For as much as I love my writing, this is coming to you all long overdue. I have spent the last three months struggling to put my thoughts and feelings into words. After the race season had come to an end, I found myself feeling empty, emotional and drained. Where was the adrenaline wave I had been riding all season? Where was that positive thinking and feeling that I can accomplish anything I want in life? I am still unsure why I felt that way, maybe it was an imbalance in my body or anxiety of not being able to race for another year. I am just glad it’s finally disappeared now. Is it possible I pushed too hard, too fast? Most definitely a good chance of that, but I am happy with the results and truly amazed of what I’ve been able to pull out of myself so far, despite the hardships my genetics have thrown at me in the last 10 years. The body and mind are full of endless potential.
I had an overwhelmingly stellar year, both mentally and physically. I am into my second year of parenting my little girl and the experiences leaves me in a positive state of astonishment. My career with Sport Chek is everything I could hope for, doing what I love to do, giving me the freedom to be there for my Wife Sam and our daughter Fiona, while balancing work, training, and athlete duties behind the scenes.
2016 was an amazing year. I was able to stay injury free, log a total of 6100 Km’s of riding, while smashing every personal best bike, run and transition time I’ve ever posted. I lowered my overall race times from the previous year by 10 minutes a race. I increased to a total of 5 races in the Multisport Canada Sprint Duathlon Series. I took my first, 1st place men 30-34 age group win at Toronto island in the worst race conditions of the year. Built my dream, time trial bike, which is appropriately named “the beast”, helping me post a top 10 fastest bike split at every race I rode it in this season. I also had the pleasure of being selected by Multisport Canada to be on the Recharge With Milk Elite Ambassador team for 2016, where I was able to help first time athletes and introduce friends, family and my customers to Triathlon and Duathlon. I was able to finish the season off consistently, placing 3rd overall for the Men 30-34 Multisport Canada Sprint Duathlon Series Points Championship!
I’ve had a lot of time to think about what my strengths and weaknesses are going into my winter training months. My bike performance is right where I want it to be going forward, with a lot of room to grow yet, but I cannot keep relying on catching as many athletes as possible on the bike course, as I have been. I leave nothing in the tank going into the final run and just fight to try and not get swallowed back up by the athletes i’ve passed. I have a lot more to develop in the other aspects of my Multisport abilities. My run performance on the other hand is… Let’s just say, I do not love running lol, I feel uncomfortable running and it’s very hard on my spinal condition. On the other hand I can run, I know how to run and I love the feeling I get after a run, but my weakness is definitely getting out the door to go for those much needed training km’s, when I would much rather go for a ride. My passion lies in cycling and my challenge comes with running, so welcome to the foundation of Mark Lawrence the competitive Duathlete lol. If I am going to start seeing my finishes in the top 10 overall each race, I am going to have to tap into the my untouched run potential going into 2017.
I am happy to announce that I will be representing Skechers Performance on the ambassador team, as a sponsored athlete for 2017, which will bring the much needed support, guidance and expertise that I need to develop myself further. I look forward to working closely with the entire team at Skechers Performance this year and I thank you for the opportunity!
I had a chance to volunteer at a few races this season, which was an eye opening, rewarding and humbling experience, that left me with a better understanding of just how hard John Salt and the entire team, volunteers and administration at Multisport Canada, work all year long to put on the world class events that we all enjoy month after month. It is an amazing accomplishment to produce these events, strategize and adapt to so many variables on a daily basis and we should all be proud to be a part of it! If you have a chance to volunteer yourself for even a couple hours please do! Without the volunteers, the races wouldn’t be possible.
A very special thank you goes out to my wife Sam and my daughter Fiona, who make the greatest sacrifices to support me on this journey, day in and day out, with encouragement and understanding, the entire team at the Sport Chek Corporate Headquarters who have taken care of me as a Sport Chek Elite Athlete over the last two years, Chris and the entire management team at the Welland Sport Chek, for being unbelievably flexible with my schedule, not only as a new parent, but also with my training and race schedule over the last 4 years, John, Jason, Chris, Roger and the entire team at Multisport Canada for all of the support you have shown to me this season, I am forever grateful and look forward to working again with you all in the near future, Rob and Jessica of BLADE Carbon Wheels, you have been there for me every step of the way on this journey and I appreciate it more than you know, Nik and the boys at County Cycle in Beamsville, for helping me get my dream machine on the road and helping smooth out a chaotic ordeal this pre season, Kyle Rempel and the team at Liberty Bicycles in St. Catherines, for getting me comfortable on The Beast, with their custom bike fitting expertise, Brandon at inception / Ride The Earth Cycles / Code apparel for the awesome affordable custom race jerseys and First Endurance racing nutrients, for making the fuel I need to perform the way I have the last four years. Thank you for believing in me, you all rock!
2017 is going to be a busy year for me. Stayed tuned for my race schedule later this month. Thank you for reading and Happy Training!