Sunday, December 30, 2007

Warm, Dry, Fed . . .

. . . and ready for bed.

I like to slow down slowly. Once it gets dark and I am feeding or fed, the body systems start to slow down. It's almost a ceremonious activity, slowing down.

Preparing food and eating well are definitely ceremonious. A small cup of tea, some yoga, composing thoughts, playing good music, these things are all ceremonious. It's a subtle routine, a quite celebration, congratulating yourself, and thanking the Universe for a great day.

Today we had another great cyclocross ride. You never know where you'll end up on the cyclocross bike. Today there were steep hills to go down, stairs to climb up, and rivers to cross.

As soon as I remember my login name and password for the NTC blog, I will post a few pictures from the ride.

This evening I experimented in the kitchen with some prawns, flambe style. Something about cooking with fire releases the prehistoric animal. Maybe that's why I feel so ready for bed. The animal knows it's time to sleep.

Goodness.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

unspoken

One of my favourite part of holiday / regeneration periods is waking up. This morning I woke up and shortly realized I had a couple hours before our run. Sweet. I lay back down and returned to the story I was mesmerized by the night before. It was a great well rested way to start the day.

Our run was around a chilly Elk lake. Frozen puddles are tempting. They all shout out, "Stomp in the centre and break the ice!" I couldn't resist. 25' warm up, 30 minutes steady state, 10 minute cool down. Good run to keep the fire burning during regen.

Back home for some yoga of the Hatha variety. I am back on this routine I was doing earlier in the year. I like to switch core routines about every 6 weeks, otherwise the exercises become too easy.

All different types of Yoga have their benefits. I think a functional Hatha program can be adapted to benefit core strength.

Today's swim was with Randy's group. It's great that we can hop in and do a workout with that group. Thanks for the accommodation. We finished the workout with 24 x 50 dive starts from the blocks. Randy took the quote of the day with the following request: "... And guys, get out of the pool like athletes; use both hands and push up on the deck. Don't just crawl up and out, or use the ladder."

nice.

Part way through the 50s I asked Scotty to watch my dive and give me a pointer, or at least something to think about. When we arrived at the other end I looked over, eagerly awaiting my homework. Scotty smiled and said, "Just give me a minute." We both laughed, silently.

Sleep well.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cheeta

This morning my alarm went off at 6:00am. I decided on a couple more minutes. I woke up again at 6:30 and ran out the door. Breakfast consisted of a cup of water and some Vitamin C. Breakfast of champions, no doubt about it.

It was great to meet up with a couple other guys and join in Neil's Island Swimming TAG group. I felt a little sluggish to begin, but as the practice continued things started to wake up. After mastering the couch groove, it takes a couple 1000m to wash out the webs.

At the beginning of our kick set, it was all I could do to make it across the pool and back. By the end of the set I was back to my efforts trying to master the Coates method of kick. No problemo. Now my left shoulder is doing that twitchy thing, so it must have been a good swim. My diagnosis: new neural highways are presently being routed.

The apres swim Sauna felt great. I am of the Sauna breed, instead of the hot tub. The hot tub is great for talk and such, but for me nothing beats the Sauna followed by a cold shower.

We're still on a little regeneration, so the rest of the day was fairly light. I am trying to maintain the couch groove for as long as possible.

I hopped on the Rollers this afternoon for a great ride. I really feel the difference riding on Rollers. In order to ride single leg drills the core needs to be connected. In order to make sure it's connected, I like to ride with one leg and only the opposite hand. The process goal is no hands, playing catch, single leg. . . (standing). . .

Today's play list: shuffle of U2 Achtung Baby, Joshua Tree, K'naan, and a little Counting Crows. Sweet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pins and Needles

It's a funny feeling when we allow ourselves scheduled rest time. I find it so easy to find other things to do, and projects to start.

Today as I was putting away some laundry, I thought for a second. "I don't have to be doing this. I could just toss it all on the floor, and pick up clothes as I need them. Will the world be any different if I decide to take a nap, or read a book instead?"

The same question applies to everything we do, even the bigger things. In 100 years, will the world really care whether or not I put away my laundry on Thursday morning? What about in a week when it's all dirty, and needs to be washed again.

I can remember sitting in the office at Oak Bay High when one of my teachers told me, "Stephen, you don't have to do anything." I thought, "Really?... You're right!"

The thing is that we always have a choice. We can choose to do it now, or choose to do it later, or choose to do something entirely different. Another big choice we also have is how to feel, always. Any situation, any job, any task; We choose how to feel. Talk about a privileged life.

I choose to throw down the laundry and patch up some spare inner tubes for Papaya. I finished the laundry later.

Todays pictures are from Ogden Pt.


Great day. Let's go for a swim!

Monday, December 24, 2007

three for one

Christmas Eve, Winter Solstice (22nd), and a Full Moon.

We had a crisp and clear morning today in the Capital City. The moon was shining, lighting the streets before the sun was ready to rise. I closed my eyes for a brief moment. When I opened them the gift of light had arrived.

Beliefs and backgrounds aside, this time of year is about celebrating light and life. What better reason to celebrate?

Dec 24th is not only Christmas Eve, it's also the day this year I reserved a couple hours for buying things.

I have three secrets for Christmas shopping, but unfortunately I am unable to share them with you. They are highly top secret, bearing the burden of much sanity at this time of year.

I visited some nice shops with the G-man and he took some photos:














Enjoy the Eve.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cheeto's

This weekend has been forced recovery.

So far it has been a great opportunity to work on my couch groove. Every couch, chair, bed, or cushion has one. When you go to someone else's house, try and notice the different grooves in different chairs. Everyone generally has a certain chair or place on the couch where they feel most comfortable.

After couple days of hard work my couch groove is almost back into shape. One more day of effort and it will be perfect, just in time for Christmas.

Here's a Christmas memory:

It's about 1:30pm on the last day of school. I rise from my desk and make my way to the back of the dark TV screen lit classroom.

My mission: Reload on Cheeto's.

I trod carefully, trying not to make a sound. Actually there is a sound, but I cant help it. It's the peeling sound of my sneakers sticking to the dried Orange Crush spilled all over the floor. I wouldn't want to disturb the movie.

If our teacher was on the ball that year, we would be watching one of Blockbuster's twelve copies of "Mr. Grinch" eagerly sought after by every class K - 12 in the city. Mr. Grinch or a Chevy Chase Classic, we were all happy to be watching a movie in school!

Ahhhh..... Willows Elementary.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm going to go have some ice cream.

When you train with a group of people there are certain moments, comments, quotes that stick with the group. Neil is especially good with words in the early morning swim hours. Yesterday's quote of the day came from Neil.

"Stuff that feels hard now, makes stuff that is hard in the future possible." - Neil the swim master Harvey

The above comment put a positive attitude in my head before a challenging swim set yesterday morning. It's about creating the future.

Today I was starting to fatigue towards the 2nd half of our swim. The volume adds up. Patrick noticed the change in energy levels and put a quote up on the board.

The quote itself doesn't matter. The change in attitude, thought, and energy it brings about is what counts.

Lots to think about over the upcoming recovery week. I'm looking forward to shifting gears for a couple days. In the mean time . . . rest and recover for a great day tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rain Woopels

One of my favourite parts of this season is meeting with people you haven't seen for a while; Spending time with good friends and family. This evening I enjoyed dinner with some of my oldest friends.

I've known Killian and the Millers since I was in grade 2. That's going back aways. All the way back to the days of Mtn. Climbers on the Musgrave Field and Rain Woopels with Mrs. Dorworth.

Talk about childhood, Killian and I did it all; Camping, Sailing, Baseball, School, basically everything from K -12. I'll spare you the extensive list and inside jokes. Every reunion includes good memories and a little bit of reminiscing.

Killian's Dad Danny, is always there with exciting stories, words of wisdom, and encouragement. Nice evening. Thanks to the Millers for being there, solid, #1.

I had lots of pull swimming today. I remember when anything over 10K was epic for the day. I also remember when 1000m nearly left me drowning in the shallow end of Oak Bay Rec. 10K is still lots of swimming, but it's no big deal. It's a Change in Attitude, Change in Thought, Change in Energy.

I will wake up tomorrow with a fully healed knee. Time for cellular rejuvenation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

fire

Another day for the books. I love adventure.

I woke up this morning and spent some time finding just the right size kindling, some larger pieces, and a good protected area.

As I stepped out the garage door this morning I felt a couple rain drops. Something about loading up the car in the dark with supplies for the day starts a bright spark for the day. It reminded me of adventure trips, camping, sailing, climbing, skiing, anything out in the living world.

By the time we were in the middle of the main swim set the fire was well on it's way to burn strong through the day. No amount of rain could change that. It was one of those fires you could throw a waterlogged piece of driftwood on and it would still burn, eventually becoming the ambers for fires to come.

Nice swim. The standards have changed. New possibilities. New expectations.

Cyclocross was absolute wickedness, as usual. Andrew showed me a new route through Francis King park. That was a sweet part of the ride man. With warm fingers and toes that hill is definitely climbable.

It was great to give Munn a little bit of Fartlek. I can't wait to try that out on the F-1 this spring.

