Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 Season Review!

Hey everyone, im backkkkkk!!!! You can definitely say that my blogging this year has been sub-par this year! I must say its been a mix of not having the energy at night to blog after long days training and playing with Isabella and being a bit superstitious that since ive stopped blogging as much that ive performed better. I know, the latter is a bit silly and I do not consider myself a superstitious person but sometimes I just like to keep good things rolling.

Anyways, im back and will hopefully post more often from now on. I left off with my last post talking about the beginning of my season and now im about to talk about how my season ended. I am now on my month off training and have had a lot of time to reflect. Here are some short recaps of my last 3 races of the season in case you dont know the results.

Canadian Championships in Edmonton

My goal going into Nationals was strong and direct. I wanted to break my own Canadian 10km track record. We only did a 10km this year because it was only 15 days before the Pan Am Games. I knew it wouldnt be difficult to go under my 44:26 but I didnt plan on trying to kill it. I was hoping to go between 44:15-44:20 and so I went out on pace and did exactly what I wanted to, 44:16. It was the perfect tune up to Pan Am Games which were my ultimate goal and focus this year. This was my 8th National Championship title!

Pan American Games in Toronto

After focusing on this race so much this year, I couldnt believe it was finally here and I was READY. I knew that there wasnt anything else I could have done to better prepare myself for this race. We went in with the plan to go with the leaders and put myself in a situation to go after a medal. We knew it was going to be hot and humid, we expected it all year as we prepared for it but we did not expect it to be as bad as it was. We went out hard, I was 22:13 at 5km's which would be too fast for me even if the weather was perfect. I then went through 10km's in 45:09.

I had already started slowing, as did everyone else but from then on it became trying to maximize my race and try to place as high as possible. It was a bit of a death march and even though I was really trying as hard as I could, I only managed 47:40 for my last 10km's which had me finish in 1:32:49 and 6th place. Even though this was not at all what I had imagined for this race, I really did go away feeling proud of myself. I knew that I had tried my best all the way to the end and it was my best race in those type of conditions. In hindsight, I should have done my own race and paced myself differently but hindsight is hindsight. Either way, I was excited for what I had learned and for how I was going to move forward towards Beijing a month later.

Toronto was everything I had hoped for in a home Championship. I had so many family and friends there to cheer me on and support me. I got overwhelmed when I was warming up just watching everyone start showing up to be there for me. It meant so much to me and that memory will be one at the top of my list for my athletic career. Thanks everyone!

IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing

Even though I had this one big race left in my season, I really struggled post Pan Am's. I thought I recovered well from the race but as soon as I got back to San Diego, I struggled. I was so tight. At first I thought it was just from the flight home but it just wouldnt go away. I ended up having to go get treatment 2-3 times a week, I had to stop several key workouts and my weight lifting was very restricted because of being so tight. The tightness just wouldnt go away and so I just had to learn to deal with it. I think it came down to the fact that it had been a long season and I was starting to crash. I had every reason to think that my race at Worlds would not go well. Most people would have crumbled if they went through what I was and I did at some points but when I got to Beijing it all changed. Our Canadian team right off the bat was performing so well and Ben Thorne kicked it off with a somewhat surprising bronze medal in the men's 20km racewalk. I couldnt help but be inspired by everyones performances. The question kept popping in my head of "why cant I have a breakthrough performance too?". I went through my training log to remind myself how strong my training had been this year and that it was still all there and that I was ready for this. The work was done and I had a good strong race plan after what I learnt in Toronto. 


I knew I could walk 1:31:30-1:32 if I walked a smart race and so I planned to stick to that pace, especially for the first 10km's and then try to pick off girls ahead of me after that. I really had to stay very patient because I felt soooo good! I would look at my 1km splits and if they were a bit too fast, I would slow myself down knowing that the 2nd half was where the real race began. I went through in 45:49, right on target. I was in 23rd place at half way and from there I just kept picking off girls ahead of me and I knew I had passed quite a few people but didnt quite know what place I was in. When I turned off the course to go into the tunnel into the stadium I heard someone yell that I was in 13th place. 13th PLACE!!!! I was so excited, I couldnt help but smile as I made my way to the finish line. I finished in 1:31:39 and practically even split my 10km splits. I was ranked 16th place going in and I had really hoped to place that or better but was really unsure so I was so proud!

I was absolutely thrilled with my performance! I had finally broken my bad championships streak and feel like I know what I am doing now haha. This result made me the best result ever in my event for Canada which was icing on the cake. This gives me the 2nd way of qualifying for the Olympics next year, yay! 

