Greetings From Tucson

I just wanted to take a moment and let everyone know how my mini training camp in Tucson is going!

We arrived Friday morning to +20 temperatures and clear blue skies. Over the past four days we have clocked over 14 hours of riding. We rode Gates Pass two days ago and attempted to ride the "Shoot Out" yesteryda but after heading off into what seemed like the middle of nowhere for longer than we wanted, we decided to turn around (turns out we were only 2 miles from the cross road we were looking for)! Today was yet another adventure that involved a wrong turn that put us heading south on the I-19 which is the hiway to Mexico! Needless to say we did an about turn after we realized our mistake.

Tucson is a very bike friendly town. Nice wide bike lanes everywhere and all drivers seem to respect this. I will admit that my heart lies in the classic rides of Victoria, but given that I am now sporting a nice "farmer's burn" in the middle of February, I can't complain.

Having the chance to focus solely on putting in some quality training without the worries of work and various other committments is definitely an opportunity that I am greatful to have. I go to bed tired and wake up ready to take on another adventure.

I hope that everyone else's training is going well.


... We get footage of the Tour de California on American OLN, VS. It is great, although I wouldn't want to be riding in the weather they are experiencing. Yesterday everyone was so covered up the commentators were having a tough time determining who was who!

January Training Summary- Heather

As I am two weeks behind the rest of the group, I have spent the last few days trying to catch up. I had been away for the first two weeks in Florida running my first marathon with Mickey and the gang - it was fantastic! Since returning I have met with my coach Laurel who is extremely approachable and very patient, despite my lack of knowledge and skill both on the bike and in the pool. Laurel has set me up with a training schedule focused primarily on biking and swimming, which was not entirely unexpected. Aside from missing my runs and the social side of my workouts, things have been going well. Although my weekend workouts have required a little more time than I am used to (thankfully I have a supportive husband who does not mind looking after the kids while I am gone), I have really been enjoying my brick workouts (bike/run).

I met with Kelly at the end of the month and was encouraged to find out that I only need to make minor changes to my diet - I know the chocolate needs to go - BUT!!!

I had my first coaching session with Laurel early February, we met on the pool deck of course. We confirmed that yes I can float, after that it all needs work. Despite Laurel's specialty being staying under the water, I have a lot of confidence in her skill and ability. Laurel did a great job of breaking down the skills she wanted me to work on and showed a great deal of patience while I tried to figure out exactly what I needed to do. I have been working hard over the past week trying to stay focused on my breathing and was happy when I successfully swam a length of the pool last week - baby steps right!!

Otherwise I completed my bike lactate test this past week. I was a little disappointed with the final results, but at least I now have a base line to work with and improve upon. I am definitely interested to see the difference in results between biking and running.

Overall I have been enjoying my training so far, though it is early in the game. Life is busy, but I guess that is because I choose to keep it that way. One thing I have learnt from my dad over the past few months is life is too short, if you have a dream you may as well try to reach it while you still can, as tomorrow it may no longer be an option.

Driven 5 Update: Project Amy Woodward 2009

Amy’s first month has been focused on integrating the training of three sporting disciplines into a consistent pattern of training and establishing her baseline fitness and performance markers. Amy has been competing in bicycle racing the past several years so my goal is to help her balance her training across the three sports without losing her strong cycling abilities, to keep her from overreaching in her training and to learn the technical aspects of swimming. She has had great support from work allowing her to attend noon hour swim sessions which has allowed her to benefit from the on deck coaching from Laurel Hindle. Jon Bird has also provided her with some individual swimming time and provided her with a series of drills for her to work on.

The Result

Amy Woodward has been making huge progress in the pool throughout January! On her first 500m time trial in the pool, she clocked 9:40min:sec (we think she miscounted her lengths. However, two weeks later swimming with a group she was able to swim 8:21min:sec establishing a personal best. Then the breakthrough happened on Wednesday January 28th, two days after setting her personal best the group (including myself) did another 500m time trial and Amy set yet another personal best time of 8:01min:sec. I too set a personal best time of 8:01min:sec but Amy’s progress in the pool thus far is remarkable. She is certainly going to push me in the pool!

