Saturday, August 18, 2012

Simon says...

Two people I admire most in Triathlon are Simon Whitfield and Craig Alexander.  It's obvious why I admire them as athletes:  they are both champions and their prowess has endured.  Still, there are a lot of great Triathletes to admire.

The main reason Simon and Craig are at the top of my heap is because they are both family men and have still been able to be successful.  In fact, you could argue that they became MORE successful in their sport after they became fathers.  I admire this for a few reasons.  First, their family is their #1 priority and the sport is #2.  Second, they make the time to be good fathers.  Third, they recognize that their family is part of their team, that it is not possible to do what they do without that level of support.  Fourth, they have found a way to become the best while still being around.

Like most Canadians, my heart sank when Simon crashed out of the race.  Canada would not see him get a medal this time out, nor likely ever again.  But what really broke my heart is his account of what happened when he finally got to his family after the race.  His daughter was crying, his wife was obviously heart broken for him.  He said how choked he was that his family sacrificed so much by letting him travel and get ready for the games, staying home while he pursued his dream/career.  All that hard work by everyone else, for nothing.  That hit home for me.

I was having the race of my life when I crashed my bike a month ago.  Like Simon, I got out of the water where I wanted.  Like Simon, I got onto the bike as planned.  Like Simon, I went down.  Fortunately I wasn't hurt as bad as him and I went on to finish.  Still, I was completely crushed that I didn't get my World Championship spot.

These past several weeks, I've been somewhat unmotivated to train hard.  In the first weeks after the crash, it was because although I could push hard, my body was pretty hurt.  Now, it hurts less when I push, but I'm still paying for it afterwards...  bruises and strains take longer to heal when you're older.  Still, until watching the Olympics, I couldn't really put my finger on my lack of motivation.  After Simon's account of his day, it became clear.

Jen, Eli, Jen's parents, and my parents have given me a tremendous amount of support and sacrifice since I declared I was getting back into serious racing.  Sometimes reluctant support, but never waining.    When Simon intimated that he felt like his family's sacrifice was for nothing, and that he felt like he had let them down and devalued their support, I knew exactly what he meant.

Therein lies my own lack of motivation.  Do I really to spend more good will from my family to continue to try and pursue this goal of competing at an international level in Triathlon?  What if it happens again, what if I don't achieve my goals?  Then again their sacrifice will mean nothing.

I'm not sure what the answer is, here.  There is an event horizon I'm working towards:  ITU 2013 Long Course World Championships.  I'm already on the team.  I've told myself that I could do nothing and still race.  This, of course, would be unacceptable.

For now, I'm going to continue to train, fight through my lack of motivation, and try and reconnect with my love of the sport.  But like Simon and Craig do so well, I will ensure that my family is #1 and the sport is #2.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Let me just cut to the chase and mention that I crashed my bike at Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens.  This is my first crash in training or racing since starting the sport.

Around mile 30 and after the toughest climb and steepest descent, I laid the bike down on a dusty 90 degree corner made slick by the rain.  I scrubbed all the speed I thought was required and as I was entering the turn, I found myself on the ground; it was that instantaneous.  I'm pretty sure I yelled as I was falling and hit the pavement.  I got up and the traffic officer asked if I was ok and was I going to continue.  If so, I needed to head to the nearest medical tent, get cleaned up, and checked out.  I obliged.  The tent was nearby.  I got rinsed a bit and was asked lots of cognitive questions.  They checked my helmet (it didn't hit the ground apparently) and I was on my way.

I was wounded pretty badly, though I didn't know how bad until later.  My bike was wounded...  this I knew for certain.  My front derailleur shifter had broken off, leaving me in the big ring.  My rear derailleur was bent in and I couldn't shift to the top of the cassette without the derailleur hitting the spokes.  If I was to finish, it would be me and my bike finishing wounded.

I could handle the descents ok, though in pain due to some major forearm bruising and bleeding, but the ascents were tough.  I was zigzagging up the hills sometimes as low as 35 rpm.  I chastised myself most of the way, telling myself I need to make back up the ground I lost and find a way to get to the run.  It was all heart, good nutrition, and some good fitness that took me to the line.  I got into T2 with a 2:49:50 bike split.


