Friday, August 31, 2012

August, done!

Woah that was quick, August is done, the kids are back in school, the nights are getting cooler and it’s getting darker earlier…before we know it the clocks will be changing!

After Vineman last month I seem to have finally exited the “twingery tunnel”, systems still need some babying but they are kinda firing on all four cylinders…now I need to get them into V6 mode! Having looked back at the month the mileage has crept up on me, I think a lot of that has to do with the training plan which is duration/RPE based, my workouts do not specify mileage but are something like


And so I follow the plan and the miles take care of themselves…which makes a big change from other plans I have followed which are very prescriptive on mileage. So with that in mind, here are the digits:

  • Swim 18.21 miles (32,000 yards) in 15:20
  • Bike 341 miles in 21:14
  • Run 96 miles in 14:13
  • Total 455 miles in 51:33 (including a couple of hours spent foam rolling, stretching and using my Compex)

One of this years goals was consistency in my training and now hopefully I can pick up where I left off back in April:

image image

This weekend I am heading to Tempe for another chance to check out the IMAZ course, I am meeting up with Thomas and riding the bike course and spending some time on the run course. The long weekend is a great opportunity to do that…hopefully it won’t be too hot!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bite size victories!

I am not a great swimmer, it’s my short leg of the three legged stool that is Triathlon, the problem is you have to finish the swim to get to the rest of it!

This week my Kids go back to school and a new school for one means meeting new teachers and orientation etc. Today’s double was always going to be tight to try and fit in the 2500 yards on the plan, so I decided to break it up and fitted half in at lunchtime hoping I could fit the other half in later on…I didn’t and right now I should be working rather than blogging! The idea was to the midday swim simple, this was it.

WU 250 w/PB
MS 2x500 at Tpace (my TPace is around 2:25 )

I just got changed, got in and got on with it and would you believe it, I finally managed to break the 40 minute mile mark, but better than that check out the consistency of the 2x500s, today I was a happy panda!


That being said I thought I was doing pretty well till another guy got in next to me...there is always a bigger fish!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

IMAZ training Week 5

Another week in the bank. There is definitely a noticeable increase in volume, the durations are getting longer as is the prescribed intensity.image

As you can see, there is a big ramp up on the cycling this week, much of the first four weeks has been prep for this increase with “easy-ish” rides being the order of the day. That’s not to say that the plan is asking for all out efforts but it is asking for solid efforts and as mentioned longer durations 90 mins, 2 hours and 2:40 hours. The longest ride was Saturday and I managed to get out onto the open road and had a really good 50 mile ride in 2:46, a little slower than I hoped but my Average HR for the ride was around 133 which bodes well. Two things I am noticing on the bike:

I can’t get comfortably aero on the trainer, this is an issue as IMAZ lends itself to being a very aero friendly ride, I am much more comfortable on the road for some reason?

My right shoulder gets really tired. This is an odd one that I first noticed at Vineman but for some reason my right deltoid seems to get very tense and this is what is leading to the discomfort, it only kicks in around mile 40, not so bad when then is only 16 miles to go but really bad when there are 82 miles left…I am thinking some strengthening might help and possible switching out the aero cradles to slightly larger ones? It’s all trial and error but it would be nice to dial it in sooner rather than later.

On the run front the mileage has been consistent. It’s a little short but that is a reflection that two of the runs where on trails which are always a little slower and I think the benefits from the trails outweighs the extra 2-3 miles I would have covered on the blacktop. I had an excellent mid week trail run, blitzing through my local loop with 10 minutes of the 90 minute run to spare and had to run laps around the parking lot!


Swim wise, it’s all about form and endurance, only three swims but over 8300 yards covered. The longest was 3250 yards and taking over 1:35, I am not swimming the entire time I should add as there are built rest intervals but going to the pool is becoming a case of first in last out for sure.

No new gadgets or swag to report I don’t think?

The only other real change is that I am trying a vegan diet for 30 days, I am only 6 days and today was a bit of a slip, finding some non-advertised cheese in a Panini and folding and having half and half in a coffee but I am noticing some real benefits which I will share in another post.

Next weekend (Labor Day weekend) I am heading back to Tempe for another ride on the bike course and getting a chance to take a run out onto the run course, its great to be able to get to do this in advance but the 6ish hour drive each way is a bit punishing as is the 5:00am start. But that’s the only way to avoid the heat…and I can snooze by the pool in the afternoon or find a nice air conditioned movie theatre to take a nap in catch the summer blockbusters!