One of the things about cyclocross is you are guaranteed to be extremely muddy from tip to tail. With consecutive rides this means putting on muddy clothes the next day. Today I found a way around this. It's simple. After the ride, walk straight into the showers with all your bike clothes on and do the wash. For even more efficiency and enjoyment, bring a chocolate milk in there with you. Hang up the clothes at home and your ready for the next one, clean as can be.

Today's run was at Cedar Hill. My heart rate started HIGH, and found it's way back to base within the first lap. Next 2 laps were a slight build, and on the 4th Andrew and I brought it up to Steady State. I was happy to finish off the day with some comfortable running and a little bit of effort.

This evening Tepi rocked and rolled on the rower for 2:18:04, a total of 20318m. Nice one Tepi.

Now I let the fire burn down. Todays coals will start a good one tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rest Day

Today I have been resting the body. It is really easy to put yourself in the "go mode" and just stay there, even during rest days.

Sometimes it's a good thing to sleep in, wake up, have breakfast, and decide to go back to bed for a couple more hours. After waking up for the second time you feel a little groggy, but well rested. Now you do what you need to, work, etc, then go back to bed for a few more hours. When you wake up for the third time that day there is a real rested feeling. Finally, eat well and go back to sleep for the night. This time around rest day = sleep day.

I am looking forward to our final build week before a rest week over the holidays. There will be an emphasis on cyclocross and swimming.

Here's a training recap from the few days leading up to our run/walk event:
Friday - good swim with a PB on the 200m Free. Next we swam a 2000m straight set where I swam about 4 minutes faster than 3 weeks ago. Drafting helps. Friday evening I set off to swim and run at the Crystal Pool. It was nice to run into other athletes finishing off their weeks training on a Friday evening.

We began the weekend with a standard Saturday swim including some long sets and basic aerobic swim training. This is where we boost mitochondrial density in the shoulders. I have to say, Saturday's water felt a little bit like molasses. The upside of swimming through molasses is that you can catch lots of of it. That's a good feeling.

On Saturday afternoon we did a group cyclocross ride which was not incredibly long, but definitely epic. On the way back we decided to blast through a couple farm roads / lakes. I have to be honest, I wasn't really expecting the group to follow through that massive pond. When I looked back to see the rooster tails flying on either side of everyones bikes as they pedaled through the water, I smiled. Way to go guys, that was fun. Climbing up through that random farm field / mountain was a blast too.

The quote of the day came from Patrick. Looking across a field we saw what looked like a fire road under some power lines. Patrick commented, "That would be sweet if we could ride up there." After scanning the field for rabid dogs and pitch fork baring farmers I replied, "We could bomb across that field, bushwack through that patch of trees and make it up there." A moment of consideration and silence followed. With quiet and somewhat excited confidence Patrick replied with a simple, "Go."

Now it's time to give Papaya a bath.

(ps. if you know why the header picture is all squished at the top of the blog, please send me a note)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Successful Event ... Thanks!


Today our NTC Development group hosted a successful 2nd annual Run/Walk for the Homeless. Great work everyone! The whole group worked together well and solid teamwork came through.

Thanks to our many sponsors for the event: Running Room, Old Victoria Water Company, Hayak Air, Kook FM, Cobs Bakery, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Oak Bay Bikes, Prairie Inn Harriers, Pacific Sport Victoria, the CRD, and of course our many Volunteers who braved the wind.

It was great to be able to sit back a little bit and watch the event unfold this morning. Everyone knew exactly what to do and took care of business with a smile.

Food was taken care of by Patty Davidson, and Andrea Kent. Nice work on that one. Food is always of primary importance at this sort of event.

Richard Thomas had the coffee and hot chocolate situation under control from way before early this morning to the conclusion around noon. I've heard good things about the coffee and some day I may be converted. Until then, keep brewing up the delisciousness for everyone to enjoy.

Barb Sharpe knew exactly what needed to be done. It was like she had done this all before. Barb teamed up with the highly devoted scholarly skills of Alex and Kyla Coates to register all of our participants.

Gaby, Kyla, Alex, and Kerry made an awesome team organizing draw prizes. You guys came up with some great ideas this morning. Keep the inner genius flowing.

Our course layout managers, JP, Sharpie, and Aaron cotrolled the flour technician positions with superior skill. They also managed to fit in some extra workouts by rabbiting each race.

Andrew Russell brought our sound system but later he disappeared. In his place, Santa returned with friendly greetings for everyone.

Jasper Blake was our muscle for the day. He cleared the path of any fallen trees, set up the finishing chute, and I saw him single handedly pick up a car and carry it to a different parking spot.

Our Cool Aid Volunteers managed the money side of things. Thanks for your support of the event.

Bob Reid from PIH brought an epic amount of race set up experience, timing equipment, and a megaphone that provided much entertainment while everyone was running.

Ron Phillips took care of anything requiring tarps, rope, a jeep, or produced power. When I arrived there were flood lights in the picnic shelter. I thought, "This event is pro style."

St. John's Ambulance provided a nice piece of mind. How many times have I gone to the St. John's tent after an event to pick up some blister patching supplies? Thanks for being there.

Scotty ran around all morning making sure things went smoothly and everyone was happy. Nice work on the megaphone. Good work buddy.

Patrick was there as our grand master. ". . . PK will know what to do."

I'm sure I must have forgotten a number different things. That's because whoever took care of them did such a great job, it went completely unnoticed. There must have been a hundred little things where everyone silently pitched in to make things run smoothly. All those little things were much appreciated.

Finally, Congratulations to all those who donated, participated, and congregated at the lower parking lot of Beaver Lk this morning. You were part of a great event, supporting a worthwhile cause.

Training is great....updates tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

recapitulation

The last few days have been JSA including some solid base training sessions.

Swim recap:
Tuesday's highlight was the 400s set: 4 x (3 x 100 kick on 2:00 + 1 x 100 drill/swim on 2:00 + 400 swim on 6:00 dec 1 - 4). Improvement. 5:24, 5:21, 5:14, 5:10. Now change the standard and go faster.

Wednesday am swim: breakpoint. main set was: 24 x 50 as 3 on, one ez. 34-35 seconds, 37 strokes. Next week stroke count will be 36. pm swim was all about the camera with 6 x 800.

Thursday swim: lighter volume at 4.5 for the day.

Bike recap:
My work schedule now accommodates the 10:00 ride so I have been able to rock the cross world with Andrew and his new steed, black magic. Sweet riding this week mano.

Tuesday's destination was Mt. Doug. We set up a good loop there. I find riding loops is the best way to hone in on skills. It allows you to practice the same maneuver time and time again until you have it down. It's just like sailing practice, tight courses make you fast. Each time you round a corner you can push it a little further.

On Wednesday we rode the dump. Cool and crisp day with some sun. Perfect.

Today we ventured out to the park at Stelly's and Wallace Drive. Here is where we will really learn to ride the corners. It's not too technical, so you can just carve your way with some smooth speed.

Run Recap:
On Tuesday I was absolutely famished by the end of our run. Running in the dark reminds me of fall roller-ski training back in Guelph. Awesome.
Today's run was at Elk Lk. completed.

Run/Walk this weekend.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

time to sleep

Today I woke up and decided how the day would be great, and great it was. I'll describe it later because now it's time to sleep.

Here's a picture from one of my favorite places:


guess where...

Monday, December 10, 2007

JSA

Today can be described by an all new acronym. JSA stands for Just Simply Awesome.

Our swim was a typical Monday swim, redesigned to meet the entertainment quotient by Mike The Iron Man Neil. We rolled through it quickly and two winks of one eye later, I was chowing down on a Cliff bar with apple sauce for dipping. This better than gourmet feast was courtesy of the Athlete's Resource Room in PacSport.

The early morning's sunshine was a perfect start to the day for which I am thankful. Remember, if you love the sun, you need to be equally thankful for the rain.

Driving home I belted out the lyrics to Big Eyed Fish and Bartender by Dave Matthews. Everyone's a rock star in the safety of their own car. Belting it out feels good.

Back at the Rec things are busy with the upcoming resolutioners. Good for you guys. Stick with it because anything worth anything takes time.

This afternoon was my final bike TT up at UVIC. The conditions were 31.5 degrees, 70% humidity (my heavy breathing cranked this one up), pre-cooling vest, and 20K. I felt pretty good the whole way through, even having enough to kick it up for the final couple kilometers. I tried the sprint from 18K and sat back down at 18.67 . . . too early. I was back out of the saddle at 19 K to take 'er home. Now Monday's are officially back to being a recovery day.

There will be some useful numbers to come from all this work. Numbers are interesting, somewhat irrelevant, but still interesting. They are a little like the picture on the lego box. Here is what you can build if you follow the directions. For me that final product would last until about December 25 at 6pm when it was time to take it apart and build something else, not found on the box.

Only you decide what the pieces will look like when they come together.

Rest well.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

west

Good fun and good miles this weekend; swimming, biking, and running.

Saturday's ride was nice one. There are so many trails in to explore in Victoria. We found our way up to Christmas hill, appropriately named for this time of year. It was a great place to bring Papaya for some biking and hiking. Some of the trails are a little too technical to ride up, but I found a really comfortable way to throw the bike over my shoulder, perfect for running up stairs. I have a good feeling we will find some awesome routes through the burbs this week.

