Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Following a plan...

Isn't really as easy as it sounds.  It takes a lot of discipline to follow a plan to the letter.  As stated yesterday, discipline is my biggest challenge.  It's not the discipline of getting out and getting into the activity, it's more the discipline to follow the plan.

Ok, last night I didn't follow the plan.  However, had I met up with friends and did the sufferfest, I would have gotten in the hour on the bike.  It would NOT have been the workout prescribed as I would have pushed much harder than the plan.  But, it is one example of where my discipline breaks down.

Tonight, the plan was to do about 1500m in the pool.  A 4x75m warm up with various exercises, 3x400m at increasing exertion levels and a 6x25m cool down with each 25 m slower than the last.  I got the swimming, just not at the distance nor in the prescribed intervals.  In fact, I probably went slower than I have in my previous swim workouts.

This is  probably where a coach really helps.  A coach could provide me with details of why it is important to follow the intervals and exercises prescribed.  At this point with the swimming, I'm not really having an issue with boredom, so exercises or not, I have too much to concentrate on with the swim to have to worry about being bored.

Cycling on the trainer - without having a class or some exercises to follow (i.e. a video workout) - THAT IS BORING!!

Well, tomorrow is a long run.  I think I'll give gunner a little bit of a break tomorrow, maybe he won't get quite so much distance total for the day.  I don't want to work him too hard, he's still a puppy!

Food today, nothing too different from previous days.  Successes:  No chocolate from the evil jar!

Getting close to bedtime, off to dreamland to dream about swimming, biking and running.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My biggest challenge....

is Discipline.  Today's workout was supposed to be 30 minutes of easy run and 60 minutes of small ring trainer torture on the bike.  I should have gone to a trainer class - I brought the bike and trainer into the house but it never got set up.  Sitting on that thing for an hour without the visual stimulation of something like the sufferfest videos or the group dynamic of a trainer class was going to be too much torture. 

So, you can bet my christmas present to myself this year is going to be a set of the sufferfest videos and a new television to which I can hook my computer to watch them.  Those will get me motivated. 

I did get 40ish minutes of running in.  Gunner requires that, so it is easy to get out with him.  He really loves running. 

Food was ok today.  a bowl of cereal and a protein shake for breakfast.  fibre bar for snack, shrimp jambalaya and a veggie medley for lunch.  Even had some fruit - banana pudding!  Dinner was the rest of the stuffed chicken breast with some beans, salsa and cheese in a tortilla.  Also had a nice little salad to go with that.  Wouldn't be complete without my chocolate milk!

that's it for me.  I'm hitting the sack.  Tomorrow is a new day and just a swim, although I'll get some running in there as well....


Monday, December 12, 2011

and so it begins

20 weeks.  That's how long I have before the White Lake Half Ironman.  I've downloaded a training plan from Beginner Triathlete.  It is a 20 week program that I'm going to see how well I can actually follow.

Today's workout was intended to be 40 minute run at perceived exertion of 3, 2500m swim (800m warmup, 1500m main, 200m cool-down).  I was pretty worried about how this plan started - that seems like a long swim when you are just starting a program!  It makes me worry about what is to come!

So, my exercise routine started at 430am today.  I took Gunner out and bumped his distance a little bit.  It was a little slow, but we ran 2.7 miles at close to a 10 minute pace.  Ended up being just under 26 minutes of running.  since it was supposed to be at RPE 3, that was about the right pace. 

When I got home this evening, I took him out for another 2 miles.  This was at about a 9:30 pace, so that makes pretty close to another 20 minutes of running.  A few more minutes than the plan called for, but I had to break it up in two chunks in order to fit it in my day.  Does that still count?  I don't know.

For the swim, I essentially skipped the 4x200m exercises the plan calls for and just swam 2400m straight.  I know the exercises are designed to help me strengthen my technique, so I need to concentrate on doing those.  I was so nervous about the total distance, I just put my head down and went for it.  Just over 59 minutes to cover the 2400m. 

