Friday, July 31, 2009

Breakfast of champions

Many people ask me what I eat to be able to sustain the efforts of biking so much. My answer is usually simple, more of everything with a focus on chocolate :)
So here you have my routine breakfast. I have some cereal, usually PC Fibre First or PC Fibre Plus. I then add either Chocolate Soy milk or Cow milk with Chocolate Syrup. I top it off with a Banana for extra potassium. So here you have all five essential food groups: Chocolate, Grains, Milk, Fruits and Meat alternatives (trough the nuts and soy milk!)
This breakfast is more than enough to bring me awake and provide enough carbs to fuel the bike ride to work. The iron content in the cereal is a good start towards reaching my daily intake and the calcium in the milk or soy milk is great to ensure a proper bone density.

{I am not a nutritionist nor have I consulted with one, I just read magazines and the labels on what I eat!}

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Isn't this Friday already?

Phew. This is a long week. I'm not sure why. It must be the long weekend coming. I so need a long weekend. Looks like the weather will be gorgeous, at least for us folks in Ottawa.

So yesterday I went swimming at Goulbourn pool. It was the most chaotic swim ever, lots of people, all swimming different speeds and lots of people just hanging around at the end of the lane. As @selves mentionned, this is a great opportunity to test my swimming skills when there's lots of people around. I felt like world war 2, fighting for a piece of wall to turn on while everybody just sat there chatting and taking up valuable wall space. I ran into a guy a few times, I think we didn't have the same understanding of what coming back in the middle lane means. I still managed decent times with 16 minutes and 18 minutes for each of my 750m sets.

As I was finishing up the swim, I started to feel a cramp coming on. When I got out of the pool, my right leg muscle, must have been the soleus or gastrocnemius, froze on the "ON" position. It HURTS! Kind like a pinch that won't go away. After a few seconds (or was it minutes) it relaxed a bit but it still is sensitive even today.
So today the weather is gorgeous. I couldn't resist biking to work. I decided I could justify it if I took it easy and made it a "recovery" ride. I think it helped loosen the stuck muscle from yesterday. The commutes times weren't that bad at over 59 minutes and 1h10 on the way back (I did do a detour to run an errand).

Not sure what I'll do tomorrow. If I feel like it I'll ride to work again, otherwise I'll stop at the pool downtown on my way home. That one always has lots of room and everyone is pretty much the same pace.

In the mix today is Transwave's Helium and Sandman's Psychotoons.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

52:30 + Brick!

Wow what a day. I felt so strong this morning. Whenever that happens, I always try to look back at what happened to cause such power. I did go to bed at a reasonable time yesterday and Alex did make some very delectable seafood pad thai so that may have played quite a role. So my commute was the fastest ever with an average speed of 31.9km/h. Thanks to MotionBased for the number crunching. I'll be sad to see that website go, hopefully they will change their plans to shutdown uploads at the end of the week.
Before anybody thinks that yesterday's winds kept going to make me go faster, think again. I checked and the weather network reports no winds at 7am this morning (with 6km S and 8km SW at 6am and 8am). That creates quite the benchmark to try to beat from now on. I'll have to go even harder. I'm pretty happy also about the even-ness of my speed throughout the ride. Thanks to RunSaturday for the speed heatmap. Hopefully they can eventually figure out a way to give me moving time and average moving speed.
The commute home was uneventful. I didn't push too too hard since I knew what was coming next: the Brick! Now, I don't know why it's called a brick. Maybe Bike + Run + ICK = BRICK? Or maybe it's the feel of your feet while running making them as heavy as bricks. Anyways, after biking my 25km in 1h04m (with sidewinds of 20km/h thank you very much for asking), I started out on a run. It took me about 2 minutes to transfer to my running shoes. I guess I should work on that before the race.

