Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The 53:58 Challenge

So, out of Ironman Canada last year came a little bit of fun. I did not have a great run on race day and ran 3:47:15. This in turn meant that to their chagrin a couple of my friends of a non triathlon persuasion had to wait a little bit longer to go to the pub after the race.

Hence the challenge was created to run the 2010 Vancouver Sun Run at my pace from IMC 2009. This works out to 53:58 for the event. Vancouver Sun Run is approaching and on May 9th the results will show the extent of preparation undertaken. I have heard rumors about training guides taken from Mens Health magazine and Sunday morning gym visits.

Dennis and Paul who were my Best man and Groomsman at my wedding are the combatants for this challenge and as a bonus will not have to complain about the sun runners waking them up as they run past Yaletown on a Sunday morning!!

As with any challenge some financial incentive is in order and here are the rules of engagement;
  • If they beat 53:58 (chip time - i.e. start line to finish line) I put $53.58 to the food/drink tab
  • If they are slower they put their race time to the bar tab - i.e 58:43 = $58.43 to the food/drink tab
  • If I beat their times by more than 20 minutes they have to put a bonus $20 towards the food/drink tab
This should be a fun day - not so concerned with my own result now but the bonus $20 will help make sure I push towards the finish.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Execute Each Day as Best as I Can

"Execute each day as best as I can - do this and good stuff will happen"

The above statement pretty much sums up what I am focusing on the moment. Is it complicated no - is it hard to do, definitely at times.

It is just under 10 weeks away from IM Couer d'Alene and there is still a lot of work to get done before race day but at the moment are feeling good, fitness is improving week by week and starting to get some good quality in sessions as well. Below is a brief summary of where I am at across the various aspects of tri at the moment. Essentially feel I am at a good launching place for the next 10 weeks ahead.

Swim - Is improving and happy with how it is rolling along. Just need to focus on each and every swim session to make sure I am executing to the best of my ability form and work rate wise. Racing is the only real test but to this point things are definitely heading in the correct direction. hit a new 400m LCM PR in the pool during a set on Saturday so that was a good encouraging sign.

Bike - Putting in some good miles and really starting to nail the Quality aspects of my workouts. Confidence is building and looking forward to Shawnigan Lake Half Iron on May 30th which will be a good indication of where my bike is at. Need to push hard when required in my sessions over the next few weeks and think the benefits will materialize. Ride so much on my own is hard to benchmark my exact level but in the few times I have ridden with others have been feeling good.

Run - Is going good, nearly feel better running off the bike than just out the door which I suppose is a good thing. Once again looking for an opportunity to test it all out but are able to run at a faster pace with lower HR which is a good indicator.

Rest & Recovery - Is a big focus at the moment and although have areas to improve on are doing well in this regard making sure I am getting enough sleep, eating hald decent and doing stretching/core work etc.

Mentally - Excited for the challenges ahead. At the moment the key focus for me is getting the work done day in day out. Have been doing a lot of training solo which definitely creates an inner drive. Have also had the opportunity to do some fun sessions with other people which always spices it up a bit.

Whats happening going forward?

Essentially it is more training in the lead up to IM CDA. Looks like I will be racing the Vancouver Sun Run (10km Road Race), UBC Olympic Triathlon (Pool Swim) and Shawnigan Half Iron in the lead up. Excited to race - especially Shawnigan as will be a good bench mark, but even more excited and motivated about having good sessions day after day. I believe if I do this and trust in the process good things should happen.

Enjoying life, the process and all that comes with it at the moment. Can't ask for more than that. today is a rest day of sorts so will be cranking out some "real work" while watching the Canucks game tonight.

Till next time

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bike Safety in Vancouver - Complaining Sometimes Has a Purpose

So on Tuesday I got buzzed by a garbage truck on my way to work. Often in these situations the first thought that comes to mind is to take out some U-lock justice. Now the fact was that I was not riding with a U_Lock and this really achieves no good anyway as just creates a culture of tension between motorists and cyclists and in the end it is never the cyclist who wins in the long term with this scenario.

