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Weekly Update 1…

As the title suggests, I will update my activities weekly, rather than trying to keep up with daily updates, plus I am sure daily updates can get very boring. I will of course do other posting not related to my physical activity as they come up.

Since my last update, I have continued to ride but still not to a level that I had planned by this point. The one thing so far this bike season that I have not experienced in past years, is the constant strong winds we have had on a daily basis. In the end, I know this will only make me stronger on the bike. I have taken to doing some sprints on my rides, I usually sprint for 1K. Reviewing the Garmin data once I was finished, I was happy to see a few sprints in the 40km/h and the majority in the high 30s.

Since my last post, I did add another “gadget” to Bonnie. Last year, I purchased a used set of Profile Design T2+ aerobars. It did take me some time getting use to the aerobars but towards the end of last season I was comfortable in the aero position. The one thing I did find with the T2 was the flat position of the bars caused my hands to go numb.

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In the off-season, I did some research on the various aerobars to see if I could find a set that I would feel more comfortable with and that would alleviate the numbness. In the end, I purchased a set of Profile Design T3+ Carbon based on several reviews.

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So far, I am very happy with the purchase. I love how my hands feel in the up turned bar position. Over the next little while, I will play with the adjustment of the bars to see if I can tune in my aero position better.

Last weekend was a big weekend for the Ottawa running community, as it was the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. There were almost 50,000 runners competing in races from 5k right up to the marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier so there are runners from all over the world in Ottawa competing. As part of Race Weekend, there is a huge fitness expo with everything a runner might need to compete. I decided not to take part this year but I thought I should at least take in the expo. This would be my first time going into such a crowded place on my own since getting diagnosed with PTSD. Well, I did make it through though it did take a lot out of me. Still, I made the effort and to think that just over a year ago, I would have not even considered going into that big of a crowd on my own.

Though I was disappointed not to be racing this year, I did have several friends running in various races. My running buddy and good friend Jenn was running in her very first marathon. I so wished I could have run with her, but it was not meant to be. As I sat at my nephew football practise, I kept looking at the time on my iPhone and talking to myself, saying, at this time, Jenn should be at this point on the course. I was so happy when I got home and checked her bib number on Sport Stats to see Jenn had completed he first marathon. It was bitter-sweet but I was super proud of Jenn crossing that finish line.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that one of my friends posted a running challenge that she was taking part in with Runners World Magazine. The challenge is to run every day from Memorial Day to July 1, a total of 41 days of running. I have not run much at all since last December so this was a great chance to get my legs moving again while being held accountable to my running friends. Knowing that I had not run since December, I was not going to run for a time but a distance to start off with and once I got my runners legs back, then I would start pushing for time.

There are a couple of more motivators to run and keep running. The first being that I have signed up to run the Army half marathon at the end of September. The proceeds of this race goes to help the Canadian Soldiers and their families. It is also an emotional race as there are a lot of wounded soldier either running or racing in their wheel chairs. This year, I will wear a special shirt that I will have made up for the race. The second reason for keeping up with the running is that it will help me lose the weight I have put on in the last year. I worked so hard to lose that 100lbs, I cannot go back to that weight again. I went from a 46″ waist down to a 34″ waist, though my pants were a little snug. Now, I am finding that my 36″ waist pants are a little more than snug. My short-term goal is to fit back into my 36″ waist pants so they are very comfortable to wear.

Over all, I am feeling very good and that things are coming together nicely. I so look forward to the next 5-6 weeks of training and then going back to school for six weeks. Things are changing, but all the changes at this point are very good.

Here is a sample of my workouts this past week:

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Until next time, “Pick a gear and disappear”

Day 2 Out and About……

The day did not start out to great as Clyde, the TREK DS 8.3, that I planned to take out for a long ride on the Osgoode and Leitrim pathway was not ready to go as I thought. As you will recall from an earlier post, I had to take in the rear tire on Clyde to get a spoke replaced. I brought the tire home and it had been sitting in the garage until I was ready to go for a ride. As I was mounting the tire, I noticed that something was not right as I put the chain on. Low and behold, they forgot to tighten the cassette.

