We’ve got a new webpage with a built-in blog

•January 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Please come visit our new webpage with a built-in blog.  We will no longer be posting on this wordpress site.  For those of you that subscribe to our blog via email, we’ve got that option for the new site as well.  But you’ll have to come look at our blog page to sign up.  Thanks!

You can catch up with us here: http://www.teamwurtele.com

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Are you not entertained?

•December 23, 2012 • 1 Comment

Trevor here.  I’m here to keep you entertained until Heather posts her next TTTT.  I don’t have much to say.  Deal with it.  Ha, jokes.

We were going to make a new website live this week.  But we’ve decided to just put it off until the new year.  It has nothing to do with the fact that making a new website is incredibly annoying and I want to throw pillows every time I try to make something work.  Or the fact that my wife is a bit of a perfectionist, finds things that I’ve missed every time she edits, and makes me want to cry when she decides that the thing I’ve worked on for the past 2 hours looks crappy.  Perfect or not, it will work on January 1st.  Complete with an integrated blog.  None of this blog in one place, website in another, business like we have now.  We’ve raised the bar. We’re going pro.  Don’t worry, there’s a bunny.

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ImageIn other news, we’re now well into our 2013 training program.  Training week 7 starts tomorrow. Our stellar off-season, consisted of 4 weeks of messing around in Kona (post race), The Bahamas (with a fun race), and St. George.  Late November and most of December was spent in San Diego with The Triathlon Squad – version 2013.  My speedo tan is at an all time high thanks to some great outdoor swimming, but I will soon revert into my natural, full-body pasty white with the coming weeks of indoor pools and fully clothed outdoor activities.  Thanks Canada, you loveable, cold, expanse of greatness.

The Triathlon Squad group this year has been awesome.  As far as I’m concerned it’s the best group the Squad has had since our first camp back in January 2011.  There’s no complaining, no drama, just a great group who suck it up and train hard.  It’s great for Heather and I to train with these ITU guys.  Joe Maloy, Eric Lagerstrom, Jason Pederson, Kevin Ryan, and Anna Battiata.  Not forgetting Derek Garcia (long course) and Jen Spieldenner who had late season races so are still working back into the 2013 training plan on their own.  We all get along well, pushing each other on a daily basis.

December camp in San Diego had us living in a condo with 3 other guys.  I haven’t lived with other people (aside from Heather) for 13 years now, so thankfully it worked out great.  Heather was a trooper, living with 4 guys!!  Yay awesome wife!  Even Kevin’s foul mind, Eric’s morning cereal slurping, and Jason’s long phone calls with his girlfriend have grown on us.  Try to imagine 5 athletes, 4 weeks of training camp, 81 total workouts, 1 kitchen, 2 bedrooms.  Somehow we managed to avoid killing each other. Or even getting anything other than “hangry”. The other 3 guys all shared 1 bedroom.  Kevin, being the last to arrive was relegated to the closet, which he aptly named the Smush Room.  Sexual reference to ‘smush’ (e.x. lets smush our privates together), rather than cramped (I’m smushed) reference.  Though, I’m pretty sure no girls ever went in the Smush Room, they would not have enjoyed the slow deflation of Kevin’s air mattress had they fallen prey to his incredible charm.  I’m not sure why we didn’t all team up and offer to patch that mattress.  Meh.  Maybe next time.  He survived. Thanks to naps on the floor. :)

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The first week or two of a training camp usually go really well.  Nailing every workout.  As time goes on however, the daily non-stop push starts to wear you down and you start to see a few really awful workouts.

I love it all though.  It’s truly amazing what you can do physically when you simply don’t think about NOT doing it.  You simply go and do it, no questions.  I think that’s the ticket with hard training that never really ends.  You wake up in the morning, and you just don’t let thoughts of not doing the workout enter your mind.  Yes, I often think about how I would rather just sleep longer, or maybe just skip the afternoon 50 minute run in favor of a nice relaxing dinner.  But never do I entertain thoughts of ACTUALLY doing that.  You have to go out and try.  It is unbelievable how things can change 5 minutes into a workout.  I’m sure you’ve all had those surprise workouts where you’re 5 sheets to the wind (tired, not drunk… What does that mean anyway? Sailing reference?), yet you pop off one of your better sessions.  If you haven’t experienced this, you’re missing out.  At the end of the day, when I look back to the morning and realize what’s been done despite the fatigue, this is what really makes me smile.  Most of the time anyway.  Sometimes I just think ‘thank gawd that’s over’.  Even before coach Paulo, as an age grouper, this was one of my strengths that saw me improve from year to year.  Doing workouts that I didn’t want to do.  Pouring rain, middle of the night after work (I used to work 3pm-11pm), 3rd workout of the day.  Time to run 15 km home.

