Sunday, January 31, 2010

Throwback to 2004

One of my friends from High School was cleaning out her home computer and came across a certain Lavallee Family Christmas letter that she had saved. This one was pretty great, some may even suggest a thing of legend.

I figured I would share it. Seeing as how we sent it out to everyone we know, I hope my siblings don't mind me posting it here.


Try and identify which sibling wrote it... It was written as a joke, but in reality, was pretty fitting.

Lavallee Christmas Card 2004

Luke, better known in our household as Dr. Luke the puke, is doing great. Despite constantly attending Med-school parties and hosting “dessert pot luck’s” for his professor’s (apparently he’s an adult now, though he blame’s his party hosting duties on his role of president of med school), Luke can’t seem to meet the right girl, perhaps he’ll have to branch out into the art school crowd, his sister Tanis swears there are some lovely ladies on that side of the tracks. Luke is the one person who holds the crown for being able to party and study more than anyone else we know. How does he do it? Adding to his masculine charm is a new scar on his left cheek, we tell people he got into a fight with a tiger, but truthfully he got into a fight with a Frisbee… and lost, while playing for the McGill Ultimate Frisbee team. Luke, it has also been noted, is working on advancing his style now branching out and wearing purple shirts as well as questionable “scuba team” shirts and the occasional see-through shirt. Oh, and how could I forget the care-bear shirt… yeah, Luke really is a special guy.

Lilia, a lovable, yet often grumpy sixteen year old is also still searching for the right mate. Though she attends more then her fair share of mixed parties, the “right guy” for her apparently does not attend Beaconsfield High School. Hopefully next year when she moves on to bigger and better things at John Abbott College, she will find the larger selection of hunks to her liking. Still showing her affinity for tight fitting, short skirted dresses, Lilia continues to spend her time gliding, jumping and spinning around the ice skating rink. Unable to pull herself away from the oh so appealing life that includes freezing one’s buns off in the harsh climate of the skating rink, Lil plans on taking her skating career to the next level by getting her level one coaching certificate. What a champ. As a graduate at her high school this year Lilia has much opportunity to torment and torture her peers and the younger grades, but picking on kids just isn’t the same for her without her faithful accomplice Kelly Mahoney. Lilia spent another wonderful summer at Amherst Shore this year with her best friend Kelly.

Now Vincent, what is there to say about Vincent? Well, I could pretty much sum up Vincent’s last year with one word that tends to make everyone who hears it just a little bit uncomfortable… SPANDEX! Vincent loves spandex!!! Vincent also happens to love sports, and leave it to our little brainiac to find a way of combining his two greatest loves, sports and spandex. Vincent has become obsessed with all sports that allow him to wear spandex. Vincent runs, wearing little more then what the girls these days call “bikini’s”, he bikes, wearing the tyniest little shorts you’ve ever scene, and of course he swims, wearing the ever fashionable and flatering speedo. Put these three flesh baring sports together and what have you got? The triathlon, and as a word of advise from me to you, never get Vincent started on either running, swimming, biking, his “lap times” or spandex… if you do, good luck getting out alive, he will talk your ear off! As previously alluded to, Vince is a brainiac, he is at McGill studying Bio-chem (where of course the little over-achiever is his years rep on the Bio-chem committee, AND he’s taking advantage of his school’s triathlon team as another excuse to sport the span(dex)).

Tanis is the one we call “artsy”. She truly has a gift. Not only is she beautiful and oh so stylish, she was blessed by the Gods with the gifts of art and intellect. She continues to wow us on a daily basis with her displays of creative genius not only in her pursuance of the fine arts, but also in the everyday tasks of putting together outfits, applying makeup and styling her hair. She is reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw in the way that she can take the most curious pieces and put them together to create a breathtaking fashion statement. Though we encourage the other three children in their pursuit of the sciences, it is truly Tanis, the liberal artist, who will lead her family name down the path of greatness. She can read and write more rapidly, coherently, and inspiredly then any of her siblings. She continues to wow the staff and customers at the restaurant that she works at by displaying a grace and ease that is unparalleled when delivering bills to tables. Yes, Tanis was truly a blessing, her Parasite loving boyfriend Nicky Baby thinks so too and vows to shower her with gifts in the coming year as a show of his affection. Ah, yes, Tanis, there are not enough words to describe her beauty. Good night, and God Bless.

