Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deja Vu

Day 46 41min-2.1km swim, 89 min-34km bike commute, 38min - 8k run

Total on week so far 343 minutes

I am an advocate for variety in training, it's something I share and recommend to keep the passion for the workouts alive and been very helpful over my 32 years of running / racing.

So when today's workout ended up been an almost repeat of yesterday it was a weird case of deja vu. A cold (very cold - causing numb fingers) commute into work. A noon swim, commute home the long way and an evening 8K run sure looked the same as usual.

there were some small variations. The swim was 4X500m repeat on a 10 min cycle (7:50, 7:43, 7:45 and 7:37). A little more snappy ride home - possible due to the different music playlist chosen and finally the evening run with Leah biking, not running with me. I ran tonight's run a bit more brisk, felt pretty good.

Still watching the mild plantar fascia effect and slight shin tingle. Morning heart rates are very consistent at 40 bpm and soft tissue seems fine overall. Fortunately the massive rate of increase phase of my training is complete and now I can settle into a more steady state routine.

To most of the readers (if there are actually an readers of this blog) I must seem to have a pretty mundane life. Get up, commute by bike to work, work 9 ish hours with a short swim at lunch, commute home, evening run, then family or church stuff, sleep, repeat.

Saturday's and Sunday's is where the little variation comes in for other family activities. Interesting twist is that I am quite enjoying having this big focus. I don't think I would want this volume of training for the rest of my life but I know the goal and I know that this (the consistent training) is going to make it a reality.

I am very grateful for the support of family and friends in this endeavour.

No deja vu tomorrow. I will be up early to get a morning swim before an off site work meeting and then my long run (29km planned) tomorrow night. Hopefully I can squeeze in getting my road bike to the shop for a tune up and also a haircut.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cold Mornings and Consistency

Day 45 40 min-2.1Km swim, 91 min-34Km bike commute, 44 min-8Km run

Total on week 175 minutes, Goal 1140 minutes (19 hours)

Woke up this morning very well rested, it helps after getting to be at 9:30 or before. Took my regular Sunday Day off. Usual church things yesterday with an occasional attempt to catch IM Canada on the net but they had major slow network issues so gave up and looked up the results this morning.

Was very happy to see both Kyle Marcotte and Scott Curry have reasonably good races. Hope they were happy with their performances. Go fellow Calgarians.

It was far colder today this morning for my ride to work, out came long sleeves, gloves, warm undergarments, tights and extra jacket. It can't be that we are already heading to winter like conditions. Nonetheless it was a nice ride into work. Good day at work as well.

main set in the swim was my best 5 X 200 pull on 3:30, averages 2:57. Took the long route home on the bike and then had a really fun 8K run with Leah to finish off the training day. Enjoyed time with the family tonight for about an hour and then bed.

Today's routine worked really well and I am still being very consistent to my plan.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ups, Downs and flat tire on Trainer

Day 43 260 minutes - 119km bike, 52 min - 11km run

Total on week 1080 minutes (18 hours) Goal accomplished!

Well it was a day of ups and downs for sure.

Up - slept in an hour and felt rested and got the computrainer set up
Down - No real course video disk because they were still at Bernie's
Up - Kona was loaded on my computer already
Down - Got a flat tire after 80 min on the computrainer - what gives!
Up - Got new tire designed for trainer rides and was back home in 1hr
Down - Got only 2 more hours riding before leaving for family gathering
Up - Took extra bike and rode home from gathering in headwind
Down - Forgot bike shoes and had to do it with runners - yuck
Up - Did brick run right after getting home running slight neg split with room left in the tank.

Thinking I will switch next weeks 10hr week with the week afters 19 hr week so I can race the Sheep river Road Race on the Labor day Monday. I will need to front load next week though.

I know it is still early days but am settling in pretty nicely. I am approaching record month distances in swim and run, marginally behind in bike with two training days left in the month. Volume is not everything but I want to get a solid base so that I can build some power off it on the bike.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Long Run with an Old Friend

Day 42 144 min, 25.5K run

Total on week 767 minutes

Because we got back late last night after waterskiing I decided to drive to work instead of biking. Felt almost guilty but sure made me far more rested for the long run tonight. I met up with a friend who lives out of town and I had not run with for ages. He ran 10K before we met as he is 4 weeks before the Toronto marathon and I joined him for his last 25K. It was a fairly slow run for me because it was his final easy long run before the marathon so averaged about 5:38ish or something per km. It was quite fun being able to pass the talk test during the entire run since the pace was nice and controlled.

