Vitamin D  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

Here is an article my wife found on the Fitness Magazine web site. The article was on the importance of Vitamin D.

According to the article, vitamin D has been somewhat underestimated in its importance to our health and well being. The article starts by citing a case study of a 31 year old who had been plagued by headaches and pains in her stomach, back, arms, and legs, as well as suffering constantly from colds and bouts of pneumonia. She was finally diagnosed with a case of Vitamin D deficiency, started a regime of supplementation, and within a couple of months, her pain began to ease, she was able to sleep at night, her stamina began to return, and she even lost 29 pounds. The article also states that 78 percent of Americans don’t get enough.

The human body can normally produce vitamin d by using ultra violet rays from the sun to transform cholesterol-like molecules there into a preliminary form of D. The problem is that like me, a lot of people lead lives that limit their exposure to the sun’s rays because they are inside during the peak sun intensity, or like me, they live in areas where environmental conditions make exposure to the sun a challenge. Not to mention the danger of sun overexposure.

If safe sun exposure is a problem for you, the alternative is to try to get the required nutrient from foods and or supplements. Some studies indicate a requirement of 1700 to 2000 IU per day. The supplement I take gives me 1000 per tablet.

Some foods that might help are Salmon (3.5 ounces) 360 IU, Canned tuna in oil (3 ounces) 200 IU, Fortified milk (1 cup) 98 IU, Fortified breakfast cereal (1 cup) 40 IU, 2 egg yolks 40 IU.

Check the article out. If you are feeling like crap, and are not sure why, this may be part of the reason.

Masters Swim Club Mini Meet  


Yesterday we had our second masters club mini meet. It was more of a set of test pieces for various distances, separated into events swam on a short course complete with starts from the blocks, for the brave, and timers.

After learning from participation in our last meet, even short events can take the good out of you, so I decided to skip the 1000m and concentrate on setting some good pace times in the sprints. The catch was that I ended up with a draw that saw me in the second 50m heat, then climb out of the pool and go directly into the 100m. So as I stood on the block, I was still shaking from my previous race.

My third event was not much better as I had only enough rest time to run the second 100m heat before I had to jump into the 200. After that it was all over for me, and all I had to wait for was the pizza to arrive.

For anyone interested, here were my times:
50m Free 39.14
100m Free 1:29.05
200m Free 3:18.29

Of course the pros and semi pros out there may not be impressed, but I was somewhat pleased given my test set on Thursday where I did my cruise interval test piece, and determined my CI time of 1:44, so my sprint time was 15 seconds faster for 100m. If only I could hold that pace for 1500 or 2000.

Cruise Intervals  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

I read This Article last week on mid distance swim workouts. The article was mainly describing cruise intervals, what they are, how to set them, and then listed off some workouts using them.

The article defines Your Cruise Interval (CI) as the pace that you can and should be able to hold over a continuous set of 100-yard swims. Since the pool I swim in is a 25m pool, I just used the same concept, but in metric. To set your interval time you do a set of six 100m intervals on little or no rest. The stop is only supposed to be long enough to get an idea of your pace. You hit the wall, look at the pace clock, then go again on the next 0:05 second. So if you hit the wall on 1:42, you go again at 1:45.

The interval that counts is the last one, and the last interval time is the one that is used as your cruise interval. For me, it was 1:44 which was surprising because I was certain that my interval time was getting slower on each time. I was pretty sure that the time was correct because it work out that I went on the blue hand on the top of the clock. I was quite pleased to swim a 1:44 after 6 hard intervals.

I am already looking foward to doing some of these workouts this week.

OH CANADA The Bad, and the Good  

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Here's a little bit of Northern Inspiration, but first let’s make fun of something stupid.

I was just turned on to this while listening to CBC radio, its one of the worst renditions of OH CANADA ever. It’s from a Canadian Football League game in Las Vegas. Yes, we have our own football league, and in the 80’s they experimented with expansion into the US.

The Las Vegas francise was called the Possey, and they hired this guy to sing the Canadian National Anthem. However, they neglected to give him a tape with the tune so he could learn the correct melody.

If you really want to hear what OH CANADA sounds like, watch this one, and turn it up loud. Gordie Johnson borrows a page from Jimmi Hendrix and delivers a hair raising wicked version before a leafs game last year. For any kid who grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL, this will make your hair stand up.

If they play this in Vancover next year, we will clean up on gold medals.

Cycling Crossword  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

I’m bagged after a hard stressful week at work, as well as some pretty challenging workouts. was avoiding the wine/beer store, and searching for a simple but clever idea for a post, and then I came across this crossword. The image is a little small, but if you click on it, it should open in another page and it should be much larger. If you can’t make sense of it here, or if the printing doesn’t workout, it can be found here. Drop back next week and we’ll compare notes.

Here are the clues.


1. 1993 World Pro Road Race Champion
7. Belgium's Greatest
9. Buckshot in the heart
12. The Pirate
13. Home of the miss and out
14. Alison the great
15. Current home to Andy Hampsten
16. Road crack filler
18. loco___________
19. Topographical Obstacle
20. 7-eleven Mathis
21. Missy the Missle
22. Jelly Belly 2009 team bike
23. Recruit assistance
25. Connie Paraskein-_______
28. Randonneur Paris- ______ - Paris
29. 7-eleven cyclist Peggy
30. Mercury Cycling Racer Chris
31. Off Road Champ John
32. Campionissimo
35. Wiley Coyote's bike brand
38. Old style pedal attachment
39. Fausto Coppi's rival
41. Miss and _____
42. Italian Champion Maria
43. Shimano shifters
45. First pedals with float
46. First five time Tour de France winner
47. The _____of the North
48. Holden
49. Jens
51. Tube filler
53. 1972 Pro Road Race Champion
54. The Bulldog of Flanders
56. Yes or ___
58. 1984 Olympic Road Race Silver medalist
60. A sleep noise
62. Bar holder
63. 7-eleven Ron_______
65. Rear gear
66. Lucien _______
68. Mountain Queen Melissa
71. Swim, Bike, _____
72. George
73. O'Grady
76. Cycling no-no
77. The law makers
78. Team of Manuel Fuente and Sean Kelly
79. 1989 Tour de France second
80. Inga


