Saturday, May 31, 2008

El Caption

In sport, and in life sometimes we stay put in the measurement game. Measurements sure help us track progress, from one season to the next and from day to day, but sometimes it's the little unmeasurable things that make a difference.

Today we had the privilege of sleeping in. This meant a lot.

Every morning I have a bowl of oatmeal with some yoghurt and a little #2 Amber Canadian Maple Syrup. On usual weekday mornings for the sake of time, I have just been tossing the yoghurt on raw oats and digging in. If it's good enough for a race horse, it's good enough for me. Today with all the extra time, I decided to cook the oatmeal. That was nice.

Another big little thing happens in the pool.

When I began swimming with the Centre I would generally finish the set either exactly on pace time, or just a bit (maybe a lot) behind. I would roll into the wall just as the group was taking off for their next set. This didn't bother me, as I was happy to be in the water with fast swimmers and awesome coaches.

Who knew what our group was doing in between the time when they had finished the 1st set and began number two. Maybe discussing the new guys butterfly stroke? Earlier this year I found out.

Before an important set there's a pump up speech. Either Neil, Patrick have a message for the group, something to keep in mind during the next set, something to inspire.

It would be easy to measure the change in swim speed required for myself to finish the set, leaving time to hear these "pump up" words of wisdom. But until that change occurs, who would know what a difference it could make.

Little things mean a lot, and can be big rewards.

Great day of training.
Durrance swim with a little T2 action to satisfaction,
Base ride with a lot of Snickers action,
and a short run, (I can't think of a caption).

Thanks for the awesome day. Rest well.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday night Feast

I find it amazing how the world works. Sometimes things appear to happen very quickly, other times they seem endless. As with the rest, I suppose it comes down to our perspective, and subjective interpretation of experience.

Lately there have been numerous occasions where I think something one day, and find that thought becoming example a few days later.

A few mornings and nights ago I had a conversation about running. "I wonder what it would feel like to run in the body of Hichem El Guerrouj?" Fast, effortless running. "What would it be like running with that perfect light form, even for one workout?"

I bet that one workout would change our running style. We could feel the feeling, feel the rhythm, and feel the speed.

Same experience in the water. "What would it feel like to swim with Thorpe technique?"

This morning we were back to our 6 x 100 set in the water. Today it was challenging for me to find the rhythm. When I'm tired and feel a morning like this, I default back to Plan A: work harder. If I just simply work as hard as I possibly can, I will swim faster and become fitter. That has been Plan A for as long as I can remember.

After finishing 4 of 6 100s I heard, "Stevo, stop. Just wait a minute." Todays message from PK and Neil was to swim the set as it was meant to be swam. In this case, recover when the set prescribes it. And if you're not recovering, do something differently so you can.

OK, Plan B. Work smarter.

Our next set was 6 x 200, drafting. I chose to drop the intensity slightly, and focus on form. Swim like Thorpe. Find the inner Dolphin. Play, be happy, relax, swim well. Like Neil said the other day, "You guys are swimming well, now act like it."

Good swim. Flush ride. Feed the engine a little CHO, Pro-, and FAT. Time for a nap.

Run. Track workout. Great workout with AP. Thanks for some solid running and good pacing dude man. Word on the street has it the rest of our group ripped up the Jack Wallace with lightning fast splits. Nice work guys and gals! You are fitter than fit, faster than fast.

Thanks to PK for sticking around after we confused the schedule.

Thanks to Jazz n' Jude for a sweet Friday night Feast.

Rest well.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Wednesday's training highlight was definitely our evening ride. We start at 4pm with a Yoga session coached by Elizabeth. Lately I have noticed a change in my riding style. I think it may be attributed to our Hatha practice. It's sort of the same feeling I had with Papaya earlier this year, the feeling of dancing.

In the Fall and Winter, Papaya and I used to dance up a storm along the trails. It was about working together navigating our course, and choosing our path. Now with Sugar Cane I feel as though I am dancing on the pedals. It's a whole body kind of dance, one that starts at the tip of your big toe, goes right up through your legs, hips, torso, down your arms, back onto the bars, and continues right up to the top of your head. The whole body works as one unit, together on the one task. Spin.

