Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer 2016 Update!

So much has been happening since my last blog post. Don't get me started on the blog posting frequency! ;) I really should be better at it.

Rio... eventful World Cup. My pistol arrived with a beat up gun case, broken locks, and a grip that was all loose and out of alignment. Lots of learning happened from this event.

Munich... I shot a new personal best at an international competition shooting a 540/600 in the 50m pistol event. This felt awesome. After spending so much time training this year and having it feel like I was on a plateau and then hitting my goal score in Munich. Awesome.

I'm now near Toronto at the Pan Am Games shooting center venue to compete at the 2016 Canadian National Pistol Championships. After not spending a lot of time in the 10m event and shooting a 556/600 today I am pretty happy. Some more work needed here to get back to the 560-570 range but this year has all been about the 50m pistol event for me. Tomorrow I compete again in the 10m event. More updates to come!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Arrived in Rio, Brazil

Ok the title is a bit misleading since I've actually been here a few days now. ;) Just getting caught up on things now that I've gotten settled in to Rio and gotten used to where things are, and how the buses to the range are scheduled and where to buy things, food, sim cards, etc.

Welcome to Rio!
Rio is pretty incredible! The Canadian Team is staying at a hotel on Copacabana Beach in Rio and the views are stunning at sunrise until sunset.

Copacabana Beach!
Today, I shot my pre event training at the shooting venue which will be the shooting venue for the 2016 Olympics being held this August here in Rio. Everything felt awesome, the range is great, lighting is great, and there was very little wind. Optimal conditions!

Yesterday I was the guest commentator for the men's 10m pistol Finals which you can watch here:



You can also check out a small update in the Coast Report about my current trip to Rio to compete.

Lots more to come! My main event is happening tomorrow morning 11am Rio time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

ISSF World Cup Series first stage complete!

I'm in Hong Kong enjoying a bit of time off after last week's competition in Bangkok, Thailand. I had a great time visiting, competing, and enjoying the hot weather in Bangkok.

The competition was a great experience and one that resulted in some good takeaways to get ready for Rio next month. The toughest part was probably adjusting to the heat and humidity -- I had lots of rain but a lot of cold weather to train in.

I've been posting on other websites and apps also so click the links below to follow me there also:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alharding/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allanharding
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alharding
Vine: https://vine.co/alharding

One of my recent Vines from Hong Kong:


Rio, Brazil is next mid-April... stay tuned!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cold and rainy training!

We've been having some classic Pacific North West weather lately... lots of rain, and the cold temperature makes it challenging to stay warm. I'm enjoying it anyway... it's a day out at the range! :)

Shooting at the Sunshine Coast Rod & Gun Club
Only a couple weeks until I fly to Bangkok and Hong Kong for the first stage in the 2016 ISSF World Cup Series! Training has been going great except for the temperature. I'm glad however that I can shoot outdoors and that it's not covered in snow.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

New season! Training for 2016 ISSF season is well under way!

The new year is a great time for doing a check-in with yourself to reflect on the previous year and get set for the current year. 2015 was an exciting time being a pre-Olympic year and being able to compete at the Pan Am Games in Toronto Canada and to have also competed in South Korea and Germany.

This new year has gotten off to a great start -- unlike the speed at which I post here.. ;)

I'm a couple weeks into my 2016 training plan after taking the month of December off. I visited family, moved, and have been focused on making sure I'm on the right track going into the 2016 ISSF World Cup season.

My current plan is to compete at the World Cups hosted in Bangkok, Rio, and Munich as well as competing at the Canadian Airgun Grand Prix (April) and Canadian Nationals (TBD). I'm looking forward to all 5 of those competitions especially Rio which will be the pre-Olympic event held at the Rio 2016 shooting venue.

Canada has not been able to secure a quota spot in any men's pistol events since 1996! Time to change that!

The last Rio 2016 opportunity to secure a quota spot for Team Canada was at the Pan American Games last Summer. For me, it's all about the next 4 years and I have my sights set on Tokyo 2020!

This year I will be focused on the 50m Olympic style shooting event. It's one of the most difficult precision pistol events going back to the 19th century. Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the 1896 Olympics in Athens! The 50m event has had very few changes over the last century and it's only 1 of 2 shooting events whose targets have never changed -- most targets in other shooting events have been reduced in size over time to make it more difficult.

As a software developer, I'm always looking for ways I can leverage those skills to improve my shooting and currently I've tapped into some video game technology to study my movements, timing, follow through. Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on:

Hacking code to get to Tokyo 2020!

Keep in touch here or find me (@alharding) on Twitter and Instagram and I can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/allanharding




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pan Am Games!

I've had an incredible time at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. It's incredibly cool to be at a major games on home soil. The volunteers here are amazing! A huge thank you to all of them for helping!

I arrived on July 7th a few days before the Games opened so that I could get some training time at the new shooting venue. Our new venue at Toronto International Trap and Skeet will eventually be used to host training camps, competitions, and be our National Team training centre.

Below is a YouTube video I made with my GoPro chest harness of what it was like to walk in to the opening ceremonies with Team Canada.


