Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cool day(s).

Alright, so I'm back home in Whistler. I was welcomed home with a strong whiff of rotting garbage as I walked in my front door. I guess Pate forgot one or two items under the sink... But whatever, i dispatched of said smellies down at the W-town garbage disposal and they are out of my life.

Rewind a few days...I arrived in VAncouver late on the 22nd, almost early the 23rd. Got picked up by Lori and Gma and stayed the night with Gma. the next day i went and checked out G-day rip it up (or get ripped up - he is/was tired) at a nat. team speed skate camp, and then we did lunch at Mongolian BBQ. Then i went around town a bit looking at cars with Lori. Fits are cool, I'm seriously thinking of getting one... That night Gilday came for dinner with Lori, Gma and I. It was good to see that guy, it's been a while. Soon after dinner i fired up the old Legend and started the journey up to Weaseltown. Next day was the Garibaldi uphill TT. 3.6-3.7km (big trees interfered with the Forerunner...) of insanely steep uphill. No breaks, just pure climbing. Over 500m of vert. I had some difficulties with pacing so i crashed and burned a little bit. Ran like 26:28 or something like that. Freeman motored by me (started 3 min behind) and did a 21:17. Alistair, Neumann and Sam did 23s a little while ago. I think (hope) i can go faster with smarter pacing. Like maybe a minute or two. Later that day we did a barbecue at the Caldwell's and Zach did up some wicked steaks. Kris did a 90 second motivational speech for the crowd and then i was on my way back up to Balsam Way.

Today was cool up here in the town of Weasel. I did a bike, run, bike, run, which by the way is the workout of the month. I was running down the valley trail to Rainbow Park and I kept seeing these dudes lurking about in the dense foliage of Alta Lake "lowlands" with big, expensive filming gear, and a bunch of young people pushing around carts full of expensive looking apparati and doing official looking stuff sporting their "secret agent ear-pieces". Turns out they were filming a kids' reality tv show. On my way back i spotted a bunch of "kids" floating about in the marsh in canoes - silent and miserable - as the reality tv show was being set up.

After the workout i did some well-structured recovery methods and then hit the road to run some errands. I stocked up on footwear for the rest of the summer (hiking boots and xt wings), walked about the village aimlessly amongst the throngs of Pemberton Fest-ers, crushed a few hours of study time at my new fave locale - Whistler Library, and that was my day. O ya, i went and checked out the Meadow Valley Sport Complex (or whatever its called...). I'm thinking of renting a locker and living out of it. I'm pumped to throw some weights around upstairs (with squash as the warmup of course), then hop in the hottub/pool downstairs afterwards for some aquatic frolicking. Soon i will be able to hold weights, so lookout.

Tomorrow I'm going to watch Freeman and Dan "bang heads" in their 30 km pursuit on Alta Lake Rd/Stonebridge. My method of transportation out to see this will be (drumroll) Marwe rollerskis! ...and only one pole... The next day I'm boarding Big Brown for the traversing of BC out to Haig country. I'm committed now to one-poling around up there for a week...

Peace out. I suppose i should post a pic or two (or maybe just one...not sure yet) for the unexpected epicness of this post. I guess I am currently in the proverbial "zone".

Wow, can't believe i posted 5... Here's Gday in the red helmet hammerfesting. I really need to consider upgrading the old Olympus... I do apologize.
Michael Gilday.
The National Speed Skate team and some BC kids.
This is like the picture from Pate's blog where Sam's arm looks huge but in reality there is no way he could give you directions to the beach. I haven't used my arm in 6 weeks and it's noticeably smaller. The water was nice and "refreshing". It's the worst when the water is both cold and flowing.

Mr. Lindsey after his 5 minutes of chasing Freeman up the Black Tusk trail. He wanted to hang on as long as he could. Apparently Freeman's 20+ minute uphill pace is the same as Sam's 1500m pace.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Yellowknife stay coming to an end...boohoo...

Low quality behaviour causes low quality results. That’s something that E.Bailey went over with us at the NTDC mental toughness camp last fall.