I came into this season with big hopes and goals and did not really necessarily expect to achieve them. I did learn, however, to believe in myself more than ever and that was evident every time I raced. Definitely the highlights of my season were breaking 1:30 for 20km's for the first time and 13th place at Worlds. This places me exactly where I want to be going into the Olympic year and I plan on making even higher goals as I move forward. It really is true that good things come for those who believe. 

I am now 3 weeks in to my 4 week break and im feeling refreshed. I definitely needed some down time from my training regimen and from being so strict with my diet. Sometimes a girl's gotta eat what she wants to eat! Im now feeling ready to get back into my regular routine and get fit again. 

I'd like to quickly thank my team, those who have helped me get to where I am and who continue to be there for me as I move forward. Thanks to Jon Pierce, my therapist and overall consultant. Jon continues to bring me new ideas and keep me on top of being a professional athlete and his advice is invaluable. He also keeps me injury free and this is how I can continue to progress. Thanks to Luke DePron, my personal trainer. He has brought my strength to a whole new level and this has elevated my training to a new level. Thanks to Anne Shadle, my sports psychologist. The tools she has given me on how to approach my training and racing and learning to believe in myself and to take out unnecessary distractions has been career changing. I wish I would have worked with someone earlier in my career as I think it has made a HUGE impact on my racing. My training partners Miranda Melville and Emmanuel Corvera. There is no one else id rather train with. We push eachother and are supportive in every way. We truly want the best for eachother and it shows because most importantly, we are good friends. Last but definitely not least, Tim, my coach and most importantly my husband. I know that I couldnt be married to anyone else. To have someone who supports me, pushes me to my best and is completely understanding of what I am doing, he is irreplaceable. I am one lucky girl!

One more week of break then back to work. Lets keep this going!

Keep on walking, 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Breakthrough Start to 2015!

To say that the start of my racing season is going well so far is a big understatement. I started the new year at a rough place with having been sick for 6 weeks therefore I missed a lot of my usual base training. I also got a late start to doing some hard workouts and so I was very unsure of where I was at with my fitness. In January I was simply trying to get back to feeling good and getting my heart rate back down to normal. I started doing some hard workouts so that I could get my fitness going again. Once February hit I finally felt like I was getting my legs under me again. Training started clicking and my hard workouts were where they were last year at the same point or better with less base than ever.

First real race back was at the Canadian Indoor Open in Montreal and since the women raced separately from the men, I knew it would be a solo effort. I was confident since last year I walked my 12:23 Canadian record alone so I was hoping to go under that. I felt good and went through the first kilometer in 4:05 and then a little bit into the 2nd kilometer one of the judges, who must have been inexperienced, showed me the red paddle which means you are disqualified. I almost came to a complete stop but then realized that the judge didnt know what he was doing and kept going. It definitely threw me off so with that and loosing focus a bit, I fell off the pace and came in to the finish in 12:33. Still my 2nd best time ever so I cant complain. Good enough to finish the indoor season ranked 6th in the world.

Just before going to Indoors we were rushing to decide which early season 20km race we should go to. It was between Lugano, Switzerland and Nomi, Japan, both races were on the same day, March 15th. I had a gut feeling that going to Japan would be better for me because its easier to adjust to the time change so we decided to go there. My training partner, Miranda Melville, and I flew to Tokyo for a few days prior to the race and got to do some sightseeing. We loved Tokyo and were very impressed with how clean everything was.

It was finally time to head to the small city of Nomi to prepare for the race. Going into the race I was ranked 2nd to a Chinese girl. Historically the women hadnt walked very fast here so I really had no idea what to expect. My race plan was simply to go with the leaders and see how the race went and go from there. I fully expected it to go out slow so I didnt feel very nervous at the start but to my surprise a Japanese girl went for it and the Chinese girl and I went with her. Our first kilometer was 4:23 and I thought "uh oh". Thankfully the Chinese girl didnt continue to go with the Japanese girl and so we slowed slightly and walked together going through 5km's in 22:25. We stayed together through 12km's going through 10km's in 44:46 (22:21 last 5km). At about 12km's the Chinese girl took off on me and I couldnt go with her. I maintained the pace as well as I could on my own through 15km's in 1:07:15 (22:29 last 5km). At 16km's I started having a very nervous/scared/anxious feeling in my stomach and it really crippled me and I had a rough next 3km's. I got to 19km's in about 1:25:29 on the clock and thought I better fight this feeling in my stomach if im going to break 1:30. I fought hard and did a 4:23 last kilometer to finish in 1:29:54! Wow! Broke my own Canadian record and personal best by 49 seconds! So thrilling for me. I couldnt believe I did it. I have been dreaming of this since last year and to think I did it when my training was less than optimal was incredible.