With Bonnie not really being ready to go, I decided that it would be best to take the tire in to get the cassette tighten. I could have done it myself with make shift tools but thought it best to let the professionals do the job right. The bike store, well it is really an outdoors store that is big into bikes, was packed it being Saturday and all. The bike tech said the tire would be ready in an hour as they had several bikes in the racks. I did not really mind as it let me walk around the store to lust after a number of bikes I would love to have. There was also a few factory reps at the store so I took the opportunity to talk with them about the different products that are currently available and what was coming on the market soon.

With the tire already to go, it was back to the house to get the tire mounted and head out for a ride. By the time I got home, the temperature was already in the mid 20’s so rather than head out on the bike right away, I decided that it would be better to take Bogie out for a walk before it got too hot.

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We had a nice long walk, stopping to say hello to as many dogs and owners as we could. I would normally avoid doing this as I am not great with introducing myself nor making small talk. Bogie had a great time and I think this was the longest walk he has been on in a very long time.

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By the time we got home, the temperature was hitting a whooping 31c. Poor Bogie was beat when we got home, which for an Airedale is a very good thing as they can be a bundle of energy. I spent a little time cooling off and having something to eat myself. Plan was to head out on the bike a little later. Well by the time I was ready to go, a severe thunder-storm warning had been issued which included high winds, heavy rain and high likelihood of hail. Having been caught in a storm like that last year, I did not want to take the chance of getting caught in one again.

Renee was spending the weekend with the Girl Guides camping so my Mum invited me over for dinner. We all know, there is no cooking like my mom’s cooking so I had to go over to the parents place for dinner. My sister was there with her two boys, my aunt and my brother were there as well so it was a big crowd for dinner. I know one time last year I went over for such a dinner I had to leave due to my anxiety. This year it was not so bad.

So, that was day two of being out and about. Though not as productive as I had hoped, it was still a good day with me being out of my own home for three and a half hours.

Looks like the decision not ride was a good one. A few areas around Ottawa got hit pretty bad with micro bursts and violent thunder storms.

Clyde Has a Boo-Boo

The plan for today was to get the bikes in the stand to do my pre-season inspection and clean up. First in the stand was the Trek DS 8.3. I thought I had cleaned up the bike at the end of last season but apparently not, as everything was coated in a nice layer of dirt and mud.

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Clyde in the stand. Yes, that is snow and ice in the background.

 

I removed the bottle cages and bag so that I could apply a liberal amount of bike cleaner. It took me 20 minutes to just get the dirt and mud off of the frame and wheels. Next the drive train need to be sprayed and brushed. Damn it gunk up in such a short time. I used my Park chain cleaner tool along with some citrus cleaner, it sure smells pretty. The cleaner is white and just after a few turns of the crank, the liquid went from white to black.  As good as the Park tool is, I went at the chain and cogs with a soft brush just to dig out some of the tough gunk.

Next on the list of items to clean are the breaks. My bike has disc brakes front and back so I took a gag and soaked it with brake fluid. I then took the rag and cleaned the disc, front and back. What a difference in braking action that little bit of cleaning did. I applying a little bit of oil to the pivot points of the breaking system to allow for smooth action.

Great, Clyde is really starting to look now. Just a couple of more things to test and check before a test ride. Now to check the gear shifting action to ensure that it is all working smoothly and sure enough it was. Next was to clean the pedals and apply a little oil to the SPD action. Nothing worse than either not being able to click in or unclick from the pedal.

With the pedals good to go just one last check before the test ride and that is to test each spoke of each tire. That’s when things went bad. Front wheel, all spokes are tight and the wheel is true. Then to the back wheel and after checking just 3 spokes, I found a broken one. Darn!!! I continued to check the other spokes and found a couple of loose ones. That means a trip to the bike store to either buy the tools I need to change the spoke myself or get the shop to do it.

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D’Oh!! Broken Spoke

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Not Fun

I have to go pick up some other stuff at the bike shop as I think I will just drop it to them to fix quickly while I shop and lust after some of the goodies in the store. I just worked on Clyde today as it took long than expected and I need some other items for Bonnie any ways so I will clean her up tomorrow.

