Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The next chapter

It sure has been an eventful year for me! If I had a say, I might have swapped some of these "events" for something like say, a long uneventful ride, being able to go for a lovely sunset trail run, or even having the feeling of achy legs from a hard day's training. Ok, I will stop thinking about impossible situations of the past right now, but I'm just saying there sure has been a lot going on for me. Now this may sound surprising, but all joking aside, if I could go back, I truly don't think I'd change anything. Yes, adversity is all part of the sport and it sucks, but going through what I've gone through has got me to where I am today and that really is a good place.

I've decided to join coach Darren Smith's squad for the "next chapter" of my career. Maybe I should actually phrase it as I have been "accepted" by Darren and his squad, since he appears to put a lot of thought and research into his decisions. I have the utmost trust that I will be in good hands and a good fit for his squad of highly successful and lovely athletes. What happens from here in terms of training and racing is a little up in the air as the injuries sort themselves out, but for the first time in awhile, I feel as though I have a clear plan.

Now I can't end this without saying a huge thank you to coach Phil for the past 12 months. Thank you for helping me achieve some career-high results and putting up with me on a daily basis (by now you must laugh - or sigh! - when you see I am calling!!). Thanks for being a wonderful coach and a great friend.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Putting the pieces together

Triathlon is like a puzzle to me. There are so many pieces, some sort of fit together if you force them, but if the fit isn't right and you push too hard, you're going to bend the piece. And, you're definitely never going to finish the puzzle with a bent up piece in the wrong place. But, when they do fit together you're able move on to the next piece, the next challenge. I don't exactly know what the equivalent to finishing the puzzle is..... maybe Olympic gold? But then again, we've seen those gold medalists back at it right away, still wanting more, excitedly looking for the next piece to the puzzle.

I guess you can say I have a bent puzzle piece right now. I had the niggly knee issue before the crash (first crease in the puzzle piece). Then the crash itself (good solid bend in the piece). Then the two months that followed the crash where I tried to keep moving (basically this puzzle piece was put through the paper shredder!). Don't worry, I'm laughing with you here.

I came down to Scottsdale last week to meet with Nate Koch at Endurance Rehab and have a fresh take on my situation. Nate started with a full assessment, then immediately sent me off for an MRI, and let's just say the time between then and now hasn't been at all what I had expected. I had two ideas in my mind of how things might pan out when I came down here: 1) Two days working with Nate and then I'm back home with a new approach. 2) Two days with Nate then a couple weeks in Tucson, training with Sam. On Friday night I had to create a new option: 3)Two days working with Nate, followed by an entire month working with Nate everyday. It turns out my little irritation in the knee is the symptom of a bigger issue in my hip. For the time being, I'm taking a break from biking and running, focusing on rehab (and not the celebrity type :)

It's been an interesting weekend for me, a bit of a scramble to say the least. Because I was booked to return home on Saturday morning I had some last-minute changes to make. The biggest challenge was finding a month-long rental on short notice, but thankfully the "snowbirds" are leaving town and I was able to get a vacation rental for a great rate.

It's a bizarre feeling being here alone, unable to train. I'm not exactly on vacation, but yet staying at a resort. The only suit I brought is my training suit and I don't really have much desire to put that on and lounge by the pool. Don't worry, I am NOT complaining. I realize I am in Arizona for a month. I'm just saying the circumstances make it a little bizarre.

I have no doubt that I made the right decision coming down here, but the next month will be an interesting challenge. We need to repair that puzzle piece!

I did get to do something touristy on Friday. To stop myself from losing my mind as I waited for the MRI results, I went to the Desert Botanical Gardens. I'm obsessed with all things floral and this trip happened to coincide with the beautiful spring desert flowers blooming. If you remember my Saguaro cactus blog from Tucson last year, I was crazy intrigued by these incredible plants so to have witnessed them in all shapes and sizes with closed-up flower buds was enough to distract me from the test result anticipation (remember, the flowers open only at night and they are pollinated by BATS!). Plus it was an incredibly hot day, so I was one happy camper to stroll through the desert.

