Home again, Home again. We're back from the mainland, well rested, with all the cracks full of game hens, turkey, and carrot parsnip pie.
Thanks you game hens, turkey, and parsnip carrot pie. You made meals most delicious, filling in this December's cereal and soy milk cracks.
Thank you to our gracious hosts, cooks, and company. You made the holiday most comfortable.
Thank you for the nice drive & ride. Thank you for the warm bed. Thank you for the nice music. Thank you for the delicious dinner. Thank you for the nutritious conversation. Thank you for the sleep in. Thank you for the phone's off button. Thank you for the granola. Thank you for the walk. Thank you for the snacks. Thank you for vegetables. Thank you for the warm clothes. Thank you for more nutritious conversation. Thank you for the drink of sparkly water. Thank you for the lights. Thank you for the tea. Thank you for the walk. Thank you for teaching me new games. Thank you for the nice drive & ride. Thank you for the sunshine.
Amidst the perfect chaos everything stops. I find myself riding home from swim #2 along Blanshard street.
The wind is blowing the right direction, perhaps with a little help from the slow leak in my back tire.
Lights change, cars drive, and commuters fly. I'm smiling with the the comforting knowledge that there's just one more to go. Just one more swim before 2 days of rest. Complete rest. The most restful kind of rest.
A little darker, then suddenly light as the sun begins to set. One more spectacular glimpse, before she decides it time for bed.
Despite mostly thoughtfully provoked resistance, some lessons seem to resurface time and time again. Whether it be through our own intuition, coaches input, or friends concern, these are the ones which seem to have the greatest influence on change in habit. They are after all, just that which we are learning to let go.
Let go of the resistance, let go of the habit.
This time around, it's feeling good about feeling great.
Is it ok to feel great? Am I allowed to feel good? Can I feel good about feeling great?
The answer is an unwavering YES!
What does it feel like to race? It's easy! Let go & make yourself comfortable.
Now it's time to feel the air move a little faster. What's beyond? What comes next? There must be something. Have an adventure. Go see what's next. Just remember it'sgood to feel great!
Double swim, double nap, night ride, and a super cool reflecto vest.
I have discovered the night ride. We used to roller ski in the dark all through the fall, so with 6 sleeps until this years Winter Solstice, I'm back to the night ride.
Rollers are awesome, trainers are great, but night rides are the ultimate. They're especially ultimate when it's raining. The ultimate factor grows even more when you throw in single leg drills, big ring, up hill in both directions.
That was yesterday.
Today I learned something in the pool. It's the catch and roll.
I've always heard of the catch, and perhaps even experienced it on occasion. It took me a while to learn which way to roll. Now that one's clear.
Today I realized that as you catch, you begin to roll! (I think)
It sounds simple, but honestly I've been thinking about the two separately.
"Start your catch earlier! You're missing all that water!"
"Roll more! You're swimming flat!"
Ok. Catch . . . (then?) . . . (and?) . . . Roll.
I must have been told this a thousand times by very patient pairs of concerned coaching eyes. But as with everything, it takes a subjective understanding to drift through cerebellum, and settle to the cerebrum.
As you catch, begin your roll.
Those beeps are pretty far apart. What shall I do with my arms during all this time?
Did those beeps spontaneously come closer together? Still beating on 1:00.
Funny how the beeps seem closer when there's more to do.
Tic, Tic, Tic . . . The neon yellow numbers are turning over as I swing the legs. A purple sleeping bag, draped over a Holstein suit holds a layer of warm air close around the body, relaxed and ready to race.
This time it's a pairs start time trial. The plan is to go faster than fast the first K, & drop my partner. I know I race well on my own.
Tic, Tic, Tic . . . Although it's a partner start, for the next 15K, the tic is all that matters.
Each tic is only there for that tic. By the time you've thought of that tic, it's passed. It's left the present behind, evaporated into the past, leaving room for a future tic to talk.
. . . 24, 25, 26, beep, beep, beep, go.
Today this is the only tic, where the sunrise will talk this toc.