Saturday's swim was c. o. l. d. Fortunately there was a hot tub waiting.

I cruised along the rocks and sand along Dallas road for my run this morning. I felt pretty west coast running over piles of seaweed and drift wood, so to continue the feeling I came home and made a pot of organic green tea. Granola, organic free range bananas, and non-GMO yogurt hit the spot for breakfast.

This afternoon I enjoyed a picturesque picnic up at Goldstream.

Trainer time. See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 7, 2007

good night

Perfectly Perfect.

Nice day of training on a paradise island in the South Pacific. An early morning wake up found me in good spirits for a smooth early morning 4K. I am starting to feel some changes from the added swim volume. I must be convinced that's a good way to swim faster.

There are a couple benefits from swimming early: Number one, the muffins from Waveside Cafe are fresh out of the oven; Number two, mid morning naps.

Today was the first time in a couple months where I have been able to enjoy both of these two treats. It could have been the nap, or the blueberry cranberry muffin, but either way I felt awesome all day.

After work I hopped on the road bike for a spin of the waterfront. Black Lightning feels like a Formula One race car after riding through the mud with Papaya. My confidence going into corners has improved too. Ohhh cyclocross, you continue to impress me.

Swim practice #2 was better than awesome. We did an eye opener set and I made the following conclusion. If you are going to swim faster, it is going to feel different. This may seem obvious, but it's finally sunk in with me.

During the first few 75's I was holding 53-54 seconds on 60. That's ok, but you may as well go faster. So I swam faster, 52-53 seconds. Again, that's ok, but here you are swimming so you may as well swim faster, 51 seconds. This feels different that swimming 53-54 seconds. Go figure. I was content at this pace, a couple seconds faster than last time we did the set.
Eye opener.

Today's run included a couple drills and strides with a short waterfront loop. Running in the dark makes me feel fast and cool.

Tonight's dinner was the beginning of Christmas eating.

TisbaHu 'ala kher

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Beautiful

Beauty day of training.

Swim - 5.2 K as 1500 WU, 15 x 100, 2 x 1000, 200 Cool Down. Just roll, and before you know it we're on to the next set. To be honest, sometimes I used to dread swim practice. (Of course Now I love every moment of it) Swimming meant lots of really hard work, even on the easy stuff. Just try to keep up and hang on for dear life right from the splash.

I like to remember these practices. Some technical things have changed with my stroke, but the foundation of why carries on and grows stronger. Reflection on where we have come from offers a neat perspective.

Here I am. Love the set, the moment, the opportunity, the gift.

Work, Lunch, Run/Walk phone calls and e-mails, insurance is in, permit is in the mail, upcoming interview with CBC in the works, good deal.

When I arrived at Elk I spent a couple minutes enjoying just the sun and air. Nice crisp day. I hopped on Papaya and began to enjoy the earth and wind as I rode. What a perfect riding day along farm roads behind the lake. Towards the end of my ride the game turned a little physical between myself and a tree. Most would say the tree won, but I held my own.

Nice run with 5K building to Tempo II. I am staying out of the danger zone unless the race or Grand Master PK dictates it. I kept it in control for the Tempo and focussed on maintaining posture. Smooth. Nice run today by Scotty. Good work buddy.

Swim practice tomorrow is coached by Mike the ironman Neil. I am predicting some underwater swimming and breath holding.

Breath deeply, Think thoughtfully, Sleep soundly.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Entertainment.

I have a new way to entertain myself at work in the gym. Not only does it keep me occupied, it will also help me achieve my goal of cracking the 6 foot mark this year.

The chin up bar is the perfect hight for me. If I jump up and grab the bar I can hang with my feet just off the ground. Gradually as I relax the shoulder and spinal muscles my toes touch the ground. Eventually, after hanging there for about 3 minutes I can touch my heels to the ground also. Repeat this 5 or 10 times with some recovery and there goes almost an hour.

Another entertaining toy is the scale. I spent a good amount of time weighing my legs, feet, and arms. I didn't go as far as putting my head down on the scale.

The sphygmomanometers along with the stethoscopes have also provided much entertainment. They are about 100 years old and require a lot of athletic tape to plug the holes before they become operational. Definitely a two person job. It's important to make sure this equipment is ready for use at any time. I am taking responsibility to make sure it doesn't go rusty.

I also found some workout tapes that look like they are from the late 80s. I'm not sure if the Rec Centre has a tape deck, but if it does I'm impressed.

Balloon animals made from surgical gloves are pretty good too, but they are a little obvious.

Good training today and a very thought provoking conversation with Milton.

Thank you world. Rest well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

today

I am in the midst of reorganizing the work schedule to allow for increases in bike and run volume. Creating time is a real art.

I was first introduced to running by a wise old friend. We ran together for my first couple weeks. A couple months later he checked up on me and asked how the running was coming along. I reluctantly replied, "Well, I just haven't been able to find the time what with school, music, sailing, and work." He responded, "Stephen, time is all about priorities. You have time for what are priorities in your life." He told me to routinely check to make sure that I am spending my time on the high priority aspects of my life. It's just that simple.

So here it is, recognizing the priorities, and creating time.

Today's swim was fairly straight forward. I brought the stroke count to a new low of 34 strokes. There's the new standard for our up and coming breakpoint work. Cross the bridge, throw down some dynamite, and never look back.

This afternoon we had a little fun with the media rattling off some dates for the NTC Run/Walk for the Homeless on A-Channel News and CFAX 1070. More importantly we were down at StreetLink where once again, more than just my eyes were opened.

Our run was a mostly aerobic 65ish minute effort. I only spent a couple minutes on one or two hills with the HR slightly above steady state.

Fall Foundation Fills the Fountain For summer Fire.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Life, The Adventure

I love Adventure.

Driving home from the pool in the pouring rain this morning I was tired and hungry. It reminded me of so many tired and hungry adventures. I love the feeling. The feeling of a pack, hiking boots, poncho, rain, hungry, tired is like any other great feeling. Remember the cold salt water splashing, the wind blowing. It's just like the feeling of running, swimming, biking in the sun, wind, hot, or cold; the feeling of living.

I can think of experiences that were total "adventures." Just take a little bit of the unknown, add something new, and let the pot simmer. Times shared I will remember forever.

Every moment is a new adventure. Every moment offers a new opportunity to experience. We create new thoughts, make new connections, feel new emotions. Add the earth, and here we are, living the adventure.

It has a while for me to let this weekend sink in. It will be a little while before I know just where it all fits in. One thing is for certain, the same positive affirmations keep showing up. No words to explain it, just a feeling. Carry on the mission.

I was able to put in some good snow time and had a few hard efforts. All it takes is one or two extended strong efforts to crack open the ski race zone. Here's to the next chance we have to pop the cork on a new bottle of zone.

Big shout out to the group this weekend. You guys are the definition of coolio. Special thanks to those who shared the ride back. Your absolute chillness is sweetness.

Driving home after supper I was again convinced that although I do enjoy good food, there is way more to the energy than ATP. This evening I enjoyed dinner with my Gran and Dad. After an eventful weekend it's great to be grounded. Thanks for a nice dinner, conversation, and ongoing support.

Great week ahead.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

red thread

My plan is to squeeze as much time on snow as possible into the next 2.5 days. I have a head lamp so night skiing will be a must, maybe an early morning trek to the top of the hill too.

I will be out of reach of the internet until Sunday evening while we are skiing up island. No fear. . . a pen and paper will follow me. Until then . . .

Be the red.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

".......SLeeeeeeeeeeeep"

The highlight:
  • Tepi had an amazing workout on the rowers this evening. 18000m and 2:03hrs later she said, "I can do more!" Awesome work Tepi.
We are on regeneration until Thursday morning. Today's swim allowed the the cells to rebuild and recharge. We ran from UVIC today and made it down around the Caddy Bay area. I have a new cyclocross loop in my head. I'll have to see if it's possible on my own before I bring anyone else.

This weekend to my satisfaction we will head up island for a little Nordic action. It's been almost 2 years since I clipped into a pair of ski boots. Translation:

"i'M toO eXcItEd to SLeeeeeeeeeeeeeep."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cellular Rejuvenation

That was the name of today, and coincidentally the song I am listening to. Everything was all about rejuvenation; from the oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt for breakfast, to the 20K Bike TT at UVIC. Good food definitely helps with recovery. And there is no better way to flush out 4 weeks of good work than 20K of hard sweating.

Today I wore the pre-cooling vest for 40 minutes prior to and during the 20 minute warm up. I noticed a few differences.

It was a little uncomfortable before the warm up as I was starting to become chilled. When I was warming up I found that I needed to keep the cadence up to stay warm. Even a little bit of easy spinning and I was reminded of the ice vest.

During the TT my body felt good temperature wise; however, the vest doesn't do much to help the legs. It must be more about shifting that set temperature point (or starting temperature) down. That way your core body feels cool even though the legs are hot and working hard.

Your brain must be monitoring the core temperature instead of that of the working muscle group. Or at least the core temperature must be a more important factor in the brain's assessment of your current state.

I don't think the core blood temperature would drop, but you might be able to bring it down with some serious pre-cooling of the extremities. This could be a possible shock situation, leading to loss of consciousness. . . maybe too dangerous, but worth a try.

