Monthly Archives: November 2012

Weekly Update #17 To Japan!

I’m writing this while cruising along on Air Canada flight 001 with service from Toronto to Tokyo. We are cruising along at 30 000 feet on our way to Nagoya, Japan, site of Word Cup #3.

We are a few hours into the nearly 13 hour flight and I just had one of the cooler experiences I’ve had on an airplane. As I was doing a bit of work on one of the assignments from the class I’m taking, I threw up the on-board map to check out our flight path. As I looked at it I realized we were going to cut pretty close to the East Arm of Great Slave Lake and head a little north of Yellowknife. The lake looks like this in the summer…

 … and its one of my favourite places in the world. Figuring I could use a little break from sitting, I thought I’d check out the view. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I’m guessing the Lake isn’t quite frozen, there was substantial cloud cover over top of open water, blocking out views of Christie Bay, Etthen Island and the rest of the East Arm. I kept watching anyways, and after a few minutes, my eyes jumped onto a lake amidst all the others. I realized I had spotted Hidden Lake and that the Ingraham trail wouldn’t be far away. Sure enough, there it was and I got more and more excited as we passed by Prelude, River Lake and Prosperous and then the Yellowknife River. I also spotted Walsh Lake, where my family has a cabin. Pretty soon, Yellowknife came into view for a split second. It was very cool to be on the way to Japan from Toronto and pass right over the exact lakes and areas you grew up in. So if you saw a jet contrail going over the clear Yellowknife skies ay about 2:15pm on Saturday afternoon, you may been looking up at me looking down on you.

 Alright, on to the business stuff. World Cup #3 in Nagoya. We (Canada) have the same team traveling to this World Cup as we had at the first two world cups. The whole team has put in a solid month of training and I think everyone feels in good shape. Personally I had a good month as well, and I’m looking forward to getting back into racing. The distances that I will be skating are to be determined, but since this weekend sees the 1500m skated twice, I’m sure I’ll be skating one of the two.

 We’ve got about 8.5 hours to go on this flight, so its back to watching The Dark Kinght Rises for me, while I dream about fishing along the cliffs of Wildbread bay…

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Weekly Update #16

This week’s blog is brought to you by…

Laps: We did more laps this week than the week before. 700 something to be sort of exact. And we did it in less practices.

Replacement Rinks: We were treated to a little involuntary field trip for our Thursday and Friday ice sessions due to a figure skating competition at Maurice Richard Arena

Frozen toes and fingers: Due to spending time in said replacement rinks, which was very, very cold. But who am I to complain. I got to skate!

Movember: My Movember moustache growing season continues. So far, I’m pretty pumped on this one. Just a bit over half-way and its pretty full. If you’d like to make a donation to support Prostate Cancer  research, check out my mospace page at: http://ca.movember.com/mospace/5075573. Thanks to Jess, my Mum and our Nutritionist Catherine Naulleau for their donations!

Winter sport season: As a fan of fringe (to the majority of the world) sports, I’m pretty pumped that cross country skiing, biathlon, long track, alpine skiing and most other winter sports are getting their seasons under way. Streaming Sundays are back!

Next weeks blog will be from Nagoya, Japan. We’re hitting the road next weekend for World Cup’s 3 and 4.

 

Weekly Update #15 Volume and Remembrance Day

This past week was a big one for us. With only a few weeks between the end of World Cup 2 and our departure for Asia and the next World Cups, we need to take full advantage of our time at home to put in some big training. And we have. Laps on laps on laps was the theme of the week.

Personally, I always like these types of weeks. It gives lots of time to work on technique while the pace isn’t too quick. I also get to experience one of my favourite feelings in sport. I’m talking about that moment when your lungs are burning and your legs are screaming but somehow you fall into a rhythm and it seems like you could keep going forever. Which you can’t, obviously, but you just keep ticking off the laps and making the coach’s lap times until the set is over. Its an amazing feeling, and an addictive one.

At the end of the week, following one of those days that I was talking about above, we (the national team) had the fortune of participating in a great event with some future Canadian short track speed skating stars thanks to Samsung Canada and their Hope for Children program. Samsung ran a contest that gave winners the oppourtunity to come out and skate with us for the day. All of the kids were super excited and ready to learn and meet us, and we were pumped to hang out with them and pass on some pointers.

Group shot at the end of a great event!

It was a lot of fun and I even got to get on the microphone and announced a relay race between some skaters, media and special guests. I think I did alright, but only thanks to years of listening to Dany Lemay, short track announcer extraordinaire!

 

I ended the week by attending Montreal’s Remembrance Day service. I have always considered it very important to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony, or at least observe a moment of silence in honour of all those who have put their lives on the line for what we all value so much and so often take for granted. The majority of the years, it seems I have been on the ice for 11am and we have had to observe our moment of silence on the ice. But this year, with the 11th falling on a sunday, our day off, I was able to make it down to the service.

While it is obviously very important to continue to remember our veterans, especially as we continue to lose veterans of wars past to father time each and every year, I had a new realization this year. While I have attended Remembrance Day ceremonies in both Yellowknife and Calgary, I have never attended one with a real, live, 21 gun salute. The spot we were standing at was maybe 50m away from the artillery pieces that were performing the salute and it gave me a new perspective on war that I had not, and hope not, to experience. The shear noise, violence and concussion of a shell being fired was something to experience. The whole crowd jumped each time, kids were crying and many were seen covering their ears. And this was only from a blank shell being fired. No explosion of the shell, no damage, no fire, no death. I can only imagine what an hours long barrage feels like going off and the damage and fear it rains down on those on the receiving end. It was a true eye opener for me, and not having to experience this in my life is just one more reason on top of many to be thankful for those that have served our country.