Friday, December 17, 2010

Running, Can it Truly Be Fun?

Okay, so maybe today is a funny day for me to be writing about running. Or maybe it isn’t seeing as if the weather were a bit better outside I would be running rather than writing. That thought process is starting to turn into one of those guys looking in a mirror at a guy looking in a mirror etc….

Anyway, running and me aren’t always the best of friends. Usually I see it as a bit of a chore, one that needs to be done or why bother trying to compete in Tri’s and Du's. Running hurts. Running never gets me that far from home like cycling does. And running in the winter can be hazardous at best. 

I started running close to three years ago (give or take). It was really just an idea I had to do a little cross training off the bike. I would run 1 or 2 kms or (as I would say) for a good solid 15 minutes. I tried the whole run 10 walk 1 thing. That didn’t work as it meant looking at my watch a lot. My feet and legs would hurt and I would come back into my house sweaty with very little reward. Still on I went.

Then I tried my first Du 3 years ago. It was in Riverport, NS and I showed up never having run more than 3 kms at one time. This was going to be tough for me with two 4km runs to complete and me in a 10 year old pair of squash shoes. Needless to say I hurt for days after that and didn’t run again until the following Spring when I foolishly signed up for the Bluenose 10K run.

Fast forward to now. My running training has increased. But I have still being classifying myself as a short distance runner, with speed being my main focus. Long running distances (anything above 10K) seemed too much. But I figured I needed a bit of a change and began training for a half marathon next season.

Now I am not on a structured plan at the moment. I am really just trying to get some base miles (kms) in and get my legs used to running for more than 50 minutes at a time or so. What used to be my weekly 5 km runs have changed to 8-10 km runs. And what was my “long” run of 10-11 kms has become my new epic journey. Last weekend I managed a 19Km run for the first time ever.

Now as I said this is base training. I am sticking to a comfy pace 9for me) or around 5:15 kms. And this has been great. In fact so great that after I get warmed up a bit I really like running. By km 3 or so my legs lighten up, my breathing calms down and I relax. By km 8-9 when I turn around to come home I feel just as good and don’t get tired until I reach my house.

So it turns out I pigeon holed myself into the short distances and turns out I might just be more suited to the longer runs. Maybe, who knows until I try some, especially at speed. But until then I think I will really enjoy the idea of the long slow run (not to mention my new New Balance 759’s in place of those old squash shoes). Perhaps we can head out for one of these long slow runs before the winter obscures my running path too much. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The 2010 Sporting Year in Review – Part 4 – Multisport

Yes, it all culminates in this doesn’t it, multisport events. For me that is generally considered to be Duathlons, though this year I get to add Triathlon to the list as well.

Looking back at my goals for the year I see that I what I wanted to accomplish was pretty simple. Do better than last year. Well as this was only my second full year doing the Du’s that seemed to be a rather good goal.

My knee problems couldn’t have come at a worse time though. Du’s are early season events generally, as they happen when the open water is too cold for most. Still these are my favourite events and I wasn’t going to let a silly problem like a failing knee keep me down. No sir. So I entered all the events and competed. I didn’t train much as each event seemed to follow the next right away and I needed that weeks time to rest up my aches and pains before the next one. Ya know what? I did pretty good in most of them. My knee did mean that my final run was usually a bit of a let down, but my cycling improved over last year and my first run was pretty darn good.

In the end I managed a 1st place in age group for the Greenwood event (though sadly like last year with a small field), much higher placements than last year in all other events and a lot of new knowledge. I ended up 3rd in the final age group standing (35-40) but fell short of my goal of a top 3 overall. Seems there was a few new speed demons that partook in more of the events this year. That’s fine with me. Competition is a good thing. No sense placing well with no one to fight against. And that gives me a greater fire for next year.

Triathlons? Like I said these are a new thing to me as swimming is a recently introduced sport to me. Well I entered the Wolfville Tri Festival. Why this event? Simple, it was a pool swim and it didn’t conflict with my Duathlon events. Plus I also needed an event with a short swim. At this point I was still confined to the breaststroke.

So I did it and I really enjoyed it. I know what the heck I did wrong and what I did right and what I will need going into the future with triathlons. And I really see myself doing more next year, especially open water. Oh, by the way I managed 2nd overall at Wolville. If my swim wasn’t the second slowest time I might have actually won. It was fun though and a really great event.

A good year? Yeah, not bad. A few years back I was happy with 30 minute bike rides. Now I am not happy unless I feel like throwing up when I cross the finish line.  Here’s to next year. I understand the Tri NS memberships for 2011 are available already. I guess I better get on that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 2010 Sporting Year in Review – Part 3 – Swimming

Well, much like cycling this year, I never intended my swimming goals to be grandiose. I think ultimately I fell a little short on my goals here. Yes, this was in fact the first year I have done any real swimming, having just learned how to even do proper strokes. And yes, my water phobias / issues are for sure not easy to over come. But I really had hoped to be much further along by this point.

I didn’t get many chances to do open water swimming this summer. And without a wetsuit I was stuck swimming outdoors when the water was warm. As well, my lack of endurance meant that I could only swim so far outside of the pool.

Of course as it turns out my lack of endurance was partly due to a lack of proper swimming technique. And thanks to the website I found some of my issues were pretty easy to fix. Oh if I had only found this website long ago. Still I suggest anyone check it out for some great tips. Thanks to it I can all of a sudden swim 1000 m with very few stops for rest. Yeah, it isn’t fast and the last few laps aren’t pretty but I get there.

So I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I have discovered a weakness, figured out how to work with it and hopefully eliminate it. Here’s looking to a great winter of pool swimming and maybe the purchase of a wetsuit next year for some early open water workouts.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 2010 Sporting Year in Review - Part 2 - Cycling

Okay, looking back on my cycling goals show that I pretty much accomplished what I wanted to do on the bike. I had no real competitions in mind this year, as far as just cycling goes, so it was pretty easy. I got loads of distance in and had some fun as well.

My major goal was to do a century ride this year. I did a proper 100 mile ride this past August in the Valley. The Middleton Century ride is a great event and I suggest anyone who is contemplating such a long ride to go try this one. The only issue is heat. August and the Valley make for a warm day. But with rest stops each 25kms it wasn't too hard to get through. This year was better than last year which itself was really nice. You get a route map and the corners are all well marked with spray paint.

I also managed to get a metric century in thanks to the Heartland Tour. A ride from the Halifax Commons to Peggy's Cove and back for me was 110km or so. Very nice. Yeah, I tried to to push the pace. Yeah it was fun for most of the ride. But the end was killer and I just collapsed. Still a nice day.

I also wanted to get group rides in. I actually got fewer of these than I had hoped. But things come up, people don't get out or get out at times you can't work with. But this is more of a constant goal in life and therefore I will always be looking forward to rides with friends. And now that my wife has found cycling to be enjoyable I see some great trail rides with people as a real possibility.

My injury didn't prevent my cycling very much this year, which is a good thing. Perhaps my cycling didn't help my injury? I don't know but what is passed is past.

Next season? Same old goals. Long endurance rides, group rides, family rides, a century or two. All good fun. Yeah, sure I train hard for my multisport events, but that is a different kettle of fish (and it is hard to get a fish in a kettle).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The 2010 Sporting Year in Review - Part 1 - Running

Well earlier this year I laid out my goals for the year, at least as far as my sporting life is concerned. I thought by doing so it would help me to plan the year better and also force me not to be too lazy. Well, this didn't go exactly as I planned.

My biggest issue was an unplanned injury. Of course no injuries are planned, but I really didn't see this one coming at all. One day fine, the next down for the count. My left leg went and let me down. My IT Band was tight, my knee was sore and my ankle seized. All the muscles in the leg were working against me, preventing any running from happening. This I already wrote about. Anyway, I stopped running and pretty much stopped cycling for awhile. I swam a bit, but even kicking my leg for the breast stroke hurt.

