Sunday, 31 August 2008


UBC Vancouver is the coolest place on earth.

Until yesterday I had never lived on campus, let alone a north American one. The movies don't lie. People really do play frisbee all the time, play american football on every piece of grass there is, drink out of kegs and have dorm parties every night. Its AWESOME

...not that I'm enjoying myself or anything...

This last week, since my trail running weekend, I have been training up to the Vancouver Triathlon which is tomorrow (Monday) morning at about 7am. Had some pretty good sessions, was hitting 61's for my 100m's in the pool and had a decent 2.5 hour ride (be it in the rain). Looking forward to tomorrow morning, will be nice to get back and race on the World Chmps course and am feeling fast so will be a good one I hope.

Until then I'm off to chill on the grass outside my dorm with all the guys (and girls) n' enjoy the sun and the free BBQ :-)


Saturday, 23 August 2008

Saab Salomon Endurance Peak Race Results

I've found a new sport. TRAIL RUNNING.

I never said I was born to run but you aren't born to trail run you are simply crazy enough to do it. Over 11km at 7000ft takes the PRO Salomon guys just under an hour but my goal for today was to get as close to the old course record for the under 20's of 1 hour 22 minutes.

At one point at around 5km I thought I was going to have a stroke from the alititude. Your breathing goes all funny and it feels like your just breathing half way each time so it took me a while to get over that - there was a hint of panic when it first started as I convinced myself I had overdone it and forget a stroke I might actually not finish!!! I also was a bit shocked when at some points even the pro guys in the distance started to speed hike up the craggy cliffs which didn't make me feel as bad when I had to put hands on knees and simply push myself up at walking pace on the really steep parts.

Anyways I was really pleased when I crossed the line in a new course record of 1hour 12 minutes for the under 20's with a gold medal for my age group to match. I think I'm more suited to the "hard as nails" aspect of the Endurance Peak course over a standard 10km road course - firstly as the terrain leans away from the repetative injury side of road running which seems to bother my shins a bit and secondly as its a pure, 100% suffer fest and I would be lying If I didn't say that's what I live for!

The guys out there were awesome and everyone was congratulating each other with hugs and pats on the back, there was a 79 year old who completed the Endurance race and got the biggest cheer I have ever heard. What a legend - I only hope I can be as tough as him when I'm pushing 80!

Anyway I'm off to the lake for a swim and then I guess I'd better think about next weekend which holds another race but only a triathlon this time so shouldn't be too hard ;)

"Real athletes swim, bike, run....everyone else just plays games"...except the trail runners who are simply nuts


Friday, 22 August 2008

Saab Salomon Endurance Peak Race

Ok so 1 race was scored off the list last weekend at the National Champs but the 5 days in between weekends goes quickly so tomorrow morning ill be attempting the second race in my "3 races in 3 weekends" stint here in Canada.

It's the Peak Endurance race sponsored by Saab Salomon at the top of Whistler mountain here in Whistler, BC. Over 500 hill runners are flocking here from over Canada and the North-West States to jut about the rocky hillside and slippy glacier streams of Whistler's peak. Obviously to anyone who knows me I'm not exactally the 15km Peak Running Race kinda guy but this is the first race of the second half of this year which is essentially a really hard training session.

So I've just taken this week pretty easy after last weekends racing in the heat so tomorrow will be a tough little run with the top guys coming in under the hour, I'm just hoping for a decent finishing slot in my age group and no trips or falls setting me back. After tomorrow I'll be looking ahead to the Vancouver City Triathlon a week this Monday down on the same course I raced on at Worlds back in June - should be fun!

"If you run without sacrifice - congratulations, you just jogged"


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Canadian National Championships

Just back from Kelowna, British Columbia and the 2008 Canadian National Champs/Pan American Games. It was a 450km journey from our home here in Whistler to the scorching 40 degree Okanagan Valley in central BC for my second main target race of the year, it was out here in June when I raced at the World Championships in Vancouver in 12 degree water and lashing rain so a slightly different challenge weather wise this weekend.

We arrived Friday afternoon to 42 degrees and blazing sunshine, checked into the hotel and wondered down to transition to observe the circus that is pre race transition activity. With over 1000 competitors racing today (Sunday) transition was almost Royal Windsor sized so I thought it was important to get down early and check it out. Luckily I was number 502 and as one of the youngest racers had a bike slot down near the swim-bike entrance. After some dinner, serious pre bed hydration and watching the most impressive 100m Olympic fly final I have ever seen (Michael Phelps winning by 1/100th of a second!) I started resting up for Sunday.

Saturday was much the same keeping cool and topped up with water before the race.

Race morning came around and I was feeling pretty good considering the temperatures (29degrees at 6am with 24degree water) and was just trying to keep the nerves down before my heat headed off with over 110 athletes at 0715. Into the swim and I managed to quickley launch off the front with another athlete from Ontario, he was drafting off me a bit about 1m behind but he was keeping up a good pace and I wasn't grudging him a little tow. 100m out from the swim exit and I put in a kick to get a nice 5 second lead to claim the fastest swimmer prize (8.58 non-wetsuit), behind him was a good 80m to the next swimmer and at least 150m to the pack so I sprinted like mad into transition.