There's lots more, but I'm still considering how to describe.

We also enjoyed a split swim practice between SCP and Thetis. I'm still acclimating to the wetsuit, and looking forward to our next open water swim. Sunny run through the Thetis trails, and that's a days training.

Not much happened in between Wednesday and Thursday, but I did wake up at 1am on a PB sandwich mission. (+ 1/2 a tub of yoghurt).

Thursday is the adaptation day, as usual. 7 x 600 in the pool, home to eat (lots), nap, briefly chill with Finn, visit Oak Bay Village Butcher, work, eat, now, bed.

I'm pretty sure Finn has no idea who I am, but today I received a smile. Definitely cool. In the future I may have the title "Manny."

Thanks to Mike Windall at the Village Butcher for some great nourishment: Thai Pork Sausage, Metchosin Lamb, Cowichan Turkey, and Cowichan Bison.

Tomorrow will be a great day.

Rest well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Dude, Man, Yo . . . it is great to be back to a full training load.

Worldwide, there are a number of different theories as to what causes bodily illness, whether it be some kind of release, emotional healing crisis, or the western theory. A common theme however, is growth with recovery.

Much of the time there are important lessons learned. The illness in effect leads to a fuller, more complete and healthy body.

Once back on a full training load, I am always excited and fully fired to fly, ambitiously attacking any workout.

There is sometimes a feeling of lost fitness. Naaa, I don't think so. As the Jazz man says, just a loss of tolerance. Let's change that word "lost." Things don't just disappear. Our body does however do a great job of recognizing change, change from it's current state of homeostasis.

We become used to intensity and volume. These become normal, just as we acclimatize to heat, a windy day, or even a loud sound. Eventually our body no longer recognizes these external influences.

So now it's time to re-acclimate.

This morning I woke up feeling great and ready to go. We had a pretty good swim set to test things out. 6 x (100 on 1:10; 100 on 2:00). Today was the first day I have had the opportunity to swim LC 100s on 1:10. Perfect. Lets try it out.

The first two were within the time, and for the last 3 I came in at 10 or 11, finishing the set on a 1:15 pace. Ok, we're back on. Let us build.

PaC SporT ChilLaX, 90 minute spin with A2theP-B-Smith, lunch and a nap,
Run time.

Today's lesson on the run: You can run fast and easy. Does this sound familiar? Good advice from AP: "Just relax dude and your HR will drop by 5bpm. Just chill man, let's work together."

In other news I have relocated to the abode of Jazz man with Finn - machine, and J-rock.

Elaborations tomorrow. In the mean time,

Rest well.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


The space,
A place for rejuvenation.

On the surface, there are changes,
Moment to moment, year to year.
Still same tide, same water, same stones,
Same place.

The same fire to keep us warm.

The same evening with which we rest.

I'm refueled.

Thank You G-man for the company.
Thanks You fire for keeping us warm.
Thanks You waves for your sound.

It's amazing how we can loose ourselves staring into a fire or the sea.

Thanks to Andrew McCartney. Great work with dinner tonight big guy. You are the Mango Chicken Curry Master!

Now it is late and I must sleep. Know the body is well. Know it! Know the body is healthy. Know it! More than thinking. Know it!

Thank the body for being well and as always,

Rest well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


HeyO for SombriO. It's sunny, it's summer, it's time for Sombrio. Best of the best to those racing tomorrow and those training as usual. Catch ya on the flip side.

Rest Well.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Living in this organism.

Living with our body, as opposed to living against it.

A beautiful, perfect, lifelong gift, given to us on our birthday. It is our very own temple, a place we call home. It's a place we hold our deepest thoughts, and carry every emotion. And even more, it is a place we can go at any time for quiet reflection. It has been a part of the earth from the beginning. It represents much more than ourself. It is a picture, a representation of something much greater.