Weekend Recovery

I survived my all nighter in the lab. It wasn't pretty and required a little bit of persuasion from my friend Elspeth on skype (she is in Australia and was still awake at 3:30AM Vancouver time) but I made it.

Recovery wasn't too simple. Friday was just a normal day and then in the evening our building had a poster session (social). I followed this up with going to see the Dar Side of the Rainbow. What is that you ask? Well, turns out that if you play the Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon at the same time, that the two sync up pretty well.

Despite being one of the only "non influenced" people there, I still enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the record is only 45 minutes long so you get halfway through the movie and it just ends. Oh well.

Today I woke up for bike practice, but didn't quite make it. Instead I knocked out back to sleep until noon at which point I only woke up because someone was knocking at the door. I guess I needed to catch up on Thursday's lost sleep. It was a good thing that I was woken up, because I had to get to UBC by 1PM to be a timer for a thunderbird swim meet. I have a few friends on the team and this being a really low key meet was great because I was able to be on pool deck with them and interact.

The meet ended up finishing early (was schedule from 1-5 and finished at 3:30) and the lifeguards were still on chair for another hour and a half so I asked if it was ok if I swam. Many of the swimmers were still cooling down so they didn't see a problem there. Man was it great. I had an entire lane to myself for the entire workout. I put out a solid 3000m short course which I haven't done in a while. Swimming short course is fun, although I really had trouble a few times counting. I did as a main set 5X200m and was holding a steady 2:45-2:50 leaving on 3:10 which for me is really fast. I was pumped because I really haven't been swimming much lately.

Following my swim Matt from the Tri club came over for dinner and we had AWESOME steaks and vegetables. Was my first real meal all week since I've been living in the lab most of the time.

Matt is a Resident Advisor at UBC so had to leave early but then my friend Paul came over to watch a movie. I was invited out but after last week was too tired for it. I was pretty pleased with myself today. Good eating, exercise, no drinking! A+ for Vince!

Then Paul found a coupon for 2 for 1 McDonalds which expires tomorrow, and I'm ashamed to say we actually bussed to campus to get it. So much for my healthy day. That being said, we ran into half the Thunderbird swim team while we were at it. So if varsity swimmers eat it, can't be that bad can it?

Anyways, time for bed! Another big swim tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Columns: The Bain of my existence

Well, this is going to be a fun night. I'm sitting in lab running a column which needs to be topped off every 52 minutes, give or take a bit. For the next 10 hours or so... That brown stuff at the top, ya thats like 2 month of work!

This night isn't going to be much fun because thats not even long enough to have a good nap so I'll just be droning on zombie like with my music pumping on max, lets see if I can get someone from the 2nd floor come up (I'm on 4) and ask me to turn it down. That happened last night, 3AM...

The fortunate thing though is that I can use this time to be semi-productive. I've discovered long ago that when I have to pull long days like this, I can't try and do too much because all that happens is you get REAL tired and make mistakes. So unfortunately when having multiple 1 hour breaks on a day that is longer than 14 hours the only successful way is to take those 1 hours real easy.

So. What am I going to do?

Write tri club e-mails, update the minutes from Tuesday, design a bike jersey, write some thank you letters from Christmas, go for a jog... Among other things.

On the training front, my shins are feeling really tight, so after tonight's run I will take a 7 day hiatus from running. I will only run 1-2 times and let my legs recover. I've decided that the stubbornness of running 50/56 is not worth the injury that could prevent me from running in the spring. We will see, I may not take the whole week off, but at least the weekend. Only swimming and biking on those days. Lets hope Saturday is nice so I can put in a good ride to fill the void from my run.

UBC Spring Race series starts next week, gotta get into shape!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buying New Vs Used Bike

photo from Cycling Tips Blog, Great Blog to read

Found this thread on TriRudy and figured I would share

Anyone considering buying a new bike should definitely do some searching for used bikes because they can save a lot of money and get a bike that is nearly the same as a new model. However there are some things one needs to consider before buying used.