1000 straight? Lolli Pop Loop? A few times the observatory? How about the cool down?
200 head up breast stroke? 50m walk back? Waterfront through town? What about a few loops barefoot at Jack Wallace?
Slowly power up. Warm up. Practice. Cool Down. Power down. Slooowwww Dooowwnn.
Power up. Warm up. Practice. Cool Down. Power down. Sloooowwww Dowwwnnnn.
Power up. Warm up. Practice. Cool Down. Power down. Sloooowwww Dowwwnnnn.
Sloowwww Way Downnnn. Warm Down. Power down.
It happens again and again throughout our day. From class to class, practice to practice, job to job, we repeat the power up power down process. Even within each practice we experience our power up power down process.
Minute to minute, set to set, moment to moment, we power up our focus, and power up the body. We practice the practice, and begin our power down process.
For the amount of practice, there sure is a lot of power up power down process. It must be an important process.
Sometimes I like to reflect back from the future. Think about 2 years from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now. What would the 2 years from now you, remember from now?
There sure are a lot of little things. Could this be the Fall when a little more remembering happens?
Could it be the one where I learned to speak like a dolphin? Or swim like a seahorse? Or was it speak like a horse and swim like a dolphin? I think I ran a little back then too . . . Do dolphins ride bikes? If they do, they probably ride cross bikes.
That was certainly a soup season. Root Celler had some great sales on squash. Cauliflower was cheap too. Cauliflower Broccoli? There's a classic. Cauliflower Pear? That's new sounding.
What about Lamb, Chickpea, and Corriander? . . . That was a good one, & it lasted forever! I remember the spice mix . . . paprika, cumin, and ground clove . . . almost a North African Christmas soup.
Good reflections . . . and we're back to now.
That one looks awesome! And it has a partner to go with it! Leaks . . . onions . . . carrots . . . garlic . . . mmm. . . perhaps a little cinnamon. . .
What happened on Steffler drive had a lot to do with the kitchen.
It was first year with the Gryphons & I was running home after ski practice. A few blocks down the road, I heard a second set of ski poles tapping the pavement.
"I'll run with ya back to rez," said Brian. "I can catch the #12 bus back from there."
"Sweet man," I replied. "Dude, I am going to eat all the food in Mountain Caf tonight."
"Ha ha. Sounds good Stevo. My room mates are making a shephards pie right now. It'll be waiting for me when I get back."
We ran a little more as I silently thought to myself, "That's awesome. Someday, I hope I can live in a cool house like that."
At the end of 2nd year there was an opening in the infamous #94 Steffler Drive Ski Chalet. My prayres had been answered.
On evening, after a few solid roller ski sessions, and a little reading, Brian asked me if I felt like making soup.
"Totally man. I just need to finish reading this thing."
Once eight rolls around, we head out the door for some grocery shopping, & with No Frills Bags in hand, we're back by 8:30.
"Now Stevo, the first thing you've gotta know about good soup is it takes a good stock. It's all about the stock."
I took Brian's skiing & cooking words as gospel, as he seemed to be very good at both. The beginning of each and every conversation had me thinking, "Ok, this is it. Here's where he'll tell me the secret to cooking, or perhaps skiing."
This time around, we were making chicken stock. So, the chicken:
It can really be be any part of the chicken, & for stock you can usually acquire some cheap old scraps from the butcher. The back is perfect, they generally throw that out anyhow. I believe we found 4 for about 50 cents.
The pot: Make it a big one. We're making it all happen in this sucker. Throw down the backs & start 'em sizzl'n. Sizzle it up for some flavour. No need for any oils. There's plenty of fat on the meat.
The veg: a few onions, a few carrots, some celery, & if you so desire . . . Garlic. Dice 'em up. Nothing fancy here, just make 'em smaller.
The herbs: You like thyme? I like thyme. Thyme it is.
"Stevo, taste this."
"Really? Me? ok? I think it needs more of both S&P."
"I think so too."
Now we let the flavours get friendly. It's a happy pot, so we'll let 'em mingle on medium.
In goes the water. Now we let it simmer, not boil, just simmer.
