Sunday, March 30, 2008
The law of extremes dictates that this will be true of every single week we ever have in our entire lives - save two. Still this was a week of extremes.
As I mentioned before, Peter was kind enough to agree to help me in my efforts to have a good season this year. This first week wasn't top heavy with hours by any means - 13.5 but it was the first time in many moons where I incorporated much in the way of intensity - either running or riding.
I've climbed (bike) Mt Doug twice in the last four days. Mt Doug is a steep hill.
I've also gone over (run) Mt Tolmie six times. Not too flat either.
The training felt good and my weight this morning was 168.5 - a 12 year low by .5 of a pound. So that's pretty cool.
But there are other things going on.
Cancer sucks. It's an ugly damn bit of business. One of my athletes, a young man from Seattle I've become quite fond of, lost his mother to the wretched disease a few weeks ago. I never met the woman, but she raised a good boy and... well, it just felt badly. It stays with you. I thought about him often while I was enjoying some of the nicest riding and running I'd ever experienced in my life during those weeks in Tucson.
So I come home and as I mentioned, had a great week of training with some of the coldest damn riding I'd ever suffered through. Everyone is talking about the weather but I didn't miss a minute. That's a good thing.
Then Thursday I get a call from another of my athletes, a young woman who was a dear friend before she was one of my athletes. It seems now her mother has been given the diagnosis everyone fears. My athlete and friend was really excited about some decisions she'd recently come too. She was going to take a big leap in life and move to the United Kingdom. Now that's a gutsy manoeuvre. Her one way ticket was purchased. She would be out of the country before the new moon. Of course now, she'll stay with her mother while she undergoes major surgery and then chemo. I can think of worse things - but only because I have a vivid imagination. What a hell.
Two days later (yesterday) I had the hardest day of training I'd had in probably 3 years. It felt good.
Later in the day, something I've been trying to build for the last 8 months broke beyond repair. That felt bad - really bad.
Today I woke up feeling numb but I had a small group of athletes counting on me to put them through a swim and a two hour run planned for myself. I didn't want to do either. I wanted to stay in bed but there's not much to be gained by staying in bed so I dragged my ass down to the pool and stood on deck while the group went through the workout. Then something happened. Those guys really started to get into the workout. They did some distance stuff and some pace line stuff. It turned into one of those moments for a coach that stays with you. I left the pool feeling better than when I arrived.
Starting out for my 2 hour run wasn't so much of a chore anymore. I felt good running. Really good - for the first 90' then the wheels fell off, suddenly and soundly. The last 30' I did the IM shuffle but that's okay. It suited this week.
I finished the 2 hours and capped off one of my best training weeks in years.
Just got a call. Heather Wurtele crashed on the bike today.
What a week.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I made them pay for their disappointed looks when I rolled up! By the end of the ride there was only 5 of them left.
Now I'm told we will likely need two coaches for that ride. Gotta split the group up. Guess I'll start asking around.
Friday, March 21, 2008
It was sunny but colder than a well diggers arse.
Came across Charlene Waldner running along out there. She's now working hard to become a massage therapist and having to notch the training WAY back. She tells me she'll focus on running a good marathon in the spring. Good choice. Running delivers the greatest return on your training time investment and she always was a strong runner.
Best of luck to her!
Later I decided to take my new Zoot Ultra TTs out for a little spin. I decided to run them as intended - sockless. They're insanely comfortable when you try them on and they proved to be mostly during the run. I did 30' of running and about 15' of drills. By the end of the run I was beginning to feel a blister form on the inside of my arch on the right foot. My left foot felt perfect.
Now it should be noted, I have exceedingly flat feet. May have something to do with the blister.
Otherwise the shoe felt great. I'm looking forward to putting a few more miles in them.
Came home from the run to a note from Sam McGlone waxing lyrical about a 3 hour plus trail run she did with a few others on Wednesday. Sounded epic. When McGlone says it was one of the top ten all time runs in her history, you know it was a good one.
