Thursday, September 18, 2008

Final post

As closing ceremonies are today, this is likely my last post. Yesterday was my first day off and it was spectacular. As the village and venue is so gigantic I never really had an interest to do any exploring. Today I watched the 100m final that I really wished I was in but it was also therapeutic. Everyone in that race ran much faster today, in less than ideal conditions than I ran on my best day in the best conditions.

After the event, I booked it out of the stadium and to my American Friends condo where we then went to the “Market”. Think of a 5 story office building converted to a mall. The outside looked like a regular building, but unlike a mall that could have 10 large stores on each floor, there were 400 - 10ft x 10ft kiosks. Once inside, you realize each store nothing more than 3 walls and 3 obnoxious sales people. After a closer look, the walls were not walls, but rather stacks of product covered in a thick canvas like a tent. The walkway is no more than 3 feet wide and with stores on both sides it allows people to yell in your ear and literally grab you and pull you in

In this place you could find everything and nothing all at the same time. There was mainly popular and normally expensive clothing makes Like Dolce & Gabanna or Armani. I assume it’s easier to put a fake label on a regular pair of jeans compared to trying to recreate a digital camera. I was told that because everything is made in china now, the fake one is not any worse than the reall ones.

The price is the most fun part of the process but get’s exhausting very quickly. There is a system based on insults that is embraced by both the seller and the buyer. For example I bought a few real 100% silk scarves. The price started at 300 Yuan which is about 50 bucks Canadian. The sales person says “this is best price for you, very good price just you”. I then say 50Yuan which is about 10 bucks, and I do it with a huge smile on my face. She comes back and says “can’t do it, real silk, good price for you, ok 200 Yuan. I come back with a counter offer of 40. I ended up with 2 scarves and a nice bag for 45 which it’s still likely that I got a good deal and she still made some money.

As I wondered around I ended up in the watch section. I tried on a “real” Omega watch that confused me. I know that watches costing $5,000 have amazing craftsmanship. Although 1/100th of the price it looked the part and was even an automatic winding, which can’t be all that cheap to make. On my way out, I was approached by a guy with a bag saying wannabuyrolex….. I didn’t want to pull my wallet out but I wish I had because that watch looked cool regardless of it being a fake, and for 10 bucks Canadian it only has to last a month to get my monies worth.

After my shopping experience we went for authentic Tibetan cuisine and a show. I don’t know much about Tibet, but apparently they eat a lot of Yak. We had 6 different plate of food and 5 included Yak to some degree. We had steak, roast, soup, dips, and some other stuff. At one point, I looked at the bean dip and it was very strange to eat the food and especially the dip because there appeared to be a swastika design in it. It was explained that they use that symbol for good luck and the Nazi’s adopted it for their logo.

The dancing and show was amazing and lots of fun. We cabbed it back to the village and tomorrow are closing Ceremonies followed by 2 days of hanging out before I come home.

Closing Cerimonies were amazing and I’m really glad I went. In the past the event is over by 9pm and then everyone looks for the after party. I always stress over looking for the right people and spending half the night searching.

This time the after party was actually in the village and it was spectacular. It started with a already good party for Canada and the Aussie’s and sooner than later everyone else came. It was a great time and I can’t think of a better way to leave here. I think we closed it down around 4am and if you ask me, i'll tell you all the things I can't post.......

I’m arriving back in Winnipeg on September 19th at 7:08 and hope I can connect with everyone then.

I’m actually coming home with not injuries, with clean clothes which is always nice because stinky shirts can ruin a bag and makes those airport dogs gag.. I don’t think I’ve lost anything but seem to now have 2 full bags regardless of arriving with one.

Bye for now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

4 great pushes

So I run the 100m in a few hours. In all the 100m races I have done, the first few pushes are what makes or breaks the race. I do not need a top speed that is crazy, but I do need a great accelleration. I tested things out yesterday and things feel great. I was at 98 % of my top speed before 40% of the race which means I plan on cruising for 60m at my top speed.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

shopping and sprinting

Thanks for the suggestions. I have enlisted someone else to do my shopping for me and that frees me up to do the sight-seeing. Although not very accessible, I think it will be the great wall.