1. ____d' Huez
2. Carbon fiber building process
3. Tour de France contender headache
4. What gets changed on many bikes
5. Where Andy made it big 1988
6. Sean
7. 2 time French Paris-Roubaix winner
8. Triple crankset replacement
9. 1,000+ Victories
10. Mussette contents
11. 4 time Paris-Roubaix winner
14. Panasonic workhorse Theo
17. British track great Sir Chris_____
19. First American to win a Tour de France
22. Italian rival to Merckx
24. World Sprint Champion 10 years in a row
26. The Flying Scotsman
27. Surf the inter____
28. Off the _____
32. 1973 Tour de France winner
34. Six Green jerseys
36. First Mexican to win a stage in the Tour
37. Five tour wins and the hour record
40. The Giro, Tour and Worlds all in one year
42. Home of the 1984 Summer Olympics
44. 1975 Tour de France winner
45. Broken record, broken collarbone
48. Italian great Francesco
50. Smilin' Chris
52. Flandria's Fast Freddy
55. 1988 Paris-Roubaix winner
57. Team of the Spanish lottery for the blind
59. _____Marathon
61. Shade tree
62. 1984 Olympic Individual Pursuit Gold
64. Winner of stage 19 - 2007 Tour de France
65. 56.375 kilometers in one hour
67. Make the podium
68. Reading material
69. A very fast Pic
70. A bicycle competition
74. British Simpson
75. A spanish river

My first Ever 10k Race  

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Here was my entry to Steve‘s Tales of a virgin contest. I really wanted those socks. Anyway, don’t think it even made the top 15, but I thought it was quite a good story, so rather than waste it, I’ll post it for all to see.

My first ever 10k run. The 1998, Rodeo Run in Houston. Downtown to the Astrodome. And me weighing in at 245lbs.

At the Macaroni Grill, they bring out jugs of cheap Chianti that you pay for on the honours system. The waiter brings a full jug, you empty it, the waiter returns, collects the empty jug, you lie and say you drank 1 glass. If the stuff was fit to drink, it wouldn’t be on the honours system. HONEST, I only drank two glasses. It tasted like crap, and I knew I would be running in the morning, but for whatever reason, at about 2:00am, the chianti and the pasta all came up.

The next morning, I felt great. Once my stomach was fine, I slept like a baby. I made it to the start line with no issues. I remember George Bush Senior, as the official starter, and streets lined with thousands of people cheering us on. Of course they were really there to watch the rodeo parade, but they cheered us on anyway.

I also remember the 10k course was marked in miles. When we reached the 5 mile water station, some well meaning volunteer was clapping and shouting “Way to go, You’re half way” I swear if I strength in my arms, I would have slapped her.

And finally, the run geeks. finishing sub 40 minutes, munching down the post race snack, checking the expo, taking a piss, then trotting out to the 9k mark to clap, clap, clap me across the line. Their encouragement didn’t inspire me, it pissed me off. To me it was belittling to have some skinny dweeb clap as I struggled to get my fat butt over the line in under 60.

I can’t remember where I went for the post race meal, but it wasn’t The Macaroni Grill.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , , ,

This one is from Fitness Magazine It's pretty simple to prepare, low in calories, high in carbs, and for the herbifors out there, I am pretty sure 100% vegan.

It’s prepared in a crock pot, so you can throw it together and let it simmer while you do other stuff, like go to work, or train for an Ironman, but both my wife and I have to admit, it’s not one of the tastiest dishes we have tried lately. The father of a friend of ours would say “It’s ok Honey, but don’t cook it for me again.”

You can link to the site here, or you can stick around on my blog and make your list, throw the ingredients together, or print it off for later, whatever your fancy.

The details are as follows.

3 cups cauliflower florets
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup loose-pack frozen cut green beans
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Cooked brown rice (optional)
1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine cauliflower, chickpeas, green beans, carrots, and onion. Stir in broth and curry powder.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
3. Stir in coconut milk and shredded basil leaves. Spoon rice, if using, into bowls, and ladle curry over the top.
Nutrition facts per serving: 219 calories, 8g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 7g fat (4g saturated), 9g fiber

The Improvisational Spin Workout  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

So what happens when you show up to spin class, and you are short one instructor? Well tonight, was the last class in this session. Seven of us showed up, but coach G got called away out of town, and no replacement was scheduled. So we improvised.

After spinning for about 5 minutes waiting for someone to show up, we finally decided to do our own class. Each person took a turn coming up with a tough challenging set. As it turned out, we made it through 5 people before the hour came to an end.

The workout looked something like this:

AP took care of the warm up with some 30 30 spin-ups

Then it was my turn, so I did a 5 minute climb set increasing the tension a couple of clicks every minute and standing on the final one, then a simulated descent for a minute on low tension, and spinning as fast as possible.

JW did a pyramid of 30 on 30 off 60 on 30 off up to two, 120 second sets. The hard sets were tempo spins, and then standing climbs.

TK then did kind of a smorgasbord of 30 second climbs, one legged spins, and some 60 second wall squats off the bike.

And to finish it off, KW did a ramp of 1 minute each standing sprints, hovers and freezes.

Then we cooled down.

The result was probably one of the most challenging workouts of the year. Everyone was quite proud of themselves.

I recommend trying it sometime if you can get a group of 5 or 6 people in one spot for a spin workout. Everyone wants to come up with their best effort, benefiting everyone. Pretty soon the snow will be gone, and we’ll be on the roads, but until then, it will be stationary spins.

