Friday 6 July 2012

Olympic Trials and Tribulations

It's officially been a week since the final of the 1500m at the Canadian Olympic Trials. It seems like a month ago, based on the number of thoughts that have been running through my head since. I wasn't super pleased with my 5th place finish, but in such a competitive group of women, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

I am just going to run two more races in the National Track League, the Aileen Meagher and the Toronto Track Finale and then end my season. I have been dealing with an impinged deltoid ligament in my ankle which has been super sore for over a month now (which I have been ignoring) and some personal issues that are making it tough to focus on running right now.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this year and my goal of making the Olympic Team. To those who donated to my Trust Fund, I can't thank you enough. I gave it everything this year and unfortunately, besides hard work, there is also a lot of luck involved in making the Olympic Team, first off, being on top your game in Olympic Year, being ready to make use of every opportunity you can to make standard, and getting into great races. There's always World Championship teams, of course, but as everyone knows, the Olympics is the epitome of any athlete's journey, since it is such a rare and precious thing.

I am thankful that I had the chance to meet some awesome people this year in my new training group. Not sure what the future holds for me, but I hope some rest and family time will bring some perspective to the past few months and help me set new goals in the future, running or otherwise.

Monday 18 June 2012

Track is a microcosm of life. Learn from it.

So, a lot has happened since my last post but not in the way that I hoped. It has taken a lot of mental processing for me to get to this point where I can talk about things somewhat objectively. I ran at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic and the Victoria International Track Classic and, while I learned a lot from each race and ran a season’s best in Victoria (4:14.35, 2nd place), I have not run an Olympic standard. All I can say at this point is that I have in no way reached my potential for the year. In fact, I feel like I am just getting going and remembering how to race again after last year’s hiatus. Unfortunately, I could not have predicted that injury and illness in April would really hamper my chances of running fast, but I really think it did given such few racing opportunities this year. I have only been in one race all season where someone even broke 4:10.

At this point, I am just focusing on the Olympic Trials/Nationals and really excited about the chance to be in a competitive racing situation. This is probably one of the most competitive years for the Women’s 1500 metres that I can remember so it’s not going to be easy for anyone with an Olympic standard to come Top 3. It’s going to be messy! I’m going to enjoy every second of it. 

After Nationals, I am going to focus on getting the PB that I know I am capable of. I am super grateful to be feeling great at this point in the season. Better to be under-raced than over-raced.

Some much needed words of enlightenment that I just encountered:

“Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day”.

-Zen Proverb

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Track and Field: Not for the Faint of Heart

Alright, well, I probably could have predicted that a post like this would be written at some point. It's the first official roar on the Rant and Roar Running blog. This will be no surprise to my fellow teammates and other track and field athletes. Most track athletes have experienced this scenario at some point.

So, in latest news, I ran the 1500 at Occidental College in LA.  I feel like I raced pretty well, I was 4th, but the time of 4:15 was not great. Unfortunately, I got put in the slowest of 3 sections. This was probably due to having a PB from 2 years ago and having an off year last year, so it makes it much more difficult to get into fast sections of meets. Basically, you're only as good as your last race.... and when you can't get into a fast section to run a fast race, this makes things extremely difficult. It's pretty tough to run fast by yourself out front or in slower races where you get dialed into a slow pace and are stuck behind people running slower than what your ideal pace should be.

On a similar vein, I tried to run fast tonight at the Tempe High Performance Meet in Tempe, Arizona. I was feeling great and thought that I could give it a shot on my own. Although I was on pace at 800, I was thrown off pace due to a pacemaker that was slowing down considerably. I was way off goal pace with 400 to go so I decided to just finish strong. I won it in 4:16.

The crappy thing about this sport is that you can have the best practices in the world, Olympic calibre, but if you can't post an official time, you can't get into highly competitive races. With so few races available, it's no wonder that distance runners have such a tough time making major teams.

Anyway, I'm not giving up yet, I've got a few more shots. But it helps to get the roar out.


Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.
(Bruce Cockburn, Lovers in a Dangerous Time).

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Red Track, Blue Track, Why You Give Me Track Hack?

