Sketches from Shenzhen

Long breaks in heptathlon competition schedules are perfect opportunities to put pen to paper. Watching lines flow out from behind a pen is an almost necessary mental release after being incredibly engaged during intense competition, in preparation for events still to come.

When a nap eluded me in the middle of Day 1 at the 2011 FISU World University Games, I reclined on some mats in the starkly white multi event room somewhere deep within the stadium, and drew.

The image above depicts my lounging socked feet and my name written repeatedly in Mandarin, during attempts to memorize the symbols. I’d be surprised if it still accurately says “zhan ni fo” as I was taught most closely resembles the phonetics of my name, and not some morphed unintelligible version…

The first several images in the gallery below are from the same training/competition log: wolves accompanying some track and field technical cues and my reflections from portions of the competition. The final few images are from another notebook: my view of the village and stadium from my apartment balcony (the stadium is the funky building in the left background), a bonsai tree from the Cultural Centre, and more Mandarin symbol-writing practice.

Before I knew it, wolves appeared in my training log during a quiet moment between events.

Ears and eyes are my favourites.

Prehep focus session…and another eye.

The (slightly warped) Athlete’s Village (stadium in the left background!) and a FISU luggage tag…Start Here, Make a Difference.

A pretty bonsai tree in the Cultural Centre where we learned some Mandarin.

Zhan ni fo

The FISU Summer Universiade is the second largest sporting event in the world (next only to the Olympics) with almost 10,000 athletes from 150 countries taking part. Every single detail, from the accreditation process upon arrival, to the apartments, cafeterias, opening and closing ceremonies, and the competitions themselves culminated in an incredible experience. For a glimpse into the atmosphere in the stadium, check out a past blog post.

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

Missed this immensely!

Back in action! It’s been a crazy week (has it really only been a week?!) since the FISU heptathlon. A couple of Team Canada cheering days concluded our amazing time in China (our men’s basketball team won silver!) before we flew home (32 travel hours) and finally readjusted to life (if that’s even possible?).

The heptathlon was amazing. My Canadian teammate Natasha and I had a blast and our results reflected it…we championed three of the seven events between the two of us! It was a tough competition schedule and very hot conditions, but we relished in the experience and fed off the INCREDIBLE energy of the crowd and both came away with several personal bests, including overall point totals. I placed 8th with a final score of 5685 points…a big step in the right direction! Thanks to everyone who has made this season the best one yet!!!

Natasha and I during a break between events

Electronics were forbidden in the call rooms/competition areas, but I wish I could have recorded the ambiance in the stadium before our 200m race rounding out the first day. The crowd, 60, 000 strong, was pumped. up. The seconds before we were called to load ourselves into the blocks, the most amazing spectator wave was circling the stadium over and over, the same direction we were about to sprint, creating a whirlpool that couldn’t be resisted. Needless to say, Natasha and I came through with significant personal best times, finishing 1 and 2 in our heat.

After beginning the day with a disappointing hurdle race (lots of speed that needed a wee bit more control), I was able to refocus and either match or better my PBs for the remaining six events! Check the Universiade website for full results.

I’m currently watching the heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships…our Canadians are off to a good start! Shout-out to my training partner Damian Warner who finished the decathlon in Korea last night (this morning in North America) in excellent fashion. It has been hugely inspiring to watch him make such massive strides in such a short amount of time and burst onto the world stage.

Live streaming of the World Championships on

Also I must say, it is WAY easier to compete than to watch the coverage and results streaming online, hoping to catch glimpses and dealing with slow updates! A renewed appreciation for the track and field fans of the world!!! Thank you!

More FISU Adventures

Another great day!!!

Hep tomorrow…


Trackies go to a Basketball Game

It was really cool competing in the stadium last night! The lights made it as bright as day (and as hot) and the seats were surprisingly full. The sound pouring down to the track surface swelled to a movie-worthy roar whenever a Chinese athlete cleared the bar in the men’s high jump, or moved up to lead a middle distance race. I found my eyes flitting all over, from the crowds to the races to the video camera gliding by overhead and the little flock of birds restlessly hanging around the field that probably nested in the walls and whom we were keeping up past their bedtimes. In hindsight, I was likely a little tense and more in an observing mode than an attack mode. I am glad to say I was successful in fully taking in the entire experience, but as is the case with most things, a fine balance must be achieved, and will be achieved come the start of the heptathlon on Friday!

So in lieu of a long jump final tonight, I joined a group of other athletes and went to watch team Canada play basketball. We missed the single “spectator” bus from the athlete’s village so had to carve our own path…turns out we’re pretty much experts at it.

We were only gone a few hours but it felt like days…

Zhu ni haoyun (Good luck!)

 Long jump tonight! Excited to jump but perhaps more excited to see the inside of the stadium!!! Nevermind, more excited to jump. Duh.
We had a team photo taken yesterday (I didn’t add my camera to the mountain of everyone else’s cameras, but will get a copy soon!). Here are a couple shots of the multieventers (we’re so cool):

 Also, I spoke with a hurdler from Paraguay who’s trip consisted of four flights, TWO of which were 11 hours long. Eeeee. I don’t feel so bad about my mosquito bites anymore…

I hope all is well with you and yours!!!