Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Art of Urban Training, a Photoessay

I'm back home in Mississauga for a visit and a final bit of fall training before Frozen Thunder is unveiled next week and ski season gets underway for real. It's been fantastic to visit my mom and dad (and our lovely cat, Alexis).
When thinking of great places to be an athlete or active person, Mississauga and Toronto are not the first places that come to mind. While the GTA might not be ideal for year-round training as ski racer, there are still lots of fun things to see and do on foot, bikes, or even rollerskis. I've been having a great week of training with some really pretty runs, fun rollerskis and bike rides all right from my parent's front door. I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you through pictures, enjoy!

Port Credit has painted bike art all around town, this one is a fave of mine along the Waterfront Trail

Best effort at an artsy urban training self portrait
Waterfront trail heading from Port Credit towards Toronto, great pavement for running, biking or rSkiing

Pretty city view along the bikepath/ski route

Nice bike paths, nice view
Having a good time!
This scene looks familiar...!
Peaceful, pretty, this is an actual Toronto bike path!
You can actually rollerski here!
Another fave

Nevermind bears, city people have bigger things to worry about!

My dad wanted to pick the wild parsnips for dinner..
Port Credit trials riding on the Dahon, I'm planning to send this to Danny MacaSkill with a love letter.
Sweet to city ride on my mom's RAD Bike!

Port Credit yarn bomb.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Back-to-Basics/Punk-Rock Training

Canmore has been positively beautiful this September. Aside from a few chilly mornings and maybe 2 rainy/misty mornings it's been all bluebird skies and leaves turning yellow. Excellent! 

The third grey-est day, still pretty gorgeous.
It's been a long summer of training and after lots of big life changes, I found myself feeling tired out and run down earlier this month. My team was off to a mini-camp in New Denver, B.C this week but between some fatigue and personal stresses it was decided that I'd probably be better off staying in Canmore to train this week.

I was dazzled to get my first ever art delivery! Hand coloured by my little cousin Anna - we both love The Little Mermaid. 
Generally I prefer not to miss out on potentially fun things (I suffer from FOMO, see last month's Cosmo column for an explanation) so I decided to hold my own official "Back-to-Basics/Punk-Rock" training camp here in Canmore. What on earth is that, you ask?

In short, it means I dedicated this entire week of training to getting back to the simple basics of 1) why I love ski training, 2) my goals as an athlete and 3) reconnecting with my internal motivation to train well day in and day out. 

Ice baths are a recovery staple. Cold fresh Quarry water keeps leg injuries away!
These are the details that are critical to success as an athlete. It's easy to train day after day but it's more challenging to train day after day while maintaining a crystal clear focus on one's goals and the finer details of what goes into training, recovering and being mentally prepared for the winter ahead. Sometimes it's nice to step back and do some solo workouts to reconnect with the joys of being an athlete.

Keeping it punk rock during intervals at Lake Minnewanka
To keep this extra fun, I listened to far more pop-punk than any 24 year old should ever admit to. As it turns out, my taste in music has not changed drastically since I was 17 and Blink-182 still gets me fired up to go rollerskiing any day of the week! I believe the small things that make you feel happy and excited can make a big difference to overall well being. Might as well make use of the freebies!

Out of Maple syrup and reduced to eating store bought jam... The HORROR! Time to visit home, right away.

As September ends, so does the last hard block of summer training. This week it's time for a some rest and easier training to let the body recover and "absorb" the work it's done over the past few months. I find I rest best at home with family and friends so I'm making a trip back to home Mississauga and to Grandma's for Thanksgiving. I'm already excited for recovery turkey.

Aside from the little break, October means race season is less than 2 short months away. Training will now be geared more towards shorter, harder intensity sessions and sharpening the mind and body to be ready to compete. Lucky for us in Canmore, the Canmore Nordic Centre creates a loop of snow to ski on in mid-October called "Frozen Thunder". Story goes that they stockpile snow late in the winter and cover it with sawdust for insulation through the summer. In less than 2 weeks the sawdust will be scraped off and the snow rolled out to create a ski track - wild!

I'm told there is snow under all that sawdust..

Frozen Thunder's summer hibernation locale.
It seems crazy that be we will be training on snow in less than 2 weeks but less crazy when you see what happened in Canmore yesterday...
October 1st in Canmore. Yikes! Makes Frozen Thunder seems more possible...
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for some urban training news before Frozen Thunder!