So now I'm already missing Tucson!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
And if you haven't already checked this out, do - it's pretty good!
This morning, after sleeping for 10 hours straight, I woke to find myself weighing 169.5 pounds. That's 2.5 pounds lighter than my 2002 Ironman weight. What a great way to start the season!
To add to the excitement, Peter has agreed to overlook my training. It's a tremendous honour but it also comes with responsibility. Pete coached me in 2004, a year fraught with injury. Still I exceeded all expectation in the Hurricane Hill Challenge but an inability to to run in the final 6 weeks leading up to IMC virtually assured me of a sub par performance. This year one of my obvious goals will be to remain injury free. So far so good.
Pete expects a lot from his athletes. I will endeavor to not disappoint.
I'll do a little unloading over the easter weekend then start a solid build to take me into Wildflower.
One of the first thing he's asked me to consider is to use my road bike for Wildflower.
I think it's a good idea. Hills are not my strength but with my Argon Platinum dressed in 404s it will weigh in at least 4 lbs lighter than my P3.
I'm sure looking forward to this season.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It was cool this morning but not as bad as yesterday. The decision was made to attempt the assault on Mount Lemon. I would take the van to mile 14, descend on my bike and go up with the crew. If they felt they wanted to go further OR the road was open to go further then we would.
I ended up driving as far as mile 12 where a sign declared that vehicles without chains or 4 wheel drive where not permitted to go further. I descended as fast as I could and may have lost an ear to frostbite, but I caught up with them at the mile and a half mark and started the climb up.
I ended up staying with one of the ladies who really wasn't sure she'd make it to the top. I got in a good workout myself by working on my power by putting it in the big ring.
We got to mile 12 to find the others had elected to continue on. Paul had had a conversation with a police officer who had informed him that the vehicles could go further so I jetted to the top with van while the woman I was riding with elected to keep going. She was working hard and the legs were starting to cramp so I was pretty impressed with her.
I passed everyone else on the way up and then again as I descended back down on my bike.
I caught up to Camile at mile 17!! I couldn't believe she'd gone that far but that was as far as she wisely elected to go. Paul was there with the second van so he was loading up her bike. I turned around and headed back to the top on my bike. With 8 miles to go to the top I knew I could get in a good workout and I also knew it would be my final workout, my final pedal strokes in Tucson. I turned up the Ipod and let slip the dogs of war! Finished up with a great ride to the top of Mount Lemon.
This has been one hell of a two weeks. My job now will be to carry it on when I return to the crappy Victoria weather. I've got a good training partner waiting for me there so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Camp 2 makes it to the top!!
Monday, March 17, 2008
The Tucson Gang - note who has a drink in his hand.
Today the weather took a staggering turn. From beautifully warm - sunscreen needed - to 3 degrees and wet!! We all layered all out clothes and headed out for a 3 hour ride. The goal was to go to Colossal Caves and back home. The weather continued to be psychotic - rain, sun, hail, etc. But we all made it the three hours and everyone went out for a nice little transition. I tried out the pair of Newtons Pete gave me the other day. I quite liked them. Felt a little different but light and fast. I'll have to put a few more miles on them to really know for sure.
We had a swim and then a run drills session planned for the afternoon.
We got to the pool but there were some pretty black clouds looming in the west. Paul and I got in the water and the girls were getting ready on deck with the little lifeguard came out to tell us the pool was closing because of lightening.
150 yards isn't much of a workout but we got it in!
So it was out of the pool and a nice little run drill set in the field beside the pool.
We didn't want to but the girls had heard of Tri Sport and wanted to do some shopping so Pete and I sucked it up and took them there. The second trip was much more satisfying. A manager there - Mike something was exceedingly helpful and made us feel really welcome. I picked up a pair of the sockless Zoots. I'm jazzed to try them out. I'm all about the sockless running!
