drink it up, stretch it out...

Fall is just around the corner.  Soon enough the cool crisp morning air will give way to colder storms, and colorful cascading leaves.  I am already beginning to feel the transitioning of the seasons.  That sense creates an itch inside me that signals the start of the training regimen to prepare myself for another arduous winter.  I am always somewhat active, but I have to turn it on in a bigger and focused way leading into fall.   As would be expected, I have a very unique training system that I have honed throughout my tenured skiing career.  It starts from a long rest and healing process that begins that day I step off the slopes for the season.  Usually, I hit the wall at the end of the season sometime around middle to end of April.  I rest and heal for a good three months.  Again, I stay somewhat active throughout, but I keep it super light.  I take the opportunity to put more focus the other endeavors of my life, and the office work of a skier during those months.  Then, when the itch comes on, I start to loosen it up a bit more again.

^First things first, hydrate. At least half a gallon a day, but slowly and throughout the day.  Not all at once.  This photo of some high fructose corn syrup settling at the bottom of some water helps turn me off of the sodas that are loaded with the stuff.  It's a dehydrator, and I try to cut them out or at least way back during hydration.  Helps to eliminate it all together, but real life happens sometimes.  "Another rum and coke please?"

^Secondly, is a rigorous and persistent stretching routine.  This is key.  I will stretch my whole body everyday for a good three to four weeks before I ever mix in any super heavy dynamic training.  I also mix it in wherever and whenever I can.  Pictured above, I am grabbing the toe in a hamstring stretch in the grass while Murphy fetches her ball.  She needs to run, and I need to stretch.  Perfect combination.  A chiropractor that worked with my high school sports teams once told me that, "doubling flexibility will quadruple strength."  Since those words, I have made it a staple of my training.  Makes sense right?  Lean muscle is much stronger then bulk muscle, and less prone to injury as well.  That's a big deal to me.  

^Thirdly, after a good two weeks of stretching, I start to incorporate more light cardio type workouts.  A brisk hike with Murphy and Christine is a good way to loosen up the rusty joints.  I will take a short hike to this mountain creek.  Taking it real slow and easy on the way up.  Murphy also gets to cool off from the heat in the still icy cold creek.

^Then I mix in a little agility on the way down with some rock hopping.  Just like the game you played when you were a kid, and the rocks kept you out of the imaginary lava's imminent death.  I hop from rock to rock on the trail were possible.  Also, it is a good tool to focus on read and react skills.  All the while looking ahead to make a point of linking up long lines.  I try to quickly leap from...

^...one rock...

^...to another rock.  All the way down at a good pace.  I try to keep it moving even when I can't find a line up of rocks to scramble through.  Always looking two steps ahead.  Staying nimble and balanced through the movements and line choices.  Fun game, and great training tool in a variety of ways. 

^Good training partners can be a big help with inspiration and motivation.  I have some good ones.  I am thankful for them.

^Inspiration comes in many forms.  Pictured above is my wife, Christine, with her mountain bike team and their gold medals from the Corporate Games.  Good work Deloitte & Touche.  Counting beans, and kicking ass.  They ride hard, and work harder.  I am inspired by their shear will power to work the way they do, and still find the gumption to put in the time and effort it takes to be able to rule it on their bikes as well.  Dedicated bunch. 

This is the time of year when dedication like that, applied right now, will pay off big when the flurries start flying again in late October.  I will be stretching hard, hydrating, and getting the light cardio rolling for the next couple weeks before I move into the next phase of my training in the crisp morning air of early September.  The next phase builds on this work by taking the light cardio to the next level.  I incorporate a gradual calendar system of faster paces and anaerobics that I developed throughout the years.  I will share the detailed program when I get there next month.  It is a good one.  Stay tuned to see it, and maybe you'll want to try to take it on.  If you dare.  I don't play around.  It is tough stuff, but I believe in you.  So get ready now, because all those white room experiences you long for are right around the corner.  Better be getting prepared.