Monday, 25 November 2013

Sports Enhancement Workshop with Shannon Thompson (All I want for Christmas is to run really fast)

What: A kick-ass sports psychology workshop to get you fast and happy!
When: Tuesday, December 10th, 7-9:30PM
Where: 560 Cardero Street (in a meeting room, not in our living room...unless that is a popular request)
Cost: $20 (includes booklet, handouts, and planning for your 2014 season.
Host: Shannon Thompson....athletic highlights include a 37min Sun Run, a 1:22 half marathon...and putting up with me for 6 days in the Colorado Rockies.

Note: for those who want to discuss the concepts covered in Shannon's workshop further after the session is done, there is the option to come to our apartment and help drink the beers that have been in the fridge since Donovan's stag, and will likely be there for the next 8 months.

Here's the full deal on the night:

This presentation will discuss methods which have been proven to promote positive thinking, and lead to greater success and enjoyment in sports.

     Shannon Thompson has been an athlete in equestrian sport (eventing) at the international levels for 15 years and a coach for 10 years. She is also a competitive distance runner. She is working on a degree in psychology, with particular emphasis on positive psychology and its effectiveness in sport.
     The purpose of this workshop, is to help athletes identify their own optimal performance mindset, and create an individualized plan to attain that mindset consistently. The ability of an athlete to attain their optimal performance mindset consistently, in training and in competition , has been shown to have an incredible impact on the quality and consistency of performance. Such an ability can also dramatically increase an athlete’s enjoyment in sport.

The contents are as follows:

 Part 1: Goal setting:
  -   Athletes will identify outcome goals and create a step-by-step
plan to achieve these goals.
   - Training journals will be discussed, begun and encouraged.
   - The benefits of positive thinking and well-being in sport will be
introduced, as well as methods to improve positive thinking and
well-being in day to day training and competition.
  - The benefits of deep practice (pushing one's limits) and methods
to improve the quality of practice will be discussed.

Part 2: Optimal Performance Mindset
   - Athletes will do some exercises that will help them identify
their ideal performance mindset. Athletes will complete a
pre-competition and competition plan, as well as a refocusing plan for
when things go awry.
- Performance anxiety, nervousness, and motivation will be discussed.

Part 3: Struggle, Failure, Injuries and Setbacks
    - We will discuss the benefits of struggle and the reality of
injuries and setbacks, including ways to deal when one is struggling
or injured.


For more information please contact Shannon at

More info can also be found at

“Shannon, your Sport Psych presentation hit the mark perfectly with our young ski racers, as well as validated and reinforced the mental skills training that our older athletes have been developing over the years. Some great new tools and perspectives for our ski club athletes to refine and put to use in the many situations and environments encountered on a day to day basis!”
-Rob Boyd, Head`Coach Whistler Mountain Ski Club

“Shannon is excellent at adapting her talks to suit different age groups and maturity levels as well as adjusting to the specific needs and challenges of the group. She manages to convey tons of great information through an engaging mix of presentation techniques that promote inter-activeness, but also includes personal stories and analogies to keep everyone interested and focused. All of our athletes have come out of her sessions feeling motivated and confident that they can push forward to the next level. She is an amazing resource to have on your side.”
                                                                                                                -Jennifer Dober, Head Coach Delta Gymnastics 

“Shannon demonstrates to her audience how the power of positive thinking can be applied to many aspects of our lives.  Her warmth and enthusiasm is evident in her talk and helps us to consider the many ways in which we can improve and reach our own version of greatness.”
                                                                                                                  -Darren Mathison, McNeil Secondary Incentive Program

 "She got me much more hyped up on life and I feel much more positive now..."

-          Martan, 13 yr old cross country skier

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Best "Stupid Run" Contest

As I write this, I have just had my left ankle taped by superphysio Ramsey Ezzat. I managed to get a baby sprain this past weekend. The sprain didn't come from the 24km Phantom Run, (or, as I call it, the "Phantom walk slowly downhill") where I ran down muddy trails, along ice and snow covered boardwalks, and walked like a champ on a lot of the technical parts to finish 5th female. No, this sprain came 2km into my recovery run with Lucy the day after. I'll be back running in a few days (good news), which means that me and my uterus will have to brave a stationary bike for up to three days (terrible news).

So in the spirit of questionable run choices, I would like to have my blog's second contest (this was the first) for your story of your "stupidest"run. 

