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Monday, January 31, 2011

Another First!!

Life is full of ups and downs, all of them teaching us something new and giving us opportunities to grow.  We often treats the downs as a negative and allow the event to pull us into a funk and deter us from moving towards our goals and dreams.  We lose our focus and allow ourselves to grow the negative into a big mountain out of the mole hill that it is.  Well, STOP IT!!
If you put what we are doing each day in perspective, it is a small part of the greatest things that life has to offer.  The experiences we enjoy allow us to grow and decide what path we should take to continue through  the awesome journey that life allows us to enjoy.  If we stop and fester on the small things that happen each tiny moment, we miss the bigger picture. 
Rather than make the negative the point of focus as many people do, take advetnage of the fact that this has happened to you.  Things happen to us for a reason, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  So, when something does happen, take a moment to accept that it is the way it is.  Look at it closely and realzie what casued the event to take place.  From that, you will learn how to avoid the mistake in the future and you can move forward with confidence.  OR, you can bitch about it, focus on how terrible it is, bitch about it some more and hope that it miracilously goes away.  Then you resume on path only to make the same mistake again. 
What makes most sense, A)  focus on negative, or   B) learn from negative and spend the time re-focusing and seeing how you can move ahead in a safer and more productive manner as a result.  Life is to short to focus on bad stuff, accept that it happened and move on! 
How does my blog title relate to this mumbo jumbo??(some of my friends refer to my optimistic nature as mumbo jumbo)  This weekend was my first injury related to skiing!  Yeah, I have torn a calf muscle and am now hobbling around looking a little broken. Yeah, it is going to slow me down for a few weeks, but it is an opportunity to do a lot of other things that I have not been able to focus on for a while.  Lesson from it, dont do what I was doing that day(silly way that I injured it) and learn what may have caused it in order to avoid it in the future.  I am going on a ski holiday in 4 weeks so I should be well on my way to recovered by then so all ids good.  MY training, well, last year I did not kick inot high gear until March, and I see no reason why I wont be able to do the same this year.  I will do it very rested!!  While I am working towards recovery, I will have a ton of times to build core and upper body strength that I will benefit from when training begins.  So, a lot of good si coming from this incident.
Other than the hiccup, the weekend was amazing.  The snow conditions this weekend were out of this world.  The skiing was impecable and I was able to teach some lessons that kept all of my clients grwoing and getting stronger.  The temperatue was a little cold, however, it only contributed to better teaching opportunties as a result of what it does to the snow. Last week I also bought a new video camera, the weekend was a great chance to use it to video my clients and discuss where they are getting stronger and what we are going to do to continue to make it even better. 
On Saturday I started to teach yoga to the ski school at our club.  It was a blast!  People from 4 years old to 65 years lod out practicing and learning how good yoga can be for!  The comments on Sunday folliwing the session were resoundingly positive.
Overall another weekend that was better than the last!  Gotta love when that happens!
I am off to the sports med clinic later today to see how bad the injury is, luckily I am able to get in quickly therefore starting the road to being stronger today!
I hope your weekend rocked and you are off to a great start this week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If you can't beat it, join it!!! and a little about skiing bumps!

The past few days has been bone chilling cold!  I think that it was actually at the point that almost all advice out there was to skip the run, do some other form of cross training!  I guess being a skier is a good form of cross training so I got it done!
That being said, yesterday, I was feeling like being a bit of a sucker for punishment, so I put on my shoes and headed out the door.  I find the only problem with cold weather running is how to dress for it.  They suggest to dress for 10 degrees cooler than it is, when it is -20, that is a little brutal to be dressing for and going outside.  But, suck it up and you will get comfortable!!  Until.....  The first 5 minutes was chilly, luckily the wind was behind me and was not blowing very hard so it was not an issue.  It was snowing big flakes so the scene was quite nice.  I went out to do a short run before going to watch the Raptors play so I was not stressed about pace or distance.  Just a run to get out there and keep moving respecting the offseason that it is. As I started out on my run I was feeling quite good.  My legs are not tied in knots, my HR was calm and my breating was effortless.  I did choose a route that has a continuous uphill on it to get a bit more of a workout as I was out there.  After about 10-15 minutes I realized how quickly I was running.   I purposely slowed down a bit, only to end up at the same pace again!  Hmmm!  A year ago doing these runs I was 45 seconds per km slower than I was going yesterday.  I was running 4:50-5:00 k pace and not choking a lung.  Last year at a 5:45 at this time of year I was whinning like a kid.  Now, it is a short distance, but it is the same short distance as a year ago.  I guess the offseason strategy of not stressing and training like a fool has allowed what I am doing and have done to sink in and make me a little faster.  As I start to ramp up I look forward to to seeing how much I can improve for the season when it is longer and important.
This week has started off very exciting from a coaching perspective for me.  I have 3 athletes that I am now coaching towards long races.  One 1/2 IM and two full distance.  I have spent a great deal of time training, stydying and learning with results.  Now I get to put it to work and help others achive new goals.  For me, training others is as much exctiment and motivation as my own races and training effort.  So, a new chapter is starting to unfold and this summer should prove to be amazing as not only do I get to push myself I get to test what others can do to get the resutls they desire.  I look forward to the journey!

Ski tip of the week!!(or day if I am inspired later this week)

