Thursday, January 29, 2015
My fall and into the Christmas season came with many ups and downs. Training had been going great as I started back in September and into the beginning of November. I had been getting my mileage back up again and starting to feel like myself again after taking most of the summer off. We had 6 weeks of trips planned crammed into an 8 week period. With this came lots of fatigue and illness. Unfortunately, the illness really affected my training. I ended up being sick 5 weeks out of those 8 weeks and this put me feeling behind the eight ball. I felt like I was starting back in September all over again after I was finally rid of all the sickness.It was tough mentally to feel that I lost so much time but I managed to keep it all in perspective that I had a long season and that I would be fine.
In the middle of my trips I competed at the USA 50km Racewalk Championships here in San Diego on December 14th. My plan was to walk 20-25km's with fellow Canadian Mathieu Bilodeau as he raced the 50km's for the first time. Originally the plan was to walk about 4:53/km and if that was the case I probably would have gone 25km's but once we got going Mathieu impressively started bringing the pace down to 4:48/km or faster and therefore I only lasted 20km's in fear of it taking too long to recover from doing 25km's at that pace. I was thrilled to walk 1:36:40 at what felt like a comfortable tempo pace. This was about a minute faster than a race I did last year a few weeks earlier and my heart rate was a bit lower than last year also. This was very positive after having been sick for about 3 weeks before this point. This gave me a lot of confidence that I would be alright.
After my next 3 weeks of being away and getting sick all over again, I was THRILLED to be back home in San Diego. It almost felt like it was the happiest I have ever felt to be back in the sunshine and back in my regular routine. I think that helped reboot my training. Although I still had some bumps and still am, I have been seeing steady improvement in my fitness every day. I missed a lot of time at the gym while I was away/sick also and that is finally getting back to where it was before and/or improving. Just yesterday I did a back squatting personal best of 150lbs and still felt like I had more in me.
I now feel as though I am on track to have another break out season and I cannot wait for the opportunity to attack my races. I have no limits and I am not afraid. I wanted to thank my supporters because without them, my everyday training would be a lot harder. Thank you to Mizuno Canada, New York Athletic Club and Nuun Hydration! Next up for me is the Canadian Indoor Open on February 22nd in Montreal where ill be racing a 3,000m and going after my own Canadian record of 12:23. Let's do this!
Keep on walking,
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I was super solely focused on myself and being smart with my comeback. I made sure that I walked within my target heart rate even if that meant walking slower than I wanted to some days. I was super careful to not do too much in the beginning and to build up my comeback gradually. Looking back a year later, I think Tim and I approached this perfectly. I had no injuries and I felt strong throughout the whole year.
I had the best base season id ever had. I started working with my trainer once a week from Fix Body Group named Luke. He has completely revitalized my time at the gym. I am doing things I never thought I would be doing but in a great way. I have gone from barely squatting the bar (45lbs) to 135lbs and from deadlifting a 53lb kettle bell to 155lbs. I still have a lot of room to improve with my strength and it is incredibly exciting.
I went on to compete in my first race in almost a year and a half at a small indoor meet on Long Island, New York in the middle of December. I raced a 3,000m indoors for the first time in several years. I managed to walk 12:38 fairly comfortably and that started my comeback season with a bang! I knew that if I would have gone for the Canadian Indoor Record of 12:31 that day that I would have gotten it. This was just the beginning of seek of many Canadian records this season.
Next was our annual junior racewalk camp in South Texas where I planned on doing a 10km on the track. Originally my goal was to break 45mins but after my 3,000m race a week earlier, we decided that the Canadian record of 44:30 was within my reach. I had Nick, Alex, Natos and Tim to walk with and push to stay with. It was tough but I was so proud at how I fought mentally through it. I was on pace to walk 44:45 until 3km's to go and I managed to get my butt back in gear and walked 13:11 the last 3k. It was so thrilling to walk these times on what I considered very little work to walk fast.
