Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great TV website find!

I hate when I go to watch a show only to find out that it won't be on for another month. It's annoying! Shows like Lost, Heroes and Prison break are famous for taking these unannounced sabbaticals and it make following a show really tough.

That's why I have fallen in LOVE with the website It allows you to enter the shows you frequently follow in a personalized "Watch List" and then it shows you a countdown to when the next NEW episode will air. You can even have it email you a reminder! How cool is that?

On that note here is a list of the Top 10 Classic TV theme songs:

1. The Muppet Show: The Muppet Show theme song by Jim Henson
2. Cheers: Where everybody knows your name by Gary and July Hart Angelo
3. MASH: Suicide is painless by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman
4. Gilligan's Island:
The Ballad of Gilligan's Island by George and Sherwood Schwartz
5. Happy Days: Happy Days by Pratt & McClain
6. Secret Agent: Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers
7. Miami Vice: Miami Vice by Jan Hammer
8. Hawaii Five-O: Hawaii Five-O by The Ventures
9. Welcome Back Kotter: Welcome Back by John Sebastian
10. The Brady Bunch: The Brady Bunch theme song by Sherwood Schwartz

2008 Year in Review

What a year 2008 has been! As I said in my last post, there have been some tough times to be sure, but I like to think of 2008 as a year filled with great experiences, fun times and where I was able to achieve my goals.

After re-reading my last post, I really don't like the whinny tone that post gives out. This year has been so, good for so many different reasons that I think a highlight real is in order.

Here are my Top Ten for 2008....

10) Finishing my Basement- More room for all my canoe gear!
9) 3rd in Sprint Triathlon - It would have been higher, but I could have won it
8) First Canoe Purchase - It's shinny, red and for a while I had two...remember?
7) Canoe trip with friends from Algonquin Adventures - Thanks Mark!
6) Kids Sports - Jacobs first hat trick, Laurens Playoff performance, Ethan the soccer sensation
5) Trip to Cuba - Yes, even with the Scorpion fish bite/sting it was still an amazing adventure.
4) Coaching My Kids - Not sure who has more fun. Hockey, Lacrosse, fun!!!
3) First Canoe Trip with Lauren to Booth Lake - (...trip log coming, soon?) lol
2) 3rd at Olympic Triathlon - I had no idea I had done that well until they called my name.

....and my number one event for 2008 is....

1) 10 year Anniversary with Tanyia, my wife and best friend!

Love you T!!

Happy New Year everyone and I wish all of you a great 2009! ( it just me or does 2009 sound very futuristic? Like we should be all driving George Jetson's Bubble car to work?)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wow...look at all the Water Under the Bridge!

It's been nearly two months since my last update and so much has happened since then that I am not even sure where to begin??? Most of what has been going on has been great, but at the same time gobbled up virtually every last minute of my free time. I can say without hesitation that the last 2 months have been very rewarding and yet at times had also been an extremely sad and stressful time for my family. In late August Tanyia'a sister died unexpectedly. She was her only sister and needless to say they were very close. The circumstances surrounding her death are still cloudy at best and we have all but given up hope on finding the answers we need. Over the years I have lost people I was close to before and it doesn't bother me as much as it does others. I know that sounds cold, but I have always been able to compartmentalize things that were emotionally charged. But to watch my wife hurting, knowing there was nothing I could do to fix it, was maddening and it ripped me apart to see here in such despair and be unable to make things right. I am a fixer....if there is a problem I want to solve it, but there was nothing I go do to relieve her sadness and grief, but listen and be there. So I was.

At the same time work had been very busy and stressful. So in late November we decided to get away and decided a family trip to Cuba was just what we needed.

We went to a very beautiful part of the Country call Holguin. The place we stayed was perfect, huge resort with great food, a big pool and of course, a stunning beach. On our third day, after spending most of the morning by the pool we decided to enjoy the beach for the afternoon. It was a stunning white sand beach and with the green Ocean as a backdrop it looked like a post card. The boys and I played in the surf, while Tanyia and Lauren lounged on the sand.

It was then that Ethan was toppled by a big wave and while lunging to grab him smashed my foot into large rock on the ocean floor. I was instantly overwhelmed by pain, but managed to grab the boys and limp back to the beach. The pain continued to get worse and worse as I made my way towards a lounger and it was then that I noticed the trail of blood that was left in the white sand in my wake. I was convinced I had severely fractured my foot and with the pain still growing worse by the moment, I told Tanyia I was going back to the suite to get some ice and lie down.