As the season is progressing, bumps are going to start to be showing up on your favorit areas of the resort.  Thise dreaded moguls, the ones you avoid at all costs!!  Dont stay away, get it there, they are the greatest fun and will improve all of your  skiing!
Why dont most like bumps???  Let me try, first bump OK, second bump a little jump, this bump, Holy crap!  Fourth bump yard sale, and repeat!  Was that close??  Let's try some intro ideas to see if you can get a hang of it.
First lets talk about your body position in the bumps.  Earlier I talked about the most important things in skiing, a centered and MOBILE stance!  Turning with the lower body and being balanced over your edges.  These are very important to remember!!!
As you need to be very mobile to stop yourself from launching off of bumps, the way you start your bump skiing is important.  Start in a flexed positions, kinds like you are at the volleyball net waiting for the play to come your way.  You must have your back and core engaged in order to give you stability and maitain control of what is going on below.  You should think of keeping your back upright and your chin in the air in order to promote a stable and strong center of mass through the bumps. When you begin, you should choose the first 2-3 turns that you are going to do, that way you know ahead of time what is happening and where you will need to turn.  As you approach the first bump, the ski tips will hit it first.  As your ski tips come to the bump and begin to climb it, begin to flex to absorb the force created, you will arrive to the top of the bump in a flexed position.  Then turn the ski tips down the back side of the bump and begin to extend and turn the skis as you go down the backside.  So, at the top of the bump your tips and tails will be in the air, it makes it easy to turn the skis with the lower body, as you turn the skis going down the bump, extend your legs in order to keep contact with the snow.  As you get to the bottom of the bumpo begin to flex again as you will be at the next bump quicker now as you are sliding along, bend and absorb as you start climbing the next one.
DO NOT ski straight into the steepest face of the bump, it is very difficult to manage the amount of force that is created.  Continue to turn unitl you are Skiing towards the side of the bump and turn there.  That way  you can use the contour to help guide you to where you are going.
The key is to continue to bend and extend and continue to turn the skis.  As soon as you stop moving you will being to gain speed and it will then become more difficult to manange the sequence.  Keep your chin up!!
Watch someone skiing bumps next time you are on the chair.  Observe who is having the yard sale!!  The person not bending, or bending at the waist allowing the chin to drop and come over the skis, it will happen every time unless you are very very strong!!
Bumps are awesome once you have gained a little confidence, the only way to gain confidence is to ski them.  If you have any questions or I have managed to confude you, please ask, would be happy to hear that the bumps have become your friend as a result of my ski tip!

Giddee up!

That is the week that I have had!  No particular single reason, just a whole bunch of great things in a row!  All the things that made it great are somewhere in my little head, I wont bore you with all the small details!  Leave it at, it was great!
One of the fun things that I have done for the past year is share my thoughts as a Facebook post.  Those who know me are aware that I am a crazy positive person, I can find a silver lining out of the darkest cloud.  I also like to share with others my thoughts and ideas so that I may make a small difference in the way they are thinking on a particular day or in their life in general.  As I post on FB it is great when I get comments about a post changing a persons day, or asking where the happy pills are from.  This week a couple of people posted and it added a smile to my face knowing that it added a smile to their face.
Another fun event this week was a discussion with my wife and her sister about a seminar they were discussing.  The seminar was about how productivity is lost because people focus on the negative energy that surrounds them.  People day dream about the  bad according to this person who was presenting.  I do agree that we do focus on the more difficult things in our life and it can be a distraction.  However, a 2 hour presentation about how we focus on negative is the most unproductive way to try and engage an audience ever.  Whenever a person begins to talk to me about 'bad stuff' I begin to shut down.  So, I gave my 2 cents about the elements of focus and how we can become more productive and successful if we allow us to manage those distractions,  It does not matter if it good or bad, loss of focus is loss of focus!!  Learning to deal with those distractions and how to come back to where you are supposed to be is what a person should be teaching.  I am going to!!!  Before the end of this year I am going to do a presentation to a corporate group on focus and productivity, and it will be the most engaging and positive session they have participated in this year!!
This is a blog about training isnt it??   What training did I do this week??  Well, I did do an skicross officials course.  The CANADA SKICROSS World Cup event is at Blue Mountain in 2 weeks and I am  helping out.  If you are in Ontario, come and check it out, it is an amazing ski race with 80 of the best athletes in the world in attendance.  A bonus, CANADA is dominating the world cup!  They are on the podium at almost every event they have been at this year!  Come and check it out, I will be somewhere on the side of the hill, wave at me as you ski by!
Training in the pool and on the road also was a great time.  My speeds are getting faster and my effort is getting more efficient.  I am now starting to introduce drills back into my swim in order to continue to get stronger.  I am still amazed with the progress that I have made in a year on a self coached approach to swimming.
The runs this week were also totally great!!  Each run I seem to be getting stronger, able to push a little harder and dig a little deeper.  I guess a season of good training has changed my thoughts and way of training and it seems to be starting to pay off a bit.  Tonight I did a short run and was able to blast through it like a rabbit!  I did another couple of runs this week and I was able to do the same kind of run.  I am enjoying what it is like and I am looking forward to starting to log some miles and becoming a runner.  It will be a big part of what it will take to make my IM this year a better race.
  My other training sessions this week was the one for my head.  I love my yoga practice for all of the benefits both physical and mental.  This week I also taught a class which is great therapy as well.  Sharing with others the benefits of yoga is a great reward for the benefits it has given me.  This weekend I am starting to teach a class to the ski instructors at the club that I teach at, what a great time that will be. A chance to share with new people and have them gain the benefits of some quiet time spent.
I hope your week has been as incredible as mine!  Stay positive, believe in your goals and dont lose focus.  You will achieve them if you dont get stuck on the clutter you create to slow yourself from the success!  Cheers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Brrrr! It's cold out there!!

This is one of the colder weekends that I can remember as an adult.  Yesterday was -15C and today was a cool -19C.  Most logical people would be bundled up inside avoiding the outdoors at all costs.  Well, I guess skiers and triathletes must be a little short of a full deck!!  I was loving it and outside for 13 hours over the past 2 days taking all that mother nature had to offer!  How smart are skiers???  Put on a pair of plastic boots, that are 1/2 size small so that you can get better ski performance, and go outside until your feet are so cold you cant feel them.  Then, you come in for 15 minutes to thaw them out so you can get out as quickly as possible to do it again.  The pathetic thing is, I would do it every day if I could.  I would chase snow around the planet to be able to enjoy the pain in my feet!  The weekend was cold, but WOW it was amazing to ski on such good snow.
Yesterday was a great day because of the extreme cold.  Over the week there was some new snow and hte cold helps the snow to set really well making it great for performance training.  I spent Saturday training my clients how to carve a turn throughout the entire arc.  It is great to see the changes from them.  Three weeks ago when we started our winter training, many of them were skidding throughout the entire turn. It was enjoyable skiing for them, but very tentative with not a lot of performance and energy.  In a short time they are now starting to ski in a manner that is dynamic, live and exciting.  They are skiing and showing how they can build speed in every turn, building energy and managing it.  It is great, for me it is a sign that the strategies that I have chosen are working.  They are finishing each day with a smile and sharing with me that they are feeling more confident!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
 I finished the day yesterday teaching a yoga class to a ski team of 8-9 year olds.  What an adventure!  Put 20+ kids in a room and suggest to them that they need to be quiet for 30 minutes!?  Yeah right!  It was a blast!  I managed to capture 80% of them and had them stretching, smiling and laughing for the class time.  A bonus is all the adults that were there were also excited.  As a result next week I will be teaching the adults a class after skiing. It will be a class that will happen each week until the end of the ski season.  It will be a great opportunity to continue to develop my teaching and to share with others the benefits of a great practice.  Being able to do 2 things that I enjoy so much is a great way to spend a weekend!
Today was another crazy frigid day, but once again, the ski conditions were impeccable making the freezing a slight inconvenience and not a big issue.   I spent the morning doing blazing fast turns on perfectly firm snow. It was so cold that standing and talking were not an option, moving as much as possible was the only way to keep warm.   Every inch of my body and face was covered to protect from frostbite, and after my feet went numb it was a great great day!
Another day of freeze is ahead of us, so it is good that tomorrow is a day in the pool and not a run day.  I can do my workout without freezing myself!  Hooray!  I can do my run the following day when the temperature is  ore acceptable.  I hope you had an amazing weekend!
Happy training this week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My week in review....