Laura McLeod, a girl I went to school with through childhood here in Yellowknife came by the other day to drop off my Garmin Forerunner 305 after she used it in her triathlon. With her came her bf and my long-time good friend whom I grew up with, Mr. X. Both are very good friends of mine and it was entertaining to have them over for those few minutes the other night. They are a funny couple at times, bickering and fuelling each other’s arguments. I’m not trying to totally destroy Mr. X here, but I think some of the topics he covered are interesting and can be used as good examples of potential low quality behaviour. Hahah, that sounded brutal… I even told him that I was maybe going to tear a strip out of him in my blog…luckily he doesn’t read it. To the extent of my knowledge anyways… The reason why I am using Laura’s name and not Mr. X’s is because Laura specifically asked me to mention her in a blog article.

But anyways, so Laura is training for marathons these days. She is running the Yellowknife Marathon in August and then the Victoria Marathon at Thanksgiving. She’s used the old Forerunner a few times on some of her longer runs and I’ve been chatting to her quite a bit about her training. She is very disciplined in life, possibly due to her Dad’s past as a high-up military man, and she has been taking her running very seriously lately. There are definite places for improving her training, like drinking fluids when running over 2 hrs on a hot day, but this will come eventually with experience. I would say Laura’s definite strengths come from her self-motivation and her drive to succeed and I see these as very valuable traits that will get her far in life.

Mr. X though is a special case. He is one of the most talented individuals I have ever met. He is amazing at literally every sport and could easily become world-class at many of the sports he does. A lot of the time though he lacks the drive and confidence that comes so naturally to Laura. That is his only weakness.

So ya, they were having an interesting argument the other day, which I think I may have started. I participated in the same triathlon as Laura, running the 5 km leg for a friend. I recorded my run on the Forerunner and then I lent it to Laura for her run while her dad was still out on his epic bike ride. On my run I hit a max HR (198) and was working close to maximal for nearly the whole time. This is a good thing. It shows that on a given day I can push to my max and work at that level for some time. Laura on the other hand, her max barely broke 170 bpm and her average was in the low 160s. I said that the only difference was that I could work maximally for a given chunk of time and she couldn’t. (I did explain how it was a bit tough to compare cause her 10 km run took her almost 50 minutes and my 5 km was 18:35). Mr. X proceeded to talk about how it was good for a girl and Laura took minor offence to this. Mr. X was saying that if he were to run a 10 km that his time would be faster. He then back-pedaled explaining that in relation to top guy runners, his time would be worse then if you compared Laura’s time with top girl runners. Laura then started to shred Mr. X apart, reaming him out about his laziness and his lack of training lately (Mr. X is on a big University track team – he does 400s and 800s). Mr. X then went on to say that he only trains when he starts to put on weight, which caused Laura to fume and boil over. Laura started lecturing him about how he may or may not have the right reasons for training for his sport.

But yeah, I will end the description there because I think that is sufficient as examples for a few of the ideas I want to convey.

As a high level athlete, a lot of training is about routine. Many days look the same when all you are doing is training and then recovering from training. Such a life makes it easy for bad habits to form. That’s why it is important to constantly be pushing the envelope and challenging yourself in various ways. This could be as simple as being disciplined with a bed time. (Not simple for me unfortunately, I went to bed after midnight last night!!! Jeeze…) It’s about not settling for mediocrity, like Mr. X may do sometimes. It’s about constantly striving forward, challenging yourself and improving the process. It’s all about the process after all. The journey. The process must constantly be refined, tweaked and made better. Try something new, like a different sport drink, or more sport drink during a workout. Stretching for 10 minutes during every recovery period. You are the one who controls your process, you choose the tweaks you want to make. Just so many little things that add up to make the difference. Watch Al Pacino in his speech from the movie “Any Given Sunday”, he sums it up nicely with his speech about fighting for inches. You must fight for inches.

