Monday, March 31, 2008

Drive-by Weekend Update....

The weekend was one filled with highs and lows. Here's the Coles Notes version.

Back Pain...back?- A bit of a setback on the pain front. Last Friday while doing my leg workout, I tore part of my right glute....that's right, I tore my ass! At the time it wasn't that bad, so I continued with the workout and even struggled through my planned run. A few hour later it started to become a bit painful and by Saturday morning it had become so uncomfortable that I was limping. Over the course of the day all that limping caused me some pretty serious back pain that even my miracle stretch couldn't fix. I was pissed! Just when I thought all this was behind me here it comes again. I had to take meds on both Saturday and Sunday and skip my hill run, but I'm happy to say that things are on the mend and this morning I'm "back" to my pain free life....thank god.

CC 2008- Gerry and I got together last Friday night to discuss (...amongst other things) CC 2008. Since last years trip, we have both developed a love of the low maint routes and so this years trip had to include some of the "black lines". This year we also wanted to visit somewhere new to us, explore new lakes and experience a different part of the park. After we batted around a few different possibilities, we decided on the route and I will post it later today. I'm very excited as this is a trip I have wanted to do for a LONG time....HINT Access point 11 :)

Minor Hockey Season Almost Over- Jacob's Minor Tyke team finished the preliminary playoffs tied for first in the league and yesterday we played the heavily favoured "green team" in the first of our 3 game mini-series to determine the A champion. Well to say they destroyed us would be putting it mildly. At the end of the second it was tied 1:1, but our guys ran out of gas in the third and we ended up losing 10-1....OUCH! We play them again Tuesday and I will update with results. PS I hate that green team

Hit and Run-
With all the euphoria over my lack of back pain I forgot to mention that my van was hit last weekend. After Jacob's game we came out to find a BIG dent in the corner of the bumper and by dent I mean the whole corner crushed in. It didn't bug me that much, after all it's just a thing, but the thought that it may have been someone I know is eating away at me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hallelujah..my back pain is healed!

I have had back pain for so long that I stopped looking to cure it a long time ago. Over the past 3 years I have been to 3 doctors, 2 Chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, stretching, yoga ( ...I could do this all day) and countless x-rays, but the best they could do was to treat the symptoms. I wanted to treat the problem, but no one (including me) knew what the problem was, so I eventually stopped looking and went with what did work...medication.

Through trial and error I found a dosage of anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants that allowed me to continue training, but it still didn't prevent the pain. Even on my best days there was still a dull ache and my worst were spent crippled over or sitting in a chair.

Everything changed recently and long story short...

I am at the gym and my "gym friend" Paul asks me why I missed the workouts the previous week. I have known Paul for over 5 years, but only through the gym, so our conversations rarely stray from exercise. Anyway, I tell him I hurt my back again and that's why I wasn't there. "You should have come to my clinic" he responds. "What clinic?" I say. Well it turns out my good buddy Paul is a Kinesiologist and just happens to own the second largest sports injury clinic in the country! Who knew? ...not me obviously. I always figured he was tailor...always the snappy dresser that Paul!

Anyway....he then asks me to show him where the pain is and I do. He tells me it's my "Tensor Fascia Latae Muscle" and that it's common among runners to have it get very tight and cause back pain. Better yet, he then says "It's easy to fix". He then shows me a single stretch that hold for 30 seconds for each hip. PRESTO my back pain is GONE!!!! Gone people! It was as though the hand of god had just performed a miracle. I couldn't believe it! I thanked him up and down and then went about my workout, half expecting the pain to come back as was always the case with my other stretches.

That was four days ago!!! I have not has one bit of pain...nothing for 4 days and better yet, no medication. NONE. Each morning I go to bed expecting to wake with pain, but it's gone and I'm starting to believe it's gone for good. Over the past 4 days I have trained hard and still no pain. Just to put this in perspective, over the past 3 years I have only gone without meds 5 days total.

Just had to share the great news!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

GSI Outdoor Dualist

Another find from Backpacker magazines 2008 Gear review. I love this set and it's only $44 at MEC, so it fits the budget and will be perfect for CC2008 and for Lauren and I. Check it out....

GSI Outdoor Dualist

"GSI Outdoors created the intelligent Ultralight Dualist Cook System to solve the problems of previous minimilast cook sets. A folding handle locks while cooking and secures the whole set when you're on the trail. A Lexan lid has a built in strainer and sip hole, and lighter-than-titanium Halulite withstands scratches and evenly conducts heat. A self-standing stuff sack doubles as a kitchen sink to hold dishwater for when you're done eating your chicken corn chowder."

New Device Takes the Worry out of Solo Canoe trips

I love the feeling of isolation Algonquin provides. It's incredible to canoe all day and feel that disconnect from the rest of world that the park provides. As much as I love all that, on the flip side are the feelings of worry that a spouse, parent or loved one feel not knowing if you are enjoying a sunset or laying alone in the wilderness with a broken ankle. I have always wanted to have a way to let her know I was fine, but the options (sat phone) were just too expensive.

