike or fell out. It was just dangling in the chain. This could have been terrible. Thankfully it wasn't. The worst that happened was I had to get off my bike losing all the momentum of the hill (which was a lot) and put the wheel back in while swearing under my breath of how stupid I am.

All in all this was a physically great bike, I felt strong and fast. However, with the issues unfortunately it didn't go quite as planned. And on a separate note, I don't know if I will do this race again for the simple fact of the quality of the road. It was terrible. Sure it was a beautifully scenic course, but when you think your bike is breaking under you the whole time because of the violent vibrations, you just can't enjoy it. Road quality, gets an F. The rest of the race an A though.

Probably about 5 minutes before bike disaster #1

I like this photo

Nicks girlfriend Hannah out on the bike course

My lovely ride over to the island, Claire. I don't think I was that happy on the bike

Ceilidh out on the bike course

Hey looks its the bumble bee, this guy makes me laugh

I ended up getting off the bike in 14th and started the run. Sadly this is where the race ended for me. Getting out of transition I was only about 1:45 behind Derek. Not bad considering, I should have been really pleased with this. But after the first km was slow (around 4:20 instead of my hopeful 4:00) I tried to push it a little faster and only came up with a 4:15 for km 2. These are decent speeds but I just didn't have the mental toughness to deal with it anymore and I gave up. I didn't actually stop running but I slowed down drastically. I think my 3rd km was on 5:20. Things I've learned from this race;
  1. 19km is a long way to run home when you really just want to quit.
  2. Running slowly in racing flats hurt
  3. Running slowly in general hurts, your really not smooth and there is a lot more hammering.
I ended up finishing the race averaging 5:05 min/km on the run. My slowest run pace EVER in any race. I wasn't a happy camper. People were passing me going at a very easy pace, 4:40-4:50, but I just didn't care. I let them go. I don't think I've ever done this before and hopefully never will again.

Now for the reflection. It has been a long season, and I wasn't in as good of shape for Sooke as I was for races like the New Balance or Vancouver half. Despite this I was demanding of myself the same quality performance. I managed to pull that out of the swim/bike, however, when I got to the run I think it was just a little too much. I wanted to run 4:00 min/km but even without any mental breakdowns that was probably beyond my limits. So when I couldn't pull it out I started blaming the race for my lack of fitness. Saying that all this had happened and no one would blame me for quitting (which they haven't but should). I've come to accept that I quit, however, am no longer as disappointed with the outcome of the run. Next time I just need to re-evaluate my form and create goals that are not exceeding my potential of the day.

In the end it was a long race (longest I've ever done by 1 minute), but it was a beautiful day and I got to spend it with a bunch of my friends, so I'm no longer complaining. And on the plus side I am now much more motivated for my half marathon in 3 weeks to finish my season on a strong note.

A new friend Eric Suess who may be joining UBCTC

Derek very quickly making a 2 minute gap much, much bigger

Claire finishing up the run

Me with the look of pleasure all over my face

Enjoying the scenery out on the run course

Podium shot. Can't say I'm too disappointed with this one, Derek and I 1/2 and Eric in 3rd!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Introducing the UBC Triathlon Club Fall Classic Race Series, or for short, the UBCTC Fall Classic!

In an effort to introduce the sport of triathlon to new University of British Columbia club members, we have decided to hold a race series during practice times to encourage our athletes to come out and experience what racing is all about without the heavy burden of race fees.

The goals of the series are
  • Have fun
  • Create a quantifiable method of tracking fitness progress
  • Give an outlet to practice "race day" preparations
  • Spice up the weekly test sets we do during practice
  • Create a healthy competitive atmosphere to encourage team strength

Big Weekend for the Lavallées

From Left to Right: Luke, Tanis, Mom, Dad, Lilia, ME!
What a good looking family!

Seeing as how its almost the next weekend, I figured it was time to recap the last one.

It was a pretty big week for my family (The Lavallées). Lets mix things up and start right to left. Hey look, thats me!

I had my last race of the season this weekend in Sooke BC. It was a half ironman and I won't really go into too many details because I will shortly put up a full race report. Needless to say it did not go all too well. As I said, details to follow.

Next up, Lilia. She is the the youngest of the Lavallées at 21 and participated in her first triathlon! She raced the Montreal Sprint last Saturday and despite her complaints about being horribly out of shape for racing I think she did very well. Swam a little off course at times but finished pretty much on par with my first swim (coincidentally on the same course back in 2003). had a fantastic bike, 33km/h on her 4th bike ride of life (if my memory serves me correctly), and then a cruised run of 25 minutes for 5k which she later said she was disappointed with because she felt like she had a lot more gas in the tank when she was done. Hopefully she's caught the bug and is ready to continue racing next year. I think she did.

