Thursday, April 30, 2009

Josh Allen

Tonight, while everyone in the city was watching the Canucks beat Chicago 5-3, I was riding.  It was lucky Jeremy took it easy on me because I was hurting!  

Tonight's ride was TOUGH as my legs were pretty exhausted due to a super interesting* workout with Josh at Innovative Fitness yesterday.  (That's him rockin' the headband before the Victoria Half Marathon.)

We started the session and it was like he was on a mission.  He systematically went through the various exercises that I normally avoid or have trouble with due to my leg and created fixes, or workarounds for all of them.  Don't get me wrong - I am not the "I don't like that exercise" type of whiner, but some things are pretty hard to do with an ankle that doesn't really bend or a leg that doesn't do some of the things that flesh and bone can do.  Josh was in there with wedges, balance assistance and sometimes a simple "try harder" sort of statement.

He studiously worked each leg individually (which is very necessary as an amputee but also very easy to forget about after a while).  He was a real technician and we both learned a lot and figured out how to REALLY work my legs.

It's not to say that the other coaches at Innovative haven't done the same sort of thing, they have, but Josh persevered and wouldn't accept failure.  He brought a fresh approach (it was our first session together) and in the end we made each exercise work.  I got the most effective leg workout I have ever had and it will add a lot to future workouts.

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again - that is why Innovative is the best - great people, like Josh, that really think about the person they are working with and what results they need to get from their investment of time and money.

* "super interesting" for me, sorry if it wasn't for you!

Tweet this!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three things about lululemon

Let's start with a quiz....

What do this:
and this:
Have in common?

If you answered:  "they are both a$$es" you are wrong!  (Thanks though...)

In fact they are both wearing clothes from lululemon!

Now that my ambassadorship has truly begun at lululemon I thought I'd take a moment to introduce my readers to the company - they are much more than just a clothing store!


Running clinics - led by yours truly...

 In case you haven't heard...  lululemon (Park Royal - West Vancouver) has running clinics on Tuesday evenings (6:45pm) and Saturday mornings (9:30am).  The current clinic is "Learn to Run" and we are preparing a great group of customers and staff for the Eagle Harbour 5km on May 31st.  You can join any session and it is FREE!  Email me for more information:  meyrick (at) meyrickjonesracing (dot) com.

Look for other RUN offerings later in the year! 

Your local lululemon store will likely have something cool going on - check it out the next time you are in there.


I was surfing their website and noticed two new things:

Shop Nude - Yes, now you can buy great lululemon gear online!  We Vancouverites are spoilt by a plethora of lululemon stores, but those of you who don't have one near by are now in luck.  Ladies, buy the quintessential lululemon pant (or any of their other styles) online HERE.  Men, never fear, there are plenty of cool items for you too....

Goaltender - I think lululemon sets itself apart from other brands with the cool community and personal development vibe that is integral to their culture.  Case in point:  the lululemon Goaltender.  I found this tonight on their site - it helps you set goals, track goals, reminds you of goals and more.  It's super stylish too if you are a fan of web design....  Click HERE to have a look.


Mythbuster #1:  "lululemon is for WOMEN ONLY."  Not true!  I wore an all new running outfit tonight at the clinic - shorts, shirt and lightweight jacket - all amazing!  The comfort and performance were really impressive.  These items should be online soon and they are in stores now.

Mythbuster #2:  "lululemon is good for yoga and dancing but not for "real sports".  Not true!  lululemon has an amazing line-up of running gear for men and women.  People who really want to perform are wearing it.  Check out Beth and Eileen - these two lululemon ambassadors (and blog buddies) take no prisoners!

If that isn't convincing enough have another look at my cool new gear:

Tweet this!

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Open Water Swim of 2009

Kevin and I once tried to swim in the ocean in March...  that time I wore dish gloves to try to keep my hands warm.  We lasted about 60 seconds.

You may have picked up on my eagerness for the open water after some of my posts last week...  the "Call of the Ocean", as Kevin likes to refer to it, has been strong.