I think much more can be talked about in terms of Mr. X’s occasional lack of drive and self confidence. These are things that are lacking in many people in society. It may be fueled by many things, like fear of failure or commitment, a non-motivating environment, or even good old laziness. A good example of the fear of commitment is when my own dad was attempting the back yard rope climb. It wasn’t a matter of not having the strength, (he does tons of push-ups every day and has some brutish old-man strength) just a fear of going for it, overcoming mental barriers, and achieving the apex of the rope. Like Lululemon says, “do one thing a day that scares you.” Or this one “do it now, do it now, do it now!” Here is a shot of Mr. X readying himself for the rope climb.

You mean I’m not allowed to use my legs?!?!

Unsuccessful. Which begs the question: Is it mind or is it matter?

Mr. X does have a few stunningly good attributes in sport and training that make him a force to be reckoned with. The other day I did a track workout with him. He was a great training partner that day, asides from being brutally late getting ready and making me stand around waiting for him. He had really good input into the workout and was a solid guy to have around for some of the harder stuff we did. He definitely shows the elements of work ethic and undivided attention once in a while for workouts. Another thing that he is known for is his competitiveness. Growing up he would often get really worked up and animated about certain things in sport. His competitive-nature would show flashes of his dark side in the occasional mini-tantrum. These days, he has learned to harness that energy towards better things. When there is a close battle being fought, he has an amazing ability to focus every ounce of energy into bettering his foe(s). He has the mind power and patience to kick at the end of a running race. He can remain calm and collected while under pressure (if the battle is worth winning and he is able to do so). He’s also really good at getting into your head. A well placed comment here or there, or the intimidation factor from a winning point in tennis (or vball, or pingpong, or badminton, etc.. – the list goes on). Even though I have ripped him apart earlier in this blog, he still has a ton going for him.

I suppose those are some of the thoughts that I have had recently. Thrown about and pieced into a sloppy blog update.

Mr. X and I penguin diving at JT’s cabin at Prelude Lake.

It doesn’t matter what your profession is. Strive towards greatness by setting daily goals and focuses.

Don’t settle. Attack! Push yourself.

JT can hold his own on the rope climb.

Mountain Bike Madness in it’s 3rd year. And has seen great turn-outs.

This one is called “the One-armed Wonder takes up golf”.

“Le Tour Des Sables” at the YK golf course.

Yellowknife is shrouded in smoke on many an occasion during summertime. “Salamanderson” is about to huck the YK bridge. From the railing!!! That’s right…

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And another...

But yeah, so here is a mini-race report from the 5 km on Sunday which is basically right out of my iLog. “Didn’t sleep much at night. Feeling slightly tired, chest tight from yesterday’s tempo run. Felt ok in warmup though. HR was very responsive during the race. Hit 180 after about a minute of running. I maintained a really good cadence the whole way. 18:35. Perhaps need a better stride length… Breathing was a bit disappointing, 2 in 2 out but with pretty small breaths. Again, tired from yesterday. HR hit a max though, highest I’ve ever seen it. 198 bpm. Hand felt fine. Overall, fairly good day. I was able to push through to the end, and was able to park negative thoughts.”

So that was Sunday’s 5 km. Decent day for a big, heavy ski sprinter. Some day i want to run fast. I think on a really good day i could do under 18 in my current fitness. I wonder what would happen over a 10 km?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good update/rant in the works. Here's something to occupy you until then...

Here are the other inspirational videos i promised you...

Impossible is nothing.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra.

This one wasn't on Simon's blog, but its definitely a motivater. The trailer is better than the DVD - trust me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Simon Whitfield is the man.

I promised myself that i would do school tonight. All i have done so far is gone through SQW's blogs going back to June '07 in search of a blog article that would give a hint as to where my Aunt could pick me up a Blendtec blender in Vic tomorrow (Kirstin Sweetland has one and mentioned on her blog that Simon blogged about it at one point). So that's what i've been doing the past 1.5 hrs of what should have been productive Athabasca Bio 235 time. Searching for something that I'm not sure exists. HEY! I'M TYPING WITH 2 HANDS! Or trying to at least... But yeah, Google wasn't working so i reverted to the blogosphere. And found nothing...sort of. I basically know everything about Simon Whitfield now. That guy is incredible - i would love to meet him someday. He has such a positive outlook on life and just reading about his daily life and thought processes you know that he savours every moment of his existence and lives life to the fullest. A true role model.

