2010 Vancouver Olympics

2010 Vancouver Olympics
Welcome! It is here I hope to keep all of my sponsors and supporters up to date about my everyday life as a full time Biathlete. I will post regular updates about how my training and race season is progressing, which will hopefully provide a little insight as to exactly what my life is all about. With the Sochi 2014 Olympics fast approaching, I invite you to join me on my journey as I pursue my dreams...

Friday, November 29, 2013

On the podium in today's 20km IBU Cup Individual race in Beitostolen, Norway - 2nd place!

Click the link here for an interview with Fasterskier.com about today's race!

Thanks for your support!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Back to Europe - Let the racing begin!

I'm in Scandinavia at the moment to officially kick off my race season.  Access to internet has been limited, so I'll have a more in depth update about how things are going when I'm more connected.

In the meantime attached is an article from Fasterskier.com about our races last weekend and Canada's start to the new season!


You can also follow result at www.biathlonworld.com


Monday, September 30, 2013

Euro Training Camp!

For the last two weeks I’ve been training over in Europe with the men’s A Team.   The goal of the camp is two fold - to begin the adaptation period from dry land training to training on snow and at the same time targeting altitude.  We do a similar periodization block at around this time every year.

Our first 5 days were spent in the biathlon-crazed town of Oberhof, Germany.  Every time I’m there it seems to be raining with miserable weather, but the training facilities are pretty amazing.  Oberhof is home to an indoor ski hall, which creates possibly the best training facility in the world for year round biathlon training.  The 1.8km snow tunnel contains an adjoining indoor biathlon range, and all is maintained at a constant temperature of -4 degrees C. 

Testing some new Salomon skis with my coach Matthias.

The adjoining shooting range.

More ski testing with our super wax technicians Tom and Pavel!

Doing intensity in the ski hall

Next stop - Ramsau, Austria, which is home to the Dachstein Glacier and where I still currently am at the moment.  Here we are able to engage in intensive and high altitude training. This glacier also allows for year round ski training, and is a popular destination for teams from all around the world.  At peak times, the glacier resembles a bustling ant-hill. The location permits our team to move to a lower elevation following our training sessions, which provides us with a faster recovery period and more positive response to the altitude training.

View of the glacier from the gondola station

Amazing skiing in fresh snow 

View from the ski track

Scenery from a roller ski

Shooting range in Ramsau

Rollerski track in Ramsau
During our first night in Ramsau the Hungarian Biathlon Fan Club was passing through and payed us a visit!
Shooting analysis session at the University of Salzburg

The final phase of our training camp will take place in Rupholding, another German biathlon training centre. In Rupholding, we will focus on intensity at lower elevation before making the trip back home to Canada.   The rest of October will consist of hard intensity sessions and testing on the rollerski treadmill before heading back to Europe to officially begin the race season in Scandinavia!
So far the camp has been going fairly well.  The snow conditions and weather for the most part have been good and I feel as though I am getting solid training hours in.  I did pick up a cold early on in our second week but with a bit of extra rest I was able to get back on my feet and back to training without missing too many hours.

Although I have achieved most of my Olympic qualifying criteria, I was unable to compete last season and I still need to fight for a start on the World Cup Team. To achieve this, I am scheduled to compete at the first IBU Cup event to be held in Idre, Sweden. The top Canadian will then move up to the World Cup Team. I am working hard to be that Canadian, and will then need a top 30 World Cup finish to complete my Olympic qualification. Stay tuned for more news as my season progresses!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pursu.it - Check it out!

Hey everyone,

My girlfriend Rosanna Crawford and I recently decided to team up together for a joint fundraising effort before our winter of racing kicks off in just over two months.  The Olympics are approaching fast and as usual, the Olympic year brings with it a lot of stress.  If we can alleviate some of the financial burden that we are faced with each year sooner rather than later, it will help a great deal.  This in turn will provide us with the opportunity to focus more of our efforts towards training and racing, which is extremely important.

Rosanna and I set a goal to raise $6,500 each which would cover our base fee to allow us to train as part of the National Team.  Check out the link below and help out if you can.  Even if you can't donate you can still play a role by sharing the link over email or any other social media outlet!