So what do I do, just stew and go that was annoying and go on. Well not in this instance, as it was a City of Vancouver Garbage Truck I memorized the number plate, noted the time and location of the incident and wrote the following email (edited to remove number plate details)


Just wanted to report that when I riding my bicycle to work on Tuesday the 13th of April south Bound on McDoanld prior to King Edward Avenue I had a garbage truck (Right Hand Drive so spatial sense should not be an issue) pass me leaving approx 1 Foot of space which had the potential to push me towards parked cars.

At the time there was sufficient room for the driver to overtake at at a safe distance (3 foot + ) and the aggressive driving had the potential to cause an incident which when riding a bike can have serious consequences. I am not sure if this is an awareness thing but wanted to raise this as a point of concern especially as the City of Vancouver is promoting green modes of transportation. Luckily I am quite confident on my bike and ride a significant distance each year so while this incident annoyed me it will not put me off cycling.

However if I was a new rider this type of incident could result in me not riding again for fear of the consequences.

Thanks for your time in looking into this and the education process for city drivers.


In Vancouver there are a few places to send this correspondence. In this instance I sent this to the following emails;
  • General city email -
  • Cycling issue specific email address for the city -
  • The Email List for the mayor and all Councillors -
  • The Advocacy Group for Vancouver Cyclists -
In the end what I hope is that any correspondence like this can help raise awareness around safe driving around cyclists. I have heard of people getting buzzed by Translink buses and while this like the incident above is likely the exception sending a note to raise awareness id the responsible thing to do. In fact writing this blog post took more time than it did form me to send the above email.

For more information on the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC) who are the advocacy group for Lower mainland cyclists visit -

Another interesting resource and demonstration of how to educate both cyclists and drivers about safety can be seen by the Amy Gillett foundation in Australia. Amy Gillett was an Australia Cyclist who had represented Australia in Cycling and Rowing and was killed while training with the Australian team by a motorist in Germany. her family and friends have continued her legacy by creating the Amy Gillett Foundation which mission is to to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by interactions between motorists and cyclists. One of their campaigns that is garnering a lot of momentum is A Metre Matters - looking to educate drivers about overtaking at a safe distance. Through a variety of media mediums they are working on this education process.

In the end its all about education and not confrontation and this a two way street. I hope my decision not to chase down the truck and give the driver a piece of my mind and instead raise this issue with my local council will in turn raise awareness of how cyclists and motorists can co-exist on the road. Chances are the driver did not realize the precarious situation his overtaking maneuverer put me in but if these risks can be pro actively communicated the roads will be safer for all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Running Commercial I Have Seen

This commercial is definitely blog worthy, relates to running and is absolutely hilarious. Proves it doesn't always have to be totally serious - think some of this already goes on @ wreck beach in Canada.

Thanks to IronKim - and for posting this on her twitter feed

Also found this add for Nike Free as well that reminds me of parts of the Ironman Marathon were you are going through a lot of self doubt/talk/motivation

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I hate Mornings ..... but

I am slowing coming around to mornings. Do not think I will ever become a morning person but starting to get into a routine around them when it comes to training. Come the weekends there are some benefits to be had for sure.

Today awoke @ 5:30am and after a coffee and some breakfast while catching up some some blogs and the news. Headed out on the bike just after sunrise @ 6:40am. There are a few advantages to being out as this time including the lack of traffic on the road.

It was a little cold out to begin (around 2 Celsius) but a merino under layer did the trick and definitely encouraged me to get the work rate up to the required level straight away. Add to this the beautiful mountain views of Vancouver and feeling that was on my own out in the city and the first 90 minutes of my ride was quite peaceful even though I was working at a good rate.

