Thursday, August 26, 2010

Learning to Run

I just read this on Brad Cunningham's blog. An elite runner from the Vancouver area. He is coming back after a year or so off of running.

The road back to feeling like a runner is 50 hours long.

The road back to feeling like a runner is 600km long.

The road back to feeling like a runner costs 46,000 calories.

It is not a long road, but it is one that requires patience, perseverance, and consistency.

And the road back to feeling like a runner just gets you to the start of the longer road to becoming a runner.

Next step.

I like this because I feel this is where I am at right now after the concussion and the ankle injury. I am finally able to run again and work on improving. I don't think I am running at the same level as Brad, therefore it won't quite take me that long. Yay for shortcuts!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekly Updates - SCUBA!

Not all to much new. Thesis is coming along well, I have more or less finished the intro and am making good progress on the methods and results.

In other news, my friend Mike Duncan is a certified scuba instructor and this past week he taught myself and 6 others how to scuba dive!

It sounds like a simple task but we had to read an entire book along with about 20 hours of class/pool time over the span of 5 days. It was all worth it though. Over the weekend we went to Whytecliff Park and Porteau Cove and did two dives at each site. The dives were in the range of 30-40 minutes each and went to a max depth of 60 feet.

I wasn't overly excited about scuba diving before this trip and signed up for the course more because it was available and at a reduced price than because I had a passion to try scuba diving but in the end I am really glad I did. There was so much to see, it was really cool. One thing I found funny. Fish act like cats. They might let you get up close to them but you get the impression you are just really pissing them off. I kept hoping that a fish would dart away and do something impressive but instead they just moved a few inches out of reach giving me a look of hatred.

Lingcod, we saw lots of these!

In other news I head to Ironman Canada this week and depending on how that goes I may have big news next week! And no, its not that I am going to register, thats just a terrible idea for me.

Training news, I did a pretty fantastic run last night. Hopefully that means things are coming back. Now just to find time for my long runs...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Year in 4 Minutes

I saw a video like the one below this morning and decided to throw one together. I simply took all my iPhotos from this year and without real editing put them to music. I like the idea and may in the future try and put together something a little smoother.

My Summer so far in 1600 photos!

This weekend, Scuba diving!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Active Weekend

No great weekend is accomplished without a little stupidity to make it fantastic! That describes my weekend pretty well.

Friday night was uneventful so lets skip straight to Saturday morning. Vancouver is a pleasant 26*C by 8AM and the apartment is easily 30+. Glad I'm sleeping with a down comforter! Mel was racing the Kits open water 3k swim race at 8:45 so after a quick breakfast we head down to the beach. I normally would have done this race, however, I wasn't sure if I would be around when the registration process was taking place and in the end it slipped by. Considering how much swimming I have done this month I am not overly upset by not competing. Mel raced well, the conditions were great, however from looking at the results I would say the course was a little long.

Mel about to start the swim

After socializing a little more after the race we headed back to Mel's because she had some chores to take care of (Med applications) so I made good use of this time and took nap #1 for the weekend. I've learned that when trying to nap, don't do it in a 35*C apartment in front of a window. When I woke up I was a little parched to say the least. Conveniently though Mel and I only had a long run on tap for the afternoon. After much persuasion (I don't like running in new places) I was convinced to run around Stanley Park instead of through the endowment lands at UBC. This turned out to be a great idea. Although there was very little shade and it was blistering hot outside, the seawall does offer water and bathrooms every mile.

We got back to Mel's around 6:30, got cleaned up quick and were out the door to meet friends for dinner. My friend Becky from McGill was visiting and flying out the next morning so we did what all smart endurance athletes do and drank heavily! Keeping in mind that I have barely been drinking all summer, Matt hasn't drank at all and Mel even less. We were a pretty lightweight group. After a good night and a new marathon goal set, we all stumbled home for what was sure to be a painful Sunday.

Although I'm a grown man with a lot to say, you would think I could hold my own against 100 pounds of persuasion, but apparently Mel has mind powers. About a week ago she mentioned the urge to ride a century ride (100miles/160.1km) at some point this summer. Since we have the scuba course next weekend (more on that later) and she leaves right after, this was our last weekend available before school starts up again.

Waking up joyfully hungover on a day with a humidex reaching 32*C I decided to ride my TT bike since I was too lazy to switch over the pedals. Immediately yesterdays run was felt in the legs. Not pain, just sluggish. We met up with a group totalling 8 at UBC and took off. Matt was sporting his brand new Argon 18 E112 and Winston had out the new P2. I wasn't the only one on a TT bike.

Bike Route
We ticked off the miles slowly and after only a few detours along the way managed to inch our way closer to 100 miles. Sure the legs go significantly more tired as we went, but on the plus side the hangover subsided with every pedal stroke! By 80 miles I could barely even remember I felt like vomit.

