Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hard Day

Phew, what a hard day today. I set out on my bike this morning not knowing what the morning had in store. A few kilometers into my commute, my tire was low on pressure so I pumped it up thinking it was the change in temperature / pressure that caused it. A few kilometers later, flat again. So I took a moment by the side of the road to rejoice in my foresight and resourcefulness as I changed my tube with the spare one I usually carry. I was golden, crisis averted, I was only 15 minutes late.

Or so I thought. Around Island Park, I start getting deflated again, so I pump some more. At Tunney's pasture, I realized the obvious, the backup tube was punctured. I thought I was still golden, after all, I carry a repair kit in addition to my spare, so it's no problem. However it turned out to be trouble... Either my repair kit is past it's best before date or these things don't work so well in cold weather. I was stranded about 5km from work. So I decided to continue on foot, dragging the bike with me carefully to avoid damaging the wheel. I got to work 2 hours later than usual. Oups. Good thing I didn't have any meetings in the morning. I made up one of the hours already and will make up the other one tomorrow.

So at lunch, I went to a bike shop near work to get a new tube to ensure a safe trip home. On my way home, I swung by my favorite friendly bike store where I got not only another spare tube but also a spare tire, since I think that the cause of these multiple incidents is the age of my tire.

It was quite the long way home at 38km. I feel spent today. It's a good spent. Kind of a joyful peaceful exhaustion. The exact thing that this endorphinbuzzer is seeking when attempting these crazy adventures such as biking 250km a week or running continuously for so many hours. The diagnostic on the second blowout is that either the backup tube was too old and dry or that I failed in its installation since the rupture is underneath and not from anything I may have rolled over.

So many things in the mix it's not even funny: Liquid, Farenheit Project 4, Saafi Brothers - Midnight Children, Magnetic Blue (disc 2).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Running Fever (10k@47:50)

Okay, I may not quite have a fever, but I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately with a runny nose and as I write this a sore throat is starting to develop. However, at lunch time, the weather was so perfect that I could not resist going out for a nice run.
Non-runners or even other runners may disagree with me about the kind of weather is best to run in. However, for me, nothing beats a nice cloudy day with a light (very light please) drizzle to freshen me up as I run. My only complaint about today would be that it could have been a few degrees warmer and without wind.

So I went out and did my usual 10km route by going along the MacDonald Cartier bridge, then Portage, back in Ottawa through Alexandra and then back to work through Portage. My time at 47:50 was definitively one of the best so far this year so I'm pretty happy.You can see I was also pretty even in my speed throughout the run with a last minute extra effort to try to trick the clock :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rain Day - Target Setting

Today's rainy so I'm using the weather as an excuse to let my lazy side win the day. As I rest and get my body ready to go back at it tomorrow, it's time to take a step back and plan for how high I want to reach.

As you may already have seen on the left, my next race is the Ottawa Half Marathon (21.1km). As I approach this race, I feel excited with the possibility of reaching further than ever before. I've raced the Ottawa Half Marathon a few times in the past:
  • 2008 - 1h50
  • 2007 - 1h43
  • 2006 - 2h08
Last year, I was recovering from a bad case of plantar fasciitis so my objective was merely to finish without injuring myself. And my next race after that was a marathon, so my training focused on building my endurance instead of speed. I had to manage all this training while also tackling a new challenge: cycling to work for a total of 250km a week. That summer I biked on average four days a week and ran once (only on the way back, I would bus into work!).

This year should be fun as I add swimming to the mix and try to get my speed up. My challenge is a new PB at the half marathon with a hope of finishing under 1:40 (yeah, right!). I know I will regret having announced this already but I think it sets a target at which to throw everything I've got.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pancakes and Swimming

Went to a sugar shack this morning for breakfast. Yummy buckwheat pancakes and tasty beans drenched in freshly made maple syrup. I should have taken a picture for my foodie reader. I would recommend the place if you don't mind the distance and the price tag in the higher range of the spectrum. Having everything made to order instead of all you can eat definitively ensures a higher quality result.

In the afternoon, once my glycogen stores were fully restored and the carb absorbed into my blood, I went for a nice swimming session at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex. I was swimming very smoothly and my breathing was pretty regular except for the occasional underwater burp ;) I did my usual 750m which is 30 laps in this 25m pool in about 23 minutes, my expected time at this point. The pool offers a leisure swim on Saturdays which today had one lane reserved for lap swimmers. I was lucky that throughout my 30 lap training I was pretty much alone. My cool down consisted of 10 laps breaststroke when some slower people joined in. I finished off with another 10 laps freestyle just for fun and then it got too busy so I moved to the jacuzzi for a bit of relaxation.

I don't know what is in store for tomorrow but I'll try to slot in a run if time permits, I need to work on my long runs a bit, I haven't done much over 10km during the winter.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was awesome this morning. I'm usually pretty modest but the newly tuned bike combined with a nice tailwind had me to work in less than 53 minutes! That's a record for 2009 and in line with what I was doing at the end of the 2008 season.
The road felt great, traffic was low and I took the woodroffe/parkway route. It was a perfect start to the day. You wouldn't have known that I trained so hard yesterday.

