First real race back was at the Canadian Indoor Open in Montreal and since the women raced separately from the men, I knew it would be a solo effort. I was confident since last year I walked my 12:23 Canadian record alone so I was hoping to go under that. I felt good and went through the first kilometer in 4:05 and then a little bit into the 2nd kilometer one of the judges, who must have been inexperienced, showed me the red paddle which means you are disqualified. I almost came to a complete stop but then realized that the judge didnt know what he was doing and kept going. It definitely threw me off so with that and loosing focus a bit, I fell off the pace and came in to the finish in 12:33. Still my 2nd best time ever so I cant complain. Good enough to finish the indoor season ranked 6th in the world.
Just before going to Indoors we were rushing to decide which early season 20km race we should go to. It was between Lugano, Switzerland and Nomi, Japan, both races were on the same day, March 15th. I had a gut feeling that going to Japan would be better for me because its easier to adjust to the time change so we decided to go there. My training partner, Miranda Melville, and I flew to Tokyo for a few days prior to the race and got to do some sightseeing. We loved Tokyo and were very impressed with how clean everything was.
It was finally time to head to the small city of Nomi to prepare for the race. Going into the race I was ranked 2nd to a Chinese girl. Historically the women hadnt walked very fast here so I really had no idea what to expect. My race plan was simply to go with the leaders and see how the race went and go from there. I fully expected it to go out slow so I didnt feel very nervous at the start but to my surprise a Japanese girl went for it and the Chinese girl and I went with her. Our first kilometer was 4:23 and I thought "uh oh". Thankfully the Chinese girl didnt continue to go with the Japanese girl and so we slowed slightly and walked together going through 5km's in 22:25. We stayed together through 12km's going through 10km's in 44:46 (22:21 last 5km). At about 12km's the Chinese girl took off on me and I couldnt go with her. I maintained the pace as well as I could on my own through 15km's in 1:07:15 (22:29 last 5km). At 16km's I started having a very nervous/scared/anxious feeling in my stomach and it really crippled me and I had a rough next 3km's. I got to 19km's in about 1:25:29 on the clock and thought I better fight this feeling in my stomach if im going to break 1:30. I fought hard and did a 4:23 last kilometer to finish in 1:29:54! Wow! Broke my own Canadian record and personal best by 49 seconds! So thrilling for me. I couldnt believe I did it. I have been dreaming of this since last year and to think I did it when my training was less than optimal was incredible.
When I got home we took a planned very easy recovery week, there was no rush in getting back into hard training since it is a long season. I enjoyed a week with my parents visiting and we went to Disneyland for the first time. It was great! After about 10 days I was back in my regular routine and feeling recovered from Japan. Next race planned was the USA Pan American Racewalk Cup Trials in Whiting, New Jersey on April 12th. Since my race in Japan went so well we decided to only do a 10km. This was the only record I didnt have yet and the record was 44:25 which felt very within my reach.
The plan was to try and walk with Nick Christie for his first 10km's of his 20km race. We started off right on pace for the first lap (1.25km laps) and then just past half way through the 2nd lap, Nick decided that he felt good and sped up ahead. I was then alone at 2km's into the race to fight by myself. This is a position I have been in many times before so I knew I could do it. Went through 5km's in about 21:49 and could feel it being tough alone. I went on to have a few rough laps and knew that I had to get my act together that last lap in order to break 44 minutes which was my big goal. I pulled myself together and managed to walk a 4:17 last kilometer to finish in 43:52! This was a new Canadian record by 32 seconds. I must say I felt pretty good at the end and wish I had someone there to push me a bit harder but I cant complain with the time. You can check out the photo story done by Jeff Salvage on Racewalk.com.
I feel like I still have so much training to do and so im excited to get back to it. This time I wont be taking as easy of a week off and am able to jump back into training pretty quickly since it was just a 10km race. Next up I have the Pan American Racewalk Cup in Arica, Chile on May 9th. This will be a great preview of what to expect at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July. I will be racing the same girls and it is a strong field. There are 4 of us who have broken 1:30 for 20km's in the last year. Im hoping it brings me to another personal best as the weather should be good as well.
Recently the Toronto Star did a story on myself and the top Canadian men. Please check it out here and here as Kerry Gillespie did a fantastic job!
The season has only just begun and I can only imagine how much better its going to be as I continue to prepare for the championships this summer. Thanks for following my journey!
Keep on walking,