My first planned race was the 5K Lung Run. Instead I watched it as my wife ran. I was glad to see her do so well. My next was to be the Bluenose. This race I had paid for well in advance and I just decided to run the blasted thing anyway, taking it easy and enjoying it as best I could. I ran slowly and managed to pull off a time a minute faster than the year before. Not the 42 minute time i hoped for but still, an improvement.

Some more rest, some stretching and the Duathlon season was upon me. I'll cover it that in another post, but needless to say I ran through that.

It seems running fast kept the pain at bay. The only time the pain came in was near the end of the runs as I slowed due to fatigue and my form started to fail. Eventually I got a new pair of shoes (thanks Aerobics First for all the help) and some great medical help (thanks Dr Jason Gray) and my leg found some strength.

My next race was the Bedford 5K. Same result as last year, 7th place, with a slightly slower time. But the run felt good. It was really humid day and all the times were slower. So I didn't feel so bad. Finally I was able to run again and train again.

At this point I didn't really have a specific race to look forward to but continued to train for further duathlons. I had hoped (as I mentioned in my goals) to do 3 stand alone running events this year. The opportunity did arise as it turns out.

I was lucky to be invited to join a Rum Runners team, My leg was to be Leg 7, a 10.7K hilly route from Hubbards to East Chester. It was my first foray into the world of relay running. And I had a blast. Not only did I have a fun day spent with great friends, but I blazed through my route to a 7th place finish, in a time that would shame my best 10K run but almost a minute. For me this showed that I was back, I could run again. My disappointments from earlier in the year were erased.

What have I learned from 2010? Don't fret when an injury happens. Find a solution to the problem and get it fixed. I learned that proper running footwear is essential and having a knowledgeable person help you get that information is key. A proper strength training and stretching regime is essential, especially as we get older, to help prevent and eliminate injuries.  Oh and have fun, enjoy the run.

I have already started to up my training for next year. It is time to get those base miles in (kilometers I guess). Though I never fancied myself a distance runner, I do plan on training for the Bluenose Half Marathon next year. I figure this will be a great source of run training for my attempt at improving my duathlon and triathlon run times. Some endurance never hurt. I am sure I will talk more about this as the next season starts.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Movember 2010

This Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer.  My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime.
This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.

To help, you can either:

*  Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
* Write a cheque payable to Prostate Cancer Canada, referencing my name or Registration Number 207895 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, Suite 306 145 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.  

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit:

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health. If you are already my Facebook friend then follow my journey of face hair online

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Next 2010

So I am sitting in Porter's Lounge at the Toronto Island Airport drinking my 3rd cappuccino in less than 30 minutes (seriously they are pretty darn good) and I thought, might as well update the blog as I haven't written in a few weeks. Part of that is due to the travel I have done (San Fra, Colorado, now Toronto) since finishing my last event (Riverport Du). Part of it is due to me not actually knowing what my next step is on my list of sporting goals.

I know I promised to look back at my proposed goals of 2010 after my events were done and I will. But I don't know yet if the year is over. So that can wait. (Sneak preview, I think I achieved much of what I wanted to, despite my injury).

Well what is next. There is a cyclocross series put on in Halifax starting this weekend. I have really wanted to tackle this sport over the last few years but haven't had the time. This year i seem to have the time but I lack a couple of important things. One is a suitable bike. I bought a new bike and had hoped I could convert my old road bike to a wide tired cyclocross machine. But alas that just isn't a possibility. And my "Mountain" bike has long since been dumbed down to a commuter bike. Even it would require at a minimum new tires to compete. And that means cash.

The second issue is that my leg is still not 100%. Sure the pain while competing is gone, but there is a slight discomfort, which has not been helped by sitting on so many airplanes this past while. And I really fear that cyclocross' demands might just push me back into the realm of pain.

So it looks like another year goes by with cyclocross for me. I will survive though. In fact since taking a runner's strengthening course this fall I have been toying with the idea of finally running further than 10K in races. I think that next year it is time to tackle a half marathon. My reason for this is twofold. One, I want to get faster at short distance races and the extra endurance I will get from longer distance training will hopefully help that. And 2, I can't possibly win short distance races, so I need a new challenge. While winning a half marathon isn't going to happen either at least I can challenge myself to something new.

So that is where my mind is right now. I will continue riding and swimming as often as possible, and increasing my running (slowly this time to avoid injuries). And I will continue to drink cappuccinos while I wait patiently for my airplane to arrive. Two more and I will possibly rethink doing cyclocross, ha ha.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Riverport Duathlon - Race Recap - Final Du of 2010

Well the final (at least as far as I know) local Duathlon of 2010 has come and gone. The ever popular Riverport Duathlon occurred this past weekend and saw a record number of entrants. In the classic Du (4K run, 28K bike, 4K run) 92 racers took to the start line.

This was to be my "A" race of the year. The one I really wanted to accomplish big things in. Sure I love the other Du's as well, not to mention the running races and other events I did this year, but Riverport was my first step into Multisports over 2 years ago and thus hold s a little something special for me.

So I had a plan going into this race. And not just my standard go really fast plan. Well, okay, maybe that was my plan. But go really fast and pay attention to what I was doing. The past two years have seen me run the first section in an okay time, then bike really hard, then collapse in a pile of cramping pain on the second run, only to see 20-30 people pass me by. Not this year by golly, I needed to stay focused and run smartly.

So I lined up right at the front this year for Run1. No hiding in the back only to be stuck behind people while I found my legs. No way. The command to start went off and away I ran. I started with a good pace, seriously hoping I could run with a 4:00 minute/K pace. This was just 4K after all and I managed a 4:19 pace last weekend over 10.7K. Well things were looking good. I hit the 2K turn around at about 8:05. So not too far off and with the front runners (well within visual contact anyway). But I slowed a bit after that and came into T1 with a total time of 17:01 for a 4:16 pace. I was sad to see that I was actually 3 seconds slower than last year but way faster than my time 2 years ago of 18:47. Anyway, I donned my helmet, changed my shoes and grabbed my bike and onto the bike course I went.

I came into T1 in 13th place. For me that is a great result. My running, while better this year, still lacks. Now it was time to put the hammer down and gain some ground over those behind me.

Well that worked only so well, as a few racers actually passed me near the beginning of the ride. Still I was focused and began my 28K ride. This ride is coastal, so that means rollers or a series of rolling hills. I don't mind these as you can get some decent speed going. Plus the wind was low this year (and it wasn't a torrential down pour like last year) so I managed a good bit of speed. Then came the Grim Road.

So the Grimm Road is a series of short steepish climbs in succession over 7 or 8k. You can generally spin up the beginning and then hammer near the top of each without too much work. I was starting to tire of these I must say near the end, but made it through without having any other riders come past me (note to self, more hill climbing work next year). Then it was on to the final section of this triangular course. A mere 10K to go (there abouts) on the bike.

The road was rather rough and bumpy. In anticipation, I dropped the tire pressure on my bike down to about 100psi. This seemed to help make the ride less severe, though in the end I wonder if that helped or hindered my overall speed, especially during the climbs. The bumpiness of the road lead to much Gatorade being splashed from my aerodrink bottle onto me and my bike. Yum. But on I pushed, until with about 6K to go another cyclist finally caught and passed me. I let him get to the non drafting distance ahead of me and then paced off of him. Perhaps I had started to mentally drift on the ride? I don't know but I managed to pickup my pace to keep him in sight and not let me pull away too far.

So we entered T2 pretty much together, my new adversary and I. My offcial Bike and T1 combined tiem show as 48:51 for a 34.4 k/hr avg speed. This is down a touch from the 34.7 k/hr of last years event but I was attempting to save a little for the final run.

My T2 went fairly well. I racked the bike, took off my shoes, got my sneakers on, and took off my helmet. Then onto the final run. We were warned about the fact that we needed to cross the street to get to the proper side of the road and that cars could be an issue. Luckily for me it wasn't and I was right behind my new foe, who had a T2 which was a few seconds worse than mine.

