a small announcement. and some new gear.

the announcement: today was my first "official" day of training for the 2010 season. now that i've gotten the results from my MRI, i'm able to start ramping up my training to get back on track. i have been working out over the past 10 weeks, but most of those workouts were simply to keep my legs moving and heart pumping so that my aerobic base wouldn't be affected, usually consisting of longer durations and lower intensities.

anyways, as today was my first official workout, i thought that it would be an appropriate time to let the word out that i was offered a coaching sponsorship with Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy. i'm very happy to announce that alan chud, coach, general manager and partner at AETT, will be coaching me through the 09/10 season. i accepted the offer many weeks ago but al and i decided not to proceed with any program until my injuries got sorted out. on friday al and i sat down to talk about what i want to accomplish in the next year or so, and right now my biggest priority over the next 12 months is to not get injured. al suggested that we start a new program on monday, but since i'm fired up and ready to go after nearly 3 months of sitting around being patient, i told him i want to start today. this morning was nearly two hours of riding and tomorrow will be a short, easy run. i'll have to continue to be patient with my running training so that i don't push myself too hard too soon, and having someone else design my workout program for me with this in mind will be extremely beneficial. as part of my sponsorship i will be a member of AETT's ambassador program, so look for me next year at the AETT tent at various multisport events across ontario.

the new gear: it's probably good that my wife is out of town this weekend. if she had of come home this afternoon she would have seen this in the living room:

although my wife is incredibly supportive of my racing and comes to almost all of my races to cheer me on, she has very little patience when it comes to bike stuff in the living room.

wheels, wheels, wheels! i totally pimped out my ride today. the first wheel on the left is the rear wheel of the current easton wheelset that i'm riding on my cervelo. second from the left is my new, piece of junk, used wheel that i'll be using on my cervelo strictly as an indoor trainer. i picked up this wheel today and i'll be able to put that on my racing bike anytime of the year, regardless of the season, for some indoor riding. i missed a few workouts last summer because of rain, so this wheel will solve that issue. this will also mean that i'll be able to bring my trainer with me to races to warm up on. in the middle is the rear wheel of my road bike, which i mostly use for indoor training. i just swapped the rubber on that one. those last two wheels? what are those? oh... nothing special. just my new zipp 909 wheelset, safely wrapped up and protected in wheel bags. hahahahahaha!!! i'm super, super, SUPER psyched about those! i've been drooling over new wheels for years and i finally got a smokin deal on a used set and just picked them up today. many thanks to endurosport for taking a look at them and giving me the thumbs up before any cash changed hands, and also thanks to them for swapping the rubber on all of my other wheels. you guys are awesome.

so yah. now that i have my new zipp 909 wheelset, i can sit back, relax and get fat. who needs to train when you've got wheels like that? they'll just go fast without any help from me. isn't that the way these wheels work?

and the official word is...

just right now i finally (FINALLY!) got to speak with my doctor to discuss the results of my MRI. and the official word is this: there is no stress fracture.


it's been a long 10 weeks of minimal, light training and this whole experience has been a lesson in patience. but now it's time to ramp up my training and get back on track. i've got some serious ground to make up.

aaarrrggghhh... more frustration.

i went to see my family doctor last night to go over the results of my MRI, and i showed up at her office expecting good news. i was expecting to be told that my tibia fracture has healed and that i'm free to start slowly building up my running mileage to get my training back on track. instead i sat around for 30 minutes waiting for my doctor to see me, only to be given the news that the hospital that i went to for my MRI hasn't faxed over the results yet. a complete waste time. now i have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest for the results.

no problem. i'm an expert at being patient.

on the upside, i did get some good news about a set of race wheels that i've been eyeing for next season. very exciting.


40 minutes on the treadmill yesterday, 30 minutes on it today. my first two runs in 9 weeks.

no big deal.

look at me! i'm running!

i was on the treadmill today. twice. running! and things felt good. not 100%, but pretty damn good. last week, post good MRI news, i was on the treadmill very briefly, testing things out. things we're still off, many of the same old irritations present. i ran off and on for about 20 minutes, very light on my feet, using the treadmill's handles to prop myself up to take most of my weight off of my legs. i quit because my right leg started to hurt and, returning to work, promptly called my sports chiropractor to book an appointment to check things out.