Tomorrow was to be the groups assault on Mount Lemon but with the foul weather we're a little concerned about about the situation up there. The girls REALLY want to give it a shot so we're going to take two vehicles up there and if anyone wants to tap out they can put themselves and their bikes in a van. We heard there was six inches of snow that fell at 5000 yesterday. The hill climbs to 8000 feet. It's going to be a challenge.
Tomorrow is the last day of workouts. Wednesday Peter and I fly back to Vancouver.
I would dearly love to get in one more day of riding, just to see how the body would do.
I must confess today was the first day I really started to feel the miles. I was all I could do to pull the women home in the last hour of today's ride. There was a bit of a head wind and I was working hard out there. At one point I suddenly looked up and honestly didn't really know where I was. It was the strangest thing that's ever happened to me on a bike. It took me several minutes to figure out what the hell was going on. I honestly couldn't recall anything of the last 25'. I wasn't bonking and I felt fine. It was like I was hypnotized or something. Both Pete and Paul told me they had experienced similar events at times in their riding past.
Oh well, another one for the books.
A FEW RANDOM SHOTS FROM IAN AT SPECIALIZED:
1/2 of Pete looking very happy to be riding!
Full service coaching.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
With only four athletes today and three coaches, the ratio was good for the campers.
I ended up settling into a nice pace with Jennifer who has a 25k trail race coming up at the end of April. We did a little chatting for the first 45 but soon found ourselves settling into that place where you are just running. We made it all the way to the top where the view can only be described as spectacular. We were both wishing we had a camera. After the turn around point it was 35' gentle down to the van. We really fell in steady state. Not a word was spoken as we clipped back to the van. 1:45 on the nose. Best run I've had in a very long time.
There's a storm brewing here so I'm not sure if this afternoon's swim will go. They shut down the outdoor pools when it's storming.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Getting ready to ride.
Took van duty today but still managed to get in 90' on the bike.
I drove over Gates Pass, parked the van then joined the group for a few loops of McLean Creek.
The knee was still a little tender but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I'm confident it won't be an issue.
Pete leading the gang up the Pass.
The gang in the side view!
We got back to the hotel to find a nice big box of NUUN waiting for us!!! This is a product that both Pete and I dig. I have a hard time drinking water. I'd rather a coke or a beer but with Nuun in the house I'll drop a tab in glass of H2O and I get a fine drink with the added bonus of electrolytes!
I've been using it now for the first few hours of all my rides before switching over to a traditional sports drink. Great way to train the body to burn fat. Lord knows, my body is not so good at that!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Someone got a little sun!
So the new group arrived this morning. There were only four athletes out there this morning ready to ride!
Three people got sick and had pull the pin last week and a fourth person is MIA. She may yet show up though.
We rode to mile 3 on Mt Lemon this morning and found the woman to be a solid little group.
There was one flat tire but an otherwise uneventful
Uneventful that is, unless you count the white hot needle pain in my left knee!!
The weakest link!!
Every stroke of the pedal for the first 45' hurt like a bitch!
Pete figures it related to the high level of hill climbing (and descending) that I've suddenly started doing. I may have to take van duty for the next few days. That would be a shame because I am REALLY enjoying the training!!
I don't have a weigh scale here but I'm certain I've lost at least a quarter pound since arriving!!
Hope I don't get too skinny!
Looking Euro in my Newtons, heading over to Starbucks!!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Garth and Ian (on the right).
This is not me selling out to pimp their product - Ian's already given me a ton of shit with no strings attached so I've got nothing to gain but I really need to comment on a few things.
1) I tried out one of their new helmets. I don't know what model it is but it feels like you're riding without a helmet on your noodle!!
2) I already mentioned the Footbeds, but what must be a fraction of what a custom orthotic would cost a set of these could save a lot of triathletes some serious money and some serious pain.
3) The coolest glasses ever. When they're in the shade they're amber "happy" glasses. In the bright sun they blacken up darker than Ken Starr's heart.
