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Lifting Heavy…

For the past few weeks, I’ve been following the programming of Natural High Crossfit in Okotoks.  There was an initial week of 1RM testing in Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, and Strict Press.  For the next 6 weeks the lifting followed a progression of %’s in a “wave protocol”, and then a re-test week of the 1RM’s.  That’s where we are right now…just finishing testing again.

I really enjoy weight lifting!  I always have!  It’s interesting how it plays with my psychology though!  I go through extremely positive moments, thinking and feeling strong…then have moments I think to myself how much LESS weight I am lifting than when I was a 20 something National Bobsled guy. (as opposed to a 40 year old whatever I am now!)    I try and stay in the positive!

I hadn’t spent much time doing bench press in ages, so I knew that would be fun!  Squats are the one that I was always very good at, but the farthest away from my lifetime max.  I had stopped doing deadlifts due to a back injury long ago…then started back up this past year, but then switched to Hex Bar deadlifts after I re-tweaked my back doing DL’s this summer.  I had never done strict press before, or planned it into any workouts ever.

My initial 1RM’s were as follows:

Bench Press = 225#
Squat = 315#
HexBar Deadlift = 385#
Strict Press = 155#

After I got pinned alone in my garage under the barbell doing bench press the first week, I made sure that I had a spotter the rest of the times (mostly at NHCF, and once in my garage when Chris was in town).  I missed some of the prescribed workouts throughout the program (noticing that I missed more DL ones than anything else…not missing any bench press ones!)

My re-test 1RM’s were as follows:

Bench Press = 260# (35# or 15.6% increase)
Squat = 350# (35# or 11.1% increase)
HexBar Deadlift = 425# (40# or 10.4% increase)
Strict Press = 175# (20# or 12.9% increase)

I tested my deadlift and strict press on the same day (in my garage).  Overall I am really pleased with double digit % increased in all 4 of these lifts.  I know that I feel a lot stronger. During this time period I also was able to finally do hand stand pushups, became more efficient at toes to bar, and lifted a pretty decent weight in the clean (245#)  What has been interesting, is that I have also been feeling better in the WOD’s that have been posted every day as well!  Maybe that’s confidence?  Maybe it’s increased strength helping my other movements?  Maybe is dedication to this?

I am not exactly sure what’s next…what I do know is that I want to get better at doing Crossfit.  I am looking forward to working on the skill work, and using this increased strength as a foundation for doing so!




World Championships – Goals and Mindset

We are now less than a week until I compete in the World Triathlon Championships being held in Edmonton.  I can’t believe how fast it’s come!

I am feeling prepared, and am looking forward to the race!  The past 33 weeks I have  been following a training plan that was put together for me by “Athlete Cell” which has helped me stay consistent, get faster, and stronger!  For the past week or so I have been feeling great!

This race will consist of a 750m swim in Hawrelak lake, a 2 lap 20km bike ride with some challenging hills, and a 5km run mainly on the riverside trails.

Since I travel up to Edmonton on business regularly, I have done a fair amount of training on the course making it almost a home course!

Ok…here are my goals for the race:

According to the start list, there are 91 in the men’s 40-44 sprint distance race.  In order for me to match my performance from last year I need to finish 85th.  (I was 99th out of 106 finishers last year in my age group).  I was 76th the year before in Auckland (out of 81).  I’m an not sure how moving up an age group will affect things exactly, but my goal is to finish  75th or better.

I’ve decided to set some time goals as well.  Since I’ve raced on that course (or very similar) several times I can compare my previous results.


Last year in Edmonton I was 11:33 for my 750m. There may be some differences this year…firstly, they dug up the lake which may have changed the dynamics.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, there will be way more people in my wave.  Since the beginning of the year my goal was to swim 10:59 so I’m putting that out there!


This is a tough bike course, with 2 hard hills done twice each. Looking at my times for the past few years on that course, and knowing that a lot of the road has been freshly paved (compared to the potholes and cracks of the past), my goal is to be 35:00 or less.


It’s no secret that it’s on the run where I struggle and lose most of my time.  I know there will be guys that run 16′ 5km off the bike, but who cares!  The run course is different than the same race in previous years.  Now it is 1 loop mostly on dirt paths.  I plan to push hard. My goal is to run as close as possible to 24′.

I am really looking forward to the whole experience, and sharing the race course with the friends I have from Okotoks, friends I’ve known for a long time, friends I’ve made the past 2 World Championships, and the new friends I will make!



