I would love another chest MRI tomorrow. Maybe the imaging would pick this mess up and explain the mystery of my last 8 hours. I feel like I’m about to wake up from this nightmare. Adversity. Character. It’s times like these you learn to live again.

This is not a pity party. Nor is it an excuse to hang the blades up. Do I feel used? Do I feel abandoned? Yeah, absolutely. But I am in charge of nothing more than my reaction to every given situation I’m faced with. It’s all fresh. I have went from absolute terror, to hysterics, to chills, to empty, faceless overwhelming pain. I have never been hurt like this before and I am so goddamn lucky to have my family and true friends to help pick me up. Thank you Mom, Dad, Natalie Sean, and Joel.
This will be the biggest challenge yet. Never mind 2018. That’s tangible. You can’t touch or feel this kind of emptiness. This kind of loss when you are walked out on, literally moments after you spent hours picking up others’ spirits, raving about your affection and mutual love and respect is totally incomprehensible.
I can bury myself in self hate and regret and focus on what I did or didn’t do or I can remember why Rafiki is on my calf. This is not the first time I’ve had the wool over my eyes. I will rise up. I will be. Me.

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I’ve heard it before, lived it today.

The body is capable of just about anything; your mind is the one that needs convincing.

I’m now spin flushing the lactic acid built up from the what shouldn’t have been so taxing on my body as it was Sunday ice program. Until this morning, I wasn’t even sure if I would take the ice today. I had a really poor performance last Thursday on ice, and must admit I was questioning myself; why I was putting myself through this hell, and why I wasn’t just sitting at home playing NHL 15 on the PS3.
Then I read some material from a “colleague” – Alec Janssens, Canadian Long Track Speed Skater and hopefully a friend and mentor sometime down the road. This guy exudes performance. In a nutshell, he could excel at rowing or speed skating at a world class level. However, his love of the sport on ice keeps him turning left through the gruelling training, lactic acid and all the rest.
That’s what kept me going today. I felt what he describes as the “slingshot” out of the corners today. It was surreal.
I can’t wait for my next ice session. Knee or not, mind is checked in. That’s the important part.

I know I will take some heat about my position in the sport. How I may be “Longshot v. 2.0″… How I’m really not that good, and people may make a big fuss about what this story really is all about. My point is exactly that, though. I understand I’m not in contention this year. Nor next. I’m still learning the sport. It’s going to take practice. Perfect practice. And a lot of patience from everyone involved. But it’s a step process to achieve goals, my friends. Just wait when years down the road we all look back on these early days and go ” I’m glad he didn’t quit” (even though I’m sure some folks think I should…).

Today I could have performed better. I could use the excuse of injury, the rust, the fact that it was my 3rd and 4th career race respectively… I could use any of that. Plain and simple though, I could have skated faster.
Just me saying that affirms in my mind that I am in the right sport. If I were happy with my results it’d be really easy to pack it up. If you don’t give 110% it’s quite simple to say, “oh yeah, no I didn’t put it all in..” It’s easy to walk away.
I’m not about that. Even though I set two personal bests today, I am not satisfied with my times at all and have already looked at the tape to improve upon my times at CAN-AM’s. The biggest challenge for me is remembering that speed skating is about me versus the clock. Me versus the last time blades hit the ice. Inch by inch. Step by step. Four years, man.

Cowboy handshake, right? Deal is done. Judgement of character. Both sides get it. Best deal is the Fair deal. This is how I was raised. A good deal is a fair deal. Well – I’m revved up right now… And I shouldn’t be. Have you ever been completely randomly attacked, over social media of all things…. By someone you’ve never actually met??? Crazy, I know. But when some lowly prick out of nowhere makes comment on a topic that is clearly out of his realm, in hopes of what exactly, I don’t know….A reaction, fuel for self-loathing tendencies. Just a bully move…? God only knows. What a piece of work…. That. Just. Happened.

Take this home, kids. Be a role model for the life you want others to lead. If you need to tear others down in order to build yourself up, you’re going about it all the wrong ways. If you want your angst-ridden, pregnant daughter to grow up and make good decisions, you should be on the forefront about the decisions you make. If you want to defend him like the sun you never had…. If you want to accuse me of not “having a life” because the one I have is seven times what you could have had.. Then that’s your prerogative. Pick your battles. If you hope for another family to embrace yours, dysfunction and all, you’d better not try to make war with the allies. Give your head a shake, and don’t think I will let it slide.
I don’t do well with being made to look like a fool. Assassination of character doesn’t fly here, man. Get real.

Tonight marks a huge personal accomplishment for me in my skating. I was able to complete 4 sets of 8 laps in just under one hour. For those like me and can’t math – that’s just shy of 13km. Having just come off a fairly lengthy and super frustrating injury to my ITB almost all of the month of October, I’m very happy to have been able to finish the 4th set as strong as the 1st tonight.

It’s not always about the grand scale of things. Let’s be honest. I’m not anywhere close to national form. I will be. But not overnight. Not in a year. Sometimes the satisfaction of getting over the little hurdles on the way are just the kick you need to remember why you are doing what you are. Physically and arguably even more importantly psychologically I am back in the right place to keep on keeping on. And I gotta tell ya – that feels fricken’ awesome.
Now to roll out and spin flush….

Work on your glute med recruitment the next time you’re on the slide board. Push. Single leg squat. Then fall through the push back with your hips. Spend time on each leg. Get comfy in the straights on one foot before you push back. Don’t short change the recovery foot. Don’t rush. Stop thinking. Just skate.
Things I’ll take home from tonight, coach.
Thank you.

Before I begin, I would like to clear something up. Athletes do not have the same vocabulary as the general public. Especially when discussing the words “therapy”, “massage” or “treatment”. Now that that’s out of the way… I have a strong dislike for the art of “cupping”, a form of horrendous manual therapy I was graced with this afternoon. Basically, the premise is like this – attach a suction cup to area of body that’s experiencing fascial distress (for me the IT band and left knee), then suck said fascial tissue to surface of the skin – mildly unpleasant, then rip the suction cup down the length of now soon to be severely traumatized section of the body. After this, I’m quite certain I blacked out. CNS was in full flight or fight mode and I wanted to front kick the otherwise sweet, caring Andrea my AT in the mouth. There’s no word to describe how much pain was brought on in these quick 4 minutes… They seemed like a year and a half of sheer hell. I don’t ever want a friend to have to go through that experience. But the results do not lie. They look horrible. But it was effective. Today marks the first day I was able to run full dry land imitations and slide board with no pain in my knee. It was hell, but oftentimes the best things in life are hell. I got this.