However, I am going to have a long day tomorrow in order to get to my goal of 18 hours on the week. I will have to have about a 5.2 hour training day. I plan to set up the computrainer and ride the start and one loop of the St George IM course, that should take me about 4.5 hours and then a short 10k run afterwards as a brick workout.

I am SO looking forward to sleeping in for the first time in 2 weeks.

Fun and Family

Day 41 39 min 2K swim, 38 min 14k Bike

Today was scheduled as an easy workout day and became even easier when the evening commute home was cancelled as a family friend invited us to the lake tonight to go water skiing.

What a hoot. Melanie has waterskiied before so she went first and showed us all how it was done. The skis were too big for Sierra so she did kneeboarding and was very impressive for her first time, then Leah, also kneeboarding for her first. Next up was me kneeboarding, I did that once long ago and then I did the water ski thing for my first time and then Leah tried it out and also got up first time ever water skiing. The evening wrapped up with Leah, Sierra and Gabby riding the tube.

So thankful for Kevin's invite and generosity plus great tips and instructions that made the evening a total blast. What a great day to have for an easy training day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Motivational Music

Day 40 42min 2K swim, 80 min 28K bike Commute, 110 minute 18K run with intervals

Total on week 546 minutes

Today was scheduled to be a long training day, didn't help that I woke up at 4:00AM and unable to get to sleep right away so I got up, took care of some tasks and went back to bed at 5am for another hour of dozing. Decided to start monitoring my resting heart rate shortly after I wake up - today it was 46. Using that as another indicator to watch for over-training. Because over training is not my usual weakness I need to be guarded given how fast I am ramping up the volume - remember boys and girls adding 3 hours a week is NEVER recommended.

Easy bike commute again to work. In the back of my mind I know I need to start adding bike intervals into the mix but for now I am using the killer hills to and from work to build strength and power. I am also using the light to light sprints as intervals when I am trying to avoid red lights. It's not overly strategic but hopefully it works.

Planned an easy swim today and did some 100m repeats with a work colleague on a 2' cycle as opposed to my usual 1:45 and decided to work on my backstroke. It's been a while since I have done backstroke so was fun mixing it up and was pleasantly surprised by averaging 1:42 on my back.

After a relatively long work day I headed over to the gym for the structured mile repeats I had planned. First time I have done those at the end of the day and they are a LOT harder than the usual Saturday morning long interval workout. So the requirement was some motivational music. I quickly created a play list of everything up tempo and ran to a variety of dance mix, rock and pop for the 2 mile warm up and then began the 8 X 1 mile intervals session. First 4 went pretty good except I was soaked with sweat, I pity the guys that kept running on the treadmill beside me. I didn't mean to gross them out but when your running 6:35/mile the sweat kinda flings around.

fortunately the water fountain was beside my treadmill so each rest period I had an ample supply of water. Number six interval got really tough but the shuffle feature on the playlist brought up Don't Fear the Reaper. I spent the majority of that interval saying to myself "More Cowbell" credits to Saturday Night Live Skit. It was motivational because anyone that has watched live or on TV the winter Olympics knows the Europeans ring cowbells to encourage their cross country skiers. So between Blue Oyster Cult and Winter Olympic memories I pushed through the sixth interval.

After using Reaper and Cowbell to get through number six how was I going to motivate through number seven interval? well thanks to an ill fated experience where I uploaded my kids music to my device shuffle brought Disturbia to the fore just as interval seven got underway. Never would have thought it would be a song that would take me through but it did. Now some of you out there might be doing mental math and saying to yourself those songs don't last 6:35, your right, some other random song usually came on as well but these are the ones that gave me the extra adrenaline boost is all.

This left interval number eight. To what great music would my eighth and final interval owe its life to? It need to be something super peppy, as I waited through the rest period on comes Lady Gaga? Was this going to be another shot in the arm from my kids music feeds? I guess so. Poker Face became the mantra of that interval. Now I don't know what the rest of you do when running on a treadmill at the gym but the mirror was less than 2 feet away. Poker Face became my goal because so often in races I watch to see how hard my competitors are working, maybe its a guy thing but when racing I want to know who is suffering and who looks strong. I thought to myself perhaps others watch me and time for me to pull out the race poker face.

So I upped the speed and increased the tempo and did it trying to look as relaxed and calm as possible - could it be the effort actually helped me relax the rest of my body? I think so. A 2K cool down, quick shower and a VERY easy commute bike ride home, I was baked.