In any case, right now, this is the start of our 3rd year with Paulo and the Squad.  Admittedly we miss some great camps, but I’m always reminded of how to get the most out of myself when I’m at the camps.  It would be tough for me to operate in a camp like setting year round, I really need my solo time when out training. I even found this to be the case at this past camp.  After the first week or so I was doing most of our ‘no coach in attendance’ runs by myself.  I really enjoy running by myself.  Not that I don’t like the guys I had to train with, they’re awesome.  I’m just not a ‘run and talk’ kind of guy for more than a couple runs per week.  Workouts also become a lot more variable near the end of a camp, whereas on my own I seem to be able to sustain a high workload for longer.  Anyway, 2, 3, and sometimes even 4 week training camps every two or three months have been great.

For three winters now, this is how the weekly training has progressed, with no crazy changes in weekly volume.  We’re very consistent year round, but definitely a bit higher load as we build into races:

Week #1. Wow, this feels really good.  I could do way more training than this no problem.  I’m amazing this year
Week #2. OK, fair enough, this is the right amount of work that’s sustainable leading up to race builds.
Week #3. Damn, I’m not sure this is very healthy.  Don’t I get a free day at some point?
Week #4. Oh MAN, I suck.  How am I supposed to win an Ironman when i suck this bad…followed by yelling at your wife when she tells you that you missed a 50 in the pool.
Week #5. OK, I got this. I can handle this.
Week #6 through Week #52. You stop thinking beyond the day or week at hand.  You just go out and get the training done, then race damn hard to express that work and turn it into a good result.  That’s what matters.  Getting the results.

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #16

•December 13, 2012 • 3 Comments

Another week has gone by at our training camp in San Diego, and it has been a good one. Each day goes something like this:

Sleep, eat quietly, train, words from coach, eat with more conversation, joke around on the way to session #2, train, joke around less because some of us are “hangry”, the kitchen dance with 5 calorie-deprived people trying to make something to eat, chill, visit, critique each other’s swim videos, nap, drag our asses to session #3, train, roll out our legs, eat, sit around the living room, all trying to do stuff on 5 separate computers, annoyed the router cuts out every 5 min, sleep.

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The Squad at the lovely Poway Community Pool

This may sound like the life, but the days are full, we’re working hard, and I am ready to hit the sack at 8 pm.  For which I get teased, but it’s all about performance boys!!  Anyhoo, roomates are definitely good for new TTTT material, even if our schedule is bad for remembering which day of the week it is.  So without further ado, here are this weeks Ten Terrific Things:

1) Hill repeats at lake Poway. This workout has been a staple of our Sand Diego Camp: 15 min WU, 5-7 x steep hill repeats on 2 min, 15 min hard run – keeping hill sprint form, 5-7 x steep hill repeats on 2 min, 15 min run. It’s a great session, we have a perfect hill at the lake, and dog walkers to either cheer or get annoyed at us for being all scary and running fast.

jesus light

Ahhhhh (opera voice) – nice light on the way to heaven a.k.a hill repeats

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You can see the trail in line with the right buoy, but it continues further up – that’s the repeat section.

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View from the bench where the repeats end

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Plenty of trail options

2) David McColm. I was going to write David McColm Photography (www.davidmccolm.com), but in addition to being an incredibly talented photographer, he is pretty terrific in his own right. We were lucky enough to hang out with this Whistler-based wonder at Volcanoes National Park, and our new webpage (to be revealed soon!) features some of the amazing shots he took. Here is the man himself, and a few of his photos…

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running

Whistlersunset

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3) Business Time. Most people seem to have seen this video, but it’s worth watching again. Two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven…  We’ve also been enjoying random singing of “Team Building Exercise Night Tonight!!” on van trips to training venues.