The kids go back to school next week so I am having to shuffle things around to accommodate that and the trip to Arizona, here’s the back of my napkin, you can see that there is another step up…

photo (2)

So other than this fancy graph, that’s it. 13 weeks to go…time is flying!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review; A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington

image My talking book consumption continues and most recently I took Chrissie Wellington along for a few rides and runs with her book; A Life Without Limits.

Again (similar to the Finding Ultra review) I’ll try and keep things brief. The book covers pretty much Chrissie’s life from growing up in England and joining the local swim team to winning her 4th Ironman World Championship in Kona in 2011. Given that she has won the World Championships 4 times there is not a lot of her life that is out in the public domain already; her work in Development for the British Government and various NGOs, her cycling and trekking in the Himalayas and South America and her involvement with controversial coach Brett Sutton.

What she does put on the record is her struggle with her body and with bulimia; she is both candid and open about this issue, her vegetarian trials and how she finally arrived at a healthy and happy relationship with food.

Her careers are covered in great detail; athletic and non athletic and both offer an interesting insight into her personality, passion and drive. As a result of her travels through Africa during her gap year in University she diverted her career from one of aspiring lawyer to one of human relief and development. Her journey to triathlon took a circuitous one from gaining experience during her Nepal cycling exploits and wrestling with her body image that resulted in her running which in turn led up to her first marathon. From there an introduction to a Tri club and from there her aspiring Olympic dreams and discovery of Long Course triathlon. Both minor and major races are covered including her bursting onto the World stage in 2007 in Hawaii and the subsequent defended Championships, the withdrawal from the 2010 race. Also covered are the Challenge Roth Races for which she holds the World Record. All are described in great detail and are exciting to listen to (or of course read).

The latter chapters cover her involvement with the Blazeman Foundation and other charities, her break up with her coach Brett Sutton and the transition to her new coach Dave Scott (of numerous World Championships and Iron War fame) and her romance with Tom Lowe. What isn’t covered is what is next, I guess we will have to wait and see.

Sometimes it’s hard to get a feel for the real person by simply listening to or reading their words, but one thing I am left with after this book is that she is a genuine, compassionate and caring person, fiercely competitive but vulnerable at the same time.

Overall I really enjoyed this book; it’s well written and well narrated by Polly Lee, who like Chrissie is also British, some of the pronunciations will throw the American listener, some of them in fact threw me…and I am British but don’t worry there are not to many errant “U”s used! The intro is read by Lance Armstrong and the epilogue is read by Chrissie herself. It’s a quick listen (9.54) so with two three hour rides and a couple of 10 miles and it’s done!

This product was purchased by me. See previous gear reviews in the Reviews tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

O Canada!

This vacation was original planned as an tri-fecta opportunity; visit Vancouver, meet a couple of online friends who I have known for nearly 5 years and to scope out the Ironman Canada course with a view to signing up for the 2013 race. My plans for next year’s racing season have changed but that being said I still managed to check off all three and had an absolute blast doing so.

Prior to departing I spent some time researching and purchasing bike boxes/bags to transport bikes to ride the course. I took my road bike Thor and was looking for something to cosset the precious cargo in. I finally decided on EVOC Travel Bag and purchased them through So bags made in Germany were shipped from the UK to the US for a trip to Canada! They’ll be a review at some point in the future but here’s a photo of them all “bagged up”.

IMG_6225 The flight to Vancouver was uneventful and with a quick change in Denver, passports were stamped and we were in-country. The first three days were spent mooching about Vancouver, more often than not around Granville Island and generally slowing down the pace of life. Fortunately when you travel predominantly by river taxi the pace tends to dictate itself added to which several pints of beer and numerous coffee shops the pace becomes very pedestrian…perfect!

IMG_6302 IMG_6268

Despite being on vacation training for IMAZ continued although it was step back week and it was a case of fitting in sessions when I could. The hotel was located very close to the Olympic Stadium from the 2010 Winter Games and there was a perfect running path along the side of the False Creek out to Stanley Park. As you can see the views were terrible.


I had a couple or runs along this path, one was an out and back and the other, my mid week long run allowed me to run all around Stanley Park and back for a total of around 11 miles. You can check out the Garmin details here and here.

I managed to get a little lost and at one point ran by a mass outdoor yoga session. As you can see Canadians are very friendly and they all stood on one leg and waved at me!

IMG_6316 That day was scheduled to be a double so we hired bikes and…well you get the idea! Garmin data here, not the longest ride I have ever done but the first I have seen seals and yachts up close and personal.

IMG_6298 image

One of the highlights was finding the Kitsilano Pool. This is a 150yard (137m) open air pool next to the ocean where you can watch the clouds float by the mountains in the distance. An amazing facility and an amazing experience!