Unfortunately, Batchelor Bay is FREEZING (well, not literally, but close...) as you can see from the chart below.  (Halibut Bank is the closest Marine Data Buoy).

9°c is 48.2°f.... that's pretty freakin' cold. They cancelled the swim at World Championships last year because the temp was 12°c and people were getting hypothermia.

Any triathlete knows that when faced with any problem in training the "fourth discipline" is the answer....  no, not nutrition.... SHOPPING!
New Blue Seventy socks and a thermal swim cap.  As always - CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS!

These socks are awesome....  and I can wear them both on one foot making them even warmer....  who ever said there was no silver-lining to being an amputee?

See how the chin strap fits my 11 month old son...  didn't bode well for the fit on his dad...

The chin strap was WAY tight... vomit-inducing tight.  I thought long and hard about cutting it - or wearing it differently.

More equipment... these are A LOT warmer than the dish gloves but they are pretty heavy. It's like lifting weights and swimming at the same time.

Bright and early...  It's "go time"...

Where the hell is Kevin?  I hope nobody sees me taking pictures of myself...

Kevin donning his new socks....

Batchelor Bay is pretty spectacular....  I would like to own that house on the right and dive off the rock for a swim every morning.

Time to get in.... 

And post-swim...  

We lasted about 30 minutes.  The cap and socks were GREAT.  The gloves were super heavy but maybe if I tuck them under the cuffs it'll be better.  The hardest part was putting my face in the water - I did a fair amount of backstroke and breaststroke during the first 400-500 metres just to keep my face out of the water.  Once my face adjusted (sort of) I still had a hard time with my teeth getting painfully cold...  

There was a bit of slurred speech and uncontrollable shivering upon exit but for the most part we were pretty good.  With all this coldness I didn't even notice the chin strap being too tight.

Home for breakfast.  Finally stopped shivering.

There are few better ways to start your morning than swimming in the ocean - even when it is that cold.  I think we'll try again next week - hoping for double digit temperatures!

Tweet this!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Take

HUGE thanks to everyone for your comments, phone calls, emails in response to the "can of worms" I opened up in the last post.  I hope you enjoyed putting on your thinking caps...  

I think for the most part people understood the dilemma the way I hoped they would - it was a challenge to provide enough detail and information, and to word that post accurately without leading (or boring the hell out of you!)

One Regret: There was the odd person who came away thinking I am not a fan of the Hoyt's.  This is absolutely not the case!  I felt I needed to give a real-world example of a "special-case" so that people could understand what I was getting at.

One Clarification:  Disabled athletes, like myself, are not the "special cases" I was referring to - there is an established set of rules, established categories etc. for us.  We are legit in the eyes of the triathlon official.


Firstly, let me offer an appropriate cliché:  I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" answer to this. 

In the past I have usually been the harda$$ who would answer somewhat pleading athlete emails with:
"I'm sorry your [equipment/idea/situation] is not something that the rules of triathlon can accommodate right now.  Perhaps you could consider a relay where you will not [use the illegal equipment/do anything illegal]."
Coincidentally, more often than not these athletes were looking to be categorized as an AWAD (athlete with a disability), when usually they were not (by the official definitions.)  Regardless, their equipment or proposal always lay outside of the rules.

Legitimacy in sport is won by having a level playing field - without that a sport struggles to gain acceptance.  As a paratriathlete I want to see the rules applied just as strongly for our categories is it is for any others, lest we become some type of "Feel Good" Exhibition with loose standards.  Often Parasport is a little too focused on the great "story" rather than the great performance or the validity of true competition.

The misgiving I had was that usually I really sympathized with the person and wanted to see them find a way to participate.  It is really hard to say "no" to someone who is determined to overcome some big obstacles to complete a triathlon - some way, some how.

This year, in response to some passionate arguments from athletes, and in consultation with officials, administrators and various boards of directors we will try to offer a bit more flexibility and I think it is a great thing.