This is where my recollection gets a bit foggy. On my way back to the room the pain became so severe that I could hardly walk. I was only moving about 6 inches with each limp and I could feel me libs going numb. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was going into shock. As I turned the corner and could see our bungalow only 50 feet away, my breathing was shallow and rapid and my sandal was now soaked with blood. It's funny the things you think at a time like that. I remember saying out loud, "just make it to the room and everything will be fine". I really believed it! It was like a race and I had convinced myself that if I could reach the finish line the pain would stop. Of course that didn't happen and as I lay on my bed, now alone and with pain so severe it felt like being burned from the inside out I realized I was in trouble.

I lay they screaming and moaning for about 10 minutes, praying that Tanyia would return. "Please come back" I cried out over and over. With my limbs growing colder and my lips turning blue, even in the state I was in I knew I was on the brink of passing out from shock. So I picked up the phone and dialed reception, and after several failed attempts in English I used Dora the Explorer based Spanish and said " Por favor Emergencia doctor que muere". Which means "Please Doctor Emergency Dying".

Just as the medical team arrived Tanyia and the kids returned from the beach. Fortunately, our suite was large enough that the kids had their own rooms, so Tanyia quickly ushered them into the other room and they didn't see all the blood and my foot now three times it's size. The doctor took one look at my foot and knew what it was "Scorpion Fish" he said and the nurse looked at me with a look for horror. Not exactly giving me much reassurance that things were going to be OK. I would find out later that the Scorpion fish is the 2nd most painful venom in the world and being stung by one is a one in a million chance. Yeah right! If it had gone untreated for more then an hour I would have lost my foot. I was about the 45 minute mark when they arrived. Crazy!

The next 12 hours I was pumped full of IV narcotics and it's all a bit of a blur. Within 24 hours I was able to walk, albeit with a bad limp. But the swelling didn't go down for 3 weeks. It was then that I had an x-ray and discovered that I had also fractured my foot.

That was a month and a half ago and I have been unable to run, bike, swim or anything since then. It's been frustrating and a big reason why I haven't been posting. I am not me when I don't exercise. I lose motivation and get well...depressed! My foot is now virtually healed and I will resume my workouts next week.

I have to go, but I will update again soon. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Drop and give me 100!"

With the race season now officially over, I have returned to my off season training that includes weights, cardio and core training. I missed them all summer and for the first month or so, it was fun to not have to kill myself doing 2-4 hour training sessions. But like anything after a few years, it does get a little boring doing the same thing over.....and over and over, so I was happy to stumble across a new challenge.

It's called "The 100 push-up Challenge" and it's a simple program that takes you up to 8 weeks to complete. It's very well planned program that can help people of all fitness levels. This was just what I needed to spice up my workouts.

The first thing you need to do the initial test. This is where you start doing push-ups until you can do no more (muscle failure). Now armed with your number, you look at the chart to determine what week of the program you will start at. It's cool because anyone can do the same program.

I completed 43 push-ups, so I started at week 4. I was surprised I couldn't do more, but damn it was hard!

The program, like all things with this cool little challenge, is simple. You do three 5-15 minute "push-up workouts" a week and the difficulty is progressively increased .

Check it out and be sure to post your push up max.

Friday, October 03, 2008

HK post #2: Funny Inscription

After the quasi failure of my Orillia triathlon I made no secret that I wasn't happy with my performance on the bike. Tanyia fearing that I was willing to just about anything to get better gave me this book. "How awesome is my wife!", I thought to myself. Then I read her inscription...


Because you are an inspiration....
Because I am so proud of you... Because I love you....and because this book is cheaper then a new bike!

Love Tanyia"

God I love her!

HK Post #1: Orillia Triathlon

The Orillia Tri was to be my most successful to date....well that was "the plan" anyway. This was the same race I had used one year earlier as my inaugural triathlon, so having those times as the benchmark was a huge advantage. I had already done the course, so all those internal questions about "Can I do this?" had already been answered in spades. I had evolved into a far more experience competitor since that first race and was eager to show how far I had come by winning my group. Simply finishing was no longer enough and bottom line I was ready.

For the most part the race went well, but my ego got the best of me in the end. Everything was going perfectly. I crushed the swim and set a new personal best time for the 750 meter. On the bike is where I made a crucial error. Instead of gearing down on hills and and doing a high RPM climb I kept the resistance high, rose out of the saddle and powered up the hills. BIG MISTAKE! I was exerting far too much energy and ultimately going slower up the hills then if I had just kept to the plan. And it gets frying my legs out on the hills I was also killing my wheels for the run. As crazy as it sounds now, at the time I was just so high on adrenalin that I didn't even feel pain and it cost me the win.