Yesterday was very cool, as I raced early, I wondered around after and met a old racing buddy from Arizona that I would consider the next best thing to family, and we hung out awhile. Later that night we went to dinner and then the water cube and watched some swimming. I have to say that "the cube" was much more interesting on the outside. Inside it's just a pool (really)..As the stands are small and the paralympics are so popular, I had to buy scalped tickets. that was a great activity it's self.

- I had one guy want 50$ american for a pair of tickets that had a face value of $10
- There was a guy selling tickets really cheap that turned out to be the stub from last nights session
- I saw a guy yelling "TICKETS HERE", only to find out he was selling knock-off watches. For 5 bucks Canadian I could have had a genuine POLEX.
- I also got an offer to marry a chinese girl from her mother. She said that she's really pretty and smart too. I got the feeling that I had to agree without meeting her first.

I ran into a canadian swimmer and she explained why all the world records are broken here.

The pool has negative edging which removes all the waves very shortly after they are created by the swimmers. Normally the waves come from the water being displaced and boucing off the edge. With no sides the water stays calm and it creates a situation similar to a day with no wind on the track. - I had no idea.

At one point I went looking for a bathroom and went down a wrong elevator and wondered around before someone helped me. I was in the wong place so I got to wheel around the bowels of the arena to the proper elevator. We passed a car park where there were at least 50 Audi A6's. They were all black with tinted windows and squeaky clean. I nearly hit my escort because I was not paying attention. I may have drouled a little too.

As for the task at hand, today's training went very well. I had a very short session just to stay sharp on my few days off between races. It's very important to not sit around when faced with a few days between races, but also not to go crazy and break more muscle fibres the day before I need them intact.

In training today, I focused on starts and very short distances such as 30m, 40m and 60m. The feedback I was given by my coach Jean was that I was faster today than my fastest day in sherbrooke. I changed a slight place of my knees in response to not hitting my top speed last week and although it didn't help my top speed, it gave me a killer start. It's very strange to not be hitting a massive top speed yet still pulling in good times. I also noticed that in the past 5 days, there has been a headwind in the 100m straight. I thought it would be good to fabricate a fairing to help me cut through the wind if it's there.

I have no ilussions that I'll win the 100m on Monday, but based on my new start, I just want to have a great reaction to the gun and leave the line at the same time as everyone else. I think if the wind is nice to me, we may see a new canadian record in the preliminaries.

Friday, September 12, 2008

200m recap

So what can I say.... I ran nearly my personal best time in a very stressful situation after not feeling well for a few day's leading up to the race. I was very happy to find 3km/h in my top speed last night through little modificaitons and a stern talking to myself to relax.

The race iteself went nearly perfect and if I were to have had a tail wind of equal strength to the headwind I fought, I think I would have had a serious Personal best time.

After the race, I was sure I wasn't progressing to the final, but not disapointed because I hit 98% of my fastest time ever, the problem is that there were 8 other guy's who had 103% days. When the final is made of 8 guy's who are running under 26 seconds (a few under 25), I shouldn't expect to be there based on my 26.3 result. (YET)

Now I have 3 days off and I start again on Monday. I have been given permission to do some touring for one of those days. I'm torn between seeing the great wall, or the Silk Market. I heard that both are insane for different reasons. Any suggestions?????

Bye for now.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

400m final

All I can say is that I'm sort of happy to have not been in that final. Although the weather was perfect, the chinese competitor slaughtered everyone with a new world record and paralympic record of 45.01. Even if I had a personal best, I would have been in the 48's and that would have felt like a beating.

After a good night sleep, great breakfast and a fantastic push today, I think I revived the great position in my chair that has served me well, and also the map to my happy place in my heart and head. I just need to go there tomorrow. I'll pack a lunch......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

no traction, no final, no smile

So I raced today in the 400m semi and it couldn't have gone worse (maybe some lightning would be worse). I arrived at the warm-up track at it was pouring with rain, I warmed up in the rain (very difficult to be both wet and warm) and felt like everything was par for the course considering how well I know I push in the rain.

