Welcome! My name is Michael Gilday and I am a Short Track Speedskater from Yellowknife, NWT, Canada. I currently train at the National Training Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I've created this blog primarily to let family and friends know about competitions and travel. I also hope to educate a bit about short track and maybe even entertain. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

>Insert Stereotypical holiday greeting here<

Looking along the right side bar of my blog yesterday I noticed something. At first I thought I was seeing in quadruple. But upon closer inspection, I just realized that everyone had published the holiday edition on their personal blog (if you are now looking at the right side bar to see evidence of this, don't click on another blog just yet...). So I have decided to join in on the conga line of holiday blogs that Denise, Gil, Liam and Andrew have all started and write my own version of a holiday blog.

I'll start by wishing everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope that your Christmas holidays have been going well. Mine have been going well for the last five days since I jumped on a plane for Yellowknife last Tuesday. Right off the plane I headed to the ski club for the first of several skis I have gotten in since I arrived in YK. I skied with Thomsen and thought I did ok for my first ski in over a year, but I was put in my place the next day when I did some intervals and my pathetic arm strength showed through. Oh well, it was still good to get out with Thompy and Corey. I bumped my ego up a bit on Christmas day though by skiing with my dad haha.

Other than skiing I have been enjoying the fairly warm weather we have had lately (low minus teens which is pretty warm for this time of year in Yellowknife). We did a quick trip to the cabin yesterday and I have been out for some long walks with the dog too.

Surprisingly I have been getting quite a bit of training in too. We had a program to do, but I came here with the idea to do what I felt like in order to take a bit of a mental break since I don't have any major competitions for three months. But surprisingly I have been really motivated thanks mostly to getting back to training with Thomsen and my old ski coach Corey and also re-meeting Denise Ramsden who is now on the National Team for road cycling. When I think about it, Yellowknife has produced quite a few elite athletes for its smallish population I'd say.

The other day I also headed back to my old place of employment, Body Works, a local gym here in town. I worked there for a solid three years and went in to see the owner, Francis. If anyone from Yellowknife is interested in getting an early start on some New Years Resolutions that involve fitness, I suggest you take a trip down to Body Works and chat with Francis for a bit.

Well thats a pretty long one and I'm sure everyone is busy. Ok, now you can click on one of the side bar links now...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

National Team Trials WrapUp

Well since I promised it, here it is. But first let me say that I don't feel any obligation the blogosphere to put this out just since I said I would. or maybe I do... either way read on!

I guess the first two days are fairly self-explanatory. I don't think that I need to explain how good I was feeling because two wins and two world records in polar opposite distances speak for themselves.

Monday was a different story though. I was still strong physically obviously (just so you know, great form doesn't come and go from day to day, you have it for longer than that), but I had an incident where I was taken out in the quarter final of the 1000m. This threw me off a bit, but nonetheless I made it to the final handily. In the final I was in good position, but unfortunately, I experienced what we skaters called booting out (you skate boot hits the ice more than you blade causing you to fall). So down I went on my own. At the time I fell I was leading the race with just under 5 laps to go, a position that I would consider the best place to be. But instead I got to watch the rest of the race from far behind. But that short track, thats the way it goes.

In the 3000m I decided to try and lap the pack, which proved a futile effort. After chasing for about 5 laps, I headed back to the pack where I held on for a solid third place (out of 8), finish, which I consider good because I had basically sprinted the first 5 laps while everyone else just sat there.

A good competition for me in which I won the overall (a first for me, and I know the top guys weren't there but hey, you gotta start somewhere) and gained a bunch of confidence for the rest of the season.

So why so on fire this weekend you might ask. Well basically Jon and I have been trying a few new things over the fall. Nothing drastic but we have been trying to put in place some different methods of training and trying new amounts of training. Apparently its working...

If anyone is interested in watching video from the weekend, please check out the Brickhouseent's youtube channel here.

If this is the last time I post before the holidays, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of the readers of this blog!

Monday, December 14, 2009

National Team Trials

Don't have a lot of time to do a long post. A More in-depth post will come soon. But until then here are two videos from this weekend. The first one is the 500m final. Then second in the 500m semi final, which I broke the World Record in by 0.1 seconds. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

making a global impact on the local level?

Two days in Canmore. Thats how we spent thursday and friday of last week. Well we didn't spend the whole two days, just a couple hours out of each day. We had been displaced from our normal ice surface due to an invasion by all of the worlds speed skating nations for a World Cup. Obviously we don't like to get bumped out, but hey as short trackers we were happy to give up our ice for a couple days for the chance to grow speed skating (any publicity is good publicity even if it is long track) in our country and around the world. And while we were at it we would get a chance to skate in beautiful Canmore and as it turned out, even grow the sport a bit in our own little way.

On each of the two days in the mountains, we did our own workout, on ice which I must say was very very good for a rink that mostly sees hockey and is also quite cold, and then were joined by an enthusiastic group of skaters from the Banff/Canmore club. At first we weren't sure if the kids from Canmore were just happy because they were missing school to skate with us both days, or if they were actually pumped about skating with some National team members. Turns out these kids just love to skate and really got into it. But really, who can argue with missing some school right?

So on the program was some fun relays, slalom races and even a few drills to show them that yes, even when you train like its your job, you still have to do drills.

Dustin and I about to launch Cassidy and Siobhan
Yasu trying to get his team back to the front.

Even though we had to drive near white-out conditions and evade a massive six car pile up to get back to Calgary on friday afternoon, it was worth it. Maybe we didn't grow the sport on a global level like the long-trackers were busy doing, but we had alot of fun, and I think the kids did too. Mission accomplished.

While we are on the topic of crazy weather and growing a global awareness, how about this. I was reading the blog that my good friend Andrew Matthews writes, and ran across a post that he did about the United Nations Climate Change Conference that started today in Copenhagen. As a snowboarder, he was most appalled by a UN report that warned all downhill skiing could disappear by 2030. As a winter enthusiast myself, my interest was also piqued. So far it seems this year is a good snow year which will probably make people push the potential consequences of climate change to the back of their minds. But that doesn't mean that we can forget about it. Continuing to plagiarize from Andrew's blog check out the first part of Age of Stupid, and interesting movie made to open the world's eyes to the effects that climate change is having on our one and only planet earth.

Trials are this weekend. All prep leads to the races on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

(insert guitar solo here)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So whats been going on anyways? (updated)

Well well, looking back at the last few posts I've put up, I see that there hasn't been anything lately about whats been going on with our training at the Oval. Other than the video I posted the other day, which has some of whats been happening but might only be understood by those that know the sport personally, its been a drought.

So heres the scoop. Basically its been boring. By boring I mean boring to most people but not to us. We've been training a ton, getting is some serious work before we get ready to compete again. Long days at the oval, with at least a couple hours of warm-up/on-ice in the morning and a weights/imitations/ice program in the afternoon (never all three, but normally a combo of any two). Its been hard, but its been good. Add in some school and its busy, busy, busy.

I mentioned getting ready to compete. We have a National Team trials coming up next weekend, Dec 12-14 (finishing on a monday which is different). These trials will generate 1/2 of the points that will go towards qualifying for the last three spots on the National Team and the 4 spots available on the National Development Team for 2010-11.

If anyone out there is interested in coming out and watching the competition, feel free to come by the Oval on any of those three days. Racing starts at 10am on all three days, with the 1500m on Saturday, 500m on Sunday and 1000m on Monday.