I finished 3rd in my group and although I am happy with the result now, at the time I was pissed! When I crossed the finish line and saw my time I was in absolute shock. Until that moment I was convinced I had done enough to win and it was tough to come crashing back to earth. In the end the 4 minutes I wasted trying to macho my way up the hills cost me and I will use this as motivation for next year.

Things I Learned from this Race :

  • Practicing transitions works. I was in out in record time (both sub 90 seconds)
  • STICK TO THE PLAN...frustrating but true
  • Tanyia, the kids are my biggest fans
  • Win or lose I love this sport!

Houskeeping Updates

Lots of stuff has been happening since my updates dried up in early July and my infrequent updates have created a big list of things I intended to post....but never got around too. The list started in the summer with me just jotting down a few points to serve as a reminder for when I had the time to post them. Well over the summer and now early fall, that list as grown to over a page and a half!

I have spent some time this morning mulling over the list and will be posting many of them over the course of the next few weeks.

All of these retro posts will have "Housekeeping" in the title.

It feels good to be back!

Friday, September 26, 2008

In the News: Algonquin Backpacking article in Toronto Star

This is what I would call an "ok" article where they discuss the basics of backpacking in Algonquin. Nothing really ground breaking here, but not a bad read. The highlight in my opinion is the quote below...

The park ranger remembers meeting a husband and wife after they had completed a gruelling hike – it was her first backpacking adventure.

"I asked them how it was," says McEathron.

"The woman turned to me and said, `I think my husband brought me out here to prove how much he dislikes me,' " he says with a laugh.

You can read the article in it's entirety by clicking HERE.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thank you!

Just wanted to say thanks to all the readers that posted comments and emailed me regarding my Things I've Been Missing Lately post last week. Your words of concern and encouragement are much appreciated.

It's amazing how a week and some much needed perspective courtesy of Orville and others (See comments) has me looking at my situation with my "glass half full" goggles on. His statement of...and I quote...

"From where I stand, you are just wasting more of your youth pining away for what's gone. By the time you figure out everything you've lost, more has gone out the door."

Wow how true is that? Way to hit me where I live Orville!

He is SO right! My life is not perfect and either are all the decisions I have made, but I have a great life and have no reason to be sulking. That old expression "it could be worse" really applies here and my problems are really petty compared to others.

Thanks for the heaping spoonfuls of perspective.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things I've Been Missing Lately

It's been weeks since posted last and for the first time since I stated this thing I have no excuses to explain it. I just didn't want to . It feels odd saying that, like I am being too honest or something, but the truth is right now, I don't care.

That said, my family has been going through some really tough times the past few weeks and if that comes off like I am fishing for sympathy....well, I am really not, but I sure would like to blow off some steam.

Things I've been Missing Lately:

  1. This Blog: I know I am not the greatest writer or speller or....well, you get the idea, but I love to write here and hate that things I have no control over have changed (even temporarily) my love of this blog. It sucks and I am not happy about it.
  2. Hockey: I want the season to start NOW. It seems like forever since I've watched the Leafs lose.
  3. High School/ College: I miss those care free days, when I thought a hard days work was 4 hours of sitting on my ass listening to a prof. Youth really is wasted on the young and I fear I may have wasted some of mine.
  4. Life Before Blackberry: I miss the way life was before this vile little device forced its way into my life.
  5. Retro Fast Food: I want to go back to 1986 and have a Big Mac, but in the original Styrofoam container, fuck that cardboard crap. Remember those? I loved the little "squeak" they made when you opened one. I would sit, feathered hair, pinned jeans and all and eat without a single thought about trans fats or cholesterol. Ignorance is bliss.
  6. My Mom: I miss the relationship I had with her. She was everything to me growing up, but that all changed after I was married. Oddly enough, this is the same time my relationship with my Dad improved. What would Freud say about that?
  7. Opportunities: So many times I didn't do or try something for fear of looking the fool. Even now I turn down chances to do some very cool things because of this hang up. I don't like feeling this way, but the truth is....I always have.
That's all for now. Funny, I just went back and reread everything and I do seem a bit angry...maybe even crazed. I used the "F word" for the first time here. Sorry if this all seems a little crazy, but I just have lots of things to deal with at the moment and if feels good to get it out.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The BIG Announcement!!!

Seven years ago I was fat. So fat, that I found stairs difficult, was constantly out of breath and hated the way I looked even more. But if didn't just effect me physically, my weight had started to erode my self confidence and before long I was in a full blown state of clinical depression. My career was not going in the direction I thought it would and either was my family life. It was just a very sad time in my life.