"A boil will make the stock cloudy."
I thought to myself. "This is awesome. These are just the things I've been wondering about."
Ok, time to hit the books again. This'll take about 2 hours, so I have time for another good read.
"You ready to go Stevo?"
"Yep, let's give'r."
"Ok, we need to strain it first, then let it cool. Once it's cool, we collect & reserve the fat from the top."
11:30pm & we have a good chicken stock. I also have 2 chapters in the bag. Savoury.
First, the feeling of racing. Wow. That was a bit of a shock to the system, and I LOVED it!
Ok Go? Go. Yep. Go.
The next two laps are a total blur. I think they were about 5 - 6 minute loops. That's about 12 minutes before there's time for a feeling: Wow. I'm breathing hard. That's all for now. Feeling time is over.
Two more laps, then another feeling: That's what it feels like! Carve the corners. Throw down a little body English. This time we keep the feeling. Now is feeling time.
Time for a thought: I like riding bikes.
Back to feeling time.
The flood lights soon became more and more friendly. Car lights are also handy, although a little tricky with the movement.
Last loop. Sweet finish. I love riding bikes.
The next feeling is a very special feeling.
It only comes once, maybe twice per year. Usually it's a Fall feeling, early October in Guelph, late October in Victoria.
Generally it comes on wheels. Two work well in Vic, while 4 are necessary with the Gryphons.
It happens in the evening, sandwiched between the end of class, and evening studies.
The Gryphons make it happen on the asphalt, while here in Vic we make it happen on the grass.
Both places require a helmet, but only the Gryphons ask for poles.
There's nothing quite like the first day of roller ski intervals. The cool air bleeding lung feeling will always rank among the most special. Here in Vic, we make it happen on the cross bike.
Quite honestly, right now there are 3 or more sessions per week with a description as follows: "Go have a hilly adventure! It could be 3 hours, or more if you like. Make it fun. Do something you like, just make sure it brings you happiness."
Just like that, we're past the off season, onto the on season. The only difference . . . these adventures are now scheduled. When Jalapeno & I unite as one, despite a schedule, sporadic sense stays.
Remember the dolphins? Remember those yellow fish? What about the neon blue ones with the orange fins?
Remember the salt? Remember the waves? Remember to relax.
Bring it home to our 25m pond and play.
Today began with classic SKIPS, band, and a board, then upstairs to join forces with a few honeybees on the treadmill.
Home for breakfast cake, this time of the pan variety. I love breakfast cake.
Now let's make this place more like our home. Pictures help to remember. I like pictures.
Back to the pond where I PULL. Pull helps to push. Push, pull, and play.
Oak Bay, home, dinner, Bob Marley, and bed.
I had great fun traveling around the sun this time. Thanks for a super duper year.
2 pinches of smells like seaweed. It's best to use the ocean fresh air kind. It can be found all over the island. Smells like seaweed is readily available for collection and enjoyment at any time, day and night.
1 bunch extended mid day beach walk. Try to share this with someone special, you'll appreciate the final taste much more. Experiment with various directions . . . up, down, east, west, left and right are all great ways to begin.
3+ late night bakery visits. Save one to be enjoyed with friends. Show up alone for two or more.
As always . . . Adventure! Reunion Adventure . . . and of course the solo adventure.
Stir the above in a somewhat random sort of way. At some point, try a way of mindful consideration. But, if in doubt, go with the way that just goes, because right now, it's the way to go.
On the stove, or above the fire, wherever you might be, start the simmer. A little red wine could be nice. Only cook with wine you would drink because even now, quality is key.
Remember slow cooking. Now is the time to be patient!
Play some music. Learn some music.
Add more patience. . . and more music.
Always more music.
As the smells start to mingle, flavors join forces, consider the season. Was there enough sugar? Perhaps a little less salt. . . I do like pepper. Fresh ground is best.
Back from the land of peaches, this time the pineapple picking postponed. . .
A visual to help explain.
^ ^ | | | | | | | | | | | |
Imagine an infinite number of rays, each with a beginning. X marks the spot, the beginning spark of our own intention.