And so it began. Remember, I wanted a good second run. The kind were when you look back on the results you can't say, dang if only. My 2 previous years read like that. Poor times, loads of people passing me. Yuck. But now I was on a mission. And I was right behind my nemesis of the day. And my calves started to cramp and scream and yell. Ah memories of the other years already.

In the past I kept running but slowed right down to work things out. I have also taken the time in the past to stretch. But this year I was thinking of one thing only. Jens Voigt and his little video I had seen online. To paraphrase him,"Shut up Body and do what I tell you" (in a nice German accent). I yelled at my legs (though I kept it all nice and inside so as not to give away my pain to my competitor) and they responded with a "we give up." I sped past #1476 and kept going. Speed would be my friend along with a long stride.

(okay so that doesn't really show a nice long stride does it)

I pushed through and it was actually a long time before I finally saw the leaders pass me going back to the finish. I was probably close to 2K in when this happened. And I even saw others in the distance (though not at all close enough to catch). I pushed some more and got to the 2K turn around, grabbed some water and headed back. This was the first time I got to see who was behind me, as I had not even dared look back during previous to this. I now had a sizable lead over the next runner, who was no longer #1476 but a new foe. So I pushed on. This new guy was obviously a fast runner who had come from way back on the bike and was pushing through the field. I couldn't let him pass me.

I ran a little faster and finally go to the 0.5K to go spot (or the turn around for the Do a Du peeps). I didn't look back. I pushed on a bit more and Shawn A. (who was cooling down from having just finished) encouraged me on and said he saw no one behind me. But I needed to have a good time (for series points) and therefore I couldn't slow down. Plus I always finish with a sprint. So I couldn't do less this time. I rounded the last corner and put the power down, blowing through the finish line 14th overall, 4/21 in my age group and with a time of 1:25:37, over 2 minutes faster than last year and 11 places higher. Oh yeah.

Riverport is a great race also as there is a big sit down meal of chili and apple crisp post race. Sure there are prize draws as well, but it is the food I wanted. And it didn't disappoint at all. 

So thanks to the Bridgewater Tri Club for a great event again. Thanks weather fro being nice for a change. And thanks to those that read this silly report for paying attention. I will be doing a season long results post soon, seeing how my expectations for the year actually help up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rum Runners Relay - Race Recap

Well it happened this past weekend. I joined up with a relay style running team. No not the baton carrying kind that runs in circles. The kind that races all day over an insane distance, approx. 10K at a time.

The team I joined was and the race was the historic Nova Scotian Rum Runners Relay.

I was pegged to do Leg 6 for this team of people who just like to run, and whose moto is have fun first. Due to injuries and last minute things, I was asked to join in by a couple of my friends (Mike and Ian) who were already on the team.

Leg 6 starts in Hubbards at the Yacht Club which is down a short but really steep hill (see above). When the starter said go off I went, zipping up that hill like a fool possessed. Luckily all that strength training I have been doing lately paid off and the hill meant nothing to me. While I took the lead of the race early, that lasted for a mere 0.5 kms or so when I was easily passed by Parker V (see guy next to me in above photo as well). This followed a few more people eventually passing me.

But I was smart and kept to my pace. I assumed that was going to be a 4:45 or maybe a 4:30 at best for this distance (oh by the way it was 10.7 K). That seemed like something I could do. But I also wanted to stay within my Team number (#16) as that was a little challenge some of my team mates had. Eventually when the 8th runner passed me I decided not to let him get away. I pushed a little harder and fell in line with him.
See above for how I actually matched this guys footsteps for the longest time to make sure I matched his pace. That seemed to work as I followed him for probably 5 kms before I finally saw the finish line. The finish was down hill. At a certain point my muscles started to yell at my brain that they were very excited and needed to go faster. My brain said, hey wait a minute we need to play this smart and not go charging too soon. Seconds later my brain gave up as I charged ahead into my horrifying downhill sprint. Sadly I seemed to have very little control of my speed as I approached what I assumed was a slight turn off the road. But alas it as a 90 degree turn downhill and a probably 50 meters to the finish line from the turn. I was way out of control, made the turn barely and sped through the finish line for a total time of 46:13 and a pace well above expectations at 4:19. Oh and it turns out the guy behind me never picked up his pace. I practically killed myself, though judging from some pictures I saw I did so with flair and a stunning 8th place finish out of 60 entrants.

The rest of the day was spent watching the other runners take off and finish and cheering them on. Thanks to Mike and his boys we had a blast riding, taking photos and playing the vuvuzela all day.

Congrats to the other team members who all ran wonderfully. We finished the day in 34th place overall out of 60 teams. Great stuff.

Oh and as I like to try new things before any given race, my new socks performed great.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rum Running - A little something new

Okay, so a pure running race isn't something entirely new to me. I have been entering a few of those the past couple of years. To be accurate, I think I have entered a grand total of 5. So while I am not a "runner" per se, I am not a total newb.

Running is also not my favorite sporting event. That is probably because it isn't my strongest sport. When coupled with cycling though I find it makes for a dandy weekend bit of fun.

But I got the call from my friend Ian M. He said his relay team for the Rum Runners event was down a few members due to injury. So I stepped up and decided to take on a leg. This is my first time in a team style event like this that takes place as an all day event over numerous legs. It certainly does sound like fun and the distances offered for most legs fit within my skill level.

I am by no means a long distance runner. I have never run more than 12K, and that was one day this past winter when I was out for a training run. I am more used to 10K and 5K events. So a distance of 10.2K for Leg 6 of the Rum Runners sounded just about right.

I will be travelling with Mike M and his boys for most of the day (he is running Leg 4) and hanging out with the rest of the team and probably others whom I have met over the past couple of years since taking up running and triathlon / duathlon.

There is a virtual TNS (Tri Nova Scotia) Rum Runners team being put together by Andrew D as a  fun sort of what if scenario. I gotta say that it is this sort of fun that made me not regret leaving the world of pure cycling. Runners just seem to have fun and so many of the TNS members seem to be runners at heart. Who knows maybe I will head towards more running events in the future as well.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, get this event out of the way, have fun and sleep in on Sunday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A bit of SCUBA

Well I went for a nice bit of SCUBA yesterday with my neighbour Daniel. Even though the water was rather shallow (no more than 26 feet according to my computer) it was a fun time. We saw so many lobsters it wasn't funny. Even managed to get one to attack our flashlight (boy are they strong). And we even managed to see a less than legal trap. But enough about that.

This time of year is great for quick dives. The water is often really warm, our dive temp being around 20C. The bad part , though, about the high temps is that a lot of the seaweed has started to die back. This means the really great colours just aren't as plentiful. Still you do get a few great shots like this:

Hopefully I will get back for another dive soon. I have a few more places I like to pop in the water at and maybe they will have some great fish to see.

Also I like to think of this as great training for the triathlon swims. Well maybe one day they will allow flippers and air tanks. Maybe.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2010 Wolfville Tri Festival

Well it happened. I did my first triathlon. This past weekend Wolfville's rec department put on a Try a Tri event for kids and adults. My event was considered to be the Long Course at 400m/10km/4km. While the biking and running were short for me, the swim was just about right. In fact it was to be the furthest I had ever swam in one go. Sure I have spent enough time at the pool practicing that I swam 1km. But that took me 2 hours with lots of rest stops. This was going to be my time to shine with people looking on.

I started in Wave 2 or the 3 Waves which were to happen. This meant that my competition was going to be in different waves than me. Oh well, that just means you have to push yourself and not rely on pacing off of others. So push I did.

Now my swimming is not great (as I mentioned). And what is worse is my attempts at front crawl. Too bad, as this is the most efficient swim stroke for Tri's. But I relied on my tried and true breaststroke to carry me through. I started with a bang and for the first few las of the pool was just as fast as most people doing the front crawl. Sadly though my endurance began to falter and I fell back. I slowed, but carried on as best as I could. Finally I got out of the pool 3rd last and ran to to T1.