As I had lane 1, I actually have about a meter where I'm not even in the corner yet and that lane assignment is basically for the person who qualified last in the previous heat. As we lined up and they announced us, we waited in the rain for a long time, only to be pulled off so a medal awards could take place. By this time, I was really wet, and really cold.

The gun went off and basicaly I didn't move forward until the third or fourth push. By that time most were 20 meters ahead. I started to accelerate and reel people in at the 250 meter mark and entered the final straight in much better shape that the begining of the race. Unfortunetly, with 50m to go I slipped a few more times and couldn't move up past 6th place. I fought, but not enough. To progress, I needed to come top 3 or have the the 7th or 8th fastest time. I missed the placing and had a time that was .10 seconds off that time.

I was really choked because this was the first day that my back and neck weren't hurting and the rain didn't seem to affect me during my warm-up.

I'd like to think better luck next time, but based on not making the final there won't be a next time. Tomorrow's a regrouping day and then a light training on the 11th to get ready for the 200m heats on the 12th.


Monday, September 8, 2008

The 400m Semi & 5000m final

My 400m prelim last night went very well for the first 300m and then got really difficult and frustrating. I started very well and held a resonable top speed in comming into the second corner. At the half way mark, I was actually hovering around my personal best for the 200m of 25 second.

Unfortunetly when I came around the corner, a few of the athletes made up the stager and I lost my concentration. I shortened my stoke rather than lengthinging it which made me decellerate a little dropping me from 3rd postion, to 5th. I still made it into the Semi-final but I need to figure out how to cruise at my top speed becuause it wasn't there last night, maybe some longer accelerations in the warm-up to get ready for that will be best. I also am thankful of not needing the naproxen anymore and have now gone back to IB Profen with only slight discomfort.

So after my 400m heat, I came back to the village, showered and jetted off to the track to watch the 5000m where we had both men and woman competing (not together of course). The womans final was amazing right up until the last few laps. I was seated in the final straight and was able to the the worst crash I have ever seen live. Fortunetly I was also able to see my friend and training partner Diane Roy bypass the carnige and captured the Gold Medal.

In my perspective, the swiss girl caused the crash and was invloved in it which isn't nice but it would be terrible if you caused a crash and weren't affected. I don't know what happend after because there were 4 girls sprawled out on the track and no one helping them. As the remaining girls started to come around, they officials started pulling the off the track. This late action nearly caused a secondary crash because the officials were oblivious to the remaining athletes and one had to go really wide to avoid the stretcher with a broken athlete on it.

Sadly as countries sometimes do, a few protests were lodged and although you can't protest a crash, they seem to be protesting the fact that the officials walked out onto the track during the race. With one girl looking completly knocked out and another I hear has a broken collarbone, I think getting them off the track was the right thing to do. Also, this happend after several athletes were out of the race which makes me wonder the relevence.

Anyway, I've heard that they may re-run the race and that makes me sad because Diane won that race by surviving for 5000m and that's always half the battle. Think of nascar, 30 cars start, 15 finish. It's just racing....

I race my 400m Semi tonight and think I may go for a jog after lunch to make sure I'm nice and sharp.

Bye for now

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The day before "the day"

Sorry for the lack of posts, I’ll write an extra long one to fill in some huge gaps.

I had some difficulty with the muscles in my upper back and serious stiffness in my neck after a very intense training session on Thursday. At this stage in the game, my body and mind are acting in unison and although usually in a positive way, they can also tag-team me once in a while when things are not going great and I get body-slammed with both emotional and physical plaque (not to be confused with injuries or a psychosis).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the other day I had an amazing training session and just expected that the subsequent ones would be as good leading up to my first race. It turns out that when you hit a peak, there really isn’t anywhere to go but down (even a little). The day following the great workout, I wasn’t able to hit that same top speed and I made the huge mistake of pushing harder rather than accepting that I was destined to have a 95% day rather than a 101%. During an all out sprint, I tweaked my neck and upper back and it got much worse sleeping on it funny that night. Over the past few days I had some massage and although it helped at the time, it’s continued to be stiff. The funny thing is that I’m still able to hit my top speed, just not comfortably and not for as long.

