Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Distance Runner's Need Not Apply" and Racewalkers!

A local runner from my hometown Peterborough, Ontario, Rory Gillfillan, wrote an article for Canadian Running Magazine about funding and support from Athletics Canada and the lack there of for distance runners and racewalkers. You can read the article here.

There isnt much in there about me but its all the same scenario for me as it is for fellow Mizuno sponsored athlete and marathoner, Dylan Wykes.

By the way, im starting to feel better every day and today my heart rate was practically back to normal. Hopefully it just keeps getting better in these next few days leading up to the race on Sunday.

Keep on walking,


Monday, April 25, 2011

Sick All Week :(

So, ive been sick ever since the night after the race, boo! Sandor, the guy I was staying with in Hungary had been sick the whole week before the race and so I guess im not surprised that I got sick. Because of this, my training hasnt been good since the race. Some days I have been feeling ok but my heart rate has been super high. For the most part, I havent been feeling too bad but my nose and throat are stuffed up and so its making it harder to breath in training which is why my heart rate has been higher. Usually I dont have a cold for longer than a week but I just cant seem to get rid of this one. Its more annoying than anything! I tried taking a down day on Saturday and just ran but it didnt make a difference.

It is now 6 days until my last race in Europe. I leave for Italy on Friday afternoon and race on Sunday, May 1st at 10am. Im sure my cold will be gone by then and I will for sure be rested! I only was able to do 91km's last week which is even low for a recovery week from a race for me. I am looking forward to this race and it being over and going home. It has been a good trip but a long one and its time to get home to Tim.

You can view information about my race this weekend here. The results will also be posted there after the race. Im going into this race with no pressure since I have already exceeded my expectations a lot and so if this race goes well then its just another bonus! Im just hoping to get in a good fight with some of the other competitors and see what kind of time that brings me.

Keep on walking,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I had a fantastic week in Budapest, Hungary. I stayed with such amazing people, Sandor and Viki, two of Hungaries top racewalkers (pictured with me left). They showed me the city and we had really great training together. We then made the 2.5 hour trip to Bekescsaba by train on Friday afternoon for our Sunday race.

Training on Saturday went well. I was feeling good and the weather was looking to be perfect for the next day's race which started at 9:15am. The 1km loop was fast, I could tell. The turns were very wide and so I dont think it hurt us too bad for the 40 times we had to go around them. I knew when I decided to come to this race that I would have to walk alone since the men's race started 15 minutes earlier than ours and there were no women trying to walk a very fast time.

Right from the gun I as alone. I was confident that I could walk a fast time because, hey, I train every day alone so if I can push myself in training, why not in a race. I was feeling good and just clicking off the km's. I knew by the first 5k that it was going to be a good race for me. I went through the first 5k in 23:21 which was my fastest 5k in my last 20k in Huntington Beach. I knew that if I could maintain that pace that I could walk the World Championships A standard of 1:33:30. The next 5k was equally good in 23:22 (46:43 for 10k) which is right on for the standard and was still feeling great. Then started a bit of the mental struggle of 10 more laps to go and walking alone and having no one there to yell and support me. I reached 15k in 1:10:09, almost a minute improvement from my race in Huntington Beach (23:27 for that 5k). I thought to myself at that point, im going to get the standard! I "only" had to walk 23:21 for 5k and id have the standard. I did the next 1km in 4:41 which was fine because I knew that I could knock a few seconds off in the last km but the next 3km's didnt go so well...I sort of fell asleep and walked all those km's in 4:44, ugh! At that point I knew that the standard was gone but I was still going to have another huge PB. I did my last km in 4:38 and finished in 1:33:43, a 39 second PB, yay!!!!! Oh and by the way, another Canadian record! I was still thrilled and didnt care too much about the standard anymore. Im just glad that I am that much closer and that its within my reach if I have someone to push me in that last 5km's.
Take THAT Podebrady! What a way to come back after my disappointing DQ last weekend! I always tell people that racewalking is an event that you can get DQ'd one weekend and get absolutely no red cards the next weekend and that is exactly what happened to me. I came away from the race on Sunday with a clean board, not even any warnings. I honestly dont think that I did anything different in this race then in Podebrady but that is just how racewalking is.