Race News Craig Alexander wins Singapore, and Upcoming Events.  


My good friend and fellow Newton Shoe Junkie, Craig Alexander Wins in Singapore.

Well, two thirds of that statement is true. He does wear Newtons, and he did win the Singapore Ironman 70.3 this past weekend.

This race was billed as Crowie vs Macca, the battle of the Ironman Champions. Alexander beat his fellow countryman Chris McCormack by 3 minutes and 18 seconds racing out of the T2 to establish an early lead that he would not relinquish. Neither 2007 winner Reinaldo Colucci nor MacCormack could bridge the gap. You can read more here

This was the second win for Alexander in this young season after a win in Geelong. Next up for him is the Honu 70.3 May 30.


With a blank race slate this upcoming weekend, the weekend of April 4th and 5th is action packed with no less than four events, two 70.3 and two full Ironman races.

The weekend kicks off April 4th in Oceanside California and then continues with a second 70.3 North American event in New Orleans

Full Ironman Events are scheduled for South Africa and Austrailia

New Orleans is of particular interest because I believe several regular readers are now tapering for this event.

I don’t know anyone registered for any of the other events, but if you are, drop me a line.

Simon Whitfield, Top 5 Hero's Part 2  

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This is the second in my Top 5 Inspirational Hero’s series. And number two on the list as you can see by the picture is Simon Whitfield

Now I know you may think NO-BRAINER. Canadian boy, triathlete, gold medalist. That would be reason enough. But I have a little more to add to the story.

Simons Gold Medal, the first ever in Triathlon, was timely for Canada. It was a brutal showing for the Canadian Olympic team. Simon’s come from behind sprint finish was one of the few bright spots for an Olympic Program that would later come under considerable scrutiny.

But what I loved most about Simon was that after his event, he stuck around for the duration of the games. Took in as much of the other events as he could, and probably indulged in a little of the Sydney night life. It was exactly what I pictured I would do if I ever had the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.

Fast forward to 2003, and my second year in the sport. I decided to travel to Corner Brook for the ITU World Cup and Corner Brook triathlon. There was a buzz about the event because of the participation of Simon Whitfield. Coming off his win in 2002, he disappointingly just missed the podium in 2003, placing fourth behind Hamish Carter, Bevan Docherty, and Doug Friman. However, when you consider that he rode 2 of the 6 laps on a flat tire, his accomplishment suddenly becomes amazing.

Try that for your next brick. Do a 40k time trial with 12 hill repeats on a flat tire, and then do a 10k transition run with an additional 9 hill repeats.

As I mentioned in my post on CTS Coach Nick White, Simon still has great ambitions as he prepares to tackle the 70.3 distance while continuing to train for a fourth crack at Olympic glory in 2012.

I already can’t wait.

East Coast Brick  

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I just finished an awesome brick session. A quick recovery and a shower, and I have to say I feel great. The session was about two hours long, and was a combination of aerobic and muscular endurance.

The key to this session is location. Anyone in Florida, Texas, or California can forget it. This type of workout can only be done in north eastern and mid western locations. People in Seattle or Vancover are also SOL.

The essential equipment for this workout would be an old beat-up road bike on a trainer located in a pain cave. Yes that’s my slice of heaven. My trainer is on the right. The one on the left is my sons. Please note the mess, essential for the east coast brick session. And yes that is a milk crate full of vinyl record albums, and Christmas decorations.

The next piece of essential equipment is an assortment of portable snow removal tools.

You start with a hard session on the trainer. A good idea would be a to spin to a movie for 1.5 to 2.0 hours with a couple of hard efforts of 5 minutes sitting right on the Lactate Threshold which for me was mid to upper 160’s.

Then after a quick transition into long underwear, snow pants and good quality head gear and hand coverings, you grab the instruments of snow removal, and clear the driveway.

If you are preparing for an Ironman and need an extra long session to fill out your training log, you can do the driveway of the two old sisters across the road, and then the retired couple next door, but you need to hurry, because retiries usually don’t like to wait for much of buildup before they get at it themselves, or hire a couple of young fellows with a pick-up and a snow blower.

Once complete, you can then sit back and relax with a homemade recovery drink consisting of hot water, a hefty shot of dark rum and a little butter and nutmeg, known around these parts as a hot toddie

Try it for something different during your next long session.

The First day Of Spring, Sheila’s Brush  


Yes you are reading it right. And yes that red band across the top says “Winter Storm Warning” Two problems with this warning are:

1. This is the first day of spring
2. I am sick of winter

This is what I faced this morning as I prepared to go to work on the first day of spring. I am sooo sick of riding the trainer and doing spin classes, I was really hoping the weather we were having all week would stick around for the weekend, and could take my mountain bike AKA the workhorse, out for a good hard spin.

So it’ll be another spin on the trainer with maybe a movie, or maybe a spinerval DVD. Oh the smell of sweat and rubber.

Stay tuned for an update.

The more I blog, The less I know  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

Sometimes I just don’t get this blogging business. A couple of days ago, I wrote well thought out and meticulous article, part of a series on Heart Rate Training, with lots of references, tables and clips of the spreadsheet, and I get a handful of visits. Yesterday, I write one paragraph about my lunch time swim, and get a ton of visits. Maybe I am missing something.

You know what really grinds my gears?

I’m at the pool for my lunch time swim. The pool is packed. At 42, I am the youngest one there, by a lot. The pool is only split into 4 lanes, so that meant there was spill over into my lane. Three ladies, side stroking, and flipping with fins were doing circles. They would make a U turn before they hit the wall so there was no way to get past them. I tried to convince myself it was good ironman swim training.

