baby steps

January 31, 2011

was on the treadmill yesterday for the first time in ten days.  did 2 x 10mins super easy with a 5 minute walk in between.  knee problems are still there but improved.  during my last run i nearly collapsed from the pain, but yesterday there was only an ache present and i made it through.  this week will be a couple more of these workouts along with more ultrasound, laser treatment and ibuprofen.

my body wants to ruuuuuuuunnn, my head says respect the injury.

the good and the bad of it

January 27, 2011

january started off strong but has since gone downhill.  it has not been a good training month for me.  a crazy work schedule, injury, illness and travel have provided plenty of interruptions.  the bad news first: because of the inflammation in my knee i haven't been able to run for more than a week.  even though it hurt i tried toughing it out and made it through several workouts, but that only made things worse.  i've missed many speed, strength and volume workouts at this crucial time of year.  i'll try running sunday but i've been advised by my physiotherapist to take another week off if there's even the slightest twinge of discomfort.  for now it's stretching, ultrasound and laser therapy.  i've also caught a nasty cold that kept me home one day this week and i only returned to work because i'm busy and can't afford the downtime.

but here's the good news:  while my running falls further and further behind, my riding continues to get better and better.  right now i'm sustaining wattages that i could barely touch last year.  swimming is also going well.  sometimes i feel like i'm just flailing around in the water, but for the most part i'm starting to show improvements.  also good is the fact that i still have time.  it's only january and that means i still have a few weeks before the 12-week lead-up to my first big race begins.  hopefully my knee will be sorted out by then and i can get back on track.

2011 and beyond

January 21, 2011

as 2010 came to an end i knew it was time to make some changes.  not only had i been disappointed with how my race year had unfolded, i also wasn't feeling excited about racing in 2011.  with no trip to the world championships, the esprit duathlon in montreal was the only race that i was looking forward to.  the esprit has been on my radar for a number of years but i've never been able to fit it into my schedule, and now that i was open in september i figured it would be the perfect opportunity to head to the race.  but as much as i've always wanted to compete on that course (how can an Formula 1 fan like myself not want to ride 9 laps on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve?), i was having a hard time justifying pouring hours and hours of weekly training into a race that, ultimately, i wouldn't get that much out of.  sure... it's an exciting venue and a trip to montreal is always fun, but otherwise, for me at least, it's just another race.

while trying to sort out a season that i could look forward to (and, more importantly, feel justified in training hard for), i found that i was missing a couple of crucial factors.  the first was i needed a big race to be excited about.  the provincial du championships is a big race for me every year, but at this point i'm feeling like qualifying for the national team is a given; i'm a strong enough athlete that even without a win i should be able to secure a spot at the duathlon worlds.  like i mentioned above, the esprit definitely fit the bill in terms of a fun race to look forward to, but it's not a qualifier for anything nor a championship race of any kind.

the second thing i was missing was something to help me grow as an athlete.  the multisport racing scene in ontario is incredible, but i was just feeling the need for something bigger.  i've always wanted to move up to longer distances but there's only a small number of duathlons on the local circuits that go beyond the international 10/40/5 distance.  from the very beginning i've always wanted to race longer distances, and when i first got in to triathlon in '98, i got in to it for one reason: kona.  the idea of competing one day at the ironman world championships in kona ignited a fire in my heart that is still burning today.  duathlon is an incredible sport and i love it, but the simple fact of the matter is that nothing like kona exists in duathlon.  i can train and train and train and train, but no matter what, no matter what my results are, no matter how many races i compete in or win or do well at or whatever, there's still no kona.  over the past few seasons i've been competing as a duathlete, but all of my training has been aimed directly at moving back into triathlons when ready.  and with the way i was feeling about 2011, i knew that time had arrived.  in 2011 i'll be competing in 70.3 triathlons.

over the next few years i'll be working towards qualifying for the 70.3 world championships then, eventually, kona.  i have absolutely no expectations for 2011 because it will be my base year; it will be the year i always look back at to compare and see how far i've come.  kona is a long-term goal. and by long-term i really mean long-term.  full ironman distance racing is still years away for me. right now my focus will be climbing up the 70.3 ranks in my age group to get into a position to be a contender for a spot at the 70.3 world championships.  it's going to take some time and i like that, and in order for it to happen i have to improve.  over the next few seasons i'll grow as an athlete, working on taking my riding to the next level, pursuing ambitious running goals, and learning how to move through the water as efficiently as possible.

making the decision to return to triathlons in 2011 re-ignited an excitement in me that had started to fade.  i'm more excited about 2011 and beyond than all of my previous racing years.  i'm ready, but we'll see just how able.  first order of business is the issue of swimming.  have you ever met someone that has that mind boggling ability to somehow float in the water with absolutely no effort whatsoever?  well, that's not me.  i sink like a stone.

the root of it all

January 13, 2011

2011 is off to a good start but, surprise surprise, another injury has popped up.  during my ride last saturday a pain developed in my right knee.  i took a break about an hour into it, stretched things out and was able to finish my 2.5 hour workout, but the pain is still hovering a week later.  this is just the latest in a string of injuries i've had over the past two years, one after the other.  my first major injury happened in milton in 2009 when i fell off my bike.  i fell onto my left side but it was my right side that became the problem.  in august of 2009 i developed a stress fracture in my right leg which put me off my feet for three months.  late last year i wiped out on my bike, landing hard on my left shoulder, but, again, it was my right side that became the problem.  i started working with a new physiotherapist in december, initially determined to sort out my shoulder because it wasn't improving, and what i got was a breakthrough diagnosis that explains everything over the past few years.  i have scoliosis.  my spine is bent.

this image is an exaggeration of my condition, but because of the scoliosis, my posture makes me favour the left side of my body, which makes it much stronger, and therefore more stable, than my right.  so that means even if i sustain trauma on my left side, it's the right side of my body with the serious complications.  it's a long term problem with no short term solutions.  i've had to completely adjust my posture in a day-to-day effort to sort this out.  like always i'm determined to get through this and this was the most encouraging diagnosis i've had over the years because suddenly everything made sense.  it's no wonder i keep getting hurt!  and even better news is that if this gets sorted out, it may mean the end of these silly and frustrating injuries that are hitting me far too frequently. fingers crossed.