One more race to go in my European trip. I am back in Germany now for another 2 weeks until my race in Italy on May 1st. I think that I have a really good chance to go for the standard in Italy since the race will be a lot more competitive and ill have some friends there that can push me through the tough parts of the race by yelling at me (good yelling!). Im just going to go for it again and at this point, I have nothing to loose. If I get the time, GREAT, if I do another solid time ill be just as happy! I have now taken 3 minutes and 40 seconds off my PB this year! WOW, my season has gone beyond my expectations already so im not going to get too greedy!

Thanks for all the support and believing in me. I am finally where I want to be and where I thought I could be and hope for much more to come.

Keep on walking,


Monday, April 11, 2011

First Time for Everything....

Unfortunately I do not have good news to report from Podebrady, CZE. I very surprisingly got disqualified a few meteres before 11km's. This is my first time being disqualified so you can imagine how upset and surprised I was.

I raced very smart and didnt think that I took very many risks but obviously the judges thought otherwise. My goal was to stay with the lead pack for as long as I could and try and go for the win. The girls in this race were all at my level so it was a perfect chance to race hard and go for a win at a big competition. I started off with the lead pack for the first km and then they pulled away for the next 2km's and after that I tried to work my way back up to them. By 4km's I got my first red card for lifting (you must get 3 to be disqualified). I had caught up to the group again at that point and the pace was feeling easy and comfortable. I then stayed with the group, leading at times and was feeling good. I got my 2nd red card at around 7km's but this time for bent knee (give me a break!) and at that point I felt like I was most likely going to get disqualified. I was leading the group with a girls from the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain and it seemed like the judges didnt like that. The other girls were starting to fade and so I started to pull away from them at around 10km's and just before I went through 11km's the head judge stopped me. I couldnt believe this was happening to me. It was my first time being disqualified. It is not like I even ever get close to being disqualified at any other race, I usually get no paddles ever so to get disqualified was a complete shock.

Immediately after I was pulled off the course, Andreas Gustafsson's father, Bo Gustafsson (Olympic Medallist in the 50km RW) came up to me and said that I looked the best that he has ever seen me and he travels to San Diego very often so he see's me quite a bit. He was telling me that he definitely thought that I would have won the race and to not let this get me disappointed. He said that I was "in the wrong country", meaning that they didnt like that I was beating their country women. This may not have been the case, maybe they didnt like my technique, I will never know. It was very nice to see a friendly face because I had traveled alone to the race. I do think that I would have won the race if this had not have happened. I felt really good and fresh after the half way point. I went through 10k in 46:55 and I know that I was ready for a sub 1:34 time. I was #96 on the DQ board in this picture.

SO, my immediate thought was, I want to go to a race next week. I knew that there were some National Championships happening in Hungary, France and Poland the next weekend and so I decided that I didnt want to only have 1 more chance to race in Europe. Here comes the crazy part. I met some nice people from Hungary at the race and I asked them if I could travel back with them on their bus and stay with them for the week and compete in their Nationals. They said that I could and so yesterday we made the 500km drive to Budapest, Hungary and now, here I am! It was a very quick decision, I had about 20 minutes to decide haha but I thought, why not be adventurous, I am in Europe! So far I feel like I made a very good decision. These people are so nice, I feel so glad to have met them. Training is feeling good and the race on the weekend ended up just being a good tempo walk :) So I didnt have to recover from much for this week. The race is on Sunday at 9am in Bekescsaba which is 2.5 hours away from Budapest. Several years ago many Americans came here to compete in this race and have walked fast times. When Tim raced here he broke his PB by 5 minutes so I hope I have the same luck. Maybe not 5 minutes but any PB will do! I am looking forward to it.

