Wednesday, August 26, 2009

49m35s !?!

This morning, a combination of good tailwind (10-15km/h) and good timing at the traffic lights created the ideal condition for a new speed record. I managed to get to work in 49m35s. I felt strong!!!
The ride home was a bit slower since the wind was still going strong but at just over an hour, it's still a very respectable time. I think I will do well at the race with my new tires.

I think I will ride to work again tomorrow if the weather is good and then maybe a run on Friday or Saturday if I can squeeze it in. Then taper will start. I'm not quite sure how I should do taper for a Triathlon, maybe an easy ride and a short swim just to loosen up near the end of the week?

In the mix today: Matsuri's Forever Psychedelic and Hom-Mega's debut Full On.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fast commute

Wow, my new tires were showing off their speed today. It's the first time I see some orange on the heatmap:
This would have been a new record time had it not been for the bad timing at the lights on Carling and the traffic getting into downtown. At least I can comfort myself that there won't be lights at the race and while there may be quite a bit of bike traffic, it should be easier to handle. The official time was 52:40, 10 seconds slower than my fastest commute yet.

The ride home was pretty windy (15km/h) but I still managed to do it under an hour!

Boom's Double Dipped and Phantasm's Eternal Frequencies in the mix.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reversed Brick

Yesterday I brought my bike to the shop to have a look at the peppergrinder crank and at the same time to tune it up and outfit it with faster tires for the race.

So today, when they called me to say it was ready, I decided to have a kind of reversed brick workout. I ran from work (a respectable ~5km) to my friendly local bike store to pick up my refreshed bike and ride it home.
I was really happy to see my bike all tuned up. It looked way different with the slim tires. I was assured that they would be much faster and that they were made of Kevlar so I wouldn't get as many punctures as the alternatives. They also replaced my "bottom bracket" since the old one was rusted out, creating the grinding noises. I'm really satisfied with the work they did, they always have outstanding service.

On the way home, I was really impressed by how much differently the bike handles with the new tires. I didn't really believe them when they told me I would be much faster but they were right!!! Look at all that green on the speed heatmap:
Truth be told, I wasn't even really pushing it since I was pretty beat after a full day's work and the 5k run. I can't wait to see how it turns out on the race course, after careful tapering and proper nutrition. The bike seems much more nervous now and I can feel every little nook and cranny in the road surface. Hopefully I will have a few opportunities to ride to work next week to get used to it before I officially start my taper.

In the mix today was Distance to Goa 7 and Dream Creation's Sound of Freedom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It's a bit hard for me to get back in the beat after a break in the schedule. I rode to work last Friday and then again yesterday but I haven't taken the time to go out for a run or swim this weekend. I could blame the extremely hot weather that prompted the city to issue a heat warning, but really to be honest it's just plain laziness.

On Friday and then again yesterday, my bike started to make some funny noises. Kinda like a peppergrinder when I pedal hard. I think it's the crank that is giving up. So I made an appointment with my friendly local bike shop to have it checked out and also get the bike ready for race day (~2 weeks away now).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Triathlon Simulation

Yesterday after work, I set out on simulating a Triathlon. I decided to do the full distance of my Sprint race in a few weeks.
So I headed over to the pool to get started and did my 750m. 15m30s is a pretty good time for the swim, I was doing well. The almost 6 minutes transition was partly because my shoes were in a locker and my bike was also locked to a post. I'm sure that I can do much better at the race. I was very surprised at how light headed I felt rushing out of the pool. Having experienced it now will probably help me do better and realize that it's normal when I do the triathlon for real.

Then for the bike portion (30km, 1h15). I seemed to catch all the red lights! Didn't those guys know I was being timed? I can't say I'm completely satisfied with the bike portion, I thought I would be much faster. Still, I am encouraged by the speed of the few segments where I did not have to stop at a light.
My transition into the run (5km, 25m52s) was pretty smooth. It could have been faster but I think I managed to do pretty well. The run was a bit though. Slogging through what would usually be a routine easy distance was very humbling. I tried to kick it with no juices left in the tank. Thankfully I had some beautiful positively uplifting music to carry me through. What a relief it was when I finally reached my goal. The Endorphin lemon had been squeezed dried and a sense of accomplishment coursed through my veins as I began my stretching.
Overall, I'm a bit disappointed by the 2h05m total time. I'm really glad I did this simulation to know more what to expect. I realize now that I will have to work extra hard to get my 1h45m goal. I can probably shave off 15m on the bike portion on account of traffic alone. Making sure I have smooth transitions and proper tapering/fueling should take care of the rest.