Here is hoping that warmer temperatures get here soon so I can enjoy a nice long ride on either bike. The first ride will most like be on Clyde as the roads here still have a lot loose gravel and debris in the bike lanes.

Come on Spring!!

Update: Dropped the wheel off today to get the new spoke installed but unfortunately the wheel is out of true. Given the broken spoke and the few loose ones, I guess I should have expected that. With Friday being a holiday, it looks like my first ride may not be until Saturday at the earliest, unless I take Bonnie out. If it is warm enough I just might.

Restart Delayed

Well I had every intentions to start back training over the last couple of weeks but I have been battling a nagging “MAN COLD” that just won’t go away. From the posts of my Ottawa friends on Facebook, it seems the strong women have been hit with nasty bug.

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Though I have not been able to train, I have worked my training plan and playing with a race calendar. Right now my “A” race will be the Olympic Distance at the K-Town Triathlon with the possibility of a 70.3 late season race if all goes well so rather than set myself up for disappointment my focus will be the Olympic Distance this year. There is no sense in pushing myself and getting injured. If a 70.3 distance is meant to be this year, then it is meant to be and if not then there is something to shoot for in 2016.

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I have also taken this forced down time to search through the WordPress blogs for other triathletes for inspiration and training tips. One that I like is Katie Hart Morse, as she mixes up her workouts. In one of her posts, she links to a YouTube video of her doing a strength workout half way through one of her runs. I would have never thought to do that myself. It is a great idea, especially for me as I do not do enough strength core training and have always found a way to not do it at the end of the run. By doing the workout half way through, it not only gets the workout in but allows you to cool down part way through the run and get the heart rate down.

With any luck, I can finally shake this cold and the weather will finally make its way into the plus side of zero before too long. Until then, I will keep on keeping on.

Another Week Done

So last week my goals were to complete at least two bike rides of 50K or more. I ended up doing three rides, 51.12, 50.09 and 53.13 averaging about 24KM/h. Two of the rides were on the Rideau Channal pathway system and there were a lot of people on the path so I kept my speed low, the other ride was on the Osgoode Line Path which is still pretty soft in place with water still in some sections. I am more than happy with the speed given that I was on my Trek DS 8.3 versus my road bike. I will admit that there were a couple of times that I was nervous but with each ride, I get more comfortable.

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I planned to get in three runs of 5K, but I ended up with only two. One of the days I was supposed to run did not happen as I was having a very bad, well a couple of bad days actually. Given what I am going through, there are still bad days but it seems and feels like the good days are out numbering the bad days. Again, I used the Osgoode Line Path system to do my runs as the ground is soft so running on it is easier on my knee. My time was ok at 36 minutes for one run and 34:24 for the other run. I am also breaking in a new pair of shoes, which I hope to have a review on shortly.

As for swimming, well that did not happen due one of the bad days. I will get in the pool this week but I am not going to put as much pressure on myself to do it as I did the last week. The big win for last week was that I did not visit Timmie (Tim Hortons Donuts) at all last week and I was able to eat much better. I have not weighed myself but my clothes are feeling better and I drop two belt notches so I am on the right track.

The goals for the coming week will be a repeat of last week as I know they are doable and I will not feel as much pressure. I am moving forward slowly but surely.

Until next time…When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

A Story That Makes Me Shake My Head

When I read stories like the one below, I just do not understand people sometimes.

First, I do not get why the kids what they did. Is life that boring that you need to go out a terrorize someone for kicks and giggles. Then the parents who think that there little ones can do no wrong and blame the other person, than themselves for bringing up kids that have so little respect for other people. As for the law enforcement officers, well you know there was some influence my the parents on them. Let’s hope that those that deserved to be charged are and that they take responsibility  for their actions.

 

A Year Of Firsts,Set Backs and Thanks Yous: 2013 A Year In Review

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Last year when I first started my blog I had some pretty lofty goals and I did a video post of me thanking so many people. This year, I decided to cover the details of how I made out as well as to make sure I thank all those that helped me out throughout the year.