Next was Millrose Games where I was already a 3 time champion. I was very confident after the 3,000m 6 days earlier. I figured I could walk 6:25 which would be a 16 second PB but ultimately my goal was to compete and go for the win. I pretty much took the lead from the beginning and made the pace fast and took over the title once again in a time of 6:17, woah! If Canada recognized 1 mile racewalk records, im sure this would have beaten it.
I went home and had just over a month until my last race of the season at the Canadian Track and Field Championships. Even though my main goal of the season was World Cup, I still had a lot of hopes for my Nationals. My training continued to go well and decided that even though the course in Moncton, NB didnt sound very fast, that I would still just put it all on the line and go for a PB. The race was in the afternoon and ended up starting almost 20 minutes late. I felt great for the first 10km's on PB pace and then pretty soon after it hit me hard. I dont think I have ever tied up as much as I did in this race. Not sure if it was because hunger set in from the start time delay, because it was pretty warm out or the difficult course but I just died even though I was still trying as hard as I could. The goal ended up turning into making sure I was under my previous PB leading into the year of 1:33:05. Thankfully I barely sneaked under that time walking 1:32:54. It was rough but I was thankful to win my 7th Canadian Championship title and get the Championship record.
Even though I finished hungry for more, it was time for a well deserved break. I decided to take most of the summer off and just enjoy time with family since the next two summers will hopefully be jam packed with competitions. I took all of July and half of August off of training and then started up slowly doing all types of exercise in August. Once September 1st came around I started back into full time training. I wouldnt say that I really needed that much time off but at the same time, my goal is to race at my peak in August 2015 and I felt that it was the best decision to delay the start of training as late as possible in order to not peak too early. Im confident I made the right decision.
Training so far has been going very well. We are approaching things a bit different this season in order to be ready to compete at my best next summer and so far it is all working out great. Ill do another update soon about my 2015 season plans. Sorry this post is so long but every step was very important to get me to where I am now. Im looking forward to an even more successful year this year!
Keep on walking,
Friday, August 22, 2014
Woah what a difference a year makes! Life has been a complete turn but it could not be any better. I have been happier than ever and that has been very clear in each of my races this year. After taking a year off for pregnancy and the birth of my daughter Isabella, I gained a lot of perspective about life and athletics. It made me realize that the way I was approaching my athletic career simply and honestly was too serious and not fun. I know that I need to be serious but I stressed out over things that really werent that important after all. I think I would not have realized a lot of these things if I had not have taken a substantial amount of time off.
My life does not revolve around training and racing anymore. Like most professional athlete parents will say, my daughter is more important to me than racewalking. Trust me, I love to train and race but sometimes those things have to suffer because Isabella requires a lot of my time and effort but I wouldnt have it any other way. One of the best things that has come out of having a baby for my athletics career is the fact that I dont have any time to think about my training after training is done for the day. I go, do my workout and focus on what im doing then but when I get home I am on full mommy mode. I definitely over thought everything that would happen in training on a daily basis before. I would over analyze it and it definitely affected my training and racing negatively. Like they say, too much of a good thing is never good.
- Wake up between 6 and 7am
- Start my workout sometime between 7 and 8am
-Go to the gym right afterwards to take advantage of my babysitter
- Come home and go outside and play at the beach
- Eat lunch
- Isabella takes a nap (I nap sometimes but mostly I get chores done while she sleeps)
- After she wakes up we either we go running and I push her in the stroller or if I dont have a second workout, we go to the park
- Eat dinner
- Play again, bath time and then bed time for her
I hope this gives some of you a better perspective on how elite athletes juggle motherhood and athletics. While it isnt easy, it just makes all the successes that much sweeter and the failures unimportant.
Keep on walking,
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I just finished my 6th week of training for the new season and I am finally settling into a good routine. The adjustment of figuring out how to fit everything in for training with Isabella has been challenging. Before I could just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A typical training day goes like this: im training much earlier than I used to so that Tim can watch the baby before he goes to work. I have to get up, feed her, go get my training in and come back right away. I stretch when I get home (if I get a chance) and then I have to feed her. I take a nap if/when she does. Play with her all day and then we go running and I push her in the Chariot jogging stroller. I come home, make dinner and after I am done I go to the gym to do weights. If I want to go to the gym during the day or go get some treatment (massage, etc) I get a babysitter. Everything revolves around the baby. Some days it can be a bit hectic but I feel so much more relaxed then ever before. Even though the daily schedule may be difficult some days, I am handling things extremely well. I guess its like "they" say, you really change and step up to the plate after you have a baby. I feel like I have gained new perspective and I have high expectations for myself without the pressure, if that makes sense?! I feel like I am much tougher as a person and as an athlete and I look forward to see how this transpires into my racing.