Also if you have a minute, read the newspaper article below that was recently published in the Rocky Mountain Outlook.  It does a great job to put in perspective the situation Rosanna and I are in. http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/20130905/RMO1101/309059984/-1/rmo/funding-push-reaches-fever-pitch-for-biathletes

I look forward representing the North with pride and will keep you posted on my journey towards Sochi!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Personal Best - Personal Agony

Racing in Oslo last season - my last weekend of racing for that winter.

Finally as promised, the long awaited details about my back injury.   In July 2011, while completing a max strength session in the gym I herniated a disk in my low back, between the L5 and S1 vertebrate to be exact.  The previous day we had done a hard interval session of double poling which had my back feeling a little tight and fatigued the morning of the incident, but at the time I didn’t think much of it.  The weight lifting session had been going well and I was midway through finishing my squats for the day.  During one of my reps while squatting up from the low point of the lift, my back shifted slightly and I suddenly felt a sharp pain shoot through my low back.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that I might have just seriously injured myself.  Yeah it hurt a lot but I thought it was just one of those injuries that would quickly disappear.   I took some anti-inflammatory drugs when I got home, iced my low back, and thought I would wake up the next day more or less ready to go again.

I woke up the next morning thinking that I would be OK, but instead I woke up barely able to walk and in a ton of pain.  I hobbled into physio later in the afternoon and the long road to recovery officially began. I received a CT scan a few days later and an MRI a few days after that which both confirmed what was feared; a left sided herniation, slightly compressing the S1nerve root.  I backed off the training and started on an intense rehab plan.  The initial recovery actually went really well and I progressed faster then what our support staff would typically see.  It wasn’t long before I was back to training on a modified plan and come fall I had made up any lost training and intensity hours.  Things weren’t perfect, there were a lot of activities I had to refrain from doing, but I was able to accomplish the training I needed to get done with some changes to the program.

When I transitioned from roller skiing to skiing on snow in October, things started to act up a bit with my back but it seemed I was always able to keep it from getting too bad through physio.  The race season went ahead as planned, but by the end of the third race at the World Cup opener in Sweden I was running into problems again. I was in a lot of pain and this time symptoms were progressing to my left leg.  By the time we arrived in Austria for World Cup #2 things were to the point where I was having trouble walking.  I was planning to pack it in and fly home, but after a few days of taking it easy things started to settle to the point where I was able to ski again without too much problem.  I survived the next two World Cups of racing on a rollercoaster of ups and downs – some days I raced in pain, some races my left leg felt fatigued, others I felt not too bad.  With the combination of physio, the majority of my spare time spent lying on ice, and daily massage treatments consisting of painfully deep pressure point release, I somehow made it through.  I was happy when it was finally time to fly back to Canada for Christmas.  I was mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with this injury and finally I was given a small window of opportunity to sort things out.

Over Christmas my time was spent on highly focused rehab sessions, and when it was time to cross the pond again two weeks later I felt as though I had things more under control.  Or at least I thought so.  The next two World Cups went more according to plan, I was not racing in pain and although I felt some discomfort by the third race at each World Cup, I was always able to recover fairly well in time for the next World Cup. 

World Cup #7 in Oslo is where things really fell apart.  The week opened up with a 10km Sprint race where I posted the best result of my career finishing 9th.  The next day I followed up that result placing 13th in the 12.5km Pursuit.  This was awesome and things were going perfect.  I should mention however that I had to race the Pursuit without a toe plug in my left binding.  It somehow fell out in the ski bag that the wax techs had brought down to the start, and by the time I noticed I had about 10 seconds until my start and it was too late to do anything about it.  The toe plug helps stabilize the ski and controls how much flex the binding has. Without the toe plug there was nothing from stopping how much flex my foot would have in the binding, and in this case the amount of flex was unlimited which left the ski dangling off my foot after each push.  This resulted in the most frustrating World Cup race I had done, but I still managed a solid result and I had figured out a way to push without flexing the binding too much.  A situation far from ideal but I dealt with it. 

The third and last race in Oslo was a 15km Mass Start.  As a biathlete, Mass Starts are the most exciting race we do on the World Cup circuit and there’s a certain honor that comes with qualifying to race one, because in order to do so you have to be ranked within the top 30 in the World.  Based off my results that week I had qualified for the race in 24th and was about to check off one of my big goals for the season.