Prior to the race, I was settling into a state I can now call "ready".  I was pretty mellow.  Getting ready, I was less crazy and more purposeful.  I let myself chill, didn't stress, incorporated some quality time with Eli and my Dad by going to the race site together, and relaxed in the evenings with Jen.  I trusted I could make the race happen.  As the clock ticked closer to the start, I had fewer and fewer things to worry about.  After all, there's fewer things you can affect as you get closer to a big race.  I slept well on race night, getting a rock solid 5 hrs of sleep on top of 9 hrs the night before and a restful day.  Like I said, I was "ready".

Even the weather couldn't get me down (yet) on race morning.  I did my routine, got my food in, etc.  Everything was falling into place.

The swim was good.  I swam well but kept running into people from earlier heats.  That's both a good and bad sign when you're running people over.  Other than ending up underneath a course marker (scary) everything went to plan in the water and exited under 33 minutes.

The first 10km on the bike were rough, but I settled into my rhythm, knocking out my splits and was well on my way to sub 2:35 on the bike, which was my goal considering the wet weather and chilly temps.

Then the crash.  Then the salvaging.

I got on the run in pain.  My hip was angry.  Like the biggest red bird from Angry Birds.  Yup, that angry and that big.  I still wanted to do well.  I still wanted a qualifying spot.  I thought that if I could run down as many people as I could, I might still have a shot.  Wouldn't that be a triumph!  I kept picking people off during the run.  I hit the last 2km with everything I had left.  I got the run done, even with 3 stops at first aid to flush the wounds, in 1:42.

5:09 and change, 18th in the 35-39 age group.  In other years, it could/would have made Vegas.  Today it didn't.  Lake Stevens reduced their spots from 50 to 30.  The two spots for my group went to first and second.  No roll down.

All I got to take home was a sprained and scraped left thumb, sprained and scraped right pinky, scraped and bruised right shoulder, forearm (with a bunch of gravel under the skin), hip, knee, and ankle.  I haven't yet fully inspected my bike, but damage seems to be limited to the derailleur and shifter.

So what now?  I'd struggle to be ready for the other two qualifiers that are proximate (Calgary and Boulder).  And even if I healed, could I get on the podium and get that Vegas spot?  Not too sure.

One thing is for sure:  I'm feeling a bit wounded physically and mentally.

Monday, July 9, 2012

When do you know you're "ready"?

Many friends who know that I'm about to race an important race next weekend at the Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens.  A race that I've worked for and that may or may not qualify me for a repeat appearance at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  These friends have all been asking, "Geez you're looking fit.  Are you ready?".  My reply has been, "Honestly?  I really don't know."  The truth is, I'm not sure what 'ready' actually feels like.  Probably because I can't say I've had a race where I've truly felt 'on' and able to access all my fitness; something has always seemed to go awry on race day.

So I'm putting this out there:  What does 'ready' feel like?

I'm hoping I'm feeling it by the time I hit the start line next Sunday.  So far, I've entered the familiar stages of "taper crazies" a.k.a. the Stages Of The Pre-Race Taper:

1) I could be doing more: The feeling that maybe you should skip the stretching/yoga recovery session after a monster training week, in favour of a brick session of hill repeats on the bike and then on a run. After all, there's 6 more days until race day.  You log on to and review your current stats and upcoming schedule.

2) I'm completely exhausted and I can't imagine I'm going to be recovered by race day:  Every muscle in your body is sore and or tired and all you want to do is nap all day and then go to bed.  Meanwhile, there are still 'recovery workouts' and short-duration high-intensity sessions on the schedule.  You log on to and review your stats just before you pass out in the living room.

3) I should have done more:  You get through Stage 2 and miraculously you're starting to feel great.  So great, in fact, that the normal dull nagging feeling that you should be 'doing more' turns into a confidence-challenging voice that's mocking "see, I told you to do more".  I hate that voice.  You log on to and review your stats, hoping to find workouts where inaccurately reported your time/effort.

4) Stages 1 to 3 combined:  This is the dark phase.  Try not to harm yourself or other people during this time.  You start to log onto, but then break down and cry.

