Redefine Your Possible

I have been thinking about this blog post for a few days.  I've started it, deleted, restarted... I'm not sure why I can't seem to find the words.  Redefine Your Possible.  I saw that on a t-shirt the other day. Normally I'm not one to get in a bother over cheesy inspirational sayings, but this one is sticking with me.

What does that mean for me?  How do I even know what is possible?  I have some goals in mind... and what I struggle with is what if the goals I've set are unreachable?  Or what if they're too reachable, and I'm not even challenging myself?  How do I redefine my possible when I am not sure what is possible?

Perhaps that's the takeaway.  We don't really know what's possible, so there's not really a point to all the negative self-talk we engage in. The "I can't" "It's too hard/long/fast" etc.  It's also pretty easy to simply coast, and rest on what we've done before as good enough - but are we striving to reach the limit of what's possible?

Again, I'm not sure why I can't seem to shake this saying from my head.  Redefine Your Possible.  I think this holds true not only for sport, but for our personal lives, relationships, work, play... It's more than setting goals - it's looking within and making sure you're living the best life you can.  Redefine Your Possible.  Live Like You Mean It. I believe those are intertwined.  Redefine Your Possible - what does that mean for you?

Let 2012 be the year where we all redefine what is possible!


My left knee has been bugging me a lot lately.  Tender, sore, swollen... probably mainly from use (i.e. running) as I recently upped my run volume.  And - this may be the understatement of the year - I am not a biomechanically perfect runner.  Anyways, lucky for me and my knees, I have an amazing chiropractor who, no matter what mess I seem to make of myself, has always been able to put me back together.

Jim Verners (Verners Chiropractic) is a true master of his profession.  He's also an ART (active release techniques) guru, having studied under Dr. Leahy himself.  Jim is continually updating his skills and learning innovative new procedures.  So when I presented to him last week, his prognosis was that with 3 or so treatments of FAKTR my knee would be better than new.

FAKTR is Functional And Kinetic Treatment with Rehab - sounds harmless, doesn't it?  The idea behind it is to heal soft tissue and fascial disorders through the use of instruments.  He used the Graston technique on me, which involves treating me while under load - as in he has me do movements while applying treatment with his surgical-steel grade instrument and hands.

The benign-looking FAKTR instrument.
I had a lot of scar tissue between my IT band and vastus lateralis of my quadriceps, probably due to my patellar misalignment.  So Jim had me stand on a Thera-Band stability trainer, and do one-legged squats while he ran his what I now call torture device over the scar tissue.  Torture device because this treatment does not come pleasantly to the patient!  But I have complete trust in Jim.  After the first treatment, the swelling and soreness was completely gone.  An hour and a half run with no additional soreness afterwards, unprecedented!  I've had two treatments so far, and now need to work the foam roller for 10 days before the third treatment, at which point we'll reassess to see if I need more.

A bit of aftermath... but it's all worth it!

Snowy Afternoon Run

We are pretty lucky here on Vancouver Island, and we know it.  Our "winter" is pretty different than what the rest of our country experiences.  Like most of Canada, pretty much every kid plays hockey.  But unlike most of Canada, we're mowing lawns in February while the rest are digging out from under snowbanks.

Mother Nature never lets us forget that we are Canadian though, and I'd say we get at least 2-3 days of snow every year.  Yesterday a light dusting fell, just enough to make everything pretty.  Normally I shun snow, but decided this time to enjoy it and took Humu for a run.

Start of the Cowichan Valley Trail.

Won't exactly make the cover of Winter Wonderland
magazine, but still pretty and peaceful.

This morning though was a different story - some true Canadian karma as we got dumped on.  I think there's about 10 centimetres on our deck.  Roads were treacherous and barely passable.  A lot of people - including many of my students despite their finals next week - just stayed at home.  Yes... I know that 10 cm doesn't really rank as a great Canadian snowfall, but here it does.  And it looks like we avoided the worst of it - seems that Seattle and Portland got really pounded.  What will all the Portland fixie-riders do to get around town?

It's supposed to start raining Friday though, so there's only a couple more days of the white stuff left.  I am venturing into unknown territory and will try to do a long run tomorrow in the snow.  Sidewalks are impassable, but the trails should be ok.  I'm going to see how long I can last before my feet freeze anyway.  Wish me luck!  

Sunny Afternoon Run

I hurried home from work because it was such a beautiful day; I wanted to get out and enjoy it.  I loaded Humu up and headed to Mt. Tzouhalem for a trail run, one of our favourite haunts.

Looking over at Tzou from our house.

I brought the camera as January usually doesn't present bluebird days around here.

Humu is one happy dog when we're trail running.  That and cuddling on the couch are her two favourite activities.

It's pretty hard to get a good picture of her running.  Usually they turn out just out of focus, like this one:

After running along the ridge for a bit, I turned onto some singletrack through the woods.  That's where the camera battery died, too bad as the trails are really nice.  I chatted for a bit with a friend pedaling by, and realized I haven't been on my mountain bike for awhile.  I need to remedy that!