The Garmin 910XT pool setting tops out at 100 yards so I had set it for Open Water…had a few Geographical mishaps with this as you can see, the start is way off!


The second half of the week was spent in the “interior” and after a 400km (250 mile) drive we arrived in the Okanagan Valley and specifically Kelowna where we scheduled to meet in person and stay with Barb and Erik “KelownaGurl” and “KelownaGuy”. I kid you not when I say that I have known Barb for nearly 5 years and we have spoken many times on episodes of the Runners Round Table Podcast, my podcast, through Twitter, our blogs…you get the idea! We had a fantastic home cooked meal that night and after a long drive hit the hay pretty early. The next day I assembled the bikes and we drove out to Osoyos. There were four bikes and riders in the car and Barb had offered to be a SAG wagon for the ride and might join us for some of it. Osoyos is the start of the “hilly bits” on the IM Canada course including Richter Pass, the Seven Bitches and the climb up to from Keremeos to Yellow Lake which we were told, when we stopped for a bite, was 10km…you lie Subway employee, it’s 10 miles! For anyone thinking of the race be warned that the last climb will be the one that hits the hardest, and although we made it to the lake where there was a nice parking lot to pack up the bikes etc there is another couple of miles to the absolute top.

image The temperatures were significantly higher than on the coast and the forecast was a high of 36C (97f) but I managed to get away with only a bit of sunburn on one arm thanks to a liberal application of factor 50! Between us we still managed one flat tire, some Sufferlandrian Samaritan work ensued and having a track pump in the SAG wagon was a blessing! Captions please…

sfest That night we headed downtown for an super nice meal on a roof top restaurant overlooking the lake and chatted and laughed all night! Awesome fun times!

IMG_6340 The next day we headed to Gyro Beach, Barb was racing in the Apple Tri on Sunday and she wanted to check out the lake’s temperatures for the swim. Eric wanted some more time in a recently won wetsuit and I wanted to get another swim in for the week at least. The lake was, shall we say; bracing but after a time turning blue, acclimatizing it was fine and I had a reasonable swim for 30 minutes. I will say that it is super clean and clear and once I got used to it was a real pleasure to swim in. After the swim, following quite possibly the slowest transition ever recorded involving going to the restroom to wash my feet we all headed out on a run, everyone doing there own thing. I had 45 minutes on the plan and so ran 3 miles out and 3 miles back…again it was getting hot so I was glad for the little shade there was.

After that we headed back and cleaned up. This was followed by a great lunch where we threw down iPhones into the middle of the table and recorded a good hours worth of chit chat and putting the world to rights! This was followed by repacking the bikes, saying our farewells and heading back to Vancouver. The next day we did…err nothing other get a big fat ass breakfast and fly home! Our bikes made it too despite seeing them drive off on the truck before they were loaded in the wrong direction…no really I wasn’t screaming out the window!


So a big thank you to our hosts Barb and Erik for a fantastic stay and to Vancouver and the Oakangan! We’ll be back!

I took a few photos…to be honest not that many but here they are!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

IMAZ training Week 3 & 4

I am a couple of weeks behind in posting my training updates. That’s not to say I have not been training and logging them; it’s just not having had any time to post to the blog. Part the of the reason was being on vacation last week, which of course means spending the week prior try to get as many plates spinning as possible in the hope that some of them haven’t fallen on the floor by the time you come back and them of course when you come back picking up the pieces!

So here is Week 3 and Week 4s numbers, as you can see #3 was a steady progression and #4 a step back week to coincide with my vacation (more on that to follow).

image image

A few notable achievements:

  • 100th mile swam this year
  • 3000th training mile this year

Other than that I picked up a new pair of goggles and a new swim cap and really it is business as usual. Week 5 is a build week with 3 of the 6 training days being doubles…onwards

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review; Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

image As my runs and rides get longer listening to the same Playlists on my iPod gets old really fast so I find myself turning to an old favorite the talking book. Most recently I listened to Finding Ultra by Rich Roll.