87 Year Old Dies on a Bicycle.

You gotta check this out You might think, AHH poor guy, at least he was still active in his ripe old age, 87 and still riding his bike. But read on. Apparently, he died after his clothes apparently caught fire from a cigarette. At 87, it’s unlikely he would be a candidate for the Darwin award, as he has probably already pro-created.

Anyhow, all for now, weekend is almost here, over and out.

Water and Chlorine. OH That feeling.  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Have you ever had one of those workouts that just felt great? I’ve had a few pretty crappy workouts in the last few weeks, but today at the pool, the first couple of hundred metres felt so good. The water felt like a blanket wrapping around my body, my catches were full and felt like I was grabbing an armful of syrop. I could feel the water pushing past my feet, and my body roll was fluid and loose.

And as quickly as it came, it went again. After about 500m I felt tired, and I couldn’t wait to finish. I chocked that up to the fact that it has almost been a week since I swam, after taking an easy weekend, and then after our masters workout on Sunday being cancelled because of a pump problem at the pool.

But tomorrow is another day, and I am planning a good challenging workout. Our masters club has a meet coming up, and I want to make sure I am ready. Here’s to trying to capture that feeling again.

Moroccan Vegetable Stew  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

From Runners World online, this Moroccan Stew was a hit at home.

The recipe below is exactly as it is on the web site. I think its meant to be a pure vegetarian dish, however, I added about a kilogram of low fat stewing beef for some added heartiness, and extra protein. Is heartiness a word?

Anyway, I hope any die hard vegetarians out there don’t hate me. We tried it tonight, and both my wife and I enjoyed it, and there is enough for another meal.

• 1 cup chopped onions
• 1 cup sliced celery
• 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
• 1 small eggplant, cubed
• 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
• 1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
• 8 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed whole small okra, stems trimmed
• 1 can (16 ounces) chick-peas, rinsed and drained
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted (optional); see note
• salt
• ground black pepper

1. Coat a Dutch oven with no-stick spray. Warm over medium heat until hot. Add the onions, celery, sweet red peppers and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, cloves, turmeric and ground red pepper. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the eggplant, squash, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the okra, chick-peas, raisins and almonds (if using). Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the okra is tender. Season to taste with the salt and black pepper. Serve in shallow bowls

Makes about 6 servings

Nutritional Facts per serving


If you add the beef, you can tack on an extra 100 cal, and 20g of protein, and about 4g of fat.

Cycling Lactate Threshold Test  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

I was presented with too good of an opportunity to pass up today. I planned on attempting an LT test later this week, but with today being a school board holiday, yes we celebrate St Patricks Day, and given my wife had to work and I was on Daddy duty with our 8 year old, this morning was the right time to do the test.

I switched out the old road bike for my good one so I could make use of the computer, and set out the test protocol. My plan was to do a 10 to 15 minute warm up, and try to set out the speeds that I would use for the test. It worked out that I could start in the lowest gear at about 18.5 kmh. Each increase in gear worked out to an increase of 1.5 kmh. Once I switched to the big front ring, the increases were 2.0 kmh. The intervals I used are on the table below.

To get the data points, I did 2 minutes for each interval, and used the lap function on my heart rate monitor to record my HR for each interval. For each 2 minute interval, I used the first minute to change gear, re-adjust my speed, settle into a rhythm and then record the HR for the second minute. The table is below.

BR stands for Big Ring. This is where I switched to the big ring, and dropped back two cogs on the back. This allowed me to get 13 data points out of my 9 speed. VT stands for Ventilatory Threshold which is one of the indicators Joe Friel uses to determine LT.

The data on the table above plotted out results in the graph below.

So what does it all mean? The indicators for LT HR listed by Joe Friel were

1. Perceived effort of 15 to 17 on the Borg Scale
2. The VT if it occurs near the HR where no. 1 occurs.
3. The fact that the test subject won’t be able to last much longer than 5 minutes after that interval.

As well, the spreadsheet provided by Patrick McCrannnotes that you should look for where your HR plateaus and then spikes up again.

Since I conducted the test alone, and had no help in taking notes, and recording data, I made no notes on Rate of Perceived exhersion.

So from the data I collected, MY VT occurred at around 164. At that point, I noticed my breathing becoming rapid, but on the graph, my HR slightly flattened at intervals 8, 9, and 10, and the shot up to 168 at interval 11. Once I hit this number, I was able to hold on for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I cut back the interval at the top couple of points because I knew I would die soon.

So from that data, I would select my LTHR to be at or very near 168. And at my last two Individual Time Trials last year, I was able to race at around 165 to 170, so this pretty much verifies the 168.

From the tables in The Triathlete's Training Bible and also on the Patrick McCrann site, my training zones are:

Something to keep in mind when conducting a test on the trainer like I did. It will give zones that can be used for planning training, but it lacks a correlation to real road riding. It would be difficult to repeat this test and compare data to try to make a prediction of improved performance. The only true comparative data would be power, and the only way to do this for cycling would be using a computrainer, or some other method of measuring power.

My heros, a Top 5 List  

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Earlier this month, Iron Bob posted about heros. He talked about how 20 years ago, he would have picked Jack Nicklaus, but in his older and wiser days after his Iron transformation, and a chance meeting at Escape from Alcatraz, his number one pick would be Paula Newby Fraser.

That got me to thinking, and I decided to make a list of my top 5 inspirational people. The list is not really ranked, although, the names at the top were easier to come up with than those at the bottom. The list will also give a little insight into my age. My list is as follows.

1. Wayne Gretzky
2. Simon Whitfield
3. Joanna Zeiger
4. Cal Ripken
5. Steve Nash

I’ll take one per week, and write what about each person inspires me. Starting with “The Great One”

I know, you are thinking, yeah, Canadian boy, no brainer. But the truth is that this is probably the least likely name in the group.

