Thursday, April 30, 2009

Double Swim

I'm getting better!!! Today when I woke up my knee was still a bit sensitive but definitively not painful. After a few stretches I could barely feel that there was anything wrong. Unless I thought or focussed on the knee everything was normal. I'm still thinking no cycling or running until Monday, but it will be tough to restrict myself if I keep on feeling that good. I will have to busy myself this weekend so I'm not teased.

So after work today I went swimming. I swam my usual 750m in a pretty respectable 19m30s. I then did a few laps with breast stroke, paying special attention to my left knee. While it was sensitive, again I wouldn't qualify the feeling as pain... I felt so great that I did another set of 750 freestyle in about 25m. I really needed an outlet to expense all the energy that would usually be channelled through the pavement. After my second 750m set, I did a lap doing backstroke and felt that my muscles were close to seizing up in cramps so I did a few stretches and went on my merry way home.

I feel great!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Restless Resting

It's hard to stay put and wait for my body to heal. Getting out there and pounding the pavement has become such an important part of my day that when I find myself unable to enjoy the sports I like so much, I grow restless. Not only am I denied my endorphin buzz but also I lost an important stress relief. I also have to watch what I eat because even if my appetite hasn't changed, there are now 1,000 to 1,500 less calories being burned everyday by the fantastic engine that is my body.

So what do I do then instead of running? I live the excitement through others thanks to their wonderful race reports! And I hope that I have a similarly exciting report to share in 3 weeks. The knee is doing better today. It was really sensitive this morning but got better after I did my stretches and lunges. By mid afternoon I almost forgot about it.. I think I'll try to stay put until next week just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Regenerative Swim

The swim today was really fast. I swam my 750m in about 18m30s. That's pretty much a record for me. My cool down was really short since the frog kick from breast stroke was not feeling right for my sore left knee.

I diagnosed the problem on my left knee as patellofemoral syndrome or runner's knee which I had a bit of last year in the training leading up to the marathon. It's most likely an overuse injury brought on by ramping up too fast with the kilometers. I could also blame the crazy winds for making my bike commutes more intense than they needed to be. So my prescription is a short period of slowed down training where I will focus on stretching and strengthening everything around my knees.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Violent Weather

Well well, I've achieved a new record on the violent weather scale: 43km/h winds with 61km/h gusts. No wonder it felt like uphill the whole way home. What is causing all these crazy winds this year? Hopefully it's not a sign of things to come during the summer.

The ride to work this morning was pretty normal, clocking in at about 1h02m. I had some soreness in my left knee, the same type I experience on Saturday. I don't know why this knee is finicky these days but I think I'll have to slow down my training a bit to let it heal. I'll focus on stretching and do some crunches to strengthen the area and hopefully I'll be back to normal in no time and ready for the race in a month. Tomorrow's calling for rain anyways, so it's the perfect excuse to go to the pool.

The ride home was hellish. Yes, Hellish. Days like today really make me miss the time where I lived downtown. Having to go against a 43km/h wind for 26km is definitively not my idea of fun. It's probably not even good training since I can't get into a proper stride.
Yellow Magnetic Star's Mandala of Sound, Zodiac Youth's Devil's Circus and Patchwork's Diorama in the mix.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

I could make all kinds of excuses for today's run. I could say that the weather was too warm and humid or that the gusty winds preceding the likely storm made it more difficult. I could blame my lack of preparation in both rest time and nutrition/hydration. I could also say that I cut it short since my left knee was acting up again. Ultimately, there are no valid excuses necessary. If I had a team, I would have let them down. Fortunately, it's only me in the room. I had a bad run, that's all. I will put it behind me and learn from it so that I can do better next time.