Race Report – Lake Windermere Open Water Swim

Last weekend, while out at my trailer, I raced in the 2km open water swim race in Invermere.  The morning was beautiful and the water was calm!  2km is quite a lot different from the usual 750m I do in a triathlon!  While I knew that I could do the distance no problem, I was still concerned that I could go out too fast and then be in trouble out there!

At exactly 8am the horn went and we were off!  My focus was to relax my breathing to every 4 strokes to at least the 1km turnaround buoy.  I managed to get onto someone’s feet for a short while, but I felt like he wasn’t keeping as straight a line as I wanted, so I set out on my own.

I saw a small group about 15m ahead, so I took about 10 hard strokes in an attempt to catch up.  When I took another look I really hadn’t made up much distance, so I just settled back into my groove and continued on.

Once I reached the turnaround point and was headed back to shore, I had no idea where to point.  I saw what I thought was the restaurant to the right of the finish, so I headed toward that.  After several minutes I realized that it was a boat quite a bit further to the right than I should have been heading!  I kept aiming toward where I assumed I should be going fully knowing that I was somewhat off course.

I managed to get some seaweed across my face, and some wrapped around my left arm, which was less than pleasant!

Once I got close to the shore I saw another racer.  We were aimed like this > with me on the right, him on the left and both headed to the same end point.  I was determined to get there ahead of him!  I put my head down and finished hard…swimming right over top of the buoy line (rather than go through the opening!)

At the end of the day I was 11th place, and finished with a time of 33:58.  Maybe I’ll think about swimming the 5km race next year?




Race Report – Stirling Triathlon

Catching up on a few overdue posts here!

On the Saturday of the long weekend, I drove down to race the Stirling Triathlon.  I raced this same race last year also.  These smaller community races are great!  Not to mention it was only $20 to register!

The 2 guys that beat me last year were there, as were a couple of other guys that I knew were fast!  It was a 700m pool swim, 20km bike, and 5km run.

Last year I went hard in the pool in an attempt to set the new swim course record, so I told myself to not go out with such a hard effort at the beginning of the swim.  After about 150m I thought to myself “uh-oh…I’ve gone out way too hard”.  I thought about being smooth and just kept going.  With 25m to go a volunteer sticks a flutter board in to let me know that once I get to the other end to get out.  It seemed to come pretty quick, then I hopped out and ran to the timing mat.  My time was 10:06.60, which is another new swim course record, and 1:14 faster than last year.

I quickly got out of transition and out on the bike course.  The first 5km were into the wind…making it a tough way to start.  The next 10km was an out and back with a crosswind, and the last 5km was with a tail wind.  I felt comfortable on the bike, trying hard to push the pace.  I managed to stay ahead of the fast guys at the end of the bike.  I averaged just about 34km/hr according to my Garmin.

As soon as I got out on the run I realized that I was feeling pretty flat and heavy.  It’s a bit disheartening when a man who is significantly older with a knee brace and running with a dog on a leash, starts putting distance on you!  Ugg.  I focused on keeping my cadence high, but certainly didn’t feel my best for the run.  I still did manage to stay below 25′, which is good for me!

At the end of the day I ended up 5th overall and set the new swim course record.


Race Report – Natural High Triathlon, Okotoks

On Saturday the race that I look forward to the most, being that I can ride my bike around the corner to the race start. It’s always fun knowing so many of the competitors, volunteers and spectators…and racing on the same pathways that I train on.

Due to the actions of a construction company who knowingly decided to rip up a road on the planned race course, the bike route had to be changed at the very last minute.  In fact, the women were in the water waiting to start the race when the course was being changed.  This had a fairly big impact on the race (and on mine in particular!) with the route changed to 5 x out and back.

I felt pretty good in the swim.  I managed to get on to Alec Gill’s feet for about the first 150 or 175m, which got me started off well.  As with all races, I really need to get off to a good swim to get out ahead.  With this being only a 500m swim there was only minimal time to get a time gap.  I got out of the water 4th overall, and headed off on the bike.

