Monday, October 15, 2012

Helmets -wear or not wear

Ok so anyone who is a Facebook buddy/acquaintance will look at the title and say what?  I seem to like to have epic crashes/accidents on my bike on Thanksgiving Weekends.

You will recall when me and Shazam rode the hood of a Jeep in October 4, 2008 - I came out fairly unscathed a lot of soft tissue in my hips/legs and behind/lower back and a brand new bike - Isis. 

Well on Oct 5, 2012 on my ride to work I suddenly found myself bouncing my head and backside off the pavement at about 30km/hour.  I came out a little worse for wear on this one.  After I landed and thought holy sh*t that hurt!  I realized nothing was broken gathered my front fender up and continued to the bus loop - oh be quiet - at this point I thought I would have a nasty bruise on my back and well sure my head was a little sore but I had on my helmet so off I went.

When I got to the bus I loaded the bike up thinking crap I am really hurting and wondering if my phone had survived me landing on it when the bus driver said - are you ok you are bleeding - hmmm.  So I put my hand to the back of my neck and sure enough it came back all bloody.  Shoot that can't be good.

She offered to call an ambulance - I thought it over and decided no.  Recalling the last time and the gong show that ensued - while having a SO that is a paramedic is great it can also be not so great when he hears over dispatch that you are the patient.  And for those who know me - I don't like to be fussed over - I am uncomfortable with it, really uncomfortable with it.  So thinking about that, realizing I had a bike to deal with, I was already on the bus heading to work - which ironically is in a hospital , knowing that I would probably arrived there in the same time as if I just stayed on the bus - I decided stay on the bus.  I did not feel too bad just sore and decided if I keep the helmet and beanie cap on it will stench the flow of blood.  I opted for the bus ride.  Don't worry I called Joe - I am not that foolish - honestly the blood thing was freaking me out a bit.

Working in a hospital has some privileges- like to the front of the line when you walk through the back door the urgent care department bleeding from a head wound.  When I left I had 4 pretty blue stictches in my 2 inch gouge in my head, a wrapped left hand for my sprained thumb, a pretty awesome concussion, xrays of my pelvis, hand and SI joints - no breaks.  My helmet was toast. 

I can honestly say this - if I had not been wearing my helmet I would probably be in ICU right now as we speak if I had made it there....  Back to the question helmets - yes or no.  There is a lot of research out there on both sides of the fence.

Personally for me I always wear a helmet now - but it was not always that way.  It has only been in the last 10 years that I have started wearing one prior to that you would not have caught me dead in one.  As a kid we mocked kids that wore helmets.   However I am a different type of rider now - I race, I go for speed and I ride on the roads now.  Before I rode on sidewalks and I "latte" rode.

The arguments for and against helmets are compelling - there are several articles that have  shown that in countries where there are amount of cyclists wearing helmets - there are a high amount of head injuries and vice versa.  Here is a link to a blog that really, I think lays out some valid points regarding helmets and safety - http://bicyclesafe.com/helmets.html.    I would encourage everyone to read it. 

Wearing a helmet does not guarantee you will not get injured or have an injury - it MAY help reduce the severity of it.  You need to be a smart cyclist and savvy.  You need to have good bike handling skills - mine are pretty good but could be a lot better.  

Now before you all start ranting at me - I just wanted to highlight other things to think about - I believe in helmets and I will not ride without one but I can't force others to do it and I think it is just as important to have proper bike handling skills and well some common sense -lastly you can not control the universe there are no guarantees.

How did this happen - honestly I don't know.  I was riding along like I do every day on a road I ride every day, I went to change my gears and the next thing I was on the road.  I was on the new-to-me mountain bike - Niart.  We think either my chain jammed or my front brakes seized as there was stuff caught in my brakes - (i had not noticed it earlier).  The bike is in the shop to check it over - I will admit to not getting it checked out before riding it.  Even though I had been riding it for a month - my bad - no excuse- I know better. Thankfully I was on the road by myself with no traffic around or it could have been worse.

So there you have it - for me I will continue to wear my new, very expensive helmet whenever I go out on my bike.  I am convinced to saved me - I will also work on my riding skills and regularly take  ALL my bikes in for tune-ups.  (Isis - my road bike goes in every 4 months). And next year for Thankgiving I think I will pass on the bike riding.

Oh and my I-Phone - totally fine - not a mark on it - the otter case did the job but left a lovely IPHONE shaped bruise on my tailbone.  

Peace out Shaun



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Great tri for first timers – Cultas Lake Tri Race report



Well it seems silly to be doing my first Tri Race report for 2012 in September but at least I have one. 
   
Registering for the Cultas Lake Tri was really a last minute decision My leg is slowly healing and I can honestly say that this is by far the most frustrating injury I have had to date and you are talking to someone who has fractured her heel and been hit by a car!

The process of recovery is very slow and well honestly I have been quite tentative because I am not quite sure how I tore it so I find myself being much more cautious and pragmatic in my training – my confidence has been shaken which has meant increasing my distances and adding intensities to workouts has been very tentative. Which for those who know me know is not in my nature.   

I registered for the Sprint Tri at Cultas lake because I needed to prove to myself that I could do a race, that a catastrophe would not happen,  my calf muscle would hold up and that I was going to be able to still do the stuff I love.

Outback Events is a group from the interior of BC who run a number of events and I am a big fan of Joe and Sarah Dixon, the owners.  I have done several of their races and find them extremely organized: community support is great, volunteers awesome, the courses are gorgeous and challenging and the overall vibe is just fantastic.  It is apparent they love what they do and care about the athletes.  I would highly recommend doing any of their races. 

This was my first time at Cultas Lake – I could have done the Vancouver Sprint Tri the previous weekend but I like to support the folks I know and I trust they will put on a great race - I feel safe on their courses. 

The swim is in Cultas lake and it was quite nice – wetsuits are approved - yes I did wear mine.  The one draw back is the shore and lake are very rocky so it is not a running start.  You wade in about  30 feet or so and start from there.  As you all know I do not like to start at the front or the middle.  I like to be last, so it was a little tricky to do this but I managed it.  Here is the thing the 4 months of intense pool work paid off – I was quickly in the middle of it and I did NOT panic.  There were people all around me and I just went Zen and kept swimming – glide glide breath, glide glide breath – sight and repeat.  Based on previous races I planned for around 20 minutes for 750 swim so as I was coming out of the water and heard 17 min and change I was like – holy crap!  Now again trying to exit was a bit tricky because of the rocks but I swam right up to the point where my hands started brushing the rocks which meant I only had to navigate about 2 feet of rocks before I hit the green mat on the beach. 

Here is my only complaint and it is something I noticed at Oliver this year to.  No wet suit strippers.  I asked if there were strippers and was told there was but none around – if you have ever tried to take a wetsuit off by yourself out of water it is very hard and time consuming.  So I was trying to get the damn thing off quickly and not having a lot of success.  Fortunately this lovely lady who was also racing noticed my struggles and said drop – and helped pull it off – then I returned the favor and we were both on our way.

