Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time to Call it a Day, or Year...

Well I have finally come to a decision. It was a difficult decision for me but I know that I made the right one. I have decided to stop training for the season and take a break. After getting hurt a week after Nationals and struggling to get back into training after that, I just thought that I was going to have enough to prepare properly for a good race. I have been struggling with a lot of different things this year and I didnt want to end my season with yet another disappointment by putting myself in a situation that I wasnt prepared.

As I reflect on my season, I am extremely disappointed. Its hard to go from such a breakthrough year in 2009 to not improving from that in 2010. I know that I need to think about the positives and I did have personal bests over 5000m's and 10km's and those were two PB's that I really wanted to get. I also have to realize the different reasons why I struggled in the 2nd part of the season. The car accident was one thing that really hurt me mentally and I had such a hard time recovering from that. I am going to take this year as a learning experience and I am going to implement the things that I had wanted to for this past year. I am going to start doing weights again, I am going to keep building my mileage up since I realized that once I dropped my mileage at different times in the season that I tended to not do as well, I am going to try and race more often and most important, I am going to work on my mental toughness.

I have spent my first week off training in Florida with my mom, 3 sisters and niece. It has been a great trip and a nice way to get my mind off racewalking and just have a good time. I am looking forward to going home tomorrow and get into a regular routine. Tim and I wont be doing much travelling at all until Christmas time so im really looking forward to that!

Thanks for everyone's support over the past year. It has really helped me through a lot of the rough times and enjoy the good times! Talk to you all again in a few weeks as I begin my base training for the 2011 season!

Keep on walking,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Go Again

After Nationals I had to make some decisions. Since I didnt get the National or Provincial funding standards I knew that I wanted to race at least one more time to give myself another chance. This season has been so disappointing for me to say the least. It seems like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for me. I have been in the best shape of my life this season but you would never know it by my race results. When I was in my best shape of the season, the race I went to had a course that was detrimental for every competitor that was there. After that race, my mental state really struggled. It seemed as though after that I would get myself psyched up for another race and something else would happen.

I was able to train for a week after Nationals and was feeling really great until I did 22km's on Saturday August 7th and then my knee started feeling really tight a few hours after the workout. I had been feeling some IT band tightness after my race in Toronto but didnt think much of it until after that 22km workout. After that Saturday I could not bend my knee for a few days and was forced to limp when I walked normal. There was NO way that I could do any sort of exercise. Luckily I was able to see a chiropractor right away on the Monday to get some laser therapy (bio-flex laser) and it worked like a miracle. I still wasnt able to train for another few days but the laser just cleared the pain right up. My massage therapist in Peterborough (Josh Martin at Return to Function) said that the pain in my knee probably had to do with my very tight hamstring. It is also most likely from doing 50 laps on the track since the pain is on my inside leg. I have been able to train since last Thursday starting off with a run and it went well. I am now back home in San Diego and am back into training after yet another set back.

I am now debating what I should do for my next race. There is a race in the US, a race in Canada and a few races in Europe. Its very frustrating to have to extend my season till the end of September to try and chase a time but I know that I am capable of walking my goal time. As of right now a race in Germany on Sept.18th and a race in Norway on Sept. 25th are the front runners for me to do. I might do both. I will make my decision in the next few days.

In the meantime, I am in San Diego till Sunday morning then I fly to Fort Lauderdale, FL to spend the week with all the girls in my family (Mom, 3 sisters and my niece). Too bad im not getting ready for a warm weather race because I will be training in some heat!!! We'll see how it goes.

Keep on walking,


Friday, August 6, 2010

4-Time National Champion

This picture is what my race looked like for all 20,000m's! The plan for my race at Nationals last week was for me to just stay one step behind Tim and let him drag me through to a good time. I was a little concerned with the race being on the track, especially at the University of Toronto. It is such a soft track which is basically bad for every event in track and field. The softer the track, the slower the times because the more energy you use. Either way, I was very optimistic going into the race and was feeling great!

We were hit with a bit of a surprise 15mins before the race. I went up to the race director and asked where our personal aid station was going to be (it is in the IAAF rule book that in a 20km race, you are allowed to have your own personal drinks). The race director said that we werent allowed to have personal aid. I laughed, and they didnt. They were serious. I was not impressed. They should have warned us well in advance that we werent allowed to have it because its crucial to our race. Its like telling a sprinter that they are not allowed to wear spikes. I was extremely upset but I dealt with it. Their reasoning behind not letting us use our own drinks was because they said that it would stain the track. The track is terrible quality. Anyways, all of the athletes were sneaky and used a sports drink that was clear so that it looked like water so that we could have electrolytes in this summer weather.

I was feeling really good in the warm up and was ready to go. The gun went off and I was feeling so good and it felt so easy, I couldnt believe how easy. I was just going along with Tim feeling like it was a workout. Had a first easy km in 4:52 and then went right into race pace of 4:48. Went through 5km's in 24:08 then the 2nd 5km's in 24:02 for a 10km split of 48:10. At this point I still felt as though I could do that same split for the second half of the race or at the worst a bit slower. My ultimate goal was for 1:36:41 (carding standard). Then at around 12km's my legs started hurting and I struggled from there on. I was still feeling like I was pushing but my legs were just not moving very fast. I ended up having some 5:15km's in there and it was just ugly. I ended up struggling to a 1:38:48 for my final time. I have to say, I attribute the pain in my legs to a few things. The biggest reason: the crappy soft track. I never train on a track let alone a track that soft. I am so used to training on asphalt everyday that I think the softness of the track really hurt my legs. The second thing was that I couldnt use my regular sports drink, Maxim. The drink I had to use usually makes me have cramps by 15km's and thats why I dont use it anymore in training/racing. I think that it didnt have enough salt/electrolytes in it and so my legs were cramping a bit. Even though I didnt get the time I was hoping for, one really good thing came out of the race. I established a new Canadian 20,000m Track Record. Now I can say I have 2 Canadian Records.

Now I am continuing to train as I am trying to make some racing plans for the next month and a half. There really isnt many options left unfortunately. I was hoping to go to Europe for a race in Finland but that race is now only 10km's for women. I have a few options on the table and I feel pretty good about them. One is to do another track 20km's in San Diego (yuck, another track race) and/or to go to New Jersey for the USA 40km RW Championships which is on the road :) Since I have only done 1 road 20km this year, I would much rather go to the race in New Jersey. Ill keep you posted!

Keep on walking,