Saturday, 28 November 2009


Instead of writing about recovering and how frustrating it is, I thought that I would rather write about routines and what gets me going on game days.

I’ve worked out a quite a good routine that I follow. You hear people talk about superstitions and stuff that if they don’t do they don’t perform as well. I don’t think I’m superstitious, but I do have the things that I like to do to get in to the right frame of mind. I don’t think that if I put on my left or right skate first and feel uncomfortable if I do one or the other.

During game days I let myself wake up naturally. No alarms, no nothing. Just get out of bed when I normally would, which is before 0930 for some reason. If an away game, I normally wake up by the alarm so I have enough time to wake up my body and get enough food and fluids on board, because you never know how much time you’ve got at the away rink. Normally after I’ve woken up I do a light stretch and maybe a few push ups or some leg quickness work. Nothing to o strenuous though.

I try to keep myself active through the day but not tire myself out too much. I try to keep my mind off the game for most of the day, to avoid getting nervous or over think things too much. I tend to do things around the house (despite what the wife might say, I do). One thing that I want to avoid doing as much as possible is any chores that would involve leaving the house, like going to town or to a bank or do any shopping. I get wound up at shopping centres or the mall and that just throws everything out the window.

Typically, about three hours before face off, I eat and normally have something pasta based. Once I’ve eaten, I tend to take a half an hour nap or just have a lay down and watch something totally moronic on TV. Scrubs or Two and a Half Men do quite well.

Then it’s time to pack the stuff, make sure that my sticks are taped before heading out to the rink. I make sure I’ve got water on me, and some Lucozade (non fizzy) on me to help me replace any fluid loss during warm up.

Once at the rink, I unpack most my stuff so it’s laid out on my regular seat in the changing room and I change into my pre-ice warm up and get my iPod going. My play list consists of songs that resonate well with me. Mainly with tracks from Hatebreed. For some reason, during the years that I’ve followed that band I find that their songs give me additional strength and really get me going. One song that I listen to before hitting the ice is contradictory to the rest of the play list. The last track I listen to is Coldplay’s Fix You.

My pre-ice warm up is normally with our goalie Pekka, which is a run around the rink and do some running up and down the stairs. It’s a good way to get to the game and chew some shit in my own language and crack a few jokes. After that it’s stretching and get into the changing room and get dressed. It’s all wise cracks and jokes until the coach has his talk with us. After that while the other guys are still chatting away, I try to concentrate and just run through things in my mind and visualise what it’s like playing with my line mates and feel the adrenaline pump up.

Then all that remains is hitting the ice, fully pumped up and ready to give everything for my team to come away with two points.

Monday, 23 November 2009

A Blessing In Disguise

It has been a while since the blog was updated, but I figured that now is as good a time as any. There have been a few things out of my control that have limited the updates on this blog of late.

The two main things are that I had an appendectomy three weeks ago and we’ve moved to our new (own) house and as such I am without Internet. The obvious thing that I’ll be writing about today, is the appendectomy and the recovery from it.

About three weeks ago on a Sunday I started to experience severe stomach pains, which landed me on the operating table. Though the operation itself was pain free, it still put a stop to my training and fitness.

The overall loss during the operation: 3KG of muscle, which in my frame is A LOT!
I had worked hard to push my mass up and I thought I was standing pretty on a healthy 90KG. OK, the BMI still said I was over weight, but given that my body fat percentage is within healthy limits, I’d say that it was a good weight to be on and build up from.

But now I have taken a couple of steps back and I’m facing a challenge to re-gain the lost muscle and start making headway into improving my strength and physique for the up and coming season.

I have just finished my first week back on the weights and full contact training on the ice. What I can say for both is that it has been total murder. The weights that I deemed easy have been more and more difficult to lift and my confidence on the boards is gone, along with any jump and speed.

It was to be expected though. And I did prepare myself mentally for it as well, but I didn’t know to expect such a drastic experience. I suppose my mind was at the stage where I expected that I could pick up from where I left off, but I’m now climbing a small up hill to get back into the swing of things.

I was ready to curse the process, but remembered what a good friend of mine is going through and is struggling with. My buddy Nick broke his leg a year a go and is only just getting back to rehabilitation. He’s struggled with it as well and I hope that I gave him some sound advise on getting back to it and the need to work hard to get back to doing things he loves. If he didn’t he’d lose all but the memories of him doing those things. It is difficult to get back on the saddle after a long time off from any sport or hobby.

I remember when I first went to the gym and started lifting weights after the operation. It was difficult to get anything done, motivation was gone, but at the same time I knew that if I did not do the work, my goals would not be realised.

So how do you approach training after an operation, no matter how big or small it is? I have taken the view that it is a blessing in disguise. The way I see it, the operation gave me a break from training, which I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. Where yes it was boring to stay at home and not do anything, it gave me a chance to recharge my batteries, mentally if not physically. Though it has been tough to get back to the routine and pushing the weight I was used to, I’m now able to start working on apparent areas of weakness in my body and make myself stronger that way. After the first session and the incredible frustration I felt, I am now able to approach training with the same passion as I did over a year ago. At the end of the week (Sunday 22nd November), I felt happy about the progress I made, which is something I hadn’t felt in a while.

I know guys who have gotten back to playing their respective sports and everything after long times off from serious injuries or illnesses, where some have had to have several operations or organ transplants. Recovery is not an easy road to travel when you’re desperate to get back to it, but please treat it as an opportunity as opposed to a chore. If you’re able to approach it with an open mind, you will be able to reap those benefits you did to when you first started.

To me it has been a great experience to learn about myself and re-discover progress. Even if the progress is getting myself back to the old levels, it is still something I have not experienced in a while and as such I can approach training and the game with the passion that I did a long while ago.