On his blog he posts tons of Youtube. And here are a few of the ones that topped up the motivation meter. I will post a few more later in the week so that these ones can sink in. Enjoy.

"Think in a spacious way"

This one always gives me goose bumps every time i watch it. You wanna be good you have to practice.

"Confidence has always been a difficult thing for me. I always find it a little bit difficult to be completely confident in myself." Wow. This is incredible. Beautiful. Definitely touched.

Tomorrow I'm running the 5 km portion of Moses Hernandez's sprint distance triathlon. His knee is shot so he can't run. And running is just about all that i can do at the moment, so its perfect. The hand felt fine running today, although it is showing a bit of bruising. Tomorrow should be fun. I haven't hurt in a long time. And i haven't run fast in a long time either, so i'm pumped to test the unique aspects of fitness that i have developed in the past few weeks.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Interview with the B-man (hint: its not Butler)

Brendan Green has been setting the bar for many years for young, Northern athletes. It was always a huge inspiration to have such a fast skier residing just across the lake from me in my first steps on the ski scene as a midget. We didn't "bang heads" much after my midget days, but he was definitely a big idol for me especially with his legendary win in the 5 km Free at the 2000 Arctic Winter Games. To this day he continues to dom people in races. Biathlon, skiing, running, you name it. And he will dom you.

TD: Brendan Green! Wow. Tell us about yourself. The whole background check, don’t leave anything out.

BG: Alright! I am 21 years old and was born and raised in Hay River, NT. My family has always been strongly involved in Nordic sports, and with me being the youngest of six siblings; I had my work cut out to keep up to the rest of the family. I started out racing cross country, began biathlon when I was in Grade 4, and from then on raced either of the sports whenever I had a chance. After I won my first Canadian Championships in 2001 I began to focus solely on biathlon and was named to a Talent Identification Team initiated and funded by Biathlon Canada and CODA. This program brought together talented biathletes from across Western Canada in the hopes of grooming a younger generation of athletes into the National Team program. I trained hard over the next few years and worked my way up through the Talent ID program and onto the National Team. I have been part of the program for a few years now and am currently training full time in Canmore with the National Team.

TD: You have pulled out some huge wins in your day. AWG gold in the 5km skate mass start in 2000 in Whitehorse, defended that Free Mass Start title in Whitehorse at the 2007 CWG, won a few ZRS’s and are fresh off a win against a star-studded field (including the cocky, but great, Curtis M) at the Canada Day Fun Run in Canmore. You have also consistently made your presence felt in the Biathlon ranks in Canada, consistently among the best, and have experienced international success at a young age. Can you go into some detail for a few of these races? First big win, career highlight races, etc… Obviously you are on fire with your running shape this year. Can you comment on this as well? Are you reading into it very much?

BG: I guess my first big win was AWG gold in 2000. That result made me realize that I may have potential in the sport and resulted in me taking training and racing a lot more seriously.

As far as career highlights go, I would have to say that my two podium finishes (silver in 2005 and bronze in 2007) in the relay at World Juniors would rank the highest. I had really great performances all week at the 2007 World Junior Champs and getting to finish the week off with a sprint to the finish with Norway for silver and bronze was the icing on the cake. Sharing the podium with the world’s best is an amazing and extremely motivating experience.

As for the running, I’m not sure what to say! I enjoy running a lot but it’s not something I’m seriously into or read up on. Biathlon is the focus and running is just used as training. I don’t run as often as I did when I was training up north but maybe it’s a new realm I’ll have to explore when I’m retired from biathlon!

TD: You have been known to crush the competition in the final stages of a race. What can you attribute your devastating finishing kick to? Do you do anything in training to practice it? Or is it derived from a more primal source? Like from running away from polar bears in Hay River?

BG: Hmm, tough question to answer. It’s not something I train specifically to do. I have a history of a relatively low lactate curve and have found that if I’m careful not to blow my lactate in the early stages of a race, I can usually count on racing decently strong in the later stages of a race.

