The new Adventure has Started!!!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Countdown Starts!!!

ONly 4 more sleeps and I am going to my paradise!  The mountains!  I was taking to my wife about it on the weekend, and it has been a while since we have gone on a holiday that does not have a race schdule attached to it.  So, 4 more sleeps and we are off to Jackon Hole for a week of dynamite skiing and chillin out!  Surrouded my mountains, snow and the exhaustion of 25000 vertical feet of skiing at the end of each day!  Can you tell that I am absolutely pumped about this trip!  Take a look at some of the fun to be had at Jackson!

As well as the countdown to this trip, is the countdown to training go time!!!  On March 13, I will tie my shoes on for the first schedules workout of my 2011 season!  Although I am currently blurred by the snow and downhill rush, the structure of my program for this year is exciting.  I am truning it up from last year.  Being my first IM ;last season I put in the miles and the time, but did not push the intensity to hard.  With last summer of training and results in the memory, I have put together a training plan to ideally find improvements across the board with heavier focus where I believe I might make the biggest gains.  So, after my week of smiles and steep and deep fun, it is time for a few months of pain for the pleasure of racing. 
As my winter and ski teaching is coming towards an end, I must say that it has been the greatest teaching winter ever!!  I have had the opportunity to work with 3 groups of great skiers who were enthusiastic and wanted to learn.  I set a gold for the season for myself to make each lesson a memorable one for them and I believe I accomplished my goal.  From the first day this year to a lesson I taught yesterday, I saw some great changes.  They started the season skiing comfortably on moderate terrain and finished the season attacking steeps with comfort.  Being a part of those successes is a blast as a teacher.  Discussing the progress with them and hearing the understanding that they have developed is also great, it is a good sign that both myself and hte students enjoyed the process.  The tough thing is to now begin to develop my program for next season to make certain that the growth they have experienced continues and they are stronger than ever.

Friday, February 18, 2011


This not being able to do training can be a little taxing.  Yes, there are the great parts that will come of it, but the 2 days that I have been told to chill are dizzying!! I guess even being relaxed is something we choose to do with a little intensity as triathletes.  I am off to the clinic today for some more work and hopefull she gives me the clear to get into the pool.
If I can get into the pool and use that for the next couple of weeks it will give me a good chance to do some good technical focus as I will add some miles to my swim to build fitness.  Having to slow down to not irritate my calf might be a blessing as I then need to keep focused on something to make the workout seem productive.  The fun part will be when my leg is 100%, I get to see how some focused slow time pays off in the long run.
OK, I started this post 3 weeks ago when I injured myself.  I guess posting aimlesly isnt my thing!
I went for my first run last night after following my Dr advise on hte injury.  WOW!  It was so cool to be out running again after a break.  Getting back out makes you realize how you miss something.  I guess it is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder!  I did a short 7k, but felt really good the entire time.  This morning I did have a couple of areas that I could have stretched a little more, but, nothing to be concerned about.
While I was not running, I did spend some great time in the pool.  As I keep working on technique and putting in smaller milee, it seems to be paying off.  I did a 1:24 x 100 the other day which was pleasing.
Well, now that I am uninjured again, it is almost time to get it going full steam.  As soon as I am back from my ski trip I will start into full training mode.  I am looking forward starting and being on a formal scedule.  The floating arounf thing works, but I need to be pushed.
Hope you are doing great! 

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!