Growing up, all my buddies had their favourite teams. Mine were the New York Islanders. They dominated the early 80’s, and threatened to become only the second team in history to win 5 straight Stanley Cups. The only thing standing in their way was the up and coming Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky.

Most everyone I knew loved him. But I hated him. I grew sick of watching the highlights every day and listening to radio reports listing his multiple point games, and a new record almost weekly.

As Time progressed, and Gretzkey got older, I came to realize how special he was. By the time I was an adult, the points weren’t coming as easily, and the Stanley cups and scoring championships were in his past. I vividly remember lying in a motel room in Knoxvill, on the long drive from Houston to my home in St. John’s, and watching his final game. It was special and sad at the same time. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I would never get to see The Great One play a game in the NHL again. A large piece of my childhood was coming to an end.

That realization made me think back and reflect. I remember one of the things my wife said one time about his face everytime he scored. He always had that 10 year old kid smile. He wasn’t playing for the money, he truly loved the game.

Another remarkable thing was that despite his immense talent, there were few people in any sport that worked as hard as he did. As a kid he spent hours everyday on a frozen pond or backyard rink. As a pro, he practiced as if it were a game. It would have been easy to fall back on the pure talent. He still would have been one of the best players ever to lace up skates.

That drive and desire made him better than anyone else in the history of the game. I now have quite a different sense of appreciation for him, than I did in my childhood. That is why his name was the first to pop into my head when I started my list.

Saturday Rest Day, and the Spin Movie Challenge  

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This is certainly a lazy Saturday. I did plan on a cycling workout today. Either an outdoor ride weather permitting, or one of my typical spin rides in the basement with a GUY movie. At one point I contemplated trying to do a graded test on the trainer. With only two weeks of spin workouts left, it’s about time to do one to set my zones for the spring.

But the -9 deg C, with -20 deg C wind chill took care of the outdoor ride, and I took care of the other plans last night with a pasta supper, and a bottle of McWilliams estates Shiraz. I don’t have a hangover, but I am just a little tired, so I decided to carry on with a little bit of reduced volume week.

I do have a plan for the next couple of weeks. Rest up today, hit the pool tomorrow for my masters workout, and then hit a hard 2 week block. By then, hopefully the weather will be warmed enough to hit the road, including a graded test on Thursday. It’s up to you guys to keep me honest.

In the mean time, here are my 5 favourite spin workout movies. These are movies, my beautiful other half will have no interest in watching, so I pop them in on a Saturday afternoon, and spin for the full movie which usually ends up a 90 to 120 minute workout. So here is the challenge. Let me know yours. When I get a bunch, I’ll compile them into a ranked list. Here are mine.

1. Breaking Away

2. Slap Shot

3. Caddyshack

4. Chariots Of Fire

5. Bull Durham

The Vegan Foodie Hundred  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

A little fun thanks to Tri Karen

The Vegan Foodie Hundred
The rules:

* Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
* Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
* Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
* Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
* Pass it on!

Note: The cross out note is from Tri Karen, I couldn't find out how to strike through, so I used Italics.

1) Natto

2) Green Smoothie

3) Tofu Scramble

4) Haggis

5) Mangosteen

6) Crème Brûlée

7) Fondue

8) Marmite/Vegemite

9) Borscht

10) Baba Ghanoush

11) Nachos

12) Authentic Soba Noodles

13) PB&J Sandwich

14) Aloo Gobi

15) Taco from a street cart

16) Boba Tea

17) Black Truffle

18) Fruit Wine made from something other than grapes

19) Gyōza

20) Vanilla Ice Cream

21) Heirloom Tomatoes

22) Fresh Wild Berries

23) Ceviche

24) Rice and Beans

25) Knish

26) Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper--shut up, I had a few drinks first.

27) Dulce de Leche

28) Caviar

29) Baklava

30) Pate

31) Wasabi Peas

32) Chowder in a sourdough bowl

33) Mango Lassi

34) Sauerkraut

35) Root Beer Float

36) Mulled Cider

37) Scones with buttery spread and jam

38) ‘Jello’ Shots

39) Gumbo

40) Fast Food French Fries

41) Raw Brownies

42) Fresh Garbanzo Beans

43) Dal

44) Homemade Soymilk

45) Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46) Stroopwafel

47) Samosa

48) Sushi

49) Glazed Donut

50) Seaweed

51) Prickly Pear (cactus fruit)

52) Umeboshi

53) Tofurkey

54) Sheese or Teese

55) Cotton Candy

56) Gnocchi

57) Piña colada

58) Birch Beer

59) Scrapple

60) Carob Chips--unfortunately.

61) S’mores

62) Soy Curls

63) Chick Pea Cutlets

64) Curry

65) Durian--I really want to try this.

66) Homemade sausages

67) Churros, Elephant Ears, or Funnel Cakes

68) Smoked Tofu

69) Fried Plantain

70) Mochi

71) Gazpacho

72) Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

73) Absinthe--YUMMM!

74) Corn on the Cob

75) Whipped Cream, straight from the can

76) Pomegranate

77) Fauxstess Cupcakes

78) Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

79) Jerky

80) Croissants

81) French Onion Soup

82) Savory Crepes

83) Tings

84) A meal at millenium in SF

85) Moussaka

86) Sprouted Grains or Seeds

87) Macaroni and ‘Cheese’

88) Edible Flowers

89) Matzoh Ball Soup

90) White Chocolate

91) Seitan

92) Kimchi

93) Butterscotch Chips

94) Yellow Watermelon

95) Chili with Chocolate

96) Bagel and Tofutti

97) Potato Milk

98) Polenta

99) Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

100) Raw Cookie Dough

Fit Chick  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

It’s been a pretty sombre day here on the east coast of Canada, especially for anyone involved in the Offshore Industry. I’ll spare everyone the details here since it’s not the time or place, but for those interested, I direct you here.

However, I did managed to keep my pledge to write at least one post a day.

