Thursday, October 16, 2014

Comeback: Part 2, 2014 Season in Review!

I always knew that after I had my baby that I would comeback to training and competing, the thought of not coming back never entered my mind. Even though I was very scared about having a baby and what that would do to my training/life, I was sort of looking forward to having a year "off" to not be so stressed about revolving my life around athletics. My hiatus made me realize a lot and made me super pumped to get back into racing and do better than ever before. I was determined to not let my past disappointments define my potential and future success.

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 owe a lot of my comeback to my TEAM San Diego teammates. We are all so positive and supporting of eachother. We push eachother when we need it and we are just as happy for our own success as we are for eachothers. I wouldnt want to be surrounded by anyone else than these 4 people; Miranda, Natos, Mike and of course Tim.

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.

 I got back home from our Christmas trip and I was lucky enough to train with Eleonora Giorgi of Italy who was in San Diego for a training camp. That was very eye opening for me that I could compete with some of the top women in the world. It was a blast and she was so encouraging to me. It was just pure fun, no competitiveness, just fun.

We had a race coming up in San Diego that was an opportunity for some of the walkers here to qualify for the USA Indoor Nationals. I had a very heavy week of training so the plan was to help Natos and Miranda walk under 12:45 and then maybe do some other intervals after so I got a good workout in. Well I decided a few days earlier that I would still pace them but then continue 2kms to go after the Canadian 5,000m record of 21:52. I knew that if I walked the goal pace for 3k that I would easily get the record. Even though the fourth km was a bit ugly, I pulled it together to walk 21:37 and get the record. Record #2 of the season!

Training continued to go well and improve inbetween all the racing. I always had my trusty training partners in Natos and Miranda to keep me going. I had a few weeks before I left to go to Canada and New York for a few more indoor races. First up was a 3,000m at York University in Toronto where I was going to go for the Canadian record. I was going after it solo since it had to be a women's only race for the time to count as a record. Luckily I strive in situations when I need to push myself and I went after it and after the first km I knew that I had it. I finished in 12:23, a new Canadian record by 8 seconds! Record #3 complete.

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.

After this I had a good month of training before I was going to do my first 20km since the Olympics in Lugano, Switzerland. This race is known for being fast and so I was hoping to jump in on that history and destroy my PB. Going into the race I had gotten sick from Isabella and was only able to travel to Europe 6 days prior to the race so I had a hard time adjusting to the time change. Even though those things were tough to deal with, I had confidence from ever since Isabella was born that I could perform off of very little sleep and so it didnt phase me too much. I felt good in the race except I only had people to walk with for the first km, otherwise I was alone the whole race and had a hard time after 12km's to push through it. Even though I was disappointed, I still finished in 1:31:40 which was a minute and 25 second PB, definitely something to be happy about.
Exactly two weeks later, I made a last minute decision to go to New Jersey for the USA World Cup trials race. Even though I went to the doctor after I got back from Europe, my illness did not improve, it got worst. I was hopeful that by race day in New Jersey that I would be fine. I finally got a prescription for an antibiotic the night before the race and decided to start taking it right away in hopes for a miracle. I needed it because I hadnt been this sick in years and on top of it, I had a really bad headache. I woke up the morning of the race just wanting to sleep and thought that I at least needed to start the race since I traveled so far but figured id drop out. I had a hard time warming up but the race must go on. Something must have clicked and changed because we started the race and I didnt only feel fine, I felt great and walked most of the race solo to another PB of 1:30:43, almost a minute improvement from 2 weeks prior. It was like a miracle after I had been feeling!
Luckily the antibiotics worked after about a week and I recovered from the races and had a month to train and get ready for the World Racewalk Cup in China. I continued to have the best workouts of my life. We did a bunch of hard workouts in the afternoon to prepare for our afternoon race. I was feeling great! Thankfully traveling to China is much easier coming from the west coast than Europe and I adjusted to the time change easily. I was feeling great for the race and my race plan was simply to continue was I was doing all year. I started off pretty cautiously and stayed behind the lead pack and had hoped to pick people off throughout the race. I felt pretty comfortable until about 15km's and then the heaviness set in and I tied up a lot and just lost all turnover that I had and slowed down a lot in the last 3km's. I finished in 31st place in a time of 1:31:14. Even though it was not my best day, it was my times time and placing at an international competition and I was proud of that improvement.

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,