The first 300 meters of the run were great. I felt so bouncy in my running shoes and I thought that every bad thing I had heard about Brick runs was false. After 300 meters however, reality set in. My legs felt as if they were made of concrete. At kilometer 1 I was panting and feeling the pain. By kilometer 2 I was about call it quits (and I'm not usually a quitter!). Finally, at kilometer 3, I actually caught my rythm and was starting to have a bit of fun. However, regardless of all my efforts, I wasn't able to pick up the pace. It's as if there was no one in the engine room to add more coal to the boiler. I kept trying to get faster but the legs wouldn't follow my instructions. Definitively a new feeling for me. I still managed an overall pace of 4:51m/km which I think is pretty respectable for a first try.
My body doesn't feel too sore (yet?) so I'm thinking that I can push it a bit more. I still feel great and powerful like I did this morning although I also feel a bit drained and exhausted at the same time.

So with this Brick run, I think I can confirm my goal of finishing my Sprint tri in less than 1h45m. It gives me about 20 minutes for the swim (it gets messy with so many people), 55 minutes for the bike and 25 minutes for the run. With two transitions of 2m30s it should be feasible to meet the 1h45m mark. Of course, I may totally blow that goal out of the water being a race and all.

In the mix today was Thomas Fersen's 3 petits tours and Saiko-Pod's Phutures and Options.

Oh, and before I forget, I'd like to thank M-Rah for answering my questions (first two on this post) on her blog, Vegging Out. If you have any personal training type questions, feel free to leave some comments on her blog, she picks the most interesting questions and answers them every Sunday (or Monday when she can't get around to it on the Sunday!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Already?

Is it Monday already? I wasn't prepared for a Monday!!! I had a meeting real early today too so I woke up extra early to schedule some buffer time to make it for sure. Morning commute was about 1h02 and when I came home there were some grey clouds and crazy wind gusts of up to 39km/h. Does that mean I really put in the effort for 60km/h if I managed to hold 20km/h? hehehe.

No time for fancy graphics tonight, sorry. I took the same route as usual. When I came home I realized I needed to true my wheel and pump the tires a bit. I've been neglecting my bike lately.

What's for tomorrow? More biking! Yeah. And if I feel right maybe even a Brick run after. Now that I said it, I think I *have* to do it :)

In the mix today was a throwback in time with 24 hour party people and musician activists Les Cowboys Fringants with La Grand-Messe.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Swim

I stopped blogging about my swimming every time since it was getting a bit boring. Today, however, I became speedy enough to warrant a quick update. I swam my usual two sets of 750 meters in 14 minutes and 16 minutes. Not quite sure if the pool I was in is smaller than my usual one (they claim 25m) or what was the real reason for such as speedy swim, but I'll take improvements wherever I can find them!!!

I think I'm ready for my first Tri in September. All I have to do now is keep on pushing my training so I can improve my time :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wet!

I had a pretty easy ride this morning, being Friday and all I didn't want to push it too much. I got to work in a little under 1h03 minutes. On the way home I was happy to have a good back wind until I hit the torrential downpour and my ride turned into what a friend calls aquacycling. The "puddles" were sometimes a few inches deep. The upside of it is that once you are wet, you don't get wetter ;) You can actually see when the downpour started on the map where the route turns darker blue.
I actually had some fun riding home today in a twisted kind of way. I remembered the days, long gone now, when I was a kid playing in the warm rain and jumping in puddles. I also get a kick of people looking at me and shaking their heads in disbelief. When I got home, some of the neighbors were playing outside in their water coats, and we shared a smile about how beautiful life can be in those little moments that no one else knows about. Phew, getting philosophical here. Back to the buzz, I think this workout counts as double :) I was planning on going swimming tomorrow but I may have had my fill of water for a while, hehehe.

In the mix today was Infected Mushroom's The Gathering and Amadou and Mariam's Dimanche a Bamako, that is until my music player decided it wasn't waterproof and shut down. Hopefully it will work again once it dries up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Negative Split

Okay, it's not really a negative split since it's actually two different workouts but I think this is the first time that the commute home is faster than the commute in the morning. I had a bit of help from the wind in the afternoon and I'm happy to report that while I got a bit damp this morning I didn't get wet.
Lots of green on the way home, I like that. The morning commute took about 1h01 and the way home was more speedy at 56 minutes.