Yesterday's practice run also served to validate my wardrobe strategy of wearing my swimming jammers the whole way.

Surprisingly enough, while I am a bit sore today, nothing really hurts. I'm taking this as a positive sign that I have finally adjusted to triathlon training after a bout of various overuse injuries.

In the mix today was Big Wigs and Astralasia's Something Somewhere.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Buzzing in NYC

This past weekend, I went for an exciting whirlwind trip in NYC! Arriving late Friday and leaving in the afternoon on Monday, time was short. It felt like I was one of those chinese bus tours that charge from landmark to landmark, stopping only long enough to take a picture.

Being in NYC, I was really excited to go running in one of the most famous playgrouds: Central Park. I woke up early on Saturday and slipped out of the room un-noticed. Proudly wearing the Canadian line of clothing for the 2008 games, I set out to explore the city. Thanks for the friendly concierge at my hotel, I was equipped with a jogging map that I actually didn't really follow, instead zigzagging all over the place, trying to take in all the sights in as little time as possible.

Knowing I would like to run at Central Park, I had picked a hotel on Park street near Central Park. When I got out, I realized that they closed down Park street for runners and bikers. How lucky can I get? The weather was perfect, sunny and warm but still comfortable. So I headed straight to Central Park, eager to get on my journey. To my surprise, the Garmin didn't take too long to synchronize as I stretched in the park in front of the Plaza hotel. I then ran across the pond and tried to get my bearings.
There are so many paths to choose from, all interconnected. It's amazing to be able to run in a parklike setting right smack in the middle of such a large city.
I noticed right away the arches and overpasses, made famous in so many movies. I also ran by the lake where the bow bridge is, how beautiful. I had images of all kinds of movies flashing through my head. This is a place with lots of shared history. I realized that there seemed to be some sort of event going on, so I asked one of the volunteers and he told me there was a NY Road Runners race starting soon.
How exciting! I later realized that with the size of this city, there was probably running events every week! In fact, next week will be the NYC Half Marathon!

Continuing my run, I came across the reservoir. How beautiful! Such a nice run by the water with the cityscape in the background. I love it!
After the reservoir, I headed south a bit and found myself doing some hill work at the great hill. I closed in on the south-west corner and headed back down to the laser pool rink.
How awesome is it for people living in NYC to have all these amenities in the middle of Manhattan, in a park setting!!
The park is full of little nooks and crannies where one can escape the city and feel totally disconnected. Gardens, lakes, forests, everything is on offer.
On my way back, I found an observatory/belvedere and some friendly runner, after seeing my attempt at a self picture, offered to take a picture that turned out beautiful!
On the way back, I found a few other famous landmarks: the boathouse, the bowbridge
and the beautiful Bethesda fountain.
After I went back to the city, I still felt strong, even if a bit tired so I decided to jump on the opportunity to run on Park avenue and kept going downtown. I ran under the Met building which I thought was awesome. I also got a few good self pics in the big city. I decided I wanted to do a half marathon distance (21.1km) so I doubled back when I hit my turnaround point. I'm not sure the Garmin reception was very accurate in the urban canyon sometimes giving me a pace of 12m/km and some other times 2m/km!!
I figure I covered most of the park and it gave me a really good sense of what was in Central Park and made me look like a pro when I went back with Alex the next day to show him the bow bridge and boathouse.
At over 2h15 total time, it was a long half marathon but I wasn't looking for speed. It's nice to run around and not worry about your speed or time but just take in the sights. I hope everyone didn't mind too much that I got a bit sweaty since it was a pretty hot day after all.

Overall, this was an awesome run. I think I will try to plan runs in all of my future trips, this was a fun and fast way to discover Central Park and a bit of the city.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

All done!