And that is how music motivated me tonight!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Balance and Life

Day 39 49 min 2.5K swim, 83 min 28K Bike

Total on week 314 minutes

Today brought a different type of satisfaction, sure I had a really strong swim workout. For me it is challenge to break 1:30's on my repeat 100's so matching my best interval workout by doing 10X100 on an average of 1:27.5 with 17.5 secs average rest is a good swim. My second set was 18x50 descending to 43 seconds on 1 minute cycles.

However, the real satisfaction today was a good day at work getting lots done plus taking care of evening responsibilities at Church.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be far more difficult workout wise with repeat mile run intervals on the agenda. Taking the time to do some preventative ice treatments for my plantar fascia tonight as I blog. Really watching the sensitive spots and amount of sleep to make sure I don't over train.

Affirmations and Actions

Day 38 30 min 1.7K swim, 83 min 31K Bike, 69 min 12.5K Run

Total time on week 182 minutes (goal 1080 minutes)

Today was an easy focus with a relaxed bike commute to work and back, easy run and moderate swim (main set was 5X200 pull on a 3.5 minute cycle averaging 3:00 min per 200m).

As I reflected on Saturday's race I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of sources, one of which is my middle daughter. About 30 minutes before race start she asked me if I had every broke a minute on transitions - I responded with the affirmation of yes, I have on Aug 21, 2010.

Interesting that my self proclaimed affirmation proved to be the winning aspect of my race. The swim put me in contention, the bike prevented me from getting put out of range and the run closed the win but it was the transition speed that really won the race for me.

Thank you Leah.

Family photo from the race yesterday

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Big Days, Blistering Race, Baptism

Day 36 1600m swim 27 min, 49K bike 94 min, 10K run 42 min

Total on Week 602 minutes

I enjoyed yesterdays rest/walk day and despite a couple of successive nights of less sleep woke up pretty refreshed and ready to race. Last night I couldn't believe I had trouble sleeping - thinking about the race. I can't even remember the last time I was this nervous about a race, not even Ironman in Florida. Perhaps it was that I was thinking the big win, perhaps because I had been training hard for 5 weeks, who knows, but nonetheless I was nervous.

We went down to Fort McLeod with all 5 girls ready to race. My dad came down as well and also Granny Jan to see the kids race. Frances (aka Crash) was dropping down to the Sprint due to foot injuries and everyone was ready to go.

I won't bore everyone with the usual play by play of the race except to say three things.

1) We had so much fun as a family all racing a triathlon together

2) The Rush family rocked Fort McLeod competition wise. I won the Olympic outright going 2 minutes faster than last year on a course about 4 minutes longer, Melanie was 3rd women overall in the Olympic and won her age group, Frances was 4th women in the Sprint and won her category, Leah finished 15th women in the sprint and 34 out of 115 total with her age category win, Aryana beat her estimate by 24 minutes and finished 71 of 115, Sierra finished 7 of 14 in 16 and under (as a 12 yr old) in the Super Sprint and Gabby was 3rd girl in 10 and under (as an 8 year old).

3) Frances, Leah, Gabby, Melanie and I all had blistering run times to make the places we did. I ran down 2 guys with over 2.5 minute leads to take the win, Frances and Leah both running near PR pace for their runs despite it being a tri, Melanie ran her fastest 10K in about 8+ years and Gabby was the fastest runner in 10 and under girls.

For the statistical gory details go


Some Garmin data on my race



After we got home we then had another type of special day as a family as grandparents, cousins etc all joined our family in the Baptismal ordinance for Gabby. It was a different type of wonderful family experience.

Definitely a big day at our house.

Rest day tomorrow and then an 18 hour training week for me next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quasi Taper

Day 34 28km bike 69 minutes and 6K running 47 minutes

Total on week 429 minutes

Relatively easy effort commuting via bike to work but surprisingly quick, once I got home I took a brief break and then went out for an easy 2000m run warm-up, then 10X200m intervals on 36 seconds at a 2 minute cycle and then 2000m cool down. Plantar fascia acting up a bit but iced them on and off while I did my standard 100 cruches and 30 pushups, biceps and triceps weight routine.

Tomorrow is planned to be a REALLY easy day. No more than 40 minutes total and it will be a short jog and bike alternating to practice some transitions for saturday's race.

I hope to swim in about 24:30 including the run to and from the lane, less than 60 seconds transition, ride the 38.8km bike in about 69-70 minutes and less than 30 seconds in T2 and run the 9.2 km in 37 minutes for a total time of under 2:13.