From an external perspective, one ray may be considered success, and the other . . . something else. However, the rays share two things in common. Both have the same spark, the same intention to begin. Perhaps more significantly, they share the same direction.
From here, the horizon of our being, we sit. We ponder the direction of our intention.
We sit here, understand where, and decide why. If we are here, and know why, next we move to motivate the orientation of our rays.
Each ray traces a path, sharing the story of our experience.
One story runs through the jungle, another through the trees. This story travels across the sand, and another beneath the sea.
The jungle story may be full of mountains, rivers, tigers, and bears. It could rain in the mountains, yet be dry beneath the trees.
The desert journey is hot during the day, and cold at night. One afternoon an oasis, or another week before then next shady palm.
Even different still is our underwater journey, one with sharks, coral, dolphins, and seals. The morning brings an ebb, while evening begins to flow.
What brings these journeys together is our own intention. It is our will to create direction.
When we race, we choose our direction. We share the experience with those on the course, friends, family, coaches, and fans.
Thanks for another great experience, and a new path drawn in the sand.
Oh such a sweet delicate fruit, Delicious, Luscious, Nutritious.
The morning peach must be a rest day peach. It's a peach you enjoy slowly. This particular peach accompanies the peachy destination ponders. Perhaps a pint of Front street morning coffee?
The afternoon peach, picked from the tree, has a special fresher than fresh feeling. It's the cleansing peach. The host to a world of natural fructose flavor, by this point an overwhelming relief.
The evening peach is a very special peach. Picked from the grass, it has been ripened and warmed through the day. It's the most luscious of all peach, enjoyed on the grass or in the lake while water compresses the legs.
We're home from practicing in the peachy destination. Next time we return, it will be to turn those peaches to pineapple potential.
First we decide what kind and just how big this fire will be. Will it be the warming sort, or perhaps the cooking type? Maybe this fire will be just the perfect watching kind.
As always, safety first. We need to learn how to light a match. Can we make this a one match fire?
Practice with a few smaller fires. We can light them in the sun. We have lit countless in the rain, and as the occasion calls, we have even lit fires in the snow.
With each fire we gain experience, learning just how to manipulate the required elements: air, fuel, and heat.
A few successful warming watching fires, and we have just finished gathering wood. Prepared to prepare for the cooking type, perhaps even a no match fire.
Wander down the side walk
Crack! A flame shoots up through the air, penetrating the still summer night. What was once knotted oak, joins in perfect union with the neighboring air, and a long past origin, or spark. It's perfection of non-violent synergy.
Pounce! A tiger leaps out of the bushes, completely void of thought. Within exists only instinct, a purity of non-violent confidence.
Same soft ground, same shady trees, and the same calm seas.
I heard this from the sidelines last year while in transition at the 1st 1/2 and thought, "Are you kidding me? This is a race! There's no time to be comfortable!" Ahhh . . . yet still a younggrasshopper.
This weekend, as we came down the Spanish Banks hill, each of us mentally preparing for our seaside stroll I thought to myself, "Make yourself comfortable."
Although Kelly mentioned bringing a toothbrush into transition, (I always feel more comfortable after brushing my teeth), this weekend "Make yourself comfortable," was about mindset and rewards.
We're driving through the Okanogan and it's a blistering 33 degrees. Shirts off, sweat slides through every crevasse, collecting in a puddle at the back of the seat. Face is warm, feet a little puffy, and skin is sticky. Mouth becomes a little dry, and then the baked post race feeling . . .
"Dude, this is awesome! I love the summer. Windows down, wind in the face, fresh Okanogan nectarines cleans the palate . . . "I would walk 500 miles . . . da dada lada!"
Our reward is a stop in the Similkameen river. Drive on.
Riding around UBC, seat on the seat, feet on the pedals, legs roll'n round, it looks like the race is taking place up ahead. Ok, hatch a plan. . .
Make yourself comfortable, then dig in for 5 - 10.
And the reward, a cool drink from the bottle. Ride on.
