Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Life is pain. This is a stark reality. So often we want the pain or problem to go away so we can return to "normal". However, pain and problems are normal. Way back in ‘95 I must have torn my rotator cuff in the Canadian Birky XC race. A friend of mine, one of the top sports doctors in the world (currently the head doc for the NHL), gave me some exercises to do. Every 1-3 years the pain would come back-I’d do the exercises and within a month I’m pain free and good to go. Not so this time.

The shoulder pain returned this year around Christmas (I remember thinking in the fall as we started skiing how great my shoulder felt-no pain). I put off the exercises since the pain wasn’t bad and I probably was overly familiar with the drill. However, I must have fallen on it. I’d really been pushing my downhills to get better this year. I must have torn it in several of my falls (I tend to fall on that particular shoulder with my arm extended-the perfect recipe for RCuff disaster).

So now if I raise my arm and twist it at all pain shoots down my arm feeling like a knife has been jammed into my shoulder. I’m useless for swimming as I can’t even extend my arm to do the freestyle stroke. This will be the first year since 2000 that I haven’t done triathlons.

Add to this my broken finger (injured in the most minor of falls) which is healed, but stiff and painful. This morning I lamented, "I wish I just didn’t have this pain." Well, I’ve got 2 choices... either wait until it’s gone to enjoy the things I like to do or do them anyway in pain (while still doing everything I can to facilitate the healing). My mother in law (passed away suddenly 1 month ago) was the epitome of this. She was in constant pain for most of her life. She’d spent most of my wife’s childhood in bed suffering. Her family really missed out. But one day, she decided to re-join the world in spite of her pain. She stopped trying to get over it and start living again. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it was nice to have her back after all those years. Maybe there’s something too about getting involved, as it distracts us from ourselves and personal pain.

From what I’ve been reading and hearing from my doc, it’s almost certain I need shoulder surgery....bummer. I don’t know how long it’ll take to see the specialist, then I don’t know how long it’ll take to actually get the surgery, but once I do it’ll be at least 3 months of recovery. This could be a long frustrating ride.

Oh well, I’ll just get on with what I can do and not think about what I cannot. First on the agenda is this weekend’s famous "Ski 2 Sea" relay in WA. I’m going to ski and prepare as if it’s the last race I’ll ever do (hopefully not the case!).

Monday, May 13, 2013


Well, we’re into week 4 of next ski season’s training cycle. After every season I like to write down what I felt I did right in training and what I did wrong, or want to improve in. When it’s all done, it can be quite a list. Here’s a quick summary:

Did right:
-zone 4 fitness. Did consistent Z 4 workouts starting in the summer (taking a 1 month break after my peak triathlon) then 2x/wk. Doing challenging peaking intervals (:30 x 20 w/ :30 rest); time trials; long intervals, short intervals. I felt I came into the early race season (Dec 1) in top form.

-consistent leg strength. I saw a lot of improvement in my squats and deadlifts, etc. Didn’t shirk off or blow these off . It definately helped in downhills, etc.

-Got transitions dialed in What used to be a weakness has now turned into a strength.

-Downhill training at Norquay. Still improving on those downhills.

 Not Right:
-maybe peaked too early. Too much Zone 4?

-still not enough 5 hr workouts (like in my Ironman days)

-Nutrition suffered. Vit D, Calcium (1 broken bone this year, maybe 2), Mag.

What to do different this next year
-maybe 1 less workout/wk.... 2 days off instead of 1/wk.;

-no in between workouts. Go long, or go hard, or rest

-keep measuring.... but do more (tt’s; st.; hours; int’ls;). Record, challenge....always looking to improve

-roller skiing w/ skimo gear (tt up Norquay access road-record)

-more technical skinning and downhill practice in manky conditions (on race gear)

(left)-one of the awesome runs in my backyard

First off,  
I’ve got to get my shoulder healed. A torn rotator cuff from years ago really got torn up more this year as I kept falling on that shoulder. Surgery may be necessary (3 month recovery). I’m going to try to strengthen rehab it as I’ve done effectively for the last 17 years (when I first injured it). Secondly, I’m going to try to build more recovery into my weeks. 2 zone 4's, 3 long ones (2-5 hours); after that just strength training (in winter 1 day of lift downhill training). Lastly, I discovered some amazing terrain right out my door. The mountain behind my house actually has some incredible skiing (you’re probably thinking, "duh, what took you so long"). I’ve already been developing it a bit-I have a 1.4km race course complete w/ bootpack and jumpturn manditory downhill. But there’s a couple drainages back there w/ multiple couloirs. It’ll allow me to train difficult uphill skinning and manky snow, challenging downhills. Plus, I can get more hours in without having to travel to a venue. Just gotta figure out a way to ski there safely.

Well, it's finally getting summery out there, so it's time to have some dryland fun!  Oh wait!!!! I get to race in the Ski to Sea at Mt Baker. One more skimo race to go (I've been doing at least one z4 workout per week to stay in shape!).