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!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So last week I got the rough news that I have mononucleosis, aka mono.  Doctor's orders to take a month off training was a tough pill to swallow.  Thankfully, a setback is a set-up for a comeback.

It all started with a tough week of training up at Kajsa's cabin at Osprey Lake, where I was feeling unusually bagged in the dying days.  Initially I thought it was from my first 2 days of training in the heat this summer, the 2nd day of which I became dehydrated during a 3 hr ride, leaving me with persisting symptoms into the next day.  I figured the ill effects from this perhaps manifested itself into lingering fatigue 2 days after.  I still managed a great rollerski intensity session at Seymour Demo Forest in Van after a day off, but cooling down after the workout was a complete carcass drag.  The tiredness of the carcass drag cool-down remained with me for a whole week of easy training, some days of which I would hit a fever post-workout.  I knew something was off and matters were made worse by a sore tummy that would hurt whenever I breathed in while training.

Being tired is a normal feeling after hard training, and it sometimes even lasts a full week after a hard block.  However, occasional fever and constant abdominal pain while training?  Time for a visit to the doctor.

I was tentatively diagnosed with a strained diaphragm, and told to do nothing to exacerbate the discomfort.  We decided to do routine blood work just to rule out anything serious, and I peed in a cup to rule out kidney dysfunction.  That afternoon I got a call back from my doctor saying that I had mono and that's why my tummy was hurting.  My spleen was engorged with blood and inflamed from combatting the virus.

Luckily a return to exercise is a month after symptoms begin, and so I figured I was 10 days in already.  This reduced my time off to 3 weeks.

So what have I been doing with my spare time so far, you ask?  Mainly a ton of reading, but also some school on the side (after finishing the first half of the course in 3 weeks back in April, I took a 3.5 month break before my 3 week push to finish the 2nd half of the microeconomics course).

Books I have been reading since my diagnosis 5 days ago:

- "The Vertical Farm" - by Dickson Despommier (finished it)
- "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" - by Vincent Lam (finished it - great read about the medical profession)
- "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil" - by Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl
- "The Rational Optimist" - by Matt Ridley
- "Anges et Démons" - Dan Brown (practicing my french)
- "Ape House" - Sara Gruen

I usually diversify my reading between 3-5 books at a time so as to not become bored of a single one.  However, "Bloodletting" was a riot and I read it almost all at once.

Recent reading I have been doing on the net includes an article on the Central Governor Model of exercise (brings into question training theory applied by virtually all sports in Canada), and an article outlining the woes of dietary cereal grains (I figure that now that I am not training, I can't be cheating on my diet so as to avoid weight gain for my impending comeback).

I guess other stuff I have been up to can be summed up in pictures.

Talk about weight gain - the other day we picked about 20 lbs of raspberries in Abbotsford (the 20 lbs doesn't include the 5 lbs we ate while out in the field).  Luckily Kajsa's family took most of them home with them. 

My first ever u-pick excursion down at North Arm Farm at the end of July. (Abbotsford berries proved to be way bigger)

My birthday dinner up at Osprey Lake.  Smoked baby back ribs with seasoning purchased from the Canadian National BBQ Championships that were held in Whistler. 

The Hollyburn crew at their Osprey Lake camp.  I helped out as technique model. 

While up at Osprey Lake for my birthday week, we made a day trip foray across the border to raid cheap US stores and a straight-from-Jalisco taco stand.  

Scenery along my 90km road ride towards the states along the Similkameen River.  Old Hedley Road is one of the most fantastic road rides of my life.  Unfortunately, the body was a bit out of whack that day and it could even have been the first day of mono.  

The Academy (ski team from Canmore) just rolled into Whistler recently and was shown to the local swimming hole of Logger's Lake, rope swings and all.  A true gem of a local haunt. 

With my current time off, I got to take in a day at the Squamish Live music festival, where I saw one of my fave musicians, John Butler.  He was incredible, especially his rendition of his 12-string instrumental "Ocean".  Check it out if you haven't heard it.  

Also, a few days ago I did the Slow Food Cycle down in Pemberton, where 5,000 riders biked from farm to farm tasting all sorts of goodies that the Pemberton valley has to offer.  

Posing next to a cabin up in the hills above Princeton in the heart of redneck country.  I am in fact NWT bound in a few days to spend some of my mono recovery in Yellowknife.  

Speaking of Yellowknife, I recently came across this video on facebook, made by a few Yellowknife kids.  It's shot on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, probably my favourite place in the world.  A place where the landscape, and the fish, are larger than life.  I used to spend 6-10 days there every summer with my family, but haven't been in a few years.  One of the many reasons why I love Yellowknife!

Anyways, hope you didn't mind this extra circuitous collection of musings.  I am sick, after all, and so have an excuse.

Check back soon for an update on things in YK.