I went to the Palladium Auto Park. This is the best place near Mattamy's Fairwinds project to go running. The sidewalks are all there in the loop which is a rare thing in these corners. The loop itself is almost a perfect kilometer so it makes it really easy to ramp the distance up and it's only about a kilometer away from the houses so it's easy to go home when you've had enough. On top of that, it's a one way street so cars are very easy to avoid.
The first few kilometers weren't that bad, but at kilometer 4, even though I had drank almost 750ml already, I was still thirsty. And then at kilometer 5, I couldn't ignore my left knee's distress signals anymore, so I decided to head on home. I guess any training is better than no training. I will definitively make up for it next time.

Trold's Once Upon a Time... in the mix.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunny Friday

Phew, I'm so glad it's Friday. Three days of biking in a row wore me down. Especially since I also ran on Monday. The rides today were beautiful. The morning commute was really swift, coming in at about 57 minutes. A lot of that time was spent waiting on red lights too. The weather was great, sunny and almost no wind. If I has to change one thing, I would only have made it a few degrees warmer.
The evening commute was also a beauty. I was in no rush so I didn't push it too hard. I even took the scenic route, staying on the parkway until Carling. It adds a bit of distance but keeps the ride smooth without having to stop at so many lights. I had a bit of attitude today from a few drivers (one of them a yellow school bus!) which is unusual, maybe they were in a rush to start their weekend?
The weather was so beautiful this morning that I had to dust off my cheesiest sunniest music: The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits, Charles Dubé's Réverbère and Joe Dassin's Eternel Collection.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Globe and Mail Essay

I found this nice essay about running today in The Globe and Mail that I thought I should share.

I'm pretty far from that level of experience but I can totally relate to the feeling that is described. Running is like a disease and a cure all at once. I've done my best thinking while running, especially at lunch time when all of my work's problems are fresh on my mind. I've also felt the most exhilarating moments when I am totally in the zone like I've blogged about before. I've also felt the lowest of lows while in the pits of training or during my first marathon when I thought the race would never end. And I can add that a runner's life has a certain oddness to it that the common mortal does not usually understand, such as waking extra early on Sundays to go for a long run or taking a detour to add more miles when there's plenty of shortcuts to the destination.

Windy on the Westbound

The bike in this morning was pretty good. Nothing too different than average so I won't bore you with the details except to say that I did a pretty respectable 59m17s.

The way home however was much different! I knew immediately as I stepped outside that it would be a tough one but I didn't imagine it would be that tough! I took over an hour and a half to get home because of some crazy winds. I don't know what the wind has against me or what my ancestors did to it, but today it attacked me like never before. I looked at the weather report once I got home and I found out: 35km/h with gusts of up to 50km/h. And yes, again, it was completely headwind coming from the West!
I started out on the street and then moved to the bike path by the river thinking it would be safer and easier. But the lack of protection from the river made the wind even stronger so I got back to Scott street at Parkdale. Sometimes it felt like I was hitting a wall. I even dismounted my bike and walked for a bit once when it got so dangerous I couldn't keep the balance on the bike. Like a good trooper I kept pumping the pedals, and eventually I got home safe and sound. Today's commute must count 50% bonus for the extra effort :)

Flying Rhino's Singularity and TIP Singles 3 in the mix.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In search of the greenest sport drink

Earth Day is a good day to reflect on our habits and try to make some changes to minimize our environmental footprint. One of the thing I noticed as an amateur athlete is that I go through a lot of sport drinks! I always cringe when I throw a bottle in the recycling bin after a run. I always feel guilty, thinking that it is such a waste to have the container used only once. So I found a solution that will help me turn this:
into this:
So by using a powder version of my favorite sport drinks, I can save up 18 bottles! The drink bottle I use now can probably be reused for at least a year and it features a much better sprout. Having to find sport drink crystal will limit the flavors that I have available but I have found some new brands that don't offer the liquid version anyways so my exploration will continue. I will update you once I find the perfect mix :)

The bottles pictured above are of the low sugar version that I still haven't found available in crystal format. I may have to just find out what the active ingredients are and make my own substitute if I cannot find a way to get it without the plastic bottles.

