Update – June 2009

It has been some time since my last update, but don’t be alarmed not too much has happened in that time.  Since the Biathlon Nationals in Quebec, I began with a well needed and desired break for a week and a half.  A break, where I simply rested and recovered from the recent competitive season and also finished my winter semester courses.   But that now seems short-lived because it was soon time to get right back out there.

The 2009/2010 training season started with an awesome spring camp.  A week of -I want to say pre-summer- skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley.  A spring camp like this I had never experienced.  It was a week of simply enjoying skiing with not a care in the world.  A typical day started out at 8, by heading down from Whistler to the Olympic Park, a 25ish minute drive (depends on who is driving).  We get there and there was slight nip still in the air, but during the 20 minutes of getting ready with boots and skis, the sun was already warming everything up.  The first 30 minutes was pretty stretchy, everything was pure ice.  So an added thrill now accompanied the already fun, high-speed technical corners.  The snow soon warmed up to an ideal surface.  It is every skier’s dream of racing on snow like that.  This lasted maybe another 40 minutes and then it started to get granular and slow, but still amazing.  A focus of the camp had a shooting aspect to it.  So we worked a lot on the Pursuit course and transition into the range.  Another bonus of the camp was that I was able to watch the Swedish national team train.  To see how aggressive they skied in certain sections, the tempo and the technique, to me, was a true learning experience.  To watch, arguably, the number one and two sprinters in the World train, there is hardly anything that can beat that.  Then we made our way back to Whistler around noon.  Then it was to the patios of Whistler for lunch.  Enjoying great food, with the best of company and soaking up the bright sun in shorts and a t-shirt, in April, nothing beats that.  Every afternoon was filled with some recovery and a run on the local Whistler trails.  And the whole camp was like this (with the exception of one day, where the wind picked up and it was a little cooler).

Though, all good things must come to an end!  It was back to Calgary and back to school and dry-land training.  With two spring course to fill up some of the time of May and June, there was plenty of time to do a few other things.  Something that I found interesting was my participation in McDonald’s McHappy Day on June 6.  As a McDonald’s hopeful, McHappy Day gives us athletes an opportunity to support the community and a great sponsor.  I was fortunate enough to work at a McDonalds Restaurant in Calgary.  Along with Gina Kingsbury of the Women’s Hockey team, we were honoured to a competition of wrapping Egg McMuffins on Breakfast Television.  It was a unique opportunity and a lot of fun.   My next event was at the McDonalds Owner/Operator Conference in Banff at the end of May.  Where together with two aerialists, we performed a skit, about what the Olympics/Paralympics meant to us.  And as a finale we together introduced John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, the organizing body of the 2010 Olympics/Paralympics.  John is an amazing speaker and has a truly unique passion for sport and believes in the power that sport can have.

June began with a great technique and biathlon camp in Canmore.  The weather threatened to make it ugly, but held out for us.  The camp was very demanding and rewarding at the same time.  And to be honest I have never felt so physically and mentally exhausted after a camp, then this one. It proofed that there are limits and we played dangerous of crossing those limits.

The remaining days of June will be spent finishing off my courses, and continued training, which consists of running, cycling, roller skiing, and strength, for the next little while.  Then for July it is off to Canmore for a month of, I hope, great training.

I hope everyone gets out and enjoys the beginning of summer, in whatever style fits you best.

Mark


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