Then in April of 2002 I had enough of it and vowed to do anything I could to get my life back on track. I made a list of the things I didn't like about my life and what I could do to change them. Of all the things the one I had the most control over was my weight, so I decided to "fix" that first.

As I wrote in this old post, I lost 95 lbs in just under 4 months. It was amazing how much that one thing changed every other part of my life. I was happy with who I was for the first time in years and it reflected in everything I did. I didn't let things bother me and fester like I once did and my relationship with Tanyia returned to what it had always been. Before I lost the weight, I blamed everyone else for the problems in my life...but no more. If there was something wrong, I tried to fix it and if I couldn't I sought help from someone who could.

I started exercising as a way of keeping the weight off and over time that became less challenging, so I would find a new way to push myself. Different types of cardio and eventually seeing how long I could do cardio. I needed to be challenged and this worked for me for years. Then in 2005 I started running and have never looked back. I did my first half Marathon in the summer of 2006 and then a winter Marathon in February of 2007. It was awesome, but I needed more and started to train for Triathlon.

It was here that I had finally found my niche. It was as though the sport was made for me and I have devoted the last year and half to becoming faster, stronger and just better at all three disciplines.

Not bad for a former fat guy eh?

Now for the BIG announcement....

In 2010 I will compete in my first ever Ironman Triathlon, in Lake Placid, NY!!!

For those that don't know, this is the largest and most difficult triathlon in the world. I have attached a few great videos that describe what it's all about better then I ever could, but I just had to share the good news!

2.4 Mile Swim + 112 Mile Bike + 26.2 Mile Run = Ironman!!!!!

Fast Update

Man, where has the time gone? Can it really be almost a month since my last update?

The summer is just flying by and my days have been very busy, but I like to call it "good busy". Between work, family, my training, coaching and all the kids sports there has hardly been time to take a breath, so sorry about the long lay off.

Here is a bullet update on what has been going on. Normally, I have a real structured way of doing my updates, but for a change I'm going to just going to write whatever comes to mind. This could be interesting or a total mess, so buckle up....'cause here we go....

  • Chair- I got a new chair in my office recently. It's hard and doesn't have my ass grove in it yet...but I'm working on it!
  • SPOT Device Update- A few weeks ago a reader (Chris I think???) asked that I do a follow-up review of the device, so here goes. It is AWESOME! It worked without problem on several trips and in all kinds of weather. It even worked in a thunderstorm! It's so easy to use that even my daughter (age 8) was using it after a BIG lesson on when and why to press the different buttons. I have heard from a few readers that hate even the idea of carrying it with them, some even referring to it as a "digital leash". Well call it what you may, but I sleep better knowing my family are not worrying. Bottom line Chris, it's great and I can't recommend it enough to anyone who has a family.
  • Injury and Training Update- All my injuries and healed and I'm feeling better then I ever have in my life! My next race is in Orillia in just over a week (Aug 17 )and I feel so ready!!! I have a real shot at winning this thing and have been training like a lunatic to try and get every part of my game in peak performance. I can honestly say that I have never felt more prepared for ANYTHING in my life. This week is what I refer to "hell week" and I have had to complete ALL the toughest workouts from the last 3 months, but in the same week! It has been a brutal week, but all I left to do is my time trial for swim, a 2 hour ride today and then an 10 km run Saturday morning and it's all down hill from there. The taper week just before a race is always easy...a 20 minute run, 300M swim...that kind of thing. Just enough to keep you ready, because the work is already done! I will keep update all next week on how things are going and plan to update from the event as well . Wish me luck!!
  • BIG Announcement- I have some BIG news, but it deserves it's own post, so all you get is this little tease for now. It's something that has been in the works for over 5 years and will be one of the greatest achievements my life. Are you hooked yet? I will post more this afternoon.
  • Shaving Time- I crunched the numbers and based on my current times, I should be able to cut and astonishing 16 minutes, 3 seconds off my time from last year! Enough to take anywhere from first to fifth in the Orillia triathlon. Crazy!

  • Tanyia's first Algonquin Canoe Trip- Since Tanyia had already taken vacation days to cover the original dates of the CC2008 trip that never happened, we are going to take full advantage and go to the Park together. My parents have agreed to watch the kids, so this will be Tanyia's first trip and will be my first time in the park with her....alone. Cue the porno background!!! I have a few ideas, but I'm thinking either Kiosk or the Canyon. That's the best think about Algonquin...lots of options!
  • MMA History in the Making- Tomorrow night could me the biggest fight in Mixed Martial Arts history. It's a HUGE fight card with some off the chart crazy talent set to square off. In the main event, is Canada's own George St.- Pierre VS John Fitch in a MONSTER welterweight showdown! I'm having a few guys over and it should be a blast. In fact, I cf possibiliti of a better way to mark the official end of "Hell Week"!

