Anyways, im back and will hopefully post more often from now on. I left off with my last post talking about the beginning of my season and now im about to talk about how my season ended. I am now on my month off training and have had a lot of time to reflect. Here are some short recaps of my last 3 races of the season in case you dont know the results.
My goal going into Nationals was strong and direct. I wanted to break my own Canadian 10km track record. We only did a 10km this year because it was only 15 days before the Pan Am Games. I knew it wouldnt be difficult to go under my 44:26 but I didnt plan on trying to kill it. I was hoping to go between 44:15-44:20 and so I went out on pace and did exactly what I wanted to, 44:16. It was the perfect tune up to Pan Am Games which were my ultimate goal and focus this year. This was my 8th National Championship title!
Pan American Games in Toronto
After focusing on this race so much this year, I couldnt believe it was finally here and I was READY. I knew that there wasnt anything else I could have done to better prepare myself for this race. We went in with the plan to go with the leaders and put myself in a situation to go after a medal. We knew it was going to be hot and humid, we expected it all year as we prepared for it but we did not expect it to be as bad as it was. We went out hard, I was 22:13 at 5km's which would be too fast for me even if the weather was perfect. I then went through 10km's in 45:09.
I had already started slowing, as did everyone else but from then on it became trying to maximize my race and try to place as high as possible. It was a bit of a death march and even though I was really trying as hard as I could, I only managed 47:40 for my last 10km's which had me finish in 1:32:49 and 6th place. Even though this was not at all what I had imagined for this race, I really did go away feeling proud of myself. I knew that I had tried my best all the way to the end and it was my best race in those type of conditions. In hindsight, I should have done my own race and paced myself differently but hindsight is hindsight. Either way, I was excited for what I had learned and for how I was going to move forward towards Beijing a month later.
Toronto was everything I had hoped for in a home Championship. I had so many family and friends there to cheer me on and support me. I got overwhelmed when I was warming up just watching everyone start showing up to be there for me. It meant so much to me and that memory will be one at the top of my list for my athletic career. Thanks everyone!
IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing
Even though I had this one big race left in my season, I really struggled post Pan Am's. I thought I recovered well from the race but as soon as I got back to San Diego, I struggled. I was so tight. At first I thought it was just from the flight home but it just wouldnt go away. I ended up having to go get treatment 2-3 times a week, I had to stop several key workouts and my weight lifting was very restricted because of being so tight. The tightness just wouldnt go away and so I just had to learn to deal with it. I think it came down to the fact that it had been a long season and I was starting to crash. I had every reason to think that my race at Worlds would not go well. Most people would have crumbled if they went through what I was and I did at some points but when I got to Beijing it all changed. Our Canadian team right off the bat was performing so well and Ben Thorne kicked it off with a somewhat surprising bronze medal in the men's 20km racewalk. I couldnt help but be inspired by everyones performances. The question kept popping in my head of "why cant I have a breakthrough performance too?". I went through my training log to remind myself how strong my training had been this year and that it was still all there and that I was ready for this. The work was done and I had a good strong race plan after what I learnt in Toronto.
I knew I could walk 1:31:30-1:32 if I walked a smart race and so I planned to stick to that pace, especially for the first 10km's and then try to pick off girls ahead of me after that. I really had to stay very patient because I felt soooo good! I would look at my 1km splits and if they were a bit too fast, I would slow myself down knowing that the 2nd half was where the real race began. I went through in 45:49, right on target. I was in 23rd place at half way and from there I just kept picking off girls ahead of me and I knew I had passed quite a few people but didnt quite know what place I was in. When I turned off the course to go into the tunnel into the stadium I heard someone yell that I was in 13th place. 13th PLACE!!!! I was so excited, I couldnt help but smile as I made my way to the finish line. I finished in 1:31:39 and practically even split my 10km splits. I was ranked 16th place going in and I had really hoped to place that or better but was really unsure so I was so proud!
I was absolutely thrilled with my performance! I had finally broken my bad championships streak and feel like I know what I am doing now haha. This result made me the best result ever in my event for Canada which was icing on the cake. This gives me the 2nd way of qualifying for the Olympics next year, yay!
I came into this season with big hopes and goals and did not really necessarily expect to achieve them. I did learn, however, to believe in myself more than ever and that was evident every time I raced. Definitely the highlights of my season were breaking 1:30 for 20km's for the first time and 13th place at Worlds. This places me exactly where I want to be going into the Olympic year and I plan on making even higher goals as I move forward. It really is true that good things come for those who believe.
I am now 3 weeks in to my 4 week break and im feeling refreshed. I definitely needed some down time from my training regimen and from being so strict with my diet. Sometimes a girl's gotta eat what she wants to eat! Im now feeling ready to get back into my regular routine and get fit again.
I'd like to quickly thank my team, those who have helped me get to where I am and who continue to be there for me as I move forward. Thanks to Jon Pierce, my therapist and overall consultant. Jon continues to bring me new ideas and keep me on top of being a professional athlete and his advice is invaluable. He also keeps me injury free and this is how I can continue to progress. Thanks to Luke DePron, my personal trainer. He has brought my strength to a whole new level and this has elevated my training to a new level. Thanks to Anne Shadle, my sports psychologist. The tools she has given me on how to approach my training and racing and learning to believe in myself and to take out unnecessary distractions has been career changing. I wish I would have worked with someone earlier in my career as I think it has made a HUGE impact on my racing. My training partners Miranda Melville and Emmanuel Corvera. There is no one else id rather train with. We push eachother and are supportive in every way. We truly want the best for eachother and it shows because most importantly, we are good friends. Last but definitely not least, Tim, my coach and most importantly my husband. I know that I couldnt be married to anyone else. To have someone who supports me, pushes me to my best and is completely understanding of what I am doing, he is irreplaceable. I am one lucky girl!
One more week of break then back to work. Lets keep this going!
Keep on walking,