Thursday, January 31, 2008

Team Sport

Today I was told, "What I find amazing about Triathlon, is that it asks more of the body than required to survive."

Maybe so, but I believe the human body to be capable of far more.

When we train, practice, compete, expand and extend the performance of our physical body, there is much more happening than just what we are presently doing, feeling, or thinking. We find energy, strength, power, endurance from all around us, and deep within. As we share and rebound energy with those around us, we amplify our own development of Self.

When we toe the starting line, we are standing on a foundation of support from our training partners, coaches, massage therapists, doctors, family, sponsors, and the list goes on. This is why Triathlon is a team sport.

There is nothing like training together for hours and hours, day after day, to develop a strong sense of team. We develop an encouraging environment, where we are proud to watch one and other succeed.

When the gun goes off, we are out there with one direction, one purpose, but we arrive with thanks to the support of our team. As we cross the line, we do so with the strength of our team, eagerly awaiting an opportunity to share race day stories.

Recap on Wednesday/Thursday:

Wednesday -
Our swim included my new favourite set, 50s on 50/40. We do anywhere from 12 to 20. Soon to be 30 I bet.
Next, Andrew and I ran a Rithet's loop through ice and slush. We made our way back to the gym to progress with operation hugification.
The ride was a la rollers. I was in the perfect place for this ride, feeling the recent good training, and ready for more. I held a new max cadence of 150 on the rollers and nearly hopped right off with some big gear work. Max the envelope.
Our day was complete with a Yoga session coached by Lisa. Awesome.

Today -
Adaptation swim,
Recovery run.

Tomorrow will be a great day.

Rest well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Training & A Secret

Training today:

Swim - main set was 32 x 50 on 60, 45.
For the last half we swam as a line of 4. Fast is Fun.
Good swim.

Bike - CompuTrainer: 2:10 of a hilly loop. I definitely felt it. It felt nice.

Run - 4 x Cedar Hill loop as 1 ez, 1 base, 1 steady to tempo, 1 base. drills and strides.
A four loop practice generally lasts 1h05 - 1h10. Today it was 60:48. Fast is fun.

Now for the part you really want to hear, A secret.

This will change your life.

The secret is honeycomb. Mmmm, delicious honeycomb

Rest well.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Swim and Oil Check

Today I had the oil tested. With all the Haggis consumption as of late I'm sure Fe3+ will be happy. Interested to see B12 and Hb results too. Time for sleep.

Rest well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So - ng - Shui

Right now I am SOaking the feet, kwan looNGing the calves, and zeheng gu SHUIing the knees. It smells like recovery in here.

It has been another great weekend of training.

Saturday morning started out with a visit to Dr. Guan, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner here in Victoria. Often it is easy to tell how something is going to work out before it begins. You walk into a room and somehow know you are in the right place. Big thanks to Dr. Guan for fitting me in on such short notice, and for the caring and effective treatment.

After the treatment I made it out to the pool just in time for buoy swim #2. These are fun! The first two sets were just a steady pace, nothing crazy fast. On the last one we had a mass start. It's like the fun part of bike races mixed in with swimming. Sometime you just need to throw on the burners to catch a wheel, (or some feet), then you recover. Fast is fun.

An epic cross ride with Andrew and Brent followed the swim. The second half of this ride was all about finesse. I was constantly thinking about how to be smoother; how to ride faster without working harder. We emphasize technique a lot in the pool for obvious reasons. Cyclocross has brought to my attention the usefulness of bike skill on the road. It's about conservation of energy, efficiency, and staying relaxed while focussed. Smiling, laughing, and breathing every now and then helps a little too.

4h30 on the road with a Timmies donut break, followed by a 15 minute spin on the runners and we're better than golden. I might go as far as diamond crystal.

Today started with a 90 minute base run with a little steady state at Thetis lake. It was a perfect day for Thetis trail running. Sun + Dew = Diamonds on the souls of our shoes (and all around us.)

Icing at Thetis put a whole new meaning to the term. Andrew cracked through an inch or two of solid ice just so we could be thigh deep. That was like a weeks worth of icing compressed to 5 minutes.

Next it was time to start pumping iron. I can feel operation hugification starting to take effect in the gym with our new strength routine.

2K flush swim and that's a wrap.

Time for dinner, take 2.

Rest well.

(Today's picture is of the ingredients from the most delicious camping soup ever made. Just thought I'd add a picture.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dancing and Balancing


Plenty to think about today.