Cliff Brenda and Abagail.
I made it to the top. Not much else to say. It's an epic ride. The biggest I've ever done.
One of the riders was reduced to tears when she made it to the top. Last year she failed at mile 17. Making was pretty emotional for her.
You go from desert and cacti to evergreens and snow.
A few pictures:
On the way up.
Bobbie nears the top.
Made it to the top.
The training for the day was a long "Run for the Border" ride. 5-6 hours with an optional transition run.
By now the group had been divided into three groups. Today I was to take out the B group. My fear, of course, was that I wouldn't be strong enough to stay with them. My fears were not completely unfounded. I had a few moments out there that I thought I may not be able to hold the pace but in the end it turned out okay. Having a van for support - especially one driven by Cliff English, sure keeps a group going. He was a amazing!! With three groups spread MILES on the road he just kept popping up. The Snickers bars and Powerbars were well appreciated!!
We ended up getting lost because of construction in the town of Veil and the ride was cut short - four hours. There were a lot of tired legs out there.
A nice moment for the "B" gang came when we caught the "A" as we were coming back into town.
With the ride only 4 hours, pretty much everyone jumped into their Sneakers and headed out the door for the run. It was hot as blazes out there but I felt fine.
One of the reasons I felt so fine was a new pair of shoe inserts Ian had given me. I'd told him about some foot cramping that I was prone to after long rides. He suggested the new Specialized High Performance Footbed with a metatarsal button. It was designed for my problem exactly. I guess it's not that uncommon a problem. I was nervous about riding with something new like that for four hours but I didn't even notice they were there and when I started running I was shocked at how good my feet felt!! I shit you not! If you ever suffer from the same problem, give those bad boys a shot!
Then it was time for the talks.
There's a few things I'd do differently but in the end I'd say it went well enough. I suppose I'll be giving the same talk again to the next group of campers so I can iron out a few of the weaker moments.
Ian from Specialized warmed the room up by discussing bike fit and I know that was a conversation a lot of people needed to hear!
Ian from Specialized explaining the importance of a good bike fit.
"Consistency makes a champion!!"
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I was going to test out my new camel back!!
So I woke feeling pretty good. Still not sleeping great but it wasn't too bad.
Churchill pondered that stupidity should be painful.
Today it proved to be.
Coach Pete, prepping the gang pre-run.
We were all standing around the trail head. While Pete was carefully explaining the directions to take I was monkeying around with my camel back. Gatorade was running down the back of my legs and I knew that would make for an uncomfortable 1:45. I had two litres of sugar water back there and it was coming out fast.
We started off and I made it 30 seconds before deciding I had to fix the problem.
I stopped and the gang pulled away. I wasn't worried though. How hard could it be to catch up?
I determined the problem and fixed it in under 60 seconds. Off I went.
Within a minute the trail T'd into a road. I could go right or left. Right pointed up into Sobino Canyon, where we wanted to go. The choice was easy and the choice was wrong. After about 7 forks in the road I calculated I had about a 1 in 350 chance of being on the right path. But like I said, I'd been wrong from the beginning. I ended up following a creek - walking and running in ankle deep sand and jumping from head sized bolder to head sized boulder. My legs were bleeding from the hostile shrubbery.
Getting lost has its advantages. One of them was running here.
After about 20' I saw some people on the other side of the creek. I waded through and discovered a road. I remembered something about the run finishing down a road so I headed up. Soon one of the campers came rolling down the other direction. 15' later I managed to find the trail and camper after camper coming the other way. After an hour of being out there I turned around and descended back to the parking lot for 40'. I didn't really get the feel of the intended run but I ended up enjoying the hell out of the day despite. I know someone back home, very dear to me, who would have LOVED that run - lost or not!!!
Paul coming down from the Phone Line
The trail back to the parking lot - 40' more of running!
The afternoon called for our first swim. Everyone was pretty tired so we kept it to a quick hour.