So, this first week at altitude camp has been tough, to say the least. I don't think I've ever trained this hard before. It's a good thing I'm not working or expected to do anything productive right now because my boss would not be a happy camper. When I'm not sleeping, training, or eating, all I'm thinking about is sleeping, training, or eating... oh yeah, and, racing, of course.

Post track workout routine basically consists of stumbling like a Zombie into the car, then into the apartment, making food, eating food while focusing only on putting fork into mouth despite the fact that TV may be on or husband may be talking to you (Sorry, Jon), and then, while last forkfull of food is still being chewed, stumbling into the bedroom and slamming head onto pillow. Goodnight! (or Afternoon, as the case may be).  After 1.5 - 2 hour naps, I am still able to go to bed easily and get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep, no problem.

Despite my excessively long sleeps, workouts are going fantastically, even though we're at 7,000 FT. The only complaint I have is that it's so dry up here and, obviously, my respiratory system is under a lot of stress, that I keep getting track hack after every workout. Usually, I only get this after races, but I guess that's altitude for ya.

It's not hard to appreciate the beauty of this place. On Saturday, we went to Sedona for our track workout: hard to beat the view from that track! Red rocks, blue sky- oh my! It's a little lower altitude than Flagstaff, at 4,500 FT. but, honestly, I didn't notice a difference, still feels like sucking air through a straw.

Only one more week to go. Can't wait to race at Occidental College, Pasadena, CA next Friday!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

It's been awhile since my last post... My normally compliant body has been causing me some issues these last couple of weeks... As  many of you probably know, the original plan for racing was to do Stanford on April 29th, however, I came down with a stomach virus just over two weeks ago and then just as I was starting to feel better, my quad started to act up and I wasn't able to run at all for a few days. So, since I had not finished a workout in 2 weeks, I made the decision not to race. It was pretty disappointing but I know there are more chances to run fast coming up in a few weeks. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) all of my flights/accommodations were booked to go to Stanford, so at least I got the chance to watch some excellent track and field!

Today is my first day at altitude camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. Although I have not done a run yet (just about to leave for the first one in about 30 minutes) I already love it here, it's such a relief from Phoenix where it has been unseasonably warm for this time of year! The weekend before last in Phoenix, it was so hot (over 100 degrees fahrenheit) that we actually did our long runs on the treadmill! Also, there's lots of trees and grass here in Flagstaff and it's only 66 degrees so far today, the crisp air kinda reminds me of Newfoundland.

I'll try to give updates of how the camp is going. I haven't really noticed much difference in how I am feeling yet but I'll probably notice it on my run. Look forward to it!

Saturday 7 April 2012

Well, some races are just... Anti-climactic

...Which is a great reason why you (I) should not go into a race with super high expectations, especially this early on. Leading up to tonight's 1500m at the Sun Angel Track Classic at Arizona State University, I was told all week that this was going to be a fast one. Apparently there was a rabbit organized and the field looked pretty stacked.

Then, I get to the track and I am told there is no rabbit. Ok, no problem, it seemed like there were a couple of girls who might want to take it out fast. Then, the gun goes off and we get to the 800m at 2:20. Again!!! (See my last post). I think, ok, refocus and just race. I was in the top 2 at 200m to go and then didn't have a second gear to bring it home this time. I was 4th in 4:19.

Afterwards, I felt like I could run another one. :S 

I know I'm in the best shape of my life so I just have to be patient.

The next one will be the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University on April 28th. People usually like to run fast there ;)

Monday 26 March 2012

Getting the cobwebs out...

I ran the 1500m at the Arizona State University Invite on Saturday and it went well. I wasn't going to open up my season until April 7th but training has been going well and I wanted to get a race in before the qualification window begins. My coach and I knew that this race was probably going to be tactical with no one really going for times yet, so despite my own urge to time trial it (NOT usually a good idea!),  I was instructed to just use the race as an opportunity to practice my racing skills.

I'm glad I did, as it totally felt like a championship race: slow through the first 1000m with a nice wind up and then a kick to the finish. I was in the lead from the start but I didn't try to push the pace until the last 500m. We went through 800m in 2:23! Ahhh! Painfully slow but then, of course, the wind up begins... I won the race in 4:21.08 and I was happy that I was able to finish the last 300m in 47 seconds. Lots left in the tank. Good practice for Nationals. ;)

The next one will be on April 7th back at the ASU track once again.