I could tell I was getting tired towards the end.  My technique started to break down, although my stroke count stayed pretty much the same.  I was hitting 19, 20 or 21 strokes for 25m.  I don't know how that is compared to anything, but that is where I am.

Especially towards the end, I wind up swallowing some water, or at least getting it in my mouth and nose when I try to breathe.  Makes it difficult, but I suppose it is not all bad - Tedd says that is what happens in an open water swim...

Food today: cereal again with milk and a banana.  fibre bar for mid-morning snack.  Hamburger steak with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes (and gravy) for lunch.  PB&J sandwich as a mid-afternoon snack, protein shake for dinner. 

that's my day, going to take Gunner for another walk, then go to bed. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

hitting the bricks

So, here I've signed up to do a half Ironman triathlon.  For those who are not familiar with Ironman triathlons, there is a full (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) and the half (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run).  I've never done a traditional tri before, but if you know me, it won't surprise you that I'd commit to a half Ironman having never done a real tri.

I have done a number of off-road tris.  However, the Off-road tri is very different in one aspect.  The water portion of the tri is a flat water kayak.  While a trail run is different from a road run, and mountain biking is different than road biking, the differences in those activities are not massive.  However, kayaking is VERY different from swimming - especially for someone like myself who does not consider himself a swimmer. 

So, because of that, I've joined the westside aquatic center which has a very nice pool.  I've been swimming about 2 times per week for about a month now.  I'm not being coached, but that's part of my challenge - see what I can do without a coach.  Although, I have to admit, it's really part stubbornness and part cheap.  I'm not in a financial position to really be paying a coach right now. 

I'm set to begin a 20 week training program tomorrow.  Day number 1 it calls for a 40 minute run and a 2400m swim.  While these two activities for tomorrow don't have to be back to back (we call this a brick), there are days where I'll be required to do a brick. 

In fact, I have done a couple of bricks in the last few weeks.  The bricks I've been doing have been a bike followed by a run.  A few weeks ago, my teammate Hudson and I went out for 28ish miles on the bike (WAY harder than I really planned), and about 3 miles of running (again WAY harder than I really planned!).  Today was another brick - 50 miles on the bike followed by a 3.2 mile run. 

How hard is too hard.  This is a very difficult question for me to answer.  I tend to work (ride or run or swim) at whatever pace my body feels like going.  Sometimes that means I'm pegged all of the time, sometimes that means I'm in total cruiser mode.  Today was a mix of both. 

I rode today with the A group.  What this means is that they are going to go pretty hard.  You get guys who have a lot of experience in the A group, and the pace tends to be fast.  Of course, for a guy who races in Category 1, today's ride may have been a true recovery ride.  For me, as I said, it was a mix. 

Early on in the ride, we encountered some rolling hills that caused my heart rate to get pretty high.  My respiration was also high, and I was thinking there was no way I could stick with that pace.  Things seemed to settle down a little, and I started feeling better about my chances of sticking with this group. 

About 20 miles in, our ride leader Jim stopped us and announced a 4.5 mile sprint zone.  As we started rolling again, everyone up front was looking at each other like they were waiting for something.  Well, if they were waiting for someone to jump, they weren't waiting for me.  I took a flyer off the front, knowing full well I'd be lucky to be able to stay out there for very long.  I gave it my best shot though, and it woke some peeps up. 

I came off the front when they caught me and found a spot in the pack to recover.  After a while, the pack started slowing down again, and I could see a couple people off the front.  Of course I had to take another flyer.  I chased down the first of the riders, held the front of the pack for a little longer, then relinquished the lead to someone else. 

By this time, I was really feeling it, and I was VERY lucky to be able to hold on to the back of the pack through the rest of the sprint zone.  It was a fun section and we had a little break at the stop sign to let everyone catch up. 