All the best to the academically inclined who are heading into the final stretch before exams. You know what needs to be done. You are smart. You will do well.

Thank You for today's fuel.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

One

Another great day under the sun.

We had a leisurely 11am start to our base run followed by a short swim. The sun was so nice today. Running back through the lakeside trees, my feet could taste the centre of the earth. My head was above the canopy, above the clouds.

Try and see forever, around the earth, way past here.
Let's look forever, let's go and see, what's could be there.

A trillion waves of sunlight wind through the leaves,
Find a trillion mirrors, some choose the trees.

A trillion mirrors absorb, reflect the waves, back to my eyes,
Where I am given the choice, to see more, or choose their disguise.

...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"I pitty da foo"

I was a little flustered this morning going into the swim. Noisy thoughts, ahhhh quiet for just a second so I can think! No need to think. Thinking isn't going to happen right now. Stop thinking. Start breathing. Start feeling. Resume living. Resume Being. Ok, now I can slowly start thinking again. Not too fast though, cause the circuits might fry.

Good strength session with Mr. T. "I pitty da foo' who skips out on core!"
Good swim with Mr. P. "Show me the IM Power!"

This afternoon we had the first "long group ride" of the year. A big shout out to Scotty and Brook. Brook, you are a hero today. Scotty. . . . need I say more? I will. You have cycling legs of steel. Norman, you can take a step to the right 'cause Scotty's on your left and wants to pass. Thanks for the fun ride. Next time we will ride a return trip to Leechtown at the end of the goose. I think it's just another 20 after Sooke. Sound good to you? Ya, I thought so. Oreos next time at the Shell. Deal. Lights too. Sweet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

play the tune

I just had a flash back to my days of playing in the Victoria Music Festival each April. My brother Graeme and I had just finished playing our duet. We were sitting down in the front row with the other musicians in the Violin & Viola category, waiting for the Adjudicator to compose and share his thoughts.

I can clearly remember what the adjudicator said. He started out by asking us to imagine we were in Carnegie Hall in front of a huge crowd. The bright stage lights were shining off our instruments. We were dressed in the most classy tuxedos. Everyone was there just to see us, and listen to our music. We were to think about performing, playing, just letting it flow. He asked us how this would make us feel. . . . strong, confident, (maybe a just little nervous), but happy and blown away just to somehow be there. Now, bring exactly that feeling here in to the Philip T. Young Recital Hall.

His message was to feel you dream, let it be, and bring it into right now.

Summary of today's training:
Swim
  • Swim faster if you want to go faster.
  • 3 weeks until the next 100m TT. 1:03. Maktub.
  • 1 week (I think) until the next 400m TT. 4:59. Maktub.
Bike
  • Cyclocross is fun.
  • Drivers are crazy.
Run
  • November is cold.
  • Wash your training clothes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Red Hot Chill-Ay

Today some things were taken care of with our Run/Walk event that's coming up. I am happy to say that we now have official permission to hold the event with a brand new, hot off the press Capital Regional District Parks Permit. After playing phone / fax / e-mail tag for the past 2 weeks, all is sorted out. Now we work on the coffee supply, lot's of it.

I felt great for the last 300m of our swim today. That's really all it takes. Even feeling great for 200m would do. It was an easy swim just cracking the 4.5k mark. There were long sets, giving us time to work on what needs to be worked on. Time to go to work and do the job.

Cyclocross at Elk was really crisp, the air that is. As I spend more time with my trusted steed, Papaya seems to be learning. Now she knows how to roll over just about anything. Although, I must say the driver likes to keep finding new twisty tangents and crooked cracks.
The "on your own (OYO)" cyclocross rides are where I like to taste the gross sticky stuff on the edge of the envelope. These rides are scripted to include a large amount of horizontal riding. It's nice to get that out of the way during the week on my own, so on weekend group rides I can pretend to look like I know what I'm doing.

Today's run included a little bit of Fartlek speed. Good stuff for the runners heading off to Guelph next week for XC Nationals. You guys are ready to show 'em how it's done. Fartlek was just what I was looking for too. It was a good way to feel some speed back in the legs.

What do you think good food sounds like?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

beets

Swim #1 - It took a little while to find the feel. Rotate. Catch.
Learning technique is a good deal.
As I learn new things, there are seemingly infinite other things to work on. Great. I'm happy to have all these new things to work on.

Swim #2 - There's the feel. Glad that today was a double swim day so I could finish feeling like I had a bit of water in my hands.

Work is really busy. Everyone seems to be making good progress; that's encouraging. The Run/Walk is coming along too. Lots of people are helping out now. Thanks. Every bit really makes a big difference!

On a different note, lately I have been noticing a large number of parallels between music and food. They are really very much alike. The following is a situation nearly everyone has been in.
You are driving home from work, practice, something. You are hungry, want something to eat right now, and decide to stop at the grocery store, or worse a fast food chain. When you enter the store you are quickly directed to the junk. It's not your fault, these stores spend millions in research to have you end up into the packaged quick fix section. You walk out of the store with your junk, eat it, and you feel like....junk. But at least you're not hungry.

Another situation. You are driving home from work, or practice, or something. Your mind is racing a mile a minute and thoughts are popping in and out. Who knows where they are coming from or where they end up. You are neither here nor there, and you're not getting either place that fast. You turn on the radio. Ahhhhh.... pleasant junk. The mind turns off, and now it has nothing to work on other than the junk it's being fed. That'll feed the hunger for a little while, but you still haven't had a chance to slow down, breathe or think.

What about the other choices? Good food. Good music. Deep breaths. Slowing down.

There are actually a number of really decent comparisons between good music and good food, but I'd rather tell you about them. Maybe another time.

Tonights dinner: beets, eggs, bread. Classy I know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

backfire

Today went by so fast I'll have to look back at the notes to see what really happened.

We're participating in a Pre-Cooling Study at UVIC right now. The conditions for today's Time Trial were: 31 degrees, 40 something % humidity, and 41 degrees on the humidex. HOT. I had a somewhat sneaky strategy. My plan was to go out HARD and with any luck my core temperature would reach the 39.5 degree cutoff within the first 8 or 10K of the 20Km TT. Translation.... I could finish early. S stands for sneaky. I also decided to get moving during the warm up too, just to kick start the warming.

I started the trial at 36.5; a little low, but normal for me. So all I needed to do was bring that number up by 3 degrees and I could go home. Sounds like a fool proof plan to me. Here's how it went:

1st km - build cadence, drop a few gears, no problem.
2nd km - I decided to stand for 350m every 2km to stay stretched out
3rd km - starting to warm up
4th km - ok, I'm breathing hard, and am hot.
5th km - yeah..... I went out hard, this is sweet, 'cause I've only got another 3 - 5km to go.
6th km - stand, sprint, get the core temp up, getting hotter
7th km - maybe I went out a little hard, oh well, a couple more k's and that's it
8th km - stand again, sprint, any time now..... tell me I'm done.
9th km - yeah this is getting pretty hot.
10th km - i definitely went out hard
11th km - this has got to be over soon
12th km - stand, sprint, are you kidding me? why isn't my temperature rising faster!?
13th km - head down, close eyes, breathe
14th km - new strategy, I'm going to finish this to 20K
15th km - it's hot in here, but there's the rhythm
16th km - ok, pick it up. nearly at the finish. 3 and a half to the sprint.
17.5 km - "you can stop now".... temperature has reached 39.5. That'll do pig, that'll do.

ice bath, breathe, bed.

bye

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Congratulations Brian and Judy!


Congratulations Brian and Judy on their Engagement!

Dude, I've got to say I saw it a mile away. I'll never forget hiding up in Owen's room that Winter Semester evening when you guys made dinner that first time. Then there were all the other EPIC dinners and ski I was fortunate enough to be a part of.

How about New Years 2005? The combination of that NorAm ski race in tinsel town Quebec + your cooking + Tobermorey = forever etched in my memory as a perfect New Years. Topped off with the hot dog roast and snow soccer on new years day... better than perfect.

How about basically all of 2005 and 2006? I've never eaten that well my entire life. I could never have imagined a more comfortable place to live. Right from 1st to 4th year you guys taught me more important things than I ever learned in the Guelphatorium.

You are both very generous, kind, true blue, salt of the earth, awesome people, and great friends!

I am looking forward to wishing both of you all the best in person sometime soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Songs From The Labyrinth

The G-man downloaded these a couple months ago. I've been getting into them lately. They are awesome tunes that provoke thought with great musicianship, and a lyrically cool story too.

Today was a good day to play. We are still rocking and rolling with the Strength Training by Trevor Program. It really takes time to learn these exercises properly. I have found that just recently I can do some of them without using the more external core muscles. I think the practice is really good for muscle activation and control. If we can keep these muscles strong towards the end of our race, I'm sure it will pay off with efficiency.

We had a chance to practice efficiency at fatigue with 500m of single arm during today's swim. Sometimes, part way through these sets I find myself loosing focus. It's not enough to just do the set on the pace time, you need to do your best job of it. Otherwise, what's the point? These are more opportunities to practice understanding of presence.