The only other venue I have been able to get to is beach volleyball due to how our bus schedule works to get from our satellite village at the Nottawasaga Inn in Alliston, ON. We only have one bus to the main village and one back in the afternoon so there isn't a lot of time to get around to see other events.

Watching Team Canada defeat Puerto Rico! Go Canada!
I wasn't able to get out of the qualification round in my event but I do feel that my training and changes that I've made with my coaches and vision team the last two months are starting to really work. Essentially, we've taken apart my shot routine and made some minor adjustments which help with consistency. I was able to shoot 16 x's and the leader had 18 x's so my bullseye hits are deep in the 10 ring which is exactly where I want to be putting them. The next thing will be to tighten up the overall group and minimize the 'flyers'.

Me taking the very first official shot of open training at the Pan Am Games

My teammate Lynda Kiejko won two gold medals in the 10m and 25m events. Along with the shiny gold medals is an Olympic Games quota spot for Canada for Rio 2016!

Lynda Kiejko with her two gold medals! Nice!
My next competition will be the Canadian National Pistol Championships in Camrose, Alberta next month! Registration info can be found on the pistolcanada website.









Saturday, July 11, 2015

At the 2015 Pan American Games!

I'll get some more updates out soon! I know I've been slow on getting them out but it just means it's because I've been out at the range training! ;)

Getting ready for opening ceremonies with Team Canada

I'm competing at 9am tomorrow morning and will get back to doing a bit of blogging from the Pan Am Games after the competition is over.

Get lots of other updates from the Pan Am Games from my Instagram (alharding), Twitter (alharding), and Facebook (facebook.com/allanharding).


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Finished as top Canadian at 2015 Canadian Grand Prix

Finals just finished at the 33rd annual Canadian Airgun Grand Prix in Toronto and I finished as the top Canadian in the men's 10m event. Great shooting from Team Chile!



I had a slow start on day 1 of the competition but really settled in this afternoon to make it into Finals.

Next up is a small break for a couple work trips then it'll be time to get back into training for the Pan Am Games team selection.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Competing at the 2015 Canadian Airgun Grand Prix

2015 is here! I've been busy getting my training and competition calendar for 2015 all planned out and am excited to be competing in a couple weeks in Toronto.

This is the 33rd year that this international airgun event has been hosted and is the largest airgun competition in North America. Details of the event can be found here, here, and here. ;)

I'll be arriving in Toronto on Feb 5th!

Friday, September 19, 2014

My 'Where Did The Summer Go?' update

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten an update on here… where do I start!?

So much shooting, so much travel, so much work. August went by in a bit of a blur and now September is almost finished.

At the start of August I was still in Scotland for the remainder of the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games. I don’t know how to really describe the experience of attending and competing at the Commonwealth Games. It’s one of the biggest things I’ve ever done so far in my life.

Now… I want more. 

The 2015 Pan Am Games are in Toronto next summer and I’ve already been doing what I can to prepare to make the team to compete there. This will be a huge event for Canada to be able to host, maybe we’ll see the Olympic Summer Games back in Canada one day.

After the Commonwealth Games I only had a few days before competing at the Canadian National Pistol Championships. That went well with me finishing in 2nd after the 10m qualifications and in 1st after the 50m qualifications. My 50m result was enough for me to qualify on the 50m National Development Team. Awesome. I took a few days off after Nationals and flew directly from Edmonton to Las Vegas for a small break.

My day job really got busy in August and Sept so that has been keeping me very busy also.

Last week I was competing in Granada, Spain at the 51st ISSF World Championships which happen every 4 years. This was my first time in Spain and despite it being a very short trip it was good to go and compete there and see how I’d fare against the best in the world. Some of these shooters are incredibly talented, I’m not even sure how much full-time training some of them must do in order to be able to perform at their level. It’s motivated me to ramp up my own training and see what I can do given more training, planning, and coaching. Click for some photos from my Spain trip!

Visiting the Alhambra in Granada, Spain

View from the top of Alhambra looking at Granada, Spain

I’m currently 1/4 of the way into a 4 week training plan to get ready for the Championships of the Americas being held in Guadalajara, Mexico next month. I’ll be there Oct 11-18 and will be competing in the 10m and 50m events. This will be my first time shooting both of the Olympic precision pistol events I train for. Exciting!

Expect some more radio silence as I get through the next 3 weeks preparing for Guadalajara. This is an important event with quota spots for the 2015 Pan Am Games and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games being awarded to the top shooters.

Keep the comments and feedback coming.. I really appreciate it! 


Thanks for all the support!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My 1st Week at the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games

Normally I'd try and get updates out sooner but aside from the occasional tweet, instagram, and FB status update I tried to stay offline and focused on my competition.

This is my first major multi-sport event I've ever attended as an athlete and the experience is amazing. Not sure how to describe it really. You're in a city with an entire village setup for athletes, with venues specially built or retrofitted for all the events and thousands of volunteers, and it's all there for this massive event that you're representing your country for. Awesome.