I woke up the next morning with my back feeling a little off.  I figured it was because I had been racing a lot and thought it could be in part because of how my body had to compensate while racing with the binding malfunction the previous day.  I received some treatment from our therapist that morning and felt ready to go for that afternoon’s race.  Things were going smoothly during my warm-up until I turned a corner leaving the range and felt a sharp stabbing jolt of pain in my low back and glut.  It paralyzed me on the spot and I nearly fell over.  It was weird because I didn’t fall, trip, or stumble when I was coming around the corner; something in my back just went.  When I came to my senses a second later it happened again.  I made it back to the range and told my coach something was wrong.  I pondered for a bit, finished zeroing and then decided to try and ski a loop closer to race pace and see how things felt.  The pain was to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to ski anywhere near race pace. When I arrived back at the start pen I took off my skis and thought maybe I could walk things out.  I took a few steps and nope, this definitely wasn’t helping.  I hobbled back to the start pen where our therapist tried some pressure point release which didn’t help either. 

By this point there was about 5min until the start.  I didn’t know what to do but with the pressure of having to make a decision over the next minute, I decided to start the race.  Our wax techs were on course about 200m from the start with spare equipment in case a ski or pole broke during the commotion of the start, and I figured that I would get dropped by the pack right off the back and if that was the case and the pain was too much, I would just pull out where our techs were standing.   The race started and I didn’t get dropped like I thought I would.  I was in the mix and once the adrenaline kicked in I didn’t feel the shooting pains in my back as much.  The first couple loops were painful but I was racing extremely well.  I was shooting awesome, skiing fast (I have no idea how) and moving up in the rankings with each loop. In a sprint to the line I finished the race in 10th, the second best result of my career to cap off a dream week of racing for me.  A dream week of racing in terms of results that is, for what I was about to experience next when the adrenaline of racing wore off was agonizing beyond words, and that would last the better part of 10 months.

Since this post is getting long I'll continue where I left off with part two to follow shortly, but before that...

I commented to my girlfriend Rosanna while I was drafting this post about the emotions and memories that resurfaced while I was writing this, and to be honest I feel mostly shocked when I re read this post.  I'm confused as to how I was able to ignore so many early warning signs, to keep pushing forward when I knew my body was far from 100%, and why this whole experience had to go the point where I couldn't even walk before I finally gave in.  I guess it's clear I have a tough time when it comes to dealing with pain and knowing when enough is enough.  I feel pain when training all the time.  During every interval session, during every treadmill session, during every race, my body hurts like hell.  To some extent I think it’s fair to say I crave pain, the hurt I feel during a race is satisfying, especially when my body is in top form.  I’ve taught myself early on in my career to accept that pain and challenge it, to constantly test how hard I can push my body before it physically gives out or until mentally I can’t handle it anymore.  As ridiculous as this will sound to non-athletes, it’s sometimes difficult to decipher what type of pain is ok to push through, and distinguishing between the types of pain that might be causing my body harm, although often fairly obvious, is at times difficult.  Up until now I’ve been relatively injury free in my career, and I’ve had to take very little time off, if ever from training.  Being in top physical form is an amazing feeling, you feel like can you handle almost anything and to some extent you feel invisible.

In addition, another very big factor that played into all of this was how well I was racing.  I think if my results had clearly been poor and I wasn't racing well due to my injury, it would have been easy for me take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  But that wasn't the case, and because of that it was difficult for me to stop.  Last winter was my best season to date. I tied my previous personal best result on the World Cup in the second race of the season, and as winter progressed so did my results.  I was consistently placing in the top 20 and 30, had to top 10 finishes, was ranked among the worlds best for shooting, and scored points in every single World Cup race I started with the exception of my season opener in Sweden.  From a results perspective things were going perfect and I was getting stronger as World Championships approached which was exactly what I had wanted.

I'll never know what would have happened if I hadn't started that last race in Oslo.  Chances are that last race effort wouldn't have changed the outcome as something went really wrong with my back during my warmup.  Or, maybe I would be back to racing already.  Either way what's done is done and I've been forced to learn some valuable lessons and deal with the path that now lies ahead.

Stay tuned for the next instalment! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Post Christmas World Cup tour – Sweet highs and a season ending low…

I left off on my last post with returning back to Canada for Christmas.  This year things worked out so that I was able to make it all the way home to Hay River and spend Christmas with my family for the first time in a couple of years.  Last season I stayed over in Europe during Christmas to train, so it was extra special to make it home this year.
After the Olympics, the Hay River Ski Club officially named one of the trails in my honor!  I was able to ski the trail for the first time this Christmas - it was awesome!
A section of the 'Brendan Green Olympic Trail'

Before flying home I spent a few highly focused days on rehab while doing lots of physio to try and get things to settle down with my back.  When I returned back to Canmore after Christmas, it was again a lot of rehab before heading back to Europe to continue the World Cup circuit.  I was able to get things to the point where my back felt more stable but it was still far from perfect.  I did feel though that as long as I was on top of my physio exercises my body would be able to handle the tour, hopefully without too much problem.
My ski bag full of Madshus skis before being zipped up.