Today’s training was designed to be lighter yet still enough to prepare me for my 4oom preliminary tomorrow morning at 9am. Directly after my training I had some vigorous manipulation and massage followed by a healthy handful of Naproxen. I won’t lie; there was some crying and cracking going one.

According to the heat sheets, I’m in lane 6 (a great lane for me) and I’ll be in the same round as David Weir who is the current world record holder. I think that if I can keep him in my short sights, everything will be fine because I’ve never seen him run slow. The three factors that are in my favour for a good race are:
1- There is no wind which means it’s only the distance that’s tough and I don’t have to worry about a head wind when I’m already out of gas
2- The track is so lightning fast that I can cruise at my top speed easier and won’t have to pace my self for the first 200m.
3 – Based on the stagger between lane 1 and lane 6, I’ll be ahead of David (likely for the first 150 – 180 meters) and I’ll be shoulder to shoulder when it get’s tough going into the final straight which will be exhilarating.

The schedule tonight is pretty simple; hydration, a dinner with lot’s of simple carbohydrates and absolutely no coffee, even if the guy at the latte shop keeps taunting me.

As for the Opening Ceremonies, all I can say is crazy, there must have been about 70,000 people live which is pretty loud. With the hundreds of cameras snapping away and video feeds, I can only imagine how many millions more were watching at home. The opening ceremonies are a great way to judge the atmosphere just so you’re a little prepared for the lights people and the noise. I also took note that although there was tons of wind outside, there was nothing in the bowl. They needed fans to make the flags dance.

This ceremony started like all others with a lot of standing around and waiting for things to get coordinated. We were amused with an hours worth of fireworks and thousands of people just taking in the experience.

When we were given the 5 minute warning my hear rate started to spike. We walked into the bowels of the stadium still not able to see anything and as we neared the mouth of the stadium, I nearly lost it. In spite of all the things to be distracted with, I instantly found the Canadian Flag hanging in the rafters and was overwhelmed. The show was spectacular and I even received a text from my mom saying that they may have seen me during the march of the nations. I was truly impressed that the local spectators although obviously patriotic to China, cheered just as loud for everyone.

As everyone is walking all over, the track is naturally covered with a thick carpet. I kept looking for an open spot just to see that beautiful surface 12 hours before everyone else.

I guess that will be something to dream about tonight…….BYE FOR NOW

- Happy Birthday to both Tiffany and my Grandmother Evelyn, I wish I could have been there…..
- Congratulations to my sister Jenna for making the Varsity volleyball team

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Non-subjective subjectivity at it's finest

Today was a fun filled day, and it was my day off of training – Go Figure…

It started with a strange breakfast that I ate anyway and shouldn’t have. I wheeled around all day with a sore stomach.

At 4pm I had an appointment with the classifiers and it was like sitting in the hallway before seeing the principal. I was very nervous because if I was reclassified to a T-53, I would have guaranteed at least 4 medals and most of them would have been gold.

For those not familiar with the classification system, athletes are grouped by their disability level and I have always maintained that although I do fine as a T-54, based on physiology I should be a T-53.

The other reason for requesting a review was that the previous review took place in 1995 after a protest and I’m not sure how it was allowed, but the guy who protested me, also sat on the panel of “impartial” professionals. During the process, he received credit for removing himself from the actual decision, but was asked back when they realized his absence created an even number of votes and there was a split decision, so he also was able to be the tie breaker.

Anyway, today was a regular day in the office and I was thankful not to see any of my competitors in the room with me today. After poking and prodding and asking me to use muscles I don’t have, they decided that I am the least functioning T-54 they have ever seen and although I’m sitting on the line, I fall on the higher functioning side rather than the lower class.

The really crappy part of the process was that through the grapevine, I heard even prior to my meeting taking place, there were people ready to appeal the decision if I were to have had my class changed. How’s that for paranoia.

So tomorrow’s training will start like all the others, and when I go out on the track for my first race, I’ll be the chaser rather than the one everyone is trying to catch. I think in some ways the chasing task is easier than the rabbit because I can lock on to the guy in front and know exactly if and when I’m going to close in. If I’m the one being chased, I almost need a rear view mirror and would be running away from everyone instead.