I enjoyed the outdoor swimming but 25 yards is not a lot of fun. Too many flip turns.
Paul showing us how it's done!
The boys gave me the option of taking van duty again but I was feeling much better - not 100% but not less than 80%.
So the riders were divided into three groups - an A, B and C group. Not shockingly I took the C group.
The plan was to peak Gates Pass and come straight home. For the C group that would mean about 2.5 hours.
The pace was pleasant and the day was perfect. One of the girls in my group had run a marathon a week earlier was was having a pretty tough go of it but she was game and we all made it up the six mile climb.
Gates Pass Peak
We were just prepping to go back down the hill when Pete called out "Hey, you gotta come over the peak a bit and see this!" I told the group I'd be right back and headed over to see what was up.
Typical Pete - it was what was down!! He figured I should just do down the back side.
The climb up the front is 6 miles. The back side? 2 MILES!!!
I couldn't say no. I fell down the back side and clawed my way back up.
The group was patient and waited for me!
Home ride was uneventful.
Had a one hour nap after that was the best sleep I'd since leaving Canada.
A forty minute run was planned for the evening so we headed to a little park beside some dry gulch that we ended up running along. I was feeling okay but still not great.
Ended up running by myself and was the only one who actually ran 40 minutes. Everyone else went at least 45. Those guys better start listening to their coaches!!!
Then to add to stress/excitement Jay Prasuhn senior editor from Triathlete Mag rolled in with his camera and a bike. His plan was to do a little shoot for half the ride then jump on the steed for the climb up Lemon (again, the plan was to go to mile 6).
Jay and I put Eric in the van to catch up to the group. So far I was feeling rough and pumping up those tires sure didn't help but I figured I'd be okay for the rest of the ride.
Five minutes later we came across Michael on the side of the road with flat number 3. Jay could easily work any wrench vehicle in the Tour. The boy could change a tire fast. But it was one more session on the bike pump for me. The stomach wasn't liking it. I would have to bow out if there was another flat and the mocking would be fierce.
Luckily there were no more incidents (though there was one more flat away from me).
Base of Lemon
The gang made it to mile six as planned, except for Cliff and Stevie who somehow missed the memo and kept going to mile 12. Unlucky!!
Mile six. Pete and Sam.
Ian from Specialized and Jay from Triathlete!!
After the ride it was back to the hotel where I did my best rest but a 50 min run was planned and I really wanted to make an apperance.
I actually started to feel better before the run and for about 47 seconds considered running. That feeling passed and we headed out to the run location - me in my flip flops.
Jay came along and took some more photos.
We saw a bunch of the Canadian Jr National Team out there training. They looked good.
Getting ready for the first run.
Jay Prasuhn on the run trail.
Clint feeling as yellow as his shirt
Made it home. Bed by 8:30!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sadly, good friends, Sam McGlone and Cliff English showed up at the room, six pack in hand ready to have a nice visit. I had to huddle in the corner and excuse myself every four minutes. Not the best way to greet friends.
The night was spent tossing and turning, hot and cold and running to and fro.
The original plan for the following morning was to repeat the ride the four of us had taken to mile six of Mt Lemon. I was to drive the van to the mile mark, pull out my bike, back track and join up with the group. That plan was certainly out the window. My concern now was whether I'd even be able to drive the van.
The morning would tell.
Friday, March 7, 2008
First ride today. The camp officially starts tomorrow so there was just Peter, Paul, myself and Pete's friend and former athlete Randy Christofferson. Three very talented riders.
The plan (so I thought) was to ride to mile six on Mount Lemon and then head home for a three hour ride.
We were on the road at nine. Arm warmers and knee warmers were nice but not necessary. We took a roundabout route to the mountain and began the climb. I managed to stay with the gang till mile 3. I was actually pleased with that. I kept going, figuring I would go as far as I could before they hit mile 6 and turned around but somewhere along the line I missed a communication. I got to mile 6 and found it to be empty of any cyclists. I rode a little further ahead, coming to a switch back where I could see quite a ways ahead. No riders.