Let's start with the swim. It was a great January swim. I felt like a million bucks during the warm up, and felt even better for the 1st 2 300's of our main set { 3x (2 x 300 fast drafting on 4:30; 3 x 100 kick-swim on 1:40; 100ez). It was totally effortless with a nice smooth stroke. I could swim faster with no physical stress. Sweet. We'll talk about what happened next in a little while.

Next it was time for cyclocross magic. But first, Scotty, Andrew, and myself got fired up with an epic trainer, spinerval, power crank, compu-trainer conversation with none other than Gerry. Sweet. Sounds like he has an unreal set up going on in the Garage. Shotty power cranks.

Back to cyclocross. I have never really been much of a dancer. In fact, it's something I tend to avoid, other than within the safety and solidarity of the car to and from practice. However, I think that cycling is a lot like dancing.

You are really just dancing on the pedals, moving to the rhythm of the road. It's easy to notice this with Papaya on the trails. Today it felt like we were a perfect pair. How do you climb through rocks, over logs, around roots, through the mud? Just dance 'er up, dance 'er down.

It's the same thing on the road. Have you ever watched a bird fly through the trees? They are just dancing with the trees and wind. This is how to ride. Flying around a corner, move your hips, swing the arms, roll the legs, light on the feet, feeling the rhythm of the road.

Shout out to Andrew for the sweet ride today. 2 hours went by faster than you could boil an egg.

Now for the run. My training philosophy is, and always will be as follows: Go as hard as you can. Find the place where you blow up. Perfect. What an awesome feeling. Now, refocus and hold on because this is where the real fun begins.

How do you know how far you can bend the ruler before it breaks, unless you break it. This is precisely why I needed a new ruler every couple months from K - 12. (Seriously Mrs. Dorworth, this is the reason why I could never underline the title in Social Studies.) You will only know that you went as hard as you can if you blow up. The trick is to hold on, right there at that perfect identifying blow up place.

The thing is we blow up at different times on different days based on a multitude of infinitely variable factors. Sometimes it's frustrating when we blow up. Just remember why and all becomes well and clear.

Here's to the new cycle.

Rest well.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

rock and roll . . . starting tomorrow

It is Thursday evening, and I am doing my preparations before the next meso cycle of training begins. For the past few days there has been some great adaptation, while still maintaining the activation.

I am always amazed how all parts of our life tie in together. It is especially cool when something we realize in our life outside of sport directly relates to our life within sport. We can notice the parallels, learn from them, and expand in our own development.

I wont elaborate on this any more right now. When the book arrives, check out chapter 16 for a few good stories.

Now it's time to make Papaya ready to rock and roll.

Rest well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Within our training group, I would guess that shavasana is the most enjoyed yoga posture. It is extremely enjoyable, and in a sense I believe it to be the most meaningful of all poses. It is the "corpse pose." It is when we slow down, realize, and absorb the benefits of our Yoga practice.

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of thought. It is motionless. It is still. It is calm. There are points in Yoga practice, just as in training where we overcome boundaries, understand plateaus. These are most vital times in training, and in Yoga. This is where we listen to our bodies, tune in to the sound of living, and our own breath, the sound of life.

Much like Yoga practice, we finish off a challenging training cycle with 3 or 4 days of adaptation. This adaptation period is like an extended shavasana. It is a chance for us to slow down, realize, and absorb the benefits of our Triathlon practice.

Listen to the sounds of adaptation. Appreciate the benefits of our training. Realize the benefits of our practice, and as always . . .

Rest well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Turn off and Tune in

Today was a grapefruit day.

It started off with some delicious grapefruit for breakfast, and is finishing off with some grapefruit for dessert. Why grapefruit? Just because.

A big Thank You to Kerry, and her Mum Ruth, for hosting Patrick, Andrew, Scotty, and myself up in Whistler for the weekend. Thanks to PK for adding the trip to our schedule and planning it out. Thanks to Andrew for driving, and thanks to Scotty for the steady state pacing. It was great to spend a little time training on snow.

Recovery is an ongoing lesson that I am gradually learning. I understand a few of the why's, but there are many more questions to explore. I definitely appreciate the benefits of a change in pace, change in scenery, change in activity. A change in routine offers new stimulus, new challenge, and a new appreciation.

Just what is important for recovery varies from person to person. Some require more rest, while others need something new. I am starting to learn what is important for me. Now, the job is to act on it.

After our run this afternoon I noticed my legs were still absorbing some of the last 3 weeks efforts. My homework: "Deal with that."