Friday, July 18, 2008

CC2008 Update

Gerry and I had a chance to speak earlier in the week and regretablly decided to cancel the trip for 2008. Lots of factors were involved, but for me it was mostly about my triathlon training. Getting 3rd in my last race confirmed something that I had been dreaming about for a while. I love to compete, but I have always believed that I could win and that result proved it.

So I have decided to go at my training even harder then usual for the 4 weeks leading up to the race in hope of finishing first in my group. Where the conflict comes in is the trip is 2 weeks before the race and going would basically derail all my efforts.
So I had to make a choice and as strange as it may seem to some of my fellow canoeist out there, I want this race more right now. I only have 3 or 4 years of genuine competition left in me, so I have to take advantage of it now, before my body starts to fail me.

It makes me sad that the tradition is being broken, even if only for a year, but it was always more about having a chance to hang out with my good friend and I don't have to be in the park to do that. I have reset the countdown clock for the same time next year. It felt strange doing that too.

This weekend Gerry is coming over to watch the Affliction/ UFC fights. It's been a while since we had a chance to do that, so I'm looking forward to it. At times the last year has been a tough on our friendship and so it will be great to reconnect and just chill out.

Have a good weekend folks!

Great film....blown away!

Keep and open mind here folks, but I recently saw what is one of the best documentaries I have seen in a LONG time and it's about....wait for it....Donkey Kong?

That's right, it's about 2 grown men and their epic journey to compete for the highest score ever score on the classic arcade game Donkey Kong. I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind, but I'm telling you, it's a very compelling story and a wonderful mix of suspense, action and humour. I loved it and I think many of you will too! Check it out...

It's called The King of Kong and below you will find the Coles notes version of what it's all about and you can check out the trailer HERE.

Props to for the summary.

Donkey Kong is the hardest and purest video game experience ever invented. It is a game that sends the average player packing after just a few seconds of play. We quickly learned that only two people could ever contend for the title of supreme Donkey Kong champion.

Back in 1982, when kids dumped quarters by the pound into arcade machines around the globe, Billy Mitchell was the best of the best. All of his records from those days are prized, but none more than Donkey Kong. And his records were only the beginning. He was instrumental in establishing Twin Galaxies, an organization that remains the acknowledged governing body for video game record-setters. To this day, that community worships Billy, and Billy revels in their adulation. He plays the part: from his flowing hair to his strident patriotism to his endless stream of self-empowerment platitudes, he is frozen in time, living a continuous loop of the glory days as he oversees his Ricky’s Hot Sauce empire.

Thirty-seven-year-old Steve Wiebe, on the other hand, always comes up short. While Billy was setting records, Steve was busy losing his promising baseball talent to injury, a pattern that has haunted his life. Never really a loser, he’s simply second best in everything, from music to sports to his professional career. When he was laid off from his software job, he bought a vintage Donkey Kong machine and began to play it for hours every day, eventually scaling the game’s greatest heights. In 2003, more than 20 years after Billy set his record, Steve Wiebe discovered Twin Galaxies and learned that Billy’s record was within his own reach. Steve could finally be the best at something.

This set in motion a dramatic conflict we could not have scripted in a million years. When Billy’s greatest record was threatened, he and his followers went to shocking lengths to protect it, forcing Steve to not only compete in Donkey Kong but to prove himself in the larger game of personal politics that surround the coveted crown.

Because of its subjects’ outlandish passion for their hobby, the film became an epic journey. Much more than just vintage video gamers, it is about what happens when a heroic figure and his followers face that hero’s mortality. It is about how far an underdog will go once he has the brass ring finally within his reach, and how the desire to win can overcome the most challenging of circumstances. And, of course, it is a rare glimpse into a world little seen by outsiders, a world lit by the flames of obsession and the flickering screens of obsolete dreams.

Congratulations to Mungo!

Mungo dropped me a line the other day. You may remember Mungo from his popular blog where he discusses camping, bushcraft and his take on life called Mungo Says Bah. He is also a frequent visitor of this site and leaves comments on fairly regular basis.

It seems that he should have no shortage of things to discuss on his blog in the months and year to come, as he and his wife are expecting. That's right, Mungo his having a baby!

A heartfelt congratulations from all of us to you and Spring.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Thunderstorms in the Forcast

Man , I hope it clears up, but as of this time things are looking a little ugly for our first ever, Father/Daughter canoe trip. Rain we can handle, but thunderstorms could be a real pain and wreck my little girls first day in the park. If you are interested, you can click HERE to see what the weather is like. Wish us luck!