Tomorrow is swimming since the schedule is getting too tight again. A noteworthy fact is that if MotionBased was actually working for me today, this would be my 203rd bike entry. Why is this significant? Because I also have 203 runs in MotionBased. So I am now evenly trained between runs and rides since I got my Garmin a few years ago. Not unlike other bloggers out there, I am also drooling over a new model of the Garmin but will wait to see what happens with Garmin connect before I jump in.

In the mix was Infected Mushroom's The Gathering. However because of power failure, most of the ride was actually to the sound of traffic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quick update

I'm resting today (again?) since I'm a bit too busy/lazy to fit anything in. I'll bike to work tomorrow, in the rain if I have to, to make up for it.
I swam yesterday. Another good one with times of 16 and 19 minutes for each of my 750m sets. The pool felt pretty busy so when I saw this picture in the Ottawa Citizen this morning I felt their pain.

Apparently, as some of my readers pointed out, I need a race to 'officialize' my 10k PB so I will have to find a race around here and do just that. It will be exciting, I never raced a 10k before.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Morning Speed Demon

Some people go to church on Sundays, some other wake up extra early to go for a run while their better half sleeps the morning away. I am from that second bunch :)

Today, I decided to do a bit of speed work and head for the track. I went to a new track that I thought was closer to home at Sacred Heart High School. Turns out it's actually a bit farther. The track itself was pretty nice, it was dry already despite some rain yesterday. My Garmin told me that it wasn't an exact 400m, but I can live with that.
What became quickly obvious through my warming up and the first few laps is that I was fast today. Some calculations done while running pegged me at a pace faster than I had ever run. As any runner will know, you should be wary of any mathematics done while running. Pace, kilometers, minutes, seconds, there's too many variables to keep track of while pushing your body to its limit and trying not to trip on anything. So I kept pushing and eventually decided to transform my track program into an all out gunning for the best.

My previous Personal Best (PB) on a 10k is almost 2 years old. I trained really hard that summer, going for 10k runs about 3 times a week plus running to work (a 2.5km commute back then) every day. My best time ever on a 10k stood at 44m43s from October 17, 2007. That was then. Today, as I crossed the 10k mark, my Garmin read to me 44m24s! YIPPI! That's a full 19 seconds faster. The runners reading will know what I'm talking about. Two seconds per km doesn't seem like much to you non runners but to runners (at least at my level) it's a pretty significant improvement.

I had no idea I had this in me this morning. I'm really happy that I was able to finally top that previous PB. Ever since my disastrous plantar fasciitis injury, I had been crippled mentally and physically, afraid to push the envellope. Today, I broke this hold and opened the door for even bigger and faster goals.
So here is the breakdown for the actual track portion of the run. I slowed down considerably coming home after pushing so hard.

4 quick 400m: 01:44 01:45 01:51 01:45
2 recovery 400m: 02:04 01:55
4 quick 400m: 01:52 01:49 01:53 01:54
2 recovery 400m (I kinda gave up the recovery gunning for the PB): 01:54 01:50
4 quick 400m (I crosse the 10k during the 3rd lap, can you tell?): 01:50 01:52 02:09 02:03
2 recovery 400m: 02:08 02:04

A funny thing happened on the way home, at least it would have been funny had anyone been awake and watching. As I was running and drinking, my water bottle popped open and I got splatterred red Powerade all over my face, shirt and left shoe. Does anybody know how to clean sports drinks from shoes?

Now I'm off to brunch with the foodiePrints brunch club. (I had a bit of a snack so they don't think I'm an ogre again eating a steak for breakfast like last time). It will be hard to hide my smiling grin caused by the rush of endorphins. Call it being the zone, high, ecstatic, happy, whatever you call it, I got it today!

In the mix was Dragonfly's classic goa trance compilation A voyage into trance. I'm sure those rocking beats played a part in my PB today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Windy!

The winds really are against me. This article in a local newspaper proves it! At least I won't worry about sounding crazy anymore.

The commute to work was pretty quick, especially for a Friday.
Again I averaged about 30km/h. I had to stop for a bit because of a power failure in my music machine. Thankfully I had a spare battery so I could keep the tunes going. The way back faced some pretty heavy and gusty winds of up to 31km/h so I didn't go so fast with a total time of a little under 1h10m.