For those that are interested in following suit, the drink crystal actually turn out to be cheaper and they are available at some groceries for the mainstream brands and at sport/nutrition stores for the more specialized brands. Turns out that I even save money in the end. All I had to do was change my shopping habits!

Earth Day Commute

Since it was Earth Day today, I braved the elements and biked to work even if there was a threat of rain. I was pretty lucky since I only got some light drizzle in the morning and some rain at the end of my evening commute. The morning went well and fairly fast. I think the rain motivated me in getting there faster and not slowing down so I could keep warm :)
The evening commute was a bit slower. There was quite a bit of headwind. I know, you guys will start thinking I use that as an excuse but it's true!! Also, I had a bit of a different schedule today going to the dentist after work so that may have affected the traffic as well, possibly slowing me down...

Overall it was a pretty good day for the commutes. X-Dream's Radio and The Frog as well as Noosphere's Aqua in the mix.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quick Swim

The pool was fairly busy today so I didn't go too fast. I completed my 750m in about 21 minutes and stayed in for another 20 minutes doing breast stroke. A quick stay in the sauna and I was on my way home.

Swimming really has some regenerative benefits. I had a bit of soreness in my left knee this morning and I feel much better after the swim. I think the root cause of the sensitive left knee is an insufficient amount of stretching since my hamstring feels really tight on that side. It could also be that the running shoes I use at the office are getting old. On that subject, slashdot (of all places!) has a discussion about running shoes sparked by an article in a UK newspaper that claims that modern running shoes are a main cause of running injury compared to running barefoot.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lunch time 10k

I took some time out at lunch today and went to enjoy the beautiful weather. The temperature was just perfect for a run with some clouds to keep it cool. There was a bit of wind however but nothing too crazy. I did my usual summertime 10k run to pretoria bridge and back.
I did go a bit slow at the beginning until I looked at my watch at kilometer 7 and realized that I was way slower than I would have wished. So I sped up!
Overall it was a good run. I'm satisfied with the results and think I am progressing well towards my goal of getting back to sub 45minutes for a 10km.

Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth
in the mix. Congrats to Trent for landing his music in Wanted. Wanted is a pretty good movie btw if you like action type movies. It would stand out even if you took Angelina's naked shot out ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bike Cleaning Day!

The weather outside is gorgeous so I decided to spent some quality time with my bike and clean it up. It needed it badly. The roads in Ottawa are still very dirty from the winter with sand, salt and who knows what else. The dirt had accumulated on my chain and derailer, causing some noise and inefficiencies. So today I used my chain cleaning tool, an old toothbrush and some elbow grease to get the job done. After I was done rinsing, I applied a fresh coat of lube. The whole thing looks like brand new. I can't wait to ride to work...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Swim and Run

I don't know if I can call what I did today a Biathlon, but I went for a swim and then hit the trails for short detour on my way home. The pool was quite busy since there are no Saturday lane swims at GRC. Once I started swimming it got a bit better as people realized they didn't need to be in the only reserved lane if all they were doing was floating around. Still, with the few swimmers doing laps at different speeds, I couldn't go full tilt. I did my 750m in about 25 minutes, so it's not that bad. I lounged around another 20 minutes doing breast stroke and then left for my run:
I took a section of the Trans Canada Trail going west until I saw a nice path that led North. I didn't expect to do trail running when I woke up this morning but it was a great run. The trees are budding and the water is flowing in the creeks. It's a very beautiful and enchanting setting. The rain kept its distance even though the gypsies at the various weather bureaus have been calling for it. Going North I eventually hit Hazeldean and came back to civilization with the associated busyness and noise of cars and trucks. It wasn't long until I reached home where I will take a warm bath and relax for a while, I think I earned it!

Order Odonata 6
in the mix (during the run, no music while I swim!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Windy Day!

