Here we go again

I’m about 2 weeks into concentrated training this year.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve only taken 1 day off.  I’ve had a bike focus because until recently the weather outside really sucked.

I’ve been using Trainer Road for my trainer rides and I love it.  Right now I’m into my 3rd week of the Sweet Spot base plan.  The workouts are structured, give you power targets to hit (which you don’t need a power meter for), and help make the time fly by.  The Sweet Spot base plan is 3 workouts a week, 2 are 1 hour, 1 is 1:30.  Trainer Road has hundreds of workouts, so the day’s I don’t have a workout in the Sweet Spot plan I’m picking one of their other workouts, and on Sunday I try to go to a group spin.  This gets me on the bike every day, and I feel like I’ve got a lot of my power back, still have to work on endurance.

Running is another matter.  It has been extremely cold and icy so my running has been limited.  I’ve likely run 5 times in the new year, nothing over 8k.  Yesterday was the first day I really pushed it on a run an managed to run 5k in 20:45.  I didn’t break any speed barriers, but was relatively happy with the run.  I’ve got lots of work here to get back to where I was, and I’d like to run sub19:00 5k’s this year.

Finally the swim!  I haven’t done any real swimming since Muskoka.  I splashed around in the water a little in Asia, but that’s it.  I will get back into the pool, but that may not happen until mid-February.

I think I will continue through the end of January following the Sweet Spot base plan, and then filling in my other days with other workouts.  Then come February I’ll have a more structured plan with specific goals and targets.

2014 Race Plan

This year I have no plans to complete an Ironman or a marathon.  I competed in both last year and was very happy with my results, but I do not love the training that goes into achieving said results.  I much prefer short, fast workouts that make your heart race and lungs burn.

Planned ‘A’ Races

  • Syracuse 70.3 (June 22)
  • Edmonton ITU AG World Final (Sept 1)

Last year I heard nothing but bad things about Syracuse; it’s too hot, it’s too hilly, the water is gross, it’s poorly organized, the parking situation is a mess.  Despite all of this I have decided to do the race.  Tremblant 70.3, which I did last year, is the same weekend and a far more attractive race.  It sold out very quickly, and I’ve been around that course 3 times (once at IMMT 70.3 and twice at IMMT) and want to go somewhere new.  Syracuse is at the right time of year for when I want to do a race, and it’s also relatively close (about 4.5 hour drive).  Additionally it gives me a long shot chance of qualifying for the 70.3 Worlds (also in Tremblant), though I’d likely need to go sub 4:30 to even have a chance.

Edmonton ITU AG (Age Group) World Final is something I’m really excited about.  As I kid I dreamed of competing for Canada in some manor.  This race will hardly have the glamour of an Olympic Games or professional World Championship, but regardless I will get to wear the red and white.  This is going to be my first time flying to a race so I will need to learn a bit about disassembling my bike and putting it back together between now and then.

Other Races

  • 10k run (never done one before)
  • Early season sprint triathlon (tune up for Syracuse)
  • Summer triathlon (something mid-July to early August)
  • Half marathon (only if I think I have a shot at a fast time)

I love racing and would like to spread out 4-6 other races through the spring-fall.  At the same time I learned from my training for the Hamilton Marathon that focused, uninterrupted training can provide tremendous improvements.  Races can cause you to miss workouts, which in turn can affect your training.  Plus there are all the fees associated with racing that can add up.

2013 Year in Review

2013 was an incredible year for me.  I feel like I managed to cram a decade of living, or more, into 1 year.  Finishing an Ironman has to be the highlight of my year.  I’ve dreamed about it since I heard about triathlon but never imagined it was something I would actually be able to do.  I felt much the same way about running a BQ time, would be great, but not something I could do.  In both instances I managed to push my bodies limits and raised the bar for what I think I can achieve.

My passport also got some work in 2013.  I visited:

  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Mont Tremblant
  • Muskoka
  • Hong Kong
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Phi Phi, Thailand
  • Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Singapore
  • Bali, Indonesia
  • Gili Islands, Indonesia
  • Vang Vieng, Laos
  • Vientiane, Laos
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Bangkok, Thailand

Here are some of my 2013 highlights:

  • Ran Central Park
  • Saw a Knicks game at MSG
  • Ran a sub 1:30 half marathon
  • Attended the US Open (both golf and tennis)
  • Went sub-5 hours at Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3
  • Qualified for Canada’s age group triathlon team to compete in the 2014 World Final
  • Finished my first Ironman (sub 11-hours)
  • Qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon with a 3:02:54 run at the Hamilton Marathon
  • Bungee jumped
  • Pet a tiger
  • Ran across Harbour Bridge in Sydney with the Opera House in the background
  • Learned to surf
  • Climbed a volcano (Mt Batur) to watch the sunrise, and had breakfast cooked over the steam from the volcano
  • Snorkelled with incredible marine life in Thailand and Indonesia
  • Ate some interesting/delicious food in Asia
  • Tubed down the Mekong in Vang Vieng
  • Visited Angkor Wat

And I met a countless number of amazing people along the way.

2014 brings a new set of challenges and opportunities.  As I write this I am currently unemployed (Bare Foods went just before I left for Asia).  My trip to Asia exposed me to a whole new world, and I experienced things that I had only seen on TV.  It shifted my perspective and made me rethink what I really want to do with my time.

Besides sorting out my work situation I also need to get back into shape.  It has long been a dream of mine to earn the opportunity to wear a maple leaf and compete.  As a youngster I had dreams of pulling a hockey jersey over my head, but at this point I am happy settling for a triathlon singlet.  I managed to qualify because of a bit of a soft field, but I’m motivated to put on a good performance in Edmonton to not embarrass myself.

2013, thanks for the memories.  2014, lets get to work.