Saturday, 20 July 2013

Fall 2012

Continuing with my ridiculously late sum up of the past year, last fall was probably my best season of running so far. I went into this season a little nervous but more than ready to go after a spot on that Worlds team. Competing at NACAC the year before had been one of the best experiences of my life and I knew that World Championships would be beyond anything I could even imagine. I had to make the team and that was that.

I started the season off at the Maine XC Festival of Champions on September 29. I decided to go to this meet because I wanted to get in an early race to get my confidence back after not racing track. This race was ideal since it was 5 km-my distance for nationals, it was close enough that I could drive down, it's fairly competitive with more than 600 high school aged girls in the race, and it had a reputation as a very well organised meet. The race went well and I placed second overall with a time of 18:28. It didn't feel awesome and I could tell that I wasn't super fit but more importantly, I knew that I was healthy again and ready for some solid training and racing.

I spent October racing in the provincial high school series which are 3 km races. There isn't a lot of competition on the island so I used these as workouts and just enjoyed them. I won my sixth consecutive provincial title and set a course record on my home course, a great way to finish up my high school career!

With Nationals at the end of November, I really wanted to get in a 5 km race earlier in the month since I didn't have a lot of experience with that distance. Ontario can always be counted on for good competition and the Athletics Ontario Championship just happened to be two weeks before Nationals- perfect! It was a good race and I ran in a group for the first kilometre or so before we strung out and I ran most of the race on my own in second place. I moved into first just as we hit the last hill going into the finish line, winning the race in 17:45 and getting the confidence that I needed going into Nationals.

I met with a couple coaches in Vancouver but I stayed focussed on the race. I never really know what to expect going into races so my goal was just to be in the top six and get on the World Championship team. I knew it would be tough but I felt fit and thought that I could do it. I had a bad start and ended up stuck back in the 40s or so for the first kilometer. It was pretty congested and I felt like I was coming to a stop a few times as girls fell and bunched up around the turns. Going into the second kilometer I knew I had to work to get out of that mess of runners and I somehow made my way up to the lead group. We ran as a small group for a couple kilometers before a couple of the girls moved up and gapped us for a bit. On the last kilometer I bridged the gap and we all ran a hard finish and I took the win in 17:21. I had never even considered that I had a chance to win the race and I'm not gonna lie, when I crossed the line in first I was half confused and half shocked but once that wore off I was just beyond excited.

Overall it was an amazing season and I couldn't wait to represent Canada at NACAC and Worlds a few months later. I'll sum up those adventures in the next post! Wow, just remembering last year's cross country is getting me pumped to take on some new race experiences in the NCAA in the coming months, I can't wait!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Back to Blogging

After a bit of an...extended hiatus from blogging...I thought I should sum up the craziness of this past year of running. I've experienced the highs, the lows, and everything in between. It wasn't always pretty but I've learned lots and become a stronger runner during this journey. There have been too many shenanigans to fit into one post so I'm going to just take it by season, starting with

Summer 2012

I entered this track season with big goals and even bigger determination. I wanted to

a) medal at Canadian Youth Championships

b) run some big pb's

c) get noticed by university coaches

And I accomplished none of those goals.

Training in a small town without teammates or a coach nearby has never been advantageous but I think this track season was one where I needed that support the most. After a couple months of suffering through training, dropping workouts, blood tests, and doctor's visits I finally discovered that I had serious iron-deficiency anemia.

It's almost funny when I think of the months that I spent anemic without I or my doctor picking up on it, I had pretty much every symptom in the book: My legs were heavy and tired during every run, I was exhausted all of the time, I couldn't sleep at night, I always felt freezing cold, and I couldn't focus very well in school.

By the time I went to a new doctor it was the beginning of July, I had just DNFed for the first time in my life, and my iron stores had completely bottomed out... Well that's not how I had planned out my season. My new doctor was shocked when she looked at my test results from the last few months that showed my hemoglobin, iron, and ferritin dropping yet no one had picked up on it. She put me on an iron supplement and explained that I wouldn't be able to do any running until my levels got closer to the normal range. There aren't words that can describe how tough it was for me to scrap the season. I couldn't imagine not being able to compete at my last Youth Nationals and I had no idea where I would end up for university without the results to prove myself to coaches. There was nothing I could do other than focussing on getting healthy so I took my iron supplements, ate lots of red meat, took a bit of time completely off, and then spent about a month water running before I could start doing any running at all.

That was a rough time in my running career and it wasn't fun at all but I definitely learned from it and luckily I was able to start running again in August just in time to get ready for cross country. More on that in the next post!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Season Opener in 2 Weeks!

The big brother is finally home from university! Despite our occasional arguments I'm super excited to have someone to run with to offset some of my individual training!

Being that my training is going pretty great and I haven't had any problems, I am absolutely PUMPED to open my season in two weeks at the Nike High School Grand Prix in Toronto. Should be an amazing event to start off the season even if they don't have the 3000m... I don't think I'll ever get over that one... And racing the 800m just 2 1/2 hours after the 1500m should be.. interesting haha

And now it's time to head out in these 40 km/h winds for my easy run.. Sweet!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Goodbye Snow!