We will travel to the race on Friday and then I will leave Hungary to go back to Germany on Monday. It has been a whirlwind last few days but I am having a great time and am very happy to be here.

Keep on walking,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Excuses

After my very disappointing season last year, I took a lot of time to think about what went wrong and why. Why am I sacrificing so much to be a full time athlete if I wasnt going to do what it took? That is when I decided that I cannot have any more excuses. "The Olympic standard is too hard, I cant do it", why not? I was putting limits on myself, telling myself that things werent possible. No more! If I do everything I can to improve, why cant I walk that Olympic qualifying standard. So what its almost a minute and a half faster than the (Old) Canadian record! This is when my whole mind set change and my new season began. I was ready to act more professional, do what it took to get to where I wanted to be. Training and competing hasnt been the same since.

Yesterday put up an interview with Toby Stevenson, USA 2004 Olympic Silver Medallist in the Pole Vault. It made me realize even more what I told myself at the beginning of this season and that the sacrifice will and has been worth it. Here is the video:

As I prepare for my race this weekend, this video really gets me pumped up to do a great race and im excited. I had my best 10 x 1km/500m fartlek this past Saturday by 41 seconds for my overall 15km split (1:14:55) and today I did 5 x 1km repeats just to move the legs a bit before the race this Saturday. Man, they felt easy, too easy. I went faster then I was supposed to or wanted to but it was hard to hold myself back since it felt so easy. Times were: 4:41, 4:39, 4:36, 4:36 and 4:34. My PB race pace is 4:43/km so hopefully I can improve upon that. I feel great!

I leave on Thursday night for Podebrady, CZE and am looking forward to it. Being away from home and Tim is difficult but it is always worth it for your dream. Here we come!

Keep on walking,


Friday, April 1, 2011

In Germany...brrrr!

After my many tears after leaving Tim in San Diego, I arrived safe and sound in Wattenscheid, Germany on Mondy night after what I must say, was the best long flight I have ever been on. I was lucky enough to have two seats to myself and so I was able to sleep, stretch out and relax for all 11 hours. It was the best I could have asked for.

So far everything has been going well. I have been staying with my friend and Sabine Krantz's coach, Heiko Schulze, for the first 5 days while I wait for Sabine and her family to arrive back to Germany after training in Flagstaff, AZ. I have been able to train right out of his front door so that has been really convenient since I dont have a car and Heiko works during the day. I have been training on a compact dirt path which feels much different from The Strand at home. I feel like it takes more energy to train on the dirt path then on asphalt. I notice that when I go on the little parts of asphalt through the trail, that my heart rate drops significantly, its interesting. For the most part though, the dirt is smooth and is fine for racewalking. I have trained on this path everytime that I have come here for races so I feel comfortable being on it. Tomorrow we will go to the lake where there is an asphalt path, 10km's around the lake. Its great! I have a fartlek, one last hard workout before my race next weekend in Podebrady.

The weather has been quite a bit colder than im used to in San Diego. The sun hasnt been out much and yesterday it rained practically all day....definitely not San Diego! Im currently all bundled up as I write this, trying to get rid of the chill. Tomorrow, however, it is supposed to be a beautiful day with 24c as the high. I hope the forecast is correct!

I think this has been the easiest transition to the 9 hour time change that I have ever had. The first few nights I slept all through the night, the last two nights I have woken up breifly in the middle of the night but after some time, fell back to sleep. Im feeling the least tired for the first week here, then I ever have. Its been great! I have a great feeling about my race next weekend in great part to this.

Tomorrow I will move over to Sabine's house for the remainder of my stay (4 more weeks) but before that, Heiko and I are going to a local club's soccer game, or should I say futbol game, tonight. Futlbol is huge in Germany so it should be a lot of fun!

Keep on walking,