The bike course is awesome it is a 20km out and back course – I am not a big fan of loops so another reason I chose this one.  Going out there is nice downhill leading into flats to the turn around.  At this time I kind of wished I had put my tri-bars on because there was a pretty good headwind but instead I just went into the drops  and Eddie Mercx’d it.  I had an awesome ride – 20km is great because you can treat it like a time trial so you get up to speed and then just settle in and with only one climb back to the finish you really can stay in the drops (or tri bars) all the way.  Only 2 people passed me – both guys – other than that I passed a whole whack of peeps and it felt great.   My riding back and forth to work 3x a week was definitely helping.  Bike time 42 min and some change.  A little slower than I wanted – I wanted 39-40 min but overall I was very pleased.

The Bike-run transition went a lot smoother and I was off for a 5km run.  This was going to be the real test since I hand only really been running for about  4 weeks and had not done any speed or hills.  I have been running 3x a week and been taking a very pragmatic approach.  The run course is very pretty – you run down to a trail beside the lake and I was in heaven for the first km or so and then the next thing you know you are literally running on the beach in sand.  At first I was okay but after about half a km I was not so thrilled – my footing, of course, was not stable and I was worried about rolling an ankle and/or hurting my calf. During this I got passed by about 10 – 20 people and that was frustrating but not unexpected.  I was never so happy to see pavement in my life.  Next time I would wear trail shoes for the added stability,   As I suspected the run was my weak link – 33+ min.  However the positives were I ran the entire 5km, I finished strong and my calf/ankle felt fine.

 Overall time was 1:38:46 which I am more than happy with.  As usual Outback did a great job with post refreshments – Fresh hot pizza and beverages as well as the usual chips, fruit, etc.  Finisher shirts and free towels were a nice treat.  Most importantly I feel like I got my Mojo back – next race is the Buntzen 5 peaks Trail race – Sport Course – Sept 29 – should be good. 

I would definitely do this event again and if you are looking for a first time event or to wrap up your season next year then this is the one for you.  www.outbackevents.ca.  These folks also host several races including a Gran Fondo bike race this coming weekend.   

Peace out
Shaun

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trans Alps Mountain Bike Race - Guest Report

Hi All  - yes I know I have been remiss in posting but being so busy with yoga and all now ( she says tongue in cheek) I just have not had time.  Seriously though  - I have been maintaining my yoga.

The weather has just been so awesome here in Vancouver that I have not wanted to miss a second of it before the rain comes back.

This post is courtesy of my "SO" - Joe who had the adventure of a lifetime this summer with his dad riding the Trans Alps Mountain Bike Race.

He originally wrote this for IMPACT magazine at their request - after submitting they have changed the story to an interview with his dad and him - to be published in the next issue.  So I thought I would "publish" his version for you all to read - since I have no intention of EVER doing this race and thus will never do a race report on it that I am aware of....


 I never imagined what I was getting into when my Dad decided that he wanted to mark his 70th birthday by participating in the transalp mountain bike race. You see I had done my first Ironman the year prior and so dad thought that if I could finish an Ironman that I would be able to complete the transalps race. Yeah that’s right, his birthday but I guess he didn’t want to have all the fun. Never mind that it has been dubbed the hardest mountain bike race in the world. 8 days, over 600 km and over 20,000 meters of elevation changes.
So it was with a sense of trepidation that I signed us up and began training. I actually thought that I had prepared well for the event as I think I had put more training into this thanI had Ironman. I should mention that my Dad was an accomplished cyclist who has represented northern Ireland, Ireland and canada in various cycling races. So I did not want to let Dad down!!
I flew out to Munich from Vancouver where I took two trains into the city of Oberammegau to meet dad for the start of the race. We had decided to go the route of staying in bed and breakfasts rather than doing the camping. Boy was I glad I let Dad talk me into that.
 Now as I had said there was a little bit of climbing involved in this race. We would in fact go over some of the highest peaks in Germany,  Austria, Switzerland and Italy, but there was nothing I could have done to fully prepare myself for the vertical climbs we endured during the actual event. The good thing though is that the ferocity of the climbs were matched and surpassed by the beautiful and panoramic vistas throughout.
Added to the sheer gradients we faced was the fact that about 75 per-cent of the course was off-road and over rough terrain. We also faced extreme weather conditions ranging from blistering heat at one stage, to being surrounded by snow at the summits of the Alps. The extent of the climbs, coupled with the repetition of having to face this day after day for over a week was a killer.  There were times when you would be riding up an incline and you would be passed by someone walking their bike! Oh yes there was walking. A lot more than I thought there would be. A couple of stages you make your way out of town and turn a corner and see 700-800 people off their bikes and walking. Oh and the hills do go on. You keep looking up to see where the top is, you get there and you turn the corner and it keeps going up and up.
Now for me the good part of going up was that you got to  come down. I enjoy descending a little more than climbing. Sometimes you are descending for more than hour at a time with not too many really technical sections with maybe the last day into Riva being the exception. I had problems with my rear brake from day one and unfortunately I ended up having to replace my brakes. The good thing after that was that I wasn’t coming down these steep descents with only my front brake to stop me. I must admit to being a little afraid on some of the downhills. Luckily I had the new brakes for day 6 when I needed them to stop me from a close encounter with a 90’ fall onto rocks below.
For me there are some experiences that I will hold onto. Getting to the top of the highest climb at 2718m or doing 70km/h+ down an Italian road, the descent through a Swiss alpine meadow straight out of the Sound of Music or the feeling of accomplishment that I got when Dad and I finished the race in Riva together as we had started. That was our mantra throughout the trip actually, we start…..we finish!
The overall experience is one I will never forget. I met some great people during the event. From riders to technical support to cameramen and organizers of the race and our meals. Everyone together made this an event which I would not only highly recommend but one that I would look forward to doing again.
At the awards ceremony at the end Dad was brought up on stage to a standing ovation and given an award as the oldest competitor in the race. I was so proud of my Dad and hope that maybe I will be able to finish the Transalps with my son when I’m 70. I finished as top Canadian in my age group! (no need to mention that I was the only Canadian in my age group)
So should you be thinking should I do it I would say most definitely Hell Yeah!!! Oh and if you should get the chance to do it with your seventy year old Dad go for it. (Even if he does beat you up the hills!)

Joe Smyth
Team  Glendale Dreamers

Monday, July 9, 2012

I have been converted -Namaste -

Hi peeps

Well summer has finally arrived in Vancouver thankfully - I was about to put the place up for sale and move if this went on for much longer.

I know I live on the "wet" coast and that from November to May it rains - I get it.  I am even okay with the moody May and June but last month was over the top and then when it was pouring on July 1 and 2 my meltdown became official - but mother nature must have felt the collective freak-out and turned it around and we have for at least the next 2 weeks summer.