5) Race day preparation:  This is more of a coping mechanism than a stage.  Basically, you pack your stuff in order to put your "Type A" personality at ease by controlling something, in this case its making sure that at least all your stuff is ready, even if you're not.  Try to do this without anyone else around, because it's annoying to see you bounce around the house muttering to yourself.  No time for  Logging on may force a regression back to Stage 4.

6) Acceptance:  That stage where you lie to yourself a bit and say "I've done what I can do, the day is going to be whatever it's going to be, and I'm just going to do my best and have fun".  Listen to this lie.  Believe this lie.  Think fondly of your breakthrough workouts.  Stay away from TrainingPeaks.

7) Excitement (i.e. "Ready?):   You allow yourself to believe that today could be a good day.  It could be your best day.  After all, you trusted the process, put the work in, have many more 'completed' workouts than 'dropped', and have heard "Geez, you're looking fit.  Are you ready?" at least a few times in the past 2 weeks.  You stop letting judge you.

So far, I've never made it passed Stage 6.  I've peaked over at Stage 7 once or twice, but never fully arrived.

So, is Stage 7 "ready"?  Am I ready?  Who knows?  Ask me next Monday.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Being a "Good Sport"

This weekend I did a different kind of "endurance event".  I had not been out with my good friend to go listen to good underground music in a long time.  There was a very great artist in town this weekend and I knew I'd have to go.  Problem is that I had the Scotia Half-Marathon on the card for the next morning.  It wasn't an important race from an achievement point of view (it was a tune-up for Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens in 3 weeks) so I decided I'd make it work.

Lots of friends came up to my while I was out asking "are you sure you're going to run tomorrow"?  "Yup!", I'd say, "But it's going to be water only tonight".  At 3:00am as I was leaving, I got some high-fives and well wishes and I headed home.  My ears still ringing, I didn't really sleep and nearly dropped out of the race. 

7:00 rolled around and I decided it was game-on!  A mad dash to the start of the race at UBC.  I got there nearly 5 minutes after the gun went and I had to start from nearly the back of pack.  Still, I ran the best race I could and even pushed some good finishing pace for the last 5km.  Result:  1:36:22.  Not bad and not great, but as expected.

The special moment came as I was walking to go catch the bus home.  Lots of runners were still coming in (it was around the 2 hr mark in the race) and some little kids were cheering with their Dad for all the racers.  To them, they were having fun watching these athletes work their hardest to finish the last bit of racing...  they didn't care that they were the first or the last of the runners.  I went up to the kids and said "Hi, I heard you cheering when I was running by; it really helped me finish!  I think you deserve this!".  I handed them my finisher medal.  They looked at me like I was Superman and had just given them my 'S'.  Their Dad thanked me profusely and kept asking if I was sure I wanted to do that.  "It's my pleasure", I said.  The kids just held the medal and studied it, smiling ear to ear.  I bet they stayed for as long as they could to cheer the other runners.

I knew on Saturday that I was not going to run the race of my life.  My friends out with me on Saturday probably thought I was crazy, but committed.  Maybe these kids on Sunday are inspired to become athletes themselves.  I know that I'm inspired to share my love of athletics.  It's important to me to be a "good sport".

Monday, May 28, 2012

♪ No, I won't back down ♪

The Thursday prior to my first Triathlon of the year, Shawnigan Lake Half-Iron, I had very specific goals for the race:  Be out of the water in 0:32:00, Bike a 2:25:00, Run a 1:35:00.  Transitions and other mishaps to add up to no more than 8 minutes.  Finish time:  4:40:00.  These numbers were well within what I felt I was capable of, based on current fitness and past performance.

On Friday morning, things changed.

I very rarely get sick.  I hadn't had a cold in years.  So it makes sense that just before my first big race of the year, a race that I intended to use as a baseline to fine-tune from in the next 7 weeks leading to my most important race of the year, that I get a doozy of a cold.

The moment I realized I was sick proved to be a critical one.  I could have decided not to race.  I could have chosen to dial back my effort.  Or I could accept the challenge.  I knew what my decision needed to be...  I had taken the "easy" options already this year and it had left a bad taste in my mouth.