Who cares about my week??!!  Well for those of you who may be new to my blog, I care about my week and that is why I write here.  My musings may not be logical, the spelling may suck, but guess what I know what it is about and 2 months from now and 10 years from now it will make me smile, so there you have it! This blog might not make any sense and I love it!
This week was a combination of lazy and WOW!  I skipped my pool workout on Wednesday in favour of leaving my carcass in bed for an extra hour of sleep.  The beauty with my tiny little head is that I do not feel one little bit of goilt for doing that.  It is off season and I am base training, I do not need to obsess about every workout and the performance at this point.  I am not a pro, I am dong this for the health and for the fun of it.  In 3 months when the training is important, it will be a really tough day for me to miss a workout, so while I can do it I relax!! 
Then Thursday AM, I stayed in bed again.....Yeah, lazy dude!  Skipped my morning yoga practice in favour of staying wrapped in my coccon.  WOW it was nice! 
Thursday evening was go time!  No more being a slug!!  I went out to LULULEMON to lead a community run and to work with one of the girls that I am helping to train for a 30k race in the spring.  It was a great run.  We ran the first 5k at a normal to slow pace, then came the fun part.  We went from a 5:30'ish pace to a 4:30'ish pace for the last 3k.  Consider it a good warm up and then an opportunity to test yourself under  little bit of a load.  I love those kind of runs.  It was a tough one, a little snow on the ground amde the footing treacherous so I had to pay attention to every step.  When we sped up at the end, the girls were screaming for me to slow down.  But, human competitive nature is amazing.  The faster they ran to keep up, the faster I ran to get away from them.  For both of us it achieved a goal of a speed workout while keeping it real and fun.  Over the coming months I will increase the warm up distance as well as the speed on the back end.  It will ideally make all of us faster in the process.
Following the run was a great yoga session that I was able to lead.  As some of you know, I am a big believer in the benefits of yoga for athletes.  Last night I was able to deliver a workshop in yoga for runners and skiers.  It was a wondferful 1.5 hour interactive session of discussion and practice to learn what muscles we use, how we use them and how yoga helps us in our athletic development.  I was not certain how hte sessoin would go as most there were yogis and want to practice.  It went great!  It was an opportunity for me to share my passion for both the sports I play and hte practice I teach, as well as a time for athletes to learn how hte poses benefit them and how they can continue to use yoga as a training tool to enhance their performance all year around.
After an awesome week, come Friday. The best thing about Friday is that it is hte day before skiing!  It is supposed to be crazy cold this weekend, but that means the snow will be fast and the ability to fly will be great!  I hope you have had a great week and that you have plans for the weekend that will bring a smile to your face!!

This weeks ski tip:

If you watch a skier who looks out of control, notice where their skis are at teh end of the run??  they are 45 degress across the hill and they are skidding for dear life to try and slow themselves down at teh bottom of the arc.  Think about this?!  Try and skid a bit at the top of the arc before your skis are heading down the  hills and picking up speed.  As you flatten your ski at the end of the prior turn, and recenter your balance, you are now in a perfect position to control your speed.  Rather than rushing to try and get your skis turned around in the new direction, take a moment and relax.  Now, begin to slowly turn your skis so that you are skidding a bit at the top of the turn.  Imagine that you are sideslipping diagonally, this will help you establish a platform on your new edges slowly and in a balanced manner. As well it is helping to control your speed before your skis are heding in a downhill direction half way through the turn.. As a result, this allows you to move into the bottom part of the turn in a controlled manner and not have to skid for dear life to slow yourself down.  YOu may even find that you want to increase edge angle on the bottom part of the turn to build pressure and speed becaue you are in control of your skis instead of reacting to fear!
So, at the end of one turn you flatten the ski and rebalance yourself.  Establish a platform on your new edges and begin to sideslip diagonally to come to a speed that you feel confident that you can manage the rest of the run under control, then continue to turn until your skis are facing across the hill again and you are moving at a speed that makes you smile.  Skiing under control is what brings the adventure to a new high.  Try this and see if it works for you.  It is quite fun!
Happy skiing and dont forget a beer or two at the apres ski adventure!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feelin Groovy!!