I turned around and started back down. My legs were burning and there's still 12 more training days ahead. My goal (one or them) is to make it the full distance with some dignity. I don't want to be in the penalty box until the end of the second camp!
I stopped a few times to take a few snaps (see above - that's mile 3, where I got dropped) but the trio never overtook. I rode home and clocked in 3 satisfying hours. An hour later they boys showed up. I guess the decision was made to carry on to Windy Point (mile 14). Glad I turned around.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Well, we arrived here in
The first 22' of the run were a slow progressive climb of close to a
You need fitness to climb well and you need technical skills to descend. I have neither. So, unfortunately for Pete, the only exercise he got was in patients.
Still it was an incredible run with stunning visuals. I think I'm going to like it here.
Tomorrow we have a three hour ride planned and the "official" camp starts Saturday.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
In a few hours Reid will be picking me up and we'll sojourn to Bellingham where we will fly out in the morning for the Tucson training camps - http://www.endurancespecialists.com/
The reason I'm in this posh hotel is because a producer I've worked with before has expressed a renewed interest in making a little horror movie I wrote a few years ago called The Bitch. He flew in from LA to meet some other producers and wanted me to be involved with that - so here I am.
Ran into Fox Mulder in the elevator. We didn't chat.
So the last two days have been a bit hectic but still I managed to put an hour on the treadmill last night and today I did 45' on a stationary bike, 15' on the treadmill and a quick 15' weight circuit.
Now clearly cross training an hour a day would give the average person on this earth a great boost in their fitness - yet if I were to keep my workouts within that range for the next five months how would that be reflected when I toed the line at IMC?
I'd probably suffer through a 15 hour Ironman - if I was even able to finish, which is questionable. It really is a crazy sport that so many of us have embraced and love.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Friday and half the day Saturday I had the pleasure of looking after Lori Bowden's little boy Tyson. I've been spending time with Tyson since shortly after his birth and he certainly can be counted as one of the good things in my life. He's two now and is a very good little boy. He's happy by nature and not a whiner in the least. Lori has done a great job of raising him on her own. But this was our first overnight visit. We had a great time but there was little sleep involved. Yesterday - as I wrote, I felt weak on the bike.
Last night I slept 11 hours straight and then napped for 2 hours this afternoon. Not sure what that's all about as 7 hours usually covers me for a 24 period. Like my grandmother used to say - "I guess I needed it."
My final workout for this down week was to be an easy 40' run. I shit you not - I bonked after 20'. How is that possible?!? Well, I know how it's possible but I just didn't think it could happen to me!
Next week it's off to Tucson and the beginning of a 3 week build. I'll have some challenges with the travel days and such, but I'm always up for a challenge.
Sure hope I feel better than I did during this down week!!
Rachel Keirs and her husband Mike joined me this weekend for the ride yesterday and more importantly a swim this morning with my camera capturing all their sins. Like most swimmers - the majority of their sinning involved dropped elbows. Nothing like seeing it on the screen. If it's on TV it must be true.
Was also very pleased to see Heather Wurtele had brought her right arm over from the other time zone it had been working in for the past year.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Felt cruddy most of the week. Kept telling myself my body was rebuilding after the monstrous mashing I gave it the previous week. But the damn thing is my body rebuilt another 3 pounds, I'm still sleeping like baby - that is to say I wake up screaming every two hours and today I tried to ride a few hours with some hills tossed in there and I felt like my legs had never ridden a bike in their existence on this earth. I'm not going to let it get me down. I'll be starting another build on Monday and finishing it up in Tucson from the 6th to the 19th. There'll be some good training going on down there. Reid and I are flying down to join Paul Cross and his brother Jason, as well as Cliff English and Sam McGlone for a few training camps they have lined up. The warmth will be welcomed and I'm looking forward to working with some of the best triathlon coaches in the business.