Another thought is, if I were to win a whole bunch of medals as the lower class, I can’t imagine I’d be as satisfied. I’d rather come in 5th knowing it represents the fastest in the world, and would not likely be as happy with being the fastest in a lesser or discounted class.

Tomorrow’s workout is in the afternoon which will allow me to relax all day, and consists of my favourite distances 150m’s and flying 200m’s so I’m stoked to try and hit 36km/h rather than 35.8km/h which I hit the day after we arrived.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Can't sleep

Today's post (tonight's post), comes at at a time where I have made a small tactical error. Today's practice although very productive totally depleated me of everything. It was the first really hot day and my workout purposfully took place on a slow track to work on my starts which felt like going up a hill into a headwind on thick berber carpet. The workout it's self was successful as I bettered my fastest 30m,40m and 60m times in spite of being on the slowest track I can remember which reinforced that I'm ready.

I came back to the village only after 2 hours (at around 3pm) , ate some lunch, had a shower and sat on my bed and read my book. I woke up feeling well rested but rather than it being morning, it was 10:30pm of that same day.

Now I'm well rested but will likely wonder around until I'm tired again. I just hope I get tired before tomorrow. Thankfully the village is like Las Vegas where it's never closed.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Travel Survial 101

In my twenty years of racing and at least 16 of serious travel, I have figured out how to survive everything from long flights, long delays and also the fine art of ensuring that not only that my bags show up at my destination, but also in a similar condition to the way it started the trip. FLY AIR CANADA - If you don't, follow these simple suggestions to enjoy the whole experience a little more.

Travel to the various Airports: No matter where you live, expect a delay in getting to the airport. When living in Winnipeg, I always banked on a train on Kenaston or construction closer to the airport. Since moving to Sherbrooke, I ensure that I plan for 2 hours of flexibility for a 1 ½ hour drive under normal conditions based on the grid-lock on the Champlain bridge. Through experience, I have also opted to stay at the Holiday Inn airport hotel so I’m well rested and five minutes from the airport. The free long-term parking pays for the room if I’m gone for more than 5 days.

Checking In - Always be nice, and smile lots. If you have the baby blue eyes, bat them now. As I fly 20+ times a year, I get to know the same people in various positions and a great flight starts with being greeted by name, and with a smile. (and a first class upgrade once in a while also is a nice treat). I also believe that when you know someone’s name, they are less likely to throw your baggage around. ALSO- Although I’ve never paid for it, the maple leaf lounge is glorious. They have 20 TV’s, free coffee and they will even come wake you up when it’s time. I think of all the perks of flying, that would be the most missed if I didn’t have my Elite Status with Air Canada. I'd likely pay for that membership.

Packing: “Pack what you’re willing to carry.” Just because the bag can fit a small person, doesn’t mean that you need to bring the kitchen sink with you. Unfortunately as this time I will be gone for a month, I need to bring lots of crap so naturally my bag is big and when full is heavy. For my racing chair, it’s a good day when it arrives at my destination and in one piece.

Over the years I have packed my chair in various configurations such as:

1 - A fibreglass coffin that was 7 feet long that could double as a sleeping option for an extra person if needed.

2- A chair with throwaway wheels. This option was logical as it could be pushed easily and if the wheels get beat up, no big deal. The flaw with this idea was that the frame is still exposed and vulnerable.

3 – The Cocoon. This idea is still in the works and may be the million dollar idea (patient pending). It would be no bigger than the frame but would reduce the impact of bags bouncing into it in the belly of the plane.

4 – "My new favourite": Take a roll of poly vapour barrier, a roll of duct tape and a fleece blanket and you have what I call my wheelchair burrito. I basically start by wrapping my frame with the fleece blanket three or four times, then roll two layers of plastic to keep everything intact. The duct tape is nothing more than a decorative touch as no good prototype is complete without duct tape.