We are given one. One of which we, and only we, are in absolute control. We respect it. We nurture it. We care for it. We learn to balance. We work together as a team.

Through formal marble institution style education, we learned of various systems, structures, and functions. However, the most meaningful lesson took place during a ceremony held for our classes donor bodies.

It took an entire year of highlighting, colouring, and pure rote style memorization to learn about 84% of the material, but on this day a feeling stuck. This is our temple; and right now, this is my home. For a moment I understood the teamwork.

Just like our dog Kipling, I too have a tendency towards selective hearing. Kipling would be more than successful at ignoring our begging requests to "come" or "sit." But eventually he would become bored or hungry, leaving us annoyed. His strategy worked in the very short term, but good communication is key for long term success.

If we are going to work together perfectly, we kneed to recognize requirements on both sides. That is both our requirements and expectations of the organism, and those of the organism regarding us.

Sometimes the language appears soft, fuzzy, or hazy to us, but crystal clear from an objective stand. This time I think I heard the message.

I will pass on this 1/2, and fortunately there is another 1/2 waiting just one month away.

Breathe, Listen, and as always, Rest Well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Golden Disc

Dear Mr. Golden Sun,

Thank You for every day I can remember. It was really nice to see you this afternoon.


There have been so many lessons of the past few days, I am still processing. What an amazing world we live in.

By 8pm all was needed to complete the day was give the sun a hug and say, "Thanks!"

The inner cat is happy.

Rest well.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Happy with how things are, just the way they are, where we are, how we are, when we are, and who we are.

Somehow, sometimes, on occasion, it seems as though we prevent ourselves from being happy with the above. It is as though we feel in some way that we are undeserving. For whatever reason, we haven´t earned it. We aren´t worthy of complete unabided happiness.

This is not the case! Everything on the Planet and in the Universe, from the smallest Amoeba, to the greatest old Oak tree deserves, and has perfect right to absolute happiness, simply for the act of just being.

I remember once being told that the important lessons only come after an event, with patient, mindful reflection. Again and again, this seems to be the case. Regardless of outcome, lessons continute to unfold along the journey.

When the actual outcome varies substantially from that which was originally desired, it is easy to shut down and simply view the experience as waste.

No Waste!

Now is an opportunity to view the world from a perspective other than what we were expecting, or prepared for. Through this newly created and open window, we can now allow in a fresh glass of nurturing nutritious air.

It may be a vision, a goal, or a future which at times carries us further on our journey. But from what I can tell so far, there is no final destination on this particular voyage.

Just as coach PK says, ´The reward is in the Journey.´ That is, each and every piece of our journey. That might just be it, or at least a small part of it. All that is right now is this piece of our journey. Maybe the reward is the now part of journey.

Growth and life, this is our journey.

One purpose may be to understand our journey, voyage, or quest. We do this with forgiving consideration to our past, mindful awareness to our present, and ownership of our future.

So, what about my lessons from the past few days? Well, the deep ones are in my journal, but I can tell you a story.

Last Wednesday brought us to beautiful Ixtapa, Mexico. I was a little under the weather, but upon arrival to our hotel I thought, ´Perfect, this is a place where I can recover before the race.´

I awoke on Thursday witha a resting HR of 110bpm. For those of you who love the numbers, that´s a 300% increase from normal. Ahhhh . . . no big deal. If anything, that just means I will have less work on race morning to bring my HR up to race pace. Perfect. Ride the course, have at least 4 cold showers and a few steams.

On Thursday night I am quite sure I had a fever, but that´s ok. I thought, ´It will just prepare my body for what is to come on Saturday.´ Perfect.

By Friday I hadn´t eaten much and was feeling drained. ´That´s ok, maybe I´m lighter.´

Saturday morning came & I thought, ´Ok, as long as I can hear the starting blast. . .´

No gas.

It is Time for reflection.

And this is where we began today´s post.

I am feeling much healthier, and think today or tomorrow would both be great days to hold a race.