Perfect. That's just what I need to do. Actively decide to deal with it. What am I going to to do to make sure my legs are feeling 110%? After practice I stopped by the town and picked up some heat liniment, then noticed the moon.

Wow. I needed a closer look, so I went down to Willows for an ice and howled a tune.

Now it's time to Turn off and Tune in . . .

Rest well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

S & P

quick thought before sleep.

It's cool how your body lets you know how you are using it. Today we had our second track workout. Funny thing was that my hands were the most stiff and soar part when we were finished. Tension . . . relax the hands, relax the shoulders, drop the elbows, lift the head, feel the pineal.

I'm looking forward to finding the "track gear." I almost had a smell of it this week. It's in the oven, tastes are blending well, flavors and aromas finding their niche. Fall seasoning was just right with the perfect amount of Parisian Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper. Next week it's time bring out the wooden spoon, give 'er a stir, and taste the magic. Let's make it a pot luck and everyone can enjoy, because Fast Is Fun.

Nice swim this morning, good hilly ride, and as you may have guessed, fun run. Nice build to tempo with Andrew to start out, and Scotty showcased some speed on the track. Awesomeness.

We're up in Whistler until Monday night for a little training of the X-Country variety.

All those staying in Victoria, train well and enjoy this weekend. Thanks for the solid 3 week build back into training again. Let's finish off the build, and be ready for some recovery next week.

In the mean time, rest well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


As the training intensity gradually builds, our weekly schedule changes to accommodate the load. Thursdays are now an adaptation day. Adaptation days are extremely useful for skill development. These are the days when speed is put on the warming element, and skills are brought right up front onto the top burner. It's important to keep the speed warm, so when you mix back in the skills, dinner is ready.

Lately my swim focus has been on hand position, essentially feeling the water. I am working specifically on wrist extension for the push phase of my stroke. Push and finish the stroke. Feel the glide. Feel the water, start to finish.

There is so much happening around us, it's a good thing we have a mind that can go on autopilot every now and then. Can you imagine if we needed to think about absolutely everything we could see, smell, feel, hear, and taste? It might just become a little overwhelming. Thankfully our bodies are designed to primarily recognize changes.

When we slow down, breathe deeply, and listen to our true Self, we become aware. We become aware of the world, the Universe, aware of other people, animals, all the perfect minerals, trees, rivers, lakes, and oceans surrounding us.

Much of skill development comes down to awareness. In a sense, we turn off the autopilot and become aware of what we are doing. We recognize the motion. Then, consciously we decide what it feels like, what it looks like. Now, what are we aiming for the motion to look and feel like? We separate the two and make a choice.

It is a challenge to keep that autopilot switch off. But it's worth it, not only in skill development, but also from day to day, minute to minute, moment to moment life.

Thanks to everyone who made this a perfect day. Rest well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

bryan adams to bamboo

Today we finished off with one of the best Yoga sessions for this year. Patrick put on some calming Japanese Bamboo Flute music as we began with our feet up the wall. The shift from Big Gear, High Cadence, High Heart Rate, Bryan Adams to Yoga definitely takes practice. This music was definitely helpful in the transition.

I think a Jam session (can we call it that?) is in order with the flute and violin. If it's cool with my fellow RV'ers, I'll bring along the violin and we can play some tunes down in Tucson.

Neil talked more on neural plasticity today. I like the phrase, "Stay on it." When learning a new skill, it is so important to stay on it, maintain the alpha state, change and recreate the pattern.

I stayed in the water for todays run as my legs still needed a little time to recover from the weekend. I find the occasional water run helpful to learn core activation and stretch out a tired or stiff body. I wonder what would happen if we dumped a truck load of Epsom salts in the pool.

During today's roller ride I had a chance to really test out the extra resistance. Max resistance felt pretty easy to start out with, so I decided to leave it there. All you need to do to notice the difference is shift into 53 x 11. Wow, that was a challenge to maintain a cadence above 65 or 70. Good ride.

The next 35.5 hours are for recovery. Recovery swim, Weights, Water Run.

Rest well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

egg shells

When setting the alarm each night I am faced with a choice: more sleep, or more rushed. It's a funny choice, because for only 10 more minutes of sleep, there's a lot more rush. Sometimes however, that 10 minutes can be priceless.

It's really no problem when you are down 10 minutes. You just need to find a way to squeeze 10 minutes out of something else. Little things add up. For example, this morning I went for toast instead of oatmeal (about 3 minutes prep time saved + eating can be done while packing), and brought the boiled eggs with me in the car.