Great racing this weekend. Shout out to LifeSport crew for hosting the event, Steve King for the everpresent "getchago'n" broadcast, and perhaps the most important contributor, Spanish Banks.
What is the best way to do this? What's the most efficient? How can I maximize this time? What else can I be doing right now? Wander in circles . . .
Even during recovery . . . What else could I be doing? I could massage the legs? Wait, maybe legs up the wall. Do I make some tea? Do I watch some TV? Do I epsome the legs? Or, maybe I could ice?
And sometimes during training sessions . . . How will I descend this swim set? What's my strategy on these bike intervals? If I'm running this hard, when do I pick it up?
These are all great questions, that is, if we allow ourselves to hear the answer. In fact, if for just one moment we slow down enough to listen, the answer is ready and waiting.
Sometimes these questions, like most other things of a reasoning nature, grow an essence of their own. They speed up, and before long start whirling out of control. As this happens, a change in focus occurs.
We begin to focus on the questions themselves instead of just simply knowing the answer.
Hear the question, acknowledge the question, pause, listen to the answer, gently return to biking and breathing.
Ride the set. Ride the set on the roads.
Set complete. Cool down. Return to the world of talking. Return home for recovery where the easiest & perhaps most effective method is simply becoming quiet.
Quiet body allows the physical to recover. Quiet mind allows the mental to recover.
Thanks for a great transition weekend to the long stuff.
Thursday May 22, 2009, the 1st official bib shorts & a t-shirt ride of 2009!
Wow, it feels strange and unusual to have so much exposed skin on the bike. Between the near blinding white reflection each time I glance down to see the knees, & cool ocean breeze, the new experience is almost sensory overload.
Fortunately, the external overload is soon overwhelmed by internal receptors. Warm up must be finished; we're onto the main set.
Back to the Beacon Hill loop for some TT style speed & agility training.
In the Fall it was Jalapeno Cross style Beacon Hill S & A training. Become the terrain! Flow with it, ride with it, feel the wind & roll with it.
Now on the TT machine (yet to be named) we become invisible to the wind. As if some kind of superpowered thoroughbred, we gracefully slide under the wind.
Today I woke up & made an espresso. To make things even better, it was a double shot! Definitely a highlight.
Today I saved 40cents on Soy Milk! That's 40 cents off the sale price! To make things even better, it's made right here in Victoria. Definitely a highlight.
Today I rode my bike with Jazz & Mike. To make things even better, it was sunny! Definitely a highlight.
Today I swam in Crystal Pool. To make things even better, I wore my wetsuit! Definitely a highlight.
Today I dropped some old sweaters off at the house. To make things even better, I saw my bro! Definitely a highlight.
Today we made Pitas for dinner. To make things even better, they had bbq chicken, red onion, green pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, homemade tzatziki, homemade hummous, olives, cucumber, & tomatos on them. Definitely a highlight.
Ride to the Observatory & hammer the set, one through ten, living that place just above threshold. We know just how long the set will take. Our minds comprehend just what the set will feel like. We prepare.
To begin, the hill is the ego's enemy; but as we continue to ascend, we decide which wolf to feed.
We ride the set. We feel the legs, lactate accumulating. We know the feeling, and as the feeling overcomes our legs, we refocus. What else do we have?
Right now we have legs and lungs. We feel our lungs. Focus on big gear breathing.
Breathe in . . . in a little more . . . deeper . . . pause . . . breathe out . . . out a little more . . . deeper . . . pause . . . breathe in. . .
We allow our breath in. We allow it to nourish, existing in the pause.
Our breath, once a part of the hill changes fate.
We become our breath as our breath becomes us. We embrace the hill, as right now the hill brings our breath.
Ride the set. Finish the set. Ride home.
. . .Pause . . .
We have 13 hours before the next set. We allow the set to assimilate.
This particular set is now gone forever. All that remains is what we allow to become a part of us.
A beautiful byproduct of biking are the bountiful roads on which we ride. There are so many. Each of us have our favourites. A perfect ride on the perfect day to make the perfect workout. Some days call for an easy waterfront spin, others a highlands adventure.