So in my ongoing recovery - fyi don't ever tear a muscle - it takes forever to heal -  we thought  I might have reinjured it.  Fortunately after meeting with the specialist all is well and I can keep moving forward in my very gradual return to running and cycling.

However he suggested that Yoga may be something I would want to do.  BAHAHAHAHAHA  - I tried a yoga class once - hated it.  Nope not doing Yoga.   I have avoided doing yoga for 12 years and been just fine thank you very much.  Where am I supposed to fit it in?!?!  Plus have you seen how much it costs - it is just stretching for crying out loud - I can stretch for free at home.  I don't but I can.....

Well it was like all my healthcare team texted each other and said talk to her about yoga.  Every darn appointment it was mentioned - Yoga would help you in your recovery.  Fine - I will get my mat out and pull out the DVD - if I can find it and prove them wrong.

Well my mat is still in the cupboard and the DVD - is actually holding up an edge of the printer so I can't move it right now.  But yet the voices kept at me - YOGAAAAAA - yeesh fine - i reached out to my Facebook peeps and found a studio that was offering a deal $20 for 1 week unlimited yoga.  Ah ha - perfect - I will yoga my @ss off for a week and show everyone that it does not help and then they will all shut up.

Well the week is almost over and it pains me to say I have been enjoying myself and I think it is helping.... Really my leg and hip feel much better and I actually did a "trail" run yesterday for 25 min with no ill effects.

So yesterday after Yoga I actually signed up for 12 more weeks!  I KNOW I have been converted.  I figure I can put it into the rotation at least once a week and maybe even 2x a week.

The final clincher was this morning at physio - my physio said what has changed and I told him I started doing Yoga so he would stop harassing me about it and he said well it is working because I don't think you need to come in again!  YEE HAAAA

Yep I am converted.

Namaste peeps Namaste
 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear cyclists be ambassadors.

Since I have clearance to ride again - I asked for the parameters - rules and regulations from my Physio - how far, can I add tension, can I get out of the saddle and how often.

No still keep tension off - hmmph
No do not get out of the saddle - hmmph
How often - lets try  twice a week and if that is okay  then you may add a day - yeah
How far - lets look at time - okay - how long - NOT 4 hours - 2 hours should be good - okaaaay

So riding to work ok - yes but that is included in your twice a week - okay.

Very exciting!!!!

So yesterday I got my stuff together and me and Isis set off - since I leave around 6:15 am in the morning my ride in is pretty non-eventful.

The ride home - whole other story....

If you want to hit a hot button topic - talk about cycling in Vancouver - at least once a week a talk show host gets on line and bashes cyclists - it does not help that City Hall keeps shoving bike lanes and such down taxpayers throats without thoughtful discussion - but that is a whole other post to say the least.

I have ridden a bike since I was very young with the exception of the first 5 years I lived in Vancouver.  I have always used my bike for transportation - even before it became cool or I became a triathlete.  I would like to say I ride because I am altruistic and to be "GREEN" but that is not why I ride now or before, it just happens to be a pleasant side effect. I was taught the rules of the road and I was taught that I am a vehicle and as such need to act as such.

People wonder why there is so much anger towards cyclists - well here are a few reasons:



1. Blasting through a 4-way stop sign - especially when cars are stopped.  You must have a death wish. Don't get me wrong I do California stops but that means slowing down assessing and STOPPING if it is not your turn or there are cars there.

2. Blasting through a crosswalk when obviously people are walking in it right in front of you.  (I am reformed on this as I have seen the error of my ways). 

3. Riding at night with no lights or reflective gear - just plain stupid and dangerous - people can not see you, other riders can not see  you - you are obviously a candidate for a DARWIN award.

4. Riding on the wrong side of a dedicated bike path while you are listening to your tunes - it is just like a road way - please treat as such.

5. HELMETS - Ummmm just because you have a basket on the front and can carry groceries does not mean you don't need a helmet - oh I forgot that is why you HAVVVE the basked to carry the helmet .....

6. If there is a dedicated bike path beside you DON'T ride down the sidewalk beside it making pedestrians move - you are now officially a jerk.

7. I know you want to talk to your 3 friends as you ride down the dedicated bike path side by side but if you see a cyclist coming towards you move - would you drive down the wrong side of the road beside your friends?!?!

8. If there is a cyclist in front of you and they are passing a car on the left that has stopped AND there is a car coming towards them - probably not a good idea to pass the cyclist on the left and almost get hit head on.....seriously - I can't make this sh*t up.

9. When turning - it is customary to signal so everyone knows what you are doing - most of us do not have ESP like you.

10. Riding up the inside on the right side of cars that are stopped at lights with their right turn signal on - sadly I have to explain this - they will probably turn into you and they have the right of way, they were there first.

I could probably list a dozen other but I think my point has been made. 

Your actions put me and other riders in danger - people get angry and frustrated - both pedestrians, other good cyclists and drivers because of your bad habits.  You may have come out unscathed and not affected but now that person or driver is pissed off at "riders" and I or one of my friends may be the next rider they see that they decide to cut-off or do a brush by with their car to teach cyclists a lesson.  They may try to nudge me off the road or honk their horn just as they are passing by me, throw their door open or pull out in front of me. A pedestrian may refuse to share the joint pathway and walk right down the centre or worse yet grab my handle bar as I pass (this happened to someone I know) and cause me to crash  and it is all because you felt you did not have to follow the rules.

So I implore you to follow those rules.   You have the option to be an ambassador  for cycling and help change people's attitudes.  We all have to share the road ways and pathways.

Peace out
Shaun



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oliver Half Ironman 2012 - Spectator Report & Wine tour

This past weekend was the Oliver Half Ironman.  Joe and I have been doing this race for the past 5 years.  It is a favorite of ours and makes for a nice holiday.

Now calm down - I did not race I was able to get a deferral to next year.  I went up to watch Joe race, do some light riding  and to do some wine tastings :).  There are so many amazing wineries up there and because I am always racing I never go so this was my opportunity. I would say I had a rather successful weekend and came home with 10 bottles from various wineries - it is going to be a good summer! 

The wineries I hit in Oliver are Wild Goose, Oliver Twist and Hidden Chapel.  I also hit a few just outside Penticton on the Naramata Bench - Blue Ruby and Black Widow.  I like to go to the smaller wineries because I feel like they are not so commercial, their wines are very nice and the owners are usually the ones running the tasting room so you get to have a wonderful conversation about the history of their winery and such.  It just feels more folksy and authentic. 

I did take Isis up and Saturday I rode to Osoyoos, enjoyed a coffee and bagel in the sun, and then rode back.  It might have been a bit long.  It is about 65 km round trip from Hotel to Timmy's and back and my leg was tired and a bit achy near the end  but overall I was happy with the ride and yes Joe followed me there and back  on his bike to make sure I kept the tension off and did not get out of the saddle. 