The rest of the ride picked up in the overall pace, but still stayed pretty civilized.  Our average riding pace climbed up towards 19mph, and I was feeling pretty good.  I sat on the front for a couple of rounds before I went back to the back of the pack.  As we closed down for our final miles, my body was starting to talk to me about the efforts I'd made. 

We finished out the ride in 3h02m and it was almost exactly 50 miles.  Not the fastest pace I've ever ridden, but for this period, in my current condition, it was plenty fast enough. 

So, now comes the brick.  A former team-mate Dave had also ridden in the A group and he had said he'd also be interested in making a brick out of the day.  So, we had our running shoes in my car, and when we got back, we made a quick change and set off on our run. 

I have a Garmin forerunner which has capability to time each activity seperately.  I need to work a little more with this device, as I messed it up today and didn't get the run timing down just right. It has a way to time your transitions and correctly time your next activity.  Looks like I'll have to get the manual back out to refresh myself on its operation.

So, we started off on our run.  Dave immediately set a pace I knew I wouldn't be able to keep.  That was OK, he became a carrot for me.  It made me run a lot faster than I had planned, but overall I felt pretty good, so I wasn't too concerned about it. 

The one issue I had, was with my left quad.  I could feel it wanting to cramp from about the beginning of the run.  It didn't, but had we run more than a 5k, it may have given me some real problems. 

With my timing issues, I didn't get all of my per-mile times accurately.  for example, I had run a quarter mile or more before I realized that I needed to do something else to get the run time to start.  I hit the start / stop button and ran for a little while.  After a couple more minutes, I looked down to see that the timer had stopped!  I hit start / stop again, and it told me to begin running.  How much did I just lose on getting good accurate timing? 

Once it finally started tracking the run correctly, I was already close to 1/2 mile into the run.  When I finally got to what it measured as 1 mile, it said my first mile pace was 14+ minutes.  I know I ran faster than that, but it counted the transition time in that first measured mile.  My second mile was counted correctly and showed as 7:47/mile pace.  I never actually made a third measured mile because of that issue in the beginning.  The clock stopped at 2.94miles.  My average pace had continued to drop - first mile 14+ min, after 2nd mile 11:05ish and at the finish, my average pace was down to around 10min/mile.  No matter what, the run was a pretty good pace for me.  I generally do 8:30-9minute miles when I am training by myself, or even when I run with the boys. 

So, that's a brick.  A pretty good pace for the bike, and a pretty good pace for the run.  Now I just have to get comfortable in the water....

What about nutrition for this day's exercise?  I ate a 2 eggs, half of a stuffed chicken breast, some beans, cheese and salsa wrapped in a tortilla for breakfast.  I ate nothing while on the bike or before the run (MAJOR mistake), then I fell off the wagon and ate junk food for dinner.  I'm not even going to say where it was I am so embarrassed by it. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

food and Exercise 12/9, 12/10

Just catching up on my food and exercise.  Going to be tough, as I am forgetting things quickly!

Friday, 9 Dec Food:  cereal with milk and banana, fibre bar, last of the leftover crackmac.
2 reese cups (doh!, but not from the evil bowl @ work - from my freezer), a babe ruth bar and some finger food at my company holiday party.

Friday exercise:  Gunner with a 2 mile run.

Saturday food:  Greek Strawberry Yogurt and a banana.
Eggs benedict and a few potatoes, hot chocolate and a large glass of milk.
A PB&J sandwich for a mid-afternoon snack and a glass of choc milk
Salad and a stuffed chicken breast for dinner.  And you know it, a large glass of choc milk.  Yes, I LOVE milk!

Saturday exercise.  GUTR #4.  That's all.

tomorrow I'll do about 55 miles on the bike followed by a 5ish K run.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

December 8th

just catching up on making some notes about my food and exercise routine. 

Have to start with Dec 7, as I did the guest blog last night.  I hope everyone took a moment to remember those who fell when Pearl Harbor was shelled.  It's been 70 years now.  I heard on the news that there were actually some Veterans from Pearl Harbor in attendance at the ceremony.  That is what started the US involvement in WWII. 