If you are a fan or avid reader of Bicycling Magazine, you may have read some of the articles by Selene Yeager, better known as Fit Chick. I just discovered she has a pretty decent blog.

Bearing in mind that she is a professional, I read a couple of her posts, and they are pretty well written, and provide some decent information. I just read an interesting article called Martini Time, where she talks about her recovery week after a heavy week of 22 hours of cycling. There are some good recommendations, and good links to some sites with some stretching routines.

Give it a read, I am sure it’ll be worth it.

Heart Rate Training Overview  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Heart Rate Training Overview

This is a little more of a technical item than my typical trend of talking about weather, bonking, and ranting about people who do silly things like swim or row across the atlantic. This is a blog about triathlons afterall.

I started a series of posts describing heart rate training. It is basically my interpretation of Joe friels two books, Total Heart Rate Training, and The Triathlete's Training Bible.

So far, these are the articles I have completed.

Part 1 Total Heart Rate Training by Joel Friel

Part 2 The Doctors

Part 3 Maximum Heart Rate

Part 4 Determining Maximum Heart Rate

Part 5 Lactate Threshold for Cycling

Once again, I have to make a disclaimer that I am not a certified triathlon coach. This is the information that I use to set out my training programs over the last 7 years.

Determining Lactate Threshold (LT)  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

Lactate Threshold LT

To review, the Lactate Threshold is the point where the body is disposing of lactate at the same rate as it is being produced. If you Increase the intensity, lactate will start to accumulate in the muscles. LT is what Friel uses to set the zones that are found in the tables in both his books. LT is also variable among athletes, and even though two athletes may have determined from field testing what their Max HR is, one may have an LT at 90 % of their Max HR, whereas the other may be at 85% so both athletes using the same heart rate zones would not be correct.

In Joe Friel’s world, what makes LT so important is that this is where all his training zones are set and based. Steady state work is below LT, intervals are above LT. Max HR is not used to calculate your zones, so you don’t need to worry about it. LT is the number used in the tables.

Determining Lactate Threshold (LT)

If LT is so important, then it is equally important to make sure we determine it as accurately as possible. The best way to determine it is with a graded test, and the most accurate is a VO2 max test done in a lab or clinic. If you look here, you will see Lance undertaking this type of test.

Of course, not everyone has the access to the facilities, or even the desire to fork over good money to have someone prick your finger and take blood sample while you are working your butt off.

A graded test can be done, outside the lab. Although it can be a little more difficult nailing down the heart rate where you reach LT, it can be done. Joe Friel uses three main indicators to determine where the LT during a graded test.

Lactate Threshold Indicators

Using his protocols, you begin to zero in on LT by noting where your Rate of Perceived Exhersion RPE is around 15 to 17 on the Borg Scale.

The next factor is the Ventilator Threshold, VT. This is where breathing starts to become noticeably laboured. If you notice your breathing increasing near zones 15 to 17, It’s probably close to LT.

Finally, the third factor is time above LT. While doing the test, you shouldn’t be able to last much longer than 5 minutes.

By using these factors, you can analyse the data of a graded test and reasonably predict where your LT is. It should be noted that where as Max HR does not change, LT will change throughout the season, and even during a workout as fatigue sets in. It is also important to note that increase fitness doesn’t mean your LT goes up, but rather your performance will increase while LT stays the same. As was the case with Lance where he had a 25 Watt increase in power at LT at the time of the LT test in the video since the Astana team training camp.

Online Resources for LT Testing

I found a very useful site with some additional information, and some useful tools for determining Lactate Threshold. If you go to the section on Analysis of Test Results, there is a downloadable spreadsheet, and a link to a HR Zone finder chart. These are the same charts from Joe Friels books, that you use to find your training zones from the LT Heart Rate.

Curried Squash Soup  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

All this organic food talk has gotten me hungry. I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, and when I got home today, this is what was waiting for me, so it was good timing. Unfortunately we couldn’t find organic squash. Slim pickins this time of year.

2 medium onions chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 large butternut squash, split in half, baked for 45 minutes then peeled and cubed and then mashed with a potato masher
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fat free hazelnut flavoured coffee cream
1 cup plain yogurt

In a large, heavy bottom stock pot, cook the onions until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, curry, salt, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne, about another minute.

Add the squash and chicken stock. Puree with a hand held blender. Add the coffee cream and yogurt.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Makes about 4 servings.

Breakdown Cal 245, Pro 7.25, Carb 57, Fat 1.5, Fibre 6.5.

Organic Food Part 2  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

There seemed to be quite a bit of interest in my discussion of organic food, as well as some very good advice. So I figured I would keep the momentum going, and continue the discussion with a little more explanation.

A couple of people commented on farmers markets, and just to be clear, we have a couple here and I do frequent them in season. The problem is that our growing season here is not that long. On top of that, the farmland here is decent, but not what you would consider rich, so the local produce usually needs some artificial help. Finally there is a bit of an issue with selection. There are some growers that have had success with lettuce, broccoli, squashes, but the staple crops here are mainly carrots turnips, cabbage, potatoes, etc. Fresh fruit is very hard to grow here. There are some people that have fruit trees in their yards, but the harvest is kind of hit or miss. And certainly not in the quantities to supply our population.

I do grow a few carrots and peas, as well as some strawberries, and raspberries, but hardly in numbers that would feed a family of 4. I also pick blueberries in late summer and fall, but that can be time consuming. I usually try to stop into my favourite spot each day on the way home from work and pick a tub full. That keeps us going for a month or 2 and the berries are fresh, very good, and good for you.

But what I have wondered about are the products on the shelves of the grocery stores. Organic cereal, bread, and pasta. One of our local supermarkets has a full line of organic packaged foods. I guess the theory is that these items are made from grains or flour from wheat that are organically grown. That’s ok but I wonder what happens to the grain after it enters the plant? What else is added to it in the manufacturing process?