4) This Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of a the larva of a bluebottle fly (Protophormia sp.), also known as a maggot. Clearly the creators of Star Wars has access to scanning electron microscopes, because the Sand People look a lot like this. :)   Anyway, maggots, though totally gross are kinda cool. As you can see, they have tiny teeth like fangs extending from their mouths and sterilized versions of these bad boys are used to clean wounds. They feed on the dead tissue, leaving healthy living tissue untouched, and their saliva contain anti-bacterial chemicals. Yes a maggot science primer, just what you always wanted!

Maggot magnified

Maggot – very magnified

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Sand Person. Cross with Jabba the Hutt and bingo!!

5) Skiing. I love skiing (telemark is my thing, though I’ve downhill skied since I was 5) and it is one thing that I really miss as a triathlete. I know that they are not mutually exclusive, but I’d hate to have a season ruined by some stupid injury from a ski crash (because, of course, it’s no fun to just do weeny blue runs!).  Anyway, this video satisfies my ski-lust, and the picture below it makes me laugh because I was always worried about that as a kid. My worst t-bar experience was when I was spring skiing in Fernie BC, and I just had farmer john snow-pants on over a turtleneck. I was goofing around, got the bar hooked on my snow-pant strap and got dragged up the hill on my face.

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6) Earth as art. It’s definitely worth checking out this PDF, and the interesting descriptions of the amazing formations seen from NASA satellites:  (http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/703154main_earth_art-ebook.pdf)  Here are some examples:

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Carnegie Lake – Australia

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Von Karman vortices – South Pacific Ocean

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Grand Bahama Bank – Atlantic Ocean

7) Gravity light. Uses the energy generated by resisting the fall of a heavy bag to generate light.  This is a very cool idea as a way to replace kerosene lamps  in much of the developing world. Check out the website here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/282006

gravity light

8) This “cat friend vs. dog friend video”. Captures the pretty steriotypical versions of both (especially the aloof, mean-ish cat) but I got a good laugh out of it!

9) My Click Elite shoulder bag. I love this bag (see above photo with David). It is perfect for day-tripping, travelling, or just wearing around like a purse (but purse is a horrible word, so it’s awesome that it’s a BAG). Lots of good pockets, a padded zippered area for camera gear or a small lap top. Check the website out here: http://www.clikelite.com/

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10) My Triathlon Squad mates and coach Paulo. Great to have a solid group of people to train, obsess over swim technique, and occasionally go out to dinner with.  Camp 1 of 2013 has been terrific. One more week to go…

triathlon squad

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #15

•December 6, 2012 • 6 Comments

At long last another TTTT!  “Hurrah” scream all my fans!

(thanks you two)

I got to post #14  (140 terrific things – that’s a lot of awesomeness!) but then totally ceased with my weekly posts. Those Thursdays seemed to come around more and more quickly, and I found it hard to get interesting photos, think of clever things to say and feel motivated to write while building for worlds and at the end of the race season.

But enough excuses. On to this week’s TTTTs!

1) Random bike art. I love riding my bicycle and appreciate cool, artistic, bikey things like…

and…

and… (painted on a freeway overpass)

2)  The fact that my twitter friends can have a great debate about the spelling of the iconic Canadian winter hat. I’ve always known this  key element of my wardrobe as a toque, but apparently the French Canadian spelling is tuque… and since it’s a French word… and more Google images show up when you use tuque… I may have to modify my spelling. It does kind of wreck the brilliant idea for a photo that I’ve had by a sign for the Toquerville cemetery, though. It’s a small town that we often ride through in Utah, and the sign cracks me up. Is that guy wearing a tuque?!

earflap toque

The classic knit, ear-flap tuque

fisherman toque

If this had no logo, I’d call it a fisherman tuque. If it had a bobble on top, it would definitely not be a fisherman tuque.

Toquerville Cemetery Sign.

‘You mean I’m wearing a tuque, not a toque!?!”

3) This video. I don’t approve of “road rage”, I think we all just need to chill out, be courteous to other drivers and realize that losing 30 sec here and there is really nothing to freak out about. That said, we’ve all been angered by jerks on the road, and this video is quite satisfying. The music and the little arrows are perfect!