Spent some time last night with an athlete putting together a training program for her for an upcoming race. She is super committed and I know she will put in the work for a great result, this is the second race that I am training her for and I am looking forward to it!  She is great to train as well as she wont stop when being pushed so it makes my push harder when I do some of the workouts with her!
After the training session last night I thought I would enjoy the winter and go snowshoeing rather than a run.  Nice cold night and great snow, why not.  There is a great 10k trail that we run on  in the summer that I headed out to play on.  BOO!  The entrance to the trail was blocked with no real other options to get access.  Oh well, running was what I am meant to be doing so I did.  I was an amazing run.  Although it was short, it was damn fast.  I did not have my watch on, but based on the clock at home, I ran 5k at a 4:30'ish pace and felt great the entire time.  I started strong and finished it stronger, feelin groovy the entire run.  As I was pushing along I felt myself using mental training that I have worked on coming into play.  Taking the feeling and the pace and tucking into my head for future events, not letting myself get mentally tricked into thinking that it was getting tough.  One foot in front of the other I kicked the entire run into a fun one.  Last Thursday I had the same kind of night out, I am hoping that this is a precedent setting pace and feeling for the season!
I topped off a great run from last night with a wicked swim this morning!  Kick, pull, swim!!! repeat!  Although it was only a 2000m swim, it felt awesome the entire time.  I am now starting to bring in some tougher drills in order to get faster.  Over the coming weeks I will also make the practices longer so that I am leaving the pool spent.  My goal is not to take a lot of time of my swim, however, I do want to get out of the water with more energy that last season!  If 2-3 minutes come off my time as a result, it is all a bonus!  That being said, I am doing a couple of sprints this summer that have a wager attached, so the fast swimming will come in handy.  If you have any good drills that you believe were game changers for your swim speed, please share them with me, I would be happy to tie them into my practice.
This evening I spent developing a session that incorporates all those things that make me smile.  I prepared a session that that I will deliver later this week, YOGA FOR RUNNERS AND SKIERS.  Does it get better than that?!  A chance to teach to a group a yoga practice that I love involving the 2 sports that I think ROCK!  I am looking forward to a great session with an enthusiastic group, and ideally in the process some new clients and yoga followers to grow with!
So, as I said in the title of my blog today, it was a wicked day and I am 'Feeling Groovy!'

Cheers to you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Awesome weekend!

It seems that most people I know are sweating this time of year because they need to get their training done.  'Oh my god, I am so out of shape', they say.  Complaining and feeling guilty because they are only doing 3-4 hours of workouts a week instead of 10-15 hours.  I may have a different approach to many but I dont sweat it one bit.  Most of the people I am surrounded by have late summer and fall races, but seem to fill all the time before with another 4 A races.  They wonder why when June arrives they are exhausted and injured??  They bitch all winter long because they cant get outside to ride......BLAH!  BLAH! BLAH!  I am tired of listening to the overtraining ego trip that people need to feed themselves to feel good!  Unless you are a pro and working with a trainer to get you to the big top, your body and mind needs a break from the intensity and a change of pace of some kind to make you stronger.  That is why we are so lucky to have winter!  Mother Nature's way of telling you to take it easy and try another game for a couple of days!
I have been moving ahead with my training in a light manner and feeling quite strong and healthy doing it. My swimming is 1-2 days a week and will not grow to 2-3.  I have decided to do a spring 1/2 marathon and limit that as my races for running.  And my trained will start rolling this week with one hard trainer ride.  Do I need more than that?  Seemingly I am supposed to be, but I am not going to.  My A race is not until end of August.  Why would I train like I am going to race in June?  I have many short races I will do over the summer but I treat each of those as a training day.  If I have a 5 hour ride planned, I do it after my race so I do not compromise my overall A race goal.  I guess my mindset is good as it allows me to re focus on training when I ramp it up as well as allowing me to get my rocks off doing something different for a couple of months!
This weekend was another awesome weekend for that!  Each weekend of the winter seems to get better than teh one before!  I get stronger, my head gets more clear and I enjoy my sport better in the afternoon that I did when I started in the morning.  I guess not pushing and doing it 12 months a year allows me to feel that way!
This weekend was one of the events that I coordinate for a professional training series for instructors.  They are on Fridays which allows me a couple of hours of skiing on a work day.  They are a great opportunity for me to get out on my own and do some focused training while not surrounded by other weekend staff and clients.  I spend a couple of hours 100% focused on my goal and not teaching or working with others.  It allows me to evaluate where I am and to decide on strategies on order to continue to move forward.    It is no different than triathlon, just on snow and freezing cold.
As well as an opportunity for me to do some skiing for me, I had a weekend of perfect teaching.  As I have been teaching over the years I have delivered a product that was somewhat technical and probably mind numbing to my clients.  I have changed my delivery around  little this year and I am getting wicked results.  Over the course of the 2 hour sessions that I teach  I have been able to observe marked differences in skiers of all levels.  The changes I have made allow a message that I more clear and meets the learning methods of the different people that I am skiing with. I teach because I love it and it brings a smile to my face!  When I finish a class and I get feedback in teh form of smiles and a desire to keep skiing it makes me excited that I have accomplished a memorable day for them and they are looking forward to the next time they can get out.  As I continue to train towards my ski gaols, ideally it will allow me to deliver better lessons and earn more smiles and excitement as a results.
As the winter moves forward I am getting quite excited about my trip to Jackson Hole.  I have been following Mother Nature and what she has decided for that part of the world, and apparently someone out there pissed her off.  It is snowing almost every day with 270"+ of snow so far. I can only hope that it continues until we are on our way out as it will make for a dream trip.  It should make the drop into Corbet's Couloir a little fluffier on the landing and the other skiing an absolute delight.  It has been a couple of years since I have big mountain skied so I looking forward to the trip in a big way.  I was able to get some good photos this weekend of myself skiing, it is not often that I can get shots  like these.  I hired a pro photographer for the event that I organized and he took the photos that are attached.  I am excited as they make it look like I can ski quite well!  LOL
The week is now here so time to put on the training shoes and fins again.  It is all good as it will get me ready for another great weekend on the snow and my trip.  As well it is a great base for when the real training started in March.  It is all good and I am loving life right now!  WAhoo!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finding my Stride!~