T1 was where I found out how hard it was to get dressed while wet. Next time, better jersey choice. Luckily I had already committed to a no socks approach, so that helped. Onto the bike I got and out onto the course.

the course was a very short 2.5km out and back we had to do twice. Luckily there was plenty of volunteer and police presence to keep us safe. It was hard, though, to get a good rhythm with all the turn arounds, but I still managed to do the course in 18 minutes flat at 33.2 km/hr. Did I mention it was bumpy? Oh yeah, it was. I survived though and onto the run.

The run started on the Acadia University track. That was nice as it is a cushioned surface. nice on the feet and legs. Then out a rails to trail, loop back, around the track again repeat and down the finishing chute to grab your numbered Popsicle stick.  The run was pretty easy, though my upper body was starting to cramp, almost surely from the swim (I have never done a brick workout that involved much of a swim). But the cramps went away by the second lap and I picked up the pace. I finished with my standard sprint (see above photo) which was nice to do.

As this was a just for fun event, there were no awards per se. We did get medals for finishing and some great draw prizes. And the food layout was great as well, plus a nice post race massage. Latter on we received our times and I ended up second fastest overall behind Kevin Besner, a mere 30 seconds out of first. It is hard to loose by 30 seconds when you can look back and actually find those 30 seconds you lost, but those are the breaks. And in the end I know I gave it a good go. I ended with a time of 49:18. And I think 20 minutes of that was putting my jersey on while I was wet (lol).

So that was one of my sports goals for the year. Complete a Tri of any distance and prepare for something bigger and better next year. Big thanks goes out to Shannon Read who organized this event, to the Town of Wolfville, to the RCMP officers that kept us safe, to the crazy amount of volunteers as and to the weather for being so nice.

Volunteer Ian McGrath, Constantly telling me I was about to turn on my bike at the wrong spot.

Monday, August 16, 2010

2010 Middleton Century Ride

Chad Smith

Well it was time for the second year of the Middleton Century Ride. 160 kms of fun Nova Scotia Valley heat. and once again I rode (or at least started) with members of the Spinachers cycling team. Above is Chad Smith who joined us for the first time this year aboard his trusty Madonne Steed. We rode the first 50kms together and had a great chat and a few fun breakaways. Then it was up to me to continue on sans Spinachers. Last year the metric century and full century rode the first 100kms together. This year the split was at teh 50km mark and I was the only foolish person that decided to carry on for the full.

I took off with a group of other cyclists. Slowly we drifted apart until it was only 6 of us random fellows. Though there was great guy named Dave who I rode a bit with last year that showed up. It was nice to ride with him again. And I must also say it was much niceer just riding the course this year. While last years ride was fun and an adventure, the rest stops were so much better appointed this year, including an ice cream stop at the 85km mark of the full century ride. yes, your choice of many yummy ice cream flavours. Also the heat and humidity of last yeat satyed away. The temps never soard any higher than 28C. That alone was nice.

Now as it turns out the extra 60 kms was hilly. Oh nothing crazy but there werea few fun climbs. And I was happy to say that i aced them. I do a love a variable degree climb that starts out with say a 3-4% grade and then finishes with a nice 8 % or so. I can really geta good rythem and spins up those. Needless to say by the end of that section our little group was ripped apart. But we met back up at the next rest stop.

Here the Mavic Neutral Service Car makes for good drafting. Though the Kayaks won't help if we get a flat

As I didn't want to cool down too much I figured I would do my traditional solo effort from Annopolis Royal to Bridgetown. It is generally a bit of a tail wind and mostly flat so you get a good cadence going and really fly. Considering how much I rode already I was happy to see the speed stay in the high 30's and often into the 40's for the solo effort.

The final 25 kms saw Dave and I reteam our efforts and repass our friend on the recumbant bike. He was just a tenacious fellow, though he must have been lonely. This section was all rollers and a few gravel patches. But tight hamstrings be damned we pushed through and arrived back at the start point to a BBQ and food and the rest of the Spinachers who finished their metric century ride in fine form.

Spinachers enjoying a rest stop

I was really happy that I beat last years ride time by 1/2 an hour for a total of 5 hours and 39 minutes with an average speed of around 28.5 km/hr. And now I am looking forward to next year and getting that time down again. I think a 5:30 is in the cards.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

First "Tri" Swim Approaching - Thoughts

So yeah, my first "Tri" swim is approaching in a little over a week. Why is Tri in quotes? Because it is only 400 meters. Seems easy enough. And it is in a pool. That seems nice. But here's the thing. I haven't actually been able to swim 400 meters in one go yet. My arms just run out of steam.

Why do I keep seeing this image in my head when I dream about this upcoming swim?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can it be, the first Triathlon for Ian?

Okay so I do the Du's. Duathlons that is. I like them. I like riding my bike and I like short fast runs. So of course Duathlons are a great chocie for me. But try and tell people, "Oh, I'm a Duathlete," and you always get the same response, "Oh don't you mean Biathlon?" Of course I don't but oh well, stupid skiing and shooting. Tell a person you compete in Triathlons and they know what the heck that is.

One of my early season goals was to complete / compete in a triathlon. While I mentioned my love of running and cycling I didn't mention my love of swimming. Now don't get me wrong, I love popping in a lake or ocean to putz around and cool off. But I don't really swim. In fact I have this great ability to hyperventilate with my face in the water. Yes, "in" the water. Therefore sucking in loads of wet goodness. Not a great trait. In the past i solved this problem through the use of scuba equipment.

Well in order to do a Tri I was going to have to learn to get over this and actually figure out how to "swim." I took lessons and finally figured out the front crawl and breast stroke. Good. But I still have a little issue with breathing while swimming and the endurance hasn't come along quite like I hoped it might. Part of that is due to a leg injury I had and part is due to 30+ years of water to face phobia which I am slowly overcoming.

So that brings us to my first Triathlon. I wanted it to be a pool swim (this allows me to stand up, cough up the water I have sucked back and continue) and I wanted the swim to be relatively short. I also didn't want it to be held at the same time as a Du (remember from the first bit where I said I do Du's). This left very few choices for the year. But along came the Wolfville Tri Festival. A 400meter swim, 10K bike and 4 K run. Well the bike is a bit short but that's fine, the run is nice (I said I liked short and fast) and the swim is doable.

Part of me does feel a little silly entering a Try a Tri type event. I mean these are supposed to be for those that have no idea what to expect or also for kids who aren't old enough to enter full Sprint and above Tri's. But then I think, heck, I suck at swimming so this type of non-competitive (yeah right) event is what I need to get started. And to that effect I entered the darn event which will be held in 2 weeks from now).

I know my swim will be slow, maybe 9 minutes for 400 meters is not going to win anything. But I can ride fast and run fast as well, and I can have some fun doing the transitions.

Of course all this assumes I won't drown in the pool. Can you use flutter boards in events?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Running Pain Free

Well it has been a few months now since my leg started to bother me. It started one day while swimming. It then progressed into a problem while running. This put me behind in all the training I had wanted to do to get ready for a full season of Duathlons and Runs. Now I did manage to compete in most of the events that I had hoped to, but with a lack of training I was probably not at my best. I am happy to say that all of my training from before the knee/leg issues must have been good as my results were still pretty darn good.

Anyway, I eventually found a good doctor (Dr Jason Gray) who specializes in sports medicine (he is a Chiropractor) and specifically ART (Active Release Technique). We assessed that my issue was a very tight group of muscles in my hamstrings and calf on my left leg. This in turn led to my ankle turning funny and causing knee pain.

Now not being a patient guy I began to wonder if this was going to work after a few treatments. My knee would still pain after a run, and be very tight at other times. But I kept the treatments up as well as the stretching and strength exercises. Now about a month and a half after I started seeing Dr Gray, I can say that i am running pain free. Things aren’t 100% in my left leg, but they are much better and without the tightness and pain I was having.