- Each case will be studied individually, no single case sets a precedent.
- Equipment and athlete proposals will be inspected by appropriate officials, race directors and/or race sanctioning committees long in advance of competition to ensure safety
- At a local level these special cases will receive consideration - beyond that, at Championship levels, they will not.

I think this is entirely appropriate, and am pleased with the new direction we have taken as a group.  I know it will probably result in different issues - like "Why him and not me?" questions... but at least there are new athletes entering the sport and experiencing the benefits and joy of crossing a finish line.

Inclusiveness is one of triathlon's biggest strengths - the fact that elites, age-groupers and disabled athletes can all challenge themselves on the same course is special.  Decisions like this one will only strengthen our sport's reputation.

So, I think Tri BC and Tri Canada have done well by treading carefully into these grey areas.  Bravo.

P.S.  Like everyone else I think the Hoyt's are awesome.  Here they are at the Boston Marathon the other day:

Their result:

Tweet this!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Your Opinion Counts!

I'd like your opinion on something....  It has to do with triathlon but you don't need to be a triathlete to have an opinion on it.

If you have a moment (and since you're here I know you do...) please comment after reading this post.  (You have to click through to my page HERE if you received this in a Feedburner e-mail.)

Please feel free to use the 'anonymous' option on the comment form if you would rather not have your name associated with your comment.  I am interested in honest opinions.

Send your friends or readers here...  I want as many opinions as possible!

Who has heard of the Hoyt's?  Triathlon's famous father and son duo, Dick and Rick Hoyt?  

Yes - most of us have I'm sure.  In case you've been living on the steppes of Mongolia and haven't, you can see the famous Hoyt video HERE.  By the way that's one of literally dozens of YouTube videos featuring the Hoyt's - each with thousands or millions of views.


Should "special cases", like the Hoyt's, be allowed to participate in races even though they do not conform to the rules of triathlon?

Before you say, "Ummm...  of course!  Duh!" or "No way!" Consider some points:

-First.  Don't focus just on the Hoyt's.  You are now considering future cases that may bear no resemblance to their story.  The people are not famous, nobody has dubbed them "inspirational" yet, and they may never.  It might be a middle aged gentleman with a bad back who wants to ride a recumbent bicycle because he cannot ride an upright one, it might be a father who wants to assist his disabled daughter on the swim, but not the bike and run etc. etc.
- The rules are designed to ensure fairness and safety.  As soon as you start waiving certain rules you are likely to be compromising in one of these areas.

- If, as a governing body, an organization chooses to overlook one rule (or two or three) where does it draw the line?  And how does it justify it's position to those it does not allow to race?

- If a governing body keeps a strict stance and observes rules as they are written, the sport would be devoid of some of its most inspirational stories - like the Hoyts.

- One of triathlon's greatest strengths (and unique aspects) is the attraction that it holds for those who have faced great adversity in life.  This does not always mean that a rule needs to be changed to participate - but sometimes it does.  

- For the record, the rules the Hoyt's are "breaking " are (in layman's terms):  1.  Triathlon is an individual sport.  2.  No boats allowed in the swim.  3.  Athletes must propel themselves around the course without assistance.  4.  Bicycle equipment must be of a standard form.  And perhaps many others...

- The safety of all competitors and volunteers needs to be considered.  Imagine if you were dealing with the request of someone you didn't know, with a strange idea to do something "different" that sounded a bit dangerous - like towing a disabled person, unable to swim, in an inflatable boat around an open water course.  Or racing a bike with a person essentially perched in a seat on the front.

- Simple Rule Primer:  Private corporations (like the one that owns Ironman) can make their own rules and allow anyone to race in any manner they deem acceptable (i.e. they answer to nobody.)  Races that are sanctioned by a National or Provincial Governing Body operate under rules created by the ITU - the world governing body.  This is similar to FINA in swimming, UCI in cycling, or IAAF in track and field.  (These events are expected to follow the standard rules.)