Sunday the weather was absolutely perfect for a tri.  It had clouded over so it would not get too hot and there was no rain and very little wind.  Joe has been having some issues with his calf and had said to me that this is just a training day  - only 6 weeks till he races in the Alps for 8 days - so he was not going to push it and if he was not feeling it when he got to the run he would walk off and DNF rather than risk it. 

I actually knew quite a few people racing so it was nice to see them all out. While watching the swim I noticed there were no strippers - volunteers to pull off the swimmers wetsuits for them when they exit the water.  They were really short on volunteers this year so a bunch of us that were watching put our stuff down, went down to the water exit and started stripping wetsuits.  It was super fun and I loved it as I got to strip Joe's and a few other friends wetsuits as they came out and congratulate them on their great swims.  One of my friends came out with a real bad cramp so I sat with her and talked to her until she felt she could continue.  Then I went and got a bite to eat, tried to find Joe on the bike course (more on that later) and hit a winery. 

I zipped all over the course trying to find Joe with no such luck - so I thought to heck with it I will just go back to transition and wait there.  I headed back to transition and got there at 10:50 - he has said he was not racing, just a training day so I calculated that would be just under 3 hours so I would see him.  Well WRONG - I looked at the racks and did a double take - those were his cycling shoes.  CRAPTASTIC - he was already on the run course!  Guess the "training" day was going better than expected....

So I started running to the start of the run course - OH be quiet! It was only like 600m, 1km tops - it was important.  I thought maybe he had just left - of course I did not find him so then I just started walking backwards along the course.  I figured he has to run towards me and that way I will see him. 

Sure as heck about 15 minutes later who comes running towards me at a good clip but Joe.  I was like - training day?!?!  - he was like I feel good and gone.  YEE HA so I started doing posts but wanted to stay calm because some quick number crunching told me that he was going to PB and not by just a little.  soooooooo excited.  So I turned back and started walking back to the finish/turnaround and caught him on his second loop out and took a great photo of him.  This worked great to because I got to see all my peeps out on the run course to!

So his final time - 5:30:23 - BOOYAH - he took another 30 minutes off his time!!!  Most on the bike.  It was so awesome!  Now about not finding Joe on the bike course - we both have Time Trial helmets we wear for racing.  My helmet is small and his is X-Large (his head is really big) - yep you guessed it he grabbed my helmet. So when he went to put it on obviously it did not fit and I was wet suit stripping so he could not call me to go get his other helmet at the hotel.  He was about to DNF when another guy pulled out after the swim - one of the officials talked to the guy and he generously agreed to let Joe use his helmet.  Joe did not get his name or number so we could say thank you - feel bad about that - but that is why I could not find him on the course because I was looking for a time-trial helmet.

All my other friends finished and from emails and quick conversations at the awards BBQ they all were happy with their races.

We have already reserved our hotel for next year and will both be using it as a prep race for Ironman next year.  If you are thinking about doing a Half Ironman - this a great race for a newbie - well run, huge community support, great volunteers, fantastic course and next year is their 10th Anniversary.

Hope to see you there

Shaun


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Perspective and Hope

For the last 6 weeks or so I have been dealing with  my injury - torn calf muscle and it has been a bit of a roller coaster for me.

I lead an incredibly busy and full life and my coping skills for stress is to run or ride and well I have not had that to help me vent.  This is also how I socialize with all my friends - runs and rides - so to put it bluntly I have been pretty self pitying and while the rational part of me is like - get-over-yourself it is not that big a deal.  The emotional - I am a LEO after all - is messing with my psyche alot.

However over the last week a lot of things have happened that quite frankly put my little injury into perspective.  In the last week a friend has had to put down her adolescent dog very suddenly - if you are not a dog owner or lover then it is a little hard to understand but it was upsetting and I gave Bishop a big hug when I got home on Tuesday.  Some people I know have just been diagnosed with cancer - always unsettling and upsetting and then last night I found out an acquaintance died very suddenly and needlessly.   He was a runner out of my local running room and while I did not hang out with or run with him I did occasionally share a hello - how are you and other pleasantries.  He was a healthy guy who did his first Ironman the same year I did.  He apparently passed away from Meningitis this past weekend- I must say I am still in shock.  He was young and healthy and thought he had the flu - he had gone to emergency and they sent him home the first time.  The second time they diagnosed properly but it was too late.  Just makes you think - enjoy every second and stop focusing on the negative.

Then I received another email - a friend who was diagnosed with Cancer a few years ago  sent me an email.  One of the things that was hardest for her to accept was that after treatment she would no longer be able to have children - which she so desperately wanted.  Well her email was to let me and others know that are prayers had worked and she is 3 months pregnant!  It brought tears to my eyes because I know how much this means to her and her husband. 

And there is your perspective - it reminds me to not be so self-focused and to be grateful for what I have and the people in my life.

Things are obviously moving forward - I have been out of the the aircast for just over 2 weeks and wearing a compression sock.  I have gotten clearance to do little tiny runs - well he said run on the spot but me and the dog thought that was kind of dumb so we compromised and do little jogs for 30 seconds about 3 times during a 30 minute walk and today I got permission to start riding to work!  I am not allowed to put alot of tension or get out of the saddle but at least I can take the bike off the trainer and ride outside again - YEAH!!!

So everyone take a moment to hug someone you care about and gratefull for all you have.  Miracles do happen and life is way too short.

Peace out
Shaun

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Running is Bad for you!

As you all know I have been recently sidelined with a pretty serious running injury - torn soleus muscle.  To say it has sucked is the understatement of the year.

Now in my civilian life I work in health care in a hospital. This means that I have been  traipsing around the hospital for weeks in a gray aircast and more recently replaced it with a pink compression sock.  I have been asked over and over again what happened and invariably at least once a day someone says to me - you should not run it is bad for you.

Now congratulate me here because I have not had a total melt down or freak out on these people or even lectured them I just smile and walk way.  Some come by this belief because they have had a medical "professional" tell them this.  Using such phrases as it is bad for your knees or other joints and it is too hard on your body.  Some have suffered injuries that do not allow them to comfortably run, some may have structural issues, bone density issues or asthma and well some - if I may be so bold to say - are just out of shape and not motivated.

I grant that running is not for everyone - it is hard.  Depending on the surface you run on it can be very hard on your knees and other joints.  Depending on your weight it can be hard when first starting out.  Depending on your core strength, shoes, posture, overall health, etc etc it can be very difficult.  But the one thing I have learned time and time again that nothing worth having or doing is ever easy.  If it was everyone would have or do it. Mostly to be a runner you have to have desire - it is just that simple - DESIRE.