Training has been a good steady progression. I have now worked my way up to 128km's which is the highest mileage I have done since July 2012. I continue to feel better and more like my old self every day. I have now started to do zone #2 workouts once a week. First week was 2 x 4km/1km fartlek and second week was 2 x 5km/1km fartlek. I am thrilled with how both workouts went and how easy and relaxed they felt. I cant believe how strong I am already without pushing the training at all. My heart rate continues to be 10 beats lower than any other year while walking the same pace as before. I dont feel as though I will need to get faster for my zone #1's so it will be nice if my heart rate will get lower and lower for the same pace. I have started to work with a strength coach and I feel like it is really helping already. I cant wait to see how it benefits my training and racing this year.
The race I did a month ago in Encinitas went very well, especially considering how hilly the course was. I had no race plan going into it, I just wanted to see how I felt as I went. First km was flat and I did 4:37, next km was a mix of flat and uphill and walked 4:42, next km was a nightmare hill and I powered up it as well I could and hit that km in 4:57. You could tell how bad the hill was as I went down the 4th km in 4:19. The last km was nice and flat and I finished it off in 4:31 to bring me to 23:08 for my final 5km time. This was a 34 second improvement from a month earlier on a much easier course. I am happy with the improvement but of course felt like I didnt have another gear since I hadnt walked anything faster than 5:30/km pace in training.
My race plan for 2014 is very tentative right now. I am planning on walking at Millrose Games again to try and reclaim my title and record. Its a good way to start my comeback to racing with a fun and no pressure race. I would then like to walk 10km's in Huntington Beach early March to get a feel for where I am at and then soon after I would love to do my first 20km race in Lugano, Switzerland on March 16th if all goes well and to plan. I hope to have my big peak for the season in early May at the IAAF World Racewalk Cup in Taicang, China. After that I would like to try and race a few 5km and 10km races to try and lower my personal best times as much as possible. Plans of course could change as the season progresses but I cant wait to jump back into racing and challenge myself as much as possible. I know that big times are in me, its time to get them out!
Thanks for the continued support. Here's to my best season even!
Keep on walking,
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Isabella has really been thriving since birth. She is now almost 3 times her birth weight which is really great! She simply wasnt growing very well in my belly so it was a good decision for my doctor to induce me and for her to come early. She still isnt sleeping through the night which is to be expected and even though she is up anywhere from 1-4 times a night, I have adjusted well to the sleep deprivation :)
I recovered very well after giving birth to Isabella and I decided that since I had her so early in the year that I would take my time after the birth and not rush back into any sort of exercise. I didnt do anything for a month after she was born except for leisure walks around my neighborhood. After a month I started by hiking and running to get my body moving again. After a few weeks of doing that, I slowly started to introduce racewalking. I started with 2 days a week of racewalking and running, hiking or off the other days and then slowly introduced more every week. Now I am up to racewalking everyday but before that I had been always taking a day off every week. My biggest week has been 96km's (last week) so far but mostly I have been doing 70-80 something km's per week. Now that September has hit, I will start training full time again but I wanted to have no stress through the summer and just enjoy friends and family while still adjusting to life with Isabella.
It has now been over a year since I raced at the Olympics and I feel so blessed to have had a good break from racing and serious training so that I could reflect on my career so far. I have really been able to realize things that I may not have realized when I was in the thick of training and racing. I cant wait to see how this upcoming season turns out after I make some adjustments from what I think I did wrong or not as well in the past.