Amy is a very positive individual to work with and is very coachable meaning that she processes the information and advice given to her and is able to quickly implement and correct her technique. This is a huge plus for me as I can challenge and advance Amy’s training program without dwelling on her technique for long periods of time.

We are now building towards a February mini training camp in Arizona for Amy where she will be able to put in a solid block of training volume on the bike, run on trails not covered in snow and to catch some valuable recovery/tanning time. I wish I was going too.

Jack VanDyk


First, I would like to thank Jack and the rest of the "judging panel" for selecting me as one of the Driven 5. This gift has allowed me the opportunity to again be the athlete I have so long to be. As a stay at home mom with two children I have put myself at the bottom of the totem pole and made sure that everyone else is looked after. When I received the call from Jack my world changed and now I am going to work my way back up the totem pole

I received an email from my "driver"Laurel on December 28 and I was excited to be working with her. Everything was to begin at the start of January. So I didn't really have to worry about setting a new years resolution, it had been made for me. On January 5th, Laurel and I had a chance to sit down and chat about what would be expected me and basically what my workouts would be. When she asked me about my split times for running, biking and swimming I was surprised to see that she plans to take all kinds of time off all three events. Yeah!! Just to run a faster 5km and I would be happy. The fact that we were both on the same page training wise made me
excited about the next 8 months. Everything was great then she told me about the TESTING and NUTRITION. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be and I was happy to have a baseline. The nutritionist Kelly was great, she understands that a mom with two kids means different schedules and meals and is helping me to work around that. Maybe eating healthy won't be so hard this time. I received my first 4 week workout plan and was surprised to see that it was something that I was going to be able to manage.
The workouts are set to be the same for the first 4 weeks. It was nice to have a routine and going to the gym 6 days a week wasn't so bad

The bike training was not as bad as I thought it might be. Because I am weak on the bike, Laurel has set up a great workout so that I can get the feel of the ride. I am still nervous about the clips (falling off three times in one ride doesn't help). I keep hoping for the "I get it phase".
The swim was like coming home for me and I can’t wait for the Tuesday and Thursday workouts. I have a great sense of accomplishment when I have finished and all the old feelings come back.
While I have taught running for the last couple of years I have never really run with a purpose. With the workout that is set for me I know that I have a set workout and enter the track with a goal in mind.
About 3 weeks in I was approached by Laurel and she told me that I was the only one of the five not doing a half iron man. Personally I didn't have a problem with that as I had set my goal of a sprint in August. But after much thought and discussion with not only Jack, John, Laurel, and others in the ETS programs I have decided to attempt the half iron man in Sylvan Lake. My thinking was that I couldn't not take up the offer and it has motivated me to work harder.
The last 4 weeks have been amazing. I have seen a change in myself and I walk into the Talisman just a little taller. The support I have been getting from the staff at the Talisman and the other coaches, and just the regulars in the Monday and Friday bike classes have really helped my on this journey.
Please continue to watch for more updates. I hope that you will join me on this journey.
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The Morin Files - Month One

Talisman Centre’s Driven 5 project is now underway, the prodigies have been selected, and their programs have begun. With a hurried excitement each participant has pushed through a series of lactate tests, nutrition assessments and body composition tests. There programs are now tailored and the ‘lab rat’ phase has begun.
Based on specific demands regarding each participant’s strengths and weaknesses I have been paired with Marc Morin, an extremely energetic and driven individual who look’s to conquer Ironman Canada at the end of August.
Marc’s passion for life and ‘drive’ for success make him the ideal training pupil, he is fully committed to the workload and most importantly he has bought into the program. After three weeks we are still adjusting to learning styles, communication mediums and motivational techniques. I will leave it to Marc to outline his goals for the 2009 season, although I can safely say that our partnership is centered in the water.
My goals for developing Marc as a athlete is to allow him to swim a sub 35 minute 1900m for the Half Ironman (70.3) at the beginning of August, and a sub 1:13:00 with a heart rate less than 140 bpm, for the full Ironman swim. Aside from that I realize that during the first three months I will be focusing on Marcs aerobic base while increasing his total minutes of exercise per week to beyond 13 hours.