Will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

A new and surprising training partner

Day 33 47min 2.7Km swim, 31 minute 15K bike 5min 1Km run

Total on week so far 323 minutes

Today had a special surprise for me as I did an easy swim at the pool and cranked out a steady state swim almost as fast as last years swim at Ironman with a lot less effort. Go me. However the highlight of my day came in the evening workout.

I took Leah with me to 22X East in order for her to get more used to riding the Cervelo loaned to her by Bernie for the race. She was a bit tentative for the first 4Km but once she got more comfortable she notched it up and I was shocked to see her average over 30km/hr on the return journey. We did a small 1Km brick run after biking and she ran a pretty moderate 5min kilometer and had room to go faster, wow.

Looks like she would be able to bike run with me for my easier workouts without any problem. For 14 it was pretty impressive to see her ride that quick.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Art of Confidence

Day 32 41 minute 8.5k run

Total on week 240 minutes, target 600 minutes by end of week

As many of my friends and acquaintenances are aware I am leaving no stone unturned in my personal Kona Quest. Weight, Nutrition, Endurance, Core, Power, Intervals. Today I took the time to explore the principle of confidence with a work colleague. His background, while not a sports psychologist, brought up the concept of confidence. I was discussing with him how and what I needed to do to race successfully at St. George. It is more than talking about the qualification to Kona in the affirmative fait accompli framework but how I would stay focused racing hard in such a long race.

Don't get me wrong, I have completed 4 ironmans (Canada 89, California 01, Florida 07 and Florida 09) along with the reduced Ironman Utah of 02. I can do this distance but this time it's different. I plan to race this distance at a pace of a Kona Age Group qualifier.

Anyways, the idea that my work colleague brought up is that I needed to train in a way that would prepare me with the confidence to bike and run the way I need to. We discussed how you could train in harder conditions than you would race. Now, its just not prudent to train an Ironman everyday but I had one of those epiphany moments With a light bulb or my head.

My very best marathon was when I trained on teh treadmill every long run mimicing the final miles of the race. This was significant because at mile 21ish there was a particularly nasty 1 and 3/4 mile hill of 5% grade. In training I had run that hill modelled on the treadmill at least a dozen times. When the race came I knew what it was, where it was and how I was going to run it - viola - confidence. Thanks to my buddy Bernie I have the bike course for St. George on teh computrainer. I am going to make sure I know "the wall" a nasty hill on the Ironman bike intimately. I also will get the data on teh run course and practice the actual course for my running long runs.

And that, is one way, I will be building confidence.

Enjoying the Journey

Day 31 Easy Bike 42K, easy run 6K, hard swim 2500m

Total on week so far 3h 19min

Yesterday I had a great training day, pretty much soft in effort but was really enjoyable. The day started with a very easy mtn bike ride to work listening to some easy listening music in the background on the way. At lunch I decided to try doing my first hard set of LONG swim intervals 5X500m on a 10 minute cycle. Was a great descending set at 8:15, 7:58, 7:52, 7:51 and finished with a 7:49. Very happy about that.

After biking home (little harder effort) I had a blast with the kids helping them tweak things for Saturday's race. First I got Leah all set up on a good friends daughters bike (thanks Bernie and Brittney) and she and I rode for about 6K as she got used to the whole tri set up before she went on her own around the reservoir.

Next Aryana and I biked 5K with Gabby who just motored along on a hilly 5K out and back and then she ran 1K right afterwards with me and Frances. Gabby will have zero problems with finishing the kids of steel at Fort McLeod even with aging up to the 10 and under race. Then when Leah got back from her ride, Leah, Aryana and I did an easy 5K run. So Leah is very ready for her sprint distance.

It was really fun to get out with the kids while they made sure they were ready, only Sierra didn't practice because of her banged up knee. Frances and Mel did their own runs.

Today is a real easy day for me, just a light 8.5K run planned since I have church stuff to take care of tonight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hard Day but Happy

Day 29 17K running, 2.9K swim, 51K bike 4h:14m

Total on week 15 hours

ok, this week was a hard one to finish off. I slept in to rest up and started the workouts at noon with my planned hard run interval workout. Workout went quite well, 1.5mile warmup then 7 x 1 mile repeats starting each one on a 10 minute cycle and running them all in 6:35 except the last which i ran in 6:16. I did these at SAIT on the treadmill and was soaked in sweat causing some less than pleasant chaffing.

Then I went for a swim right away, that was a bit tougher with a slow warmup and a rest set followed by the main set of 10 X 200 pull on 4' cycles averaging 3:22 and the last three were 3:16, 3:11, 3:08.