The Fall calls Muddy cyclocross. Royal Roads . . . Camosun . . . Finlayson Arm?
The Winter calls Snowy hike-a-bike style cyclocross. Harbourview . . . Jack Lake . . . Crabapple Lake?
We're into spring, and onto racing. Summer calls for the Okanogan, so I suppose Spring calls for Okanogan prep.
I remember my first official Long Course bike interval set last October, 3 x 30 minutes @ goal race pace. I thought, "That's 90 minutes of pace work!"
Comfortably perched on a borrowed bike from Mike, we were off. Three hours later we were home.
Today we revisited the set, this time on a Jazz styled charriot.
"Have a good set dude!"
Oh yeah, we're about to do a set. This is more than just a ride. We're doing a set! If we're doing a set, that means racing is just around the corner. It's a Long Course set too. This stuff is cool.
The past few weeks have been pretty sweet. Our build began with the HPR360 ride, followed by some speed with the North Island Tanks, home for a rest day, and into another great building week.
Our newly formed swim group has been great. It's a Jazz-man-mix-master-MikeNeill-Clint-Creation. The practices are smooth, steady, & everyone seems to be gaining fitness along with speed. "The workouts won't get tougher, but you will." - CL Sweet.
Steady riding & an intro to speed running carried us through Wednesday's threshold & onto Big Gear Saturday.
Waterfront warm up + 53 + 12 + Pat Bay Highway + 3 x 30 + 2 x HPR sightings + pushing the speed traps + waterfront cool down = a great ride. Home for a snack, pool for a swim, package pickup, dinner, rest, & ready to race.
Wake up, warm up, race it up. Coach Jazz had very specific instrucitions for the race. "Just mix it up."
Great to hit up Beacon Hill for a Sunday morning run with ARuss. Sweet run dude.
Sunday afternoon was our official second annual post TC long ride. This Sunday ARuss & I were joined by former Swiss speed skater & fellow NTC athlete Nicolas. Nice riding Nic.
We're onto one more building week before a few days easy days.
The next 3 days will be awesome . . . long run, long ride, long ride. Sounds good to me.
First, a big shout out to the whole HPR gang. Thanks for being so accommodating & inviting us on your ride!
We met the group out at Broadmead around 8am for the beginning of our ride. Up & over the Malahat we cruised a steady pace before turning off at Mill Bay for the Oceanside route.
We do so much riding on this side of the hill, I had almost forgotten about all the perfect asphalt on the other side. It's like an extended waterfront loop, complete with more farm lands, winding roads, & coffee shops along the way.
A few miles out of Bamberton I decided to start our set for the day, 3 x 30 minutes big gear. I figured it best to start this set early in the ride. Little did I know, big gear is Ben's specialty. Wow. Dude, can crank on big gear. Sweet riding man.
Heading into Chemanus we had developed a great little group including myself, the Jazz man, Big Ben, and the A-Team (Adrian & Allan). Great riding by the group with a few wicked fast sections.
Quick coffee at the Jumping Bean, then onto Parksville. Cruising, cruising, cruising, legs feel good & thanks to a pocket full of delicious homemade cookies ;) the blood sugar remained nice and level.
Since November I have stayed completely away from any energy drink, bar, or anything to that extent. I figure there's enough of that during the summer racing months. This weekend however, I decided it was time to throw a little something in the water bottle, so Vega Sport went to the test. It's a clean drink & kept the fire burning well. Good return to the "energy/power/sport drink" world.
We kept the pace rolling along the water & onto the Inland Highway on our way into Parksville. Great ride guys! Thanks for the car support & directions too!
After downing a few massive steamed soy milk drinks, the North Island Tanks picked me up & we drove up to Comox where we would race the next day.
Great big Thanks to Wille & Barb for hosting our teams on Saturday evening.
Lots of pre race laughs & chill'n out before bed. Great to keep the first real effort of the season ultra low key.
Sunday morning came & our warm thoughts held off the rain. Warm up the legs with a little Tiger Balm & lots of accelerations spaced within a warm up spin. Ready to race.