On the other hand, perhaps it is a result of some sort of genetic mutation or trait that northern athletes are born with. Maybe it’s necessary while training alone in the harsh and isolated northern climate to have an ‘extra gear’ handy, in case you do come face to face with a polar bear or other gnarly northern creature.

TD: (laughing)

TD: What are your main objectives for this year?

BG: Main objective will be to qualify for European tours. Team trials for first the World Cup and IBU cup tour will be held on roller skis in September and then another set of trial races will be held in January for the World Championship and European Championship tours. It would also be awesome to race the Canadian World Cup in Whistler, and as always, I hope to have strong results at the Canadian Championships.

TD: Who is your fav training partner in Hay River? (even if you don’t have one, you still have to name somebody)

BG: I did the majority of my training alone during my last few years in Hay River. It was always dark out or getting dark when I trained so it was often just me and my shadow out on the trails. Fortunately there are 5km of lit trails so that made training at night a lot easier. I did a lot of shooting work with Pat Bobinski, and training sessions here and there with Amy MacDonald, who was also training seriously for biathlon.

TD: Are you currently taking school? What are your career ambitions after your career with the “Dark Side”?

BG: School is currently on hold. I did a bit of correspondence when I first moved to Canmore but I wasn’t really a fan. I found the courses really dry which made motivation difficult. I currently have a part time job and work a couple days a week for something different to do. Maybe I’ll give correspondence another go soon, we shall see! When I’m done with biathlon I’ll definitely head back to school.

TD: Where is your favourite place to ski? Where is your favourite place to shoot? (do biathletes have fav places to shoot???)

BG: In 2007 prior to World Junior Champs, we did a mini training camp in Austria and took a day trip to Antholz, Italy, where the Sr. World Champs were being held in a few weeks time. Everything was already more or less set up for the races. The grand stands in the stadium that would soon be filled with thousands of spectators were constructed, and the trails were race ready. It was awesome. Skiing through the stadium past the range and massive spectator stands gave me shivers every time. The rolling and super fun trails were in pristine condition which made for a wicked day of training. It was definitely one of the more inspiring days I’ve had on skis.

TD: I was stalking your facebook the other day and you had some sweet pics from “spring in the riv”. Looks like your place got a bit flooded. Wha’ happened? Also, looks like you had a sick camp up at Mt Washington. How did that go?

BG: Yeah, every year when the ice on the river breaks up and jams into the lake ice, there is a risk of flooding. This year things got pretty intense and one of the Islands (Old Town) was partially flooded for a day or two. It was pretty crazy to see but also a little frustrating because I was unable to get out skiing on the lake for a few days.

Mt. Washington is pretty sweet and comes with a lot of bonuses. The resort was very accommodating and provided us with a 2km loop on top that was groomed daily (a little short but fine for the training we were doing). When the sun came out we were provided with stellar views and for once we were able to ski on top of a mountain and breathe easily at the same time. Skiing at a lower elevation was especially nice. There was still a ton of snow, they easily had over a meter base on top of the mountain and we had access to a shooting range minutes from our door. After skiing in the morning, we would drop down to sea level for our afternoon workouts which would consist of sea kayaking, running along the ocean on sweet trails, or mountain biking on the most technical and slippery root infested trails I’ve ever ridden. After a long and hard week of training we spent two days relaxing and surfing in Tofino which was sweet. This was our second camp at Mt. Washington and I’m sure we’ll be back for more spring training there.

TD: Which has better spring skiing. HR or YK? I know you haven’t done YK yet, but you must have seen some pics or something. We do have the advantage of the sick 50 km Drybones road…

BG: I always thought HR had pretty sweet spring skiing until I saw pictures of what you and your crew were up to in YK. In HR it’s always out and back with no real destination, which is cool, but I think the loops you can do in YK would be a lot more fun. I was definitely jealous of your 100km ski, so if conditions are good next year I may have to spend a couple days skiing in YK!

