Saturday, July 14, 2012

Olympic Trials and ONE Month To Go!!!

What a whirlwind last month! On June 13th I headed back to Canada for some major events. First we celebrated my nephew, Bruno's 1st birthday. I was so happy to be able to be there as I missed his sister, Anna's first birthday last year. He is such a smiley little guy, I just love him! Next was my sister, Ruthy and her now husband, Drew's wedding. I was so excited and happy to be back with my family and be able to see my relatives. What a better way to get together than for a wedding. The day was perfect and Ruthy looked gorgeous. I am so happy for them, they have a great future ahead of them.

While I was home I had the opportunity to get treatment from massage therapist and owner of Return to Function, Josh Martin. It was great to have him work on me to make sure my body stayed loose and injury free when I was home. He introduced me to a new product called Dynamic Tape and this really helped my hamstring stay in place while still having a good range of flexibility. I recommend you try it if you have any lingering injuries. Thanks Josh!

After a great two weeks in my hometown, I was off to Calgary for the Canadian Olympic Trials where I looked to win my 6th National title in a row and officially book my ticket to London. It is also so fun to be back competing in Canada since I dont have the opportunity very often. My sister Rebecca and my nephew Bruno came along with me since they arent able to come to London to watch me compete. It meant a lot to me to have them there with me to celebrate my Olympic birth.

The day before my race I had the chance to finally meet one of my heroes, Janice McCaffrey. She is a 3-Time Olympian and former 20km RW record holder before I broke the record. She was also so inspiring to me as I was growing up and trying to make my way up in the racewalking world. My skype name is even Rachel13449 because her record was 1:34:50 and my goal was to break that one day. It was so fun to hear her stories from her career and she motivated me again to keep striving for better. Thanks Janice!

The next morning it was race time. I had a very hard time sleeping the night before for some reason and I know I couldnt fall asleep till well after 1am. Ready or not, wake up call was 5:30am. I felt good in the warm up and the plan was for my TEAMmate Bruno and I to go after a sub-46 minute 10km which would have been a PB for both of us. The first kilometer of the race is downhill and we went out in 4:31, a bit too fast but it was to be expected with the downhill. They had no other splits throughout the look and it was an odd shaped loop of 2452m's. What goes down must come up and with having no splits to look at, we came around the first lap 7 seconds slower than our goal pace. I knew at this point that I wasnt going to be able to do my goal time. My fatigue and the course would prove to be too difficult on this day and my motivation was very low after I knew I wasnt going to walk very fast so I sort of just settled for the win. The win was still amazing though since this sealed my spot on the Olympic team! So thrilling!

After the race I was able to go to the track, receive my medal and then watch the rest of the meet. On top of meeting one of my heroes, Janice McCaffrey, I also met Canadian racewalking legend Guillaume LeBlanc. Guillaume is the Olympic Silver medalist in the 20km racewalk from 1992 and was inducted into the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame the weekend of the trials. With Canada being so large, its not normal to get former and current top racewalkers together in one day and so it was so great to finally meet Janice and Guillaume.

The day that ive been looking forward to ever since I walked the A standard was the Olympic team announcement day. This was going to be the day where I was going to be officially named to the Canadian team and try on the Olympic uniform. When the Chief de Mission was talking it gave me chills and it was finally hitting me that I am going to the Olympics. After all the welcome speeches, it was finally time to get called up and announced to the team and given our team jackets. Once my name was called I was feeling so nervous and overwhelmed. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.

After that great day my sister and I had one more full day in Alberta and so we decided to head off to Banff for the day and it was great to be in mountains again. I was last in Banff when I was 11 years old. It is so beautiful up there! If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend making the trip up there to check it out. Just beautiful!

It was great to be in Canada for 20 days but I was looking forward to getting back to San Diego to get some good training in before we had to head over to Europe. After some tough training after getting home in May, I was determined to get back to my old self and walk how I knew that I could again. I was finally feeling myself again and getting some good training in. I had my first fartlek since going to Europe in April and it was a bit of a rust buster but it was still my 2nd best of that workout ever which really isnt that bad. Only a week later, we did the same workout again and I was able to do a minute and 8 seconds faster for my overall 15k fartlek time. The workout was 3 x 4km/1km and I did 18:52, 18:37 and 18:14 for an overall 15k of 1:11:40, a grand 33 seconds better than my previous best of this workout in February. I felt great and strong and never felt like I went all out at any point. I was lucky to have Tim and TEAMmate Nick Christie to walk with which helped a lot. It has been very humid here lately, 30-40% more than the East coast so im happy I have been able to walk so strong in those conditions. 

Tim and I only have a few more days left in San Diego and then we are headed off to Germany to stay with Sabine and Bastian for a week before I go to London for the Opening Ceremonies. This is going to be such an amazing month, I cant wait! We have also decided to go to Split, Croatia after the Olympics for a nice little 5 day vacation before headed back home to reality. 

Thank you all for the continued support this year. The biggest race is yet to come and I look forward to hearing from you more, ill need all the help I can get as I go against this amazing field of woman. 

Here are a some articles from the past month on me:

Keep on walking,


1 comment:

  1. Will be watching, Rachel (can't come to London, unfortunately!) Rootin' fer ya!