Observations from Korea

This Canadian Team update was graciously provided by Neal Marshall, National Team Coach.


So here we are in Korea for the last competition of the season, the World Single Distance Championships. It is an important competition but because of the fact that after this weekend the season is over. There is also a more relaxed feeling in the air amongst all the skaters.

To give you an example, after arriving at the hotel and checking into our rooms I heard a lot of animated discussion coming from a couple of the girls rooms. I was thinking wow, these guys are really excited to unpack and get ready for a good week of training. The topic of discussion….what they were going to wear for the closing banquet….10 days away!! How do I get them to get that excited to talk about racing?!

The trip itself went very smoothly with the exception of Mike Ireland not receiving his skates. Mike was very cool about it though and surprisingly I didn’t hear him utter one single curse. Luckily the skates arrived the next day so he was back on track with no real interruption to his prep.

Jet-lag has been not too bad so far with only the occasional drowsy spells.

Dining has been a mixture of the native Korean cuisine, and the ‘foreign’ places like Pizza Hut. The Korean BBQ is a great dining experience consisting of mounds of beef and vegetables cooked on hot-plates as everyone sits around on the floor cross-legged. Good times, but my hips will never be the same. Mental note: flexibility DOES deteriorate if you do not stretch anymore. Pizza hut is…well, Pizza hut. But after letting the rumors of ‘mystery’ meat get to me, I’m paranoid that I had a Terriers-Lovers Pan pizza for dinner the other night.

The coffee in the hotel has a unique soil taste about it so I think I will finally be able to try out my experiment of what will happen to my body if I stop feeding it large amounts of caffeine. If it gets ugly though, I will cab it to the most globally reaching company, Starbucks.

Some other interesting Korean observations are that they don’t seem to have any money denominations larger than 10000 Won ($10 equivalent) this means that after changing a couple grand of Canadian at the bank, I walked out with a paper-bag filled with three huge wads of Korean Won. I felt like a drug dealer!

The people here are friendly and helpful but the language barrier does exist. But I have been able to prove the theory that repeating the words slower, and louder, yet exactly the same, does work!

That’s about all for now. Looking forward to seeing some good results this weekend.

Check it out online.

Cheers. Neal