Today I managed a 7K run in some nasty humidity with an average pace of 5min per K (I started out a bit faster but faded near the end). I am happy with that as it is fairly close to where I left off when I was last training. This is now a good place to get some base mileage back into my legs and then work on getting some speed (and endurance) back.

It certainly is nice to know a little more about the mechanics of running now, and with my new stretching regime, I anticipate years more of pain free running (well sore muscles after a good hard run are okay).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spinachers Ride the Heartland Tour

The Heartland Tour made its Halifax stop this past Saturday (July 10th). So the Spinachers Team had to show up and take part. Donning our impressive jerseys we split into 2 groups depending on our ride choice. A 27.5km ride to Purcell's Cove or the mammoth 96km ride from the Halifax Commons to Peggy's Cove. My wife joined in with those opting for the Purcell's Cove ride, partly as 96kms was a crazy distance for her, but also so she could sleep in a bit longer. I opted to join in the longer ride that began at 8am (ish).

We started as a group and headed to the Roundabout to begin our ride. A police escort out of town made life rather easy. Being near the lead I decided to stretch the legs a bit and zoom up the Bay Rd hill leading to the start of the Peggy's Cove Loop. That felt nice and I gave myself an imaginary Polka Dot jersey for my effort (also that was probably the biggest hill on the ride). As a group David's son Jeff and I decided to go for a breakaway lead, the rest of the team (David, Ross and Fred) all kept to the main peleton (or long string of riders as it were). Eventually Jeff and I were riding alone, having dropped our rivals (sure this was a friendly ride, sure) during some rollers. Actually dropping those other riders with us was a mistake as I thought I was supposed to be hammering through those hills. Luckily for me Jeff is a darn strong rider.

Eventually the 2 of us arrived at Peggy's Cove and proceeded to wait for the rest of the Tour riders. Perhaps that was too long of a wait in retrospect, we were there for over 30 minutes in the cold damp fog and occasional drizzle. But we had some food and drink and eventually took off as other riders were starting to leave to head back to Halifax.

I stuck to Jeff on the way back, jumping from one slow group of riders to the next until we met with a good strong lead pack. We hammered with them for quite awhile, eventually though my lack of mileage this year started to catch up. As I dropped from the lead of the pace line I couldn't quite stick to the last rider int he group and fell off, though I was still amazed that I continued riding at 37kph until I eventually caught them as they stopped to let some other riders catch on. My goodness, they were going fast as a group.

At this point as riders took off again we all pretty much fell into smaller groups or single riders as our legs were at various degrees of ouchiness. Mine in particular were running very low on steam. I lost Jeff pretty quickly as he sped away. I kept my speed up but would occasionally be passed by a few riders here or there until I eventually made it back into town and could have a proper rest and some good food provided to us for free. That was nice, especially the crepes and chocolate milk.

Including my ride to the commons to start the event, I logged 107 kms that day. That was nice. I managed a pace of 30.6kph on avg, which included a very slow meander through town to start, so overall I was pretty happy, and really only a few minutes behind the first group to finish.

I was sad that my cadence really dropped near the end and my average was 82. I really hopped to be able to keep that higher, but again my lack of riding any real distance this year hit me hard near the end.

All in all a really great ride, with a lot of Tri NS members taking part, which was great to see.

Hopefully this ride continues next year and grows in size. And a big congrats to my wife for her solo epic adventure to Purcell's Cove. I look forward to longer rides with her int he near future as well.
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Bedford 5K 2010

Well, I was waiting to post about this race hoping that some photos of the even might pop up. But alas, nothing so far. I know they exist as I chatted with Trevor Allen the photographer and saw some great shots. But people get busy and I decided not to wait any longer.

Anyway this was the Bedford 5K to raise money for Lung Cancer research hosted by my friend Jean St.Amand. It is a great event and my second year attending. I had contemplated not going due to my knee and this being a short fast race, but in the end it being for charity, the weather being nice and me wanting to defend my 7th place finish from last year won out.

I arrived rather early as I had not yet registered and didn't want to wain in any sort of line. After registering I decided to walk the course as last year I had no clue where I was going and missed a corner (though I penalized myself for doing so by letting the people behind me pass rather easily). The course was the same and was nice and flat. For once, I actually planned a strategy as well, while I sat and waited for the race to start.

At the line I took off with a few people and true to form I started at the pace of the leaders. I hung in there for a bit (most of the first kilometer) and then knee pain kicked in. Ouch that hurt. So I pulled back to a better pace and a few people passed me by. I let them go and continued on, think to myself that it was only 5K and it would all be over very soon.

I found that by the 3K mark I was still on the heels of a few people that had passed me. So I picked up my pace a bit. And the next thing I knew I passed a couple of people. I then drafted in behind a few more fast people and managed to sneak by them as well.

With no one else in front of me (at least people I could see) I know had to fight to keep my placing. I ran the absolute straightest line I could, as corners and knee pain always meet. I got through the final corner without looking back and saw the finish line ahead. So I picked up the pace again, not wishing to get passed and not knowing where anyone else was. I cruised through the finish line in a  time of 20:26.That was good enough for another 7th place, though almost 40 seconds slower than last years time. Still I was happy. And hot. i think one reason I was a bit slower was the sheer humidity of the day. The air was truly thick. Last year was misty and cool, a lovely running day.

Anyway, no races for a bit. the leg/knee issue is being worked on and I hope to be back to full strength soon.At least I can ride my bike to work for now to keep my cardio up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greenwood Duathlon 2010

Well another Sunday another race. This time down to the Valley and the Greenwood military base for a duathlon 5k, 20k, 5k(there was of course a triathlon happening but who wants to get wet on such a nice day). Yes, it was a nice day, perhaps too nice. Great hot sun and little wind. Hearkens back the nice day we had for the Bluenose 10K (yeah I guess it was a marathon as well).

Well the drive to the race was fun. Up a 5am to get ready, almost 2 hour drive, and finally arrival. My knee was already stiff from sitting that long. But I had some time to move around, stretch and warm up (a good reason to arrive early).

Well race time was finally upon us. I knew only 2 other racers, Kurt and Alan, both of whom are much better runners than I am. The other I had no clue about. So my plan was stick with Kurt and Alan as long as possible and go from there. Okay, so that is my usual plan, stick to the leader as long as possible and then fade to a comfortable pace.

So the race started and we quickly got up to speed. I stuck with Kurt for probably the first 1.5K, with Alan already taking off. I then settled into a slightly slower pace (one my knee was comfortable with) and continued on for the rest of the first 5K. Heading into the first transition I was comfortably in third, ahead of fourth by close to 2 minutes with a 22:32 run. A quick switch to bike shoes and helmet I was off to the bike portion. This was a great ride for speed, with the only turns being at the ends of the laps (3 in total). The course itself had a slight curve that didn't amount to much and only a slight "hill" barely worth mentioning. Also practically no wind. Nice. I finished the 20K ride in 37:46 which also included both transitions. My bike computer showed an average speed of 34.2 kph which was nice with those slow turns at the end of each lap and an impressive 56.03 kph top speed (also nice with no hills or wind). With both transitions added (and I took my time stumbling with my helmet) my avg pace on the bike drops to around 32 kph, but I was happy.

Heading into run 2 I had a sizable lead over fourth (almost 14 minutes). But take nothing for granted I say and who knows Alan or Kurt could have faltered for some reason. So push on I did. The knee was achy to start out and I was baking hot at this point. At the run turn around the kind volunteer pointed out the gel pack I dropped during the first run. Thanks. I plodded along and finally the finish line came up. I zipped across as fast as I could in typical Ian fashion (don't get in my way when the finish line is in sight) and finished in 1:24:23, 7 minutes behind Kurt in second and 8 behind Alan in first. I was happy,and since I have had absolutely no run training this year due to my bad leg/knee that really looks great for the future when this issue is finally sorted out.

So I ended up in third place overall and first in age group 30-39 (same as last year, though no Mike Milloy to fight against this year).