4) Not having owned TV for the past 6 years or so.  Yes there are some cool, informative, entertaining shows but the majority is total garbage and the commercials hurt my brain. There is a TV in our rental, and I was pretty stoked that the original Star Wars was on, until I starting taking commercial vs. actual show time splits. The average was 9 min of show (ranged from 6-12) with 6 min (always at least 6) of commercials! That’s ridiculous!!   I realize that it’s generally considered pretty terrifically lame to be all like “I don’t watch TV”, and I admit to wasting plenty of time on the internet.  Still, I’m pretty happy with the hours of my life I’ve spent doing other things and I recommend you do the following:

kill you tv

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5) This meme. Brilliant.

6) Floor space. While we love our RV and the ease that a home on wheels lends to our life, it sure is nice to have a bit more (indoor) open area on which to sprawl after hard workouts and to use for rolling out our legs.  We are at a training camp in San Diego for a month and are sharing the spacious, (white!) carpeted area with 3 other squad mates. This also helps us appreciate our RV life :)  I have to say, though, that even with the grumpiness that hard training brings, the guys are being pretty terrific. I haven’t even had to hide in my room very often!

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7) Maru the cat.  We love cats (we miss Manah SO much), and this cat has a pretty terrific obsession with boxes. If you are one of the few people that haven’t enjoyed “A box and Maru” video, you’re welcome.

8) Apple pie and ice cream – Bonk Breaker Style.  Oh yeah.

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This is clearly my dessert because the amount of ice cream is wholly inadequate for it to be a Trevor worthy treat

9) COFFEE! If this has been on a TTTT before, it deserves to be here again. Coffee is magic “make me actually able to cope with all the training I have to do today” juice.  One of our new squad-mates swears by Dunkin Doughnuts coffee. We try not to hold this against him.

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10) Chemistry cat memes. Oh yes, you can satisfy your science geek side, and guffaw-guffaw-cheezy-joke-side, and be a crazy cat person all at once! woot!

cat meme chemistry

Mourning Manah

•October 22, 2012 • 16 Comments

A big part of our life for the past 10 years has been our awesome cat Manah.  We got her as a kitten while studying in Victoria, she came to Norway when I was doing PhD work there, and she has been all over North American when we committed to our lives as nomadic RV dwellers. She was an awesome outdoor adventurer – always smart enough not to stray too far and make her way back to the RV wherever it was parked. She’d follow me for strolls if it was quiet, but mostly she came and went as she pleased through her cat door. She was playful and loving; a purr machine who was always up for a tummy rub, complete with super cute curled back toes.

For the past while she was being a bit more lethargic than usual but we sort of just thought, well, she’s 10…

When I took her to the vet to get her shots updated for boarding before Kona, right away, they were like “your cat is really sick.”  She had a fever and yellowing around her gums and in her ears and so they did blood tests and took x-rays. Massive liver failure. Fluid around her organs. White blood cell count off the charts. Decline of no return.

I was in total shock. The crazy thing was that she was still pretty normal, meowing insanely if we motioned to the butter shelf in the fridge, jumping on the bed for cuddles, hanging out outside with us… Animals are so tough, and good at hiding discomfort.