TD: On a cold training day in Hay River, say -30, when you have a combination workout planned, what would you do? (I know you’re living and training in Canmore, so I guess what did you do) Take the day off? Modify? Let’s hear the thought process, since being a biathlete in the North is so flipping hard cause its always too cold to skate and I’m sure a few ppl could use some cold weather shooting tips…

BG: Yeah, the cold weather is the only real downside to training in the north and it’s something you have to deal with a lot. The cold snaps were frustrating, especially when they went on for weeks and weeks and weeks, but I would still manage to get most of my hours in. I’d often have to shorten my combo workouts to maintain quality and spend less time skiing, or I wouldn’t skate at all for a couple of weeks and just do classic, but even then there were times when it was so slow that even doing classic was pointless. I remember how stoked I used to get when it would warm up to -20 after a couple weeks of some really cold weather. I would take advantage of the warmer days and do time trials or get in some other types of intensity! During cold snaps I would do all my intensity work on a treadmill, which was the only way I could get quality work in and stay ‘snappy.’ The big thing that worried me the most, and that I had to try and avoid, was trying to not let my body get used to the slow conditions and let my muscles adapt, which would result in me becoming sluggish and less snappy. This definitely happened a few times and avoiding it wasn’t always easy. It took a little while to figure out, but that’s why in the later years I would switch my intensity sessions to a running treadmill when it got too cold skate, which sometimes was a lot.

TD: In closing, (the rando-question of the day) what would be the best vehicle for your lifestyle and why?

BG: I got a ride to Calgary the other day in my coach’s new Audi which was a pretty sweet ride. I think an Audi would suit me best. They’re functional, yet speedy and powerful.

TD: Just like you...haha, oh man... Thanks Brendan for the riveting interview!

Spring Training on Mt. Washington

Sprinting to the finish with Norway for Silver and Bronze - 2007 World Junior Championships Relay - Italy

On the Podium at the 2008 Canadian Championships with Robin Clegg (left) and Tim Burke (Centre) - Callaghan Valley

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Crushed by the lungs of the Peaceful Warrior

To succeed at this game you need to have a certain level of smarts. It’s important to see the big picture. Perspective, perspective, perspective… You can’t always be focusing on the moment. Visualizing the path is as important as walking it.

The past week and a bit have been productive but the hand hasn’t shown any huge improvements. As a matter of fact, the past 3 days my hand has hurt more than any 3 consecutive days since I broke it. I like to blame this mostly on the new cast shape that I got that forces my ring and little finger into a straight position (ring finger throbs sometimes and has a bump so I’m starting to think it is actually broken). It might also have to do with 2 runs I did earlier this week. I ran 20 minutes on Monday with a 2 min walk break (I was running fast comfortably – or maybe it was comfortably fast), and then about 30 minutes of light running around the grass at the track on Tuesday. That night I had to take some T3s.

I have been doing lots of spiro. I dominate the 5 L bag now. Eventually I’ll get to 6 L which is apparently pretty incredible for somebody under 6-feet tall. I can finally coordinate a 3 L bag at 45 resps/min. Great - I have almost developed race pace breathing.

Funny story on a breathing note: Last week I did a First Aid course and we were asked to measure each others breathing. We were supposed to put a hand on the person’s rib cage and feel for the rise and fall. This notion is of course spurious because why would anybody be initiating all these inefficient breathing muscles like the intercostals while at rest? One girl’s resp rate was 32/min. Mine was non-existent because I was diaphragm breathing and my partner couldn’t feel rib movement. I counted it myself and it was 12 resps/min, which is fairly normal. Man, some of those people were breathing as hard as I do during a distance race!