Writing book reviews always reminds of school homework, so I will try not to labor on and on as is my usual modus operandi and keep this short and sweet. The book is really broken down into four parts:

1. Growing up as a Swimmer; Roll is frank about his youth, growing up and all the usual pains associated with it. A socially awkward child he discovered a talent for swimming and used this as springboard (no pun intended) to propel himself through a tough time in High School and into University. From here his introduction to alcohol allowed his addictive nature to develop and come to the fore. Clearly this is a thread that is ingrained throughout his life

2. Pre Veganism in the workforce; post graduate his focus was on his career, long days, late nights and bad habits took their toll A solid diet of burgers and beer expanded his waistline. His addictive nature escalated into full blown alcoholism. A DUI or two, a short failed marriage and finally the realization that he needed help saw him checking into a clinic and finally with the help of his second wife he cam out of the tunnel clean

3. Veganism and Endurance Sports; his addictive nature was focused on keeping clean, his diet, his discovery of endurance and multi sport and his initial success and failures including a 70.3 DNF his completion of the Ultraman World Championships and the Epic 5

4. Being Vegan; in the final section Roll talks about his ongoing discovery of veganism and talks specifically about foods, supplements and his diet, this is a bit “selly” as he has developed a series of Vegan supplements that not surprisingly he uses them himself. But there seems to be a lot of substantial and quality information that attempts to dispel some myths about Veganism

Overall I enjoyed this book. It’s pretty short (9:47) so you can blast through it a couple of long runs and rides and it’s easy on the ears. Roll actually reads it himself which adds some color and passion to the story, he peels back quite a few layers of himself but really only the ones he wants to peel and that’s fine, their his layers after all.

Ultimately its a good story of someone course correcting their life and wanting to share their story and success. It’s a bit preachy but not overly so and the biggest message is that you can make any change but you are ultimately in control of your own destiny.

There are plenty of resources online where you can get more info about Rich Roll, these are some of the better ones I have come across:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mission Enduracool instant cooling towel – winner!

Appropriately enough this was a hotly contested contest!

Three front runners (add specific sport accordingly) a few midpackers and a couple of tail end Charlies “Liked”, “Commented” and “Tweeted” over this one.

So I am pleased to announce the winner is……

Louis!image Can you tell he is stoked!

The Mission Enduracool towel is winding it’s way to you this week!  A big thanks to Mission for this giveaway!

IMAZ training Week 2

Another week in the bag. No modifications to the plan although a couple of adaptations; I moved my day off to Friday to accommodate home life, and Sunday’s ride had to be broken in half. The plan had been to ride with Leo and Becca for two hours after they completed the Dwight Crum Pier to Pier swim for which I was sherpaing for them. We headed South to Leo’s ‘hood and set out. Becca flatted after 2 miles (front) and then again 7 miles (rear) on. We made the strategic decision for me to ride back and pick up the car and head home as the day was slipping away. So I spent the second hour of the ride on the trainer…you gotta do what you gotta do right!

So here are the weekly digits:imageVolume is increasing slowly; run distance is a little shorter this week as my long run was on the trail which is always slower than the road. Here’s a visual (‘cos I got mad Excel skills ;-)) of how things are accumulating over time. image This week is another build. Next a step back which is not a bad thing as I am travelling and on vacation…onwards!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mission Enduracool instant cooling towel

The good folks over at Mission sent me one of their Enduracool instant cooling towels to try out and given that we are in the grip of summer the timing couldn’t have been better! This is what they say on their website:

Mission’s™ Enduracool™ is made from a proprietary performance fabric that instantly cools when wet with water or sweat, wrung out and snapped in the air to activate the sustained cooling properties. Use during or after competition to provide sustained cooling on your neck, head or other hot zones.

How It Works: A revolution in cooling, this performance fabric absorbs and retains sweat and water, circulating the molecules while regulating the rate of evaporation to ensure an instant cooling effect against the skin for hours, without feeling wet.

In other words it’s best described as scientific voodoo! Well not quite…here is a sweaty guy to explain the technology:


More importantly than how it works is does it work and I can confidently say hell yeah! After several hot runs I have popped it out of its plastic tube, soaked it in water and given it a “snap” (take each end in your fingers and pull sharply) and low and behold instant cool. Now I choose the word cool (as I am sure Mission did) specifically because it is that and not “cold” and in fact that is just about perfect to drop your temperature without having that harsh effect cold can have. After each run I simply air dried it and rolled it back up and put it back in the tube, voila!

Inexpensive but effective…almost the perfect combination (only the addition of bacon somewhere would make it perfect) the towel is available in various colors and sizes and for diehard NBA fans has a branded version too. You can purchase it directly from Mission through their website or via Amazon and other online outlets

Best of all I have one to giveaway! It’s the usual format; doing multiple things will get you multiple entries:

  • Leave a comment on this post will get you one
  • Like Mission on Facebook gets you another
  • Follow Mission on Twitter is good for a third
  • Finally copy and tweet the following will get you another possible three; one tweet a day for three days, for six in total! “I just entered the @quadrathon @MissionAthlete #Enduracool towel giveaway, you can too here

I will draw a winner on Sunday and mail if off out next week.

This towel was provided free of charge by the good folks at Mission. See previous gear reviews under the Product Reviews tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at