First stop on the road in 2012 was Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for World Cup #5.  The venue had just recently been upgraded with new trails and a refurbished stadium in preparation to host the 2013 World Championships.  The upgrades to the trails are pretty sweet and the venue is definitely world class.  The only thing I dislike is the wind.  The shooting range is notoriously windy and gusty which made the shooting very challenging, but fortunately I handled the conditions well.  In the 20km Individual race I finished in 19th, which I was pretty pumped about, especially with just having gotten off the plane a few days prior and still very much dealing with jet lag.  I also posted the 8th fastest ski time, which was my best ski of the season.  In the 10km Sprint race I struggled a bit with my shooting in the windy conditions and finished up in 32nd.  I followed up with a solid performance in the 12.5km Pursuit and moved up to finish in 20th.
From Czech it was straight to Antholz, Italy to race WC#6.  I always love racing in Antholz at the amazing venue situated in the Dolomites.  The great skiing, incredible food, sunshine, and awesome fans definitely make it my favorite and most anticipated stop on tour.  Unfortunately my racing wasn’t stellar.  My ski speed was awesome but my shooting was not up to par.  With perfect conditions I finished 34th in the Sprint with 3 misses.  Normally 3 misses would make for not a great race, but thankfully my skiing was really on that day and kept me in the game.  The highlight of the week was the Relay.  I woke up the morning of the race with a chest cold, but managed to get the race done and the team finished the day in 7th tying our best ever Relay result which was pretty sweet!
There was 10 day break before our next World Cup races in Oslo, Norway, which the team took advantage of by training at altitude in Italy for a few more days.  We then finished off the week by training and getting in some intensity at a bit lower altitude in Mittenwald, Germany.  I spent the first few days recovering from whatever chest bug or virus I was fighting, but was able to lay down some solid intensity and training over the remainder of the week.  The snow and conditions in Mittenwald were amazing and I really enjoyed the training and network of trails that the area had to offer.
The sweet sweet nightly appetizer buffet at our hotel in Italy.
Since I was sick a spent a few days in quarantine.  I had my own table for meals, complete with rose petals!
Panoramic shot during one of our altitude skis in Italy.
Racing in Oslo, Norway.

Another one of my favorite places to race on the circuit is in Norway, and this year it definitely did not disappoint as far as results go. I think I enjoy Norway so much because skiing is so deeply embedded in Norwegian culture.  World Cup #7 in Oslo was the coldest World Cup we had raced so far this season, but despite cold hands and toes the racing was awesome and I raced to the top 3 results of my career!  I also qualified for the Mass Start race, which I was super pumped about and one of my goals for the season.  I was able to combine solid shooting throughout the week with consistently fast skiing to finish 9th in the Sprint, 13th in the Pursuit, and 10th in the Mass Start.   I had been hoping to crack the top ten all season and to do it twice in one week was a truly awesome feeling.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to relish in the excitement long as I ended the week in a lot of pain with re injuring my back, only this time a lot worse.
Since this post is also getting too long, I’ll finally get to the details about my back in my next blog.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I returned back to Canada from Norway this past Monday.  The initial plan was to get in a solid block of training before World Champs, but there was an unfortunate turn of events with an ongoing back injury.  I’ll get to that soon but first I want to get caught up by covering just a few of the many highlights from the Spring, Summer, Fall, and then of course winter.
After last season, training started up again at the usual time at the beginning of May after a few weeks of time off in April.  This year instead of spending most of the spring training in Canmore, the National Team flew across the pond back to Europe.  We spent a week based in Ruhpolding (venue of this years 2012 World Championships), Germany, working with a shooting coach from the French team as well as taking part in a shooting analysis at the University of Salzburg.  The week was highly focused with two shooting sessions per day, typically with one session at the indoor range in Ruhpolding, and the other session outdoors.  This combined with two physical workouts per day made for a pretty busy week.  We focused mainly on position work and rifle shooting with French team coach Jean Pierre, who was the Olympic Gold medalist in precision shooting from the 1996 Atlanta games.  He had a lot of interesting ideas and theories about shooting to offer, which I think got the team off to the right start for the new season.
I shot my first perfect 100 prone score during the camp in Ruhpolding.
Shooting analysis in Salzburg, Austria.  Different measurements were taken using force plate analysis and pressure testing.