Getting here was a bit of an adventure... it all started with a ferry ride into Vancouver, a flight to Toronto, a flight to Dublin, a flight to Glasgow, and a car ride to the Glasgow athlete village. Once at the village I went through security (security is everywhere, but more on that in a minute) and walked through the athlete village to the Team Canada office and lounge where I could figure out what I was doing and where I needed to go. I met up with fellow shooters who took me to the massive food area to feed all the athletes and I got something to eat. The selection of food is awesome and you just have whatever you want. By this point I'd been up a long time, I wasn't really able to sleep on the plane due to the aisle seats I was in so I maybe got an hour in on the Toronto to Dublin flight. About an hour before the athlete parade for the opening ceremonies I was starting to feel all the energy and excitement getting ready for the opening ceremonies. Sleep would have to wait... this was way too much fun and important to feel any sort of tiredness.

The opening ceremonies... I've seen them on TV for Commonwealth Games and for the Olympics but being a part of it is something else. When you see all the countries lining up and you're with your own team, not just your own sport team but "Team Canada" for all the sports... awesome. Outside of Celtic Park before we went in and our flag bearer Susan Nattrass had been given our Canadian flag we broke out in O Canada. Then you walk in and they announce you and everyone is cheering. The Queen is there... It's all awesome. So awesome.

Starting our walk into the Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies


The Queen watching Commonwealth Games Federation president
Prince Imran try and open the Queen's baton!

After the opening ceremonies were over it was all about catching the last shuttle bus out to Dundee where we would stay at the satellite village. This was a 2 hour bus ride and I still hadn't really slept. Once we got to our hotel the entire bus goes through a security checkpoint. Then once we get to the athlete village which is basically a hotel that had been taken over for 1 of the 2 athlete villages in Dundee. Literally a security fence is around the entire grounds of the hotel so nobody can get close. Even getting to the hotel you need to go through typical airport procedures (bags get scanned and you walk through a metal detector). I think our village alone has at least 30 police at any time keeping us safe. Our satellite athlete village has a gym, pool, athlete lounge, and lots of food... lots! Snacks, water and juice coolers everywhere plus so much more.

Dundee athlete village sign

After arriving to the Dundee athlete village 36 hrs after leaving Vancouver, my head hit the pillow and I was out for 10 hrs. I woke up at 1pm the next day and probably could have slept longer. ;)

I spent the next couple days figuring out where everything is and wandering around Dundee a bit. My competition day was July 26th so I had a couple days to get my internal clock reset to Scotland time.

The day before I was scheduled to compete I had pre-event training (PET) which is time set for everyone competing to be able to shoot from their assigned position. This all went well and I was feeling really good about shooting the next day. Earlier on the 25th, I got to watch the Women's 10m pistol Finals which set an expectation what the shooting venue would be like for when I was competing. Congrats to my teammate Dorothy Ludwig for getting the bronze in this event! Shooting at Commonwealth Games is way bigger than shooting at any of the ISSF World Cups I've competed at, you have thousands of fans in attendance watching, TV cameras, an announcer who is getting the crowd fired up with the usual "Anybody from Scotland here today!?"type questions. Watching this gave me a good idea of what to expect on my competition day.

Competition day.. I did good but had a couple of mistakes which cost me making it out of the Qualifiers and into Finals. All in all I'm very happy with how I did given the scale of the event and overall just how the competition felt. It was way easier than my competitions in Munich, Maribor, or Beijing in the 7 weeks leading up to these Games. Easier may not be the right word, I felt a lot more 'comfortable' and that makes a huge difference. The way for me to get better at this is to shoot at internationals events. Each event I pick up more experience and learn more about myself and how I can aim for peak performance. My result was 560/600, my 2nd highest international competition score. I'm happy I'm slowly getting my performance average trending higher with each competition.

Rhodney Allen (L), Me in the middle, and Jonathan Patron (R)
Thanks @ShootingApps for the photo!

I'm staying at the Dundee athlete village for a few more days while the other shooting events wrap up and then I'll move to the main Glasgow athlete village.

More updates to this blog will come but also feel free to follow me here, here, here, and here for other updates and photos etc.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Only a few days until the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games

It was great to get home last week from my trip to compete in China for the ISSF World Cup in Beijing. That was my first time there and I really enjoyed getting to see as much of Beijing as I could. I made it to the Badaling and Mutianyu sections of the Great Wall (almost nobody was at Mutianyu when I visited!), the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and got to see many of the 2008 Summer Olympics legacy venues in the Olympic Green. Photos from my China trip can be found on Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. Follow me to get the latest from Glasgow next week... I'll be doing lots of updates!


I'm flying out on July 22 to Glasgow out of Vancouver with stops in Toronto and Dublin. I'll get in to Glasgow in the afternoon and day of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies. Between YVR, YYZ, DUB, and GLA I'll need to get some sleep in because it'll probably be pretty hectic and non-stop once I arrive on the afternoon of the 23rd.

All schedule and results info will be on the Glasgow 2014 website and here is a direct link to the shooting schedule. I'm scheduled to shoot on the 26th and it will be around midnight back in Pacific timezone if you plan to stay up and watch! ;)