Once home, I raced into the house and grabbed a spare battery, just in time to catch the sun setting behind the hills to the west.

Humu always looks so dejected to be finished a run.  She would keep going forever!

Surviving Winter Riding

Here on Vancouver Island we have a couple of options for riding in the winter.  Yesterday Jason and I each chose a different one, and here I explain the equipment necessary for each type.

Option A

- helmet
- toque
- glasses
- rain jacket
- wool jersey
- polypro base layer
three-layer gloves
- thermal bib tights
- bib shorts
- hot chili socks
- neoprene shoe covers
- winter fleece-lined cycling shoes
- small pack with back-up clothing
- cyclocross bike with tractor tires

Option B

- tank top
- cycling shorts
- tri shoes
- trainer
- book of trainer workouts
- tv & remote

No matter which option you choose, the important thing is you're riding.  Happy pedaling, indoors or out!

Reset Button

For the last few months I've just been farting around, training wise.  Doing something almost every day, but not a lot of anything.  Funny how that proverbial change of the calendar year causes a change, and now I'm pushing the reset button and getting on with things.

Doing a mid-November Ironman means I have a looooong time until race day.  Too long to start "Ironman training" now, but as far as I'm concerned training for the season is now underway.  It's a challenge to make sure I'm doing enough to improve my fitness, but not too much to burn out before the next ten and a half months go by.

Figuring out what to do is of course partly designated to my coach, but I feel like I need to take some personal responsibility as well.  My goals are all mine, and thinking back to IMAZ 2010, it was pretty easy to come up with some.  Maintain swim.  Improve bike a bit - although I was pretty happy with my time that day, especially given the windy conditions.  Improve run A LOT.

I am pretty disappointed that I didn't improve my run that much over the past year.  I don't really feel like I'm running much faster, but I feel like there's improvement bubbling just under the surface.  Hopefully it will well upwards by spring - especially since I've signed up for the Oak Bay half marathon in May.

A portion of the Ironman marathon I was actually running ok.
Working towards more of that for 2012.
Given that, my training for the next little while will focus on the run.  I need to tell myself - and you have to picture this in Dory's voice from Finding Nemo: "Just keep running, just keep running...".  If I keep running, I know improvement will come.

For the next six weeks, I have a general training framework that I hope will reset me from the goofing-around stage to base-building.  It involves running 4x/week up to 90 mins for my "long" run, power walking 1x/week on the treadmill - coach Kiki wants me to get my walking speed up for those inevitable walk breaks during the IM marathon (hopefully fewer this time), plus riding, swimming, and weights/core only twice a week right now.  I am reminding myself that there's lots of time to build for the bike, and while it's rain rain rain outside is not the time.

Tonight's agenda has a conversation with coach Kiki... I know she'll have some ideas to challenge me, and others to reassure me.  That's basically what she does in a nutshell.

For now - just keep running, just keep running...

Friends, Holidays, Parties, and "The Snow"

This past week has been a blur, highlighted by a visit with long-time BFF (we've known each other since we were 12 years old) Shireen who was visiting with her husband Brett from Australia. Seeing as they live about as far away on this planet as you can get, it's always a super-special treat to get to see them.

Getting dressed up for Diana's 40th -
"Glitz and Glam" theme. I felt like
a human disco ball all night!

Brett really wanted to see "the snow", and of course we had to explain that here in Canada we just say snow, there's no "the" first. I guess when something's as common as snow in this country, there's no need for an article. However, snow isn't actually that common here on the island, so we had to drive over 2 hours to a ski resort in the mountains.

The day started with a frantic search around the house to make sure the four of us had enough warm clothes to wear. Jason and I put our winter boots away for safe-keeping a year or two ago (that should tell you how much snow we get), and of course we couldn't find them anywhere. Nice to know they're safe though.

Sandwiched into the car with all our gear, we headed up-island. Brett kept a close eye on the car's outside temperature gauge as made the turn up the mountain, and pretty much gasped when it went below freezing. But it didn't go much farther, and it was a nice sunny day so conditions for our chosen activity, snow tubing, were perfect.

After a yummy lunch in the nordic lodge (they tend to have healthier fare than the alpine lodge), we headed to the alpine area and trudged across the runs to the tubing zone. Being that it was a holiday week, it was pretty busy and there was a wait for the "lift" to get up to the top.

Riding the tubing lift.

All bundled up but enjoying the sun.

After a couple of hours, the track started to get really fast as the sun set and the temperature dropped a few more degrees. After a particularly speedy trip down, we were all sufficiently frozen (especially the Aussies) and decided to call it a day. One quick stop at Brett's favourite Canadian treat - Beaver Tails, and we headed for home. It was a fast trip back down the island as we all (except Jason who was driving) slept almost the whole way home.

Me with S&B - I guess it's our turn to visit next
as I think they've been here 3 times since we
were last in Oz. We have to figure out how we
can do Ironman Western Australia!