I have a few things left to pack, but 95% of it is done. The only things to do tonight are to pack the food and camp chairs, then strap the canoe to the car.

I want to try out the "GeoTracking" feature of the SPOT device in possible. It allows people to view a live feed of our movements on the web and actually show a trail of movement. If I have time I will set it up and post it here before we leave.

I have to get home to pack! Leaving for Algonquin in about 13 hours!!!

Getting weirded out in Walmart

The other day I'm walking through, well....Walmart with my kids when a woman looked at me, then stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh my god I can't believe it's you Jim!", she shouted. I looked at her for a stunned second and realized I have NO idea who she is! NONE!!! I'm staring at her and drawing an absolute blank. Unaware of this, she continued to ask about my wife by name and asked a few more questions that did little to reveal how she knows me.

This is the point where I thought I had to either pretend to know her or let her know I didn't and risk looking like a fool. Well I went with the later. "I'm sorry, I don't remember you", I said to her. She looked hurt or at the very least shocked that I didn't remember her and then quickly clued me into how she knows me.

Strange Girl: "It's me Erin O*****! We dated back in High School"
ME: "Who?"
Erin (previously known as Strange Girl): "Erin....Erin O****** don't remember me? But we are friends on Facebook?"
ME: "We are?...oh, nice to see you again"
Erin: "Didn't you look at my profile or any of my pictures"
ME: "I guess are you?"
Erin: "Why accept me as a friend if you don't want to be friends"

It was at this point that I let her know how pressed for time I was (Total lie...) and as quick as humanly possible got the hell out of there! Oh Facebook! I used to enjoy you so much, despite the constant and annoying applications you hurl at me, but this was a whole new level of weird and I don't know that I can put up with this.

Do people really think that being friends on Facebook equates to being friends in "real life" or is this girl from my past just an isolated wacko. It's just not sitting well with me and has me rethinking the whole "Facebook thing" or at the very least, considering a serious "combing of the herd" when it comes to those I'm friends with.

Am I over reacting here? I could use your thoughts.

Here is a video that illustrates what it would be like if "Life were like Facboook"...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Web Friendly Version of NEW Algonquin Map

Barry from AA had resized the incredible map Jeffery M created.

Check out the legend in the picture and the corresponding links for each section of the page.

Great job guys!!! (above index map) (legend to all maps)

Third in the race...but at what cost?

Two weeks ago I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon and as you can see from the picture, finished 3rd in my group. It was an amazing experience and one that I was thrilled to share with my family. That was the obvious "good side" to the race, but what I failed to mention in my post titled "Olympic Triathlon: I made the Podium!!!"was the injury I sustained that day.

It started with mild pain in the area of my right shin at about the 5 km mark of the run course. It didn't hurt all that much at the time, so I continued to push the pace. By the 9 km mark it was hurting pretty bad and my foot had started to go numb. Not good, but with only one km remaining, I figured "Who cares...I have weeks to recover" and continued to increase my pace and did my best to ignore the pain.

With all the euphoria of finishing the race and excitement of talking to family and friends, I never gave my leg another thought until the drive home. I went to press on the brake pedal and had a shooting pain in the same shin. Man, that hurt and it now had my full attention. I just chalked it up to fatigue, took a couple of Motrin and drove home.

Over the next week I didn't train at all, as I was in Algonquin for most of it and had planned to take some time off. While away there were many times when I had that same shooting pain in my leg/shin and this is where I started to think there was something more serious going on. I returned home last Friday and decided to take the rest of the weekend off and resume my workouts on Monday. That should have been more then enough time to recover.

Well it all came to head when I returned from my planned 12 km run on the Monday. It was extremely painful to run and withing 2 hours of completing the run I could hardly walk on my right foot at all! There was no inflammation, but my shin was painful to touch. I was now officially worried and thinking stress fracture...which would be a season ending injury.

Now convinced that I was screwed, I made an appointment with Paul at the sports injury clinic. Paul is the guy you may remember that fixed my back problems and is an all round sports injury expert, so if there was anybody who could put me back together, it was him. He was amazing. Within minutes he had new exactly what the problem was and better yet, said he would have me back training 100% in less then 2 weeks. Ahhhhh....what a relief! It turns out that it was caused by overworking the small muscle that runs up the front of the shin, something that is very common among runners. The treatment involved "stripping the muscle", which boils down to pressing ridiculously hard on very painful parts of my leg....then repeat again and again. I'm not going to sugar coat this, it hurt so much my eyes watered ( AKA I cried) and I screamed. It wasn't pretty, but it's now been 2 days since I was worked on and not only is my limp gone, I virtually all the pain is too.