That’s it. I have shared all my secrets but you need to know my successes are based on a well practiced routine and taking my lumps over the years. I’ve been stuck in airports, missed flights and had my racing chair busted to pieces in order to compile these perspectives.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Almost live CBC Coverage

Today I recieved information about the times that CBC will cover the Paralympics. I am impressed with their commitment to cover it as it comes rather than a 1 hour summary, two weeks after the games end. Can someone tape it for me please..

Below is the exact info forwarded to me.....

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will be covering the Paralympic Games on its main English TV network on the following dates:
Saturday, Sept. 6: 19:00 to 20:00 (Opening Ceremony)
Saturday, Sept. 13: 13:00 to 15:30
Saturday, Sept. 20: 12:00 to 13:00
Saturday, Sept. 27: 14:00 to 15: 30
Radio-Canada will be covering the Paralympic Games on its main French TV network on the following dates:
Saturday, Sept. 27: 14:00 to 16:00
Saturday, Oct. 4: 14:00 to 16:00
The CBC/Radio-Canada is also planning to do some webstreaming and may also broadcast some coverage on its English-language digital TV station bold.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A quick note

As I"m supposed to be tired (which i'm not), but I should still be in bed I'll keep this really short. Today I had a very difficult training split into two sessions to mimic a typical day in Beijing where I will run a semi-final in the morning and then a final in the late program after dinner. The Morning training was "par for the course" in the sense that all my times were within the regular range. I left the track and went to Bishop's to read a little and to take in my Venti Starbucks fix. When I returned to the track at 4pm, I was feeling really good and the second workout was the best I've ever had.

Back in feburary while living in florida I had a fantastic workout where in a series of 150m distances I topped out at 34km/h. That was the day that all future workouts would be compared to.

Today, I did the same workout but this time I topped out at 35.8km/h and ran a time of 16.01 seconds. To put it in perspective, there are a handfull of guy's in the world that hit that top speed on the track and never on this track. Furthermore, he's also never witnessed anyone go sub-16.00 which means that if I can find a single extra push somewhere in that distance I'd be under.

According to my training plan leading up to my departure, I have a few more tries and think with a good solid breakfast and of course my starbucks, I'll be the only one to ever go Sub 15 in sherbrooke history solidfying that i'm not trying to make finals in China but a source of frustration for those who think they're safe.

Off to bed,


Sunday, August 24, 2008

a rough sunday

So today’s entry comes shortly after a lot of excitement likely better spread out over a few days but a good personality builder. I recieved a wonderful letter from my family on Friday wishing me good luck in China, and a silver star for good luck. I immediatly glued it to my racing chair as that is te place I need the luck to be in abundance.

On Friday I was informed that Saturday’s training session would take place at 9am rather than the usual afternoon session.

As I normally wake up at 10am on Saturday’s, I needed to change my "night before" strategy. I was in bed at 10pm and was up at 7am. I realized 2 things in the morning;
1- I had no milk for my coffee
2- that same lack of milk affected my mini-wheat’s.

Needless today I had black coffee and found a dried out tortilla that I smothered in Peanut Butter to choke down.

Once I arrived to my training, I was told that today was to be a mock competition. I was to race a 100m, 200m, 400m and help “rabbit” the 1000m for Diane, Jean-Paul and Basil.

As I warmed up, I realized that although ill-prepared I was not as bad as expected. During the warm-up I did a few 50m accelerations that netted me a top speed of 33.9 km/h. To put it in perspective I hit 34 as a top speed the day I broke the Canadian Record in St. Laurent.

I was surprised that regardless a lack of adequate preparation or advance warning, I still recorded some pretty good times. What was completely understandable after the workout was my nausia and inability to do anymore than the task at hand and I lost what little was in my stomach shortly after….

Regardless of how tired I was after I still ran the 100m in 14.9, 200m in 26.2 and the 400m on 50.05. The first two distances felt easy but that last one felt like 5 hours rather than 50 seconds. The only motivating factor was to hear my teammate pounding his pushrim trying to catch me before the finish line.