Phew, this has been a long week on the training front. This is the first time I bike to work so many times so close together this year. The morning commute was pretty easy. I think I had a good tailwind so that would have helped.
Then at night, a crazy headwind of 30km/h made it a real challenge to sustain any kind of speed, even when going downhill.
I had a bit of a feeling in my left knee. Not sure what that is related to, my muscles didn't seem tense, it's probably just overuse. I'll try to stretch and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get out of hands.

On the mechanical front, my bike is getting a bit noisy, I think I need to take some time and clean/lube it up.

New Frontiers and Nataraja 3 (disc2) in the mix.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Favorite 10k

I intended to train at lunchtime but a meeting ran late so I decided to wait until after work since I had about an hour to kill anyways before a social mixer (PC way to say happy hour :) with some of my colleagues.

Anyways, after work I was really happy to try my favorite 10k around my workplace. The snow has finally melted enough for the path to be available. The scenery on this course is amazing. I get to see all the Ottawa Landmarks: the Library and Archives building, the Parliament, National Gallery, Chateau Laurier, the Locks, the canal, etc. This path has also many good memories. I ran this path at least twice a week 2 years ago when I was ramping up my training before my injury. This is where I first broke the 45 minutes mark for the 10k distance. I'm still not quite back at that level yet but I'm confident I can get get back and break that mark once again.

The course itself has everything I could wish for training. There's hills at the locks where I can build some strength and there's also plenty of flat space where I can do intervals to increase my speed. There's even waterfountains every now and then, though they are not open yet at this time in the season. The path is quite heavily frequented but I've never felt it crowded, even at lunchtime when all the public servants are out for a stroll.

I go through Portage Bridge and then use the pathway beside the Ottawa river to go to the locks at the canal. I follow the canal crossing at Pretoria bridge where I turn around and follow the canal again crossing at Somerset. I cross the canal again at the locks and then use the Alexandra bridge back to Gatineau where I finish on the trail beside the Ottawa river.
I did a very respectable time, especially at the end of a long day. TIP Singles in the mix.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Flat

I had a pretty good morning commute, coming in under an hour. I didn't feel any pain in my knee anymore so I guess my stretching helped.
Then when I came outside after work, I saw that I had a flat on my back wheel! I'm not sure if the extra pressure from the air fill up yesterday made the tire more vulnerable to flats or if I was just unlucky. The cause was a sharp piece of metal that lodged itself in the tire. I've known for a while that the tire was getting worn out but I'd rather wait until the streets are cleaner before I put a new one on.

The timing of my commute home was still pretty good at just over an hour:

I was feeling like pop today so in the mix we have the french buffons Les Trois Accords with Gros Mammouth, orient inspired Kula Shaker's K and The Killers with Hot Fuss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easy commute

I took it easy today. The cycle into work was pretty good at one hour two minutes. I had a bit of a headwind but overall it was pretty easy.
On my way home, I had a bit of a tailwind but I took it easy. My right knee was giving me troubles when I pushed too hard so I'll have to focus on stretching. My self diagnosis is that my hamstring is too tight and needs a bit of special attention...
I stopped in Bell's Corners for more air for my back tire since I thought it was a bit low. It's interesting that all the garages have switched to paying air pumps instead of being free like in the old days. Petro-Canada was asking $1 so I tried my luck again and found Canadian Tire was a much better deal for $0.50. I inflated the tires to 4. I think it may be a bit too much now, I'll see tomorrow if I need to remove some air.

Matsuri records in the mix today with Abstract Phaze and Let it rip.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Secret Sauce

I'm home alone today and despite the beautiful weather, I don't feel like training much. I'll be biking to work the rest of the week anyways so I better keep my strength for that.

So I decided to take the free time and work on my special spaghetti sauce. Most runners like to have a heavy carb load before a race even if the science no longer justifies it. I feel it gives me a good boost and it's a celebration and mental preparation at the same time. I like the store bought spaghetti sauces but I feel that my special sauce is better and more nutritious. So here is the recipe.