I will resume training when I get back from Algonquin with Lauren and will let you know how it goes, but for now I'm just happy that the injury won't interfere with our trip.

Countdown to My Daughters first Canoe Trip!

Just 4 days remain until I get to introduce my daughter to Algonquin Park! I have been planning this trip since the winter, so it's hard to believe that this trip that once seemed so far away, is now just so close I can almost smell the campfire! We will be going to access point 17 Shall lake for three days and you can go HERE for a full break down of our trip.

She is excited and a little nervous I think. I have a bunch of surprises in store for her. Every day she will be given a will even be gift wrapped! I plan to pretend it's her birthday one day, and Christmas the next. Why not? In terms of "gifts" nothing big here, a new watch ( she lost hers a few weeks ago), puzzle book ( also good if it rains), glow sticks, water know fun stuff. I read a while ago about doing this to keep things fun and knew that she would love it.

The weather is looking good too, but we have all seen how quickly that can change.

Getting all the gear together has been easy as heck, since most of it was all ready gathered from my trip last week. I will do the grocery shopping today and then do the final gear pack up on Saturday. I will be carrying my backpack, barrel and of course the canoe. Lauren will be responsible for a small backpack that has her clothes and personal items. I have been told that kids like to help out and feel they are contributing, so she will also be helping with camp setup, meals, clean up and all other aspects of camp life. I just hope she likes it!

I hardly ever get to spend time alone with her, so I hope Algonquin will give us the 1:1 time that is next to impossible to get an our everyday lives.

I will post more about this prior to our departure next Tuesday.

UPDATE: Blog Format Change

One of the things that came up on my recent trip to Cedar Lake with Mark (I will update later today on that...) was a request....well, maybe it was more of a demand from Darren, Mark and others that I start to archive my posts. I have always been reluctant to do that. My reasons are simple. I use this site to store information I need and use it as my personal online canoe library and when I want to find something fast having ALL my posts on one page was always the easiest approach for me.

Because of this I never really concerned my self with how those with dial-up (...yes apparently some people still use dial-up....shocking!) or the length of time it took for a the page to load even for those with faster services. Mark made some good points.

So I have made some changes that are a good compromise. Only the last 50 posts will now be on the main page and the rest are archived. For myself (...and maybe others?) that like to search the whole blog for a specific post or nugget of information I have added a "search this blog" box that can be found in the upper left hand corner of the screen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heading out for 4 days in the Park

Just about to step out the door and thought I would make one last post before I did.

The weather is looking great for the trip. Only one day of rain and otherwise bright, sunny day! Darren (one of my the guys I was too meet up with today) emailed me late last night to let me know that he and hi s son had to pull out early due to an unexpected medical concern. They are both fine, but unfortunately will not be joining me on the trip. I will still hook up with Swede and Markus today and I wish all the best to Darren and his son.

I plan to return Friday and I will report back with pictures, trip log (....I know, what about the CC 2007 trip log???) and bug report a bug report as soon as I can.

Wish me luck!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Algonquin BOUND! (...almost)

I will be leaving for my 4 day trip in and around Cedar Lake at 3:00 am Tuesday morning. Just a few hours away! While there I will be seeing some place I have never been before to be sure, but this trip is more about people and on this trip I will be meeting many of the folks from Algonquin Adventures that I have gotten to know online. These are some very experience folks, so it will be cool to pick their brains.

I'm almost ready to go, just a few small jobs let to do. I hope to post again before I leave, but in case I don't, wish me luck and I will report back in a few days!

Olympic Triathlon: I made the Podium!!!

Yesterday was "the big day" and it could not have gone better! The weather started out crappy, with lots of dark clouds, but turned out to be sunny and bright. I felt very ready and wasn't nervous....well, I was hardly nervous. :)

The swim went very well! The wetsuit did what it should and I felt lighter and faster then ever before. It was a 750 meter loop swim , so you have to swim the course then run across the beach back to where you started from and do it again. Mentally that part was tough, but otherwise this went better then expected.

The bike rocked! I felt rocket fast and was leaving people in my dust. This is the one area where having previous race experience really paid off.

The run went good...not great, but good. I felt like I wasn't going fast enough. I was still passing people, but not as many as I figured. The run course was a bit boring in terms of scenery, but I was feeling strong and had plenty left in the tank. Before I knew it it was over....