From me:  I sit on the board of Triathlon BC and Triathlon Canada, part of my role with these organizations is to work to make triathlon as accessible as possible to athletes with a disability - paratriathletes.  

Around this time of year I get a lot of emails with "special requests" - not that I am the one who can grant rule exemptions or wave a magic wand, but I do field a lot of interesting enquiries from potential athletes and from race directors. The overall direction we choose to take with this type of decision has been an ongoing discussion for some time. I would like to hear your opinions.

Tweet this!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sun Run 2009

I would like to wish everyone taking part in the Vancouver Sun Run tomorrow GOOD LUCK.

That includes about 55,000 people so I'll be more specific:

GOOD LUCK to all the runners on the 

I'm not sure how many runners IF has in the race this year (last year it was 157!!!) but I do know that it is always inspiring to see so many people out there taking on their first (or 20th) 10km race.

Normally I would be competing in this race, and until yesterday at 3pm I thought I was...  As it turns out there was some type of screw-up and my FAXED Corporate Team Registration was never processed - therefore I had no chip, no number, no t-shirt - as far as the Sun Run was concerned I did not exist.

The moral of the story is always register online.  Groundbreaking - I know.  It's like saying that it is a good idea to continue breathing or to drink water....  

On that note why do FAX machines still exist?  And don't say "so people can sign stuff and send it in" - they usually want the original anyway.  Fax machines are so 1990 and I, for one, do not dig them one bit.

Having said all of that I am not too disappointed - I don't really need a 10km road race right now.  Not to say I couldn't use some run training, I certainly could.... but I don't need to throw down an all out effort right now having done little other than ride a bike for the last two months.

I have been actively targeting my cycling over the last 8 weeks to a point where I am really seeing some improvement.  I am going to begin to run bricks with some regularity in preparation for ESCAPE from Alcatraz.  My strategy is to continue to focus on the bike and ramp the running back up over the next few weeks - but the bike is KING this year.

I have also decided that MAY 3rd (a Sunday) will be my inaugural Batchelor Bay Open Water Swim for 2009.  Yes, it may be somewhat of a polar bear swim, but I also need to get tough for San Francisco Bay.  Feel free to join me....  the exact date is flexible (as long as it falls between Friday May 1 and Sunday May 3) - I will go whenever anyone else brave enough to join me can go.  Yes that was a challenge...

Tweet this!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Weekend

I've been missing the blog lately.  I have no shortage of things to write about - only a shortage of time at the computer.  But it's for very good reason....  and I'll tell you all about it...

Disclaimer:  This post may end up being pretty lengthy - but I have loaded it with photos to keep you interested.  (Do you guys like the photos? I need visuals or I get bored....)  Also, the layout is optimized for my blogpage - it may look really bad in your reader or in the feedburner feed.  

My bike-centric training continues...  It isn't to the exclusion of everything else but it is where most of my training hours are going at the moment.  Here are some pictures from a few recent rides:

(CLICK to enlarge any pictures!)


Batchelor Bay - I stopped in to see how the bay looks in April.  It looked very calm, perfect for swimming.  Maybe a little chilly though (or a lot).  We usually start up our Open Water Season in May (which is very cold, so bright yellow dish gloves are recommended).

This is the swim route....  The second 'buoy' is a small island or rock which is easier to see in the map below.  The route has everything - a nice, mellow warm up in protected waters (1st third), a challenging, often wavy and current-y middle (2nd third), and a long, progressively easier home stretch.  Add in eagles, seals and a few friends and it is about the best way to enjoy the outdoors.  See you in May!  (I'm serious.  Let me know if you want to come - all (most) abilities welcome.)

Plan view of the swim.  Batchelor Bay is close to Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.  The ride was great - about 65km - I cut it a bit short to assist a stranded cyclist near my house.  Lent him a tube, changed it for him, used one of my co2 cartridges and then found out the damn thing had a hole in it.  By then I was committed to the project of helping this guy so I went to get my car and drove him home.