Running needs to be done in stages to - that is start slow and easy building strength and endurance gradually.  Make sure you have the proper shoes and make sure you are working on your form. Cross train this builds up the other muscles and improves your core.  Plus you don't need to run every day or run very far.  I remember when I first got back in to running 12 years ago I had some issues - Plantar fascietis in both feet - I remember I went to one medical person and they said you should not run - well I did not like that answer so I told them so and went to a different person and told them that if they told me I should not run ever that I would leave that I did not want a canned response that I refused to accept that response and that they needed to think outside the box and help me find a solution.

Why was I like this about it?  Because I had the desire  and Terry Fox.  When I was very young and an avid runner  I ran all the time - I  lived to run - we lived in Winnipeg and I ran year round.  I had a cross country coach who told us all about Terry - how he ran a marathon every single day with only 1 leg.  And while I did not know really what 26 miles was,  I had run 4 and 6 miles and knew that was far so 26 must be really far.  We trained so that when Terry came to Winnipeg we would get to run with him - well we all know what happened and we still ran that year but not with him.

My thoughts have always been if he could do it with one leg then there was a way I could do it with 2 - find me the way.  Well I pursued and eventually we solved it with orthotics and I have not had a problem with my feet since.  Any time I have had an injury or issue it generally has been due to running form, pushing too hard or the odd time things completely out of my control - like someone tripping me.

Since I started running again I dropped more than 20lbs, quit smoking, lessened my drinking.  I look a lot younger and generally feel better physically and mentally.  Yes sometimes my legs are sore but before I started running again I would get stiff and sore if I did any kind of activity.  I also know my blood pressure, heart rate and overall health are much better.  Finally my social life is also better I have made great friends who I know will be in my life for years to come.

So is running bad for me - respectfully I would say to those people NO - not running is bad for me.  

Peace out Shaun






Monday, April 30, 2012

Visualization - Taper week Saviour

Next week is the Vancouver BMO - I was SUPPOSED to be doing the full.... (not bitter at all).  However I am now on the grey boot spectator team - and it looks like we have added another member - our popularity is increasing.  My friend Diane is now sporting one along with June-bug and I.  This is not a group I would encourage others to aspire to join...

So with everyone in full taper mode and finding themselves with spare time on their hands, getting antsy and over thinking all aspects of their race I would advise you to take that excess energy and use to work on visualizing your race day - Start to successful finish.  It is a great way to focus that excess energy.

One of the talks that I get tagged to do for the clinics is the visualization talk.  I started giving the talk 3 years ago when I was leading clinics.  After working with Coach Larry and benefiting immensely from doing visualization with him I decided that I would do it with my clinics.  Now that I not leading anymore I get asked to come in and do the talk for the groups near the end of their clinics just before race day.  I like doing them but I am starting to think a better time to do the talk to create the most benefit may be at the start of the clinic.  I honestly believe this is a skill that the runners should be using from the moment they register for the race/clinic.  Something to think about and maybe mention to the clinic leaders.

So Visualization talk - people think yah, yah she will talk about the value of it and why.  Well yeah I touch on it, I also touch on such things as power words and mantra's and learning be comfortable being uncomfortable among other things.   Power words are important they are words that can motivate you and energize you on the course - mine is Shazam.  Mantras I have are - Pain is temporary, Pride is forever.  Today is your day and I like to hum I Feel Good by James Brown - sometimes I have been known to start singing it out loud. If nothing else it motivates other runners around me to move faster to get away from me when I am singing. 

For the actual talk -  I actually have them mentally run the race right there and then.  I ask them to close their eyes and see themselves race morning standing in their gear at the start line.  Sometimes I will start to play the national anthem - just like it would be on race morning.  I tell them to think of their power word and take a deep breath in and feel the energy start to move in their body.  I have them pass over the start line and here I press my watch so they hear a beep, beep just like they would as they pass over the mats.  I then guide them through the course - km by km - A little faster since it is in our minds.  I talk about weather, spectators, porta potties, how they may be feeling, aid stations, pace, walk breaks and things on the course.  At tough points I have them take deep breaths in and pull energy into their body continuing to move up their limbs - at these times I tell them to say their power word or mantra again.  I talk about 32km and feeling bad and tired and not wanting to do this - about saying their Mantra and power words and using the energy of the crowd and fellow runners to get through it. - I talk about eating gels and the love hate relationship with their pace bunny.

Finally I talk about how they come through the darkness and how near the finish line they will see fences, the crowds, they will hear Stephen King and how for the final push they will pull the last of the energy in - feeling their whole body tingle right to the ends of the hair on their heads -  I usually have picked one person in the group who has told me their goal time and announce their dream time and name with a final beep, beep of my watch as they cross over the finish line timing mats.

After we do this I talk to them about doing this every day going forward to race day.  Just finding a quiet place for 15 minutes and running their race.  I like to think that people find some benefit from this exercise - I guess they do because I keep getting asked to come back and do the talk.

So my advice to you with 5 sleeps left - work on visualizing your success.  See it, Believe it, Live it.

Peace out from the sideline

Shaun

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Pity Party

sorry I know I should have been posted sooner but well I have been holding my own pity party.

If you recall i was all like - I cut my runs short when it started to hurt and have been working with physio - it is all good.  Well IT WAS NOT GOOD! grrrr 

After the 23km run where I had some pretty bad pain and pulled out at 16km I went for my my next physio and he was like  no running  for a week to let it settle down and get my orthotics looked at.  He then proceeded to go and get a a calendar and show me what exactly he meant by a week - including  with start and finish dates?!?!  Yeesh - ok in his defense the last time he said a week I left the week up to interpretation - I took a week it was just he meant at that moment and I started the week 3 days later so it did not mess with my long runs.  My husband told my old physio who tattled to my new physio so hence the careful explanation of week.  

  Sounds good -no running for 1 week and off I toddle to my podiatrist. He asks what's up - I point to the area of my calf/ankle that has been bothering me and barely get 5 words out before he  says - NO RUNNING - WHAT?!?!?!  I have to finish telling yo.... NO RUNNING - I am ordering an Ultrasound - no running until after that. 

So I am a little shocked and him being the smart guy he is ( pretty sure my physio probably called him ahead of time to give him a refresher on me and the need for explicitly detailed explanations)  saw an opening to get his message to me in no uncertain terms.   He pushes on - You probably have torn your tendon - WHAT.  Okay now you have my attention.

He explains in graphic detail that the pain I have and the nature of how it came up is consistent with a tear and that I need an ultrasound.  Really a tear - okay everyone calm down.  I was like what about my races -
what about those - I have 2 coming up

He actually did an eye roll and because he knows me and has been my physician for 12 years he decides that  I am not listening.  So he outlines it - if I run and I have a small tear I can worsen it to the point that I tear the whole tendon.  Hmmm - the only way to fix that is surgery - don't like the sound of that.  and then Rehab for at least a year possibly longer and probably no running ever again.  OKAY You have my attention.Can I swim and ride still?  Yes your can.  Okay, that is good right?