i ran today for a few minutes right before my appointment so that i'd be able to pinpoint and explain exactly what was still bothering me. it turns out that i've still got a lot going on with my right leg, and although my stress fracture seems to be healed (still nothing official, but things look good for that one), it looks like part of it is a back issue and some of my lower vertebrae are pinching some nerves, causing all sorts of problems through my leg.

but here's some really, really great news: after some tweaking and stretching and trying out some new things, focusing mostly on my back and my ankle (which has been bothering me for a long time but we'd assumed it was related to the fractured tibia), i hit the treadmill right after my appointment and things felt good. i ran for 12 (practically) pain-free minutes! i wanted to jump up and down because i was actually running again! it felt awesome, but, like i said, still not 100%. the only reason i stopped is because i didn't want to do too much too soon. it's been 9 weeks since i've gone for a run, after all. there's still some things to get sorted out, but now that the stress fracture is out of the way (still unofficially), i can work on determining exactly what else needs to be fixed. i can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel and hope to be back on track in the next couple of weeks. (fingers crossed, fingers crossed, fingers crossed...)

quick update...

so i had my MRI today. i was initially told that my appointment would take about 45 minutes, but i was at the hospital for almost four hours, most of which time was spent lying on my back on the scanner wearing a hairnet and industrial strength ear protection. they tried to get me take my piercings out but i assured them that would be way too much work, and i was warned that my tattoos may heat up while being scanned. i told the nurses that i would like to talk with the doctor that was onsite (who, apparently, popped in and out during my scan) after the scan was completed, but she left before i was finished and able to speak with her.

anyways, the nurses told me that the doctor said that things look good. great, in fact. exactly how great i'm not sure just yet. i should get the results from my family doctor by the end of next week, and i left the hospital today feeling pretty excited. i'll keep taking it easy until i've been officially told otherwise, but things seem to be looking pretty good for this guy. is the stress fracture gone? i don't know yet. but the answer is only days away. sweet.

and with that, the season (officially) ends

this past saturday i was scheduled to participate in what was to be my last race of the year, the fall colours duathlon in cumberland, just east of ottawa. because of my injury, my season came to an end mid-august and this was the fourth race that i've had to watch from the sidelines. and just like all of those other missed races, this one was special. the first race i missed was the cobourg duathlon and i'd been looking forward to that because it was an international distance race (10k run, 40k bike, 5k run), a distance which i plan on focussing on next year. i was going to use my time from that race to track my improvement over the next year, comparing each future race of equal distance to this one. the next race i missed was wasaga beach, my favourite stop on the HSBC race calendar. 2009 would have been my third consecutive appearance in wasaga beach and it's a short, fast and fun little course at a great venue that i look forward to every year.

after that i missed the HSBC's lakeside II, their last race of the year. the lakeside venue is pretty amazing and i wanted to see how my time would have improved from the same race last year. i was also looking for a bit of personal redemption. in 2008, i arrived at lakeside II early in the morning only to realize that i'd forgotten to bring all of my food with me, which turned out to be a very painful mistake. about 10k into the 30k ride i was completely depleted (my only source of fuel were a couple of gel packs i was able to buy just before the race started) and i struggled the rest of the way through, crossing the line with a very disappointing 5th position, 6 minutes behind the winner.

but of all the races that i did last year that i was planning on returning to this year, the cumberland du was the most important. last year i competed in this race on a whim, only learning about it a week before it took place. every year i travel to ottawa to be with family for thanksgiving, and i figured that it would be a great way to spend a holiday weekend morning, wrapping up my racing year with lots of family members out to cheer me on. if you've ever been to ottawa in the fall then you know how incredibly beautiful it can be, and the cumberland race site is no exception. anyways, making this long story short, i won the race and walked away with my first ever duathlon victory. since then i'd been looking forward to returning to defend that victory. i'd even thought back in august that with two months of downtime my leg might be ok to go and that i might actually be able to race this weekend. but it was not to be and my leg has yet to heal. racing conditions were ideal again this year, and this past saturday morning - race morning - i woke up in ottawa to sunny bluebird skies and a fall palette of colours in the leaves.

crossing the line in 2008. my first ever duathlon victory.

judging only by time, if i'd been able to race again this year on the same course and finished with the exact same time as last year, i would have won this race by 5 minutes. patience, i keep telling myself. patience is key. with an MRI scheduled this week i'll finally learn the severity of my stress fracture and, hopefully, will sort out a recovery plan. being patient sucks.