After this gruelling workout I spent at least a half an hour in shower and then all dressed up to go to the year end shindig at a fellow teammates house before we leave for China. I offered to drive a teammate and as he doesn't speak English, I was forced to work on my french. I had a breakthrough because rather than speaking poorly and being corrected in english, I spoke poorly and was corrected in french. I was very impressed that I only made mistakes once and seem to have built on my vocabulary. It turns out that Basil is enrolled in English classes starting in september. Then it will be my chance to be critical and get him to say all sorts of stupid things to beautiful woman for my entertainment.

After an abundance of hotdogs, chips and a single piece of carrot to compensate for all that meat and greese, I went home and crashed harder than I thought was possible. I lied on my bed and shortly after the opening credits of the dvd Madagascar, I was out like a light.

As Sunday is my dedicated day off, I have decided to sit on the terrace at Caffuchino’s and “read my book”. It turns out that when the sun comes out, so does the entire population of beautiful woman in Sherbrooke. I drank about three hours worth of coffee and although my book was open the entire time, I never got passed the first few pages. It was like Déjà-Vu because as I’m reading the page, I felt like I’d been here before. It turns out I had (about 20 times).

It’s been 4 days without rain and the rivers down to a healthy level and although the mosquitos are out, the patio is still the place to be. I think i've got it down to a science, Florida in the winter and the patio from June until October., if only I could take classes while drinking coffee on the patio.

Well, I have to get back to “reading" that same first page of my book.

Bye for now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The fine art of fighting

The fine art of fighting

In the last 8 months, I have devoted my existence to getting stronger, having better technique and of course stamina. Although the strength and technique were intentional and very tangible in practice, I also have mastered the fine art of fighting till the death.

In past seasons the middle of the race was always my best but mainly because my start and finish were a lacking. Now, I have the ability to start strong, hammer through the middle section and still have a kick at the end if it’s needed.

I believe that this ability to fight (till the death) can only come with proper training and faith in the preparation process. All athletes regardless of distance (or even sport) hit a wall of lactic acid where their muscles cramp and their lungs burn. The unknown question is always “where and when will it happen”? I want my wall to come at about 410 meters

In a 400m, some athletes keep a little reserve for the end by coasting through the back straight and picking it up in the final corner or straight. My new goal and future tactic is to be in such good shape that I am able to start strong, keep my same top speed in the back straight and start my attack for the finish with 200m to go rather than in the final straight. I think this will force anyone beside me to change gears and stray from their game plan which was solely designed to survive the gruelling 400m.

This new game plan is only possible on a fast track because I can plan to survive for 400m, but I can’t calculate dying early based on a slow track or wind. I tried this in Ottawa this past weekend and although it didn’t work flawlessly, I saw the merits in spite of the track not being fast. I realized that the other factor that drastically changes the plan is the wind. If I hit the wind too early in the race, I spend all my energy fighting that and have nothing left for the final 200m. In an ideal world, I would have a tailwind in the first 150m-200m and then have momentum to help cut through the wind in the final straight.

My favorite new line....."we will see"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunburned in Otttawa

I can't believe that my first real sunburn of the season comes in Ottawa. For those that don't keep up with Quebec weather, we had about 50 days of no sun and rain everyday. I was able to have quality dry training most of the time, but it was due to waiting for those moments whenever they came.

The trip to Ottawa has been fun so far and I'm back to the grind in Sherbrooke tomorrow. Although fun, this trip is nowhere near the excitement and entertainment I had the last time I was here. The track seems a little slower when dry which still after 3 days of pondering still doesn't make sense. Although I"m not "peaked" yet, I am still performing at about 95% of my best which is ideal because my energy level seems to be around 90%. I am very excited to see what 100% looks like when it's time.

I was sad that the whole team didn't show up because it's things like this that start the team building process and help everyone be on the same page, based on the same information. It would have also been a great time to start looking at the relay rather than trying to coordinate it while we're in China. Based on the lack of spriters, there may not be a relay anyway.

Anyway, I'm done racing until Beijing and I'm attending a fancy function tonight that I have to get dressed up for.

Other than the odd luxury of a clean and good smelling track suit for a hard practice, I haven't had to get dressed up in ages. It took me 3 tries to get the tie looking decent and hope it's appreciated.

Bye for now.