Boiled eggs can be a challenge to eat while driving. The trick is to crack and peel with both hands out the window at stop lights, and eat while driving. 2 eggs down in the first 5 minutes on the road, there's your 10.

Good effort this morning in the pool. 400s and 50s drafting. It's fun to go fast.

Sweet cyclocross ride with Andrew. The first time I thought about how long we had been riding the clock was at 1:40 and we were at Royal Roads. Time flies when you're having fun. The rolling resistance is super touchy on frozen ground. Either your wheels sink into a kindof granular frozen slushy mix, or there's 0 resistance. It's fun to go fast.

Today's run included a build to SS at the lakes. Nice temperature, nice air.

Rest well.

Monday, January 14, 2008

duken with diuk

This morning consisted of a stretch out swim with Captain Sharpular and the Iron Crew, an apple raisin muffin, and some berry vega.

A few new clients and a whole load of "resolutioners" at Oak Bay kept me busy for the rest of the day. (That and a few 1 Rep Max tests.) It's great to see so many people out, actively enjoying.

Build week 3/3 is going to be a great one.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


One of the questions I am sometimes asked is, what was your athletic background? I have spent a little time thinking about this and generally I give a different answer each time I am asked. However, the theme stays the same: I like the outdoors, I love adversity, and I dream big.

There was a time when I was becoming more and more interested and involved in mountaineering. I was fascinated by fast ascents, and early starts. One of my teenage mentors was Patrick Morreau. He taught me many lessons on climbing and life. For a couple winters we went up to Mt. Arrowsmith here on the island. It's actually a pretty decent place where some skilled climbers go to find more technical local routes. I still like to hear about and read climbing adventures.

Some of the stories from high mountain climbing are truly out of this world. If you have the chance, check out this month's National Geographic for an article on Himalayan Winter Climbing "Ice Warriors."

"They have not slept for two days. They reached Camp 3 (22,146ft) on the ridge the day before and spent the night huddled inside their tent, clinging to the poles to keep them from snapping in the wind. The temperature is minus 40C, the wind gusting at 60 miles an hour."
-Mark Jenkins; National Geographic,National Geographic Society; Jan 2008; pp. 110.

Find out who you are! This is how the Polish do it. How do you?

Fun run today. If you're interested, results are at
Comfortable the whole way through . . . ran in the envelope to 5K . . . smiled, and held on for a bonus 3K.

Here's to another great week.

Rest well.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

it's happened again . . .

I'm too excIteD to sleep.

This used to happen to me all the time when I was younger. Now on special occasions, I still lay awake in bed, eagerly awaiting the sunrise.

I can remember one particular night in Grade 3. Our family was leaving for a bike camping trip on the Gulf Islands for a couple days. I was super excited because my Dad and I were going to leave early on our bikes to the ferries so we could meet my Mum and brother. (I still get excited for extra riding.)

I remember lying in bed preparing for the weekend, dreaming about the riding, admiring my clean, freshly tuned Norco Mini-Mountaineer with the official BEAUTIFUL STEPHEN COLUMBIA license plate. I was comfortable in the top bunk at an insanely early hour. I lay listening as my parents made the final preparations with camping gear.

The way it worked was my Dad loaded up one of those baby carrier bike racks with tents, stoves, pots, tools, sleeping bags etc. That was the great equalizer. I remember being excited to carry some of my own gear on this trip. I also remember needing to zig zag up the steep hills. The climb out of Fulford Harbor was particularly steep with cool legs fresh off the ferry.

I was basically always too excited to sleep before a weekend of ski racing. Especially the night before we would leave. Once there training and in race mode, sleeping was no problem.

Now, it's the night before our first race of 2008, he Prairie Inn Harrier's Pioneer 8K. Now, after a night of tea, heat liniment, ice, elevation, and a little Yoga, I'm just about ready to slow down.

The plan for tomorrow is a fast start, fast 5K split, and hang on. Just like that.

Today we did some strength testing, buoy swimming (fun), and EZ riding with a brief run.

There are two extremely cool things I will have been wanting to write about for a little while . . . maybe tomorrow.

In the mean time, CHOOSE TO BE.

rest well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

yadot taerg

Summer comes early this year!

With less than 9 weeks to our epic Tuscon Training Camp, and 15 weeks to the first big race, the time has come. It's time for some solid work both in the pool, and on the road. Time to bring up the Heart Rate, toe past threshold, and redefine comfort zones.

