It’s about time I write something on this blog of mine. At the very least, it’s time for a mental dump.
Today was a sad day, learning that a Canadian triathlete, Catherine Clarke died in a car accident while in New Zealand. Apparently her partner Glenn was injured in the crash. Being in New Zealand not too long ago ourselves, I know how crazy those roads can be. That is a tragic loss, and feel terrible for her family.
As for me, I’ve been flying under the radar, not intentionally, it just sort of has worked out like that. The challenges and victories that I’ve faced this year are more personal than anything, and perhaps that’s why I’ve kept to myself. The past year has been a transition phase for myself – bridging the gap between identifying where I’ve been, what’s important to me, and where am I headed, and what’s next?
From the age of 15 years old, I wanted to be a great triathlete and/or cross country skiier. I was passionate about these sports – driven by an insatiable thirst of testing myself with every and any occasion to work hard. I would triathlon races around southern ontario (which were Graham Fraser’s Trisport series races, sponsored by President’s Choice and mmmMuffin franchises). Races were $20-30 to enter, and I’d always buy a season’s pass. I was amazed and awestruck by the triathletes who were always at the top – Mike Buck, Jeff Krar, Joe Rizzi, Brian Keast, Jeff Beech, Nigel Gray, Jasper Blake, Bruce Davidson, Simon Whitfield, and Mark Bates and Frank Clarke who made occasional appearances when not on the world tour – these were leaders at the time (and still are) who instilled me with great inspiration.
Over the years, I’ve worked on developing the parts that didn’t come naturally, like swimming and running, while continuing to believe that I could be better and faster in the things that were natural – like cycling.
Still to this day, I’ve never stopped believing and dreaming big. I’ve done crazy 100x100m swim workouts, I’ve biked 400km over two mountain passes in one day carrying supplies for a week during a bike trip, I’ve run epic run weeks – all with the purpose of pushing boundaries, shaping things what my MIND would have believed at one time as impossible into a reality. Little did I realize along the way, that these ‘challenges’ had as much impact on shaping my mind as it did on my body. It was this mindset of taking on bigger and bigger challenges, that shaped and formed an attitude where I believe anything is possible.
This year, 2012’s challenge for me was to be patient and heal up completely from a lower leg muscle tear in 2011. My ultimate goal was to simply get back on the start line again – whatever that meant. Though I clearly wasn’t able to get back running up to snuff, the goal of racing again spurred me on to get my swim and cycling fitness in decent shape. I can safely say that I’m now not limited by anything, and can start looking ahead again, rather than sitting on the sidelines, waiting for time to heal.
A more personal level, my wife and I had a baby girl in May. She has added another layer of fulfillment to our lives, and we feel so lucky. This has shifted my interest and energy from a self-serving basis (much of what sport requires) to helping her become a healthy and happy, good citizen of the world.
Now for the mental dump – these are some random thoughts:
– I’ve been interested in reading up on this Lance Armstrong topic, and have been nothing shy of AMAZED by the depth and energy that went into keeping the doping culture team US Postal alive. I think it turned out to be pure evil-genius on LA’s part to take full advantage of leveraging himself behind Livestrong. I feel bad for Peter Reid who decided for one year to train under Lance’s coach Chris Carmichael – there’s no wonder why Peter over-trained that year (of course without drugs), and detonated in Hawaii.
– On another LA thought, after testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong would be most certainly allowed to take testosterone LEGALLY with a TUE (therapeutic-use exemption for banned substances). I haven’t heard anyone chime in about this, but I certainly think this could have significantly played to his favour.
– Research in motion. Why is it taking such a beating on the stock market? Does the market not realize how good BB10 is suppose to be? I’m shocked that it trading below it’s book value. I’m eagerly awaiting the March launch of their new devices.
– Simon Whitfield – (oops, I thought I was capable of writing about something other than a triathlon related topic, I guess not) what a man, what a legend. I was absolutely thrilled to see Simon carry Canada’s flag at the summer Olympics. I’ve always been impressed by his charisma for a guy who’s involved in an individual sport. In a sport with bucket-loads of loaners and geeks, he makes our sport ‘cool’. I hope he gets involved in LONG DISTANCE triathlon racing, as I think he could help influence it for the better.
– Trevor and Heather Wurtele – 2 other Canadians who I’m thrilled to have the privilege of knowing. Wow. They are awesome. Though Heather found her winning stride a few years ahead of Trevor, they have become a powerhouse couple. Two very GOOD people,…not NICE – down to their core they are simply GOOD people. I was super excited to learn that they decided to train with Paulo Souza of the Triathlon Squad last year – they had the wherewithal to pick up and move to the camps, and be the COMMITTED athletes the squad requires of them. It’s evident that things are paying off. Providing he improves his swim, I think Trevor has the potential to be the next great long distance athlete since Tom Evans.
– While I’m on a roll talking about people, what about Jordan Rapp? I am amazed by his consistent triathlon fitness, but am even more impressed by his capacity for understanding what seems to be an infinite scope of triathlon related topics. A quick search of what Rappstar in Slowtwitch is chiming in about gives credence to this. If he stays as committed to the training as he’s been, I don’t doubt he will win Ironman Hawaii in a few years time.
– Oh no,..I’m talking about people now, aren’t I? I guess, when it gets down to it,..it’s PEOPLE who ultimately make up the sport of triathlon. Another guy who I think we are lucky to have in the sport is Jeff Symonds. This guy had great success last year (with a 3rd place at worlds 70.3) but had to deal with a confusing injury this year. It was a test of his character to have to sit on the sidelines, but with a recent 4th place behind a competitive field at a 70.3 race in Texas – it’s apparent that he’s coming back to form.
– I’m missing Calgary. With that – I’m always interested to learn how my friends are doing there. Specific to triathlon, I’ll be keen to see how Grant Burwash and Jon Bird develop this year. Those boys are super diligent workers, who have customized and shaped their lives around training/coaching in the sport. I really hope their hard work pays off this year.
– The legal draft distance in long-distance triathlon racing. WHY in the world can we not all band together and increase this zone to 25m? There is NO reason for it to be 7 or 10m. Particularly for the pro field of say 50 competitors over 90-180km,…I don’t see why making it 25m would be anything less than sensible. That way, if competitors float in around 15-20m behind another competitor then they still don’t get a draft, yet still require themselves to either drop back or pass within a timely manner. After all, isn’t what we want in our triathlons to be truly NON-drafting? So then, why in the world are we okay with 7 or 10m which still provides a draft??? I seriously think this should be changed, and our sport will be overall better for it.
– Blue Seventy wetsuits. There is a reason why fast swimmers, when given the opportunity, choose to wear them. They are simply excellent wetsuits – plain and simple. As an aside, something that most people don’t realize when buying a wetsuit is the issue of neck-collar compression. The collar of your wetsuit should not leak in water, but if it’s too tight, it can affect the carotid artery baroreceptors in your neck, and your ability to regulate blood pressure. I don’t know why this isn’t talked about more, but certainly this is a concern and reason why some people get out of the water feeling dizzy and light-headed.
I think my blogging has now officially caught up from lost time. That’s it for now. Peace.