Olympic Focus

After the Olympics I thought long and hard about what I should do with myself.  I knew I needed a break from training and I sensed a lot of opportunities to do things I had been saying no to for a long time because the Olympics was my singular focus; anything else would have to wait.  So, coming away from the Olympics I developed opportunity paralysis.  I felt this need to dip into all the finest things life had to offer.  In fact, I started to feel a bit anxious about all the things that I could be doing that I wasn’t even aware of yet.  I remember going to a seminar put on by former Olympians (some of whom were multiple gold medal-winning athletes) back in March, 2012 and they said: “You will be depressed after the Olympics whether you come first or last because the thing you have been striving for will be over).  So, although I consider myself one of the lucky few who has not suffered post-Olympic depression -or at least not more than my usual neurosis- I started to worry about this depression that was apparently just around the corner. 

Then I remembered what is important to me.  I need to feel like I’m making progress toward a clear goal.  It keeps me sane.  Growing up there was always music and sports for me.  They were the two consistent things in my life that stood the test of time while other interests would come and go.  So I looked at my strengths and the things I had gravitated towards all my life the same way I did when I picked rowing as the sport to realize my athletic potential.  The conclusion was that I should enroll in a jazz studies program in Victoria and throw myself back into music for a time.  It’s a decision I won’t regret.  I’m having so much fun, I’m connecting with something that’s been important to me all my life, and I’m still not depressed -imagine that!  Oh, and I’m learning German because it’s never good to have too much fun.

The wandering eye is not just something that happens in relationships.  It happens with our goals too.  We make good decisions like the one I just described and then some sexy, pinned up, idea comes strutting into your brain telling you to jeopardize what you know is meaningful to you because you’ve decided you’re going to be a bush pilot.  There’s a reason you have gravitated towards certain things all your life and that’s probably the better bet than deciding to become a snake milker. 

Olympians do this well with their sports -everything else is secondary to their training and commitment.  It should be the same way with what you’ve decided is important for you.Image

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E-drum Shock Absorbing Platform

Hello drummers,

I just wanted to post some pictures of a platform I built using tennis balls to absorb the impact of the bass drum based on research online.  It has worked perfectly as intended -my neighbours below are no longer annoyed by my constant thudding.

All you need is a drill, 1.5" hole saw bit, 1/4" bit,  zip ties, and cheap tennis balls

All you need is a drill, 1.5″ hole saw bit, 1/4″ bit, zip ties, and cheap tennis balls

2, 4ft x 3ft pieces of 5/8" MDF.  1.5" holes should be drilled with a hammer drill or something fairly powerful.  This is the longest part of the project.  I spaced the holes fairly evenly across the surface area I had.  It's not an exact science -I don't think it really matters that much.  The outside holes are 4" in from the sides of the MDF.

2, 4ft x 3ft pieces of 5/8″ MDF. 1.5″ holes should be drilled with a hammer drill or something fairly powerful. This is the longest part of the project. I spaced the holes fairly evenly across the surface area I had. It’s not an exact science -I don’t think it really matters that much. The outside holes are 4″ in from the sides of the MDF.

Use the 1/4" drill bit to drill holes around the sides of the MDF for securing later with zip ties.

Use the 1/4″ drill bit to drill holes around the sides of the MDF for securing later with zip ties.

Feed the zip ties through the bottom of one of piece of MDF, then put tennis balls in holes, place the other piece on top, and zip down.

Feed the zip ties through the bottom of one of piece of MDF, then put tennis balls in holes, place the other piece on top, and zip down.

Don't tighten the zips too much.  Best to keep your weight off the platform when doing it, then do a final adjustment with some weight on it.

Don’t tighten the zips too much. Best to keep your weight off the platform when doing it, then do a final adjustment with some weight on it.

I had a smaller 2ft x 3ft platform for my prior Roland HD-1 kit.  I combined it with the new platform to be the perfect size for my DTX 950

I had a smaller 2ft x 3ft platform for my prior Roland HD-1 kit. I combined it with the new platform to be the perfect size for my DTX 950

2, 4ft x 3ft pieces of 5/8" MDF.  1.5" holes should be drilled with a hammer drill or something fairly powerful.  This is the longest part of the project.  I spaced the holes fairly evenly across the surface area I had.  It's not an exact science -I don't think it really matters that much.  The outside holes are 4" in from the sides of the MDF.

2, 4ft x 3ft pieces of 5/8″ MDF. 1.5″ holes should be drilled with a hammer drill or something fairly powerful. This is the longest part of the project. I spaced the holes fairly evenly across the surface area I had. It’s not an exact science -I don’t think it really matters that much. The outside holes are 4″ in from the sides of the MDF.