Just as we reached 80 miles we arrived in Steveston where we enjoyed some fantastic fish and chips at Pajo's! I had salmon, have never had a battered salmon before. It may have been the 6 hours of riding prior but it tasted FANTASTIC!

After a refreshing hour break we had the final hour back to home.

Upon arriving home I managed to take a quick nap on the couch on route to my bedroom to get changed. Roughly 45 minutes later (nap #2), I got up and made it to my room. Got changed and succumbed to my second nap of the night (nap 3#). This time being an hour long! Finally at 9 I got up for real, had a shower and proceeded to go directly back to bed.

Weekend total, 24k run, 162k bike 9 hours of training!

Considering how tired I was and I've done all this distance before, I can't imagine how tired Mel must have been since she also had a 3k ocean swim this weekend, missed a nap on Saturday and completed her longest bike ride! Hung over...

I'm impressed


Why did the cyclist ride to Steveston?

Just for the Halibut!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Training Like a Pro

Earlier this week Rachel Kiers (elite ironman athlete) asked if anyone wanted to go do intervals at Iona on Thursday morning. Since I have decided that intervals are pretty much the aspect of my training that is really lacking I decided to take her up on this offer. That and the fact that she is a nice person and makes good company to ride with!

The plan: Meet at 8:30, ride to Iona and start intervals

10X5minutes race pace / 2 minutes easy

2X20 minutes just lower than race pace / 10 minutes easy.

On paper this didn't seem like such a hard ride. Race pace is for 2 hours 30 minutes of riding. I can easily make it 50 with breaks.

We started and for the first few I was feeling pretty good but then as I started to tire, the race from the past weekend was still lingering.

To say the least I was drafting pretty hard most of the ride. For the 5 minutes on, Rachel was holding a steady 37-42kph depending on wind direction while I drafter my best! Impressive!

After the 2X20 minutes I split off from Rachel and did the last 10 minutes of the ride home realizing that I had just completed 85km of riding in 2:35. Not bad for a practice day when you consider that had rest intervals and some cruise riding to get out to Iona and on the way back.

What I learned today though was that I don't push myself hard enough. These raises in intensity nearly killed me. I got home, made a shake and sat on my couch. Next thing I know I've napped for 80 minutes. Oops. Glad I decided to work from home today!

It was a good ride and hopefully my legs will appreciate it in the long run. But one thing is for sure, if I plan on training seriously this winter I will need to get my act together and learn how to suffer in intervals.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sooke Race Report

It hasn't even been one year since I raced Sooke, however, I've complained about that race enough that it might as well have been 10. To put it lightly, Sooke didn't go well last year, and I spared nothing in describing my distaste.

My track record at Sooke has been less than stellar. My first year, I ended up skipping it due to injury. My IT band was really tight and I decided the marathon was too important to risk it.

Last year, After a great summer of performances, I had let my fitness somewhat diminish, got to Sooke and expected a great performance which just wasn't within my ability. Mix in a few bike technical difficulties (chain getting stuck, wheel falling off) and it wasn't the best day.

As a result, it was difficult to get pumped up for Sunday.

Driving over to Victoria and Sooke on Saturday the weather was miserable, dumping rain. Fit nicely with my feelings for the race, however, after a very relaxing ferry ride and a casual trip out to Sooke the weather and my mood started to change.

Mel and I stayed at Nick's place after going to Boston Pizza with Winston, Andrew and Derrick we settled in a Nick's for the night.

Sunday morning the sky had cleared. It was still cool but the roads were dry.

We got there plenty early and set up. Mel was racing the Olympic which started 90 minutes after my race, so she had plenty of time, even getting in a bike ride warmup.

I got down to the start line with a positive attitude, prepared to make this my best race of the summer. Goggles on, standing waist deep in water, its announced that there is 10 seconds until the start. I splash water in my face and SNAP! Goggles break right across the nose. The old man beside me was very concerned. I swear had I not stopped him he would have tried to find an official to delay the race. Instead, I tossed my goggles back over everyones head to the beach and dove into the water like an amateur.

Mass starts without goggles... Not too much fun. I ran into EVERYONE! This swim was very reminiscent of my first years in triathlon. Unable to swim straight, hitting weeds because I realize I'm all the way to the left on the shore. Good times. To sight I had to do this fancy head whip to get the water out of my eyes before I could open them! Looked good. Mel ran into one of her friends at the start line and announced that her boyfriend was approaching. At seeing my spastic movement in the water, no goggles or cap (took off my cap because it was falling off due to the goggles having been under it), Mel decided it was wise to point out the swimmer behind me as her better half.

I came out of the water in 32 minutes... Pretty slow. I figured I should have been able to swim around 29 in the lake since it is calm with no current. Oh well.

Onto the bike. I wasn't able to see too well out of my right eye. It kept watering which made the first lap fun. The bike went well. Not much to report. Got passed a few times, and passed a few people. Fairly uneventful. The only big thing that happened was Katya Meyers caught me with 1/2 a lap left and I decided to try and stick to her because I knew she would run well off the bike and it would be nice to have a pace bunny.