I don't know if its just me, but there never seems to be a race where everything works out perfectly.  There are so many variables in play with Triathlon that I can't imagine they all end up in the athlete's favour.  A perfect race would involve (assuming the athlete is well trained):

  • Well executed taper week structure, nutrition, etc.
  • Bike is in 100% perfect working order
  • Weather is optimal for the athlete
  • Apparel is optimal for the athlete and weather
  • Race course is ideal for the athlete and in perfect condition
  • Athlete is well rested, well nourished, and healthy prior to the race
  • Race day nutrition is executed perfectly
  • Swim, Bike, and Run race tactics are executed perfectly
  • No equipment issues on race day
This is by no means an exhaustive list.  The idea, though, is that the athlete has been given the opportunity to access 100% of their potential on race day.   This has not happened for me, as of yet.

So when I got sick, it certainly was going to affect my ability to access 100% of my potential.  The challenge before me was to manage the degree to which it would affect me, i.e. if my performance was now going to be max out at 90% of my potential, I better try and get the whole 90%.  The most logical way to do that, I decided, was to focus on the things that I can control and ignore the things I cannot.  I can control my nutrition, my effort level, my schedule, and my equipment.  I cannot control the course, the weather, the quality of my sleep, or my health.

On Friday, I packed early, took some cold meds, and went to bed by 10:30.  It's as though my resolve to deal with my health challenges angered the race gods....    I was up for much of the night on Friday.

Saturday morning came quickly and I headed out the door to travel to Vancouver Island for the race with some teammates (shout out to Nathan Killam and Donald Fast).  I fuelled well during the day, executed my pre-race routine to near perfection once at Shawnigan Lake, and went to bed early after a shot of Nyquil.   That further angered the race gods....   up for much of the night on Saturday.

On race morning as I was waking up still exhausted, I caught myself thinking "no one would blame you for bowing out, nor holding back".  But I would.  And not at least trying would be an insult to myself, to Jen, and to Eli.  I had put in the work and they had put in the support.  Time to race.

I had the luxury of being 5 minutes from the race site and had VIP parking, so I took my time in the morning.  I ate right, got all my gear on, waited for my "metabolism" to tell me that I was ready to leave for the race site.  I even got my wetsuit part-way on (I hate doing that at the race site with dirty feet).  

As a side note, I do need to commend Sugoi for their race suit this year.  I have used Zoot and Orca race suits in the past.  The one I now have feels like it is custom made.  It is the best fitting, best performing single piece of race or training gear I've ever worn.  Bar none.

Once at the race site, I was very relaxed.  My gear was ready.  I was ready.  I knew my plan for the day:  give'er and leave nothing in my body.

The gun went and the masses were off.  Some early crowding on the swim got me stuck in a pack that wasn't going too fast.  I dropped that group and found some good feet to hang on to.  Around the mid point, the pack I was with was fading, so I bridged to a new group (who couldn't seem to swim straight) and got boxed in.  Still, I was swimming well and my energy was up.  With 400m to go, I decided to stay with the people I was with rather than gun it....  no need to waste energy for :30 gain.

T1 went fairly well.  Dropped the wetsuit, put in the socks and helmet, and I was off.   Bike mounting was another story.  ...darn it, I forgot to secure my shoes with elastics.  Still, off I went.

After a short stop to get my shoe on properly (was having issues with it while moving), I hit the gas.  Got into my target heart-rate and stayed there.  Climbed hard and attacked the downhills.  I was controlling my effort and executing my tactics.  I knew I wasn't going to hit my target bike split.  In fact, I'd probably be 10 minutes off.  I couldn't control that.  I could just do my best to access my fitness.  I did get an extra boost here and there, though; whenever I'd pass cheering kids it reminded me how excited I am for Eli to watch my fly by and be inspired and proud.  

T2 was fast.  Probably because my sunglasses were still in my equipment bag.  Oh well...   My visor would keep the sun out of my eyes just fine.