Cyclocross was . . . fun. We had some chances to pick it up a bit, and lots of time to practice skills with smooth handling. I am starting to be more comfortable taking sharp corners in the drops. It's crazy the amount of time and energy you can save by riding a corner just as it wants to be ridden. This is all good stuff. Keep it up guys, 'cause this will really pay off in next years crits. I smell good things at Newton Heights / Latoria, etc. What better way to become a faster, more efficient rider than playing in the mud?

Victoria is such an awesome place. It seems like there are new trails and paths every time I go out. The single track up towards the reservoir at Claremont was new for me. When we arrived to the top it was really foggy. Very cool scene x 2.

Most importantly, I am caught up on Laundry. Time to make some dinner.

Thanks to my fellow cross riders today. You are the epitome of hard core.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One Sweet World

I'm feeling full from a good day and a tasty dinner.

It was a good thing I ate my wheaties (oatmeal) for breakfast because that meal lasted me for a while today. I had a good swim this morning noticing positive reinforcements on things I have noted before. Chipped a few off the 200TT, many more to go. Good stuff too come.

I found an epic trail on the cross bike today. Take off from PacSport to Heartland through Elk Lk. and the old Interurban Railway. Blast the regional trail with a couple tangents here and there and head up to Ross Durrance. Once you get there, cross the street and jet onto the MacKenzie Bight Trail. This trail has a sweet descent right down to the ocean. Upon arrival I thought I had traveled to a scene from The Land Before Time, the original. Take a minute, breathe it in, cross the river, and continue. Amazing. I think this beach is looking across to the Malahat.

The ride back was pretty sweet. It has to be one of the steeper hill climbs in the city, at least of any I have ridden. If you are going from the water all the way up to the top of Heartland / Mt. Work it's pretty long too. Sweetness. So the ride was basically an awesome hill workout. Love it. For the sake of time I ran off the bike. Nice weather. I like November Rain. G n R has always been solid.

Keep it Syncopated, American Baby.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Burn the Pig.

Recently I have been going back to my DMB roots. Great song to start with this evening.

Do you ever just sit and do nothing but listen to a song? Jimi Thing, Bartender, #41, ... Seriously, it's a good thing to do. Maybe even sit down and listen to an entire album. I used to do this all the time at school. It might be something I get back into.

Scotty and I attended a talk by John Furlong, the CEO of VANOC 2010 this afternoon. There is a guy who is passionate about what he does. I was just thinking about this the other day. It's all about passion, loving what you do, and who your are.

John is a person who knows how to share his passion with other people. He also recognizes, welcomes, and wants to include everyone who has passion. Very cool. He told us a story that stuck with me.

As a young boy he was walking around town with his father who needed a new pair of shoes. John was fortunate enough to be given his father's old pair of shoes. These things were ugly. They were a big black pair of well worn clodhoppers, not an attractive site. They were the type of thing that would make any kid feel petrified to go to school and face the crowds in his new pair of kicks. John, being the resourceful gracious son thanked his father, saved his allowance and bought a new pair of sneakers. He developed an ingenious scheme where he stashed his sneakers in a bush, and every day on his walk to school he switched shoes, switching back on the walk home. No one would be the wiser.
Years past and John was taking care of his father. He asked about that old pair of shoes and why his father had given them to him. His father's response was, "Son, sometimes it's good to spend some time in another persons shoes."

Everybody sees, hears, feels, smells, and touches the world in a different way, from a different place. Everyone has something special to give to the rest of us, and each one of us has something to give back.

We swam an easy 4K this morning. Sometime I'll share my journal thoughts after my first swim with the NTC. There's some material for a good laugh.

After last weeks swim volume 4k or 5k just disappears and feels over before it started. "smooth rider." - Dave. I like to finish the swim by thinking about what I learned in the past hour and a half. Good things. What am a going to bring with me from this practice?

This afternoon's run included a 5K tempo effort. Our "conference lunch" was small food at the Ambrosia Centre so Scotty and I made an apres lunch Subway stop. Subway was sitting a little high in the GI tract for my liking, but it's all good. Shift the focus to your form and think about your pose. Feel good, feel light, feel quick, have fun, stomp the puddles, run in the mud, bark at dogs, smile. It's all good.

Pass out on the couch for an hour, eat dinner, have a drink of water, and clean up.

rest well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

sand

It's amazing how far a cheerful comment or thought can go. It starts like a swell in the ocean, and carries on and on, forever changing everything it comes close to. Even when the wave crashes on to a beach the sand changes as we hear the peaceful sound or tumbling pebbles.

Everything we think affects ourselves and those around us. Positive thoughts spread from person to person, place to place, just as a wave travels across the ocean. The neat thing about thoughts is they travel without the restrictions of time. One positive thought can and will change the world forever. I can feel the change all the time.

bed time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I like wind

A big Welcome to the month of November. She has arrived and is letting us know it.

Whether it's windy, rainy, snowy, global storming, weather warning, or even sunny for that matter, I like to be outside. I love the feeling of waking up and knowing there's some weather happening.

This is especially true when waking up warm and dry in a tent on top of a hill, on the beach, in the middle of nowhere. The sound of rain and wind against the fly is exactly the same no matter where you are. So is the feeling of the tent being blown against you, or the coldish feeling of fresh air on your face when the rest of you is nice and warm. Or, maybe you wake up on a sailboat and can hear the rain on the deck above and can feel the boat being tossed around by waves. Waking up to birds chirping on a perfectly sunny day works too. Either way, waking up to an "alive" world is pretty sweet.

This morning I woke up to the very familiar sound of Cedar trees brushing against the window; that, along with an old rusty bike parts wind chime. There's no better way to wake up on November 12, 2007.

Today we finished off the swim volume week with a 6.5K twilight morning swim with somewhat less light that usual and a 3K mystery swim this afternoon. You could basically chew the pool air this morning as the fans stopped working part way through our workout. It's hard to describe the texture of pool air, but it's definitely wet and fairly dense. It kind of tastes like an old towel that has been sitting in your swim bag for a little while. It's that, mixed with what a pull buoy would taste like.

We finished off with a trainer ride. There has to be a first one of the year and 1/2 way through November is a good time to start. Good old trainer rides....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NTC Compadres strike again, this time as Superheroes

One of the sweet things about Triathlon is that you can do so many different things. The three sports work together, keeping you fit when only focusing on 2 of the three. I have found that I can be "swimming tired," and still feel "running fresh." The same goes for cycling.

I felt a bit of the recent swimming volume this morning in the pool. Short course also tends to take a bit more of the stink out of me with all the inefficient turns. However, I have to say they are becoming much smoother. It's not really a feeling of muscular fatigue, just a little more challenging to shift into the higher gears and hold it there.

I think the trick to training when you feel this way is to focus on form. As Neil says, we're practicing Form with Fatigue. So basically the fatigue is a good thing. With the fatigue we really need to focus to keep the form. This is where the new neural pathways are solidified. Perfect workout.

Todays run was the PIH 4 x 5K relay race. We created a new category this year: Best Costume. Being the only ones dressed up, we took the title as superheroes. I bet ya anything there will be more teams dressed up next year. It was a great run too. Even though I was "swimming tired" I found a small piece of leg speed, especially on the very first hill. I needed to catch a couple guys ahead right at the start to make it a race, and a race it was. It came right down to the wire. The superheroes came in with 1/2 a second to spare.

Today I was able to live my childhood dream running as Raphael, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Our team included Jeff "the incredible" Phillips, Spider Scotty, Andrew "the bat" Russell, and myself. Good work team. Thanks for the fun run.

I had a cyclocross craving when I came home; so I hit up the old stomping grounds for a spin. Uplands Park is a sweet venue to bomb around on the bike. There is lots of varied terrain whether you feel like navigating your way up some rocks or rolling through some muddy single track. The legs cycling legs felt nice and rested. Part way through the ride I ripped over to Cattle Point. I found a fairly large tide pool to fall in. It was one of those very slow super embarrassing falls when you are hardly moving. Good thing the park was empty.

So, another great day for the record. A big Thanks to everyone. You really made it a positive one.

Remember.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Golden Light

Swim #1 included an infamous "eye opener."
20 x (50 medium on 60'; 75 fast on 60'). This was an enjoyable set. It feels ok at the beginning, and you know it's going to become harder. The thing is that it really gets easier. Find the rhythm, understand the set, and do the work. Now, do it faster. You can always go faster. That simple.

Time for a quick run/walk meeting and drive home for breakfast. It was really nice to be finished the swim early (we started at 6) and enjoy the morning sun. The sky was really cool. There was this low cloud with the sun coming through; a really golden light. After a breakfast of boiled eggs and fruit I had a nap in the sun. So nice. There is nothing better than sleeping in the sun.

Then it's run time as 75 minutes base around Beacon hill / Ogden point / Clover point area. Again, good rhythm. I found a zone after about 30 minutes and rolled with it. To bad it wasn't a longer run, I could have gone forever on such a nice day.

Next we watched the CIS Cross Country Championships at Beacon Hill park. The old alma mater, G-Town, took the team titles for men and women. Great racing on a challenging course.

Swim #2 was a bit of a gong show. 1/2 way through practice the fire alarm went off and we were evacuated. The Fire department and the whole schebang arrived. A bit of a waste for the faulty alarm system. This reminds me of living back in good old South Residence. I'll never forget evacuating into the -25 night. Feels good to think back on it.