Onto the bike and the trailing Ontario athlete was just behind, luckily my pre-race course recce had uncovered a massive hill 2km into the first bike lap so I just let the chasing Canadian triathlete hold on until the bottom of the hill where I put in a big push, by the top I had about 40m on him so just kept my head down and smiled at some of the 1000 volunteers TriCanada had out there cheering us on! Two laps later and the lead motorbike peeled off to fire me into transition and out onto the run, unfortunately another young bike/runner had caught me and ran past about 10m out of T2. Was feeling really comfortable in my shiney new Adidas trainers but didn't quite have it in me to bridge the gap to 1st so just eased off and cruised across the line in 2nd.

All in all I'm really pleased with the weekend, the first time I've managed to hold the race lead throughout the bike and onto the run which hopefully shows all the bike work is paying off. Fastest swim split and 3rd fastest bike added to my silver made it a great weekend!

Back to training


Sunday, 10 August 2008

29th Olympics

Hey guys

the Olympics are here =] Every 4 years I go mental for gymnastics, rowing, basketball, athletics, beach vollyball, water polo....just because it is the olympics. Anyone who trys to talk down the prestige and excitement behind the games should be tied up and forced to watch "So you think you can dance", it is an awesome event that brings athletes and nations the only place you'll see Georgia and Russia together in 2008 without tanks!

So far Phelps has impressed in the pool, the Americans have taken 1,2,3 in the woman's fencing and China has won it's first gold. My good friend Hannah Miley came 6th in last nights 400m I.M. final which I watched with open eyes, she looked so calm and really put in a good race. She is one of the only people out there who hands down trains harder than me, I have an enormous amount of respect for her and she deserves a lot of credit for her training and racing. We have swam together in training and racing on and off for over 10 years. Since we were 12 she has been running to training in the morining at 0530 to get in some extra land work time and she is quite often her one and only training partner for the long hours in the pool ... alone.

This got me thinking about dedication. The person who is out there all alone doing the work, when no one is screaming down their neck, when there are no training partners to impress, no coaches looking on but is still bent double in pain, exhausted, is the person who in a race when their body is saying stop will just take a minute, tell it to shut the hell up and keep on going. Being an athlete is not about impressing people, it is not about the image, the recognition, the accolade, but about the hard work, the 6 hour training days, the raining days and the 5am mornings but most of all the feeling when you know you've just done something great.

It is that moment we are all training for, we don't care if anyone else agrees with us, if anyone will put our race in the paper or on the news, it could be done alone in the middle of the mountains with no one watching but when we surpass our goals and take a step up it is a feeling that will stay with us forever. So when you see us heading out on our bikes in the rain or getting up for training just as you are coming in from a night out, don't call us crazy or stupid...we're just out there searching for our moment.

Train hard


Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Hey guys

finally arrived in Whistler last night, an ill fated trip with lots of complications that I won't go into, lets just say I'm glad to be in my own bed and out training in the mountain sun.

Got just under two weeks until the Canadian Championships so starting to sharpen up the swim skills and make sure I'm on form for the big race, looking forward to racing the canadians in their own backyard again.

Just back from the pool this morning and will do some core work and a steady ride this afternoon, will also be heading to the lake for some sunbathing (going to be 88 degree F today) and a few km's of open water fun.

Also bought some new trainers yesterday :-D finally got fed up with my Asics so am trying out the super light "Adidas Supernova 7" 's, here's a picture and I'll let you know how they go

Train Hard


Friday, 1 August 2008

Destination - Vancouver

Hey all,

It's been a packed final week in Aberdeen, training, mountains, sun, braemar and lots of goodbyes.

The weather has played into everyones hands this week so the KUOTA had a few miles put on her before she was packed up in the new bike box for the flight. I've lowered the handle bars again and given the seat a few more degrees of downward angle so have been out on the Aberdeenshire roads getting used to the position while taking in the sun.

Tuesday I headed out to a local mountainette, Clachnaben, about 7 miles in total up and back so I donned the Salomon X country shoes and headed off for the peak at a light jog. The running lasted about 2 miles and then was bent over pushing on my knees to carry myself up to the top -49minutes to the peak. 4 jaffa cakes, half a bannana and 500mls of Nuun water later and I was sprinting back down the path to try and make it back in under 90minutes. Shins held up well and overtaking a Land Rover with a mile to go helped me speed up to make it back to the car park in 1.29:32

On Wednesday me and Pete (best friend) headed up to Braemar for a day out at Linn O'Dee (Notoriously dangerous Gorge but the most fun you'll ever have swimming). There are places to chill out in the sun, open slow moving sections, raging torrents, numerous deep water (40ft) pools and crazy jumps ranging from 2m to over 8m. We were there for 6 hours and was an awesome if tiring day, I love the fact I can still head out for a day at the river and class it as training!

And if you were wondering ... I did the 8m jump ... if only once.

Now I am zipping up my suitcase packed to the brim for my year in Vancouver, I'll be out of touch for a few days but next time I write I'll be settled into the house in Whistler for a few weeks training before the race and then...a few days later...the big move to the UBC campus =]

"Real athletes swim/bike/run...others just play games"