Then it was time to come home. Not as rosy a picture. My muscles were tired and the wind was still blowing, only now that I was coming back home, it wasn't helping me at all!!!
Still, overall it was a pretty decent day as far as training goes. Tomorrow is sugar shack in the morning and pizza night in the evening. Hopefully I can squeeze in a swim or a run in the afternoon.

In the mix today: finnish madness Open and Blue Room's Made on Earth.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wet Duathlon

I got my bike back today. I made it an adventure by running from my place of work to my favorite local bike shop.
The run was pretty average and uneventful. I'm happy about the relatively slow time since I was carrying a heavy bag with my change of clothes, bike helmet, lock and my trusty mini. I stopped at a convenience store for a sports drink before I got my bike back. The maintenance that was done was pretty minor: new chain, new cassette, new brake pads and truing of the wheels. I then proceeded to go home warily looking at the graying sky.
I don't know if it's the tune up or the threat and eventual arrival of rain that made me so fast but I believe this may be my fastest yet this year. The rain was not so bad at first, but once I was soaked it made me a bit cooler than I would have wanted. There was this other biker on baseline and after coasting behind him for a while I decided to pass him. I looked back after a few lights and he had dissapeared.

Overall I think my performance today is pretty impressive considering I just ran 7km before. I got home without hypothermia and rewarded myself with a long hot shower and then munched on some mini carrots while a wonderful dinner was being prepared. It will be interesting to see how I hold up tomorrow and if any of my muscles will be painful.

Off Day

My bike was at my friendly local bike shop for a spring tuneup yesterday. I was hoping I could pick it up on my way home so I didn't go for a run at lunch time. Unfortunately it wasn't ready when I left work (turns out they got it ready just as I got home after a rather trying bus commute). I was too tired to try the pool at 8:30pm so I decided to call it an off day.

I have to use this space for a rant at my local bus company OC Transpo. They claim that all bus service is now back, however they have removed the bus I regularly take. I don't know how many other people are affected by choices like this but I face a decision of leaving home 30 minutes early in the morning to catch the bus or changing my work schedule or leaving later and eating away at the little "us" time we have at night with my better half. Thanks OC Transpo.

I guess that bodes well for my resolve in biking to work everyday this spring, rain, shine, freeze or else. I should have legs as big as tree trunks by the time summer rolls around. I'm already way ahead of my usual easter start date for biking so I'm happy.

Also, I just found out that the previous title sponsor of the may marathon in Ottawa pulled out. So I guess it's only the Ottawa Marathon this year. Organizers say its too late for this year, however judging by the new color scheme, I think I know who will be sponsoring next year and I welcome our new sponsoring overlords.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baseline Commute (1:04)

Today was a pretty cold day but otherwise the weather was perfect for a bike ride. I used my ski mitts to keep my fingers warm and only my toes got cold. There was virtually no wind and the sun was up early. Traffic was pretty good since I was a bit earlier than usual. I will use this ride as a baseline against which I can compare my commutes.

I decided to switch to the parkway at woodroff, I think that was a smart move as the road conditions on the parkway are much better.

Resonance mood in the mix.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Swimming (23 minutes)

It was too cold to take the bike today so I went swimming after work at Champagne bath. I did fairly well I think with 34 laps in about 23 minutes (about 750m). I lost count a few times since I was thinking about this very blog entry and how I could make a swimming entry fun :)

The swim did me some good and relieved some tension that was left over from yesterday's run. I didn't do my usual cool down in the pool since it was getting really crowded, I opted to go for a 5 minute sauna session.

I reflected on how just a few weeks ago, I couldn't do more than a few laps without stopping for a break and how my breathing technique improved dramatically since I took my new year's resolution to run a triathlon. I will have to learn how to tumble now instead of stopping and turning at every lap. It's incredible how much the human body can change if a proper training schedule is maintained.

Unfortunately for the readers of this blog, I don't have any fancy waterproof electronics so swimming entries won't have any charts or maps. If that is too boring, leave me some comments and I can model different swimsuits and goggles to add pretty multimedia content ;)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After buffet run

After going to Emerald Buffet yesterday and stuffing myself silly with all kind of fried, starchy and over sweetened foods, I wasn't expecting much with my run this morning. I started out with the hope of a finishing a simple maintenance run.

I headed towards scotiabank place and palladium auto park where I could do a few loops. As I progressed, I realized that I could make this an actual training run. I tried a few surges of speeding every now and then and I am quite satisfied with the overall result. You can definitively see the speed spikes, especially during km 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9:

The weather was sunny with a bit of wind, I kept my hoodie on and was fine since I was under the sun at all times. Not many trees or tall buildings around here.

Wearing my newest Asics Nimbus 9 with Return to the Source - Sacred Sites in the mix.