Into the Darkness

Posted: May 3, 2011 in In Transition
Tags: ,

I know, it’s been a while but, lately, it just seems that even the good Lord himself has a total hate on for my current base training plan.  He certainly hasn’t shown it any decent respect, that’s fore sure.

Since trying to transition my workouts outside over the past two weeks, I have had to deal with torrential downpours, uncharacteristically cold weather fronts, a broken hot water heater, more rain and as of this weekend the loss of all my hydro at the hands of a freak wind storm that struck my area this past Thursday (hence it being all being quiet on the post front recently).  So long story short – the month of April totally blew (literally).  I got all my workouts accomplished, but there was not really much fun in getting them done…if you know what I’m sayin’.

Definitely not Winning.

My showering station for the week

The first of my weeks hardships began when a specific part on my water tank decided that it wanted to blow up leaving me without the benefit of hot water.  For the past two weeks I have been resorting to either cold water showers, or at least a quick hair wash in the kitchen sink before work.  As frustrating as it is to bath in tap water cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, I decided to simply suck it up and chalk it down as additional “mental toughness” conditioning…there is no crying in triathlon after all.

Then, to add insult to injury, my area was victim to a severe windstorm that ravaged the Niagara Region on Thursday morning for a few hours.  Hydro transformers were downed, trees were uprooted, cars smashed and flying debris whipped through the streets with deadly velocity; definitely not ideal conditions for outdoor training.  So I postponed my workout in favor of staying home and being safe.  Hey, it’ll be just like camping… fun, right? Yeah…right.

“Excuse me, you’re blocking the sidewalk!”

However, no reprieve was to be found the next day either as the power continued to stay out.  So what does a fat stoner Ironman wannabe do when there’s no power?  Well, he goes for a long run to start with.  What else is there to do?  Most often when I run there is nothing of great significance to observe other than the passing landscape and maybe the odd squirrel fight being raged on an overhanging tree limb somewhere.  To say it’s dull at the best of times might be the understatement of the century.  But how often do you get run in a virtual black out?  So this past Friday, despite the impeding darkness, I laced up my shoes and ventured out against better judgment.  By now, the power had been out at my residence and in my immediate neighborhood for the past 24 hours – good opportunity to take a break from the boredom and survey the other neighboring residential areas instead.  Trees were toppled and laying across downed power lines, the roofs of houses had been blown off and lay strewn over front yards and intersection lights remained lifeless on main thoroughfares making navigating my way a bit more challenging in a way that I am not typically accustomed to.  But survive I did.

Does it get any more Canadian than this?

So what does a fat stoner Ironman wannabe do after his long run while the power is still out?  Well, he grills up all the thawing protein in his house before it goes rancid – that’s what.  Can’t do much about the fruits and vegetables as you can only eat so many apples and broccoli in 24-48 hours, but I can salvage my chicken breasts, rib eyes, pork loins and ground turkey by cooking it all off – $200 worth to be exact.  BBQ!

Come Sunday, I was definitely ready for another break from sitting in the darkness and staring at the walls as I did from stuffing myself stupid with rotting foodstuffs.  Enter the NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) at the University of Guelph, Ontario.  My coach is currently working for her certification as a registered community triathlon coach and I, well, I was there to be the “athlete” – something I will never grow tired of hearing I might add.  For the next 6-7 hours I was run through a battery of drills and short workouts designed by the new coaches, including a few big names in the sport like Sean Bechtel (Canadian elite triathlete) and Tracy Shelley (elite Level II swim coach).  The opportunity then to work with and receive feedback from coaches of this caliber was amazing (no offense, Coach).

Huge-ass turkey meat balls (Day 2)

The two main tips I picked up from this weekends ‘training camp’ (for lack of a better word) revolve around both my running and swimming.  For swimming, as Tracy Shelley put it to me directly:  “you’re kicking sucks”.  Hey, thanks for not holding back, Trace.  But she is indeed very correct and something I am definitely wishing to work on as per my own Action Plan.  To this regard, she recommended a very kick-specific program focusing on a 6 kick switch drill, or kicking sideways (or laterally) and then flipping onto my opposite side after each 6 kicks.  The idea is to focus more on using my core as alignment and my arms to pace my legs to be able to also offer some sort of forward momentum and not just simply rely on my upper body strength to do all the work.  Okay…done.

The second tip was offered up by Sean Bechtel during a very cold and wet outside training run.  The tip was actually three short drills called the ABC’swhere the A’s focus on a high knee drive, the B’s on leg extension, and C’s to target the pull through.  The ABC’s of running, basically, are exercises designed to break down the running stride into specific parts.  When you practice these drills individually you develop strength and muscle memory that will improve your overall running form. With improved form you will become more efficient, every step will take less energy, and you’ll ultimately become faster as you fatigue later into the run.  No shit?  Thanks Sean!  As improved running is also one of my goals this year I will also be looking to take better advantage of these types of drills as well.

Fortunately, the power also came back on Sunday night and now – once again – it’s back to business as usual.  Thanks God!

  1. Carolyn H. says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of setting up your tent in the living room and hot boxing that sucker… just for the hell of it.

  2. Jeff C says:

    damn those meat balls look good!

    Amazing picture of that downed tree.

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