Monday, January 27, 2014

January's Been Busy!!

So far 2014 has been busy. January 2nd saw me flying to Ottawa to meet with customers and take in an Ottawa Senators game. The Sens were taking on the Winnipeg Jets. It was a good game - fast paced and the seats were great.

We were in the third row so the view was awesome and with Club Red access we had some good food and beverages - I'll focus on my New Year's diet tomorrow!

View from my Ottawa hotel room the next morning - a cold, sunny morning in Kanata.

Next up was Sara's birthday! I use to call January the "The Month of Sara's Birthday Celebration". Over the past couple of years we have condensed it to about a week - so far Sara is adapting. A few birthday cakes will do that! First it was dinner and cake at my parents place - Jesse looks ready to par-tay! From there we had dinner at our place and Sara's brother Neil brought cake, I bought Sara's favourite Caramilk cake and we were off to the dessert races.

With all the cake in the system we figured we should try to burn some calories. Sara and I headed up to Hardwood Hills near Barrie to get in some cross-country skiing. We love cross-country skiing but we don't get out much. Hardwood Hills has 40km of classic and skate skiing and, as the name suggests, it's hilly.

Winter Dork!

Birthday Girl!

What would a birthday be without a celebratory beverage?!

The next week saw me off on a flight to Los Angeles and eventually Santa Monica for a work meeting. It was a welcomed change from the windchilled -30C that I left in Toronto. Santa Monica was 19-21C for the week. Above is the marker for the end of famous Route 66.

Santa Monica is also home to Venice Beach and famous Muscle Beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped iron. It was pretty eye-opening - guys who clearly have taken "supplements" sauntering around in nothing but tight shorts (no shirts) with phantom invisible grapefruits under their armpits. It's a wonder they can get through a door. Santa Monica is also home to Dogtown, a historical area for the skateboarding world. There was also a skatepark on the beach near Muscle Beach and it was packed with kids doing all sorts of gnarly, rad, and sick stuff (that's what the kids are saying).

The beach here is massive. It also has a bike/running path along it's entire length. I ran every day on it where there. There was a lot of active people. During my early morning runs I also saw a lot of homeless people sleeping on the beach. I suppose that if I found myself homeless for any unfortunate reason this would be an area I would make my way too. The beach made for a comfortable sleeping area and it doesn't get cold. Still it's a sad sight to see given that a lot of the people I saw looked like regular people, without substance abuse issues or signs of mental illness.

The Santa Monica Pier.

The water was cold but the scenery was beautiful. Unfortunately it had to come to an end and I fly back to a windy, cold Toronto. This winter is kickin ass!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!! See ya 2013!!

Well 2013 was an interesting year. I went into the year with a hip flexor strain and a general lack of motivation - this despite having 2 Ironmans on the menu for the first time ever. The hip flexor issue came about during some hockey on some bad ice - the problem was it was high up almost into my lower abdominal so it was difficult to treat. I struggled through running and indoor trainer rides but I knew I had to strengthen it as best as I could.

We also had stress on the menu as well. Sara's Dad had a heart attack and it was pretty touch and go for a while. The staff at London Health Sciences were top notch and literally brought him back to life. After a couple minor procedures and some lifestyle changes he is doing fine.

As I dealt with the hip flexor I was also training for the Around the Bay 30K run race, North America's Oldest Race (3 years older than Boston). The race is a challenge because of the winter but also the course setup - 2/3s flat followed by 1/3 big hills. It is definitely a tough test but it does get the butt out the door. My motivation was still not into it as Sara, Beast, and Peter were not doing the race and I was generally not "into" training. I did complete it but my time of just under 2:36 was my slowest in years - I even walked several times over the last 10k.

Next up on the menu was Ironman Lake Placid which was the wackiest tri I have ever completed in my 29 years of doing triathlon. For a full race report see the following:
Ironman Lake Placid was Ironman #7 on my goal of getting to #12 to get a Legacy spot for the Hawaii Ironman. I did the usual post Ironman recovery following the race and worked on the stomach issues that had plagued me throughout the year. My doctor gave me a med to reduce stomach acid and I made changes in my diet to reduce stomach upset and supplement to produce the good flora my stomach needed. Going into September I started to feel better but I was still a long way from getting back to normal.

Heading to the end of the year I did Ironman Florida. Training had been better and I mentally felt more motivated. My stomach was still giving me some issues daily but it certainly wasn't quite as bad. I also did a better job with recovery. This is one of my biggest challenges as training for an Ironman (with some health issues) plus Sara and I working with Logan generally leaves us tired mentally and the fatigue accumulates over time. For more on Ironman Florida see the following:
So what's up for 2014? Here's what I've already committed to:
1) Chilly Half Marathon - Burlington, March
2) Around the Bay 30K - Hamilton, March
3) Ironman Lake Placid 2014- July
4) Ironman Flordia 2014 - November
Other races in consideration:
1) Welland Half Ironman - June
2) Niagara Half Ironman - September
On the health front I feel better than I have in the last year and a half. My motivation is back and my stomach is feeling a ton better. I am hopeful to maintain my mojo for the year and see what happens. My only other focus will be to lead a happy life and take in all the experiences I can! Here's hoping 2014 is great to y'all!