Friday, 31 August 2012

London to Lillehammer

Due to a prolonged period without internet i haven't updated for a while. But the short story is, the london olympics where amazing. I think they re-kindled the nations passion for sport. As i sat on my uncles' boat, moored in St Katherine's dock in central london, watching Mo Farrah run the 5000m i realized the olmypics had changed sport in our country. With my head stuck through a sky light watching a small tv, upsides down as several people crowded around the tv. With comments being passed to those above deck who had missed out on the front row seats. At 1200m to go people had started to lose intrest declaring Mo couldn't win, but by the time it got to 300m left the boat was starting to sway as people shouted at the tv. Not only this small sail boat, but the boat moored two spaces down, the flat looking over the dock, the cafe, the pub and the hotel. Everywhere had a noise of excitement. As Mo strode away and won, beating the "might of Africa" and claiming his second gold medal the entire area erupted into cheers. 5min later Team GB won a gold in boxing, and yet more cheers could be heard.
This 20min time span summed up the Olympics. Everybody was watching, willing and wanting success. And i think it changed the way sport is looked upon in our country.

Shortly after the olympics i traveled out to norway. I have moved in to a small house in Lillehammer where i stay with two other skiers. It's a nice little house, except for the first 12 days we had no internet. But now successfully installed with both internet and tv things seem to be running a lot more smoothly. It is hard to believe we even coped without internet.
Training has been going well, a lot of hours recently and a few hard sessions. This week i had a running with poles interval session up the alpine resort Hafjell. They are having a world cup downhill mountain bike race in a few weeks and we ended up running down the world cup trail at the end of the session, which was pretty cool.
I have also been to see my first Norwegian film without english subtitles. Kon-tiki is a film about the norwegian explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, as he sailed across the pacific ocean from south america to the Polynesian Islands on a raft constructed of balsa logs in 1947. Anyway i survived and just about understood everything.
Next week im going to be going on a training camp with the british team in Torsby at the ski tunnel. Apart from that, not much is on the cards. All for now.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

On a Train

The road to London, ok so it more like the track to London, as I’m on the train.

The last week has flown by. Luckily the summer camp fell perfectly the week before I am going to London to watch the Olympics and so I could get a really hard weeks training followed by an easy week and a bit of a holiday.

The camp was pretty good. As is standard for the west of Scotland, it rained almost every day with 2 of the 7 days where it didn’t rain at all. This lead to the continual drying of wet boots and clothes. Like last year we were staying in the Badaguish Cabins (in Gaelic you don’t pronounce the g, so I’m told, and so it is said Bada eww ish). With the “lads” taking the upper floor of the 10 person cabin. The stair banister and railing along the upstairs landing became the agreed upon place to dry clothes, with boot driers on full on the landing. The smell was unreal, it hit you like a wall as got about half way up the stairs. Fortunately this was kept out of both the living room and our bedrooms. Downstairs did have a drying room, but the girls opted to dry stuff in the rooms anyway. Clearly their stuff doesn’t smell regardless of what training they have done. The girls also had a washing machine in their bathroom. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wash your clothes, but on a weeklong training camp, really? Surely you can fit enough training tops, two pairs of shorts and maybe two race suits in your bag? No? Apparently it has no become fashionable to wash your clothes daily on a training camp. Maybe one or two washes, but every day?

Parent helpers provided the food, all 3 of who came from parents of the development skiers. Of course the food was amazing, and they weren’t completely left on their own, we all took our turns to help with washing up.

The first day and a half of training was pretty easy, with a speed session and a few long distance sessions, including a long run. The run was full of “ladish” banter. It ultimately ended in a mud fight a few km’s away from the cabin. Unfortunately I was wearing a white thermal. After the mud fight we made out way to “the rings”. “The Rings”, a set of 6 rings dangling from a wire as it stretches across a pond/bog. The idea being to swing from ring to ring and making it safely to the other side. “The Rings” are famously remembered after the 2011 summer camp, where Fi had been egged on to do the rings whilst fully clothed. Starting on the first ring she swung out and reach for second at the high point of her swing. As she let go of the first ring, her hand slipped on the second, and still in an upward trajectory she quickly realised she was visiting the mouldy pond water. Dressed in short jeans and a summery top. Hilarity ensued for onlookers, however when Fi emerged from the pond the laughter quickly stopped.

“The Rings” where successfully conquered by all, and it gave a good end to a fun running session.

Monday and Tuesday gave us some hard days, with a 3x20 session and a hard 4x4 session, thrown in amongst a gym session and 3 hour ski. We had some lactate testing on intervals and strength coaching from the Scottish institute of sport, which is always helpful and good fun.

Wednesday was our alternative day, with a 4hour mountain bike and an hour and a half in kayaks in the afternoon. The bike gave Alex a mat reading/geography lesson, with quotes such as “nah, nah. The Bothy is definitely over there behind us somewhere.” He was only 180 degrees out so we cant blame him! We where lost, but we quickly got found again, and it wasn’t just Alex’s fault, there where 3 people with a map. (I wasn’t one of them).

The bike overran a little bit due to a rental bike, which repeatedly decided to malfunction, and a puncture. A quick lunch followed, and then we headed out on Kayaks on Loch Morlich.

Fun to do something different for a change, but I have to admit doing something different doesn’t feel like proper training!

Thursday was another long day with a gym session and a long ski. It also saw the departure of Roger the bnds head coach. This meant my dad, who coaches us on the national squad was going to coach the development lot for the last day. We got Steve Boyd to come along and help us out on the last day. The last time he coached he ended up driving half way across Europe and back in a search for snow and after races where cancelled. In fact it maybe have been the whole way across Europe. It certainly felt like it.

We had an elghufs session up the alpine ski area on cairngorm, with lactate testing at the top. This happened to be THE sunny day. It was awesome. Normally, while on the cairngorms, you can see approximately 10m in front of you. But with clear blue skis and views all the way to the coast, it was spectacular. It was more the shock that it was actually sunny that got to us more than anything. The afternoon was a long 3 hour session, with some technique filming.

On the last day we the older athletes took a few on the younger guys, gave them some coaching and advice before having the silliest relays known to be held on roller skis. All in all a good end to the camp.

Over the last few days I trained a lot, and now I’m on the train to London. In fact only and hour from London. Olympic fever is setting in. And the train full of people talking about the games.

I hope you have been enjoying them.

All for now.

My internet stopped working on the train so this is actually a few days late… but anyway, a blog post is a blog post.