January Training Logs - Marc Morin

Over the past several weeks, I have been privileged to meet some incredible individuals by being chosen as one of the Talisman Centers DRIVEN5 participants. In the weeks and months ahead, I will be keeping a weekly journal to share my experiences, hardships and victories, following my progression, and hopefully inspire you to set some of your own goals. The individuals below will help me reach my goals, and will be talking about them often.

Jon Bird, ETS & Triathlon Coach
Jon is my Personal Trainer who's strength are my downfall, its a perfect fit. His focused but casual coaching style bodes well with my serious yet playful approach to training.

Kelly Drager -Nutrition Coordinator

Kelly is my personal dietitian, who literally knows me inside and out, she is very kind not to judge. Over the coming months, she will guide my pre, during, and post race nutrition making necessary adjustments along the way.

Charlie Morin - Training Partner & my Border Collie
Charlie is ready to go day or night, rain or shine and always has a smile on her face. She makes the mornings bearable.

Jaime Morin - Wife, support team, biggest fan

Jaime is the most patient, understanding, encouraging and loving partner one could ever hope for.

DRIVEN5 - Training Logs

Week one - Mon Jan 12 - Sun Jan 18

December 17th 2008, the day I was chosen as one of the DRIVEN, I knew then only days remained until my life would change. It was therefore a very joyful and gluttonous Christmas season as the consumption of cocktails and goodies were abundant, my days were numbered. When I did receive my 4 week training schedule on January 12 it was 3:28pm. The schedule required a 65 minute run first thing in the am, which needless to say i didn't get around to until that night at 9pm. The Training Schedule was all business, and would take some getting used to, I had begun the long disciplined 7 month journey ahead...

Monday - 65 minute run overall I felt great but I was tight in the hips almost from start to finish.

Tuesday - 70 minute ride on my bike trainer. It was tough as i needed to get my biking legs back, but 2 episodes of the TV show Entourage pulled me through.
Wednesday - I had a Run Lactate test which was fantastic, i haven't felt that spent and invigorated in a long time

Thursday - School in the pool and Jon taught me some simple floating techniques. I had to leave my water wings on the side.

Friday - An early 5:45am 90 minute run. Charlie couldn't get enough, and the run overall was great, had some minor cramping around minute 70 and head bobs at the office around 10am.

Saturday - My wife and I watched Eagle Eye while I rode for 100 minutes. (Good quality time with my wife now consists of me on my bike and her on the couch while we watch a movie)
Sunday - I crossed trained with 1.5 hours of cross country skiing then 125 minutes of pathway running at a cool time of 8-10pm A little chilly!

Week two - Mon Jan 19 - Sun Jan 25

The initial weeks were filled with pokes, prods and pinches, learning invaluable information about personal habits and where I need improvement if I am to reach my 2009 Ironman Canada goal.
Body composition, nutritional analysis & lactate testing were taken to determine my current ability and devise the best action plan to best realize my full potential. The action plan Jon devised did not waste time, admittedly, having an ambitious season of 10 races ahead, there was no rest for the wicked. My first race, The Hypothermic Half Marathon, was only 5 weeks away and there is alot of work to do.

This has been a long week with back to back long runs to test my current abilities. There have been small improvements in the pool, Jon currently has me floating on either my left or right side with the bottom arm stretched forward. The idea is to correctly position my chest allowing my body to float to the surface, then time it so I can turn my face and take a breath, repeat for the full length of the pool and repeat on the other side. If at any point I panicked, choked on water or gasped for air, I was NOT to grab the wall or stand (If able to) I was to RESET by flipping on my back calming myself and then try it once again. At first I was only able to swim 10 meters before grabbing the wall, but quickly increased to the length of the pool (25m) It is one of what i hope to be many small victories that lay ahead.

Training overall felt good, other than being tired from my lack of nutrition before some of the runs. I was looking forward to my meeting with Kelly Drager (Dietitian) to get my eating habits on track. Turned out that I didn't require much changing at all, simply adjusting the quantity of food and the time of my meals.