Next on the list, My older sister Tanis was at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters Fair. For those of you who don't know, my sister is a small business owner and dyes and sells her own yarn. This knitters fair is a really big day in her year where she is able to introduce herself to lots of potential buyers along with sales from the fair itself. I'm happy to announce that the weekend was a huge success selling out of some stuff before noon! My mom went to help out with that so she was busy as well.

Tanis' booth at the knitting fair

And last but not least, the oldest of the Lavallée kids, Luke. Now Luke didn't exactly have any big event last weekend, however, he was probably off saving lives being a doctor and all so I guess thats acceptable. But come on Luke, only a doctor, no races or knitting fairs? Just healing sick patients. Pick up the slack.

Unfortunately my Dad was working overseas and wasn't able to partake in any of this because I'm sure he would have loved to be witness to any and all of it, but he gets back tomorrow, so I'll just wish him a safe trip back!

Thats it. Not a bad weekend don't you think?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Clash of Titans

As the triathlon season comes to a close there is one final battle to decide the bragging rights of the 2009 season. The battle field will take place in Sooke BC on September 13th where current University of British Columbia Triathlon Club phenom and run coach Vincent Lavallee will take on UBCTC Alumn and reigning two time Storm The Wall SUPERSTAR Derek Westra-Luney.

Vincent Lavallee will try to hold his rule of the Subaru West Coast Triathlon series over Derek Westra-Luney and make it 3 for 3 of the season while Derek will try and crush his good looking competition as he has done two years running in Storm the Wall.

Finally competing on an even playing field, these two titans of the 20-24 age group will settle the score once and for all on the harsh fields of Sooke.

A third member of the UBCTC racing in Sooke on this fateful weekend is Claire Toffelmyer participating in the sprint triathlon in preparation for her season ender later this month in Miami Florida.

A small skip across the channel and you will find the UBCTC represented in other races as Nathaniel Janzen is testing himself in the Cultus Lake Olympic Triathlon.

All round should be a good race weekend filled with great racing and perfect weather.

Good Luck

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bucket List

I stumbled across the website for the movie, The Buried Life. Story: 4 guys make a list of 100 things to do before they die and document themselves doing it.

Well I was thinking about this and I know one thing I would put on my list.

Make an explosion, and don't look at it while I walk away!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WOW that hurt!

So today I was walking down Agronamy Way, minding my own business telling Paul a riveting story about myself, when a wasp decided to ruin everything and fly down the collar of my shirt and bite me. What a jerk. Right on the clavicle. Check this out!


The rough part being that its right where my shirt rubs, not good. Clearly this is going to bother me for the next 15 minutes!

In other news. Today is the first day of classes back at UBC. Very exciting time. So many new faces walking frantically around campus, not knowing yet how to get out of the way for traffic on the sidewalk. With that we had our first Triathlon Club practice today. The UBC triathlon club met for our first swim of the year at 1:30 in the outdoor pool (I'm writing everything out in case someone googles it). We didn't have the largest showing today due to short notice of our pool booking, but hopefully now that its all been nailed out we should get more in the coming days.

I am trying to think of ways to publicize the club better in the first few days of school, I was asking Paul where he thought I could get chalk to write on the sidewalks. He didn't buy my advertising story and started telling people I was practicing hopscotch.

On that note, if there are any local triathletes looking for someone to train with, come on out and try a practice or two. Its a great substitute for the UBC Masters Swimming and at a fraction of the cost, especially since the masters has a waiting list right now.

I start coaching run practices tomorrow night, with the new UBC track open should be easy coming up with some fun workouts.

Upcoming post
-new steep hill found
-pre race thoughts
-introduction to the racing series with UBCTC!

Monday, September 7, 2009


I'm always disappointed when something like this happens. I was cooking dinner, potato pasta or gnocchi if you would prefer. This is a meal I have never made, so I decided that I would follow the instructions. It said one package would serve 2-3. Sounds good. It looked small but who was I to judge. Plus, I've already eaten dinner, this is just a snack.

Sure enough I cook it up, fills a plate and I finish and am STILL HUNGRY. 2-3 servings, for what? children? Was I satisfied?

In the words of Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory, "I'M NEVER SATISFIED!"

Keep that in mind Derek, 2-3 servings not enough to feed me a late night snack. THAT is the hunger of a CHAMPION!

I decided to see what my competition was eating.

Derek, there must have been an easier way of doing that

Um... No Not quite there

Well, your hitting your mouth now, but I don't think you want to eat that...