Friday, July 31, 2009

Canadians are awesome

Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace...maybe this is what I should be doing with my spare time rather than writing ridiculous posts about sitting around and eating and sleeping all day.



Race prep is going swimmingly! Very excited for my race this weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tues/Wed

Well yesterday and today were planned to be big training days for a final shot before K-town, but there have been some adjustments on account of my body not wanting to work. Yesterday looked like this...

Easy morning swim...well it would have been easier if Sharratt didn't headbutt me!
1200 warmup+drills
2x (4x50 on :55, 2x100 on 1:45, 200 on 3:15 - dialing in 2000m race pace)
200 easy
Bike:
2.5hrs - 2x30min @ steady w/10mins rest - figuring out pacing for my 60k ride at K-town
Run:
30 mins off the bike - 15min steady, 15min easy

Today was supposed to be another big bike workout and a 60 minute tempo run off the bike, but things weren't really firing with anyone in the squad today. So most of us did an easy swim and I felt infinitely better than yesterday, we did a few descending 100s today and I was down to 1:18-1:14 which I haven't done since I hurt my shoulder almost a month ago. So although I like the challenge of big workouts I'm definitely enjoying a few extra easy days before my long course adventure this weekend...me and my ideas. I've got my pacing/race strategy/nutrition dialed in and that's half the battle with longer races.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Full-time athlete Pt.2

A while back I posted Part 1 of a two part series on the hardships of being a fulltime athlete. As promised, here's part 2:

The Tough Life - Eating 6000 calories a day.

As a professional triathlete you will learn to overcome seemlingly insurmountable obstacles. After you've mastered the techniques of proper recovery including but not limited to sleep and extensive napping, the next challenge is refueling. Don't take it lightly, sitting on your bum and stuffing food in your mouth for every waking hour of the day is no easy task. Just like in your workouts you'll need some mental cues. Personally I think of starving children in Zimbabwe as motivation to get those final few (thousand) calories of chicken parmigiana or pad thai in my tummy.

The number one prerequisite for success as a triathlete is being a good cook. I can't give you any advice there...you have it or you don't. Your life is pretty much going to suck if you can't cook and you've got pre- and post-swim breakfasts, morning snack, two lunches, afternoon snack, post-run snack, dinner for two (for yourself), evening snack, and what I like to call the wildcard snack (can be consumed at any point during the day, preferably with Tetley Vanilla Red Tea).

Unfortunately you're too busy sleeping and eating, wearing your perpetual cologne of eau de chlorine, and you're way too poor from a lack of stable income...so you'll never have the opportunity to cook for anyone but yourself. Since you're relegated to the single life, your next step is to buy a kitty.

Before you know it you will have accomplished what you thought was humanly impossible, eating 50 bucks worth of groceries a day. Being an unemployed bum who sleeps and eats for all but 18-24hrs/week is a humbling experience. The daily challenges a pro triathlete faces are not for the faint of heart. So, if you feel up to the task of testing the limits of your human resolve go right ahead. But don't say I didn't warn you that it's a tough life.


In Other (real) News:
Not much to report on the training front over the last couple days. I've been partaking in the other thing I do with my life...burying my nose in a textbook. 17k run today, Tues and Wed are massive training days, I'll post my workouts if I survive. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

moving on

I realized a couple days after Belwood that the race wasn't a complete disaster. I am in fact getting faster. And I learned some valuable lessons, both tactical and mental. The big one being the swim start; I didn't place myself well and I NEED to take the first 200 out hard to get on fast feet/get away from the crappy swimmers (there are worse swimmers than me?) And I really learned how to go through hell and back in the last 4k of that race. So rather than dwelling on the fact that I won't get an elite card for a few more months I'm learning from the race and moving forward a stronger athlete.

All the rest of my races this season are big ones. Well, K-town isn't hugely important but its a great opportunity to get within 8%. I'm racing in the elite division in a long course race so I'm taking it seriously. 2k swim/56k bike/15k run...I'll take bets on going sub-3:00. I think Whitfield won in 2:36 in '97 which blows my mind.