The off season is a great time to rejuvenate the mind and to get set for the new season!  I am now getting into the new season and getting my leg under me.  I was up at 450AM this morning to go out for a morning run, YEAH! One of the joys of the being a triathlete is getting up at that time of day, isn't it fun!!
I was on the road at 515AM for a short 5k run in -10C weather.  As I was running I was wondering why the hell I was out at that time of morning, I could have been in bed wrapped up in my cocoon and still drooling on my pillow. It did not take long before I did find my stride and realized I was out because I love it!  Freezing my face and losing the feeling in my fingers is actually a great way to wake up!  It' much better than watching the news!!
I finished my run at the yoga studio to spend an hour feeding my mind.  I talked yesterday about the mind being one of the most important things to be trained and yoga is one of the primary ways that I get my mind exercise.  I am able to spend one hour of time totally focused on the physical elements that I use every day in the sports that I  participate in, and adding strength, flexibility, balance and mental focus that I would not be able to find otherwise.   It is my time to be with me and to have to focus on nothing else, I encourage everyone to try it and give it a chance to come into your sport.
I alo finished the day with another great run.  Tonights run at LULU was the true start of the run season for me.  As I was running I found myself moving along and finding my second wind, that is the wind for the season.   I felt amazing, like I could have kept running all night long with no effort.  It was a cold run with a lot of people joining us and it was the best I have felt in a long time.  I have taken the feeling that I had this evening and bottled it so I can drink a little of it when I am on the track or ready to vomit at the top of a hill in a couple of weeks.  One good day can get you through 10 bad ones if you keep it all in perspective and look back to the good events!
All together it was a great day! Two great runs, a wicked yoga class and some energy in a bottle for the start of the season.  I am looking forward to some great training coming up as today was the perfect spring board into awesomeness!  Hold on and watch me go!  I am looking forward to seeing how this trip unfolds!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Power of the Mind!!

Ever wake up and want to skip a workout or call in sick?  Start a long run and want to quit after 5k? Set a goal and wonder why you did it? 
Why do you decide against what you mind is questioning??  Because you dont let the little man in your head convince you that you should!  Your body can do anything you want it to do, your mind is what tells it to stop.  Yes, that is the simple version of it, but is it really any more complicated than that?  Think about it a little.....
When you ran your first 2km, did you ever imagine you would run an IRONMAN?  Probably not, if you are like most you thought it was a crazy unreachable idea.  One that only hte greatest could achieve, those people who trained months and years to get to that point.  Your mind created an awesome story to tell others so that you could forget that the notion that you could do it.  When you were out with friends who talked about IM, you had countless reasons why you could not do one right now.  Work, need to train more, later in my life.....All great stories to stop you from making the commitment to train and get it done.  You gave in to your mind.  It is the most powerful muscle in our body and only our conscience can control it, and we allow the mind to control us 99.9% of the time. 
From my personal experience I can recount many times when I let it beat me, and many times when I decided I would take control. 
When I trained for my Level 3 ski instructors certification, I took control and did not let my mind tell me to stop.  It took me 3 attempts to pass the certification in its entirety.  In the process I had many friends after the second time I did not pass the skiing tell me to pack it in.  'Why continue, you are a good skier!! ', they told me.  Their attitude was that I did not need the certificate and that I should move on.  My mind never allowed me to go there.  Sure, there was a feeling of defeat when I failed the second time, but it still never stopped me from wanting to achieve the goal.  I knew I could get there if I continued to work at it.  I did finally pass it when I took control and did not let my mind get the best of me on exam day.  I would stand on the start line and freak out because my mind would throw in the you cant do it moments.  I knew I was at the standard and did not let the little man in my head say the words and I was successful!!  Because I let the doubt part of my head take over it took my 3 tries to get it done, had I followed what I knew I could do I would have been done the first time around.
Every time I run a race my head takes over.  I get half way through the race and I let myself be convinced that I cant go any harder or longer.  I slow down then speed up, slow down, speed up...... The net result is that I seem to have enough energy at a race to sprint the last KM after being convinced that I can not keep going.  The mind is hte strongest muscle!!!!
I guess what I am saying in this post is that we must exercise our brain as much as we exercise our muscles while on our way to the start line.  Some people are naturally athletically gifted and being succesful at a sport comes with relative ease.  For the rest of us it comes with a lot of physical training.  If we dont train the mind along with it then we will never get to the top of our game.
Imagine where you want to get to, set your goals for the journey.  If you believe in yourself and dont let the little man in your haed tell you can't, you will get there! 
Aim high, work hard and anything is possible!!!  Just dont let your head convince you otherwise!!!

For those who may have just started reading my is my head being put on paper, not always the most logical ramblings, but they are here for you to enjoy!!  LOL

Cheers and happy physical and brain training Wednesday!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to Reality....

When ski season starts, Sunday afternoons makes me sad!  It means that I am back in teh car and driving home to reality!  After a weekend of tons of fresh air, amazing people, and teaching and learning skiing, it is a short moment to ay, BOO!
As most of you have realized by now, I am a ski freak!  You think I can talk endlessly about triathlon training, put me on a ski pedestal for a few minutes and watch me go!  Hehe! About the only negative with the ski season is that I do lose some of my overall conditioning as I use it as 'off-season' and consider it a great cross training and brain training time of year.  However, after this weekend of skiing 12+ hours over 2 days, I will say my legs are a little sore.  That is the first time since last season when I was generally out of shape that I have felt that.  So, I guess I will have to ski a little more, as a little pain can only mean a great gain, and it is cross training after all.
One great thing that is beginning to develop out of skiing is a great yoga audience.  There is a lot of benefit to yoga before, during or after a hard day on the hill.  Through the groups that I teach I have been talking about how I have gained from it and peaked both aN interest and a desire to practice with me.  o, I may being to develop a good client base as a result of this ski craziness!!  Wahoo!
Friday, Satruday and Sunday seem to be cross training day, with the rest of the week being about the real thing!  I am in the process of developing my own program for this season training.  I will use what i learned from lat year using a written program and marry that with my race(s) experience and results to come up with my own training.  I am not going to make it easy or fun, however, I will make it results driven!  Over the next 1.5 month I will use the time to build base and to strength.  When I return from my ski holiday I will begin my training with my races for the summer in mind.  I am not doing a ton of races, as I want to focus heavily on good results at these events.
Earlier I promised to share ski tips on my blog from time to time.  I will share one of the most important factors to consider when you are out on the snow.  It is the baic core competency in skiing and without it you are not going to get any better.  A CENTERED AND MOBILE STANCE.  In other words you need to be balanced over your skis in order to make them go where you want to rather than letting the ski control where you are going.  In order to do that you must be mobile over your skis in order to remain centered and balanced against the forces generated as you are turning the skis travelling down the hill.
TIP FOR THE DAY:  For each turn in skiing there is 3 part, the start, the middle and the end.  I will talk about the start and how important it is in being balanced throughout the middle and the end.
The start of the turn is the point when you recenter yourself to set up for the new turn, the point where your skis are finished a turn and you are recentering before turning again.  How do I accomplish that you ask??
As you are finished turning the ski allow it to come off of an edge onto a totally flat ski.  As you do that you should feel the ski beginning to slide away quicker than when it was on edge.  At the same time you should be able to allow all your muscles to relax for a micro-moment as you are recentered and balanced.  If you are centered you should be able to do this as you do not need muscle tension to support yourself.
When you have achieved the moment where you can relax, you are then ready to begin to get onto the new edge and begin to turn the skis in the new direction of travel.  As you are starting from a balanced positions you should be able to do this with ease and control.
This happen at any speed that you are travelling at and in any turn that you are completing.  If you are balanced you will be in control and will be able to decide where the ski will go.
So, the tip for the day is, before you begin a new turn, let the skis flatten so that you can rebalance and be prepared for the new turn.
If you dont understand, please send me a question and I would love to share with you with more detail.
Until then, happy training and happy skiing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yeah BABY!