I was so relaxed leading up to the start, for a moment (just a moment) I worried. Aren't I supposed to be nervous before a race? Ahh . . . just go with it, & as Mr. Gordo Salt used to say before every nordic adventure, "Have Fun Stevo." Well, that's easy enough.
As soon as David came running up the beach from his kayak, it was on. Was it ever on. The racing head turned on like a light. Go. Bunny hop a few speed bumps on the way out, get in the tuck, & go.
Nice racing North Island Tanks. Sweet weekend, sweet racing. Thanks for a fun one!
Cool Down. Cheer a bit. Eat a bunch. Saddle up. Ride.
This time it was the Oceanside route from Courtney to Quallicum, & a quick call for a ride home. Thanks!
Today we had a chance to run with the super quick, super cool NTC dev/junior squad. Thanks for a few fast laps guys. You guys are wicked fast.
First I made friends with kick sets, then band swimming. Swim breathing patterns and I are officially on the same team.
It happened during today's straight swim set, (2 x 1000m). First one breathe: 3, 5, 3, 7, 3, 9, 3, 11 by 50m, next one choice. By the time I was 800m through the first k, I knew what my choice would be. More breathing patterns.
Turns out the trick is to breath out.
Having grown up as a land creature, I have previously become accustomed to breathing in at will.
In the relatively new and alien aquatic environment, breathing in naturally becomes a primary focus. On occasion I forget to notice if in fact I am breathing. I believe this forgetful moment is when I truly experience swimming.
A focused breathing routine becomes almost mantric in nature, thus intentionally shifting the focus both inward & outward.
In any case, swim breathing patterns are now my friend.
Today I went on a run with no watch. Parts were fast, & parts were slow. Parts were up hill, & parts were down hill. Sometimes there was a head wind, & sometimes a tail wind. For a while the legs felt heavy, then they felt light, then they were gone.
The sky was always up. The earth was always down.
Training hours for this week, month, and year will forever be a mystery.
The first race of the season will be this weekend up in Comox, the Ski to Surf relay. Time to test the bike legs!
I love training solo, & when you end up meeting a fellow athlete at one of our awesome training venues here on our Paradise Island on the Pacific, it's extra awesome.
There have been a number of times when it happens just at the right moment. Sometimes the person you meet provides inspiration to help push you through a set. "Oh yeah, there are people out here. We can do this."
I remember a few particular Friday evening Crystal pool sessions this time a year ago.
Walk on deck in my shorts ready for a frequency swim to see A-russ tappin' away at the treadmill upstairs. "Cool. This is what we do."
The other day as Jazz & I were enjoying a little bit of speedy running along the breakwater area we were passed by a few HPR athletes on bikes. "Looking good guys. Keep it up."
"Very cool. This is what we do! We're all here together. We can do this together."
Thanks for the encouragement.
A few longer bike sets today gave an opportunity to watch and refocus the wandering mind. "How can I make it home after running?" Who cares. Right now is riding.
I finished a very duck friendly main set on the bike with few treadmill miles @ PISE. There will be a way home.
"Hey, there's McCartney, fit, fast, & back from Tucson!"
Big time shout out to ya today man. Thanks for the ride home!
Frosh week 2002. "It's like summer camp, but we can do whatever we want."
Isn't it cool being an adult? We can do whatever we want!
Anything, you name it.
If you can dream it, it's as good as there. Think of anything.
Imagine a circle, big or small, green or purple, any circle you want. Remember that circle. Know what it feels like. Is it smooth? Is it made of wood, some kind of metal, or stone? Know what it smells like, summer sand, winter rain, anything. Know what it sounds like. Can you throw it? Does it make a sound?
It would be pretty easy to bring that circle into your life.
If you were to focus for a little while, spend a day or so, you would have that circle. You could make that circle however you want. It could be here tomorrow. It could be here today.
What do you have on your list today? Is it really that important? How about the circle? How important is that? Does that circle really matter to you?
It's Monday morning & if making a circle is really that easy, think about what you can do this week!