So after a great week in the island's capitol, I'm home and loving this sudden weather break. Over the weekend most of the snow melted and in today's amazing sun I got in my first t-shirt and shorts workout of the season! It may have been a tad more enjoyable had today been an easy run day but it was still pretty great despite the brutal hill workout I had to endure. But back to the weekend...

Putting me into shock on Saturday night, I won the SportNL Junior Female Athlete of the year! Crazy, right? Of course I was totally unprepared and had to make my way up on stage while trying to nonchalantly check for chocolate cake crumbs on my face. It was pretty exciting, but I gotta say I was almost as proud of my spur of the moment speech skills as I was of actually winning the award...

As much fun as I had at the Stars and Legends Gala, it was just as awesome to get an oppurtunity to train with my coach, Ray Will. Being 800 km apart, Ray and I don't have the ideal coaching arrangement but we seem to make it work and are always excited to get together the odd time I get to St. John's. The training session proved to be very effective as he was able to assess my fitness level and weaknesses and adjust my training schedule accordingly... hence those lovely hill repeats I had today

Now that I'm back home and the weather is finally starting to cooperate, I can't wait to get into some hard training!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Back to Training

So after a much-needed week off I got back into training and am now finally settling into those awesome workouts that we all love to hate. You guys know the ones I mean, everyone has their own, mine happen to be lactate threshold workouts. Ugh I dread doing them but deep down I know I really love them. Plus they make me fast, enough said.

Despite only just getting back into the swing of training over the past couple weeks, I have my first meet coming up a month from today! I'm not sure what to expect of the Nike Grand Prix High School Championship as this is there debut year but no matter the level of competition I'm sure they're going to throw a great event!

However I do have one complaint already, there's no 3000 m! Seriously guys how could you not have a 3000 m? So I'll be racing the 1500 m which I do like and the 800 m which I do not like. Annnnnd the actual competition is only one day long, so I'll be racing both the 1500 m and the 800 m in one day.. ouch.

But that's enough whining, it's still sure to be a fun time. Not to mention the wicked Nike uniforms they'll be outfitting us in!

Meanwhile, I guess I should fill you guys in, I was nominated for the SportNL Junior Female Athlete of the Year and made it to the top 3 so I get to head in to the Stars and Legends Gala in St. John's this weekend! As you runners know, for some reason we don't always tend to get taken as seriously as athletes of more popular sports like hockey and basketball so I'm pretty excited to be a finalist!

Well since my first race is coming up in a month I guess it's time for me to lace up and get out there for a run in the amazing sunshine and 14 degree weather we've got today! I know, pretty good for Newfoundland! There's still snow on my lawn and on the trails but this is a start!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Finally Heading Home

Well it turns out I'm not Superwoman so Cross Country Ski Nationals sadly did not happen. I tried to get it back together for the races but my body was not willing to cooperate.

Turns out a bout of pneumonia, followed by a day of plane travel, followed by a few days of running around in the sun, followed by an international race, followed by another day of plane travel are not optimal for recovery or preparation for a major national competition.

Yes I did everything in my power to rehydrate and rest so that I could try to squeeze in at least one race but in the end I made the responsible decision that it was too dangerous and not safe for my health...

Wow I hate being responsible.

Although this was really difficult and dissapointing to me, I sucked it up and enjoyed a week in Quebec. I watched ski races, did some light recreational skiing on the beautiful trails of Mont Ste Anne, visited Quebec City, and enjoyed lots of bonding with my teammates.

Oh and the 20 degree weather we got all week was pretty amazing too, we are in Canada after all

Overall I stayed positive and took the experience for what it was but now can't wait to get home to Newfoundland...

Where there's still a little bit of the winter cold waiting for me

Oh well, now I'll be resting up and getting healthy until it's time to start preparing for track season!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Down in the Sun

Well I think my first international race can be considered something of a success. Still recovering from pneumonia brought on quite the dehydration for my race so I didn't have the race I could've had in good health but overall it was an amazing experience.

And I guess I can't complain with thirteenth overall and a set of silver medals for the Canadian Junior Girls Team

It was 34 degrees and super humid and the most painful race of my life. The dehydration caused me to have heavy legs right from the start so staying comitted for the entire race was a major mental challenge.

But I stuck it out and raced the best I could given the circumstances and realized those girls from different countries weren't as intimidating as they seemed.

But if I thought it was painful during the race, I had no idea what was coming after...

Racing dehyrated meant I got to go through the fun of finishing with blurry vision and seized up calves

It took some magic from our trainer Paula, 1200 ml of water, 800 ml of electrolyte beverage, ice, and about an hour just for my legs to forgive me enough to start walking again

Definately not something I've ever experienced in Canada

But it was still an amazing race and by far the best xc running meet I've ever been to.

 Seriously, what could compare to warming up to some Carribean music blasting through speakers in the field?

Now I just need my body to recover so I can get back to training and get ready for some more amazing races!