1. If one is shopping for a full carbon frame, be sure to check with the
manufacturer on the possibility of warranty transfer. Carbon frames are
expensive, can crack and buying new in this case can provide peace of mind.

2. Higher end bike shops usually provide a fitting with purchase so one should see this as a savings that can be as much as $300, but typically not lower than $100. So, buying used will mean that you need to spend the extra amount on fitting.

3. Depending on how used the bike is, it can be pretty beaten
up--especially if it is being sold by a professional/semi-pro rider. These riders go through chains, cassettes, and chain rings very quickly. They also wear out tires quickly, so a careful inspection of these parts is critical.

4. Yesterday's Dura-Ace is today's Ultegra. The used bike sporting high end components may not be better (and may be inferior) to a new bike that comes with lower end components in the same company because of what is known as a trickle-down effect in the industry. The technology from high end components tends to find its way into lower end products every year that the component line changes. Probably the rule of thumb is two years max for component comparison (i.e. Shimano Ultegra today may be very similar to Dura-Ace of two years ago). Always ask the used bike seller for the series number for the component line because a new bike can be sold with older components (i.e. Ultegra 6500 is not the same as Ultegra 6700).

5. Don't underestimate the cost savings regarding taxes on a used bike. Higher end bikes come with significant tax--somewhat offset by the free bike fit--but still something to consider.

6. Most used bikes will come with pedals or you should at least negotiate this into the price because they will cost you anywhere from $150 to $300 on a new bike (which never comes with pedals).

7. Be careful when comparing USD prices to CDN prices, even when one can ship a bike from the US to Canada, there are significant shipping costs, customs and insurance can completely negate an attractive initial retail price.

8. Nobody should buy a bike without riding it first, sometimes buying used doesn't permit this because the person selling it may not be local. Too much risk involved and one should never buy used without riding it first. Buying new is less problematic in this regard because one can try the same new bike at a local shop and feel confident that their new bike from another city will feel good when it arrives.

9. Shipping costs within Canada for new bikes can be negotiated into the price most times--but it shouldn't exceed $75 anyway and this includes insurance--no customs obviously.

10. A used bike that has been treated well will almost always look brand new because riders with high end bikes like to keep them clean and looking new. Most riders take pride in a clean machine so if the used bike looks really dirty it's a good indication the bike was not taken care of.

11. One should try to make sure the used bike was kept indoors (in house not garage) during winter (this is especially important for carbon and carbon alloy frames).

12. Asking price should be about 30% less than the original asking price for the first year after purchase and then the asking price should drop slower thereafter every year. This is mostly because the components improve almost every year and (as mention above) lower end components on new bikes can be better than last year's higher end product.

These are my initial thoughts as to what I think are relevant
considerations for buying used.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

50/50 Challenge Update

18 Days in and 109km run.

So far the challenge has been going well. I'm feeling good, running smooth and fast, however, now I'm running into a problem.

My legs are getting tight...

The smart thing would be to take more time, however, the ego/pride/stubbornness is making me want to push through. I know well enough that getting injured in January is DUMB, but I don't want to pass up on the challenge that quickly.

So far I've run 15/18 days. I needed to take a day off on Tuesday because the day off I took on Saturday I feel didn't do me justice because I went skiing for 4.5 hours doing moguls and sick jumps.

I haven't given up yet, but I have decided to put more focus on stretching and icing (something I've been neglecting). Its ridiculous how quickly fitness can come back. From only 2.5 weeks of running I'm feeling great and our run workout last night proves this. We did a fartlek workout (speedplay for those who don't know), and I was running with Matt. As we began he was saying that he wasn't going to be able to hold the pace we started at (3:30-3:40/km) and I decided that my goal for this workout was to keep consistent and do so (resulting in breaking him). 29 Minutes later, success. The whole workout I ran just shy of 8km in 29 minutes. which considering that has rest period, I'm pumped.