Note on the definition of stupid run
A stupid run is not bad - it is awesome. It absolutely, completely, did not go to plan. If you had a chance to travel back in time, some things would be changed. It could have taken longer than plan. The route could have been shorter. Maybe certain injuries / embarrassing situations would not have happened. And it was an awesome run that you are so damn glad you did.

1. Submit your story of your "stupidest" run by December 21, 2013. You can submit: in the comments to this post, in the facebook comments, or if you're shy, e-mail to
2. The person who submits the best story gets warmer feet, courtesy of a $50 FITS gift card, and a bottle of wine, courtesy of me.
3. In the likely but still embarrassing circumstance that nobody submits, the prize will go to either to Lucy (who promised me a story) or to Barry (who I'm pacing next year so has to enter) by default.

My own "Stupid Run" story
On the July long weekend this past year, a group of us ran part of the Squamish 50 course. This is the story of how we covered 28km in a blazing 4.5hrs.

As with most of these runs, everything started really promisingly. We had a great group: Allison and Ramsey, Mary, Katie, and Matt (who has relocated to Ontario because he can't deal with the shame of me beating him in the Sun Run 10k next year). Ramsey had planned our run route, along trails with promising names like "Angry Midget" and "Mountain of Phlegm." He even had a iphone app to help us navigate. Mary had printed out a course description. I think there might've even been a map, which looked like squiggles on top of more squiggles.

We all met on time, and started the run as on time as multiple bathroom breaks could do. The issue - I believe on-time was around 10am. On one of the hottest weekends of the year. It was about 30C by the time we started. As soon as we ducked into the forest, it was then 30C and humid. We climbed and climbed, then descended on still-slippery soil, flailing down mountain bike ramps and shaking down switchbacks.

The navigation was going pretty well - the guys and Katie, with superior downhill - had gone ahead to scout out the corners. Allison had the first wipe out of the day on a slick mountain bike ramp. We kept going. The day got hotter. This was a rain-forest, the trees closing in green and close and sweaty overhead. Mosquitoes buzzed around stagnant pools. We had climbs through grass, skirting flooded trails. At the top, we broke out to see trees surrounding us, mountains and low hills. I brought 2L of water, and after 3hrs, most of it was gone.

The first real wipe-out of the day happened on the way off one of the many summits. The trail app confirmed the way to the "trail" was down a very steep cliff face. Matt, who has very poor self-preservation skills, was first to go down the cliff face. Miraculously, he was okay. Ramsey went next....and was almost okay. Except for his elbow, which was bashed-up and bleeding in a potentially-not-okay way. We kept going.

By this time, I was completely out of water, and was drinking Matt's not-very-much-water. According to the maps, we were supposed to be getting close to the last 5-6km. This was great...until we approached a track of semi-dirt road which was supposed to have a turn-off to the right. The trail on the turn-off was going to take us to "Mountain of Phlegm", on which we would finish our run on one last summit, then do a triumphant downhill back to our car.

We went back and forth on the damn road. I remember that we ran into a stray dog, that Ramsey tried to return to its owners (Ramsey does not necessarily remember this part). Finally, we decided to go through the woods on a trail that looked sorta-right.

The trail brought us to a 3-way intersection. We looked at Mary's route description. We consulted Ramsey's iphone app. Then we went by navigation through process of elimination: we tried every one of the three damn routes, which seemed to take us up to a different summit.

By this time, we had all pretty much run out of water. It was hot as balls. Matt kept trying to sit down at every opportunity. Certain people who rhyme with "Smalex" were doubtful of Ramsey's iphone's navigation abilities. However, we kept going.

It turned out that the fourth try was the charm: the trail that seemed stupid, all rock along a cliff face, turned out to be the right one. We tried it, said no way, then ended back up again. The sound of the freeway has never been sweeter.

On the final stretch back to the car, we were all seriously hot and thirsty. We came across a small child with a lemonade stand - amazing! Until we realized that none of us had money. I had to be talked down from begging free lemonade / issuing an IOU.

We finished our run directly in the grocery store. By the time we reached checkout to pay, we were scanned already-drained bottles of chocolate milk, coconut juice, water, and coke. We were sweaty and way too muddy. Our planned time to do the run? 3hrs. Actual time: 4.5hrs.

Doing it all again
The next day, we were out for another 4.5hours, and were overjoyed to "only" get lost for about 15minutes.