And I'm just finalizing my travel arrangements for my four week "vacation" to Kelowna, Vancouver, then Gold Coast AUS. Not sure what I did to deserve competing for Canada on the other side of the world, I have my best sponsors to thank for the support in my endeavors (mommy and daddy).

Just 4 more weeks of training here in Guelph, it hasn't been an easy transition to the level of training here but the squad is great and Craig Taylor is a fantastic coach. The summer has been far too short...or maybe I've just been injured too often.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Belwood Race Report

Funny how triathlon works sometimes. You know that old saying that you can't win the race in the swim but you can lose it...well its true. In a 90 minute endurance event my race was essentially over in the first three seconds.

My swim strategy was to stay relaxed and steady, and get on the bike feeling strong. So at the swim start I lined up right behind Adrian DelMonte and Matt Reid hoping to stay on their feet, which would put me in great position out of the water. Unfortunately everyone else around them was a typical age group swimmer who lines up front and center, blasts the first 50 meters then blows up. It’s the first time I’ve had to deal with that this year and I was swimming over people within the first 10 seconds. I got more than a few kicks to the nose and goggles in the process. By 100 meters I had gotten past most of them just in time to see the front pack disappearing. So on the upside I had clean water for the the next 900m, but that left me in no man’s land which kind of set the tone for the rest of the race. I got out of the water in 15:45 (16:28 with the run up to TZ) and that might as well have been the end of my day.

I knew it was going to be a tough bike course with the last 15k almost constantly uphill and into a headwind, so I just put my head down and and tried to make up some time. I had a reasonable bike, averaged 36.1 so an improvement over my first two races of the year. I made up a lot of places but didn't put any time into the leaders Dave Sharratt and Ryan Smith, who were absolutely killing it out there.

I got off my bike and settled into a good rhythm of 3:30 k’s which was right where I wanted to be for the first 3k. But just as quickly as I got into my rhythm I really started to feel the last three weeks of training. I had nothing in my legs, I can’t even describe how painful and mentally defeating it is to be that exhausted in a race, knowing I have the fitness to run down almost anyone. I was full-on tying up by 3km, something you usually feel with 200 meters left…not 4km. So that put me in survival mode for the rest of the run, I tried to push it and it got me nowhere. I ran through 5k in 17:56 and it just got worse from there. In the end I ran 25:20 and did some serious damage to my calf in the process. I’ve never been in worse shape after a race, so I guess at least I gave it everything I could. Dave and Ryan both had stellar races and I didn’t get within the 8% margin of them so my elite card will have to wait until next year. No excuses, they were on today and I wasn’t, simple as that. Congrats guys, and to everyone else from the PTC who blew away the field today.

Overall it was a really disappointing day that I didn't get my 8%, my fitness is good but I just had nothing in the tank. I’m probably more mentally drained than physically at this point. Oh well, having a short memory is an asset to endurance athletes. Time to put it behind me and look forward to K-town in two weeks.

If I were to take one positive aspect out of this race, its that I know my hard work is paying off, and I’m really looking forward to Nationals where I’ll be on good form AND well rested. And the highlight of my race, top T2 time. 19 seconds. And no I didn't bomb through it, just stayed relaxed and had practiced a lot. Come one, I need something to be happy with.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lance

I thought Lance's facebook update today was worth sharing. He's either a cocky jerk or he just says it how it is, either way he isn't a cheater:

St13 done. Wet and cold. And slightly boring. Can't remember a day this cold in the TdF. Ever. Team was solid and controlled things well and big surprise, had antidoping control @ the finish. Keep looking, nothing to find except hard work & sacrifice. Never was, never will be.

Also worth sharing is a very in-depth and insightful race report from Ironman Korea by a good buddy of mine Chris Pickering. He's quickly becoming a competitive long course athlete while I'm trying to make it in the equally unforgiving world of elite-level short course, makes for some great training discussions. Definitely worth a read to get a glimpse of the immense challenge of Ironman and the mental fortitude required to survive the day. Here it is, hope you don't mind me sharing Chris.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

race week

The lack of interesting posts (or posts in general) would be due to the fact that I'm too tired from workouts and/or busy recovering from workouts. Its been a really tough couple weeks getting a ton of high quality mileage in, and the whole squad is feeling it. As Paul Sherwin says in the coverage of the Tour, "everyone is going through their own personal purgatory."