The 7th was a good day for exercise.  Got in 1.5 miles with Gunner in the am, ran with Bo and Tedd for 4.3 miles after work, then went straight to the aquatic center for a swim. 

Decided to do 1000m.  I'm really starting to feel the glide!  Tedd described it as a feeling of surfing, and I really am starting to feel it.  Not with every stroke mind you, but it happens pretty frequently.  I'm really starting to improve.  That really gives me a lot of confidence for White Lake. 

What about food on Wednesday?  Well, still stuck on cereal for breakfast.  Had a fibre bar for a mid-morning snack.  Lunch was pretty good, a chicken salad sandwich and a salad.  Bad part of that was the giant chocolate chip cookie and a large sweet tea. 

Dinner?  crack mac and a glass of choc milk.

After all of that, I didn't get into bed until 1030.  I had to get Gunner out for one last walk before bed, and it just got later and later.  The previous night, I didn't get into bed until after 11pm.  That is really late considering I still get out of bed at 445am.  Right now, I'm about to pass out, so this is going to be quick from here on out!

Thursday started the same as most mornings.  A 2 mile run with Gunner followed by a bowl of cereal. 

Running out of stuff to eat for a mid-morning snack, but had another fibre bar. 

Lunch.  You judge, I'm thinking not the best - Baked chicken and a portion of mac and cheese.  The mac is nothing like crack mac, but it isn't horrible.  Ok, this part of my lunch is REALLY bad - banana pudding. 

Dinner was a salad and the next to last helping of crack mac.  After tomorrow I'll be good for a little while.  Of course, a glass of chocolate milk. 

Workouts:  2 x 2mile runs with Gunner.  Spent some time with my foam roller trying to work out the kinks in my calves.  Not sure if that's going to take at all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Post: The Importance of Exercise for Individual's Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis

So I was recently contacted by David Haas and he asked me if I would be interested in hosting a guest blog.  Since I am a bit of a cancer soldier, doing what I can to aid in the fight against cancer, and his post is very relevant to that subject, I thought it would be a neat idea.

He sent me the following blog.   Some good information here.

The Importance of Exercise for Individual's Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis

When you are going through the various emotions associated with a cancer diagnosis, one of the last things you are interested in thinking about is exercising to stay fit. However, when you have cancer it is very important to maintain some degree of movement every day, doing this can positively affect how you feel physically and emotionally. Exercise will help you to have more energy, which in turn, will improve your quality of life. 

To achieve the aforementioned benefits, you do not have to become a body builder or exercise fanatic, all you need to do is take 10 minutes out of your day to ride a bike or walk around the block. 

Exercise Components
Experts have stated that every sensible exercise program has three components. Even an exercise program that includes only a little of each of these components is ideal. 


Stretching helps keep your muscles and joints flexible, which is important for everyone, from the people diagnosed with colon cancer to the people diagnosed with a rare cancer like mesothelioma. Any individual that is bedridden for any length of time would find stretching extremely beneficial.

An Aerobic Workout

An aerobic workout gets your blood pumping by speeding up your heart rate. Some of the more common aerobic exercises include brisk walking or jogging, bicycling on a stationary bike or outdoors and swimming. 

Strength Training

When you strength train you build your muscles and tone your body. This helps you maintain your strength while you are dealing with your disease and when a patient is receiving treatment that can weaken the body.

Exercise is Important

In 2009, the American College of Sports Medicine conducted a study that stressed that cancer patients need to avoid being inactive. Dr. Schmitz, the lead author of the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia stated that programs for cancer patients that are similar to the cardiac rehab programs would be extremely beneficial.

Dr. Schmitz has stated that the cancer patient’s quality of life will improve and is the main benefit of maintaining a regular exercise program. 