So I got my appointment time, left his office got in my car and proceeded to cry for a bit. OMG  what the heck - I had been doing physio - I had been doing what they told me - I stopped running when it really hurt.  So I did what any sane rational person would do - I went into denial. I clung to the fact that he said I could ride and swim.  Well then that is what i was going to do - I was going to ride every day and swim every second day until the Ultrasound and then when it came back negative i was going to run and show him!


Well the Ultrasound was done and the next day the call came - 7mm tear in the soleus - okay that is not the tendon and it is only 7mm - so I am good to go.  You can imagine the sigh on his end of the phone.   Nope-  I have to wear a stupid air cast for 4 weeks, no riding for a week,  swimming only with a pull buoy, water running okay,  and then I can get on the trainer and spin in about a week or so. 

So yep since that phone call I have been at the pool pretty much everyday swimming with the pull buoy for an hour followed by 1 hour of water running (he SAID it was okay).  The days that I don't swim I am at physio and acupuncture.  I am determined to be back in 2.5 weeks and have already arranged for a follow-up Ultrasound for then.  Hey perks to working in healthcare. 

So pity party is officially over and I am going to do whatever it takes to get back in the game.  I obviously will not be doing the Vancouver Marathon but I am still hopeful that I can do the Oliver Half Iron in June.

Wish me luck.

Peace out Shaun  






Monday, March 26, 2012

Mileage Versus Time - being a Smart Runner



Most runners, at least the ones I know have a little OCD mixed in with Type A characteristics.

This is not meant to be a negative – as a triathlete I tell everyone I have ADD, OCD and triple TYPE A – try being me!?!  It is exhausting some days.    

So how am I relating this all to the mileage versus time debate you ask?  Well as endurance runners – yes if you run anything over 5km, in my book, you are now an endurance athlete.  There are levels but yep you have definitely moved past the 20 minute after work run – and if you can do 10 km in 20 min – well I dislike you a little bit. 

Again back to– see the ADD thing I am not kidding – tying this together.  Once our mileage goes up and we start doing half marathons, full marathons, ultras and such we start to become more obsessive about our mileage.  Especially those who are new to long distance running.  There is this fear that if you do not get the exact precise mileage down that the schedule says great catastrophe’s will occur!  What are they you ask?  Well to name a few:
v      How will you be able to up your mileage the next week?
v      How will you finish in your goal time?
v     How will you EVEN BE ABLE TO FINISH THE RACE AT ALL?!?!?!

There is a real fear that if you do not get the exact, precise mileage done these things will happen.  I have heard so often – “we were supposed to do …. km but it was only …. – that was 2 km short” and the intense concern and fear in their voice.  I feel empathy for them because I have felt that fear – it is real.  However after doing this stuff for 12 years now I am a little more laid back about it.  I am not saying I don’t have a small heart palpitation but I recover quickly and shake it off.

So mileage versus time – yep it is important to maintain consistent mileage when training for longer distances and there does have to be increases in a controlled and reasonable way otherwise you will get injured, burnt out and/or not be ready for race day.  I mean you are going to have to do a run over 20/25km in training if you want to do a full marathon and still walk the next day.  You are going to have to run a few hours in a row.  You can not top out all your training runs at 10km and hope to be mobile the next day. What I would challenge the folks that are focused on the actual mileage is to listen to your body and be flexible with the mileage. 

There is strong evidence that if you can go out for a 3 – 3.5 hour run a few times in your training you should be okay.  For those speedy peeps – you know who you are – you will be able to knock out your 32km run easily in that time and possibly the full 42.2km.  I would like to point out though, that there are a few of us runners out there that may take a smidge longer,  that we like  to savor our run – if you are in the 7 min/km and over group then you need to consider time out there.  3 – 3.5 hours is more of a 24 – 29 km run.  Not a great differential but that extra 3km or so is a minimum of 21 more minutes and quite possibly longer if we are training in the right pace/zone.  That means for us that as distance increases so does the time out on the road and that can lead to overuse injuries and over training.  Hence where the quality of the run should start to take precedent over the quantity. 

Running 32km because the schedule says 32km is a good idea but only if it makes sense for you – if you are not feeling well or are slightly injured or have something to do then the world will not end if you cut it short – I promise.   You are not a failure and you are not letting yourself down.  You are training smart.  Maybe the next time you go out for your 10km run you feel great and add on a few km it all works out.

My message here is to stay flexible in your training – don’t be so hard or stringent on yourself – we do this for pleasure, at least I do.   By being a little flexible then you have the ability to adapt to what the day hands you and you are not weighed down by expectations or a pedometer.

I did not always believe this – I had to be converted.  I mean the schedule is the schedule is the schedule for a reason! (That is the OCD kicking in) My personal conversion happened when I trained for Ironman – not once did I ever run over 3 hours – not once.  My coach did not put down mileage for me to run she put down time’s.  She said run for 3 hours – the first 20 min run with your heart rate here then go to the is heart rate and maintain for this time, then change to this and such.  I am not a fast runner – especially not now since the accident – so in 3 hours I was probably getting in 25 – 27 km – maybe…  For Speed workouts she did the same thing 15 min warm up in this zone then 10 min in this zone, 1 min recovery, repeat 8 times then 15 min cool down run. 

Riding - I never rode 180 km, again it was based on time – she said 3 hour ride – I rode 3 hours following the parameters she said to. Some days I got farther some days not so much.  It was dependent on the route(s) I chose, weather, how I was feeling and such. 

I remember feeling incredible anxiety about this method and process but I thought I hired her because she has had success training others this way and I talked with those people and whenever I started to doubt the process I would remember what they told me and I would do it that way. 

Now I find that training this way allows me to have the freedom to listen to my body and be okay when a run is a little short or I physically pull out – which I have had to do on my last 2 long runs. I find I have less injuries and more proactive when something starts to ache or hurt and that allows me to return faster and usually keep training.   Before I would push now I don’t.

I could have ground it out this past Sunday and got the mileage but from experience and my new understanding of quality vs quantity I know that I will be okay because by pulling out it means I can rehab the injury and get to race day.  I won’t kid you it is always hard for me to do this and I do feel a little disappointment in myself.  I feel like maybe I am being a wimp and how can I be a group leader if I can’t even do the distance? 

Sometimes it is just as coach B says “Playing Smart so that you get to run another day. Not being a hero and ending up being off for 2 months with an injury”  So fellow athletes don’t sweat it if you are short a bit or need to call it you will still get to race day if you train smarter not necessarily harder.

Peace Out

Shaun



 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Avoiding injury depression

As the mileage starts to increase the aches and pains increase and the chance of injury as well.

Recently I started listening to Podcasts .  One podcast I am enjoying immensely is IM Talk. 

They talk about everything to do with Ironman, triathlon training, racing, nutrition, and so on and so forth.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in triathlon.

One of the topics on their most recent podcast was Injury and how to not become depressed and stressed out while rehabbing.   As soon as they started talking about it I knew I was nodding my head and thinking Bingo. 