At the start of the run, I knew I was in for some suffering.  My hamstrings and back were very tight and my feet were sore.  My shoes were not ideal for the soft-packed gravel course.  So I did the only thing I could do...   get my heart rate to target, hold form, and suffer through it.  I admit, it was frustrating to get passed a few times...  I had done a lot of passing on the bike.  About 7km into the run, things got a bit more challenging;  I had gotten a nosebleed from my sinuses cracking a bit.  But around the 10km mark, things improved and I actually felt ok.  The last 4km were a struggle.  I was feeling pretty done, I admit.  I still hung on to my effort and pace, but I knew I was doing it for honour at this point.

As I was heading for the finish line, I did take the time to feel proud.  I left everything out there, and even got a personal best (although only by a few seconds) of 5:04:00.  I had been challenged, I had suffered through it, and I earned the finish.  I could hardly walk and the outside of my feet were bruised from the gravel, but I had a heart full of satisfaction.

In the end, this race gave me what I needed.  I have a baseline performance for the year that leaves me hungry for improvement.  My coach and I will digest the data and put a plan in place for the next 7 weeks.  I know what things within my control I need to improve and I can accept the result of things outside of my control.  And I know that I can handle the challenges just fine.

Monday, May 7, 2012

BMO Half Marathon Race Report: Time to think different

Generally, we're all our own biggest critic.  I know this is certainly the case for me.  There is a time, though, where you also need to be your own biggest supporter.  The latter is far harder than the former.

I had intended to set a personal best at the BMO Half Marathon on May 6th, 2012.  I had about 3 good weeks of training behind me, after 5 weeks off from running.  My training times and my proven ability to hold a high degree of effort while on the run gave me confidence I was going to make my goal.

Sugoi, Compressport, and New Balance race kit
The night before the race, I fueled well, hydrated well, got my kit ready early, and did all the other things I needed for a good race the next day.  Check out my race kit from Sugoi!  I got to sleep around midnight.  But then I woke up at 2am.  I had one of those nights that involved waking yourself up as soon as you fall asleep with the thought "I think I just fell asleep".  ...oh well, I've raced on no sleep so if that was how this one would go, then so be it.

I got up at 5:20 and my first thought was a negative one:  "I'm going to be tired during this race".

I parked my car downtown, hopped the train, and got to the start line with my two gels.  I brought only 2 instead of 3 as I figured I would grab the 3rd one on course.  Mistake.

I ran into a few friends at the start line.  Most asked "are you ready for a PB?"  No, I said.  I'll probably run around 1:30:00 to 1:32:00.  Another negative thought, considering I knew I was fitter than that.

Race started and I actually felt pretty good.  I was hitting my paces for the first 3km of downhill, being conservative, but taking advantage of the slack start.  Once I hit the flats, it was another story.  I couldn't find the energy to get into my race HR.  My legs were feeling strong, but I just couldn't find that top gear. Then I hit the first roller and my negative thoughts came in:  "I didn't think there would be hills.  This is going to mean some slow times for me today".   Still, I was on track.   Then I hit an aid station at the 8km mark to take my gel.  I let the 1:30:00 pace bunny get by me.  I never regained.  They were always in sight but I couldn't find the kick I needed to catch them.  The more defeated I felt, the worse my technique got and I stopped pulling my feet underneath me.  I would hit another uphill and think to myself I'm going to lose more time.  I'd take the downhill with speed and think I wasn't making up enough time.  This cycle continued for the 236m of ascending and descending over the next 13km.

It was only with about 3km to go that I looked down at the time and saw that there was a chance I could still hit my goal.  I'd need to push through one last tough section to do it.  Then I let myself think that I should have just toughened up earlier.  This thought ended up holding me back during the last 3km.

Finished at 1:31:14.  My fastest run of the year, with only 3 good weeks of training.  In my heart, it was my worst of the year.

I'm taking away two lessons.  First, I need to stick with my nutrition plan.  I needed more calories before the race.  I needed that second gel.  Second, and more importantly, if you believe you're going to fail, you will fail.  You can't succeed if you don't believe it will happen.  No matter how good the performance, if you don't judge it as a success it will not be a success.

I am going to work hard for the rest of the year to stay positive during racing and training despite setbacks and motivate myself with my own thoughts.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new.