Okay the field was small compared to the Du it for Shelter event and the Cyclesmith Du (and inevitability for the Riverport race in the Fall) but it was a great fight and I feel quite happy in what I achieved. One of my goals was an age group win for the year and another was a top three result. So heck, lets get that done in one race.

Now time for a rest.

Big thanks to the volunteers and TNS officials at the race for the help and words of encouragement and to Sarah Wood for standing on the corner of the run and cheering us all on. That always helps.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Cyclesmith Duathlon 2010

Well another weekend another Duathlon. This time the venerable Cyclesmith Du held at Lawrencetown Beach. I must say it was looking like shades of last week, at least weather wise. Buckets of rain, cool temps and fog were all being forecast, not to mention heavy wind. Yipee! Of course unlike last weekend, the weather took a turn for the good. The rain stopped before the race started, the fog lifted enough to make the course visible enough and the wind died down. Wow. The pavement even dried up.

So there I was, once again hoping my knee would survive the onslaught of what is the most grueling Duathlon in Nova Scotia. A 5K road run to start with a decent hill, followed by a 34K bike ride on rolling roads (with a few mini climbs) and finally a 6K trail run. But I was prepared with my new Brooks Dyads which I had fitted the day before at Aerobics First. Yeah, I know, never wear a new pair of shoes right before the big race. But alas, my "new" shoes I bought before Christmas were actually far too small for me and probably a good reason my knee went wonky in the first place. So I figured better go with shoes the right size rather than the devil I knew.

The "go" was sounded and off we went. I hung the the lead group for the first 1.5K then started to ease my pace to something slightly more comfortable. In the end I finished the first 5K in 20:43 for a 4:09 pace. I was pretty darn happy with that seeing as it was 3 minutes faster than last year. Then on to the bike.

As usual my bike goal is to ride as hard and darn fast as possible, kill the legs and go for broke. I know, there is still one more run, but the run is my weak point so I like to make up my time here. With my new Devinci CX I managed a great time of 1:00:53 for an average pace of 33.5 km per hour (the 15th fastest time and on a non-time trial bike and including T1). I came barreling into Transition 2 very excited and well away from most of the riders behind me (all of whom were much faster runners).

A quick switch to my new Dyads and off I went. Now normally at this point my legs turn to jelly, thick knotted jelly. But darn if they didn't hold together for that first kilometer. Wow. I kept my pace easy but my stride long, as this seems to be best for my knee. Well, eventually 3K in to the run a few people started to catch up to me. I couldn't risk pushing my pace but kept going as best I could. Eventually the finish line was in sight and one last runner was catching me. I heard yells and cheering, alas not so much for me but for the runners on my heels (at least the yells I could hear). I picked up my pace to keep the other runner (happened to end up being Heather Doucette) at my side, then with a few hundred meters of race left I sprinted with all my might (see above photo) and took 20th place by 4 seconds. My final 6K run time was 31:43 for a 5:18 pace (including T2).

Now I am nursing my worn and tired knee but pretty darn happy. Last year I was 42nd, this year 20th and with little to no practice. And my running is actually not bad but I can't wait to see how much better it can become. Now one more Du this Spring before a big rest and the final one, the Riverport Du in October. So next up, the Greenwood Du. But first, time for a rest.
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Monday, May 31, 2010

Duin' the Double Duty at the Navy Tri

Well this past weekend for me saw the next in the Duathlon series of races come up. this was the second of the year and my 3rd actual sporting event. Of course as I have mentioned numerous times my IT Band is going through some ITBFS (look it up, I swear it is real). This leads to a pain in my knee, generally just during running (and then for a day afterwards). But enough of that, I competed and did my best with what I had, so that`s that.

The day for me started at 5 AM. I had to get up, get dressed, eat and hit the road for a 7AM start time (this event was at Shearwater Airforce Base in Dartmouth, NS), and ideally you show up 1 hr before your event. I was there on time, but the weather was not cooperating for a smooth 7AM start time and we didn`t end up getting off until 730 AM. Still that was fine. It was starting to rain and the fog was thick. How thick? We'll I was about to find out.

We headed out on mass at the start (well all 14 of us in the Duathlon - most were doing the Triathlons also running that day). The first leg was a 3K run, mostly flat with a decent little hill at the midpoint of each lap (we did 2 laps). I manged to run this in 11:40 for a 3:54 pace which I was happy with landing me in 7th at the time. I switched to my bike and headed out for the 20km ride.

Well what a ride. The ground was soaked with huge puddles (not great for speed) and the ride up to the runway was quite technical. Then it was into the fog. It was so thick for us that to find the runway I had to ride from yellow cone to yellow cone, which were spaced maybe 10 feet apart at most? Then 4 laps on the runway and back down. I managed to catch the 6th place runner and put some real distance on him before the final run, which I figured I would need to make up for what I assumed might be a slowish final run). My time computer tells me I road at a 33.3 kph avg for little over 20km and kept my cadence at 91 avg. Thanks computer. The official results include the transition time from bike to running (which means a shoe change of course) and have me posted as 5th in speed overall with a total time of 36:52 and an avg pace of 32.5kph. Again, I'm pretty happy with this.

The final run started with a slow transition (resulting in a slower run time overall). This was mostly do to my inability to feel my fingers from the cold and wet and be able to put on my running shoes easily, but I managed and took off, for the 8th fastest final run time on the same 3K course for a 13:37 time and a 4:33 pace. But my cycling had put me in position to hold easily onto 6th place and finish in a time of 1:02:07.

I haven't been able to train all year for my events due to my leg/knee issue, so I am really happy to be able to be able to put up those numbers. I look forward to seeing what I can do with some proper training. And thanks to a chiropractor who was attending the race, hopefully this issue will be able to be taken care of sooner rather than later. I am looking forward to getting some rehab started.
But that brings me to "Duin' the Double." I finished the race strong but soaked and hungry. I had a bite from the snack table, then got changed into dry clothes and a rain coat and headed out to relieve one of the course workers so he could go and get ready to race. Yes, good old Ian decided to volunteer to stand in the rain and fog and show cyclists the right way to turn as they headed to the runway. I got soaked I must say, and paced the entire time to keep my legs from getting too stiff. But you know what, volunteering that these events is a good thing when possible. It makes it easy for the athletes to get their job done and helps keep the costs to run these things reasonable. And that means as an athlete I pay far less up front for most events. I like that and therefore am willing to stand around in the cold and wet for a few hours to help out. But I did get a great bagged lunch to keep me full and plenty to drink (though the bag did not weather the storm).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bluenose 10K

Well I just completed the Bluenose 10K run yesterday. It was a sunny and warm (some might say hot) day, which is of course atypical for the Bluenose. But it was fun to be running. My leg and knee were still having issues so I didn't kill myself try to get to some exciting new goal. Instead I ran with my buddy Mike and we set a great pace (he was holding back as he has a big race next weekend). We perhaps started back a bit far in the opening pack, but made loads of passing maneuvers early on (and late on as well). We partook of the lovely water being offered at all but the last station (seriously why would you stop for a drink with less than a 1K to go?). In the end I managed a pace of 4:51 for a time of 48:35, almost 10 seconds faster than last years healthy Ian.

While I am annoyed that my leg and knee prevented me from finding my maximum at this event, I am excited that I have the potential to do so much better and I know that in the future I will.

I now have 3 consecutive weekends of events coming up, Duathlons. The run is much shorter and the bike doesn't hurt my leg and knee too much. Then I will be taking a good long break from running to make sure I can get good and healed. More massage therapy is in order as well as potentially some physio. We'll see.

Congrats to all the other runners out there this weekend. It was an awesome turnout for Halifax and spectacular weather.

Thanks to Mike for the company. And thanks to Ian McGrath for not catching us while he pace bunnied the 10k to a 55min finish.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Getting Fueled for Racing

Over the last few years I have really tried to get my eating sorted out. I mean, I like to eat. Food is yummy as is beverage. But alas I weighed a little too much and had really bad heartburn, forcing me to take meds (yuck). So I changed what I ate somewhat, added a smattering of exercise and voila life was better.