Dr. Schmitz, along with her partners in the study, has created realistic, but aggressive guidelines for the cancer patients’ exercise program. This program avoids any tasks that may be too difficult for a cancer patient to overcome. For instance, certain medications or therapies that are used to treat cancer have a tendency to make the patient prone to have bone fractures. This must be realized when creating an exercise program tailored to the cancer patient.

You can ask your support person at the hospital if they have a personal trainer available that caters to the needs of cancer patients. If they do not, contact your local health clubs to inquire about fitness personnel that are trained to work with cancer patients. Do not be apprehensive about asking for the trainer’s documentation concerning his licensing and/or experience.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Suffering, but not in a good way

Tonight my peeps got together to enjoy another sufferfest. I was so bummed I missed it. What was I doing instead? I was sitting behind my computer working on the team's kit order. Well, I'm ready to send the order out, so I guess it is worth it. You could say I was suffering, but not in that good sufferlandria way.

However, I still got about 3.5 miles of running in today. 1.5ish this morning with my boy Gunner, and another 2 miles after work with him again.

Food? Not the best today, although I was able to stay away from the bowl of chocolate. Today was the holiday meal at work, so the feasting was big at lunchtime. Turkey, stuffing, mac and cheese and a salad. Followed by some cream pie with caramel and chocolate. Total indulgence.

Breakfast was cereal and I had another protein bar for my mid-morning snack. With the gorging at lunch there was no need for a mid-afternoon snack.

Dinner was to finish up some of the burrito makings. Still have some stuff left, but the ground beef is gone.

Two bottles of beer as I worked on my stuff.

Overall, probably not the best food day, but any day I can avoid that bowl of chocolate is a good day.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Today was a good day. Not only did I manage to completely avoid some very yummy chocolate treats in the evil bowl at work, I actually ate a good lunch and had my mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks that seemed to work so well earlier in the year when I managed to drop some weight.

Breakfast needs some work - cereal is just so quick and easy.

Dinner, ok, not the best, but not the absolute worst either - a plate of crack mac. gotta love some leftovers!

As for workouts, along with my runs with Gunner, I went to the pool again this evening. I've been reading the book 'Total Immersion" by Terry Laughlin with John Delves. This is an interesting book that really speaks to my inner engineer. The way they describe swimming with such an engineering approach makes a lot of sense.

I've been working on following their advice, and perhaps it is paying off. Of course, each day in the pool gives me a little more strength that allows me to be that much stronger the next time. While I am not breaking any speed records, I can tell my 50m lap times are improving.

the last visit to the pool I did 1050 meters in about 29 minutes. Tonight, I passed that mark in about 27 minutes. Then, I kept going until I totaled 1500m. Stopped the clock at 47 minutes. Still pretty slow, but I felt really good about it.

One of the reasons I felt good about it is because when I hit my lap button on my forerunner, it gives me my lap time. Last time, I saw most of my times in the 1m20s range. Mostly over 1m20s, but a few under 1m20s. This time, I saw many lap times that were in the 1m15s range. The fastest I recall was 1m13s. Still there were quite a few in the 1m20s or more range, but I was definitely feeling stronger and my technique is improving.

Speaking of technique, I know I could benefit from a coach, but I'm a stubborn fool and like to see what I can do all on my own. If I decide to do a full Ironman, I'll spring for a real coach. For this half, in one sense, I'm going it alone (well, I'll have plenty of support from my friends of course).

Here's the official food list for the day:
bowl and a half apple jacks/cheerios mix, with milk and one banana

Protein (builder bar) for mid-morning snack

Pork tenderloin and two orders of veggies (a corn / lima bean / green peas medley and a cauliflower / broccoli / carrot medley). Sweet tea (ok, shoot me)

Fibre bar for mid afternoon snack

Dinner - crack mac and a glass of chocolate milk.

2 x 2mile runs with Gunner. He is sacked out big time now. That running is very good for him!
1500m in the pool.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12/4 food and workouts

2 bowls of mixture Cheerios and Apple Jacks (generic) with milk
Glass of apple juice
One home-made burrito
Some scraps of cheese as I prepare the crack mac
TBD, but you can guess that Crack Mac will be on the menu.
About 6 bottles of Miller High Life.