Yesterday and today have been very enjoyable. 90 minute spin on the bike, 45 minute spin in the waves, 2h+ on a hammock in the sun.
Today we started our swim in the ocean, but were chased out by a killer pod of verocious jelly fish, and a few Maz+ style waves. We finished up with 3750m in what I think is a 37.5m swimming pool.

Big congratualtions to Andrew for a great race on Saturday. Great racing dude man. Beaut-ay.

Thanks to Ixtapa for your hospitality and best of the best to those racing North Shore. Time to pack up Sugar Cane.

Rest well.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

International Arsenal

The Arsenal now has International applications.

Today´s song: muchos ajo, steam to the extreme, and saline.

¡Cold is no longer! Maktub!

Rest well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day

Each and every step of the way.

Think of all the memorable moments. Races, games, long days, short days, trips, training camps, practice, violin recitals, concerts, music lessons, camping trips, homework, breakfast, lunch, and dinner (x a lot). The list could stretch from here to the moon.

Everything I have been a part of is thanks to Mums. From my 1st year GNR team Mum Johanna, to 2nd through 4th year team Mum Judy, to homestay Mums, to friends Mums, I am thankful for and amazed by Mums all around.

A special shout today to my very own Mum, and my Gran(mum).

Rest well.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Dr. Guan always seems to know the perfect fuel-air mixture. He knows just what is needed, how much, and where.

"You need to feel better than, "Yeah, I feel good." You feel better than ever. You have the warm, tall, relaxed, open sensation."

Perfect beach fire, calm waves, and a sea breeze.
Like Natures Soul, Earth's Pulse, and the World's breath.

Sweet day in the water, on the wheels, and with the kicks. Wallace-West Saanich is a great loop with flats, downs, and a few hills to test the legs if you so desire.

When we're out for a ride, what stays in the memory? In a 3 hour ride two or three things stick out. The last climb and two hand painted signs on the road side. "Range Eggs," "Range Free Eggs."

Why eggs?

Snack time, bedtime.

Rest well.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Tracking and understanding progress is an essential tool for improving performance. There are countless markers we can identify, measure, calculate, and record. Take heat training for example. We can measure both ambient and core temperatures, humidity, duration of exercise, heart rate, power, perceived exertion, and even the electrolytes lost. All these numbers combine to create an image of the workout. We can compare our results to future and past practices, then decide, "Was it a good workout?"

When determining the quality of a heat training session I like to use the reflection test. It's a simple yet telling test.

If at the end of your workout you find yourself staring into a mirror of sweat deeply puddled beneath your rollers, it was a good session.

By these standards, today's heat ride was a 11/10.

Today's swim brought to attention one of Neil's key principals: Form with Fatigue.

Our main set was 12 x 200m. It's easy to swim the first couple fast, same with the next few, and the pair after that. Now what about when fatigue sets in. This is when form becomes increasingly important.

I imagine these last few are the repetitions which really allow us to reroute our neural pathways, and recruit in correct order the proper motor units. It's when the brain wants to default to old habitual pathways that we need to consciously decide precisely how we operate our bodies, and our brains.

Rewire, Reprogram, (Re)create.

Sweet run this afternoon at the u of vic-TOW-reE-a. 30' warm up with a little Scandinavian speed play. 9 x 1000m. Cool down. Smooth like chocolate, in the most extra sweet sort of way. Wicked awesome running by the whole group. Andrew, that was sweet. Just like clockwork. Next time we're going to crank out 10, then throw down some flying deuces to finish it off.

Dinner was the ultimate in leftover lambwich sensation.

Delicious Roast Lamb, Fatty Fried Eggs, Tasty Roasted Garlic, Roasted Red Peppers, Boring Lettuce, Semi-boring Tomato, Ultimate Onion, Crunchy Pickles, Smelly Parmesan, Grainy Weirdo Mustard, Hot Horseradish, Birdseed Bread

Thanks for the great day.

Rest well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

to decide.

