Sunday, 15 July 2012

Skiing on the Haig Glaicer - ROUND 1

Just a quick update on current training:

I'm in the midst of a "yo-yo" training block where we spend 4 days training up high (2400m) on the Haig glacier, 3 days in Canmore training at regular altitude (1400m) and then another 4 days skiing up on the Haig. The Haig Glacier camp is located in Peter Lougheed provincial park, not too far from Canmore but a 17km run/hike from the closest parking lot! If you want to see more about the Haig check out a report from another time I went there.  The idea with the camp is to log some big volume at altitude on snow then go lower to regroup then get a tough intensity workout and some weights in on the week before repeating. By alternating between high and low altitude and mixing a the big volume with a tough intensity we get a red blood cell boost and time to practice real skiing without losing out on quality high intensity training in the week. (The glacier is too high to really do more than easy skiing and short sprints). 

Last week started with an upper body weight workout on Monday morning, a few hours to regroup then the 17km trek into the camp. Coming off a big snow winter the trail into camp still had shin deep snow in many sections so it took longer than usual to get in, 3.5 hours! Tuesday and Wednesday were "regular" Haig days with breakfast at 7am, the 45min hike from camp to the glacier, skiing for a few hours and then hiking/snow sliding back down to camp for lunch and an afternoon nap. Below is a video of the girls team skiing around the Haig if you're interested. It's long but take a peek for even the first bit to see what the glacier is all about. I pop in around 45 seconds wearing black and white and then again around 1:55 where I'm skiing with teammate Heidi Widmer which is a great clip.

Thursday morning we hiked up for a short ski then ran the 17km from camp back to the vans after a little lunch. We were back in Canmore by about 4pm on Thursday and oh boy was I happy to have a nice warm shower at home! The camp shower had been on the fritz so I had last bathed the day before by pouring jugs on glacial runoff over myself down by the river. If you can imagine looking uphill to see a glacier then following the waterfall coming out the bottom of it right to your feet you can imagine how cold this water is. Refreshing might be an understatement...

Friday was an easy training day so I went for a sweet mountain bike ride with Mike and my Fresh Air friend Remi who was passing through Canmore on a cross-country road trip. Our other friends Ben and his girlfriend Nika were also passing through town so we all got together for a BBQ on Friday night - there's nothing better for recovery than great friends and mountain bike riding to me! 

Biking with Remi through the Mine Meadow at the nordic centre

Saturday we did an awesome hard ski striding workout on the 3.3km race loop at the nordic centre. It's the course we will be racing for the 10km classic World Cup this December so I'm always, always, always stoked to hammer out these workouts in preparation. Saturday afternoon was the final workout of the week, a short session in the weight room.

Today (Sunday) was a much welcomed rest day. I slept in until 10, read the Globe and Mail with my morning coffee, did some housekeeping chores and then spent a few hours playing scrabble with Mike at Communitea. I'm very proud to announce that I set a new Scrabble PB of 340 points and got my first ever Scrabble BINGO by playing all 7 of my letters in one go!

The fun starts again tomorrow with weights then the afternoon run back up to the Haig. I'm feeling good and ready to attack the second week of the yo-yo-ing.

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Cycling for Strong Kids

Here's a cool story:

Don Patterson, a good friend of the Thomas family and the person who actually introduced us to cross country skiing, is currently riding his bike across Canada to raise funds and awareness to help Canadian kids become more physically active. He started in Vancouver on June 26 and is riding 200-300+km a day (a day!!) towards the east coast where his ride will conclude. How neat is that? You can check out his ride blog at 

Don is riding on behalf of YMCAs across the country. I grew up as a Y kid, spending loads of time swimming, playing in the gym, learning Tae Kwon Do and attending every version of day camp and overnight camp imaginable so Don's ride is inspiring and encouraging to me on many levels. The Y is unique and special in that it's much more than simply a gym or swimming pool, they represent entire communities and serve as a place for people to gather and grow healthier through exercise, friendship, sharing of culture and charity. Possibly the best thing about YMCAs in Canada is that they do not restrict membership to only those lucky enough to afford it but instead offer a wide range of subsidized membership and program options to allow for maximum community participation.

Don is riding to raise money so that more kids and families can become involved in Y programs. Why is this important? It's important because active families and kids are healthier and more positively engaged in community life. The spinoffs of this are huge! Studies show that healthy, active kids are more likely to perform well in school and less likely to suffer depression or diabetes and less likely to get involved in trouble outside of school. Kids who are healthy and do better in school are more likely to attain higher levels of education, get better jobs and have fewer sick days and health problems in the long term. In simple terms this leads us to a economically stronger and healthier Canada!

Another key message of Don's ride is to promote the belief that each of us can make a difference in the community around us, if we take the time to try. Not everyone is able to contribute by riding across Canada (that's Don's idea anyway!) but we can all find some way to get involved. Great ways to do this are as simple as taking the time to play soccer in the park or go swimming with your family, kids or friends who might not get out and try it otherwise.

I am inspired by Cycling for Strong Kids and have made it a personal challenge to myself to do more to become engaged in promoting active, healthy lifestyles for Canadian kids. I have previously donated to the YMCA Strong Kids program and will do so again this year. Beyond that, I am striving to be a role model in the ski community for younger athletes by taking the time to stop and chat with as many kids as possible and sharing my energy and enthusiasm for sport.

What are you going to do? 

Take a look at the Cycling for Strong Kids website to learn more.