I start out by cutting up all my vegetables:
  • 1 celery diced
  • 2lbs of carrots diced
  • 3 onions diced
  • 1.5 lbs of mushrooms, sliced

I then cook my ground beef (5 lbs) with a clove of garlic that I previously chopped finely.
While the beef is cooking, I cook and slice hot italian sausages and then pan-fry them so they are crispy.
Once the meat is all cooked, I add in the onions and cook for a while longer, seasoning with some oregano, basil, savoury and garlic salt. As the onion mixes in, I add the tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes if they are in season. I used a mix of canned crushed tomatoes (1.5L), diced tomatoes (750ml), tomato paste (700ml) and tomato juice (1.36L). Keep the stove warm until it starts boiling, at which point you throw everything else in there and mix vigorously. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer all afternoon. I add hot peppers, tabasco sauce and basil leaves to the sauce to give it extra taste. I mix every now and then and add salt, pepper and other spices to taste.

After a whole afternoon of simmering, all that is left is to boil some pasta and serve:
You can have this with some garlic toast as in the picture. I also add freshly grated cheese (mozzarella and parmesan).

This makes a whole boatload of sauce so be prepared to freeze most of it unless you are feeding an army. If you know me personally and are curious to taste this, let me know. You can either come for dinner or I'll bring you some to try at home.

I am now ready for my pre-race meal in a month and a half :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Swim

I found myself stranded downtown for about 2 hours today so I found a pool that was open and got my workout in. The pool in question was at the Plant Recreation Centre. Since I had to do with one of their leisure swim timeslot, the training was not the best but it was better than nothing :) As I swam in between the kids jumping from the tarzan rope and the diver using the springboard, I managed to get a good workout and get a start on digesting my easter brunch.

I swam for about 45 minutes, most of it doing freestyle with some breaks once in a while to get some breast strokes in. At the end I enjoyed a nice little dip in the jacuzzi to relax my muscles. The swim was really good to loosen me up after yesterday's run.

As a nice reward after the swim, I went over to the My Sweet Tea bubble tea shop where I sat down to write this very blog entry while enjoying a delicious lychee bubble tea!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Perfect Run

Once in a while, a perfect cocktail of training, a well-rested body, equipment, route selection and weather come together to produce something like this:
A perfect run for me is when I pound the pavement effortlessly, going at a speed that feels both comfortable and speedy. Today's run may be one of my fastest ever for such a long distance. By the 2nd kilometer I suspected I was in for a treat. By the 5th kilometer I knew it would be a good day. At the 10th kilometer I was amazed at how well I was running and when I finally reached the 18th kilometer, I was amazed that I had sustained the effort for that long.

I kept going, putting foot after foot in sync with the music and the environment around me. Call it entranced, the zone, religious experience, whatever you wish, it is special and to be cherished. Runs like today's remind me of why I run. I may only taste this experience once in a blue moon but it makes all the hard work of training worth while.

The speed profile is pretty even with only 2 kms over 5 minutes/km and only one under 4m40s/km:
Entranced by Distance to Goa 7 and Encryption.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

18m30s Swim and Play

I swam really well today with some nice tumbles. I think I invented my own tumbling technique today, however it seemed to work really well with my breathing and I came up in the right swimming position so I was happy with my performance. I sticked around at the pool for another 20 minutes of breast strokes and freestyle to ramp up my endurance.

After the swim and some shopping, we went to see Robert Lepage's Blue Dragon. It was very interesting and thought provoking on a number of subjects such as interpersonal relations, love, freedom and parenting.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be mostly a rest day. I say mostly because I'm sure I could find some fitness description to ceramic tile setting at my mom's and call it stretching or strength training.

I'm hoping I can find some time this easter weekend for a long run. I haven't done anything high impact in a while and I'm starting to itch for some intense action :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4 Course Meal & Cycling

I will be imitating my friend from foodiePrints and describing my delicious meal at Algonquin's Restaurant International. We had some errands to run in that neck of the woods, so a suggestion was made, reservations were arranged and next thing I know I was sitting down and a friendly student from the Hospitality program was taking my order that would be prepared by a culinary student. Cool.

