Update – September 2009

Time seems to fly by when you’re having fun!  This is the phrase I would use to describe the last four weeks.

Two days after getting back to Calgary from the New Zealand training camp, I moved up to Canmore, making that my home until next Fall.  The tough part of that decision was not where to move, from the first day I spent in Canmore (which was a sunny -30 with a -40 wind chill kind of day) I had always wanted to live and train there, but the decision to put school on hold for the year and focus almost solely on training and preparations for the Vancouver Paralympics was the tougher one.  Once that decision was made everything seemed to fall into place.

The remaining three and a half weeks have flown by.  Recovery – was the word of the following two weeks.  The training in NZ was unbelievable but it was time to take a breather and recover a little.  I was not complaining of the beautiful weather in the Rockies.  The weather for the two recovery weeks was awesome with temperatures well above 26 and sunny.  It made relaxing an easy thing to do.  I was able to catch some of the Biathlon Canada’s Roller Ski Trials.  Biathletes from across the country were going head to head in order to determine who would represent Canada on the World and IBU Cups for the upcoming season.  Congratulations to all selected athletes.

With the next training camp fast approaching it was again time to increase the hours and intensity and prepare for the (fingers crossed) soon flying snow.  I have been feeling incredibly strong these past few weeks.  Technique and strength has never been as strong as it is right now.  If I feel this good under a training load, I can’t wait to see my form once the race season beginnings.

The added bonus of training in Canmore is the ability to train with the best cross country skiers and biathletes in Canada.  It is a great benefit when you can train with someone that may just push your limit a little.  My “slightly” competitive side comes through and I refuse to let anyone drop me, and I’m sure that any training partner of mine refuses to get dropped by someone with only one arm.  So together we are both pushing ourselves a little harder, and eventually we both end up faster.

As I wait in Toronto to board my now 1½ hour delayed flight to Munich, I’m excited to get the next training camp under way.  This year our early Fall camp has moved locations from the ski tunnel in Vuokatti to the Dachstein Glacier in Austria.  I have never been to the Dachstein or even in Austria besides the twenty minutes driving through it.  Rumor has it through this is an amazing place to training, and very popular by many European Cross Country and Biathlon teams.  My coach described it saying this; “a train of skiers will pass you and you can go World Champion, World Champion, Olympic Champion, three times World and Olympic Champion…” and so on.  From other athletes that have been there before they simply say,  “it is a place you have go, it’s amazing.” With all that said I am exciting to be spending the next two weeks there and hopefully enjoy some great training and experiences.

That’s my flight they’re calling so I better be off.  I promise to let everyone know how the camp goes.

Mark


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