I've decided to change my interval pace. For the longest time I've stuck with 3:45min/km for running intervals, I've decided its time to push a little harder and move that down to 3:35-3:40. Mistake? We'll see.

After run we did AB RIPPER X, but more on that later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does this remind you of anyone you know?

I saw this on Chuckie V's blog, not sure where he got it from but its pretty much gold!

I know I used to be like this, hopefully I'm not too bad anymore... That being said I have all that equipment he talks about. Need I remind you of these?

50/50 Challenge

In the fall I read on Doug's blog about a 50 day swim challenge. Now I have no false hopes of swimming 50 days in a row, I know myself better than that, and know that I would never complete it. Running on the other hand is definitely possible.

Just to outline the 50/50 swim challenge as Doug described it:

1. We will record workouts individually on the honour system.

2. There is no need to complete one swim each day; multiple swims are allowed, as are rest days (see point 4 below)

3. An individual swim workout must be at least 1000 metres to qualify, with the following exceptions:
  • 1-on-1 sessions with a swim coach count even if you don’t swim 1000 metres
  • Open water swims that last for more than 5 minutes count as a swim (but honestly, it’s October, so this shouldn’t be a problem

4. If attempting to do multiple swims in a single day, 1000 metre swims won’t cut it
  • To count two swims, one workout must be at least 2000 metres, or the total of the two workouts must be 3000 metres
  • To count three swims, one workout must be at least 3000 metres, or the total of the three workouts must be 6000 metres
  • If you try to count four swims, we’ll know that you’re cheating
5. Dry-land training doesn’t count. That’s weights

How am I changing things for the run challenge? I know that running 50 days in a row probably isn't the smartest idea because of the impact. So I will try and take 1 day off a week. Originally I was going to try and schedule this day off, however, decided that since life throws you curve balls that I will leave it unscheduled and when a day comes that I'm too busy, then no problem.

As a result of these days off, its really a 50/56 challenge, therefore, you can't make up any days by simply running longer.

5K minimum for a day to count, pace doesn't matter.

Why am I doing all of this? I find that every spring I start running and find that I'm in terrible shape and need to rebuild all the work I've done over the past season. This way it will be building a nice strong base over the "off season" banking on consistency instead of long mileage.

How am I doing so far? I started on January 3nd and currently have only missed one day because I had lab work run late and dinner plans that prevented me from running, so in 11 days I've run 10 of them with 61km done and feeling pretty good.

I'll keep you posted on how the rest goes.

Any takers for the challenge?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


There is a lot I've been planning to write about, such as year reviews, resolutions, and goals. But in the end, I probably won't end up doing any of that.

By the end of last semester I was writing for two blogs, this one along with the UBC Triathlon Club Blog and it began to be too much. My motivation for writing was gone and it was simply a chore. As a result I decided to put off or simply ignore the typical yearly reflection type post that I've been reading on most other sites. Don't get me wrong, I love reading them, But I felt that if I wanted to provide some good reading material for everyone this year, then I needed a break to rejuvenate my writing.

Rest assured, I have now found a bundle of new funny web photos to put up to keep everyone entertained.

Just a quick recap of the past month for everyone. December was really busy for me. With all the Christmas and Holiday parties, my last few weeks in Vancouver were filled with nights out along with scrambling to get my lab work done before the break. On top of all this I moved apartments. I've got a new set up now a little closer to campus and aside from a few small problems, things are going really well.

I had an early trip back to Montreal for the holidays because I wanted to be back in Vancouver for new years to finish off my move. While back had some great time with my family and made a quick trip to Toronto to visit a bunch of my friends from McGill.

Getting back to Vancouver I hit the ground running. I had to finish the move along with a lot of lab work that I wanted to finish ASAP. As a result I spent every waking moment either in lab or moving (or sorting through stuff that had been moved). Sadly I was in lab on New Years EVE! But did manage to get out for a rather eventful night on the town.

Now the semester is back and running, the tri club is having out first meeting tonight to discuss the coming semester and improvements and hopefully things will start to take off!

Thats all for now. I have some training related post to put up but I'll save those for another day.

Happy New Year everyone!