Platform complete! Still a very firm and stable foundation without the sound shock transmission through the floor.

Platform complete! Still a very firm and stable foundation without the sound shock transmission through the floor.

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Keeping the Body Primed

Since the Olympics I have been training on my own off the water.  I’ve had chronic tendonitis in my left hand for almost a year and I’m taking time now to get it healed.  This means a hiatus from erging and rowing. I have been doing a daily routine for the past month or so that I like to call the daily burn.  You can check it out here. I’ve also started playing hockey again once a week -now I remember why it’s my favourite sport.

It’s funny how physical adaptation is so predictable sometimes.  You start something new that the body is not used to, it complains for the first week or so, then it gets better, then it gets worse again, then it gets better for longer, finally if you stick it out it starts to feel very natural.  30 days seems to be a good short term commitment to test a new training/exercise routine.  I like the daily burn I’m doing because it’s intense, short, and measurable.  I time myself from takeoff at the beginning of every workout and I try to improve my time every workout.  I try to simulate (by the last set) what I feel like late in a 6k erg test or at the 1500M point in a race.  Some days are better than others, but the point is to feel the burrrrnnn.  I feel this routine is keeping me primed for more intense training when ready and serves as a nice maintenance program.  Even if you’re not an Olympic athlete, this workout is useful beyond general fitness.  It will improve your vertical; I was playing ball at the Y with my son yesterday and found that I can now slam dunk again.  It will improve your aerobic power; great for hockey, rugby, basketball, and just about every other sport with an endurance component.  It will keep your body mass in check; what’s the point of having muscle mass if you can’t move it?  Top-heavy gym monkeys may impress other dudes in the men’s change room, but athletes know muscle mass without purpose is just slowing you down.

I try to keep the ad updated regularly, but to be fair to anyone who does read it and try to follow it I don’t make it easy.  I usually post the time I’m going and location the night before or the day of the workout.  To be honest, I do it primarily as a tool to force myself to go even when I don’t want to.  There could be one person who shows up and I would feel pretty bad if someone took the initiative to come out and then found I wasn’t there.  See you tomorrow (sometime, to be updated later tonight!).

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Back to Canada

Coming back to Canada after the Olympics has been transformational for me.  I was stunned by the overwhelming support from fellow Canadians across the country.  Just today, I was talking to a neighbour in my condo building about the Olympic experience and what it meant to him watching as a proud Canadian; he said it was good for the soul.  Those are good words to describe how coming home has been for me.  The time between crossing the finish line to now has been the ride of a lifetime.  I spent a week after the closing ceremonies with my family in Portugal, then flew back to Ontario for a couple weeks before coming back to Victoria.  During that time I had the chance to reconnect with old friends from high school.  I got to see my best friend in Ottawa who somehow managed to get tickets to that Olympic final and was there with his dad when I crossed the finish line -both of them only able to see me for a few minutes after the race before I had to go do media stuff.  I got to drop the puck at my home town Cobourg Cougars’ home opener, throw the first pitch (a 30 mph sinking fastball) at a Blue Jays game, and do a ceremonial kick off at the home opener of my former football team, the McMaster Marauders.  One of the absolute highlights of the whole Olympic experience for me was having the chance to get to know many more Canadian Olympic athletes from all sports at the celebration tour from Ottawa to Toronto last week.  We are represented so well by character people across all sports.  I feel like the grinch who’s heart grew three sizes that day.  You go from a lazer focus and, frankly, selfish existence to sharing one of the best moments of your life with so many people.  It’s hard not to walk around in wonder at it all even more than a month after the Olympics ended.  It is nice to be a relaxed human being with no pending test of some kind (at least not this month).  Last Wednesday I dropped my son off at school, had cookies and tea with my neighbour, researched volunteer opportunities, then prepared a casserole for a dinner party that evening -now that is the life!  No competing fiercely under the crack of the Spracklen whip -necessary though it was.  The only training I’ve been doing is an old football workout we used to do called Marcello’s Madness (named after our strength coach).  It’s a circuit of sprints with jump squats, pushups, situps, etc mixed in.  That’s hard enough for me for now.  Once the tendonitis in my fingers subsides, I will get back out on the water in the single.

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After the pitch at the Jays game!

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Olympic rowing: Inside the 48 hours that inspired the men’s 8 to silver – 2012 Olympics, Blog Central, Uncategorized – Macleans.ca

Olympic rowing: Inside the 48 hours that inspired the men’s 8 to silver – 2012 Olympics, Blog Central, Uncategorized – Macleans.ca.

This is a good break down of what happened during our Olympic regatta.

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On the Podium

Hard-fought silver medal for the team

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Hard-fought silver medal for the team

Hard-fought silver medal for the team

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