With Tanyia and the kids there cheering me on, I finished the 1.5 km swim, 43.5 km bike and 10 km run in an earth shattering (...not really but it sure sounds good) time of 2 hours, 47 minutes, 38 seconds!!

I was soon shocked to learn that I had not only finished the swim, bike and run in personal best times, but had earned 3rd place in my group and 167th overall! Crazy.....I get a plaque and a medal!! YEAH!!!! I would have been happy just to finish well, but if someone wants to give me a medal who am I to argue? :) Unfortunately, we didn't have time to stick around for the awards ceremony, as we still had to drive to my parents place to collect Jack (...remember our dog Jack?), but Trisport Canada agreed to mail me everything.

All things said, it was an amazing weekend and it meant the world that my family was there to share it with me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Things that are new for The Wendigoes Lake trip!

I'm really excited. This will be my first trip of the year and of course that is reason enough to be enthusiastic, but this trip will be a first for me on many fronts. This will be the first time I have taken my new canoe on a trip (..."she" still needs a name and Lauren assures me she's working on it) and because I now own by beautiful (..but nameless) canoe, I don't need to rent a canoe....EVER AGAIN! Man that's so freakin awesome!!! Don't get me wrong, the good folks at Algonquin Outfitters have been great over the years, but that rental fee really starts to add up.

Lot's of other firsts on this trip. Here are the ones I can remember.

This is my first....

  1. Trip with my new canoe.
  2. Not having to rent a canoe
  3. Meeting up with people in the park that I only know through the Internet. Kids: I know I tell you never to this, but trust me...this is not the same thing :)
  4. Wearing aqua shoes instead of hiking boots.
  5. First time I will care if my canoe gets scratched.
  6. I'm going to be drinking beer in the park. I bought two 2 Liter bottles of Wells for night one.
  7. I'm going with some accomplished fishermen and will be going lake trout fishing. I hope to learn a lot while there, but that's not a first! :)
  8. I will be bringing two bags. A 60 liter barrel and my half filled backpack.
  9. I will be double tripping each portage, because of the amount of stuff . I'm bringing some real luxury items with me like a chair, 4 liters of beer, steak/ dinner for 5 and lots of other stuff I wouldn't bring on trips with more travel.
  10. This will be the first time I have been to Cedar lake where I didn't launch from the Algonquin Outfitters dock behind the Brent store.

An Overdue Update

Been trying to post an update for a while now, but every time I do something pulls me away. It's frustrating really. With Jacob's lacrosse ending this weekend things should slow down a bit...I hope!

There have been some very cool things happening lately and here are the highlights...

  • Olympic Distance Triathlon: My first race of the 2008 season is this Sunday...*GULP*! All kidding aside, I feel very ready to compete and still pain/injury free! This is my taper week, so compared to the grueling, two a day workouts I normally do this week has been like a vacation! We will be going down to Guelph Saturday afternoon and staying overnight. The kids will be there and this will be the first time they have seen me race in a tri. That makes me even more excited, as I want to put on a good showing for them. I will report back with the results. Wish me luck!!!
  • I leave for Algonquin in 6 Days: This is the long awaited trip with Mark in the park, Darren and many others from Algonquin Adventures. I will be spending the first night on Wendigoes Lake. It's a small, single campsite lake located at the end of a 2.6 km low maint portage and I will be sharing it with Mark, Darren, Kevin and Swede. For night 2 + 3 we will go back to Cedar Lake and meet up with 10 other members of AA. "Racoon" is even bringing in enough beer and food to feed us all! Should be fun to put real faces on all the people I only know through the virtual world. I'm all packed and ready to go! All I have to do is complete the triathlon, go to work on Monday and then at 3:00 am I'm off! I will be sure to take lots of pictures and post it all when I return.
  • Canoe related Gifts from a Stranger: A few weeks ago I received a package from MEC. It contained a new PFD, Compact buck saw, canoe knee pads and even a pair of Techamphibian water sandals! The problem was....I didn't order anything from MEC. Strange right? I called the company and all they could tell me was that the purchase was made anonymously. After eliminating family and friends I have come to the conclusion that my mystery Santa was someone who reads my blog. Although I will never know who it was...whoever you are, thank you for your unbelievable act of generosity and know that I will put everything to good use!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Early Fathers Day Gift!

Tanyia gave me my fathers day gift last night and as you can see, two Group of Seven prints. I have always loved "The Canoe" by Tom Thompson and "Stormy Weather" by Frederick Varley, even long before I was interested in canoes or Algonquin.

They hang on the walls of our dining room and every time I walk past them I stop, stare and smile.

Thanks Tanyia.