Here is a comparison (I am addicted to RunSaturday's speed heatmap, can you tell yet?) between a windy and non windy commute. Almost 15 minutes difference between the two, it's wild. If Dave is still reading, sorry buddy, sometimes I have to geek out with the analysis/stats.
Tomorrow is most likely a rest day unless the forecasted rain doesn't show up in which case I may go running. I got to do more running, I miss it. But with the daily commutes, it's hard to fit it in.

French first lady Carla Bruni's Comme si de rien n'├ętait and Jean Leloup's La mygale jaune in the mix.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Humpday

Alex called Wednesday Hump day last night and it made me smile. The Hump he referred to is the middle point of the week, like the Hump on a camel's back. I guess that the week is almost over now that we are over the Hump :)

I was pretty quick this morning, clocking in at 50 minutes moving time giving me a average moving speed of 30.1km/h!
Thanks to RunSaturday for the beautiful speed heatmap:
All I can think about now when I'm riding is "oh oh, I'm slipping into the purple" or "just a bit more and I'm in the green". Seeing the speed on the map like that makes me strive for more difficult targets. Maybe I should focus on trying to have the whole ride the same color?

The ride home was pretty sweet too, coming in at 58m47s. I ran into another biker that I've seen a few times now and I always try to "shake him" but he always meets me back at the lights. I was able to shake him off after the lights on Hazeldean today. Wonder if he thinks about trying to catch me? :)

Tomorrow is not a biking day. Maybe a run if the weather and schedule is good, otherwise I'll go for a swim.

The mix today was provided by Atomic Records, which I just found out is now defunct. RIP Atomic. Powder and Kiss the Future 3 were fueling my heavy pounding of the bike pedals.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cold and Windy

When I got out this morning, I was shocked by how cold it was! We're in the middle of July, not September!!! The 11 degrees temperature didn't stop me from having a pretty good ride at just under 58 minutes total time.

The ride home however was a bit of a downer with winds of up to 26km/h. It took me almost an hour and ten minutes to get home.
I shouldn't complain too much, I guess the training counts as double under these conditions. The knee was acting up a bit being sensitive when I was pedaling but after I'm done it's not really sore so hopefully there's no damage done.

Tomorrow I'm taking it easy and calling it a rest day for my legs with maybe some swimming if I can make time for it.

In the mix today is Naan's commercial hits and the Matrix Reloaded Soundtrack.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tempo Sunday

One of my big fears as I transition into triathlon is that the sport I take for granted and love so much (running) will suffer. I've definitively been treating it as my least favorite child lately. The reason is simple: the effort that I put into biking and swimming will more likely result in bigger gains for the race in September. So today, I decided to take my forgotten friend out for a bit and go all out on a Tempo run and see if it would hold a grudge against me and make me slower. I happily realized that running had been waiting impatiently for me and I was rewarded with a beautiful fast run.

I completed my 6km in a little less than 27 minutes. Pretty impressive time considering all the stress I've put my muscles under in the last few days with all the biking and even some swimming yesterday.

I used RunSaturday to track this activity for the first time and I am pretty impressed. Thanks to Marlene for introducing me to it. I'm a stats geek and I get excited with the neat graphs like this one for my speed, which was, I must admit, totally uneven!
The maps are really cool, especially the heat maps like this one showing the speed with the course itself. I love it!
If you like stats as much as I do, you can go here to see all the different data about my run. I think I might have found a replacement for MotionBased when they turn off uploads at the end of the month.

I sound giddy. It must be the endorphins speaking. I am after all, the EndorphinBuzz :)

I the mix today we had some electro jazz provided by Dzihan and Kamien's Freaks and Icons.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finally Friday!

I'm not sure if I am happy it's Friday because I don't have to *go* to work tomorrow or if it's just because I don't have to *bike* to work tomorrow :) Cycling to work 4 times this week was tough, especially the 3 in a row bit. I am pretty proud of my mileage for the week at 200km of cycling, 10km of running and 1.25km of swimming.

I took it real easy today with a time of about 1h in the morning and 1h05 in the evening.
Phew. I am totally taking the night off tonight and enjoying some movies like a couch potato!

Silly old school funkyness in the mix today with Ghostbusters II and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtracks as well as never really famous but really hot (for a late 80s band) Bros.