Yes, a lot of days a good workout will make me say those words!  But, on any weekend from December until March they come out of my mouth at least 20 times a day on the weekend!  You guessed it, the method to all my madenesses, a wicked day of skiing!  A terrible day on a ski hill beats the best day in the world at work!  Today was another one of those Yeah BABY days!
Although a little cold it was amazing!  I love teaching and seeing people make changes and today as showtime for me.  The start of  a new season of for me represents so many awesome new challenges.  New goals for myself, an opportunity to reset where I left off last season and set myself to reach new heights.  This season is my first official year of training to reach my Level 4 CSIA certification.  It is a huge commitment, one that is equal to KONA or the Superbowl in the ski world.  Each year 100-150 people in Canada attempt it, each year about 5-10 may pass it.  Only 2-3 will be successful on the entire exam, most are back after 3-4 attempts having passed some part of it in the past and get the second half.  Many people train 100+ days over the season for 3-4 years to get to the level that is required.  Others visit sports psychologist in order to get to a head space to even allow them to get to the exam.   Needless to say it is like doing an IM but with 10 people watching you telling you that you are not doing right and you need to repeat it again.  Imagine doing IM and Mike Ridley only calls your name after the 5th time because you have finally done it right.  This winter is the start of that process for me, one that will ideally bring me as much pleasure and challenge as IM did and lead me to some new opportunities and possibilities.
As well as my own selfish intent on the ski hill is the joy of hearing and seeing people make changes on their own skis.  As an instructor I feel a great responsibility and take great pride is knowing that I did my job well.  This weekend is the first weekend of the next 9 that I am out with new students.  They are all adults and all have high expectations as members of a private club.  I must perform to make 100% that they meet the goals that they have set in a safe fun and entertaining manner.  Today I skied with my first group which is 7 women of varying skill.  Although they are very social as part of the program, they also expect to learn how to ski better.  My first day proved to be a success!~  Skied for 2 hours and created a memorable and challenging experience for all of them.  It actually created such a positive experience that there are new ladies coming to join the group next week.  That can only be a good thing, word of mouth spreading in 2-3 hours to get new customers.  I love knowing that the time I have spent with them was impactful and that they will incorporate the lesson into their skiing to improve themselves and come better athletes.
The day was nearly perfect, great snow, great people and great new beginnings.  I had an awesome time and consider a great mental training day. As well as being a great day on snow, I skied like a madman.  My legs are smoked if you can believe that, I can ride 200k but my legs are sore after a day of skiing.  It was amazing., skied like the wind, fast, powerful and crazy.  Loved every minute!
So, as I said, Yeah BABY!  Another day of it after a few hours sleep.
See you on the hill!  Cheers!

Gidee with excitment!!

Ski season officially kicks off for most today with the first day of ski school programs underway!  It is like the first day of school and I am excited!  Hehe!  Time to go play with my weekend friends!
Over the year I live a double life, one on the ski hill and another back home.  I always look forward to this time of year as I get to see all my friends that I have not seen since March.  I spend 6 hours a day 2 days a week for the winter, but they become good friends over that time.  Today will be a great day of catch up and learning what everyone did over the summer.  I cant wait to hear and share stories of peoples adventures and what they learned, conquered and enjoyed.
As well as sharing time with friends, the other great thing about today is teaching skiiing.  I LOVE teaching and getting out to start  a 9 week teaching session brings a smile to my face and a ton of excitement to the day for me.  Today I get to ski my heart out and set new goals with a group.  OVer the course of the next 9 weeks I will execute a strategic plan so that they have ideally reached the goals that tehy were looking to reach.  And along the way, having a lot of laughs, probably a few rolls down the hill or through some gates and a great opportunity to teach and learn, share and enjoy being outside!
One of the great bonuses of skiing it is a great form of cross training.  Most people question that   it is, but I challenge you to come and follow me for a day!! It can hurt!! A full day non stop skiing aggressively can take a  little out of you.  I do generally follow the day up with a yoga practice to stretch and enjoy the culmination of a day fulfilling my all time favorite sport.  The other cool thing about skiing is the apres!!!  A couple of cold beers, a hottub and great laughs for the day!
So, if you dont like winter, get over it!  Get a pair a couple of friends together and head out to the nearest hill.  BOok a ski lesson and try it out!  It will give you a new perspective on winter and you will have a ton of fun as you make your day down the hill!
I have to run, freezing cold out and I need to get out there and enjoy first tracks!  Have a Happy Saturday and I look forward to hearing about your day!  Cheers!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

HHmmm! I seem to love training....