I zipped home and did some cleaning because Melanie and 4 of the girls were returning from the farm. I mustered up the courage and rode 1:43 on the trainer watching Star Wars episode 6 to round out a long tough 15 hour week. Now its time to scale back and recover and race next Saturday in Fort Macleod.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Your too old to train too much volume

Day 28 152 min bike, 69 km

Week so far 10h 46m

Today I shared my plans with a fellow co-worker who has trained some high level athletes and he cautioned me about my age and my plans regarding volume. I doubt anyone who knows my training history would ever call me an overtrainer.

However, I put it out to the collective wisdom of the Internet my plan regarding hours per week for each sport and overall. You be the judge and let me know your thoughts if I am pushing volume too much considering the goal that is at stake. Or let me know how you might adjust the ratios considering my last Ironman in Florida was a 1:05 swim, 5:40 bike and 4:00 run.

Note: November 6 plan is a marathon and first two weeks of December its runs / walks in Hawaii.

Week ending Swim Bike Run Total
24-Jul 1.0 2 2.5 5.5
01-Aug 1.0 6 2.0 9.0
08-Aug 2.0 6 4.0 12.0
15-Aug 3.0 7 5.0 15.0
22-Aug 3.0 4 3.0 10.0
29-Aug 3.0 9 6.0 18.0
05-Sep 3.0 4 3.0 10.0
12-Sep 2.0 10 7.0 19.0
19-Sep 3.0 4 3.0 10.0
26-Sep 2.0 10 8.0 20.0
03-Oct 2.0 4 4.0 10.0
10-Oct 2.0 10 9.0 21.0
17-Oct 2.0 10 10.0 22.0
24-Oct 3.0 4 4.0 11.0
31-Oct 2.5 1 2.5 6.0
07-Nov 2.0 1 3.0 6.0
14-Nov 1.0 3 2.0 6.0
21-Nov 2.0 4 3.0 9.0
28-Nov 2.5 6 3.5 12.0
05-Dec 7.0 2 6.0 15.0
12-Dec 9.0 2 7.0 18.0
19-Dec 1.0 8 3.0 12.0
26-Dec 4.0 10 7.0 21.0
02-Jan 2.0 14 8.0 24.0

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Early days in the new routine

Day 27 - 100 minute ride on trainer + 42 min 8.5km run

Total time on week so far 8h14m

I've always heard that it is far more likely to accomplish a goal when you write it down. It's even more likely if you share it and have others aware of your goal. I plan to take that one step further and try a social experiment and make the cyber world my de-facto task master / coach.

This represents my 4th consecutive week of training every day except my scheduled workout off Sundays (it's a Chariots of Fire thing). A month in to my new regime and I am about 10 lbs lighter and eating far healthier plus starting to look more like the lean and high strength to weight triathlete I need to be in order to make it to Kona.

For those that don't know, and actually care, it's a LOT harder to get this 40+ body back into shape than when I was 20 something. My wife and the younger kids have been away for over two weeks and I joked with her on the phone that she would come back to a lighter husband with 6 pack abs... Her response was laughter and a comment that in 20 plus years of marriage I have never had a six pack - ouch. It's true though.

So I turn to my cyber task master and training friends to help this 40 something working man with a childhood dream (when he was 14) to do Ironman Hawaii actually get there this time.

My goal this week was to ramp up to 15 hours of training (I never include weights and crunches etc as hours). I am only slightly behind schedule but a 2:30 hr day tomorrow and a 4:15 hr Saturday shoould do it.

While I would never recommend the ramp up I am doing (6 to 9 to 12 to 15 hours) its still less than last September's ramp to Ironman Florida (8 to 15 to 16 to 10 to 12 to 21 to 27). This is where the disclaimer says don't try this at home kids. Preventative ice treatments and strong efforts for 7.5 to 8.5 hrs sleep each day are critical, plus limited speed work during this fast of a valume ramp up.

However, I am looking forward to next weeks recovery week of 10 hours with a test run Olympic Triathlon on the 21st. And with that time to get to sleep!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Focus - Old Dreams

After a month of very consistent and renewed training I have revived a lifelong dream to qualify for Ironman Hawaii. I registered for Ironman St. George last Monday and am now enlisting supporters, helpers, cheerers, motivators, coaches and mentors.

I decided that I need to actually make a real effort to qualify, not one of these half hearted 6 hr training per week efforts.

Over the past month I have built up the training to this weeks 15 hour target. Today on the books is a 50 min swim (2.5K) and a 80 minute ride (40K).

9 months of consistent training and I plan to go to Kona!