Sunday was a long run of 130 minutes and has been the most challenging run on my schedule to date. I typically run my long runs around the Glenmore / Weiselhead park for two reasons, the first being new scenery. I am lucky enough to live one block from the city pathways, but running the same paths three to four days a week gets mundane. The second reason is to get used to the Weiselhead terrain as the Calgary 70.3 run is along this path. Charlie was again a little bean, content as can be to be running with his master in the great outdoors. By the time we looped the reservoir, we needed to extend my run by another 40 minutes, mentally I was done as we had completed the loop, Charlie on the other hand gave me a look as if to say "I want to do it again!" I forced a much needed gel down my throat and pushed myself onwards. When the additional 40 minutes was over, I was spent, out of gas, clearly my breakfast lacked the necessary nutrients to get me through.

Week three - Mon Jan 26 - Sun Feb 01
Monday was a test of my current physical condition and ability to recover as Jon had me run back to back long runs, Sunday 130 minutes, Monday 75minutes. On Monday I ran on a treadmill with a 1 degree incline running 5 minute intervals between level 6 and 8. The run felt great, my body had recovered from Sundays run and I was ready to go... Thursday was the highlight of the week with the official launch of the DRIVEN5. I finally met the other 4 athletes, it was great to hear the athletes backgrounds and inspiring stories and was very excited to learn that all 5 of us would be competing in the 70.3 Ironman Calgary! John Henderson from Shaw and his crew, Dan, were kind enough to write a story on Endurance Training and interview myself and another DRIVEN5 athlete Amy Woodward (The story will be available to view online).

In the background of working full time and training, any spare time has been dedicated to building my DRIVEN5 website and making contacts to obtain sponsorship, and raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society. Once the website is launched, I will be sure to include details on my cause and how people can get involved.

Training this week has felt considerably more comfortable than week one. The biggest issue to date has been getting enough sleep. Most of my training has been late in the evenings which makes it very difficult to get up on the morning, Charlie however is good to go no matter what time of day. This weeks swimming lesson followed the official launch. I am slowly feeling more confident and calm in the water focusing on my breathing and proper technique. Its a slow process but i'm convinced I will make leaps and bounds in the near future. Jon has been extremely patient and assures me I am making progress, thanks Jon. Biking and running feel good, I'm at a point where I need to push myself hard to start feeling the gains.

Week four is a rest week, only training for 5 days with the intensity and duration minimal. My body is not used to this amount of training and is welcoming the rest, however I look forward to returning to the intense schedule and improving as best I can.

Thoughts on January - Ari

On Commitment:

Early last year, a client gave me a small plaque with a quote on it. The quote, from Scottish mountain climber W.H. Murray, reads thusly:

This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I've pondered the significance of this quote many times since. This notion of commitment, this idea that it engages some universal system of levers and pulleys, I find endearing, and apropos my circumstances.

I decided to run the Calgary Ironman 70.3 triathlon last August. However, I hadn't really "committed" at that point. Sure, I had mentioned it in passing to a few people at my firm, and I had exchanged emails with certain Tri-Club staff regarding classes, but at that point there was no focus, and I could have easily dropped the whole thing. In fact, I almost did. My very first Tri- class was a swim class, at 6:00 a.m., on a cold Tuesday morning. When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m.—the most unholiest of hours, and I have yet to get used to it—my mind immediately embarked on a sustained effort to convince me I needn't go through with it. I lay in bed: You didn't sleep enough last night. Go back to sleep. Brushing my teeth: Why triathlon? Why this year? You haven't been in a pool in years. On the frigid, early morning walk through Lindsay Park: Your legs can't handle it. Do it next year. There's plenty of time. Just…don't…do…it…now! It was almost amusing, this chorus of naysayers. I found myself chuckling, and literally whispering to myself as I walked through the park, "I'm going to this class whether you like it or not."

A few minutes later, I was jumping into a chilly, chlorinated pool, in a pair of baggy, speed-robbing board shorts, and attempting to do the (as I knew it) "front crawl".

Swallowed a hell of a lot of chlorine. Sputtered and struggled for an hour, but at the end of it, no more voices! Walking toward home through Lindsay Park, I felt invigorated, challenged, and committed. That was it. I was in. The last cosmic tumbler clicked into place, unlocking the floodgates of providence.