Training has been great. Surprise speed on Saturday with surprise rest on Sunday. Here's to a great one.
Last year while down in Tucson we started the ice cream routine.
It began with a little street soccer, which gradually transformed to rolling the ball back and fourth. Before long we found ourselves sitting on the curb reminiscing on the day's training, considering what flavor would best suit our cool down.
Mint Chocolate Chip, Moose Tracks, Cookie Dough . . .
The routine has carried through this year:
Hamstrings then quads, hamstrings then quads, hamstrings then quads. . . Moose Tracks on the legs feels so good.
10 weeks ago I happened upon the chance to coordinate one of the Times Colonist 10K clinics, and what an awesome opportunity this has become!
Working with one of the largest clinic groups in the city has been a gift. It's been a pleasure to work with each of you.
- As always I began the day with a Sunday Sunrise Search run, this time sticking to the soft undulating cedar chip trails.
Whether you're riding out and back along the Galloping Goose, or Running around Cedar Hill, we often roll pass the same person a few times in a given session. It's amazing how much communication can happen in a passing glance. One smile on the way past . . . & next time it's passed right back to you. It's free energy, & it feels good. -
Today I was asked to do a talk on "The Bad Day."
Fortunately, part of the deal is I have pretty much free range on what angle to take with these talks.
The Bad Day . . . hmmm. What exactly are we talking about here?
The day is just a day. It's a day just as every day is a day. The day is the same day it has always been, for thousand of years past and thousands of years to come!
The day is a day, & it will always be just that, a day.
A good day? . . . A great day!
A bad day . . . eh? Is that a day where you're just not hitting the numbers on the track, in the pool, or on the bike?
Just like the day, the numbers are just the numbers. They are the same numbers they have always been. Sometimes they are high. Sometimes they are low. They are just numbers. They can be great tools, only because they are exactly what they are.
The day is. The numbers are. So what's the difference?
We learn to experience the day, the run, the swim, the bike, the bus, the drive, the wait in line, the wind, the rain, the birds, the waves, the sun, the clouds, the sky, the ocean, the mountains . . .
We learn to experience these things just as they are, for their own absolute perfection in being just what they are, as they are.
The joy of just running, swimming, biking, busing, driving, waiting, seeing, listing, feeling, living . . .
Just as fast as we share our experience of the day with each other, we choose what the day is.
Pass on the smile and there's free energy for a great day.
I am forever grateful to have waterproof skin. I have found this inner mallard connection to be very useful during the beautiful Victoria rainy season, especially while it coincides with our bike volume. What a great friendship to have during those back to back Jordan River riding, Leechtown exploring, Jack Lake looking, Crab apple Lake finding, Malahat climbing, Shawnigan suburb discovering, Goldstream hike-a-biking rides.
Thank You inner duck. I am happy to have met you.
A connection with the inner monkey:
For the past year or so, "relax the hands" has been on my swimming list. Relax the hands on recovery. Relax the hands on the back 1/2 of your stroke. Feel the water. Every so often I feel the flexion & finish with extension. Spend enough hours on the bike & you begin to feel the pedals. Relax the ankles. Feel the pedals. At the bottom 1/2 of your pedal stroke, relax the ankles. Now you have monkey feet. Feel the pedals, feel the stroke with your relaxed tree climbing monkey feet.
Thank You inner monkey. I am happy to have met you.
Last year Coach PK introduced us to the Alexander Technique. Essentially, this is where we relax the antagonist muscle group in order to maximize potential of the contracting muscle.
The other day while rolling around with Jalapeno, I was thinking about recovery & my mind wandered back to this technique. Can we apply the Alexander Technique to recovery? What exactly happens during recovery? How do we really recover?
In order to maximize recovery potential, we must relax the antagonist. We must turn off everything else. Is this active, or is this passive?
Initially there must be active thought in order to relax the antagonist. It requires effort to break the habbit.
Recovery is much the same. We must first actively turn off the work, then we become at peace with rest.
For rest to provide peace, we must first be at peace with rest.