Training is going very well, I'm getting faster despite the fact that I've forgotten what its like to feel "fresh" for a workout. Seriously...I don't remember the last time I gave a positive answer when someone asked me how I feel. But its paying off. Monday's track workout ended up being the same as last Monday's (after a few adjustments to accommodate the tired and lazy squad). Last week my 1200s were 3:50-55 (3:12-3:14/km pace), this week I did 3:45-3:48 (3:07 pace) on much heavier legs, and it was after 4x400 to start. I've hit the run hard the last couple weeks doing 60-70k a week and I'm really looking forward to seeing the work pay off.

Swimming is getting there too, the shoulder is still bugging me a bit but I'm getting the workouts done with a bit of modification. I was doing 1:19 consistently for 100's today which is great for me.

Yesterday and today are fairly light days to give us a bit of a break before Belwood. Despite coming off our big training weeks I'm in a better mindset than I ever have been before a race. I know I've done the work and I'm on good form. So I'll get my 8% on Sunday and apply for my elite card. The plan is to race K-Town long course tri as an elite Aug 2, can't wait!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

6 weeks out from Nationals

Well my last training day of a very tough week has been rained out, the suffering will resume tomorrow. So I'm partaking in my favourite July activities (besides racing, of course) of drinking coffee, listening to R.E.M. and watching crazy French fans doing faceplants on the pavement trying to keep up with Andy Schleck in the Pyrenees...seems like a good time for a post!

Next up on the schedule is Belwood July 19. It seems like I've barely been racing at all this year only having done two and its mid-July, but I've been picking my battles wisely. I have a lot of motivation to get within that 8% margin of the winning time, as Craig and I decided that I'll apply for my elite card after Belwood. I have no doubt that I have the fitness to get that 8% so I'm just looking forward to having a great race at one of my favourite venues.

Kelowna is 6 weeks away this weekend, and sprint nationals is my A-race this year. I've been really excited for this race since I first checked it out at the beginning of the year. The course suits me perfectly - very technical bike course, flat run, and hot. Given how hard I'm working and the training we're doing in the next few weeks I have a ton of confidence; I want to win and I don't see any reason why I can't. Unless of course training kills me first. My three goals this season are 1. get my elite card, 2. win nationals and 3. top-15 in my age group at Worlds. The first two are in my sights and giving me the motivation I need to get through the toughest training of the year (not to mention my entire life).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

sleepy time...

Not much to post other that the fact that I'm perpetually exhausted these days. I'm half way through a big training week. Yesterday was an "easy" day with 3500m swim with some band, short base run and 2:30 bike. Today was a solid swim, 2hr bike with 2x20min threshold then some tempo off the bike. And capped it all off with an ice bath! I'm starting to feel strong on the bike, strangely as I hadn't ridden in over a week but its going well. The run didn't go so well today, but overall things are really starting to get rolling here.

Barring some other stupid injury I'll be racing Belwood next weekend, which is shaping up to be a hell of a race. It sounds like almost everyone from the squad will be there along with just about every other elite in Ontario. Looking forward to some great competition and I feel twice as fit as I was for Guelph Lake. My race strategy will probably be to limit my losses on the bike and have the run of my life. Easy!

In TdF news, Cadel isn't looking so good anymore. His team literally fell apart today after figuratively doing so in the TTT yesterday. I guess I'll go for Lance now, how can you not like this guy?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Workouts

Swim:
1000 warmup
16x50m on :55 (alt. sprint 15m/easy)
6x200 on 4:00
Felt really sluggish in the water, probably since I haven't had regular swims in 2 weeks now. 200's were around 2:48-2:55, I was just glad to get it done

Bike:
45min easy spin to test out the wrist with a brace on (I can ride again!), then spin to the track

Run:
3-4x1200m @ 5k pace (16:00 5k = 3:50 per 1200)
I only did 3 since I'm pretty beat from a massive run week last week (72k), but felt quick today.