Sometime last week we were paying our dues at the Observatory. It was a nice fall foggy ride, with a cool refreshing mist to wake us up on the way down. A chance for us to feel good on the hill, knowing that we have done some good work in the past month. We paid our dues to Ms./Mr. Lemmon and returned to the island, now able to call the Observatory "Junior."

The prescribed workout was 4 x up, descending 1 - 4, increasing effort within each repeat. A feel good ride after our morning swim.

On our first repeat we waved to an elderly couple enjoying the hill and the weather, just as we were. Smile, wave, keep riding, onto the top, turn around, back down.

As we road past our new observatory friends on the second repeat they eagerly asked, "How many more?" "Just two." We replied. In an encouraging voice they said, "Ok then, keep it up guys."

Number three. About half way up we road past again, at which point they both held up two fingers. "Two more to go guys. Looking good."

Number four. "Last one guys. Make it a good one."

A simple expression of community, an expression of support. It was anything but a hammer fest up that hill. None the less, it was nice to ride past our own cheering squad. Thanks.

You never know what result may arise from any interaction. A word here, two words there. Three or four words of encouragement from these two people definitely changed the day. It's like a wave moving closer to shore. Growing, Growing, Growing, until eventually it breaks, spreading it's energy to the sand, forever changing (creating) the beach.

A big picture? I do believe so.

After a brief release in the form of a cold bug, as of this morning training is back to full on 100% Awesomeness. Word on the streets has it there's a swim TT planned for Friday. I'm predicting a 2oo. OK, 2 nights to prepare. Now all that's left is to decide how long it will take.

Rest well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Arsenal is back.

Please meet the initial recruits:

One other team member who often isn't paid due credit goes by the name of Z's . . .
Definitely a key player today.

Honorable mention also to Viparita Karani.

Thanks to our group for a great run through Beacon Hill this morning.

Time to meet with the later two players.

Rest well.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday morning

One of the things I like about swimming is once January rolls around, it's all about the numbers. We spend the first month or two in the pool just swimming. Forget the pool even has a clock.

As the hard work begins, the pace clock (and Neil's white board marker) gain absolute power. What is written, let it be so. See the workout, make it happen.

We all have our own numbers, and there are lots in swimming. Everything from Time Trial goals, to break point swimming, to breath holding has a number. Somewhere along the line a few of these numbers are labeled as barriers. Whether it be the 5 minute 400TT, or the 1 minute 100TT, the language we generally use forecasts a block.

Why does there need to be a barrier? Just because we spend a little time working to surpass it? That's no barrier, that's a plateau. There are no barriers. The word barrier suggest there is something preventing us from moving further. What could possibly be different from swimming a 5:15 400m to a 4:59? It's the same water. The clocks are ticking just as fast. No barrier.

Just like climbing any mountain range, there are ups, downs, and flats. Think of the beautiful high elevation fields. These are plateaus on which we walk, appreciate, and recover before the next ascent.

That being said, it feels good to climb. 5 Minute plateau has been walked, and appreciated. I'm recovered and ready to see 4:50. First week in June. Maktub!

All practice is good practice. If we are out there working hard, this is good.

Just like everything else we do, every practice affects our future self. Before, during, and especially as practice is completed, we have the choice to decide how it will affect us, every time. We decide: This practice will make me faster. This practice is making me faster. This practice made me faster. Whether or not we were going faster, we decide what benefits were derived.

All practice is good practice.

Yesterday we finished up our swim, and rolled out for a observatory ride. A good story goes along with that ride, but I need to eat breakfast. Another time.

Back to Lochside for our run. 1h50 running time including rest with 8 x 1K. Good workout.

Today will be a great day.

Rest well.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eyes closing.

Another great day on a paradise island in the South Pacific.

This week I have received the great gift of spending time with a few awesome Ontario (maybe West Coast at heart?) friends. Family? Yes. Family.

Ahhh the reminiscing. Stories from our past. Imagining, Creating the future. Laughing louder than ever before. Remembering the challenges, the people, the trips, and of course, the push ups.

Thanks for being here.

Tomorrow will be a great day; but first, this evening a great evening, and tonight a restful night.

Rest well.