I am already almost back to walking the same pace for my easy days as I was walking in the lead up to the Olympics. One of my goals was to try and lower my heart rate for my easy zone #1 workouts. So far I have been able to lower it 5-10 beats and I am thrilled. One of the biggest things I want to get back to this year is simply focusing on myself. It sounds easy but last year I got very distracted in the hype of the Olympics and I forgot about just trying to take care of myself. I feel so relieved already with the realizations I have come to. I feel a bit weight lifted from me and I know that I am going to be much stronger because my mind is clear. I used to over think my training, racing and competitors too much in the past and im hoping that I can stay in the same mindset that I am in now for the rest of the season.
Ill keep you posted on how this race goes. Please tag along for my comeback. I am so excited to show what I really am capable of so here we go!
Keep on walking,
Monday, March 25, 2013
SEVEN weeks to go, thats it! My due date is quickly approaching and I am feeling just like I did in the lead up to the Olympics. This whole situation is extremely surreal. We are going to have a real baby in our arms in just over a month. It really is true that there is no way to prepare for what is about to happen. You can buy everything you need but I still cannot imagine how life is going to be once she is here other than being GREAT!
I am also excited by the fact that I am still able to racewalk at this point. I am shocked really! I keep thinking "I dont know how much longer ill be able to do this" but at the same time, it feels great and I dont feel limited at all. The only thing that limits me racewalking is.....my bladder! Yes, we all know that pregnant women have to pee a lot and unfortunately you dont get a break from that while training. I am slowly getting slower but I am walking just over 6 minutes per km which is faster than I thought I would be going at this point. The most im racewalking these days is 12km's which I feel is plenty enough.
I have always been fascinated with the ElliptiGO. I have been using the elliptical machine at the gym for a few years now but I wanted try to ElliptiGO so that I wouldnt have to be stuck inside while cross training. I have had the opportunity to borrow a "bike" from ElliptiGO (whose headquarters are in San Diego) for the month. This thing is AWESOME! I was shocked at the muscles I had to engage in while riding it. It is for sure a much better workout than using just the elliptical machine. I was shocked that before I even hit 1km into my ride that my quads were burning. As a racewalker we dont use our quads much so I know that the more I ride the ElliptiGO that it will really help with my weaker muscles. Its been a lot of fun to use and I feel like its been just as good of a workout as running or racewalking. Its been especially good to use while pregnant so that I dont have to do as much pounding but still get a great workout. I highly recommend you check it out! Check out their website here.
Practically everyone I talk to mentions to me how small I am for being so far along in my pregnancy. My "small" belly has definitely had me worried at times. My last doctors appointment was at 31 weeks they measured me and I only measured at being 26 weeks pregnant. Because of the measurement they decided to do an ultrasound to measure the baby and make sure she is growing on schedule. She measured at 30 weeks which is a tiny bit smaller but nothing to be concerned about. Since I am tall, she must just have a lot more room to spread out in there. I am thankful to be reassured that everything is alright. I think that the reason why I am able to racewalk so easily at this point is because my belly is much smaller than most. Even though I would like to look more pregnant, I wont complain that I am not huge :)
We are getting closer to having our condo ready to add another resident and we cannot wait for her to get here!
Keep on walking,
Monday, February 25, 2013
Now that I am over 6 months pregnant, my baby bump is finally starting to show and im not just looking like I am pudgy around my waist. Since you are slowly gaining weight every month or week, I really wanted to at least LOOK pregnant. Before I was pregnant, I didnt think I would care about the weight gain but being an athlete, it is very difficult gaining so much weight since usually I am trying to control it. I do, however, put the weight gain into perspective and know that it is necessary for the baby to grow.
This weekend will be my last flight before the baby is born and we are headed to Albuquerque, NM for the USATF Indoor Championships. Now that everyone is starting to race again, I wish I could be out there too but im trying to save all that fire I have to race so that I can make a strong comeback next year. Even though I miss the heavy training and racing, I am trying to enjoy the time off that I have because I know that I will have to work very hard over the next 3 years to get back on the Olympic team in 2016. I am feeling very optimistic that I will be able to come back fairly quickly after giving birth and I can't wait!
Keep on walking,