Now I'm just resting up for TdF Stage 4 team time trial tomorrow in Marseilles (I'm going to southern France one of these days to race IM Nice). Very excited that the TTT is back, Astana is going to dominate just as US Postal used to in the good old days...like 6 years ago. Lance will be in yellow tomorrow after the lucky breakaway today.

Now for your weekly dose of awesome Canadian music, recommended by Ryan Power himself...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vive le Tour!!

Someone tell Craig I won't be at our morning workouts for the next 23 days. Its that time of year again! I'm picking Cadel this year, although Lance and the rest of Astana will be very interesting to watch. I'll be on the lookout for shiny new equipment to put on my Christmas list, as I'll be in the market for a new time trial bike next season.

Some of you may know that I was considering going to France this summer and I would have seen Stage 1 today in Monaco! But I decided to race in Australia this year instead. What can I say, its a tough life.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Half way through '09

Half-way into the 2009 season I've realized that this year has and will continue to be a learning season. As much as I like to focus on results, I've come to accept that its necessary to have a learning year before a performing year. Last year I learned how NOT to train and race. I completely overtrained for my first experience at World Championships and ended up with a major injury, missing six months of training. This season I'm learning how to train and race properly, and one of the most important aspects of that is, well, not training or racing.

Historically I haven't been one to take recovery all that seriously. I've always been the type of athlete who prefers to ignore nagging injuries and get on with training. I could either be classified as tough, stubborn, or stupid. But diving head first into elite level training this year with the PTC its been a pretty steep learning curve with regards to proper recovery. If you don't train smart and commit to proper recovery practices, you get hurt. If you're hurt and continue training then you're sabotaging your own goals and racing season. I've had my share of injuries this year, most of which have been unavoidable (injuring both my wrists in two seperate bike crashes) but I've been forced to learn when to take time off, focusing on my long term goals and not stressing about missing a couple workouts. Lesson 1 - don't be stupid. Seems simple, but 95% of humans don't follow it.

After missing a number of swims with shoulder tightness, and finally getting a diagnosis on my wrist, I accepted that Peterborough is out this weekend. Lesson 2 - know when not to race (...and don't pay for races 4 months in advance). With my A-races being nationals and worlds, its important to know when not to compete and possibly sacrifice training for my real goals this season. As Craig told me this past week, the difference between elites and age groupers is elites know when not to race. Its not as easy as it sounds.

Lesson 3 - set goals, not expectations. If you expect to perform a certain way then you're setting yourself up for disappointment - either you meet your expectations and there's nothing positive, or you don't meet them and you have a negative experience. I've done that for my entire athletic career. But I finally realized that setting goals is much more constructive and conducive to good performance, and so far this year its worked for me. In my early season races I've had some great results, partially because I've gone into the races looking forward to seeing what I can do, rather than expecting to podium or win my age group by ten minutes. My goals this season are to win my age group at nationals, break 2:00 at Worlds and come top-15, and have strong results throughout the season to work towards a provincial elite card next spring. Lofty goals, but what are goals if they aren't challenging? Goals are constructive, expectations will never create a positive outcome.

If you've actually bothered to read all of this, you'll realize that none of my lessons are particularly profound or original. Well there's nothing all that complicated about training and racing. As I find myself in a strange place in the sport, somewhere between age group and elite both in terms of training and in results, I find that racing at the elite level is a lot simpler than most age groupers tend to make it (lose 30lbs before shaving 12 grams off your SLC-SL, for example). Just a few good lessons to remember going into my training for the races that count. Don't be stupid, remember my long term goals, keep racing a positive experience.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day


Dear Canada:
I know I dissed you yesterday, but we still tight. Congrats on being born, it was a long and arduous road through the mountains....of paperwork and treaties. I'll represent you good in Australia Sept 12.
Sincerely,
Ryan