Remember they grow only 1 inch per year!

I totally felt for this guy. Sometimes I just want to tuck up in a ball too!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maple and thyme roasted carrots

That title pretty much sums of the ingredients...

Fresh thyme
Olive oil (~2 tbsp)
Maple syrup (~1 tbsp)
Cinnamon (pinch)
Salt & pepper

Slice up the carrots (or leave whole if they're skinny) and toss in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Spread out on a cookie sheet and roast at 415 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, tossing once or twice. So simple and almost tastes like a dessert...almost...

And, now that my wrist is healed up and strong, I'm back to endangering my life by chopping squash! If you happen to have a squash on hand (any kind will work great), slice it up and roast it at the same time as the carrots. Tonight we roasted this banana squash with some thyme (can you tell what herb I'm crazy about these days?), olive oil, salt and pepper. It cooks quicker than the carrots so keep an eye on it and pull it out just as the edges crisp up.

I'm taking a hiatus from the kitchen for a bit. I've decided to take a new approach to my rehab and head down to Arizona tomorrow. I might be back in as soon as three days, but maybe longer... more on that soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunshine, please

My life has been a bit of a roller coaster lately, and not exactly in a thrilling, can't-wait-to-ride again kind of way. Jokingly a few weeks back, Adam said to me, "when it rains, it pours" and even I had to laugh at that.

I first punched my ticket on this coaster back in December when my knee started to act up, likely from a change in bike position or new run insoles. But, it seemed to settle down quickly and I was off to Maui, excited to get the season started. On day 3 into the camp was the crash, leaving me with a broken clavicle and wrist, and a very banged up body. No big deal, bones will heal, so let's keep moving. This is when the storm clouds moved in and the drizzle began. To sum it up and end an already cheezy analogy, my knee pain returned, manifesting itself in every possible form over the next couple of months, leaving me a confused and emotional wreck. At times swimming with a one-armed splint and one flipper became the highlight of my day. Finally an MRI diagnosed it as quadricep tendonitis that likely developed into other knee issues as I did my best to keep my achy body moving after the crash. The good news is that I have narrowed it down to the one problem and have a plan in place to heal this up.

I found a few "silver linings" to this injury:

1) Appreciation. I have an enormous amount of appreciation for what our bodies allow us to do on a daily basis. Also, appreciation for what we have in life outside of sport (family, friends, our health, opportunities, etc). I find it so easy to get caught up in the moment, living in this injury bubble, stressed about what I can't do that others are doing, that I forget for just a moment how lucky I am to lead the life that I do.

2) Learning how the body works. Any non-medical professional want to challenge me on a game of knee or clavicle trivia? Bring it!

3) Swimming. I've had the opportunity to start my stroke from scratch, rather than my usual approach of doing a little bit of stroke work here and there while trying to get fit and fast. In the end, old habits would always stick around. But, when you are forced to swim only 25m full stroke at a time, slowly, everyday, making changes is possible, also giving training a sense of purpose and having a goal to work towards.

4) Motivation. I can't lie, there is nothing more motivating than a setback. Well, maybe it takes a lengthy setback to get you motivated, but whatever works right? I've also had the time to evaluate my goals and the road ahead. Why do I do this? What is my ultimate goal and am I on track to achieve it? If not, what needs to change?

Now, these pics are totally unrelated to everything above, but bring a spot of sunshine to my life . Rumon, thanks for capturing the joy on that day!

Best man duty: corral the peacocks!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reader Recipe

Thank you to Heather and Andrew Kennedy from London, ON for sharing this recipe.

They have created their version of a beet salad they enjoyed while traveling in France last summer. In my opinion, if "yummy" is part of the title, then you simply cannot go wrong!

I know what I'm making for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing!


-mixed greens
-roasted beets (we do ours at 450 degrees for 1 hour and then peel and chop them)
-grated carrot
-corn kernels (ideally fresh; canned work well too)
-baby potatoes, thinly sliced and fried in olive oil
-a fried egg...mmm
-grated cheese to top (we like asiago)
-dressing = balsamic vinegar + olive oil + salt + pepper