Btw, the EndorphinBuzz is now also available on twitter.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slow ride

I meant to have a slow day today since I'm hoping to bike to work again tomorrow (3 days in a row!!). However, as things go, I didn't get to choose my speed, the music was just too good so I let myself go with the flow.
29.6km/h average is nothing to sneer at. Coming in at 57m total time is also definitively good. I wonder if I can break the 50 minutes total, 45m moving time before the end of the season.

On the way home, I decided to change my playlist to mellow out a bit. I still managed to get home in 1h total time.

In the mix today we had Krembo's Underground Labels Vol 2: Truelove and Yann Perreau's fantastic Nucleaire. Going to his website I noticed there's a new album out. Yay!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ride the Bullet!

Today's morning commute was quite difficult. I think it may be the Carling route that I use that wears me down because of all the hills. With yesterday's rest day I should have been faster than a 56m moving time.

The ride home however was a completely different story. I rode like a bullet with an average speed of 30.6km/h (woot woot!!!)
I'm sure I will feel it in the legs tomorrow as I try to go for 4 bike commutes this week.

Cheesy uplifting trance in the mix with Trance Trippin and Transient's Uplifting Trance.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dry and Flat!

I woke up today feeling pretty sore from yesterday's run and still decided to follow through with my plans to bike to work. The bike in was a bit painful but still pretty fast at a little over 52 minutes moving time.
On the way home, I faced some headwinds (13km/h). Now there is something I would like explained to me. The peak winds are always at the time I am on the road coming home. Now that I am home, the direction even changed after it died down! The people at the weather control tower must have it in for me. I guess I shouldn't complain too much since I escaped the rain (the pavement was still a bit wet when I got home).

I did however get a flat tire. My back tire is getting pretty worn out and really it's my fault since I've been lazy replacing it. I have a new one in the basement all ready to go, I just got to roll up my sleeves and change it.

I wanted to go swimming tomorrow but it looks like my schedule won't allow it so I'll see what I can do about going tonight instead so I can have a guilt free rest day tomorrow.

The sunny beats of Cyber Trance 5 and the classical trance hymns of Platipus Volume 2.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunny 10k

What a beautiful day today. I slipped out of bed early (well, early for me ;) and put on my brand new Saucony shoes and headed out for a test run. I didn't feel like I needed to push myself too much after biking over 150km this week so I went pretty easy. It felt good even if it got a bit warm by the end of the run. The shoes are pretty good but I need to adjust my lacing next time, my small toe was a bit numb by the middle point of the run.

Thankfully, MotionBased is working for me today so I can share some nice stats:
This is a pretty convenient route for me with just a few traffic lights. The knee is a bit sore but nothing too crazy. I plan to bike to work tomorrow and hopefully at least 2 other times again this week depending on my schedule.

I'm not too sure if I am training right for the triathlon. I defintively think that the area I can improve the most is the biking so I've been putting most of my efforts towards that, but I feel that I'm pushing that one so hard that my swimming and running are taking a back seat. The re-opening of the pool near my work in 2 weeks should help with getting a more regular swim training.

Xenomorph's deliciously dark and gloomy Qlippoth in the mix to contrast the cloudless sunny skies.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wet and windy

This morning's commute was pretty good. I was a bit damp from the light rain but nothing major. The commute home however was spent battling 15-20km/h winds and for the last leg with a pretty heavy rainfall. I didn't want to risk the high speed roads with the rain and the wind so I took Gladstone to Wellington and then headed West until I got home. I was pretty wet when I got home.
Unfortunately, I don't have any more wet pet pictures after this one of our dog Amy after her bath. I hope that this means that it won't rain on me anymore this year.

I'm having problems with my stats because the web site I usually use has been replaced by a supposedly better and newer version. However my friendly fitness device company, Garmin, messed it up and gave me a new site that only has half the features of the old one. Morning commute was 59m43s, evening one 68m30s. Sorry, no moving time and average speed anymore either :(

I wanted to go swimming tonight but I don't feel like it anymore so I'm using one of my guilt free skip a training card. I think I've been quite a trooper this week already. Hopefully I can get a run in tomorrow or Sunday, I haven't run in over a week!