Well that dietary change was fine for a smattering of exercise (20 minute bike rides and some nice long walks with a little yoga), but now I train to run and cycle and swim and also add those together for triathlons and duathlons. So I figured I should eat even better.

Don't get me wrong. I still love to eat and most things are good (and the bad stuff is generally better), but now I eat to fuel the body for racing (or training). So what does that entail?
Well for me that means doing my best to avoid the premade food section of the grocery store, save yummy milk based products like cheese and yogurt. It has also meant delving into the world of whole grains and seeds.

Thanks to the Bulk Barn (our local bulk food store), I have access to so many odd and exciting grains, seeds and nuts. And I use these to make great breakfast porridges, bake some really awesome breads and recently I have discovered the exciting (get ready) Seed Loaf! This is based on a sidedish recipe I found but have since modified to make it a powerhouse side or main dish. It includes massive amounts of good fibers, proteins, and carbs and is quite low in fat. And it can easily be tailored to suit most tastes.

So here it is for the adventurous:

Take 1/2 cup uncooked grains/seeds: I used quinoa, millet, scotch oats, lentils, poppy seeds and flax seeds
Add 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt, bring to boil, reduce to medium low (simmer level) and cover for 10 minutes
This will require a little stirring occasionally but when you do open the lid to stir, drop in 1 tsp of thyme and basil or rosemary or frankly whatever herbs you really like (want spice add cayenne).
When it is done cooking take it off the heat and add 1/2 cup of veggies (your choice I like frozen corn and spinach). If you are adding root veggies chop them up and add to the grains when you add the spices to get them a bit softer.
Now stir in 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1 beaten egg.
Place this into a baking dish and bake in a 375F oven for 45 minutes. Take out, let cool and bit and voila, yum yum. The powerhouse of food, IMO.

This is great for post exercise or lunch at work to keep you fueled for the day. Though if you aren't a big grain person, don't eat this right before the big race. A tad too much fiber for those with delicate tummies.

Have fun at the Bluenose this weekend, those in Nova Scotia. I will be running the 10K. Bad knee and all (ugh). But at least I won't be hungry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Du It For Shelter Duathlon

Well I signed up for the first Duathlon of the year. I had all of one week to get myself ready for it (due to my IT Band issues) and I woke up the morning of May 9, 2010 wondering if my leg and knee would hold out. Nervous? Yup.

This event though was a charity event first and foremost so I couldn't say no. It was raising money for the St Leonard's Society. And that is a good thing.

Elizabeth, Newt and I arrived in Musquobodoit Habour at a nice and early time to get ready without having to rush around. That is always the best idea in Triathlons/Duathlons. It means you can pick a good spot of the bike racks, maybe pedal a little bit and go for a light jog to warm up. Oh and go to the bathroom 100 times.

Anyway, the weather was nice. Some thought the wind was bad, but I thought it was fine (by product of cycling over the MacDonald Bridge everyday I guess). The rain held off, the sun often poked out often and the temp was decent (slightly chilly). The course as well was nice and flat (some rollers on the bike section) and was listed as 4k/25k/4k.

Well the starter said go and off I went. I seeded myself a bit back as I didn't know how I would feel on the run and hate getting in the way. But as it turns out I was feeling good and maybe a little stupid, so I passed a few people and made some good time. then it was the first transition of the year. New bike, new bike setup, and a change in pedals made things interesting. But t all turned out great. My Devinci CX1 felt smooth on the road and I flew through the bike leg of the course. Then it was onto Transition 2. In the past I ran my bike back as fast as possible and always ended up cramping into the first part of the run. This time I decided to jog it back, using this time to relax a bit. Man did that help. Changing shoes was a breeze, and off I went.

Sure there was a little cramping in the legs and the knee started to pain a bit but I made it through (getting passed by many of those I passed in the bike section). I finished strong and felt good (ie was able to walk). And my little dog was waiting for me, tail a wagging.

My final results were 0:16:38 / 0:42:02 / 0:17:46 for a total of 1:16:26. This left me in 15 out of 46 for the overall and 7 out of 9 in my age group. I am super happy with my time, less than thrilled with my age group placing, but what the heck, the other guys went faster.

Lesson learned: if placing gels in your back pocket and preopening them, do not grab them hard or you will be forced to do an entire race with a sticky hand. Ugh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting Back in the Saddle

Well it seems to have been a long time since I did any serious running. I had all of these plans about Personal Bests and all but a silly IT Band left me hobbling around instead. I hadn't even been biking or swimming. So much for winning any events that were to be coming up. Oh well.

But since watching my wife get her personal best at the Credit Union 5K Lung Run, I have rested, done physio, rested, drove to work (ugh), rested, compression, heat, ice, ice baths (ugh again) and massage therapy. All of this was in an effort to make sure that come hell or high water I would be running a 10K at the Bluenose (I already paid and I would hate to waste that).

Eventually i got fed up waiting for this blasted thing, so I started to ride my bike a little. The knee felt funny but didn't hurt. Then I started commuting again on my bike. It was nice. I restarted Thursday night swims training and without the crutch of the breast stroke my front crawl has actually become way better.

So finally I had to try some running. Of course I also found out about a new Duathlon for this year which I just had to compete in. Du it for Shelter. Somehow I had to be able to get two 4K runs in when I hadn't run in close to a month. Sure I could walk those legs of the Du but, why would anyone want to do that.

I began last weekend. 1K. That's it. I wouldn't let myself run further. And I stuck to that as well. Some slight pressure on the knee but otherwise good. Six min kilometer though. Oh well.

Then each day add a kilometer. Bend the knee a little more. Push a little harder. Yesterday I ran a 23 minute 5K. A 4:40 pace. Okay so that won't win my anything, won't even be the greatest run I have had at a Du, but I am back. Pain free (well the bad pain anyway). Just in time for what is to be a crazy month of events (I think I have one weekend off).


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Lung Run


Well the past weekend saw the 4th annual (?) Credit Union Lung Run happen in Halifax. And I was all ready to run this 5K event as prep for the upcoming Du's and Tri's. But alas my wounded leg (IT Band) said please don't and I heeded its words (thoughts, pains, whatever). Instead I got to be the sideline person for this event while my wife (see woman in blue hat in the above photo) cruised around to her personal best 5K time. She shaved at least 3 minutes off last years 5K time and came in witha chip time of 32:04. Good for her, and here she thought she was running slow.

I did receive some harsh, deep tissue massage today for the leg. A whole 1/2 hour on one leg and the massuse got right in there. Here's hoping that it will help get this thing healing up. I will continue stretching and resting it, which probably means if it is ready in time for teh first Du of the season that I won't get a lot more training in. Still, one has to deal with these issues sometimes, especially when you push the body past its limits.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Bike Safety

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Ian's 2010 Sporting Goals - Multisport

Well I am finally getting to the last of my years goals postings. This is the big one I guess, the one where all the other sports meet to form one super sport - be it Triathlon or Duathlon (and no folks it isn't Triath-a-lon or duath-a-lon).

This type of event is fairly new to me. I just started running last year, and I just learned how to swim correctly this year.

last year I competed in all four of the duathlon events that Triathlon Nova Scotia (TNS) hosted. I managed some decent times, and got some great finishes. I did manage to even win my age group, though it was just Mike Milloy and I in that group as the field was very small. Still in the end I managed 3rd int he seasons point series and took home a very shiny coffee mug full of jelly beans.

This year I plan on competing in all the du's again. There are 5 currently listed, with a new one on May 9th this year. My goals are pretty simple. Improve in each event that I competed in last year. Simple as that. Run faster, ride faster, run faster again and place higher. Could be tricky but I think it is all very doable. And in those couple of events where most people are doing full tri's? Well I want to place in the top three, and I will push to get that done.

By the end of the year I want to remain int he top three in the points series, and I want to place in the top three in my age group as well, which will be 35-40. This last one will be tricky as it is a very full age group, but I will push as best as I can to get it done.