We hopped back in the water and the alarm went off again. I asked the lifeguards if they could put a piece of tape over the button which cancels the alarm. The alarm stopped and I finished off the swim. 10.5K for the day.

Oh yeah one more thing for the U2 fans out there. The sound of bubbles swimming past your ears is exactly like the base line to "Love and Peace or Else," from the album "How to dismantle an atomic bomb."

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's swim and the 20K relay at Thetis. Watch out for superheroes....

Friday, November 9, 2007

so you know..... go

I have about a million and one different things to write down here. Here are a couple randoms:

Swim, swim, swim. Good day of swimming today, 10.5K for the day. I've only cracked the 10K mark once before. That was last year during the 3 day swimming block before our ski trip.

Thinking back on the old swim volume. Just a year and a half ago 10K was it for the week. And that's from June - August. When I was in Guelph I was waterlogged at 10K a month with no swimming at all during the ski racing season. My how times change. It seems that by swimming, you swim faster.

My roommates' thoughts on swimming:
"Swimming wont make you a faster skier. Why swim when you can roller ski?"
One year I roller skied to my Psychology Final Exam. It was a big building and I skied right up to the room. I brought my skis and poles right up to my desk, nice and sweaty with a bottle of Gatorade to tide me through the exam. I think the exam went well and I was warmed up for practice after the exam.

Sharpie and I finished off the day's training with a 45 minute run at Elk Lake, not before hitting up WaveSide for some CHO.

While on carbohydrates, I think this weekend calls for soup. A couple BIG batches tossed in the freezer will do the trick until next weekend.

Time for bed. Catchya on the bright side of tonight.

Sleep tight.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Steady as she goes.

Right now I am enjoying a cranberry oatmeal cookie. Really there is nothing else in the world that could satisfy my western sugar addicted taste buds quite like this.

The past few days have been really busy with work and training. Tonight I'm off work so we have a chance to catch up.

First and foremost: Tepi is now a celebrity. If you still have the Times Colonist from Saturday, check out the front page of the business section. You can see "her fingers dance a ballet as they carefully fold the Rogers chocolates like origami." Way to go Tepi! 14012m on Tuesday. Epic!

Lots of new rehab clients at Oak Bay means lots of new programs. It also means I need to go back in to the box of tricks to find new exciting exercises. This helps to keep things interesting for me as well as who ever I'm working with. The other day I came across the very first core routine I ever did.

They are timeless set of exercises that really get the job done. 24 minutes of work start to finish and you're set. I've been throwing these in the mix around the rec centre lately. It's cool to see someone else doing a pool exercise you taught another person earlier on in the week.

Swim: more band swimming today ... "you asked for it, you got it." I like good band sets.
Bike: cycling in a cyclocross fashion. 10 minutes from town and we're on perfect, quiet, peaceful trails. practice, practice, practice.... I'll be singing Bob's Redemption Song at the next one.
Run: good run today. tempo was e to the z. and "I like hills."

Things are rolling along well in the training of myself department. It's interesting. As my attitude and understanding of mySelf evolves, so does my moment to moment experience.

The other day I was thinking about comfort. What is comfortable? What is uncomfortable? What's the difference anyways? Where do these feelings come from? What can I learn from each?

I guess the same can be said for any sensual experience. Cool questions to ponder when you're riding or through the trails at Heartland.

I am now finished the cranberry oatmeal cookie and the only way to keep my neural addiction going is to eat another.

Cookie time. Journal time. Yoga time. Bed time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

bed

Awesome day.

#1 lesson: do it now.

now I sleep.

Monday, November 5, 2007

chicken

It felt really good this morning to stretch things out in the water. We rolled through four and a half without breaking a sweat. 50's on 60, that's what I'm talking about. Nice and smooth like chocolate.

The swim volume for this week will be a smooth 61K. Now that's really what I'm talking about. Absolute awesomeness. Any opportunity to swim more, send it on over this way. I'll go back for seconds and finish off the rest. No leftovers for tomorrow. We'll just have to brew up something fresh each day. Fresh is always the bigger, better, best.

The body is feeling pretty good today. I think the regeneration from 5 or so days ago has caught up. Back to those circadian rhythms. There's gotta be one going in each direction, this way and that. At the same time, there's probably much more than this gyroscopic madness going on. Maybe this is what holds it all together, some kind of centrifugal something-or-other balancing the balance, while dancing the knife edge.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Step by Step

Today reminded me in many ways of my rookie year as a University of Guelph Nordic Skier.

It was a perfect sunny day up in Nanaimo, with blue skies, bald eagles, green grass and a temperature around 13 or 14 degrees. A slight sea breeze was coming in off the water, just enough to cool you down if standing idle for too long.

I tested the waters in the Expert division, this time racing for 60 minutes against a much stronger field. These guys know how to ride. Not only are they all technically proficient, most actually have the cycling legs and lungs to go with it.

I had a decent start. This time I knew to go hard off the gun, and that was a very good thing. Immediately as the race started I could tell this race was going to be much different than my first one. Everyone was there to go for the win, go for the points, and just simply go for it. Perfect. These are the kind of cyclists I want to ride/race with.

In that first lap alone, I rode faster than I really thought I could on the cross bike. Not really any choice there; it's either that or get dropped like a stone. The ride was going well and I was attacking the course faster, keeping up with the main group. As we got around to the back end of the 2.8k loop things became a little more technical. Riding behind the other guys, I was starting to learn how to maneuver the bike over and around obstacles while still maintaining momentum.

I'm still at the stage where I slow down in the technical bits then need to crank it up to catch up. The problem arises when there are a series of consecutive technical sections, with no straight away in between where I can catch up. This is where I lost time.

This was much like when I was first learning to be a Nordic Ski racer. I could just grind it out up the hills holding my own, then came the technical down hills.

I remember the first time I was able to keep up with another one of the athletes on the ski team during a race. As I skied behind him I learned a lot about where on the course to throw down the effort. Sort of the same thing today. That is, up until about lap 2 or 3 of 7 or 8 (I wasn't really counting)

Crash. I bailed and ended up bending my back brake to the point where it was out of commission. No problems though, 'cause brakes just slow you down anyhow. I was quickly back on the bike, and after another lap I had new appreciation for how useful a back brake can be. The front is just too powerful, sending the momentum and balance way off.

The next big crash was on the bmx course. I was trying desperately to get back on the group I was with, and without a back brake I went into the woop de doos with a fair bit of speed. I actually fully cleared one, and went straight into the next one. (It would have been awesome if I cleared both.) I quickly put the chain back on and finished the rest of the race, holding my position, almost catching a rider ahead. Despite the face time on the ground, I was able to finish ahead of the guys who finished in front of me the other week in Duncan.

So far cyclocross has taught me a lot about racing. Here are a couple key things:

  1. No guts, No glory
  2. No fear in a pack of riders. If you can handle the shoulders and elbows in a cyclocross race, riding a pack of roadies is no problem at all.
  3. When you are going 100% all out, this is a good thing. You can actually go at this speed for as long as you want. Now go faster to catch the group ahead, or take the lead and drop the suckers.
  4. Just go for it, and as always,
  5. Have fun!
Kyla, Alex, and Aaron rocked out hard core this morning too. Aaron took 2nd in the Beginners right from the gun. Kyla and Alex looked like they had a great time too. By the 3rd lap they were rolling through the course like a couple of pros. They were very excellent cheerer oners too. (ps. thanks a lot for the ride up and back. fun day!) Richard, as always the camera man and general race support. Big shout out to ya.

Mum, I hope you weren't too worried and scared watching this one.

I need to clean.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Step 3: Allow

Just a quick thought today as there's lots to do.

Sometimes I find myself feeling that life can be overwhelming. Not an uncommon feeling, I suppose. There are so many approaches to dealing with this. Here's one that recently worked for me:

Allow.

Just simply allow.

Allow things to work out.
Allow the pieces to fall into place.
Allow yourself to observe.
Allow yourself to know that all is well.
Allow yourself to just be, right now.

I am amazed with how quickly this works. In an instant, we begin to flow if we simply allow ourselves to.

This morning's swim was great. It was the ultimate in "just rolling through." 5K just simply evaporated in to Action Potentials firing this way and that. A big change I'm noticing this year is my ability to pull, band only. This must indicate good things are happening in the stroke department.

The phrase "band only" used to trigger fear and worry, which translated into soar shoulders and a fight to the death against the pace clock. It's now officially my favorite two word phrase on the board. Today I was also introduced to "the Coates method" of kick. (thanks for the secret.)

Right now I'm giving Papaya a bath so she'll be ready for the race tomorrow. Pumped for absolute awesomeness in the form of 60 minutes Max Heart Rate Madness, cyclocross style.

Base run with 30' steady state this afternoon.

Check in tomorrow for the race reporto.

Life is perfectly awesome.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"...and there ya go."

"I'll tell ya what you can do. Cut up those apples for a pie and save the skins and cores. Throw the cores and skins in a freezer bag with some sugar. Then, when you're ready, mix it with the 4kg bag of sugar on the stove like I told ya. Throw in a couple gallons of water and once you've run the wine, add it on top. Same thing with the black berries. That combination right there. You've got a good glass of wine." - One of my teachers and mentors, Ernest Scgarbozza.