This ride was not as much of a workout but was pretty much a blast from start to finish.  Mattias shook off some early season rust and Aia was a trooper on the 'trail-along' as we circumnavigated Stanley Park (10km).  My rental bike's rear tire flatted with about 3km to go - I rode it out which provided a better workout than I had planned.


All told this ride was about 2 hours in length, but it included a photo stop and had a pretty good degree of difficulty.  It included 3 good climbs - the most notable being the climb up to SFU (Simon Fraser University) and the final climb back to Lynn Valley.  

I am working hard to tune in my climbing as it has always been difficult to drag my 185lbs up a mountain.

OK, so those are some rides from Easter weekend....  I also made my return to Masters yesterday (Monday).  I could definitely feel the lay-off but didn't suffer too badly.  Misha took it easy on us with a workout made up of mostly shorter, speed sets.

The weekend was also full of lots of great family time - egg decorating and a fantastic Easter Brunch:

The kids dressed up for Easter Brunch.  Daddy hiding his belly full of bacon post-brunch.

I know carpentry isn't a normal topic for this blog but I did build an enormous (and quite minimally stylish) baby gate this weekend.  It is a veritable Berlin Wall (though that one fell and I don't expect mine to...) - I am quite proud of it.

Hope you had a great Easter....  I never got around to the real reason I have been busy lately.  I'll leave that as a cliffhanger for an upcoming post.  

Thanks for reading!

Tweet this!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Three Little Birds - Bob Marley

Let's face it.  These are stressful times.  

If it isn't the stock market dropping 300 points, it's GM laying off 3,000 workers....  Savings are depleted, houses are worth a lot less, and who the hell knows when (or how) it will all turn around??

It is, however, a particularly good time to listen to the music of Bob Marley.  Especially the song Three Little Birds (which may be better known by some as 'Don't Worry').

Not only is it a great song for these times, but also my daughter Aia's favourite at the moment.  Sorry about the bad lighting and questionable sound in this video:

Bob was a cool cat fo' sho'....  check out the enormity of that hat!

Tweet this!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Week in Review

Training this last week has been a little tentative...  

Upon my return from Florida I promptly went out for my first run in three weeks and went a little too hard and neglected to stretch enough.  What a tard I am...  It was only a 45 minute run with some drills, but it was the 4x30 second strides that did it I am sure.  Anyway, my right calf felt like I had run my first marathon for about 5 days....  Stairs were tough...  the complete rookie runner walk where you hobble around on your heels.

On Friday I participated in Accu-Chek Cyclebetes for the second year.  The Innovative Fitness Team raised $4,000 out of an amazing $100,000+ which went to juvenile diabetes research.  I'd like to extend a HUGE "thank you" to those that donated.  I am going to write more about this in the next few days.  

That was four hours of spinning in a high school gymnasium...  Between my sore calf and slightly tender undercarriage (from all the riding in Florida) the trainer didn't feel too spectacular.

On Sunday Kevin P. and I did a 2 hour ride - it was awesome to be back on the roads here even if there are WAY more cars and the temperature is about 25°c less than in Florida.

It has also been good to get back into Innovative for a couple of workouts - I miss the vibe and energy of the place when I am away for that long.  Josip  put me through my paces on Friday and Monday and Kevin L. and I will be working together this afternoon.

On Friday I will be returning to the pool.  It will be good to get back into the morning Masters routine.

Now I am heading out for a ride before the rain clouds close in (I hope...)


This was taken in the gym at Rockridge High School at about 1am...  During Cyclebetes people were spinning for 24 hours straight and $100,000+ was raised for JDRF - pretty awesome!

Debbie - We were on the spinners together for 2 hours...

Steve - Joined us at about midnight and took it through till 4am....  trooper.

When your a$$ is sore and you are spinning for 4 hours it is smart to 'practice' descending technique ;)

I decided to stop in the middle of the Lion's Gate Bridge for some shots... It's a cool spot to see the city from even though the photos don't really do it justice.

Kev, (and my reflection in his glasses)...

Tweet this!