We all know what it is like - we start out training and then it becomes part of our life, it defines us and it is what we do. The sense of pride and accomplishment that we get after we finish that 29km run on Sunday morning.   Especially as we decide to get into longer distances - marathon, Ironmans and Ultra's.  Things go great and then all of the sudden boom injured.

 Most of us freak out - go into denial, train a little bit more thinking it is not an injury thus really injuring ourselves....  Finally when it is painfully obvious that we are injured we starting thinking about how we get back in the game.  We are like junkies - come on admit it- you start to obsess.

OMG I am losing all my fitness what am I going to do?!?!
How am I going to keep up when I get back?
What can I do for training - can I sneak in a run/ swim/ bike? Do weights - give me something....

NON-REFUNDABLE entry , I have to get back at it - I paid for the race.

Then when you are told 6 ways from Sunday that you are on the bench you start harassing your physio - can I go out now?  how about Now,  WHAT ABOUT NOW to the point they consider refusing you as a client.

You sit on the couch and mope, you snap at your family and friends and figure you might as well have the bowl of ice cream because it does not matter anyways. Your spouse can't bear to be around you because you are so miserable- you have officially hit rock bottom.

Well the pod cast was great it talked about all of this and said that one of the things as athletes that we can do to help is to have outside interests.  So that when we are injured we have other things to do to take our mind off the training.  They talked about how to find other things to build up your esteem and make you proud of yourself not just the sports.  One of the speakers plays music so he said that even in the heart of training he will make sure that he takes a few hours to just play and perform his music - even if it is just for his family. 

They gave examples of other things:

Playing Golf
Taking Cooking classes
Joining a Book Club
Gardening
Choir/Singing
Volunteering

They talked about making sure that we are well-rounded with other interests so that if and when an injury comes along we have other things that provide us with esteem and a sense of accomplishment.  That way we can ward off the depression that comes from missing the training/races while we continue to rehab and recover. 

All great thoughts and I know for me I am going to take their words to heart and try to focus on mroe than just my training.

peace out

Shaun

Sunday, February 12, 2012

running on land and water

About 4 - okaaaaay maybe 5 weeks ago my right foot/inner heel/ankle starting hurting.  I was able to keep running but it got gradually worse and started going up my calf muscle so I went to see a physio.  Now before you all become judgmental I did go get it x-rayed about 3 weeks in and confirmed there was no fracture but yet it kept getting worse!?!

Hmmm - time to go see a physio I guess - see progress before I would wait till I was completely hobbled.  However at the risk of suffering another lecture by my regular physio I got her to refer me to a new physio closer to work.

Well he looked at it and said nothing major but no running for a week - WHAT - no road running you can water run, ride and swim but no water running for a week.  Okay - no running for a week - now he did not specify which week - rookie mistake on his part :).

I am not  a total brat that was a week ago Friday so I ran the next Sunday and did not run all week on pavement.  And this morning I went down and ran with the group for a 19 km"ish" run.  The foot felt fantastic for the first 17 km and then sugar pop it started to ache and after the run I was pretty much favoring it badly again SUGAR POP.

Disappointing - I did all my exercises, my ice baths each night and water ran everyday I was supposed to run.  BOOO :(.

Water running - I have far more experience with water running than I care to have.  It has been a few years since I have to do it but I guess my running workouts will be in the water for awhile - especially after today's experience.  So what is water running- quite simply it is running in water.  You put on a water running belt so you will stay afloat and jump in the deep end of the water.

People are always suspicious because it seems "easy" and can be very boring.  But there are many positives and there are ways to make it more enjoyable.

A lot of the top athletes in the world use water running as not only a tool for continuing to maintain fitness but also as a great way of crosstraining.  The benefits are:

  • It takes the pounding off your joints and injuries while allowing you to still run
  • You can work on your form.
  • The resistance of the water allows for strength training at the same time
  • You can maintain your fitness level while you are healing
  • It can rejuvenate you and be a change for those times when you are really achy by being in the refreshing water. 

Now it can be a little boring but there are somethings you can do to make it not so boring.
  • Go with friends.  Time will pass more quickly when you have company.
  • Take the tunes - there are now cases available to put your ipods in or there are even mp3 players for the water.
  • Run for time. Commit to spend as much time in the water as you'd spend on a normal run.
  • Do regular running workouts. Vary the pace, the tempo, the length of time. Simulate a favorite running workout. Some type of fartlek workout, whereby you're constantly changing speeds, works best.
  • Play games. Follow the leader is fun. Or bring a tennis ball, beachball, or football and pass it around as you run. 
So while I am not thrilled with that I will be going back to the pool for at least another week I am not freaking out because I know I am maintaining my training and my fitness.  Plus since I am at the pool at least 3 x a week for my swim workouts so I just put on the best after the swim workout so hey I am getting a brick workout in as well.  

Peace out peeps

Shaun

  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Never-ending Debate

I love being active.  I love all sports - team and individual - with the exception of downhill skiing.  Seriously - what is up with that death sport?!?   I am originally a flat lander and any time I have tried to careen down a mountain on 2 teensy pieces of wood attached to my feet bad things have happened. After being taken from a local bunnyhill on a stretcher I called uncle and decided to just be good at apres Ski. But I digress...

Back to my pontificating about how much I love sports with the big 3 obviously being: running, swimming and riding. I love registering for races and going out to train most of the time....

Oh come on - that's right I will say it out loud - sometimes I don't want to! (insert collective gasp)  And that is where the great debate comes in.  The internal discussion that starts first thing in the morning and goes on all day back and forth, back and forth.  Until finally you decide to go or not - in my case it is usually a go.  I started thinking what are some things that you use to motivate yourself out the door.

I mean truthfully you know your schedule says 8 km run but you look outside and it pouring out and then you get on the bus to go home and watch it start to rain harder and that is when it starts:
  •  I think might be catching a cold - yep I am pretty sure I am catching a cold!  I probably should not run.
  • But I can't miss a training run! 
  • What would the reasonable person do - I mean seriously I go out I run and then I catch pneumonia - coach woudl be like you should not have run. 
  • But do I really have a cold? Or I am just being a wuss cuz then coach would say -you're not sugar you won't melt! 
And on and on it goes all the way home and then when I get in the door I think just do it.  And then once I get outside with the dog it is like well this is not so bad - it is actually kind of nice to run in the rain.

Then there are the times - I need to do a ride yep need to do a ride but I don't want to (insert whiny tone):
  • Is that a twinge in my knee? Sure feels like a twinge- best not to ride
  • But if I don't do the ride then on the weekend group ride I will get dropped because I am out of shape
  • But if I ride and it is a twinge I could make it worse
This is where I usually implement my call a friend card and phone to whine to them hoping they will tell me not to ride - but then I feel guilty and I go for a ride.