More wise words from the evening:

"Well boy, you know the saying; If you want anything good, all it takes is a little time." -ES

The wine has been cleaned and once again, after chill'n with Ernie, I'm ready to rock.

Shake it up.

Anything and everything I could find in "shake" form:

2 cups pomegranate juice
2 tbsp hemp seed oil
2 tbsp arctic cod liver oil
2 scoops vega
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp marine sea vegetable mix
2 tsp bee pollen
1 tsp blue green algae
1 cup blueberries
1 cup cranberries

There's lunch.

Swim this morning was sweet. No records broken or anything fancy like that, just a good feeling. After one year of swimming I am starting to feel like I know what you need to do to learn to swim. Ok wicked, let's do it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Pouring Concrete

And we're back. We're back to full training after our 3 day regeneration period which included shorter 4k swims, base runs, and some Hatha on the side.

Now is the first time this year we've started back after a regeneration week and that spells sweetness. We're putting into place the foundation for an awesome year ahead. We have the perfect mix of concrete, all the right tools, good surface to work on, and a wicked awesome team of supervisors to guide us along the way.

If you've ever had to lay concrete over a large surface, you know how important the mixture is. If it sets too quickly, you're in a mad rush to get it level, smooth, and make those "sidewalk lines." Trust me, this can be a stressful situation. If it is slow to set, you end up slopping it around, and guaranteed a cat will walk through it leaving paw prints.

I'm pumped about our mix.

Swim today was decent. Next time read the board before you leave for each set. I was caught off guard with the 12 x 150s, thinking it was 6 x 150. Head games.

Smooth running today, effortless feeling the rhythm. I think the forward lean is coming along. Who knows, I might even start to look like a runner this year. -ve split the Cedar hill loop: 16:25 @ 131 avgHR; 15:01 @ 142 avgHR; 12:41 @ 167 avgHR; 12:35 @ 175 avgHR. Max was 180, love the hills. + 4 x short hill fartlek.

Post run I enjoyed some cranberry orange marmalade and a Vega shake, consumed separately. Next I paid a visit to Willows for some ice time. Smoke 'n red hot chill-ay.

Dinner this evening was brought to me courtesy of an elk and a deer. All my thanks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Show me the Power"

A couple quick excerpts from my journal before I hit the hay.

Today I was reminded of a favorite memory from my UofG experience.

Every day after our morning training session we would walk out of the athletics centre and take a deep full breath of the day to come. We were happy with our accomplishments so far, and ready for more. Having triumphantly conquered what was usually an epic strength workout, walking along the cobble stone one of us would pipe up with something to the extent of, "Today will be a great day." The response would always be "You know what, today is a great day."

Quietly we pause to experience the conscious thought, the moment, and prepare ourselves for the rest of our great day. That's all it took. At any point during the day we could think back to that moment, preparation, and we were again filled with the energy we felt at that time.

This brings me to my next thought which asks the question, "Where does your energy come from?" Being the "science minded, HK'er," the first time I thought about this my conditioned response was: "well essentially energy comes from the release of a phosphate molecule from ATP." (lame, I know)

But energy comes from other places as well. Think about the change in your physical energy when you change your thoughts. Just as we prepared for at the beginning of each day walking out of the AC.

I'll leave it at that and let you ponder where your energy comes from.

One more technical matter. Today I was watching some PCS swimmers and I saw the double breathe... U G l y. Sooooo in conclusion, that's never going to happen again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pie in the Sky

My favorite food is leftovers. 100% Guaranteed, every time, no questions asked, always.

It doesn't matter the time of year, the time of day, what I've been eating lately, what I feel like eating, or even what it is. Up to a certain point it really doesn't matter how long it's been sitting in the fridge either, and the freezer solves this problem completely.

The thing about leftovers is that you can enjoy a meal you put some time into, day after day. You can also use leftovers to start something new, like soup, a stew, or just more flavor in a "dirty" pan. Another added bonus is that you can heat up pretty much anything in a frying pan with a little olive oil.

Leftovers are where it's at.

Today's diet:

Pre-swim: yoghurt, apple, handful of almonds.

Post swim: VEGA with Youth Juice and Antioxidant blend.

Official Breakfast: Leftover Shepherds pie

Lunch: Leftover Shepherds pie

Pre bike: Leftover Shepherds pie

Post bike/pre-run: Banana

Post run: Banana

Dinner: Leftover Shepherds pie.

Dinner #2: not sure yet 'cause there's no shepherds pie left.

Monday, October 29, 2007

skills for skilshaw

Crunch time. Next cyclocross race is in 1 week and it's officially time to learn the skills.

Practice session yesterday at Clarmont was decent. It seems to me like the faster and more aggressive you are going into any technical section, the better it goes. Just throw yourself into it head first, eyes open, ready to have a good time.





























Our swim in the afternoon was a good opportunity to stretch out the arms and legs after Saturday's effort. Today is devoted to sleeping, eating, laundry, and my mistress across the street....O'Brec.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Made it.

Well, yesterday's biggest accomplishment was making it to the washroom after the race. That was my mind set and focus for the last 4k. Once I got home I was king of the throne in the white room for the rest of the evening. Enough said. If you're interested, race results are at www.raceday.ca.

Today we had a spectacular sunrise. I made it onto the roof just in time to catch a good glimpse.

As I was just throwing on the clown suit for today's cyclocross ride I had a strong gut feeling (different from yesterday's) that this is going to be a great year. You know when you're just sure of something... well that was the feeling.

Time to hit the trails with Papaya, my trusty steed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hot ... Cold

Today I had the pleasure of participating in a heat chamber time trial at UVic. Most of the stats are hidden from the athletes participating in order to keep it "blind." Here's what I was able to figure out from today's TT:

Temperature - 25 C
Humidity - 60 % (Not supposed to know these, but it was fairly obvious)

We couldn't see speed, time, Heart Rate, power, or cadence but, I could see the distance traveled. Three hours earlier I had swallowed a pill which measures core body temperature. This was unknown to me, but monitored by the experimenters.

My strategy was go out hard and get right into the race. After all it's only 20Km, and will be over quickly. Every 2K I got out of the saddle and pumped the legs as if there were a hill, just to keep things interesting.

I was in a good rhythm, going hard with 5K to go. I thought, "Ok, start thinking about picking it up, then with 2K left, sprint for the line."

At 18.5Km I was told, "Stephen, time to stop." My core temperature was 39.5 +. I have a feeling athletes routinely get their temperature this high during hard work, but in Canada, this is the ethical limit for studies. Too bad because I was almost finished.

I threw on the ice vest and spun on the bike for 20 minutes, then hopped in the ice tank for 10. 8 degrees is COLD! These techniques are used for recovery, leaving me ready to rock for BC XC Champs tomorrow.

Swim this morning included some new challenging drills I will describe later.

Other news is that Papaya got a major makeover yesterday. She has new cables, housing, brake pads and rides better than ever. I can't wait for cross riding thisSunday, and racing next weekend up in Nanaimo.

The Weekend on the Rocks recording of Dave Matthews Band playing #41 is soo chill. Definitely one of the best.

Soleed Ruben, Soleed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I like these colours.

On Tuesday I brought the camera along with me for the ride. It's possible to take some pretty good shots without even stopping to get off you bike. That probably speaks to the amazing scenery in and around Victoria, instead of my photographic prowess.

Of all the 1000's of hours I have spent staring across the water at Mt. Baker. Tuesday had to be one of the clearest. You can see the entire mountain range.

(click to enlarge)




There is nothing quite like the early afternoon sun on an Autumn day. Reminds me of mid afternoon naps in the sun. I'm actually part cat; don't worry about it.









Another favorite part of Fall are the wet leaves on the ground. This makes it easy to drift corners on the bike...

This picture of the goose reminds me of Elk lake. If you get the opportunity, take a look at the Hamsterly Beach from the Beaver Lake end. The lake is lined with colorful deciduous trees with a layer of green pine trees above. You might see a blue sky above that.

Pretty sweet, but you definitely need to be there.

Maybe a cross ride is in order. Then I can bring the camera.

Today's run was at the lakes. We did a little Fartlek, again as prep for Saturdays effort. The second 1/2 felt much better than the first. Warm up is important.

Cool down was a little exaggerated with a 10minute icing in the lake. Nice.

Run like the Gazelle.

Choices

This morning, just like every morning, I was presented with a few choices.

One of the seemingly simple choices was how to react to time split I was given. I'll be perfectly honest. I chose to be a little rattled and closed off my Self, and my mind. Not much can be accomplished in this mindset, let me assure you. Fortunately for me, the practice was just about complete.

When I walked out of the pool I looked up and saw nothing but blue sky. I took a deep breath of fresh, clean, crisp fall air, and surrendered, allowing the recently closed window in my head to open. The fresh air rushed in, clearing out some dusty cobwebs on the way. One deep breath and my day changed.

Yesterday was a double swim day followed by some Yoga, Hatha style.

There is lots of work to be done these days at OB Rec. It's great; I like to be busy.

Training updates and some pictures will follow. Now it's time to follow up this talk with some walk, or in my case ... run.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rest

Today was a great day.