Now as for tri's? Well I have never done one before, and as I mentioned I have just learned to swim after many years of paddling around in the ocean and lakes like a rabid dog. So I would like to really get out at some point this summer and do a super sprint. As it is only 300-400 meters of swimming, I feel that I can go that distance and still be in a competitive time. Also I should be able to swim that kind of distance fast enough that a wetsuit will not be needed. I can't see myself buying a full wetsuit for 1 event this year as the entry level cost is around $200 or more. This sort of event I will be happy to finish in a decent time, as i know the running and biking won't be an issue. I will just be happy to have swam in a competition for the first time ever.

Of course a lot of this is dependent on my knee righting itself. I am sure it will, but it is ever so frustrating to not be able to push through an injury.

As the season progresses I will update my blog with how things are going, and what I could/ should be doing better.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Running Goal 2010 - Update

Well it was bound to happen. I had to make adjustments to my goals already. But my knee seems t be hurt. I am sure it is a mild IT band issue, but it has meant that I haven't done any serious running in close to 2 weeks now. This has now meant that the April 10th 5K Lung Run in Halifax is off the books. Sure I might be able to get ready in time for it, but instead I have decided to take the time off for proper rest. Instead I will be cheering on my wife who will be competing an looking for PB of her own, all while getting herself ready for the Bluenose 5K. I don't mind really as she has always been good about coming to many of my events over the last couple of years. And what can be more special for a spectator that watching a bike time trial.

I am hoping this rest period, with loads of stretching and massage therapy will get me ready for the events I have planned in May.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Workshop



I have recently switched positions at my place of employment. I still work for Parks Canada, but instead of conserving archaeological finds I have now switched to the conservation and restoration of furniture and wooden objects. It is a great new challenge professionally. In the course of my job I have to know not only standard wood workign practices of modern times but also all of the older styles of wood working as well. I see this as a great new chapter in my career. It should help keep my job from getting too stale. Anyway, I thought I would show a couple of pictures of my work shop.
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ian's 2010 Sporting Goals - Swimming

Well the third part in my goals for the year blog entry series is finally up. I do seem very slow at posting these. Anyways, this post concerns my goals for swimming this year. Well, in the past i don't think I would ever have thought about swimming goals other than trying to get to the lake or ocean on hot days. This year is different. Over the winter I decided to take swimming lessons and actually learn how to swim properly. Well, those lessons are over now and thanks to Val at Centennial Pool I can now properly do a back crawl, front crawl, and a really awesome breast stroke. We won't talk about the butterfly, really we won't.

Of course I still have a lot of improvement to do, mostly in the area of endurance. I can't do much more than 6 laps of the 25 meter pool at a time without a rest. So to think that my goals for the year should be lofty, is well, silly.

So I will put this out there, by the end of the year I want to be able to swim 750 meters without stopping. Simple as that. yes, that will mean loads of practice, but it is essential for next years sporting goals. Wow, to think I am planning for a year from now.

Anyway, the final installment of the goals should be coming soon (I hope). That being MultiSports (ie Triathlon/Duathlon, where all of these other goals will come together into a great big messy crash.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ian's 2010 Sporting Goals - Cycling

Cycling as a stand alone sport was where I started when I first got into competitions. of course this was a only a few years back (maybe 6 now?). Anyway, it was a reason to justify buying a fancy (to me) bike. Anyway, due to reasons I won't get into, the world of bike races in Nova Scotia just aren't fun for me at the moment. So my goals for cycling this year are pretty simple.

I want to get as much riding as I can in. Now my 35 KMs of commuting each day sure make that easy to do. Some days it seems a chore, most days it is the best thing in the world. But it is still just a commute and not a real goal.

My goal is to get some good group rides in with some good friends. Short and hard rides, long and slow, doesn't matter (long and hard are good as well). This will include at least 3-4 Peggy's Cove loops (my favorite ride). This will also include at least 1 organized century ride. I think that this year it will be the Bridgewater Century if the timing works out well. this event is actually a slight elongated metric century it seems, but it should be hilly so that's fine by me.

There you have it. An easy one for me. No training necessary. Of course I will be training, as you just can't get that out of the blood. Plus cycling will form a major component in one of my other goals (multi-sports). But I'll write more about that later.

I hope to be riding with you any time now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ian's 2010 Sporting Goals - Running

Well I never write this stuff down. I always sort of dream stuff up in my head that morphs and changes as the year goes on. But everything I read says, "start with goals," write them down and achieve them. So what the heck, I think I will write these things down and see what I can do to achieve them as the year goes on.

Rather than one really large and annoying to read super post, e I will make this into a multiple posts over the next little while and will start with my running goals for the coming year.

Last year was the first year I actually did any serious running. And I will be the first to admit that my motivation for training in running is rather low as I would so much rather jump on the bike and ride, or even sleep on the sofa. But with little training and a cheap pair of running shoes I managed some (to me) impressive results last year, starting with the Bluenose Marathon's 10K race. I had planned to run that beast in 50 minutes last year and managed 48 minutes having never run 10K in training (I know, I know). This year I have some training under my belt, an 11K training route and a much nicer pair of shoes. Not to mention I have already started training months ahead of last year. So I expect bigger and better things from me. So here we go.

Bluenose 10K. I need a top 100 finish (last year 165th) and a minimum finishing time of 45 minutes (last year 48:43). The ideal result will be a PB, which for me in the 10K is 43:40 (set in Beford on a cold, rainy autumn day). I have already signed up for this event.

I also look to better my 5K PB. I only ran one 5K race last year in Bedford on Bedford Days. I look to do this race again this year and beat my time of 19:30 (ish) and better my 5th place finish.

I want to run in at least 3 stand alone running events this year, more if my time allows. With the sporting season seeming so far away, I will plan on doing The Credit Union Atlantic Lung Run 5K in April. This moves the season up and gets me training and thinking about the season much earlier. And to keep my training and motivation in the world of running at a high, I will look to find events that are in summer and autumn.

Next post: Cycling

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Swimming Update

Well now I think I have been taking swimming lessons for 6 weeks now. the thing I have really learned is that swimming right isn't easy, especially when you are trying to make up for 30 some odd years of poor swimming. But I have been persevering and I think I am finally seeing all my hard work come out. My breast stroke and whip kick are dynamite, and my back crawl isn't too bad. But of course it is truly the front crawl that I am most interested in.

This stroke has been my nemesis. Mostly due to my avoidance of breathing while putting my face in and out of the water. But slowly and surely I have made progress. I can now do 2 lengths without stopping (so 50 meters) and I am sucking less pool water up my nose now, so that is great as well. I fully see myself actually being able to compete in a full triathlon this summer. My first goal being a Super Sprint distance, due to the swim portion being relatively short at 300-400 meters.

My next goal in triathlon / event training, is to make a list of this years goals. And actual list, written down somewhere, and not the ever changing version I usually do in my head. In fact I may even post it on the blog for all the none of you to read (ha ha).

Monday, January 18, 2010


So I have signed up for adult swim lessons. This was week 2. Now it isn’t that I can’t swim, but judging from how much I have learned in two 1/2 hour sessions, I must say that I surely didn’t know how to swim well.

My plan, this year, is to see if I can do a triathlon. I have run races, I have cycled races and I have done duathlons, but now a new challenge is upon me.

Hopefully my stroke and breathing (oh man the breathing) will improve enough that I will attempt a sprint triathlon. But that is a 750m swim and so far I haven’t come close to that distance. But at least there is a try a tri I can look at. A 400m swim might be just the kick I need to see where I am at. The 10K bike ride and 5K  run certainly won’t pose a problem for me. We’ll see.

For those of you that can’t swim or swim poorly though, I highly suggest some lessons. Fairly cheap, and a great thing to do over a winter.

Last week front stroke. This week continued that and added back stroke. Neither stroke worthy yet, but soon, oh soon.