After my time on the bike it was time for a run, and although the city had awoken it was still fun to run through Kits to Kits Beach and the edge of Granville Island. all in all was done @ 10:25am and was able to enjoy a relaxing day with Les before heading to the pool in the evening (ironically moved this workout from yesterday as choose sleep on Friday Morning)

Some of the things that have helped me tolerate early morning a little more are;
  • Creating Ride, Run and Swim Bags for the week each Sunday. This way if I am riding just grab the bag it has the bulk of what I need.
  • Filling bottles, setting up bikes etc the night before. So it is a no thought process in the morning.
  • Getting to bed early - cheating on sleep is a road to disaster.
  • Getting out the door is the hardest thing - Do everything in your power to make this easy so you can do it on Auto Pilot.
  • Reward - If you manage to achieve your early morning schedule for the week then grab breakfast after one of your workouts.
Nothing incredibly insightful but just some thoughts. Hoping to get an early start tomorrow as well as plan on chilling at home and watching the Masters and Paris Roubaix upon my return.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

DO NOT RUN THE SEAWALL - A Good Long Run Route in Vancouver

DO NOT Run the SEAWALL - Well not every week as your long run especially if your race route is not pancake flat. Although the seawall run is one of the most Scenic runs that I have undertaken elevation is not a key component and before you know it come race day you may find hills are something that you only saw off in the distance while you were running the seawall.

Speaking from experience I think this was one of my failings with my Ironman Canada build up last year was that without making a conscious decision it just happened that most of my runs were flat which meant i suffered a lot on the uphills that are prevalent on the IMC run course.

So this year for my long runs I have developed a ad-hoc criteria when choosing my route. This criteria is;
  • Must not be flat. Elevation and hills are a good thing to practice and working out your perceived effort going up and down in order to keep your effort balanced is a good skill to have.
  • Has a large % of road running. This is a individual thing but to a large degree i handle running on the road ok. In BC a lot of the half ironman runs are on rail trail like surfaces but most Ironman runs are are the road. So getting the body used to running on hard surfaces is a good thing as it definitely makes a difference. Having said that though if you are feeling fatigued or a bit sore then trail runs a a good option - just not every week.

So here is one of my routes that fit my self defined criteria from above. In the coming weeks I will be doing a bit of research to create a run that mimics the IM CDA course a little in having the halfway point being a decent sized hill.

For those doing Boston this type of planning is something that Ryan Hall has been doing in preparation for his attack on that race this year. here is link to an interesting thing that covers this and some of his over training details

UBC Out and Back

I live in kits so this one is a good roll out the door option for me. Starting @ the corner of 4th Avenue and Collingwood (Opposite Forerunners - a good place to grab a pre or post run gu or some new running gear).

One note on this run is that water is not abundant along Marine so you may need to be relatively self sufficient for the middle section of this run until you get back to Spanish Banks. Also if you want to run to time simply run along till your half way time along marine then turnaround.

Click here for orignal map -

0km to 1.5km - Down 4th to NW Marine. This is a gentle uphill section until you hit the turn to go right.
2km - After the 500m decent down NW Marine stay to the right and follow the road down to the Jericho Sailing Club until you hit the path to turn left and run along the foreshore. Here you have approx 3km of running along the gravel trail with the ocean and mountains to your right. If you need water or a washroom along this section is your last chance for a while.
5km - At 5km you start the 1500m approx 5% climb up UBC Hill. I also try to keep my pace moderated here unless I get into my dog like mode of trying to beat cyclists up the hill (Not proud but sometimes I get bored)
6.5km - Top of the hill -unless you have been an idiot and chased bikes up the hill like I sometimes to you should be feeling fine and now have the rolling section of Marine drive to look forward too. Suggest running on the North Side of the road through the UBC section then on the shoulder (8ft) against the traffic along Marine. Watch out for cyclists along this section as this is also an awesome riding route.
12.8km - Today this was my turnaround point - Although you can essentially keep running along marine till you reach half way point in your run. Kullahan Drive is the turn off to Shaugnessy Golf Club. It is then back along Marine to the top of UBC Hill. This section is false flat uphill so don't be deterred if it seems a little tough.
19km - Running Good the downhill will be fun. Burnt too many matches then it will be tough. This will give your quads a good simulation running downhill.
20.5km - Its then back along Spanish Banks for 3km
23.5km - Turn left then up NW Marine to 4th Avenue. This little hill is a tester at the tail end of your run but you will be all the better come race day after this one.
25.5km - Back @ 4th and Collingwood. IGA for Choc Milk is on on your left and Forerunners is on your right.