My race season is just about to start, so I thought I'd share what changes I've made to my whole Triathlon setup for this year.  These changes have precipitated from two big changes/milestones.  The first is that 2011 was a break year for me.  A year off gives you time to break the emotional connection you have to your training/racing setup and courage to start fresh.  The second is that I'm entering my first year of the 35-39 age bracket.  I'm going to race against a whole new field, a far more competitive one, and any hope of sandbagging disappeared when I started to look at finish times for that bracket.  Being almost 35 also means I'm old enough that I'm going to be a little more susceptible to injury, but also that I can afford to mitigate the possibility of injury by buying a bit more speed., who doesn't like new toys.

Here's the list and each item's benefit thus far...   note, these benefits are independent from what I've gaining by being well coached and increasing my training volume.


  • Orca race suit to Sugoi for racing/biking/training.  I'm excited to have my first apparel sponsor ever, Sugoi Performance Apparel.  For those who know the brand, you'll know it's extremely well constructed, designed for real athletes, and very sleek and stylish.  Their Tri race suit is the best fitting, most comfortable sports garment I've put on my body ever.
  • Compressport compression products are now my staple.  They're well priced and work as advertised.  My 34 yr old legs and arms recover like they were 10 yrs younger.  I'm in this stuff nearly every day, so I'm coming from a position of experience.
  • Oakley Zero to Oakley Jawbone.  I wanted the option to change lenses and not buy new glasses.  I made this before getting back to training, so not sure if this counts  ;-)

  • Blackburn stationary trainer and CycleOps Powertap Elite+ traded in for CycleOps Powerbeam.  I made this change to get the most of my indoor sessions, of which there are many.  I train around my son's schedule on weekends, so even if the weather is nice I'm putting in time in the garage.  I attribute much of a nearly 35% increase in my bike strength since December to using this device for training.
  • Cervelo P2 has been traded in for a Trek Speed Concept 9.8.  The intended ride was a Cervelo P5 but that's their fault, not mine.  This bike is second hand from pro Rachel McBride who rode it last year to an 11th place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  It is constructed and imbued with speed.
  • Shimano Dura-Ace has been traded for SRAM Rival.  It came with the bike.
  • Giro Adavantage race helmet traded for Bell Javelin.  A race helmet should be changed every 3 to 4 years for safety reasons.  The Bell fits well for my aggressive position on the bike.
  • Profile Design Aerodrink has been traded for X-Lab Torpedo Mount.  I made this change after realizing I want to take on liquid on the bike, then dispose of the bottle.  Plus, it seems to reduce the air pocket created by the aero position.
  • Look Keo Classic traded for Look Keo Blade Carbon.  The person who bought my bike wanted the pedals, as it completes the look of the bike.  Since I'm on a top of the line bike I thought I'd better have the pedals that matched.
  • Polar CS600 traded for Garmin Edge 500.  Polar has just stopped being innovative, compatible, and easy to use.  My Garmin is solid and sends the data I want where I want it to go:  everywhere.
  • Traditional chainrings traded for Rotor Q-Rings.  I admit I was skeptical to try asymmetrical chainrings.  But when I tried them for the first time, I felt like I was on a gyroscope...  they self propel, it seems.
  • Northwave shoes for Sidi T3.6s.  I've been riding Sidi shoes for a year on my road and CX setup.  Their fit is just so lux that I had to make it happen for Tri.  It will be a shame to pee in those on race day, though.  ;-)
  • Orca Sonar wetsuit to Orca Alpha.  The swim leg has been a challenge for me in the past, despite doing well in training.  Thanks to Speed Theory Vancouver for helping me out and getting me into a faster suit.
  • Finis Swim Metronome.  My stroke rate can be dialled in and examined to see it's affect on overall speed.  This has helped me really develop a rhythm that lets me swim easy.  Great product and the single biggest contributor to my swim improvement.
  • Garmin 910xt.  Swim data.  Booya.
  • Sugoi run stuff.  Try it and tell me I'm not right.
  • Traded Newton runners for New Balance.  Don't get me wrong...  I love the feeling of the Newtons.  But I've been getting chronic calf issues for a few years now, especially on training blocks that had a lot of speed work.  My coach suggested I try something different.  I chose the New Balance 890v2 shoes as they are very light and don't have an overly aggressive heal to toe drop (8mm vs. 4mm with the Newtons).  My body is still adapting, but I've had zero issues with my calves.
Last but not least, I'm trading up my Tumblr account for a Blogger one, as you can see from this post.