A Year of First

The new year start off this a bang and I did my first Disney Run. This race was an absolute hoot and I highly recommend that any runner should do at least one Disney Run. Running with 27,000 of my closest friends coupled with Disney characters allowed me to be a kid again.The pre and post race party were a highlight and goes to show you that Disney knows how to stage an event.

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In March, I ran in the 30K Around the Bay Road Race for the very first time. It was the furthest distance that I had completed to date. Though I did not have the result I wanted, it was thrilling to just finish. Body permitting, I will be back in 2014 to better my time.

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Photo by Sports Shooter

Along came June and the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour. This was my first ever long distance bike ride with a large group of people. This tour also resulted in my longest one day ride at 178K and my longest combined two day ride with a total of 358K. It was a fun experience with friends that I look forward to doing again sometime in the near future.

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Shortly after the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour, I took part in my first kilt run. Each year, the town of Perth, ON puts on a run/race to set a record of the most people to run in a kilt. It was certainly a differenct experience running in a kilt. This was a fun race to be a part of and I have already signed to do it again this year.

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Photo by Sports Shooter

Without a doubt, the biggest first for me was completing my first triathlon. I competed in the Cornwal Triathlon in August with a number of friends that had all completed at least one tri. This was going to be a learning experience for me more than anything else and boy did I learn. It was a thrilling experience I will not soon forget,  the triathlon bug has bitten me very good.

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Photo by Katherine Lapner

Again this September, I volunteered to help with IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka. I find that you learn so much from helping out at events like this. This year came with an added bonus, for the first time I got to meet one of the greats in the sport of triathlon, Mirinda Carfrae. It was amzing to see her in action at Muskoka and then to watch her capture he second IRONMAN World Championship on TV just a month later. She is certainly one the great ambassadors of the sport.

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Set Backs

It was one of those years of two steps forward and one step back it seemed but progress is still progress. The year started off with me under going some pretty intense physiotherapy on my right leg, with a treatment called dry needling. The lack of strength in that leg limited my training for Around the Bay. After three months of therapy, I was almost back to normal.

Just when everything was progressing so well and training was ramping up for Ottawa Race Weekend the injury bug bit again. This time in the form of not one but four stress fractures in the right foot. I most likely had stress fractures prior to this but being the guy that I am, I just ran through the pain. I was on a training run when I came upon a cobble stone sidewalk that was a little uneven. As my foot hit the ground I could feel and hear something was not right. I ended up limping the last 1.5K back to the start point of the run. I took a little time off as Race Weekend was approaching and I wanted to be in good shape to compete in the half marathon. I did not seek out a diagnosus until after Race Weekend which leads into the next set back.

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Not sure if I was going to put this next event in the Firsts or Set Backs section of this post but given how it effected me mentally, I decided to put it in the Set Back section. Going into the Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon, I had a gut feeling that things were not going to go too well. The first 7K of the race I was feeling great and I was on pace to reach my finish goal time. Then at 8K, the pain started in the right foot and by 9K the pain was unbarable, so I pulled out of the race, my first DNF. Looking back, it was the right decision but at the time, I beat myself up pretty good for not completing. Shortly after the race I went to a sports doctor who confirmed the stress factures.

For the most part, the summer was uneventful and once my stress fractures healed, I resumed my training. I had an awesome summer and my training was at its’ best since I started my journey to complete an IRONMAN. I had just completed my first triathlon and I was feeling great. Mentally and physically I was in a great place, that is until September 14 when the injury shark (what happened was too much for a bug) took a big chunk out of me. While mountain biking, I took a spill that resulted in two broken wrist, two cracked ribs and a messed up knee. This was going to be my biggest set back and challenge to date.  Though I am still healing, the recovery has been longer and harder than I had hoped it would be, both mentally and physically. I hope to be back in training mode sooner than later.