I started with the crab cakes with mango chutney that were very delicious and spiced just right. I ate them before I could think of taking a picture, however I have picture of my appetizing and fruity salad:
It was pretty good even if a bit on the bland side. It was mentionned by my partner after I ate it that the cabbage the salad came wrapped in was not meant to be eaten, but it looked like it was edible to me. I followed up with the main course of rabbit with some rice and perfectly cooked if slightly cold vegetables:
It came with a delicious little broccoli that I ate before taking the picture. Sorry, I'm still new at this foodiePrinting business ;) The rice was a bit mushy but otherwise well seasoned, the rabbit was pretty good if also a bit blend and the sauce was definitively not rich enough. It was still a very good pairing and I really enjoyed it. Then came the desserts. There was a bit of a contest as to who picked the best looking desert so I took pictures of both the fruity concoction:
and the delicious chocolate one:
I will let you guess which one was mine. I enjoyed my dessert even if there again it may have been a bit undersweetened or underflavored. The chocolate sauce that was spread around the plate however was really really delicious.

Overall the meal was a really fun experience. From the shy but friendly waiter to the food that was delicious, even if it missed maybe a bit of polish. I could see this meal costing double the price in a real restaurant where, of course, they would have ironed out all the kinks. Thanks goes to my generous boyfriend Alex for picking up the tab.

I got home with enough time to go for an indoor cycling session. This time the bike says my virtual distance is 28km and since I pushed really hard, I will convince myself that it is right :)

The Suburbs are making people fat?

Are Suburbs making us fat? I moved to the suburbs about a year ago and while there are pros and cons to living in the suburbs, one of my main gripes always has been that there is nowhere to walk to. Every little daily errand turns into a chore that requires a car trip.

This interesting article in today's Ottawa Citizen reinforces what I have been saying all along. Add in the warlike supply storing and the missing time from all those errands and you will realize that there is precious little time left over at the end of the day to exercise or spend some quality time with your loved ones. I wonder if the study looked into the ratio of home baked with fresh ingredients vs frozen / prepared meals. I sure know that my diet now includes much more frozen pizzas and chicken sticks with fries than it did when I lived right next door to grocery stores and farmer's markets.

Today is most probably an off day. I may squeeze in some indoor cycling if I get home early enough.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Under 19 minutes again!

Swimming today was a breeze. I came in at about 19 minutes again and this time the count is accurate :) I tried some tumbling but then the pool got busy so I used the touch and turn to make sure I don't hurt anyone.

After my regular laps, I did a cool down with about a dozen laps of breast strokes. I then lazed in the pool for another 15-20 minutes, alternating between freestyle and breast stroke. When the pool got quieter, I even practiced a bit of tumbling. I'm still struggling with my breathing technique pre-tumble and my return to swimming once I turned. I have to watch some more videos to figure out how I should emerge and start swimming again. I could also improve my technique so I don't get so much water in my nose!!

I was having lunch today with my friend that runs foodiePrints (check it out it's full of delicious recipes and restaurant reviews). He commented on my running and calling it impressive or a similar compliment. My immediate reaction, besides blushing, was to say that it's not that crazy. 30km a week of running is not uncommon and when I look up at my running role models, I find that I am really not that special. However, if 10 years ago, my 19 year old self was to read this, he most probably would think that whoever is behind this blog is nuts. Funny how constantly challenging your limits will make these limits move away further and further :) Thanks for bringing me some perspective Don!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Indoor Cycling

Another cold snowy and rainy day so I decided to skip the hypothermia and use my trusty indoor bike to replace the ride to work.

The bike says I did 27 km in 45 minutes, however I am skeptical of this estimate. Biking in the real world is much harder than the bike seems to believe. Maybe if I was biking without atmosphere on a downhill slope?