That was until last night when I was reading the April, 2008 edition of Backpacker magazine and found a review of a new (....well, new to me anyway) piece of gear called SPOT.

SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker is an palm sized GPS, personal locator and emergency responder all rolled into one.

It works in there ways:

  1. You safely arrive at camp but want to ease your spouse's concerns back home. Hit the "OK" button and the unit triggers and "I'm OK" email message to her with your location pinpointed on a Google Map.
  2. You fall and break you ankle. The injury is non-life threatening, but you need assistance. Press the HELP button and at an email/location message is sent to your family/friends.
  3. A bear chews off you foot (....it wouldn't happen, but stay with me) , press "911" and emergency responders will be dispatched to your location.
It's not cheap, but at about $160 for the device and an annual fee of $100 it's not hard to make an argument in favor of buying it. For me, the "I'm OK" message feature alone makes it worth the cost.

I will talk it over with Tanyia, but I'm seriously considering it just to give her peace of mind.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Now that's what I call customer service!

For years I have used Lakota Sport topical pain reliever for the various aches, pains and strains that come with training for Marathons and more recently, triathlons. It many ways it's a miracle in a bottle that allows me to train hard and still live a normal life despite the pain that comes with injury.

So I was more then a little shocked when after going to three different pharmacies I wasn't able to find it. I little worried I called Lakota and asked them if there was a production problem...."...please let it be a production problem!", I thought to myself. Just then a lovely (...sounding) girl named Carmen answered. I asked here what was going on still hoping against hope that it was just a problem with the stores I had gone too. But it turns out that they stopped making it to "....allow them to focus on researching better ways to help more people in pain". At this point I am convinced that I am absolutely SCREWED! What am I going to do without that incredible orange gunk that makes the pain, go away I thought to myself. To keep this in perspective, it's not "real" pain....like cancer pain or getting kicked in marbles kind of pain...but it does get pretty uncomfortable. Anyway back to Carmen...

She asked what I used it for and I went on for a LONG time about my training and how it's the only thing that worked for me. After a few more minutes of me begging her to start selling it again she tells me to hold for a minute. When she come back on the phone, she informs me that she went to he warehouse and has in her hand the last 6 bottles in the country. That's awesome right?.....it gets better. She then asks for my mailing address 'cause she is sending them to me for free. Who does that? Amazed I thanked her up and down. She then tells me that she will call around and see if she can find anymore. I thank here for here time, but no wanting to trouble her, tell here not to worry about it and thank her for getting the 6 she had.

True to her word, I get a call from her the next day confirming that she has mailed me the 6 bottles and that she has since managed to find 2 more and will be sending those out the following day. Crazy eh?

I know this is a bit rambly even for me, but in this time where most companies don't give a crap about customers I thought everyone needed to know about one that sincerely did.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The triathlon season starts soon!

After a long and at times BORING winter training on stationary bikes, running on the treadmill and endless swimming workouts...my real training starts this coming Monday! Ahhh....it will be so good to be back working out with a goal in hand.

I had thought about running the winter marathon in Peterborough again, but with the on again, off again problems with my lower back I figured I would make the most of the off season. I still ran, swam and did my weight routine 3 times a week each, but at times my bike training has taken a back seat. It's hard to sit and stare at the same wall for 90 minutes, 3 times a week FOR THE WHOLE WINTER! Enough said?

This year I am going to do 3 tri's:

  1. Guelph Lake Weekend, June 22, 2008 : Olympic Triathlon - Swim 1.5km, Bike 42km, Run 10km
  2. Northern Orillia, Aug. 17, 2008: Sprint Triathlon - Swim 750m, Bike 33km, Run 7km
  3. Cobourg Triathlon Weekend: Sprint Triathlon - Swim 750m, Bike 20 km, Run 5 km
The Olympic distance will be the BIG challenge for the season and it's the first one, so after that is out of the way I should be able to coast into the Orillia sprint (same one I did last year) and the Cobourg distances are much smaller then the rest. It will be interesting to see how I do in Orillia with a full year of tri traing under my belt and I hope to better my times from last year. The Cobourg tri is small but is only a week after the Orillia. I want to try this one mostly 'cause it is so close to my home.

New for this year:

  • 19's Riptide Wetsuit- Yes I did buy a wetsuit....but I have a good reason. Since I will be in the water much longer and doubling the swim distance, I want to give myself every advantage possible and the buoyancy a wetsuit provides will be a HUGE advantage over lat year.
  • Podium Quest Water bottle- I know, I know...to some it might "just" be a water bottle, but to me it's a spill proof, minute saving, aerodynamic hydration device!
  • Experience-...I don't have a link for that, but I have it and it only cost me sweat!
  • New Training Program- I have software called Erace Planner that was designed by the best tri coaches in the game today. All I do is punch in my stats ( heart rate, lactic threshold , the races I want to do and the intensity of the program) and the software generates a customizable schedule for the entire race season...even for the winter! It does WAY more then I have time to describe, so if feel free to check it out above. I think of all the "New" things, this one may have the most impact on my overall performance. It forces you to train hard, but not over training which has been a BIG problem for me in the past.
It all starts again on Monday folks....where did winter go?