A great start to the day!! 
Was up at 5AM for a run today, although short it was great.  Getting up at that time for anything but a vacation is insane.  As I roll out of bed I question why I am doing it.  'Hey stupid, you are going to LULU for a run tonight, why are you up at this hour!' I moan and bitch a little as I make my way out the door.  Not a word out of my mouth for the first 20 minutes, but then I wake up and realize how much I love being out there.  Out training at such an insane hour even though I think it is ridiculous and then finding a groove and kicking some butt!!  I discovered after last nights run that the offseason means I have to regain some running strength.  I am not worried as it is so far ahead of the game, and I am also starting off far ahead of where I was last year.  I am however committed to putting in a solid training regimen all winter so that I go into the summer far stronger a runner than ever!! Using my own advice I am going to put in a lot more tough run workouts than ever and go into IM Canada a run machine(as much of a machine as one can be at IM)  While training for Hamilton I tried some new training ideas and they worked well, so I am going to build them into my build phase and see what results I can get.  I still think running sucks, but I thought the same of swimming when I wasnt able to do it decently.
Following the morning run, a amazing yoga practice to light up the day!  It never stops surprising me how physically and mentally strong I am after a great yoga practice.  It is such a great balance to hold as training begins and throughout the season to build focus, flexibility and control.  The hour seems to go by in 5 minutes, and the focus away from the real world distractions can not be replaced with anything else(I suppose to many drinks might do it, but the benefits are not there)  Now that I am teaching as well, it has added another depth to being on my matt.  Looking to reach new places in each pose, exploring where my mind stops me from pushing myself further and then allowing it to open up.  As I continue to practice and be a triathlete I am looking forward to the full transferance and ability to take if off my matt onto the road.  I have been able to take it to the pool and use it in practice and in racing.  The ability to focus my breathing and to regain a centered mind when it gets tough has become randomly simple for me.  It has made me a more efficient and quicker swimmer as a result.  More miles and more matt and it will become a skill that I can use everyday as an athlete.
As the day is coming to a close I am gettin ready for a last inspirational workout.  I will be heading out the LULULEMON for a community run with runners from all backgrounds and to ideally lead them towards new heights.  I am also planning a YOGA for runners session with them in order to introduce the benefits of the sport and the practice to as many new people as possible.  I am looking forward to another great run.  Tonight will be particularly entertaining as it will be a run in the snow, just a little more to the challenge of winter!
Happy training!  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My advice to me!!

2010 was a year of new learning!  I learnt a ton about myself, training, coaching, swim, bike, run......I opened myself up to being present in what I was doing and gained so much from it.  I actually listened to what I was being told and learned from what I was reading.  I gained physical and mental insigth into training and defeat.  Most of all I grew and gave myself a new platform to excel from as I continue on whatever quest it is I go on.
My IM Moo! experience was incredible!  I trained hard, trained smart and managed to stay healthy all the way to the start line.  The only injury I suffered in my training was in December 2009 when I thought I needed to start ramping up hard on my running for a IM in September.  Go figure, within 2 weeks I was off the wicked plantar and did not run for 3-4 weeks.  So, I have put together some small nuggets of advice for myslef based on what I gained last year.
1) Choose your A race and make it your A race!!  I watched so many friends race and race and race only to be dissapointed when they did not get the result that they wanted when IM was complete.  You have to focus on the task and build your training and other events around it.  Each weekend can not be a race to set a PB.  You need to recover and allow your body to rebuild after you go like a madman.
2) Choose your race schedule and stick to it.  Make it strategic so that it fits into your plan and training periodization.  If you do not, you will likely race to train.
3) Focus on all 3 discplines!!  It is a race involving 3 events, focus on each of them correspondingly.  I could not swim when I registered and came up with an awesome result by keeping focused on my training and doing the tough stuff even though I did not like it.  Cycling is a strength for me, I still put in all the workouts and the grinding and it came out in the end as a great ride on a tough course.  I learned from being a run slacker that it does not work!!  I am not a strong runner and did not put in the miles required to run a great race. 
4) Learn from your experience!!  Log your training and your feelings and results and put them to work for you! 
5) DONT OVERTRAIN!!!  I am watching many friends who are in all out panic mode because they arent trying hard for a race that is in August.  CALM DOWN!  I started my quest to IM as a fat dude and did not truly start the hard work until end of ski season.  I had a great result for my first IM and was healthy getting to it.  No one is going to view you as a hero because you train like an idiot every day and push yourself in every workout even though the program tells you not to!  It does not work!  The programs are written based on years of scientific research, unless you are writing your thesis on the subject of IM training, don't be an ass and do what you are told!!!
6)  NUTRITION IS KING!!!  I spent the entire summer figuring out what I needed to eat, how and when I needed to do it!  You can be the best at all 3 discplines but that gives you nothing in an IM race.  Nutrition is the secret key to success.  Dont think for a minute you will learn it on race day!  WRONG!!  I watched an accomplised athlete who should have kicked my pants finish 45 min behind me because he did not listen to my summer long training advice!  Pay attention to what you are eating, when you are eating it and how it amkes you feel at the start middle and end.  You have minimum 3 months of hard training, use every long workout to teach you the lessons you need for a succesful race day!
7) ENJOY the journey!!  My ride to IM was the coolest time of my life.  I am healthier than I have ever been!  I was inspired by the wicked amazing people around me!  I inspired and trained others to reach new heights!  IT WAS COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER ENJOYED!!!!!  Why??  I took time to enjoy what I was doing!  Did it hurt?  Yes!  Did I wonder why I was doing some days?  Yes! Did I ever consider quiting?  NO!   I chose to do it so I committed to myself to enjoy the journey and I did!

As I start this year am I going to do things differently?  Sure, I have learned from my victories and mistakes!  BUT, the principles and advice I hve noted above will be the exact same!  I am going to take what I learnt and get better as a result!  A better athlete, training myself smarter, training others stronger and enjoying the trip along the way!!!

Good training day today with a short 7k run at a 4:34 pace. Could not figure out why the run was tough as I was ealry on.  When we finished I asked someone what pace we had run at and discovered why!  I love it!  Following my own advice I guess!  Wanna run fast you have to put in some hurt to get there!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Uh?? Skiing, tri training, yoga.....LOVIN IT!!!!!!