This is not the place to delve into metaphysical questions on the origins of providence—whether it's external or whether its provenance is from within—but there's no question some significant events occurred. Two of the more noteworthy:

In December, a very kind gentleman at my firm, Tim Ryan, an accomplished triathlete in his own right, just up and gave me a bike. He knew I was getting serious about this crazy triathlon stuff, and so he offered me one of his bikes. "How much do you want for it?" I asked. "Nothing," he said. "I know you don't have a bike. It's served me really well. All I ask is that you similarly give it away when you move up." This bike is worth thousands of dollars. I was stunned.

Then, a few days later, ETS accepted my proposal to become one of the Driven 5 participants. I thought to myself, I really should commit to things more often.

Since the program formally began, I've been overwhelmed by the generosity of the coaches, their enthusiasm, the amount of work they're putting into it, and the amount of faith they have in us participants. My coach, Megan Bird, has a wealth of experience training with, and recovering from, injury. She's been particularly sensitive to the fact I've been dealing with a number of leg injuries, the most significant of which is an uncooperative Achilles tendon. Accordingly, my training program for January was heavily weighted toward biking and swimming in lieu of running. And that is fine with me, as biking and (especially) swimming, are the weak links in the chain.

Swimming I find incredibly difficult. Well, let me rephrase: swimming efficiently I find incredibly difficult. I spent a couple years in Los Angeles in my teens, and pretty much lived at the beach on weekends. Water doesn't scare me. Yet, what folly it was for me to think this kind of time in the water would make for a quick swimmer. A couple of months ago I tried using a flutter board for the first time to work on my kick. I literally propelled myself backward. "This may be problematic," I said to myself. And my awkwardness in the water has not gone by unnoticed. Megan, as well as her brother Jon, another ETS coach, have made dozens of refinements to my technique (or lack of). I've watched dozens of YouTube videos of Grant Hackett, Ian Thorpe, Michael Phelps, others; read page after page of analysis and commentary of their technique; spent hour after hour in the pool, with fins, without fins, with hand paddles, without hand paddles, legs only, hands only, finger drag, closed fist, sprinting, gliding, practicing "the catch".

It's remarkable, you can watch these Olympians, you can practice all the drills—you can even internalize it all to some extent—but until you can learn to "relax" in the water, you're not gonna go anywhere. Megan and Jon have both told me to think of swimming like yoga. Less is more. Why it took me three and a half months for this last point to sink in, I cannot say, but I believe I caught a glimpse of what they've been trying to get into my thick head for the first time a couple of weeks ago: my first "a ha" moment in the water, as it were, where I actually experienced glide without fins or paddles. I've since been "promoted" to the next lane.

As for biking, Megan has put me into Jon's Monday night "Hammerfest", a gentle euphemism to describe the horrors that actually take place in that class. For the uninitiated, what you do is bring your bike to the ETS athletic training zone at Talisman Centre, rig it up to a stationary trainer, clip into your pedals, and for the next two hours subject yourself to myriad unspeakable tortures. As a general proposition, I don't tend toward masochism, but there is something to be said about barbaric treatment. Megan wanted this session to be my principal workout for the training week, and now I see why. In just three weeks, my endurance and power output has gone up by spades. Perhaps not significant compared to some of the genetic wonders I see in that class, but significant for me.

And I guess this latter point is what is significant. We all too often train against others when we should be training against—or, perhaps more appropriately, with—ourselves. I've got these utterly infuriating leg injuries, and there have been times during my running sessions when I've wanted to "let loose", so to speak, because it becomes frustrating to get passed, to get lapped, because you're holding back. But would I be doing myself any favours by throwing caution to the wind? The question's rhetorical.

This brings me back to commitment. Megan has repeatedly stressed to me the importance of listening to the feedback my body is providing me. She's been closely monitoring my progress, and she's continually seeking my feedback on the effect the training program is having on my legs. If I can be honest with myself, my limitations, my setbacks; if I can be realistic about my goals, both long-term and short-term; if I can recognize and acknowledge when it's time to make adjustments to the program, when it's time to push myself, when it's time to ease off—in short, if I can make the same kind of commitment to myself as I did to competing in this triathlon, then perhaps those floodgates of providence of which W.H. Murray speaks will once again open up and allow me to overcome my current physical limitations. Let's see what happens...

Welcome to the Driven 5 Blog!

Follow the Driven five on their journey through this online journal. This is where the team will share their experiences, successes and setbacks leading up to their big day, so stay tuned!
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