Phew it was a tough week. Short weeks are always the toughest. Trying to cram a full week's worth in less days and figure out what to do with training as well. Three days in a row is enough for riding to work so I'm calling it a week :)
Both commutes were so-so today with 56m and 1h06m. Still, I chugged along, that's what counts.

I'll be really busy over the next few days so I probably won't have time to update. I will update you on the weekend's activities when I have some time.

In the mix today was Synthetic's 100% pure and the relaxing Myosotis's ambient collection.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1 Month!

When I looked at the date this morning, I realized that my next race is in exactly one month! I'm pretty excited since it will be my first Triathlon.
I think I'm ready and I planned on taking it easy this morning while riding in. However the 10km/h tailwind had other plans. I effortlessly (relatively of course!) turned in a very decent 52m50s. Only 20 seconds shy of my fastest ever commute.
On the way back, the wind was still going strong so I was pretty happy with the 1h04m considering the 20km/h headwind.

I'm not quite sure what kind of tapering strategy I will use for the triathlon. While I feel well trained, I still haven't had a simulation training session where I do all three sports in sequence. Hopefully I have some time next week for that. Then I should start hanging back a bit and relaxing the training slowly to make sure my muscles can recover and be ready for a peak performance at the race.

In the mix in the morning was Space Tribe's awesome 2000 OD and on the way back the more relaxed Bliss Point from Exogenic records.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wet Again?!?

I biked to work this morning under cloudy skies. The tailwind made it an easy commute in about 58 minutes. The lunch time was quite pleasant, sunny as well as hot and humid. On the way home however, it was quite a different story. Reading the Environment Canada made me think twice about biking home. Their warning was:

Severe thunderstorm watch for
Ottawa North - Kanata - Orléans continued

Conditions are favourable for severe thunderstorms to develop this afternoon with damaging winds..Large hail and brief torrential downpours.

This is an alert to the potential development of severe thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds.

Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements. If threatening weather approaches take immediate safety precautions.

I'm not quite sure what kind of safety precautions they refer to. Uncertain of whether it was safe or not, I called Alex, since he works close to home. My abridged conversation:

[Me] - Is it raining already in Kanata?
[Alex] - No. You can make it.
[Me] - Is it windy?
[Alex] - No. You can make it.
[Me] - Are there dark clouds on the horizons?
[Alex] - Yes, but if you hurry you can make it.

So, trusting him more than I really should have, I suited up quickly and rushed home. 15 minutes later, I rode into the storm!
The Ploc Ploc Ploc of the raindrops of my helmet (huge and kinda cold but not really hale) reminded me of camping. I got through the worst of the storm in about 15 minutes. After that, the rain was more normal, no longer acupuncture grade. I still managed to get home in about 1h06m so I'm kinda happy. The worst part about biking in the rain today was when I got splashed with water that had been sitting on the ground for a while, all hot and dirty. Yuck! I got home and cleaned up my bike, I'm spending a lot of time cleaning and lubing the bike this year!

I will know next time that Alex's window actually faces east (I should've known that already!) and that he didn't really calculate that it would take me an hour to get home, lol.

In the good news department, the leg is doing super good. Stretching is back to normal and everything feels great. Thanks for all your positive thoughts, I'm sure they helped the speedy recovery!

In the mix this morning was Tristan's Audiodrome and in the rain, I was saved by Delerium's super saccharine Odyssey Remix.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Much better

I am doing much better after a long weekend of resting and relaxation. Maybe it helped that summer is finally here in Ottawa and I took the opportunity to indulge in drinks and treats I don't usually allow myself when training and did not train one bit (unless you count planting those 15 shrubs as training ;)
My leg doesn't hurt at all anymore. Still a bit sensitive when I stretch, but I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary. I will try to ride to work tomorrow if the weather is good.

Hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did. I can't wait to hear all the reports of the national capital triathlon. Congrats to Marci who was participating in the event.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


My leg is still feeling pretty sensitive today :( I'm not sure I'm ready to call it an injury yet but at least it's a sign that I definitively need a bit of downtime and enjoy the sun as @spoonsie suggested. While the sensitivity is going down, it's not quite going down as fast as I would like it to go away.

So I decided to call this long weekend a much deserved break and just enjoy the weather without worrying about training. I feel ready for my next race so there's no reason to cram with the training. I'll keep you posted early next week about my progress.