I am looking forward to swimming tomorrow if I can make the time for it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Long Windy Sunday

I finally made some time to go for a long run. The day was perfect, except for the wind. I had to wrestle with 30km/h gusts while I made my way across the trails and sidewalks, trying to rack the kilometers all the way to 15.
It was quite a good run considering the conditions. I snaked across Walter Baker Park (WBP) where I took the opportunity to do a bit of hill training by running up the snow hill a few times. BTW, if you are in the area, do not go up there unless you really want to, it's been used for what looks like a party spot for teenagers with empty beer cans, human waste and used "protection". After getting bored at WBP, I headed to Palladium drive where I took a detour by the very busy CostCo and HomeDepot. You wouldn't believe there is a recession on with all the traffic leading up to these stores. I finished my run by going around ScotiaBank Place and doing two laps around the Palladium Auto Circle.

I was happy that the run was over when I got home, the wind made it really hard to sustain any kind of speed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Swimming Reward

Swimming always feel like a reward for me. I don't know if it's because it involves less impact than the other sports I practice or if it's the quietness of being underwater but it always feel relaxing. It may help that I usually follow my swim with a sauna or jacuzzi session depending on the facility...

Today's swim was amazing. I did my usual 750m in about 19 minutes. I lost count again so give or take a minute. It's hard to keep count while focusing on breathing and tumbling. Yes, tumbling. I tried some new moves today and I did not swallow any water, yippie. Maybe the tumbles explain shaving so many seconds off my time or then again, maybe my counting was really off ;)

The pool was relatively quiet so I did about a dozen (yeah, I should get better at counting, lol) breast stroke laps before reverting to freestyle. Another dozen laps until I started to promise myself it was the last one. As much as I wanted to go home and get started with my weekend activities, the water was so pleasant and I was flowing so well that I kept extending my swim, like a sleepyhead pushing the snooze button again and again. A quick sauna session just to get my money's worth and I was on my way home.

My leg muscles were a bit tense this morning after yesterday's amazing training, but the swim really loosened me up. Another reason why I like swimming so much!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I love the feeling I get when I pound on those pedals in a high gear and feel the immediate effect on the bike. My front wheel feels ligther and my speed increases dramatically. If I was a car engine, I would brag about going 0-35km/h in 15 seconds or whatever, but for me that happy buzz is more satisfying than any stats.

This power surge is an addictive feeling. The rush and associated drain that I feel when accelerating up a hill on my bike or sprinting towards a finish line is something that I haven't been able to match any other way. The feeling of control over my body and the effect on the reality around me is overwhelming.

I felt a bit of that power this morning on my way to work. I fell asleep before I could go swimming yesterday. So this morning, I had plenty of energy to pour into the ride and it felt great. As I was listening to Iron Maiden's power cords on Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, my whole being was focused on a single purpose: transform the sugars in my body into speed on the road. In synch with the music and mixed in with the traffic to my left, the whole stretch on the Ottawa River Parkway was pure bliss. This moment stayed with me all day, like an afterglow.
The morning commute took under an hour, so that's always good. With the time I saved this morning, I decided to go for a short run at lunch, the weather was just too nice to pass up. I ran 6km in about 28 minutes so I'm fairly satisfied with my speed. There were lots of people out on the roads today. Eat Static's Implant kept me company in the mix.
The way home was not as easy as the way to work. The helpful tailwind of the morning was still quite strong, however it became a headwind as I changed directions. It felt like going uphill the whole way. What a workout!!! I felt like rock and roll again so I got AC/DC's Black Ice in the mix.
Man oh man, I can't wait until my next race. I don't know why but on race day it always feel like everyone is watching and I have to do even better than usual. I know that the watchers probably don't care about me specifically, or those that do care about me don't really know the difference between me just showing up and me turning in an awesome performance. Everyone would be happy with whatever results I achieve. However I have to satisfy myself with an extraordinary effort, one I can look back at and consider how much I put into it and how good it felt that it all came together perfectly just this once...