 After the week in Ruhpolding it was off to Italy where the real fun began… 10 days of road cycling through the Italian dolomites following many of the Giro d’Italia routes and climbs.  The riding was incredible.  Italy is full of amazing roads to cycle and the passes to climb were endless.  After a week of riding we had climbed around 17,000 vertical meters.  Most days we rode over two passes, with the longest continuous climb one day being a 30km grind.  Super fun and needless to say I have a new respect for professional cyclists!
Looking back on one of the passes we climbed.  The scenery was incredible.
Rosanna at the top of one of the many passes.
On one of the Giro d'Italia climbs.

The rest of the summer was spent training in the mountains around Canmore.  Things went smoothly apart from a back injury I sustained towards the end of July.  I’ll need a separate post to go into all the details about it, but in short I herniated a disk in my low back which created a lot of problems for me and put a new spin on my training.  And at times lot of pain.

Racing in the fall.  I'm bib #2.

Once my back started to heal up I was off to Europe again for three weeks at the end of September, this time to Austria for a training camp on the Dachstein glacier.  The ski conditions were pretty marginal, basically skiing on dirty ice which wasn’t a ton of fun, but we had amazing weather with tons of sun, which meant for stellar dry land training.  The highlights for sure were some of the amazing roller ski sessions up nearby passes.  I also lowered my PB on the Pichl time trial which I was pleased with.  The time trial is an uphill roller ski race that climbs its way from the nearby valley bottom and up towards the town of Ramsau.  The TT is used as a test every year by many of the different countries that come to train on the glacier.
Glacier skiing - as you can see it could have used some more snow.
Skiing on sheer ice.
Training during one of the many sunny and warm days we had during our camp!

After Austria it was back to Canmore to continue training on snow, but this time instead glacier skiing we trained on a loop of stored man made snow.  It had been stockpiled during last winter and then covered with sawdust and stored over the summer.  In early October the sawdust was removed and the snow pushed out to form a short figure eight loop.  The training definitely gets monotonous, but it was good for transitioning the training back on to snow. 
Check out the link below for a video and more info on the loop - 
Based on my performances from last season I was pre qualified for the first World Cup tour.  The team left towards the end of November to kick off the World Cup season with the first stop in Ostersund, Sweden.  I felt a little rough for the first race but things turned around and I found my form for the next few weeks of racing.  Second stop on tour was Hochfilzen, Austria, for World Cup #2.  World Cup #3 was planned for France but due to a late winter in Europe, the World Cup stayed in Austria and we spent an additional week racing in Hochfillzen.  Results in order of races below.
WC#1 – Ostersund, Sweden
72nd – 20km Individual
14th – 10km Sprint
32nd – 12.5km Pursuit
WC#2 – Hochfilzen, Austria
34th – 10km Sprint
33rd – 12.5km Pursuit
15th – 4x7.5km Relay
WC#3 – Hochfilzen, Austria
24th – 10km Sprint
40th – 12.5km Pursuit
6th – Mixed Relay

Highlights from the tour 
My 14th place finish in my second World Cup race of the season tied for my best ever personal result on the circuit.  I had placed 14th on two previous occasions.
I shot clean (hit every target) in five seperate races.  A pretty big accomplishment!
The Mixed Relay team finished a historic 6th place, which resulted in a place in the prize ceremony!

Disappointments from the tour
My back flared up after the last race in Ostersund to the point where I was ready to fly home.  Luckily things settled down somewhat thanks to a lot of extra work from our support staff and I was able to finish off the tour.  Some races were painful but I survived.

6th place in the Mixed Relay and in the prize ceremony.
Zina tagging off to me in the Mixed Relay.

Chaos with JP and I during the WC#2 Men's Relay Event.

Lunging for the line in Ostersund, SWE - 14th place finish in the Sprint competition.

 After World Cup #3 it was back home for Christmas and some much needed rest and recovery!  Since this post is starting to get a little long I’ll leave things here for now, and pick up where I left off soon!…
Until then!