2011 is underway and I am looking forward to the biggest badest year of my life!!  2010 scared me big with a commitment to IRONMAN, the seemingly unreachable goal that life allowed me to kick in the butt.  The gaol of IM Canada this year is another awesome journey and a way to make my tattoo partritoic and bigger!  IM will be the tip of the iceberg this year!  As I said in my 2010 blogs, 'LIVE FOR YOUR DREAMS'.  This year I am going for it.
I poked around last year and started some parts and bits of a training business.  I have years of ski teaching and coaching, races and results and certifications to have in my knowledge base.  I love leading people past the impossible they have imagined and to the victory of personal accimplishment.  This year I am going to make that a reality for myself!!  I am a passionate person when it comes to my own goals, that is only a fraction of my fire for seeing others reach the goals they have for themselves!  So, watch me go.  One step at a time, one small  growth along the path I am going to make my dream a reaility.  I am going to become involved in sports and training in order to pay the bills!  This year might not be the one that allows me to step back from the 9-5 daily grind, but it is going to be the biggest one to my walking into the boss's office, honking his nose and telling him, thanks a lot for the opportunity, I have a dream to go live now'
HOw have I started the year??  As I did last year, Janaury 1 is my symbolic training start date.  So, like last year I organized a Resolution Run for our ski club and got out bright and early to start the year running!  It was a great day with a lot of new faces and a lot of new goals being set.  I took my time enjoying the company and sharing with people what they have going on this year.  it is a great way to start off the year and hear how others are chasing their dreams as well.  On Sunday I intended to go skiing but, Mother Nature deicded to turn up the heat and pour rain, so that was aborted in exchange for some rest and relax time.  On Monday did an awesome 90 minute yoga practice.  WOW!  Did I get lazy over the holidays and did I pay for it!  Never again!  I have learned to love the benefits of my yoga practice and I will now turn it up.  In another month I will be teaching on a regular basis and can not be a slacker coming into this amazing time to share.  I followed up this morning with a great swim to get my pool training under some strucuture.  It was awesome!  One year and now I consider myself decent in the pool.  The next few month should prove to be a great build period before I start in IM program for my race.
Over the holidays I was lucky to be up norht and chasing my true passion and hte method to all of my madnesses.!  I was skiing!!!  I was a course conductor between Chrsitmas and New Years completing a certification course for 24 new instructors.  It is a great opportunity to share my passion with others and to ideally provide them some insight and excitement into what the world of ski teaching can bring them.  I truly enjoy working with the candidates knowing that they are part of the future of the sport.  It is a gret process as many or them come into the course with an attitude the size of Texas.   Over the 4 days of the course, you need to get them off of hte pedastal that they believe they are on, teach them so ski fundamentals and then watch them evolve as they begin to learn what it takes to be an instructor.  It is the most rewarding and frustrating process all at once!
I said yesterday I would talk a little about what you can do to improve your skiiing??  The season is young and it is great time to set yourself up for some great improvement this season.  How can you do that??  Let me talk about what I do for the season(have repeated it for past 3-4 years)
In the first couple of weeks of the season I work to get my legs under me and determine where I can improve.  My approach is based on working towards getting to a point that I can ski anything, anyday, anywhere.  After a few days I am able to determine where in my skiing I need to improve.  You might want to get out with an instructor to help you in this process.
I isolate a skill that I need to refine or improve and at what part in the turn I need to make the changes.  It might be fore-aft balance at the end of the turn(getting in back seat).  Then I come up with a series of tactics/drills and exercises that I can use in order to make those changes.  Each day when I am out on my skis, I start my day with a strategically chosen tactic to set me in the right direction.  I then bring it back into my skiing to determine if the changes are beginning to take place.  If I find myself going back to my problem area(and usually you do, 30 years doing it one way wont change in 10 runs in one morning) I choose appropriate terrain to promote success and as I improve I continue to challenge myself on more difficlut terrain.
As I use a tactic I continually review the impact that it is having on my performance.  I might need to vary the tctic that I am using for greater success or I may need to take a step back on the terrain.  As I get results I continue to ski in order to gain the greatest opportunity to feel the improvement and its overall impact on my entire turn and performance.  I am continually reviewing what I am feeling as I ski to see that I get the results that I am looking for.  If I am getting results I reavaulate and determine what other changes I need to make to continually make it better. 
I will spend the entire season focused on the one skill and how I need to change it in a part of my turn.  I conitnue it until I know that I can go out and ski on any part of the mountain on any day and get it right.  Most of us might not spend as much time, probably wont get you that far in your skiing!!  But the same thiing applies to any improvement you are trying to make.  Figure out what you need to change, pick the appropriate terrain to make the changes on.  Choose a tactic and see if you get results with it.  If you dont, very the tactic or change the terain, and if you do beging to make the terrain more challenging as you bring it into your skiing.
Most of all, amke sure you are having fun.  Skiing is one of the greatest sports out there!  If you are home on the couch, winter does suck.  If you are on the side of a mountain with the wind blowing on your face and the trees whizzing by, it is an amazing season! 
And when you are done, a great stretch with a yoga class, then a glass of wine and a hot tub!  it doesnt get much better!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 and a New Year of races, goals and adventures!!!

After a long break I think I am back here again to share in my adventures and dreams for 2011!!  As always I tend to dream to the large side of life, otherwise, why share, there is enough mediocrity in the world in the news everyday!! And, why on this blogoshpere! Because all the people I have met and followed here are also big dreamers and inspire me to keep pushing the envelope and get bigger and better every day!
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the blog people out there!  I hope 2010 was a year that rocked your world and made you wonder how you could top it in the future!  A year of self discovery and going new places not imagined or felt before and a year that made you grow in every imaginable way!  And, as we rolled to 2011, set you on a path of crazier. bigger and stronger goals that ever before!  Let's sit down, shut up and hold on, 2011 is going to ROCK!!!!
As I look back on 2010 and what it was, to be honest it kind of makes my head spin a bit.  WOW!  The things I was able to do, the lessons I learned and the games I played were amazing.  I grew more in 2010 than I can recall ever in the past.  It has set a new path for me as I continue on this awesome journey!  I would love to sit for hours and talk about the year and what I did, but I wont bore you with the details.  You can reach the first 200+ posts and get a good view of what it was all about.
And I wont sit here and type all night telling you what 2011 is going to be about!  Leave it at, BIG!!!  I am not talking anymore, it is time to do!  So, if you have been here reading my blog before, I hope it is as entertaining as you may have found it on the first year and first IM journey.
If you are new to my blog, here is an executive summary!
I am spending the next year living for my dreams and putting all the stories that have stopped me from realizing them away!  I am excited and happy to be on my way!

Stay tuned tomorrow, I will post about one of my passions and how you can grow in the sport of skiing!!