I remember when I first started working with Andrew Sellars a few years ago. He’s basically the one who made me realize that when you exercise, you breathe. Pretty obvious, I know, but for the longest time I wasn’t doing it. He told me to count my breaths when I was doing rollerski intervals on the School Draw loop a few years back. I got back to him and said “100”. He called bullshit on the spot. And it turns out he was right. I wasn’t breathing; what I was doing was dying. Huffing and puffing and not doing nuttin’. Basically no gas exchange whatsoever. Think of the math right now. My maximal breathing rate with 3 L is 45, so I can breathe in/out 135 L, plus a bunch more, cause you actually breathe past the valve so you don’t pass out. But for simplicity’s sake, we’ll say 135 L/minute of fresh, 21% O2 air. And the same amount containing a little less O2 and a whole bunch of newly formed gases is breathed out. Now let’s assume that since my respiratory system is much better trained now than it was 3 years ago, say a 40% improvement. That would mean that my max breath rate back then would be about 96 L/min. Now take into consideration the dead space involved with the breathing process, say 200 mL (I don’t know the actual value, but I do have a long neck…) that would be made up of my trachea, mouth, nasal cavity, whatever. So if I was breathing 100 rpm and I totaled 96 L/min, that means I was moving 960mL/breath, 200 mL of which did nothing, didn’t even touch an alveolus. Not even 80% efficiency in gas exchange in relation to how much air I was moving. Not to mention the wasted energy… Now with a 3 L tidal volume, the percentage of gas that actually enters the lungs is bumped up to over 93%. 14% improvement in this sense doesn’t sound too impressive, but when you pair this improvement of a base level physiological event with the power I have developed in my breathing with a few years of consistent, focused training of the system, all of a sudden I have learned how to breathe and have even made it my strength. As measured with the Spiropet, my vital capacity now exceeds 6 L. And I’m also good at blowing up balloons, so if you’re preparing for someone’s birthday party, you know who to call.

The main focus of the work I do with the big bags is to expand lung volume. The costal cartilage remains very flexible through childhood and sort of stiffens once into the early 20s. I’m 19 so mine is still pretty flexy, and that’s why this is a good time for big spiro work. When I first started with Spiro, my vital capacity was barely above 5 L, at 5.2 L I believe. It now sits at a little over 6 L. About a 20 % increase. And this basically all because a structure (rib cage) has been permanently changed due to a training stimulus.

The other day I pushed 120 W on a trainer for a couple hours. It took me a while to realize the weak power was due to the knobby I had on…nice one. I was starting to wonder if I had lost every quantum of fitness I ever had. It was consolation knowing I was breathing 12 rpm @ 145 bpm... So yeah, I granny-geared it for a few hrs in the sweltering garage (I felt like Simon Whitfield in his heat chamber) with the tunes cranked. I tried to watch Fight Club, but Ed Norton’s voice is just too deep and manly that it was destructively interfered with by the angry bumblebee knobby-on-trainer sound. So I reverted to maxing out the mini-Boses and to shaking the house all day. It was a pretty sweet training session though. Pretty focused with a pretty fast and structured recovery period immediately following. No in-transit time, the shower a few steps away, and a fridge full of food upstairs.

But yeah, since that day I have done squat. My hand wakes me up at night asking to be let out. Haha, just like a dog… So I let it out of the uncomfortable cast from time to time. Running is out of the question for a few weeks. Biking seems good, hopefully the increased blood flow isn’t the sole bane of my hand. I’m starting to think it might even be the gruesome pins that are jutting out of the hand that are disrupting soft tissue healing and are bringing the hurt.

I’m getting some core done too. It is brutally weak at the moment. I need to bring the core up to speed in order to find my double pole mojo once on-snow. I’ve plunged into that building period.

ALSO! You may have noticed that I have a “Diamond PLUS Sponsor”. I recently met up with FSC Architects & Engineers here in YK and they are on board for this year. “Diamond” level was previously my top level for a sponsor, but these guys have gone above and beyond this and seem very keen on being an integral part in the Olympic Journey. I am very pumped to be working with FSC. They have lifted much of the sponsorship-seeking burden I have had on my shoulders lately and wow!, just huge shout out. You guys are awesome! Just like this ski season will be. With your help. So thank you.

I’m hoping to get my pins out any day now. Hopefully the holes seal up and I can keep on my bike. Hold tight. I’ll be back.


Don’t count the days. Make the days count.

The set-up.

Blood flow is important.

The first in a series of shots documenting the wasting away of the arm. It was pretty weak and pretty tiny to start with. It looks like its already atrophied a bit compared to the other arm.