When I got home we took a planned very easy recovery week, there was no rush in getting back into hard training since it is a long season. I enjoyed a week with my parents visiting and we went to Disneyland for the first time. It was great! After about 10 days I was back in my regular routine and feeling recovered from Japan. Next race planned was the USA Pan American Racewalk Cup Trials in Whiting, New Jersey on April 12th. Since my race in Japan went so well we decided to only do a 10km. This was the only record I didnt have yet and the record was 44:25 which felt very within my reach. 

The plan was to try and walk with Nick Christie for his first 10km's of his 20km race. We started off right on pace for the first lap (1.25km laps) and then just past half way through the 2nd lap, Nick decided that he felt good and sped up ahead. I was then alone at 2km's into the race to fight by myself. This is a position I have been in many times before so I knew I could do it. Went through 5km's in about 21:49 and could feel it being tough alone. I went on to have a few rough laps and knew that I had to get my act together that last lap in order to break 44 minutes which was my big goal. I pulled myself together and managed to walk a 4:17 last kilometer to finish in 43:52! This was a new Canadian record by 32 seconds. I must say I felt pretty good at the end and wish I had someone there to push me a bit harder but I cant complain with the time. You can check out the photo story done by Jeff Salvage on

I feel like I still have so much training to do and so im excited to get back to it. This time I wont be taking as easy of a week off and am able to jump back into training pretty quickly since it was just a 10km race. Next up I have the Pan American Racewalk Cup in Arica, Chile on May 9th. This will be a great preview of what to expect at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July. I will be racing the same girls and it is a strong field. There are 4 of us who have broken 1:30 for 20km's in the last year. Im hoping it brings me to another personal best as the weather should be good as well.

Recently the Toronto Star did a story on myself and the top Canadian men. Please check it out here and here as Kerry Gillespie did a fantastic job! 

The season has only just begun and I can only imagine how much better its going to be as I continue to prepare for the championships this summer. Thanks for following my journey! 

Keep on walking,


Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Year, New Opportunities!

So excited for the new year which brings a championship season with the Pan American Games and the World Track and Field Championships. I cant believe it has been 4 years since I was last at a World Championships but I am so ready to get back there as a completely different athlete than when I was there last. This year comes with many new opportunities and I cant wait.

My fall and into the Christmas season came with many ups and downs. Training had been going great as I started back in September and into the beginning of November. I had been getting my mileage back up again and starting to feel like myself again after taking most of the summer off. We had 6 weeks of trips planned crammed into an 8 week period. With this came lots of fatigue and illness. Unfortunately, the illness really affected my training. I ended up being sick 5 weeks out of those 8 weeks and this put me feeling behind the eight ball. I felt like I was starting back in September all over again after I was finally rid of all the sickness.It was tough mentally to feel that I lost so much time but I managed to keep it all in perspective that I had a long season and that I would be fine.

 In the middle of my trips I competed at the USA 50km Racewalk Championships here in San Diego on December 14th. My plan was to walk 20-25km's with fellow Canadian Mathieu Bilodeau as he raced the 50km's for the first time. Originally the plan was to walk about 4:53/km and if that was the case I probably would have gone 25km's but once we got going Mathieu impressively started bringing the pace down to 4:48/km or faster and therefore I only lasted 20km's in fear of it taking too long to recover from doing 25km's at that pace. I was thrilled to walk 1:36:40 at what felt like a comfortable tempo pace. This was about a minute faster than a race I did last year a few weeks earlier and my heart rate was a bit lower than last year also. This was very positive after having been sick for about 3 weeks before this point. This gave me a lot of confidence that I would be alright.

After my next 3 weeks of being away and getting sick all over again, I was THRILLED to be back home in San Diego. It almost felt like it was the happiest I have ever felt to be back in the sunshine and back in my regular routine. I think that helped reboot my training. Although I still had some bumps and still am, I have been seeing steady improvement in my fitness every day. I missed a lot of time at the gym while I was away/sick also and that is finally getting back to where it was before and/or improving. Just yesterday I did a back squatting personal best of 150lbs and still felt like I had more in me.

I now feel as though I am on track to have another break out season and I cannot wait for the opportunity to attack my races. I have no limits and I am not afraid. I wanted to thank my supporters because without them, my everyday training would be a lot harder. Thank you to Mizuno Canada, New York Athletic Club and Nuun Hydration! Next up for me is the Canadian Indoor Open on February 22nd in Montreal where ill be racing a 3,000m and going after my own Canadian record of 12:23. Let's do this!

Keep on walking,