Friday, August 8, 2008

So many races, so little time

Today I recieved the "final" draft for my races during the Paralympic Games. It appears that if I were to make the finals in everything I should be racing 16 times in 10 days. My first event is the 400m which happens to be the event I feel strongest in. This could positivly set the mood and elevate my excitement for the rest of the races keeping my mind off of being so tired. Although the Relays have not been named yet, I anticipate being on the team, but it has a lot to do with the timing of my individual events which are the priority. Unlike some public perceptions, there will be no sightseeing or likely even trips outside the village for me.

September 08 09:00 400m Heat
September 08 17:00 4x100m Semi
September 09 17:00 400m Semi
September 09 17:00 4x100m Final
September 10 17:00 400m Final
September 11 09:00 800m Heat
September 12 09:00 200m Heat
September 12 17:00 800m Semi
September 13 17:00 200m Semi
September 13 17:00 800m Final
September 14 09:00 200m Final
September 15 09:00 100m Heat
September 15 17:00 100m Semi
September 15 17:00 4x400m Semi
September 16 17:00 100m Final
September 16 17:00 4x400m Final

I am not sure how much CBC will cover, but I've heard it will be better than ever before so keep a watch out.

Take care


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Typical me

So for those who don't know me that well, I tend to over evaluate things and make rash decisions, especially related to my equipment. Today I ran the setup that is tried-tested and true and saw some fantastic results. I ran a personal best in the flying 400m with a smoking fast time of 45.95 seconds and my 200m was an equally awsome at 23.5. My coach said two things when I finished
1- That was the fastest he's ever clocked anyone in his 20+ years of coaching in both distances
2 - that those times translate into a top 5 performance if I can repeat it in China.

I think hovering on that fantastic peak although fun cost me as I tend to be a little absent-minded during my peaks. I showed up for my first workout this morning that was actually for tomorrow. Who knows how fast I would have gone in the afternoon if I had slept in a little... I did however get a chance to take in a nice lunch at Lac Magog and watched some wonderfull beer based beach volleyball.

Two things were concluded at the end of practice today; I still have weights tomorrow, and I earned a nice easy jog in the afternoon.

I'm very excited that dad may soon come for a visit and my coach is sad that he won't be able to swing a club while he's here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A wasted fantastic day


The idea of a intense workout ideally should fall on the day where I'm feeling the best. Not withstanding the wind I faced in Montreal this past weekend, my coach and I figure that I would have done a low 48 second 400m if the wind and the track had been better rather than the 50 seconds I actually achieved. I didn't feel all that sharp but I was able to carry my top speed for the whole way and didn't die after 300m which is a normal and expected outcome related to a 400m.

Today I had a jog but from the moment I woke up I was feeling 101% and was sadend to see that it wasn't the day to go balls out.

I have two workouts tomorrow, both requiring full intensity and not a ton of recovery inbetween. I hope my body's up for the challenge. I lift very heavy in the morning and have a sprint workout in the afternoon consisting of 3x30m, 2x200m and 1 x 400m for a whopping total of 890 meters of training.

It's funny that these are the two shortest workouts I'll ever have but I will likely be the most sore the following day. Last time I did these two workouts together, I could barely get out of bed the following day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Steering, No Brake - Not a good idea

There is a time and a place to test such ideas, that place is not a competition.

I used my regular chair for the 400m and clocked a time of 50.24 which is pretty remarkable becuase I was told this track was extremly slow.

I missed my 200m because with 30 minutes to go, they said they were running 20 minutes late which by my calculation meant my race would be in 50 minutes. Some how, they ran the race 8 minutes before the time it was supposed to based on the schedule. I almost made it but when I jumped into my chairm my wheels got loose and the time it to repair it was the exact amount of time to run a 200m (about 28 seconds).

Around the same time of the 200m,, it also started to rain heavy and didn't let up for the rest of the day. I decided to bail in the 100m and get home a little earlier and slightly dryer. Running my new setup in the rain would have been a terrible idea as I don't have control in the dry and can only assume it would be worse on a wet track.

After some playing around with my Eagle racing chair last night, I dialed in the wheels and weight distribution perfect. I will not revisit the idea of a sprinting chair until after China.