Well, here we go. Yesterday was officially Day 1 of my 2006 Marathon Training program. Luckily, it was a ‘cross-training’ day, and as such, I decided that by going to vote, and then watching people swim for a bit at the Pinecrest Pool, that counted! Ha ha. Well, not really, but I’m still recovering from a cold, and just decided to rest up. Today however is a new day. No more messing around. Training starts in earnest. Mind you, I’ve been keeping active anyway, but now I’ll start monitoring it. As such, I’m just back from my first official 5k run. Great weather for it. 0-1 degrees. I’m once again choosing to use Hal Higdon’s training guides, and have decided to follow the Intermediate II program, which ups my total mileage again over last year. I’ve been a follower of his programs for several years now, and he’s never steered me wrong. Tonight I’ve also got a spinning class for an hour at Cyclelogik, which is next to MEC. Overall, I’ve decided to train more seriously again this year leading up to the summer season. Read on.
Okay, I suppose everyone knew that I was crazy, but in this case I’m talking about the Mad Trapper snowshoe racing series! Yup, I finally participated in my first official winter racing-type event. It’s part of my ongoing commitment to staying in racing form for more months of the year, and part of my long journey to New Zealand for the Southern Traverse in November of 2007. I was holding off in hopes of having a picture of this event that was held last Saturday, but I haven’t come across any, so instead, you get to see the logo. But I digress. A couple of years ago, Jody and I both got nice snowshoes courtesy of a nice Christmas bonus that Jody got from her work. Since then, I’ve gone out a few times on them, but nothing serious. Well, a friend of mine, Mike Caldwell, who happens to run adventure racing training clinics (at Synergy Adventure Training), also hosts a winter snowshoe racing series consisting of 3 races at his property in the Gatineau region. This year, I decided to give it a shot. I also convinced Kev and Jim Doucette to also join me (although for this race Kev had to bail due to prior plans).
Brrr. Okay, so Kev, Dave and I got out this past weekend for a nice long run. How long? Well, let’s call it 20k. Technically, it was 19.2k, but I tacked on warm-up and cool down sections too, so we were definitely out there for 20k. What’s the prognosis, you might ask? It’s frickin’ cold to be running outside, and will only get colder I suspect (based on my many years living in Canada!). In the lovely picture you see with this post, we are smiling. The same can not be said for the entire duration of the run! I picked an out and back route, which can be seen on my wayfaring map, which took us along the Ottawa river. My logic here was that the wind from the river would have blown off the majority of the snow from the dump we had the day before. Sound logic, but what my feeble mind didn’t grasp was that the same wind would also be blowing on our faces the entire way back! Oh well, that’s life I gues. All in all, we had a good run, and I’m pleased to say I clinched the gold medal. Ha ha. Really, I just wanted to get to the warmth of the house. For Dave, it was his longest run to date, and he did great. Unfortunately, he won’t be joining Kev and I for the monumental 1/2 marathon distance we’re doing this week, but I trust he’ll keep up the training. It’s what Yoda would have wanted 😉
Ahh, Canadian winter. Is there anything better?! Yes, anywhere else, as far as training goes. I’ve decided to get off my duff and start being more disciplined about training again, and unfortunately, that means making the best of what can be bad situations. Case in point, it’s cold, but I want to bike. Now, I can bike in my basement, on a traininer, which I regularly do, but that get’s boring, right? So to mix it up a bit, I decided to bike to Dave’s for today’s training run with he and Kevin. Seemed like a great idea. Rather than talk about the run, you can check their blog, I’m sure they’ll write about it! The sun was shining, and it was ONLY -8C when I left. Yeah, except for that damn little thing called WIND. Geez Louis, can’t we turn that stuff off? Anyway, it was a relatively short 11km bike to Daves, followed by a reasonable 12.5km run, capped by the return 11km bike. Well, by the time I returned home, I was nearly dead! I think I may not have eaten enough. It’s all part of my winter training for Adventure racing. I’m trying to get a feel for what works, and what doesn’t, as well as how much food I need for colder racing. I’m also hoping to do some winter AR races this year, so I had to test my gear. Anyway, it was an okay training day, and I had a blast running with the boys. If it wasn’t for them motivating me to run, it would be awfully easy to just veg at home on the cold weekends! Thanks Boyz.
A few weeks ago I finally broke down and bought a full-suspension mountain bike, to help me hopefully improve my adventure racing. I ended up getting a 2005 Specialized Epic Comp Disc, which is pretty much the ultimate machine for adventure racing. No, it’s not the bike pictured here, this one is a shot of a genuine swiss-army issue bike taken in 2003 in Chur, Switzerland. Mine is prettier :-).
Anyway, this bad boy has air shocks front and back, as well as top-end hydraulic brakes. It also features Specialized ‘brain’ shock in the back. Essentially, the bike performs like a hard-tail on any smooth surface, but still reacts to bumps in the road. Fantastic for comfort and efficiency on all-day trail riding. Oh yeah, and I love the color too! Now normally, a bike like this goes for $3400 +taxes, but I picked this bad boy up for a steal at Tommy and Lefebvre. $2000+tax. It was being cleared out, and was a store demo. The beauty is that one guy had it all summer, and barely touched it. I did more damage in one 3-hour ride than he did all summer! She’s now dented, scratched, and has a ripped seat. Looks like a real bike now.
Why did I go so extravagant you might ask? Well, basically, I’ve been on the same Kona Cinder Cone for about 6 years now, and really needed to upgrade. The opportunity presented itself, so I took it. If I had waited till next year to buy a bike, I would’ve been stuck buying brand new, and couldn’t have bought such a nice one. So, long story short, now I’m all set to tackle bigger races, like my dream, the Southern Traverse in New Zealand.