Thanks again for reading and have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hennessy Hammock Tip

I have made no secret of how much I love the Hennessy Hammock. The comfort and quality of sleep it provides are second to none.

Because you are elevated it's different then sleeping in a tent in many ways, but the big one is how the wind can rob you of body heat. When in a tent, it protects you from the cooling effect of the wind, but in the hammock whatever side you sleep on is pressed against the base or "bottom" of the hammock and when the wind blows the side you sleep on gets cold. Even on the warmest August night I have woke up with a cold but or back despite being in a sleeping bag. To prevent this I sleep on top of my Thermarest and doing this provides an extra layer of insulation and as long as I can stay on top of the mattress I stay toasty and warm.

But over the night I tend to slide down or off the thermarest and often wake up with a cold but. I just figured this was something I would have to put up with....after all, it is otherwise a very comfy sleep.

A poster named SM on the AA forums offered this tip and it sounds like it would be a big help...

"Some peeps I know zig-zag a thin layer of Shoe-Goop along one or both surfaces for more traction..."

But over That could be the answer, but I will experiment a bit before I declare this a winner. I have a cover for my mattress, so I will apply it to that and report back on how well it works.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Old Penny found....

While walking in the parking lot today I found a penny from 1958. I held it in my hand for a while and marveled at the 50 year old coin. Just think of all the things that it has been around for....the first moon landing, JFK, Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs....the list just goes on and on.

I have placed it inside my wallet where I keep my ID and plan to keep it. I feel an odd attachment to it's history.

Is that strange?

New Calendar

Just a quick word of thanks to Mark for sending me a copy of his 2008 Algonquin Calendar. It's filled with pictures from his numerous trips to the park and the photography is breathtaking.

It has now hangs on the wall with my other Algonquin pics and has replaced the boring generic calendar I have in my office.

Thanks buddy.

PS- Any chance I could get a digital copy of the bottom right August pic to use as my PC desktop?

Thanks again Mark....Simply stunning!

Into the Wild.....the movie?

One of my favorite books is Into the Wild, by John Krakauer. I am sure many of you have enjoyed it as well, but for those that may not have read it yet, here is a summary courtesy of Wikisummaries:

"Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, 22 year-old Christopher McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people. Was Christopher McCandless a heroic adventurer or a naive idealist, a rebellious 1990s Thoreau or another lost American son, a fearless risk-taker or a tragic figure who wrestled with the precarious balance between man and nature?

Each strand of his journey is woven into Sean Penn's screen adaptation of Jon Krakauer's acclaimed bestseller, Into the Wild, which is as much about the insatiable yearning for family, home and connection as it is the search for truth and happiness.

McCandless' quest took him from the wheat fields of South Dakota to a renegade trip down the Colorado River to the non-conformists' refuge of Slab City, California, and beyond. Along the way, he encountered a series of colorful characters at the very edges of American society who shaped his understanding of life and whose lives he, in turn, changed. In the end, he tested himself by heading alone into the wilds of the great North, where everything he had seen and learned and felt came to a head in ways he never could have expected"


When I first heard that they were making it into a film I thought it was going to turn out to be a nightmare. All to often, great books just don't translate into great films, so I wasn't looking forward to seeing what would remain of a Into the Wild after it had been re-written into a Hollywood screenplay.

To my surprise it has received rave reviews and not to say that good reviews mean all that much, but if nothing else, it has peaked my curiosity. It came out on DVD last week, so maybe I will be stopping by Blockbuster on the way home. Why the hell not?

I will let you know what I think of it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What a Great Weekend!

Hockey, hockey and even more hockey!That pretty much sums up what went on and excluding going to Algonquin, is there a better way for a Canadian to spend the weekend?

Jacob had his final tournament of the year on Saturday and his first playoff game Sunday morning and I could not be more proud of what he accomplished. Now both days were a blast and here are the highlights...

  • He scored his first ever hat trick and was named MVP of the tournament despite being the youngest player and playing against kids 2 and 3 years older then him (see video below, he is # 15 in white)
  • Although they lost the championship game Jacob was given a special medal and a poster of Joe Thornton for winning MVP
  • On Sunday he scored 2 goals in his first ever playoff game, as his team went on to beat the third best team in the league 6-4
video

Saturday night I had a few guys over to watch UFC 82 and this even did not disapoint. After it was over we were trying to decide who would host the next one when we realized that we will be at the next one!

UPDATE:

I have been told by a few readers that they couldn't get the Blogger video to work , so I have uploaded it to youtube as well and you can watch it below. Enjoy and thanks for reading!