In the mix today we had Sugar's dreamy and floaty Bionic Wonderland and Freeform's summery Taste of Freeform 4.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

House always win + Rant!

Just like when you are playing the crazy odds at the casino, the house always end up winning eventually no matter how long you can keep a winning streak going. Today, I dared the weather again and it didn't respond on my way to work, but on the commute home, it decided to rain a bit on me. It wasn't bad really, a bit of a refreshing drizzle is a better description. It wasn't even for the whole commute, maybe about 10 minutes. My shirt was dry by the time I got home. I'm taking it as a sign of things to come tomorrow.
I thought I was pretty fast this morning, but I guess I didn't break the average 30km/h mark, coming a bit short at 29.5. Still, that's nothing to complain about. I could definitively try to game the system by choosing where I stop my watch to get better results but I'm pretty happy with a 55 minute commute. The ride home was pretty much the same.

Now, something happened to me today that warrants a rant. Skip to the end if you don't want to hear it. On my way to work, one of the friendly motorist rolled down his window, slowed down and yelled a very inspired "GET OFF THE ROAD" at me. He sped up in time to catch the red light at which point I stopped by his car and listened as he told me I was slowing down traffic and I should get off the road. I tried to remind him about the laws in Ontario allowing me to use the road just as much as a motorized vehicle but his answer was that I should be using the "bike paths". The setting wasn't conducive to a real exchange as he sped up when the light turned green, but if he had time to listen to me, I would have explained that in Ottawa, the "bike paths" are not really bike paths at all. Most of what people refer to as "bike paths" are really NCC owned multi-use pathways. These pathways are regulated by a set of rules to ensure everyone's safety. I agree wholeheartedly with those rules that will ensure the safety of all, including grandma with her walker, the kids on their tricycles and little Trisha walking her down with a retractable leash. Unfortunately, the multi-use nature of the pathways ensure that bikers get only left overs. We don't get priority, having to yield for just about anything bigger than a squirrel and we have to respect the 20km/h speed limit. This is why I do not use the "bike paths".

Now, everyone I sat down with and explained my reasoning for using the road eventually comes around and understands that I am not crazy, I am not using the roads to be in the ways of cars and I do not have a deathwish. Please, friendly motorists, consider this when you pass me on the road. I always stay as close to the edge of the road as I safely can and on days like today, unfortunately, the road is not wide enough to pass since they are doing some roadwork. Rest assured that I will try to find an alternate route to work, but unfortunately, all the routes I know seem to share the same fate with regards to narrowing because of constructions, you can blame the economic stimulus package if you wish.

Thank you!

Oh, and today, the day after Canada's birthday, the playlist included only Canadian (Quebec-based even) artists: Arianne Moffat with her beautiful Aquanaute and Synthesthesia with a driven Akathisia.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dry Again!

Tuesday's commute saw me get lucky again. Despite a threatening forecast of 70% chance of showers with total precipitations expected at 10mm and dark clouds looming on the horizon, I didn't get more than a few drops in the morning.

The commute was especially hard this time around after a weekend of stuffing myself silly and a fantastic evening with my friend from FoodiePrints at Ottawa's l'Atelier. You'll be able to read about it over at FoodiePrints very soon I am told. So the fantastic meal at l'Atelier saw me going to bed much later than usual and waking up with a higher concentration of alcohol in my blood than I am regularly used to :) That glass of vidal icewine I had at the end of the 12 course tasting menu was to die for, it was completely worth the small pain I suffered in the commute.

I took the Carling route since I didn't want to risk being caught on the Parkway in the middle of heavy winds or even a thunderstorm.
Seems like I caught a lot of red lights with almost 5 minutes of non-moving time. I left for home heading into a dark gray cloud. Lucky for me, the winds were cooperating and by the time I got home, the cloud had moved just enough for me to escape the rains.

Let's hope my luck defying the weather continues as I plan to ride in to work for the remainder of the week (today is a holiday, Happy Canada Day!). The current forecast for tomorrow and Friday is 70% and 80% chances of shower with 5-10mm of expected precipitations for each day.