I was still feeling pretty quick on the bike as I made my way around the first few laps, only being passed by a few people.  Then things changed quickly.  Just after being passed by my friend JVH I settled into my aerobars.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think a kid was being passed both on his left and the right, which “parted the seas” for me to come right up the middle.  According to my Garmin, I was going 38km/hr when I smashed right into the back of him.  We tumbled over in a heap on the pavement.  Luckily neither of us, or our bikes, were damaged too bad.  Once I made sure that he was ok, and got him sent on his way, I collected myself taking note of the damage, and deciding what to do.  After several minutes I decided to keep going, easily pedaling the last 4.5km to the finish.

My knees, hip and back were pretty sore, but I continued on in the run.  I didn’t feel like I was able to run as well as I was capable of, but I was fairly happy with a 28 min run.

Although I was disappointed with the way it all went down, I am pleased with the form that I was in to start the race, and hope that with several weeks of good training that I will get even better!

NH Tri 2014


Race Report – Vulcan Tinman

I haven’t posted in a while…I missed posting my May training updates, and didn’t post a race report for the BBF Sylvan Lake triathlon (I did go quicker in each leg, and several minutes faster overall). Today I will focus on yesterday’s Vulcan Tinman Triathlon.

It was a beautiful day, which was really nice! The race consisted of a 500m pool swim, 15km bike ride, and a 5km run. My scheduled heat time was 4:15, since my swim time is fairly quick. My friend Alec wanted to go in an earlier heat so we would be done quicker, so we decided to jump in early. The good thing about going earlier is that there are still people on the course (which the opposite can happen being a quick swimmer and a slow runner for a pool race!). The bad thing about doing that is that I was in a lane with a girl doing breaststroke who I needed to pass almost every 50m, and a guy wearing boardshorts and a shirt who I needed to pass every 100m…this drastically slowed my swim time, but I got in and out then jumped on my bike!

There was a bit of a cross wind headed out that blew me around a bit, especially since I used my disc wheel. The way back was much quicker, so the wind must have been headwind on the way out and tailwind on the way back. My Garmin confirmed this saying I was 14:09 on the way out, and 11:27 on the way back. I need to play around with my seat height and position, as I had a hard time feeling comfortable or powerful in the aero position…something to sort out in the next few weeks. I averaged 34km/hr…jumped off my bike and headed out on the run.

As I was headed out, I stopped to get a volunteer to unzip the back of my tri suit. I was racing in a Great Britain suit that I had traded for at last years World’s, which is a great and comfortable suit, but doesn’t have a long zipper toggle. I headed off feeling pretty good, concentrating on keeping my cadence high. I was slowly catching a few people (which is really unusual for me!), which was great for motivation. The fist km seemed to take forever! Then the distance between 2 and the turnaround point at 2.5km also seemed to be miles! I tried to push the pace, and even more so for the final 800m. My run time was 26:02, which I think is my second fastest 5km off the bike…so I am very pleased about that!

Overall I ended up 29th (out of 494), and felt pretty good doing it! I’m especially glad since the day before I did a good workout with push press, pullups, squat cleans and hand-stand pushups! The past 3 or 4 weeks have been packed with travel making consistent training somewhat difficult. I am going to continue to really push the pace in my training, getting used to the feeling of working at (or beyond) my threshold.

I think the next race will be the Natural High Triathlon in Okotoks, which is in 4 weeks. 85 days until Worlds!


April Training Totals and Update

As with any month in the past, or any going forward, consistency is the key. I want to make sure that I stay consistent. Sometimes this means waking up much earlier that I’d like, or getting in a workout when I’d rather be watching TV in the evenings.

At the beginning of the month I just didn’t have “the feel” in the water. Most of my swim sessions I felt like a ton of bricks. That seemed to come around toward the end of the month, starting to feel much more “smooth” in the water.

Perhaps due to how I was feeling in the water, or just feeling sluggish overall, my confidence and desire waned a bit. To get myself out of this, as I was also feeling fairly strong, I decided to go for a 1RM clean. With a mixture of lb and kg plates, I put up 229lbs, which is the most I’ve done since I was a bobsledder (and my new current PR).

April Totals:

Swim (7) = 11,450m

Bike (7) = 168.09km

Run (8) = 30.61km

Strength (15)

= 37 Total Sessions

This matched the number of sessions from March, so I’m happy with the consistency!  In May I’m looking forward to doing my first race of the season, and looking forward to getting OUTSIDE on the bike and run (although it’s snowing right now!).  It will be a challenging month as I will be out of town for most of it, but I’m usually pretty good at getting in some training while on the road.

Less than 120 days to go until the World Championships.

Work for it