Thursday, August 23, 2012

London Olympics Race Recap

Well I hate that I am here yet again to write about another disappointing big race. This one however tops the cake. Ive been writing on here, facebook and twitter the last few months about how strong I was feeling and how good of shape we knew I was in. This is/was all true leading up to my race at the Olympics. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and that I was really going to put down a great time. I feel like I had done everything right this time and that nothing could go wrong. 

The day of the race I thought I did everything right. I was feeling really good when I got to the race course and still no thoughts of doubt came into my mind. When the gun went off, my plan was to go with the girls I knew that I could walk with, girls with similar PBs or even a bit faster. I did this and the pace was feeling really easy and good. Went through 5k in around 23:05 which was a good pace for me. The next few km's were fine and then I started to feel an increasing heaviness to my body, not like a normal racing heaviness but one that I couldnt just push through. As the race continued, each km got slower and slower and I think at one point, I knew that it wasnt going to be my dream race. My left hamstring/glute was also getting increasingly tight as the race went on and this has been a problem for me all year but usually I can handle it. I finished the race in a disappointing 52nd place in a time of 1:37:36, far from my PB or my goal time. 

I heard from a lot of friends and family that they were happy to see me "smiling" the whole race. I wish that was the case but it was a grimace for both the agony and disappointment I was feeling. I know that a lot of people are saying or thinking that I can never perform at the big championships and I know it seems that way. I believe that a lot of my championships, there have been a legitimate reason for not doing well but this time I cannot say the same thing. As I said above, I thought I was in the best shape of my life and that I did everything right and so this time, I cant explain what happened. Now that it has been a week and a half since the race, Tim and I have had a lot of time to reflect on what happened. The only thing I can come up with is that I may not have eaten enough during the day. I ate my main meal at 11am that day and didnt really eat much after that. This may explain why I ran out of "fuel" by halfway through the race and couldnt push through it. The other "reason" may be that I was in my monthly cycle and that this may have caused my body to react the way it did. These are the only real things I can come up with. 

No matter what it was, it doesnt change that I am extremely heart broken by my result. I know a lot of other people are disappointed in me too but no one is more upset than I am. I am the one who has to live with this the rest of my life. This is not what I had planned for my Olympic debut. My mind has already been torchuring itself enough since the race. I am reminded of this every minute of the day it seems. It is going to be really hard to get over but I know I will get over it in time. 

I appreciate all the support and kind messages before the Games and after. I know how proud all of my true friends and family are of me and I really appreciate it. I am now trying to figure out plans to do another race before I finish the season off so that I dont waste my fitness. I wish I didnt have something to bounce back from but this is sport and it has its ups and big downs. Ill keep you posted on what I decide to do. 

It was so great to have my family in London with me. The day after the race we all went sightseeing and it was nice to spend time with  them. My experience at the Olympics other than the race was great. I wish that I would have been able to experience more than I did but the Opening and Closing Ceremonies were amazing and I will never forget the feeling of walking into the Olympic stadium. I look forward to the journey over the next 4 years leading up to the 2016 Olympics. 

Keep on walking,


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life in London......and Germany!

 After a busy few weeks in Europe, I am finally able to post an update! Here is a recount of what I have been up to.

After getting on and off planes, cancelled flight, changed flights and 10 hours in the San Diego airport, we finally go on a new flight, direct flight to London. It was a hectic trip which is even more a reason why we decided to go a bit earlier than planned. You just never know when stuff like tis will happen. We finally arrived in Germany about 3 hours later than originally scheduled so not bad considering all the problems! We were staying with Sabine and Bastian again for 6 days before I was heading to London for the opening ceremonies. I always love going there. It's so nice to have a home away from home where I am familiar with the training locations, I'm comfortable where I am living and have good company. It's been so great to have Tim here with me! I've gotten so used to being here without him that it sort of feels like vacation having him here. 

I had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the time change but training was going very well. It was nice to have my tough nights of sleep there before I headed to London. I left for London a few days before the Opening Ceremonies so that I had a chance to get familiar with the village, go get all my Hudson Bay Company (HBC) clothing, etc. The village is nice, not too big which is comforting. This is my 3rd time staying in a village setting and I'm glad I've had the experience before because some people are finding it overwhelming and I feel very comfortable with the whole experience. The volunteers have been amazing and the whole organization of the Games have been impressive. I am it thrilled to be competing in an English speaking country, it makes it so much easier. 

I trained in Victoria Park which you can access through the village and I had to train around the Olympic Park one day too. Even though being in London is great, I started to feel grateful that I was going to be heading back to Germany for training since its definitely not ideal for training to be there and that is the point of the Olympics, to do everything in the best interest of your competition. 

The buildup for the Opening Ceremonies was so exciting. The Canadian team had a pep rally before walking over to the stadium and everyone was really excited. I was a 1-2km walk from the village to the stadium and it was lined with kids cheering us on. The anticipation as we got closer and closer to the stadium kept building and just before we went into the tunnel to the stadium, we started singing O Canada. Everyone was so proud to be walking behind the Canadian flag and you could feel it. It was amazing walking into the stadium, one of the best feelings of my life. The crowd was roaring for us and I was just hoping to get on camera do that my family and friends could see me and they did! Soooo cool! Once we were done walking in, we went off to the side and watched all the other Countries have their moment. It was so neat to watch everyone elses expressions. This is what the Olympic Games are about! London put on a great show and I look forward to watching the whole show when I get home. 

Only 3 hours after the ceremonies ended, myself and 2 other athletes were off in a car to the airport to head to Kamen, Germany for the Athletics Canada pre-Olympic training camp. We met up with the rest of the track and field team here and our final preparation for the Games. This is a great facility! I was here in 2009 before the World Championships in Berlin and it was nice to come back to somewhere familiar. It's also only a 20 minutes train ride from where Tim is staying (with Sabine and Bastian) so he was able to come here for my hard workout on Tuesday and then I went back with him to stay the night and get my last long walk in. My 6 x 2k workout on Tuesday went great! I couldn't ask for anything better just 11 days before the biggest race of my life! It was one of the best I've ever done this workout and I finished in 8:56, with a low Heart rate for me. My confidence for the race is building every day and I know that I am ready for the best race of my life.

The start lists came out yesterday and I am ranked 40th out of 61. I know that I am capable of improving on that ranking and my goal is top 30 for sure! And of course break my own Canadian record. 

I will be in Kamen for another 6 days and then I head back to London for my race. First, we have Trevor and Inaki competing on Saturday in the men's 20km race and it'll be nice to get a preview of the course, etc from them. Till then ill be training and resting in anticipation of the big day. I'll try and blog one more time before then! 

Thanks for the support. Remember to follow me on twitter at @Rachel_Seaman 

Keep on walking,