I doubt I'll make such an extensive change until I'm in the 40-44 age bracket. I don't think I can afford to unless I luck out with getting great deals and support like I got this year.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This will be a short post, but an important one.

I’m very thankful for the support I’ve received from those directly and indirectly in my life towards helping me to regain and surge past the physical stature I had attained prior to my year away from Triathlon.

I’m also glad to reciprocate that support wherever and whenever I can.

Thanks to Jen who has given me weekday mornings, Saturday mid-mornings, and Sunday nap times to train hard. I was glad when she walked in on my workout in the garage this morning and was too disgusted by the sweat puddle I had made to kiss me before she left for work. I was an epic level of gross from an epic effort. Jen is getting back into shape, too, and she’s getting quite fit. I’m now learning that I need to give her the same support she gives me and am learning as I go. I do enjoy that she’s got her own “The Stick” for after hard workouts and that after a hard session with her personal trainer, she comes home and tells me about how “her legs are totally blown/crushed/shelled/maimed etc.”.

Thanks to my friends at Speed Theory who are helping me where they can to make Triathlon more affordable for a gear-head like me and recommend the best value for my dollars spent to buy speed. Even when I pick up a used piece of gear to manage my costs, they demonstrate its not just about buying stuff from them… it’s about supporting athletes.

Thanks to Sugoi for my second sponsorship deal (the deal with my wife being the first). It’s nice when a brand that you associate with good sporting values and a commitment to quality chooses to support you. I will proudly where my training and race kit wherever possible. Pictures coming soon.

OK, that wasn’t a short one.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


With 2012 finally here, it made sense to kick off the new year with a post.

A lot has transpired since my last “race” in Sooke. In October, I returned to formal training and started with my coach again, Bjoern Ossenbrink. In doing so, I’ve also joined the ranks of 20 or so other serious triathletes, from serious age-groupers such as myself to pros on the rise. No pressure. I’m back to 12+ hour training weeks, except for a 3 week period starting Oct 17th where I was hospitalized for an intestinal rupture (a story for another day).

I’ve been asked a similar question by several friends/family. It goes something like this: “How are you able to train so much, work so much, and still have time to help your wife with your newborn son?”.

It’s no secret that a 45hr work week and a 12+hr training week don’t leave a lot of time for other things. My pre-Irondad self used to train after work and until mid-afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. Pre-Irondad self also used to do his share of the housework, all of the yard work, fix things around the house, play and compose music, etc. Irondad, on the other hand basically ONLY works, trains, spends time with the family, and squeezes in other fun things where it can be done. All other things are either hired out (i.e. yard work, housework) or done with far less frequency or during more frequent shorter bursts (music stuff, fixing stuff around the house). Bringing on a coach has also proven pivotal; I spend zero training hours planning and analyzing my training. I just do the workouts.

I also have committed to some rigid guidelines for when and how I train (and my coach has been very understanding): During the week I only train before 6pm and most often before 2pm (i.e. early mornings, lunch, and sometimes on the way home from work). I never miss bathtime with Eli. I also only train before noon on Saturdays (although that’s evolving, as Jen is also returning to training), and Sunday workouts are somewhat optional/flexible if they occur after breakfast (e.g. I will take Eli for a run on Sundays in his stroller).

Despite all those restrictions, I would say that I’m actually training more and with higher quality workouts. It’s as if restrictions in my schedule have forced me to take maximum advantage of the time that I do have. I am also motivated to prove that it is possible to achieve strong results in sport, in business, and still be a hands-on father.

My answer to ”How are you able to train so much, work so much, and still have time to help your wife with your newborn son?” typically comes with an explanation: I have not had to stop doing the things I love just because I’m now a dad. I DID have to figure out what were the things I did before that I DO love and what were the things that were maintenance. Then I cut out the maintenance where possible. Then I adapted the schedule to fit in the things I love. And I

I’m looking forward to a great 2012 season.