I spent some time last night mapping out the next few weeks of my life and suddenly realized that another year of training and racing is about to begin.
Over the last few months, I have had a bit of time off but most of it was spent trying to better prepare my body to handle another year of hard training and racing. I need to be bullet proof and free from injury in 2010, so doctor after doctor and exercise after exercise, I have been trying to give myself the best shot at another great season.
I am now working with Dr. Reichlin, one of the Team Garmin doctors, who is a wealth of knowledge and although some of what he does is a bit "voodoo" to me, it works and has worked so quickly that I can't question it. According to his assessment, my leg is not the only problem and there are a number of other muscles and firing patterns that are either weak or have been completely shut off for a substantial amount of time. What that means is that I've been training and racing on about 1 cylinder. That in itself is really exciting news. If he can get me working and we can get the firing patterns retrained then who knows what I will be capable of!
I have also spent the last few months working with a psychologist in Boulder, Julie Emmerman. An ex pro cyclist herself, she has a great perspective on athletics and how the stressors of both athletic and outside life can affect each other negatively and positively. She has been an invaluable resource for me and I'm really glad that I stumbled on her.
And, conveniently enough, my relationship with both Dr. Reichlin and Dr. Emmerman does not have to end when I leave the country. Thanks to technology I will continue to correspond with Dr. Emmerman via Skype at regular intervals. I will also, hopefully, be able to meet up with Dr. Reichlin on the road as he is constantly on the move with the Garmin Team.
Amidst all of the phsyical and mental rehab and restructuring, I have been swimming a whole lot. I have also had the opportunity to enjoy some of what Boulder and winter has to offer. I did a lot of hiking in the fall which was like weight lifting outside of the weight room. But once the snow started falling, I had to kind of pack the hiking thing in and embrace "winter". Since my "winter" is only about 5 weeks long, I decided to take full advantage of it. After all, this is the last of winter I will see for a year - unless it snows in Switzerland again this summer.
I had never alpine skied before but had always wanted to, so I went Alpine skiing at both Copper Mountain and Beaver Creek. Neither mountain has had enough snow to be completely open and because we went during the week, the slopes were really quiet. This was absolutely ideal and the perfect way to learn. Aside from face planting a few times (part and parcel of going down black diamond runs your second trip out to the slopes) it was great cross training both mentally and physically. I also went XC skiing for the first time and did a "hut trip". We back country skied out to a hut, spend the night and then skied back out in the morning (on our way to go Alpine skiing). It was a really good time and a totally hard workout!!
The next few weeks will bring a few trips to California, Chicago and then Boston for the holidays. I'm looking forward to seeing my family - both in California and back home in Boston - but I'm a bit sad because it means that my time in the US is over for at least 3.5 months.
But I suppose leaving the US is just bittersweet because it means that training camp is just around the corner!!! I head back to Australia to start training camp at the end of this month which I am really excited for. I'm not sure I have ever felt so ready to get back to my training group and to my coach and to bury my head in my training again. It is time...