Sunday, 18 January 2009

Keeping it interesting


Ask any athlete who trains, as I do, 14-16 sessions a week, 24 hours, 5am mornings ... the whole 9 yards, if they sometimes get bored and they will either answer;

"yes, 12 sessions in the pool each week is mind numbing/yes, we always do the same stuff/same sh*t different day" ... 

or

"well you would think I would but I do my best to mix it up ... I love doing all this stuff every day". 

The first response is much more common (especially in the swimming world) but I am glad to say I could reply with the second. If you want to enjoy the same old sports and training day in day out there needs to be some effort on the part of the athlete/coach to make sure the training is fun, different and downright crazy a lot of the time ... it's where the fun lies. 

Well I do like to throw in the crazy stuff every week, be it throwing rocks around on the beach for an hour (replaces standard medicine ball work), running up a mountain (15km on a flat road gets boring) or today, just for fun, going for a swim in the pacific in the heavy fog, 5 degree air temp, 4 degree water temp ... or according to the weather office 4.11 degrees C


video

haha

:)

keeps it interesting

Mike

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Running

Running is hard. It's not easy, if it was easy then it was jogging. So I don't feel bad in saying that I find running pretty tough every once and a while... ESPECIALLY today :-) 
(smiley face as I was loving it)

There is a ski hill in Vancouver called Cypress Mountain, I climbed it regularly September - November on my bike as it was great hill work, 15km at about 8% and reading back through some of my blog posts from around then I found it pretty tough a few times. Has some beautiful views from up top as it is at about 3000feet rising from sea level so you can see all the way to Mount Baker in the US. 

Sooo today I thought it would be a good idea to run up it ... if cycling up it hadn't been hard enough. Well there isn't really much to say about the run apart from it was HARD at the start, HARD in the middle and pretty much really hard until the very end! Good things were that at one point we overtook a cyclist ... and the RedBull girls from the ski hill honked their horn at us when they drove past! :) (hence the smiles!) 

Great day though, spent 2 hours on the bike in the afternoon so now it's time to rest up for tomorrow. BEST of luck to Fraser Cartmell who's racing the South Africa 70.3 tomorrow in East London, SA. Have a good race. 

Here at the pictures from today...

The blanket of cloud covering Vancouver


Views out to Vancouver Island

Mount Baker, Washington State - US

Me looking a little more tired than usual :)



Thursday, 15 January 2009

Snows gone but bring on the London fog.

So, luckily for all the cyclists out here in Vancouver the snow melted away on Tuesday buuuut as of yesterday afternoon the entire city has become encased in some serious fog. 

Not 21 century fog, more like 1800's, dark alleyway, werewolf of London stuff. So once again I was cooped up inside on my trainer for another 2 hours this morning even though I was kind of glad to be safe inside watching a movie in the saddle than outside where visibility crept down to around 30m for most of the afternoon.  

After class etc which ended at 1530 I headed down to the beach for a fun session. Gordon and I, all decked out in full thermals (still cold) and backpacks, proceeded to find the biggest rocks around and stack them neatly inside our packs. Then with about 20kg of stones we trudged the 5km along the rocky beach fighting with logs and rocks before hiking the 2km hill back up to the main road and the 2km back onto campus. Always fun to find new ways to make your legs hurt the next morning! 

In general training is strong, getting back into the full swing of things after christmas but I definitely want to start racing soon. In my opinion this is the hardest time of year the time when you have to keep the miles up, keep putting in the really hard work, all the while getting restless and wanting to race. Just going to keep my head down as no doubt the races will come around much sooner than I imagine ...

...and I can't wait

Mike

Saturday, 10 January 2009

2009

Apologies on my blogging tardiness, but happy new year and I hope everyone had great holidays. 

I spent a week back home in Scotland for Christmas with the family before heading back to Canada for new year and the start of the new school semester. After exams finished in December I had just finished up a 4 month block of heavy winter training which started in early September while the sun was still out and the days were long. Back in September I had just moved to Canada, been racing for 4 straight weekends and trying to get to grips with new surroundings, new people and new classes. Part of the way I managed to stay sane through all that upheaval was by throwing myself 100% into training, something I enjoy doing! 

Me and Blair worked up a great way of getting in my work around class etc and we built up through the months until the end of December where it got very hard both in distance but also in training around the snow/rain and daylight issues. 

I then enjoyed 2 weeks of down time around Christmas so I could rest up while visiting family and remember what it was like not to train 24/7 again. I enjoyed my time back in Scotland but by the time I was sitting at the family dinner table after christmas dinner I was ready to get going again, we arrived in Canada 2 days later and training started. 

XC skiing, 4 hours on the hill downhill skiing a day + core work and regular running made the week around new years tiring but fun. Great snow in BC made the conditions amazing for all winter sports but sadly we lost 4 skiers in Whistler Blackcomb alone in the 6 days around new year. Reminds you how dangerous the sports we all love to do can be. 

After last weekend I travelled back home to Vancouver to start the new school year. Straight back into classes + training, definitely a strict routine but we are creatures of habit and to be honest a little bit of routine never hurt anyone! The new schedule will work very well around training and I am looking forward to getting back off the trainer once the roads become a little less ice covered. 

Also congratulations to Miss Denise Ramsden my cycling partner, girlfriend and general bike handling coach who won Pedal magazines "Best overall junior female cyclist" award of 2008. We have now deduced she can beat me at cycling, ice skating, hiking and xc skiing ... my goal for 2009? Stop being beaten by girls!

Looking forward to the new year (and race season - 8 weeks out),

All the best,

Mike