Let's start with the highlight. Just like I was saying last week, I work with Tepi in the gym in the evening. She is definitely an incredibly inspirational person. Today she finished off the workout with 10012m of rowing!!! in 1:05:12. Sweet. Everyone we told in the gym was so pumped about it. The energy was awesome, and you could feel the glowing light resonating with everyone she told about it. Truly awesome.

Briefly on training as it's getting late.
During the swim I was reminded of a quote a friend of mine back in Guelph came up with. "I don't need to rest, I can rest when I'm in the ground." -MW. This gave me a laugh as I was finishing off the kick sets, just barely making the pace time. The key here being that I was making the pace time... no need for rest, just get right into the next set.

It was so sunny today. I had a great ride of the waterfront. Mt. Baker was as clear as I have ever seen it. I could even count the trees on the Olympic mountains.

Today's run felt great. We did a little prep on the course for this weekends run. I didn't really feel like I was working while running today. I was there and it just happened.


pleasant dreams.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"The Human House"

Today I was reading a book on Vermont Folk Medicine. It was published in the '30s so you know it's got to be legit. One of the reoccurring themes was that of "The Human House," referring to our bodies. I like this term. I have thought about it before, from different perspectives, and this description seems to fit quite well.

The idea that we are living in our bodies, or that our body is like a sacred temple in which we are the King, Queen, or Master of all Masters, is surly thought provoking. We are the only ones who can build this temple and we are the only ones who will ever live in the temple. Only we can look out the windows and appreciate the view from within.

We get to choose what kind of stones to use where. We can even decide what we want in each room, if anything at all. This is our sacred temple.

The metaphor can go on and on. You can decide what it means to you, and how far you wish to take it.

Today was a light training day, as Mondays generally are. Easy swim in the morning, with a run in the afternoon.

Some of the most amazing things about living are the challenges we face every day. It's great. Each challenge, no matter what it is, presents an opportunity for growth.

Now I must leave, as the corn bread is smells ready. It's an SPK original with cinnamon and raisins.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2 Q's

Who are you listening to?

Who are you answering to?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hop back on the train.

Lets re-cap the past 48ish hours.

Running on Thursday took some of the stink out of me. I took the rest of Thursday easy and hit the hay early. Friday morning I realized I could have done with an even earlier bed time.

There is absolutely no limit on the value of good sleep. Good quality sleep is always a great use of time. If ever possible, turn of the lights and go to sleep sooner! It is worth it.

Friday morning we had a 200TT in the pool. My body was feeling slow. No problemo, just remember not to resist the water. I still have this lingering cough too. It tends to rear it's face in the early morning. I imagine probably due to the supine sleep position.

I went out in a 1:10 which felt like a 1:30 (but hard), and came back in a 1:26 which felt like 2:00. OUCH! Not a representation of even my current swimming. After practice was finished I lined up for another shot at it. Out in a 1:12, back in a 1:19. A little better, but still... OUCH! I really wanted to do it again right there.

This is where I have to say, "Hop back on the train." Monday is the day. I have been dancing with this cold for 2 1/2 weeks now. My energy levels are still fairly decent, but when you need that good STINK to crest a plateau, sometimes it's harder with a bug in the system. And that is why Monday is the day when I am back on the tracks, bug free. Actually, nuts to that. Why wait until Monday? Tomorrow is the day.

After swimming I had a couple hours of work at Oak Bay, and time for a quick bite of lunch. Then I was up to UVic for a VO2 test. Sawweeeeeeet. My goal was to crack the 500 Watt mark on the bike. The trial is part of a PacSport study so I wont know my anthro or VO2 data for a couple weeks (patience is a great thing to practice). I do know, however, that I didn't quite make it up to 500 Watts. I closed my eyes at about 450 and hyperventilation started shortly thereafter. I am 100% positive I could make it to 500 on Monday morning.

After the VO2 Scotty, Andrew, Sharpie, and I played an EPIC match of Basket Ball at Lochside in the rain. That was a huge amount of fun. Definitely a must do again soon.

Aussie burger with fries at Canoe was pretty tasty. I am a big fan of beets.

Camping in the rain... yeah, that's right. We found a flat somewhat dry place to sleep and got a fire started. No white gas necessary, just good ol' fashioned shavings do the trick every time.

We started a strength training program before swimming this morning. I'm super stoked for this and can't wait to get pumped arms, ripped abs, and a chiseled body, like the cool people on TV.

Tomorrow the forecast is for trace rain. Cyclocross!

Thank You

Thank you to the World.

Thank you to the trees, birds, sky, wind, oceans, lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Thank you to the Eagle, the Deer, the Rabbit, the Cheetah, the Bear, and the Blue Whale.
Thank you to everything which enjoys The Breath.
Thank you to the People and the Places.
Thank you to all the past memories, and all the new ones to be created.
Thank you to the rocks, the minerals, and every finest most minute perfect part of all that is.

Thank you for being here, being there, and being me.

I am now Twenty three.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dessert

I traveled to meet some old friends today. We exchanged gifts and threw on some fresh kindling.

Fire's burning,
Energies churning,
Answered the call,
Because the soul is yearning.

This is definitely the best bonfire dessert, roast banana. The only trick is that you need to flip the banana half way through the roasting process otherwise one end cooks way faster.

The pot in the top right corner was full of the most delicious stew made by chef G-man. We need to do another one of these trips. Now that the weather is becoming exciting, this would be an awesome time for the beach.

Today's training was pretty good. It took me a little while to get into the zone for the swim. I was pushing the river a little bit too. Remember, what you resist will persist. Just hop in the river and feel the flow.

During this afternoon's run there was a little GI distress happening. I'm not really sure what that was from, but certainly glad it's gone away now.

I have lots more writing down of today's thoughts for this evening. So now, it's journal time.

In the mean time, listen to some good music tonight and have a restful sleep.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rattatatta taattaattaat,

This is where it's at.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, "this here, right now, this is where I am meant to be." That is just what I felt today at the beginning of swim #2. Right now I am meant to be in the water.

The double swim is great. It's not really a heavy load on the body, and I can tell the benefits are huge. Just by spending that extra time swimming, I notice a difference in how my stroke feels in the water. It's almost like you're already warmed up when you jump in. There isn't that need to quickly relearn and remember what it is you are working on. You can make progress from where you left off in the morning, taking further steps than possible in just a couple morning hours.

This afternoon we did an underwater swimming drill where we needed to streamline off the wall for 20m, experimenting with head position. I have been told that head position is important; today I felt why. The difference in resistance is massive. Swimming with your head just a bit above the arms is like throwing out a drag chute. No need to pull one of those around.

In the morning we had a decent 1200m kick set, for a total of 1700 this morning. Strangely enough I generally feel better as kick sets progress. I think it's just a matter of the body becoming more efficient once it realizes it will be kicking for a while. PK told us of an epic 4 x 800m descending kick set, where the last 800 needed to be faster than the first three, otherwise you get to make it an even 4k. Sweetness. I hope we get to rock that one this year, only the penalty for not descending will be 10 x the observatory. I'm serious. Then we can go do 10x the observatory anyways.

400TT tomorrow. wickedness. It's been written, now make it so.

Today I busted out more of "The Arsenal." One full head of garlic, roasted with olive oil of course. Fortunately I don't think anybody noticed.

Tonight I will break out a needle and thread for the speedo. That hole is getting a little out of hand.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Windy.

Short post this evening because it's almost time to catch a little shut eye.

Great day today swimming, and running. I also spent some more time getting to know Papaya.

On Tuesday evenings I work in the gym with a visually impaired lady. We generally start with the Treadmill, move on to Elliptical, sometimes a little Rowing, and then weights. These sessions are really enjoyable. There is so much to learn from everything and everyone around us.

I was starting to fatigue towards the end of my shift as it was the end of a fun filled day. Then I ran into a friend I have known since Grade 2. Some people just exude energy. Something about being around them just fills you with energy no matter where you are, or what you are doing.

Amazing.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today smelt good.

I woke up this morning to some nice fog which smelt like the sea. The good sea smell: kinda salty, a little bit like those long seaweed tube things, some old waterlogged cedar driftwood smell, slight wet dog smell, and of course the distinct smell of seagulls.

That's got to be one of the best ways to start the day. A good wiff of sea air.

Swimming this morning was a decent 5k technical. It is amazing how after just one day off swimming it takes much longer to get the feel back. However, it's really almost 48 hours out of the water from Saturday morning to Monday morning.

The training lesson today was this: It doesn't really matter if you don't feel great in the water right now, because you are going to feel great soon enough, probably within the next km or so. In the mean time, ENJOY the fact that you are paving those swimming neural pathways so they can handle the winter traffic and weather. Soon they will be super highways with magnetic trains and flying cars. Sweet.
"It's all about this stroke, now it's about this stroke, make this one even better, and this one better still."

I met with a new PT client today. I have a feeling there's going to be some solid progressions made by December.

I finished the day with a short walk which smelt like Halloween. I guess it wasn't really the true Halloween smell; it was more just the late October smell. The Halloween smell would have to include pumpkin guts with salted roasted seeds (tasty), melted cheap milk chocolate(nasty), zippo fuel, and gunpowder from the fire crackers.

This evening's smell was that of leaves decomposing, fallen apples, mixed with a crispy air.

That's got to be one of the best ways to finish the day. A good wiff of fall air.