2:36:44 for the bike, not bad considering the course. It was really windy and hilly.

Came into transition about 10 seconds back, flew through transition having the fastest T2 of the day, AGAIN! and was out on the run course. My legs still felt pretty good. Katya took off. We went through 2k in 7:45 which is much faster than I normally run off the bike. I weighed my options and decided that if I tried to stick to her I would probably blow up and really not enjoy the second half of the race. So despite having a Model/Pro Triathlete to follow, this just wasn't tempting enough to keep me on her heels.

Katya Meyers, she's on an elephant

I ended up finishing with a 1:36:20 Half. My legs felt pretty good, I was simply lacking intensity training this year due to the ankle injury. Had I been able to put in more intensity it wouldn't have been so foreign pushing the pace.

Finished the day in 4:45:47. Good enough for 9th place overall. The overall winner was way ahead, however, the race for 3rd was tight. Between myself and 3rd was only 6 minutes for 6 spots. I am pretty confident that without the swim issues, I really could have been a contender for the podium. I would have been that much closer to the front and that much more motivated to push.

The others on the team had a great day as well. Winston had his fastest run split in a half iron finishing in 2nd for the 20-24 age group in a time of 5:04 and Andrew finished in 3rd in the age group having had his fastest swim.

Mel had a great race in the Olympic achieving her first sub 50minute 10k off the bike which considering the wind and hills on the run course is impressive. Her time of 48 would have been much closer to 45-46 on a flat course! Unfortunately because the age groups are split up 20-29 for the Olympic distance she finished in her favorite spot: 4th! Otherwise she would have won or come 2nd in the 20-24 category.

I don't have many details of Derricks race, however, I know he was quite pleased with having the 11th fastest bike split in the Olympic!

Winston getting his medal

Andrew and I atop the podium

The boys were so overjoyed with the days events that they broke out into an impromptu dance party!


Friday, August 6, 2010


The past couple of weeks, at work my focus has been on writing my thesis. Its lots of fun!

I find it really hard to get started so as a result its the job that keeps being pushed back. PHD Comics has had a funny string of stories lately which describe my life quite accurately.

I've learned not to make to do lists...

Maybe I'll clean behind the fridge... Again.

Matt offered to give me the third book from the Millennium Trilogy. Only catch is its on computer so I could only read it on my laptop. This would be a BAD idea.

I get this question from Mel almost every day. I don't mind it, keeps me somewhat accountable, but at the same time I wish I had more to report...

In other news. Biking is feeling GREAT! I've ridden a lot the past two weeks and done nearly no running or swimming. Sooke this weekend should be interesting. Hopefully fitness carries over from one sport to the next. There isn't as big of a group going over this weekend which is a little disappointing, however, hopefully that means that it will be more relaxing.

This is my last half of the year, also it went terribly last year, so I'm hoping to take something back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I've mentioned this before many times, the Triple Crown! It finally arrived and did it ever meet expectations.

Quick recap. 175km of riding, climbing 3 mountains on the way! Don't be fooled by Grouse in the middle. It may be short but it still packed a punch.

In total we had 24 riders take off from UBC. Mostly from the UBC Tri Club, however, we had a few new guest take part in the ride as well!

Unfortunately the day was riddled with bad luck. Almost from the gun we encountered flats. Elliot Holtham got a flat requiring him to not only change tubes, but get a new wheel. Fortunately this was near his house so a small group of us waited for him while the majority of the group continued to Horseshoe Bay. This wasn't the best plan. It took nearly 15 minutes to get the wheel dealt with, 15 minutes which we made up all in the 30km ride to Horseshoe Bay. We were moving.

Getting to Horseshoe Bay we met up with the group and enjoyed our first rest stop.

Mel at first stop

The bad luck didn't stop with the flats, as Nathaniel who made the trip over from the Island in order to do the ride sat in bird poop!


Jump three weeks of forgetting to write this post!

Leaving Horseshoe bay and heading up to Cypress after a short regroup!
Mel riding along the highway

After a quick regroup at the base of Cypress and instead just went straight for it!

Leading the way

Jesse breaking away

We managed to get a group photo of everyone at the top. Unfortunately due to bathroom breaks we were missing Claire and Kory. Oops

Almost all of the group

Waiting for Flat at the base

Skip forward 50km to the top of Seymour. It was a hard ride up. A further few flats later and many bottles of water and in the end we had 14 people reach the summit!

Winstorm looking like he has the wind knocked out of him

Kim: "Mountains, where? I could do this all day"

All in all it was a really fun day. Legs were a little tired by the end but I think everyone who took part was definitely happy to have been involved and felt it was an achievement. The only downside to the day was the 8 flats we had between 24 people. Statistically that was far too high!