2 miles running with Gunner, inside just long enough to drop him off, then back out for another 3.5 miles (total 5.5 miles).

Today's ramblings - 12/4

Yesterday, Bo posted that he had run 8.5 miles. Last week, I know he and others ran 7 miles. So, I had to ask if peeps were training for a half marathon. Of course, they (unknown who exactly right now) are training to run the YMCA Resolution Run Half marathon on Jan 7th.

Bo asks if I want to join them. Well, of course I do! However, I'm not sure i've really been running all that much. Yes, I get between 1.5 and 4 miles a day with Gunner on most days (he has to get his run in you know!), but I haven't really been doing any long distances on my own. The most recent long distance has been a 5.5 mile run (today) and a 5 mile run (thanksgiving day).

I felt totally fine after today's run, in fact, I had no intention of stopping when I did, but those home-made burritos caught up with me and I had to make a bee-line to the restroom instead of the 2 mile route back I had planned (was hoping for 6.5 to 7 miles today). Well, I do know I'll get the extra miles - Gunner will need another run this evening...

The longest I've run in the past 5 years has probably been only about 7.5-8 miles. I have a month and I have a pretty good base because of the runs with Gunner. I suppose if I can get some longer runs in during the week, and longer runs on the weekend, I should be fine.

This will be good training for the Off-road tri I want to do in Febuary (11th). The Winter challenge is a fun little tri with a 7ish mile run, 6 mile paddle and a 10ish mile mt bike. I did this race a few years ago, and it really is a blast.

Talk about a difficult transition - run, paddle, bike! After that run you have to fold yourself into your kayak for 30-45 minutes. Your legs get completely cooled down and might even start cramping while your upper body does all of the work. I'd love to have video of the racers coming out of the boats and running (if you want to call it that) towards the transition with the bike. Your legs just don't want to work AT ALL!

Well, I'm looking forward to that, will have to make plans and see if any of my peeps are going to do it.

I'll post the complete day's food and workouts in another post, but wanted to get this down before I forget:

2 bowls of mixture Cheerios and Apple Jacks (generic) with milk
Glass of apple juice

2 miles running with Gunner, inside just long enough to drop him off, then back out for another 3.5 miles (total 5.5 miles).

Food and workouts 12/2 and 12/3

So, Friday.
A pretty good milestone for this weak willed chocoholic - I managed to pass by the candy dish several times without taking any pieces from it. Admittedly, there was no Snickers Peanut Butter Squares in there, so it made life a little easier. I'll take the victories where I can get them.

Don't ever expect me to give up my chocolate milk though...

Yep, another bowl of honey nut cheerios
Lunch - another healthy choice meal - lemon garlic chicken over a bed of angel hair. Green beans and garlic bread
Dinner - another healthy choice meal - forget which one, yes, chocolate milk.

2 mile run with Gunner (am)
3 hours raking leaves (gotta count whatever I can!)

Saturday Food:
Fruit protein smoothie (32oz)
2 slices of cheese pizza
2 uncrustables PB&J sandwiches, large glass chocolate milk.
another fruit protein smoothie (~32 oz)
2 home-made burritos - beans, beef, cheese, avacado, salsa in a jalepeno cheddar wrap. Chocolate milk ;)

Setup and tear-down of the State Championship Cross course. If it means anything, after setup, I took gunner home and he crashed for the entire rest of the day. I probably walked somewhere between 3 and 5 miles.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Posting this HAS to make me change my errant ways!

Today's food:
2 bowls honey nut cheerios (yeah, get ready for this every day....)
9 hersheys 'whoppers' malted milk balls
one fibre one bar
Healthy choice meal - Beef and Broccoli
Cake - yes, a corner piece with extra frosting.
Shredded beef burrito
chips and bean dip
2 big Dos Equis

What workout? I did walk Gunner 3 times today.