No sense just toeing past the threshold, lets leap head first and see how deep the hole goes. That was fun, lets do it again this afternoon, and again tomorrow. Who knows we might even meet that crazy smiley striped cat.

I can start to feel the body building back some much enjoyed capillaries, and cellular structures. It's great to have you back. Keep on coming, because the fun is just beginning.

Today's main set in the pool was 12 x 200 on 3:00, best average. Thanks to Jasper the Jazz Man for pulling this one with me.

The ride was an easy reverse waterfront loop. Thanks to Kerry the Queen of Kool for selecting a perfect route for today.

Finally, the run set was 8 x 90s with equal rest. Thanks to Scotty for wicked fast start speed, and Andrew for the surge. Beaut-AY!

Thanks to Kristy and Drew at PacSport for entertaining my stories, and letting me snooze on the couch. Thanks to the rest of our training group for the fun. Thanks to PK and Neil for a good intro week to work.

Rest well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lightning Crashes

I have always been intrigued by the nervous system. It behaves quite unlike any other system in the body; omnipresent, night and day, connecting the antenna. It wires the switch to the bulb. Maybe as a system, it is the antenna.

Physiological changes in the nervous system are often overlooked. While training, it is easy to focus on systems such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. This morning Neil brought to our attention some of the neurological changes, in particular increased Myelin Sheath wrapping, which occurs when learning a new skill. Ahhh, Human Phys 3420, 2nd or 3rd unit test. . . good times.

It is so incredible to think that we are changing the structure and function of our very own nervous system. Here we are, switching the connection from dial-up to broadband. (Not a perfectly accurate metaphor, but it'll do) Amazing. Practice, Practice, Practice indeed.

Make sure you eat your Folate. If I remember correctly, it is essential in Myelin development.

Tonight's mix: Green Tea mixed with Anti-Viral, Ice, and a few bEAts.

good tune, time to rest.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

bodacious breakpoint

Band and Breakpoint, these are two of the best ways to help find the feeling of water.

Yesterday's band work made it clear whether I was either catching water, or leaving it behind. Every kilometer or so, I remembered a cue word or feeling associated with a swimming movement. What does that movement really feel like?

Feelings have the ability to transport you back in time to the moment you first experienced it. In this case, the moment you learned a new technique or improved upon a skill. Remember the feeling, remember the skill. Sometimes cue words can useful to remember the feeling. The tricky thing is that the focus is on the feeling, not the word.

Every now and then we separate ourselves from everything but the feeling. I think this is where we step closer to the zero point, or the zone. We step out of the past and future, into right now. Here we are back to step 3: Allow.

Today's breakpoint swimming had similar benefits. As we practice, we tie together the feelings, remember, and go.

Next we had a short run just to feel the legs. Within the first couple minutes, mine reminded they are alive, and thanked me for the great ride yesterday.

This afternoon's ride was a la rollers. Correct tire pressure is key. I brought the pressure up to 120 and felt much more control. I love being able to crank up the resistance on the new set of rollers. There is a magnetic strip that runs along side the rear cylinder, adding up to 200Watts of extra spicy salsa. No reason to spin an easy gear just because your on the rollers!

Next was a Hatha session coached by the lovely Lisa Banks, and back home to fuel my cookie addiction.

Enjoy the wind, and rest well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ice is nice

By nature, I like warm things. Warm water, fire, sand, air, sun, food, drinks, these are all nice to enjoy warm. Contrast definitely heightens the sensual experience, like hot tea after a cold swim, or cold cheeks and a hot core while hill climbing with Papaya.

Today was my first day back to full training, and it's great to be back. Typical Tuesday Training starts with swimming. It felt awesome to stretch things out in the water.

Next, Brent, Andrew, and myself went out for a sweet cross ride. I must admit that graceful may not have been the first word coming to mind of any onlookers gazing in my direction. Fortunately for me we were rockin' out amongst some gnarley trails, hidden from public view.

I love feeling of climbing over something, or finessing the bike around some obstacle that may have looked intimidating, but definitely crossable. It's the same feeling as finishing a run workout faster than you thought possible, or creating a new standard in the pool.

We finished the day with an intro track session at UVIC. I have never done track workouts before, but I think I will enjoy them.

Time for ice.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


It is time . . . to create . . . 2008.

Wow. I am ready. I am hungry. I have been craving the training this past week. Side lined by a stomach bug and fever, now I am finally caught up on a few missing calories.

Today I gave the apple trees a haircut.


The plum tree is going to get a buzz cut.