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Though this was going to be a 2014 event, the decision to withdraw from IRONMAN 70.3 Mont Tremblant came in 2013. It took a lot of effort on my part to finally pull the plug on this goal but again it was the right decision to make given my health and level of training. One of the deciding factors for me was my lack of swim training. Without the extra three months of swim training, my weakest link in triathlon, I knew that it was going to be hard for me to finish the event within the time limit. Also, given the nature of my injuries, I did not want to push myself so much that I hamper my recovery or do more damage.

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Thank you

When reaching for a goal, especially one as big as IRONMAN, one cannot do it alone. So, here in no particular order I would like to say a big thank you:

The medical team: Dr.Ashikan, Dr. Pollock and the E.R staff at Kamloops General Hospital, who have put this humpty dumpty back together and keep me put together. I am grateful for having you in my corner in 2013, but with all due respect, I hope that I do not need you or your services in 2014.

Blog Buddies10000 Miles of Experiences, Adventures and Thoughts (Tony), Fit Recovery (Jim) and Chatter Gets Fit and From Meltdown to Ironman (Simone). Thank you for keeping me entertained, informed, motivated and educating me on so many things. I never thought that writting a blog would have connected me with such great people, some on the same journey as myself.

Team Tasting Blood (TTB): Laura, Diane, Katherine, Colleen, Jamie, Christian, Richard, Nicole, Amira, Julie, Ben-Zion, Andrew, Michael, Andree-Ann, John, Rene and Jesee. A great group of people whose athletic abilities far exceed mine, thank you for your encouragment, helpful tips and your friendship. I look forward to training with some of you in 2014.

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Photo By Alistair Warwick

Alistair’s Cycle Group: Alistair, Catherine, Michele, Monica, Howard, Peter, Cal, Dodie, Tayeb, Mike and the member of TTB that came out of this group, Laura, Diane, Katherine, Colleen, Jamie, Christian, Richard, Nicole, Amira, Julie, Ben-Zion, Andrew, Michael, Andree-Ann, John, Rene, Jesee, Dawn. Thanks for the company on those great Saturday rides and the encouragment to get up those Gatineau Hills on Thurdays evening. Hopefully next year I can be a part of the ski group.

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Photo by Alistair Warwick

Running Room Crew: Grace, Laura, Peter, Alain, Isabelle, Heather, Wahl, Elaine, Donna, Greg M, Greg B, Joleen, Michelle, Laen, Heather G, Michael, Jenn D, Jenn H, Phil, Shawna, Julie, Natalie, Dougie. Thanks again for another awesome year. It is always a pleasure to see you guys and run with you as well. Your encouragement and support especially over the last few months has meant a great deal to me.

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Darren Clark: Thanks for your encouragement, help and  the time you spent listening to me. I hope we can get in some more riding in 2014.

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Jenn Hood: What started off as me pushing you, you ended up pushing me through those last few Ks of the Around the Bay. Thank you for your friendship, encouragement and company on those long runs. Heres to many runs together in 2014.

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Photo by Sports Shooter

Brigitte Bernier: Some of what I accomplished this year would not have been possible without  your great physiotherapy treatments. Thank you for getting me back out there and keeping me in check when I needed. Though I wish you did not smile so much when you were putting those needles in me. LOL

Friends and Colleauges: I want to thank you all for your encouragement, support and taking the time to read my blog. Your comments on my posts and on Facebook mean a lot to me, some more than you will ever know.

Family: Having the support of family is paramount to acheiving any goal and I am lucky to have that support. Though some shake their head and think I am crazy but still support me any ways. Thank you all for being there for me when needed you the most.

And last but not least, the Missus, Renee. Without her support and encouragement, the goal of reaching IRONMAN would not be possible. She has kept me grounded when needed, lifted my spirits when they were down and helped mend me when I was broken. Thank you for not beating me over the head with a shovel for putting you through so much in 2013. I hope that 2014 will be less taxing on you.

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Well, it was certainly an eventful year and in certain areas I do not wish to repeat, but as I always say, it certainly could have been worse. I have to take the good with the bad and try not to dwell on the bad but concentrate on the good.

As I put 2013 behind me, I look forward to many joyus occasions and reaching a number of new goals in 2014 which I will post in the next few days.

Until then… Happy New Year and a successful 2014