For our family, right now we try to eat healthy, and if given a choice, try to select the closest to its natural state as possible, like organics, as long as I don’t have to take out a second mortgage to do it.

23 lengths for 10 Minutes. Is that good?  


Our Sunday masters. I knew it was coming soon. It’s been about that length of time since our last timed swim, so I wasn’t surprised when coach gave us our warm up, main set and then said we would take the last 25 to 30 minutes for 2 sets of 10 minute timed swims.

Basically half swam, and half counted, then the second group swam. I swam second. And after completing our 3 sets of 4 x 100 moderate, and 4 x 25 with breakouts, I needed a P- break, and a little rest.

So my result was 23 lengths. 575m in 10 metres. I wasn’t particularly tickled, but given the night sleep I had, and a 1500m main set, plus the fact that its early March, 5 months away from when I will be race fit. I guess I have to put it in perspective.

The Organic Food Hypocrisy.

Catchy headline eh? I hope I spelled it right. A couple of weeks ago, I went to pick up some produce at our local supermarket. The only tomatoes available were organic, at twice the cost of usual. When I reached the checkout, the cashier gave me the scripted line “Did you find everything you were looking for?” Of course I couldn’t resist and answered honestly, to which she replied “Organic foods are better for you anyway, that’s all I eat”

So On the way home from my workout, I stopped into the same supermarket, and guess who was sat outside on the front stoop sucking back a cigarette.

To tell you the truth, I am still not sure where I stand on organic food. I am not sure what’s healthier. Fruit and veggies, chemically sprayed to keep them fresh, or half spoiled organic produced. But one thing I am sure of, the chemicals in tobacco smoke are definitely worse for you. Ah Well, maybe the tobacco was grown organically.

Crossing the Atlantic  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , , ,

A little off topic, and a bit of a rant. In a recent post, Ironbob, my number 10 mentioned Jennifer Figge, a 56 year old lady from Colorado who decided to swim across the Atlantic ocean. I jumped the gun a little, and left a rather unflattering comment where I questioned the sanity of someone who would attempt such a feat, and questioned if she actually knew what she was in for. Then, I kinda felt bad and did a little internet research and found that she actually finished the swim and became the first female to do it, so I relented and posted a second softer comment. However, I still question why someone would temp such a feat.

Let me explain. In this case, I am a little bit of a hypocrite. I understand the draw of attempting a challenge, and how some people have a driving desire for adventure, and that without it, we would still be riding horses across the plains of Europe. I respect people who travel and discover, climb Everest, explore and chart the interior of the Amazon.

However I live on the extreme east coast of Canada. In fact, the distance from my house to Cape Spear, the eastern most point in North America is only about 25km. The distance to Manchester UK is about 2300 miles. Over the years we’ve seen our fair share of attempts by both experienced and not so experienced, adventurists, attempting to make the crossing in various types of vessels and contraptions.

We’ve seen balloons, biplanes, sailboats, rowboats, and lifeboats. I can’t find details now because I think it was a long time ago, but I am sure there was some fool who attempted a crossing in a dory. A traditional two man flat bottom fishing boat.

One guy in a custom built single rowing scull was picked up a just a few miles offshore, already suffering hypothermia, wearing only a tee shirt and underwear. Clearly this guy didn’t have a grasp on the sea and weather conditions, and water temperatures he would be forced to contend with. Most of these attempts do not even make the first half hour of the evening news any more.

So to Jennifer, accept my apologies for the comments. It was an absolutely astounding accomplishment. But understand where I am coming from. When you grow up as close to the ocean as I do, you see things from time to time that forces you to renew your respect for the ocean, and what it can do.

Danger Land Shark  


For those who can remember it, here’s a classic from Saturday Night Live In honour of Amy and Natalie. (I tried to insert it as a video, but not much success. I never said I was an HTML expert.)

Amy recently won the 11 Global Olympic Distance race in Capetown. From what I understand, the swim was done just around the point from where the great whites hang out. I am sure Amy would have been able to outswim any great whites cruising for a meal, or at least outswim enough other competitors to avoid becoming shark bait.

Nat posted about her fear of sharks, and apparently bull sharks have been found to have swam up the Mississippi River during hurricane storm surges, and in 2006, no less than 3 were captured near Lake Pepin, part of the Mississippi.

Hows that for motivation to make your splits next masters workout.

WOOO HOOOO 10 followers  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Major milestone in the Jim Blogosphere.

I’d like to start by thanking members of the academy, as well as the dedicated staff of my production company, OOPS wrong speech. Let’s try again.

Many thanks to Iron Bob, without whom I would be stuck on number 9. I won’t give his exact age, but Bob is training for the 2009 Ironman Florida, and will compete in the 50 to 54 age group.

I’d also like to thank all the little people that made it possible for me to reach this once seemingly unreachable goal. To my family who I had to bribe with cookies and milk, or chocolates so I could get back MY laptop and research and create content that would entice people to come back to my little piece of the blogapherse.

I’d also like to thank the producers of all the crappy reality TV shows that seem to be on every channel when I finally have time to relax in my LaZ boy, and inspires me to get up and blog, search, comment, etc. And also for providing controversial topics like cheating marathoners which makes it easy to write about.

And finally to the other 9 who were first to CLICK the little button on my side bar and lay the foundation upon which this lofty goal was built. A big shout out, along with my heart felt gratitude and some groveling for everyone to please keep coming back.

Housekeeping, Ironman New Zealand NOT  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

First some housekeeping. I love the comments, but I have to clarify, I am not doing Ironman New Zealand this weekend. I simply decided to start posting the upcoming Ironman and 70.3 events, after I realized that that race season is already here for a lot of people. I checked the Ironman website, to see what was upcoming, and decided to keep it posted on my blog site. Now I just have to keep it up to date.