We took her home for the weekend but she yowled in pain while peeing, and we had to put her down before flying to Kona. It was a very rough time.
The other day Trevor bumped the cat door and I looked up expectantly. Sigh. I really miss my cat cuddles. You could be having a super stressful day, but she’d make you stop, pause, giver her some pets, and things would always get that little bit better.
I wanted to share some of the zillion photos I’ve taken over the years and celebrate the wonderful life that we had together.
We love you and miss you Manah aka: Banana head, schmoo, shitten, Manakin skywalker, Mani-packi-meow, kitty-witty, cutie patootie, barfy… (known by our parents as the grand-kitten :)
The early years. Wow all of us look a lot younger!!
As an adolescent she didn’t yet have her giant mane. She did, however, have the “you don’t actually want to read that giant stack of papers, or work on the computer, you want to give me a tummy rub” trick down perfectly! Note the curled back toes. That always slayed me with its adorableness.
Manah was always super cuddly and she’d lull us to sleep with purrs on a regular basis. The 5 am wake-up-paw-to-the-face wasn’t quite so delightful, but if we got up and touched her food bowl (it wouldn’t matter if she had food or not, you had to physically get up and touch the bowl) she’d leave us alone for a few more hours.
Manah was a great traveler. She took to the RV really well, and would happily sit on our laps, or the dashboard, or above the cab, while driving. We often got the double take from people. Was that a cat?!
Manah loved being outside. Especially with us. Hanging out in the grass, or the dirt, or on a picnic table getting a tummy rub was pretty much the best thing in life.
Anyone who has a cat – or any animal for that matter – knows that they all have quirks. Manah was an absolute fiend for butter. If you got anywhere near the compartment in the fridge she’d know, and if you had it on the table you couldn’t get her to shut up. She also preferred to poop outside, but not in nice, quiet, hidden spots as you’d expect. She’d pick the most exposed, embarrassing places and we’d have to run outside and pick it up. Once she was taking a dump in the middle of the concrete driveway of an RV park, and a big burly dude on a Harley drove up. She didn’t budge and he had to drive around her, with a very bewildered look on his face.  She’d also only drink out of a tall water glass, perched on the bathroom sink. Now that she’s gone we can’t get used to closing the bathroom door.
Manah had some good hunting skills and when we were home in the Okanagan there would be rodent surprise waiting for us almost every morning. Yum. After cleaning up entrails, though, it would be the usual morning lap time over coffee. Going to all that trouble to wake us up was exhausting, so she’d need a nap. Looking at her on Trev’s lap while he read, and drank coffee was my every morning domestic scene.
Manah got a little bit of press in her time too. She featured in a Rolf Prima Ad with us, as part of an article in Triathlon Magazine Canada, and Triathlete.  Mostly though, she was just famous in our eyes for being lovable, adorable, smart, and occasionally annoying as hell. She was an awesome cat and she will be missed.

Post race interview in Volcanoes National Park

•October 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Big thanks to David McColm, a great Canadian photographer and all around fun guy to hang out with, for this awesome video in Volcanoes National Park.  We talk a bit about our 2012 races in Kona.  Liquid hot magma included.

The brain brings the data

•October 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So coach Paulo read my race report blog below and it irritated him. Understandably. He is pragmatic and likes to actually be objective and look at the data when measuring improvement.

This was his e-mail, which explains the table of data shown below. The yellow indicates who had the best time in Kona that year. Red is the difference to my time in minutes.

Heather,

Read your race report and thought I’d share some data about the
progression of your swim in Kona in the last 3 races you did there.

First table has your swim times, the best split for that year and also
the splits for some of your competitors.

Second table has the time difference between you, the best time and
your competitors.

Third table has the percentage from the best time for you and your competitors.

There are many features of the data presented, but I’d stress only three:

- Your time difference to the best time has decreased both in 2011 and 2012.
- Your time difference to the most consistent performer in the years
you raced Kona (Rachel Joyce) has decreased in 2011 and 2012.
- Your time difference to the best athlete in that list (Mirinda) has
also decreased from last year to this year.

There are athletes that swam faster this year than they did last year,
but those are outliers in this data set. I think the data shows your
clear progression in the last couple years, and is in line with the
evolution of your pool times.

I understand that right now you’re frustrated, but talking about a
“stagnation” is clearly not fair for you and the work you’ve put into
your swimming since we’ve been working together.

Like up until now, we’ll continue to work towards you having the best
rate of improvement possible. But it’s important to be realistic about
what we’ve done up until now and where we are right now, before we set
out to achieve what we want.

Paulo

His response to my blog highlights some of the things that make him a great coach. Others are less tangible and have affected me greatly but they are my little secret and pearls of wisdom.

This is what I wrote back:

Hey Paulo,

Thanks as usual for the clear thinking and the data. Re-reading it I was like… ugh didn’t mean to sound like I was totally unhappy about your swim coaching etc. I just want to be MORE FASTER!!  :)
Honestly, we hear so damn often – if you guys were just better swimmers, if only you could really improve your technique in the water… you’d really be in contention… We just start buying into it, without giving credit to all the work we’ve done. 
I am TOTALLY guilty, often, of subjective condemnation of myself, without really looking at the data.   
Do you mind if I post this? As like a blog ammendment? 
H

Of course, I didn’t wait for a response. Damn athletes.

He will likely get pissed at me writing this, but we always seem to work through differences in our relationship – in a spirit of mutual respect and appreciation.  So it’s okay that we piss each other off sometimes, right Paulo? In my experience, all genuinely productive relationships work that way!

It is any wonder people are so totally addicted to this sport? So much to think about and improve upon on so many levels… I love it!

Oh my god, I am going to suffer in the water this winter!!!!!  :)

 
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