So things that I do to motivate myself:

I have some key mantras that I pull out -for weather issues that would keep others inside I think about what coach Larry used to say to us - Do when others don't and you will be able to when others won't.  Believe me when it is dark and cold and pouring rain and you are doing hill repeats on your bike in January and thinking WTF?!?  you will see the results in June when the sky does open half way through your race and you watch people pull out of the race - I have seen this happen - no biggy because I have been here many times before.

another one is - I never regret doing a workout - I alway regret not.  Enough said.

I train with friends - if I have made plans with someone to meet them for a workout then I know I have to be there because they will be.  This works - believe me there have been times when I have met Jude or Pam or Special K and said the only reason I am here is because I knew you would be here waiting.  So make plans with someone.

Incorporate your workouts into your life so it is not really a workout.  What does that mean - for instance I have  a border Collie he needs to be taken out after work and I may have to pick up something from the post-office.  So I will leash him, grab my pick-up card for the package, throw a knapsack on,  put on my runners and jog to the post-office and back.  Multi-tasking 101.  Another thing I do is I try to ride to/from work.  Instead of being stuck in a car or on a bus I ride to work - it takes about the same time and now I don't have to figure out how to get the workout in before or after work.  It is just part of my day. 

Stay humble and remember my one and only "DNF" (failure to complete in regulation time) - and realize the only reason it happened was because I got cocky and skipped workouts with lame excuses - I lost the debate too many times and paid the price on race day.  I never want those letters behind my name again because I did not do my training.

Those are a few things I do to keep myself motivated when I start to have the internal debate.

Having said all that - listen to your body.  If you are exceptionally sore or tired then take the break.  Talk to your coach and friends, keep a journal to monitor yourself, it is a good way to take a step back and see if possibly you have been training too hard.  Finally if the weather is really bad and it becomes a safety issue then change the workout and take it inside.  Better safe than sorry.

For myself right now - today's workouts will happen because I am meeting Jude and together we can motivate each other to do our hill repeats on the bike.

Peace out

Shaun

Monday, January 9, 2012

HOW BAD CAN IT BE? God I have missed that feeling.

So the last couple of years, I guess really after Ironman, I have kind of felt like I am just going through the motions.

Register for a race, train for a race, do a race.  Repeat.  I have not really been excited it just has been an ends to a means.  I mean I have been excited about the locations but the actual distance or type of race - not really.

That : wow how do I go about doing this, holy crap am I seriously thinking about doing this, I feel kind of sick, seriously HOW BAD CAN IT BE feeling.  It just has not been there. 

Well it is back and it feels awesome!  I feel anxious, a little worried and excited all at the same time.  You ask - what is it, what is it? 

Background first - my very first running Coach - Louise. .  She was so inspiring and really touched me and helped develop my passion for running.  She was/is an amazing athlete and her passion for running was contagious.  She really cared about us and encouraged us no matter how fast or slow and well when I lead clinics I really try to emulate her.   Louise was also a big trail runner and loved ultra's.  Her stories of her adventures doing Ultra's always amazed me.  One race that intrigued me and I have talked about lots is the Canada Death Race - this year it looked like I might finally do it but alas financially it is just not fiscally smart.  With Joe going to do the Trans Alps it just did not seem feasible. 

Then I started thinking about Stormy.  This is a 50 mile trail race in the back country behind Squamish.  A few years ago 2 friends of mine did it and I put in a relay team to run with them and support them.  I always maintained that one day I would like to try and do it solo.

Stormy however is no more but after contacting the old race director I have learned there is a new race/course - The Squamish 50.  I logged on to the site and honest to god my heart started to do a little skip, my nerves started and my stomach felt a little queasy.  OMG - I think I want to do this race.  Really want to do this race.  So much that I have not stopped thinking about it.  I have already began working on the gang to recruit either peeps to do the whole thing with me or at least put in a relay team to run with me. 

I have contacted Louise and my old trail coach Tom to ask for advice on training plans/distances and any other advice they can give.  Judith has agreed to go out to Squamish so we can train on the trails. 

The only person I have not mentioned it to is JOE....  I was thinking of saying - "Good news I am not going to do the Canadian Death Race! "- He keeps telling me I am not allowed to... - Then I can say I am going to do the Squamish 50 - YEAH!!!  That should go over well - I mean I am giving him something he wants, right?

The trick is to make sure I have all my ducks in a row - my training plan laid out and yada, yada.  He will still stress about me doing it and probably tell me I can't - which we all know is like waving a red flag in front of me - I mean look how well it worked for Ironman - bahaha.

Okay- WOW- I think I am really going to do this - EEEEEEEEEKKKKK.  Seriously though - How bad can it be?

Peace out
Shaun

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy new year

Happy New Year! 

Since Vegas I have been taking it easy - still running , but no cycling or swimming and way too much turkey among other things and well I can feel and see it.  My clothes are a little snugger around the middle than they have been in a long time. 

Not to worry though I have registered for some races as I find that is always a good way to motivate me to stay true to my workouts.

Vancovuer BMO Full Marathon - yep I know I said I would never do this one again because I had done it a few times and it was old news but this year they have changed the course.  Now this was not enough to convince me because I am not a big fan of running on the seawall due to the canter but Judith decided that since the start line was a 6 min jog from her front door it was time to run her first full.  Sounds wierd when she has walked one and done 2 Ironman's but yep it is true this will be her first time running a full marathon.  So with the new course, me not leading any clinics, and Judith wanting a training buddy I thought why not?  So that is bought and paid for.

Joe and I have also registered for the Oliver Half Ironman again - I know we have both done it many times over now but it is  a great course, great organization and it fits well in our schedule so why not?  Plus it is like a mini holiday for us since we head up a few days before and usually stay a day or so after. 

Then Joe and his dad are registered to race the Trans-Alps race in Europe this summer - it is an 8-day mountain bike race through Germany and Italy - I think.  Either way it should be a great way for them to celebrate Joe Sr's 70th birthday.  Yep I wrote down 70th.  I just hope I am as active at that age.

Other things for the year - was hoping to do the Death Race as part of a relay team but with the cost of getting Joe over to Europe and such it just does not look like I can swing it.  BIG BOOOOOOOOO:(  This has been on my bucket list for a long time and looked like it might actually happen this year but everything has its time  - next year!

Thinking of signing on for the Axel Merkx Penticton Gran Fondo - heard the course is challenging but good and it will give me something to do while Joe is riding the Alps - maybe not as impressive but I don't ride mountain bikes so this will suffice for me.  (Plus I looked at the Alps course and there are some pretty sketchy parts). 

Last but not least need to think about my fall race - Portland maybe?  Maybe a Canadian city?  Toronto - I have been there but never really investigated the city since it has always been for work...... Again though with 2013 being Goofy and Ironman year we will have to watch our pennies to make it all happen. 

Resolutions - try to be more patient;  not have such high expectations of others; smile more; be more positive and train smarter.  

Here is to a fantastic 2012 - lets start making memories.

Peace out
Shaun