Core Conditioning

Next, I wanted to chat about core work. If you do it, good. If you don’t you should. Like I have said on many occasions, I am not a coach, but I would recommend that anyone make it a part of your training regime, especially in the offseason. After I aggravated my back a couple of weeks ago, I started back pretty regularly starting with some light yoga, and then on to some core work on the ball. Core is very important for triathletes, especially long distance athletes that will be spending 56 or 112 miles in the aero position on a triathlon bike. Also, running books like Chi Running, focuses on good posture, and a strong core to make running more efficient.

Rodney Yee and Gunnar Peterson

Thanks to my wife’s awesome collection, I rely on videos to keep me honest and regular. For Yoga, my favourite is Rodney Yee’s Yoga Conditioning for Athletes. For my Core, I have been relying on Gunnar Peterson

The yoga is quite simple to follow, especially the beginning section. It focuses on trunk rotation and hip flexibility. The poses are beginner to intermediate and are not too difficult to follow. Strong intermediates and advanced yoga enthusiast may not be challenged by it, however, my wife is a solid intermediate, and she keeps telling me that this is one of the best yoga videos on the go.

Core of the matter

The core is basically Gunnar’s ab assault, done on the ball. Like a lot of other workouts, you get out what you put in. It would be easy to do it, but I really focus on the contractions, and use a 15lb dumbbell for the weighted moves, so when I am done, my abs are toast. Again core is essential for the same reason as above and to prevent injuries.

If anyone would like to know more, or has a comment or even a suggestion for core and yoga or flex work, email or post a comment

The Working Poor Diet  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

I was turned onto a new blog this morning on the way in. The morning show on CBC Radio did an interview with three people from Edmonton who just finished a very unique challenge. They decided to feed themselves on what would be amount to the food budget for a person living on minimum wage in the province of Alberta.

They hatched the idea over brunch at an Edmonton restaurant, and after discussing the idea and talking about minimum wages and the working poor, they crunched the numbers, and after other expenses were allocated, they came up with the figure of $80.00 for the month for food. That’s right, 20 bucks per week.

The rules were that they had to follow Canada’s Food Guide, so they couldn’t live on Store Brand Pop and Chocolate chip cookies, and they couldn’t accept any free handouts. They also started a blog to journal their progress.

As you can imagine, it was not easy. And the experiment once again highlighted the fact that it is expensive to eat healthy in Canada. They also provide some sobering statistics for poverty and wages. Not to single out the province of Alberta, but the blog does point out that at $8.40 an hour, the minimum wage in oil soaked Alberta is the fourth lowest in the country, and also 21% of working Albertans live on less than $12.00 an hour. I wonder where these people live. Certainly not Fort Mac Murray.

Incidentally, CBC Radio reported that the three lost an average of 15lbs during the experiment.

The morning after  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

I woke up this morning to a freezing rain warning, and about 1.5mm of build-up all over the car. It was also coating the roads and my driveway. The driveway is on a slope, so I had to hold onto the roof rack of the car with one hand, and scrape with the other.

Race Report Amy Kloner

For fans of Amy Kloner, she has her race reporton her blog site. Amy is so cool. So far, she is the only pro to comment on my blog. I visit her site pretty regularly and leave comments when I do. She has a pretty clean cut web site, easy to follow, lots of info and pics, and an interesting blog.

Steve in a Speedo!!!

I also found a new blog. The blog title is “Steve in a Speedo!? Gross” I am sure we all been there. His URL is Pretty unique to say the least. Steve has a couple of posts of note. The first is a review of the Ironman Cozumel course. On a recent vacation to Coz, Steve drove the course and took some snaps, and wrote up a review. So if you know anyone signed up for IM COZ, point them to Steve’s sight. Steve’s Cozumel Review is his 400th post. Now that’s impressive.

AHHH Rest !!!!

After last night’s mega masters workout, as well as a late night watching the Scotties, I was toast today. Don’t ask, just Google it if you are not from Canada. My plan was to do a core workout tonight, but it looks like I’ll be blowing it off and crashing in my Lazy Boy. Tammy is off to Yoga, so my primary directive is to get the kids in bed, and then hog the TV. So Cheers.

AH Sweet Redemption. What a Difference a Week Makes.  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in , ,

Like I posted last Sunday, at last week’s masters workout, I really didn’t have a good night. A week later and I can honestly say this was a breakout session.

After a 1000m warm-up consisting of 5 x 200 mixing up drill sets and breathing exercises, we went into a pre-set of 5 x 100m on 2: minutes focusing on keeping pace, and staying long and relaxed, mainly to prepare us for our main set. We managed all our sets on about 1:42 to 1:45.

Then came the main set. A 3 x 900m set. The idea was to do each set 10 seconds less than the previous. That proved to be a challenge as my first clocked at 15:30, then my second, I had to take a potty break in between so I started late, and ended up behind the slowest person in my lane for a couple of lengths before she let me by. So I was slower with a 15:50. Then for my last set, I ended up slower again, but this time because our lane lost count, and I did an extra 50m, so I actually swam 16:42 for 950m which for me is not a bad January pool swim. The big thing was a total of 4200m for a 1.5 hour pool session which is huge for me.

So what was the difference? I am not quite sure. I was pretty stoked, and I made sure to watch what I ate during the day. Not overdoing it, but not starving either. Come time to hit the pool, I felt awesome.

Just 5 years ago, I would have been tickled pink to complete 1500m during an hour lunchtime workout, so anyone new and phobic about the water, there is hope for anyone.

Amy Kloner Wins in Capetown

On another note, Amy seems to have had a pretty good race in Capetown. Only a FIRST overall Female, not too shabby! She had a very brief update on her blog, but promises a full report later tomorrow. Congratulations to Amy.