The last time we chatted I was in Guelph, Ontario preparing for the Speed River Inferno with hopes of hitting a last chance, at the buzzer shot, standard to qualify for the Commonwealth Games. It was the absolute last day anyone could hit a qualifying standard and I needed to run under 8:32 to put myself in the pool of athletes eligible for the Commonwealth Games. Until that day my season’s best was 8:36. I had some work to do. Chris Dalhunty stepped up big time and offered to pace us at 8:25 pace. This was exactly what we needed if we were to have any hope of getting under the standard that night in Guelph.
The steeplechase was the last event of the evening and all night others had been hitting fast times. I knew this was as good an opportunity as any. We had a rabbit, the weather was perfect and the crowd was big and loud. From the gun it was fast and Taylor Milne and I hung onto Chris Dalhunty. Pretty quickly I realized It was not going to be one of those races where is would come easy. It was going to be a grind. I hung onto the back of Taylor for as long as possible and even when the gap opened up I tried to stay positive. The night before the race I visualized what I would need to see on the clock with 2 laps to go to have a chance at the standard. The number I came up with was 6:18 (or faster). I hit 6:18 bang on! I knew I had a hope but I had to get moving. Unfortunately the next lap was slow and I hit the bell at 7:27. I needed a 65 sec lap or faster. The fastest of that race. I also knew that Alex Genest had found his legs and was closing hard on me. I put my head down and hammered. I knew it would be close, so close that I even pulled out the middle school chest lean at the line. 8:31.25! I had just squeaked it! Double Fist Pump!
I had to sit tight for a few days before they named the official team. There was rumors circulating that Athletics Canada may take those with a “B” standard but until I saw my name on the official document I wasn’t going to breathe easy. I must have refreshed the page on Athletics Canada 100,000 times. Finally it was posted and I was named to the team.
This was surreal. Coming into the season making the team was my #1 goal. But there were times it seemed far out of sight. 9 weeks prior I had just arrived in Flagstaff and was barely running. I was getting crushed in workouts. I have to give so much credit to the team I have around me. I leaned on these people hard. Everyone including my Coach, Teammates, Physio, Massage Therapist, Psychologist, Physiologist, family and especially Rachel were all there for me providing me the assistance/confidence I needed to get me back rolling. Thanks you all!
Onwards to Glasgow
With the Games still 6+ weeks ago there is still lots of time for improvement. This is great because I feel more ready to go at this time in the season than ever before. Having missed all of indoors and only having raced a handful of times so far this year I feel fresh and excited for the opportunities ahead, starting with nationals next weekend!
The 2014 Canadian Championships take place in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 27-29. Check out www.moncton2014.ca for all the details and info for live streaming. Should be good times!
Final Workout in Flagstaff
Sitting on the edge of greatness
Day trip to the Grandest of Canyons
Morning workout at Buffalo Park
Every year teams of runners ascend to Flagstaff, Arizona for its many soft trails and ultra thin air. Americans, Canadians, Germans, Australians, Swedes, you name it, they are here. And while we all represent different teams and countries, for the few weeks we spend up here, we share the same trails, tracks, gyms, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s a unique atmosphere and there is a certain type of comfort seeing other runners from all over the world coming to the same place to do the same thing and chase the same goals. Later in the season these same people will be our competitors, but while up here the atmosphere is relaxed and everyone is on the same page.
This is my second stint at altitude and I already seem to be acclimatizing a little bit better this time around. Maybe it’s because I know what to expect, or maybe it’s because I came into camp a little more rested. The experts will say that your body adjusts faster the more time you spend at altitude. Whatever the reason, the first few runs have felt better and I seem to be surviving a little better on the hills this time around.
I’m actually a bit shocked I even made it to Flagstaff. After the up and down last couple of months I’ve had I had almost written off going to altitude. Even last week I hadn’t put too much thought into the trip. However, after seeing another Cardiologist late last week, where I did and passed a Cardiac Stress Test, I was cleared to continue training and to go to altitude. Two days later I was on a plane headed South.
So far it’s been a great move! It’s great to be back with my Speed River teammates, Alex Genest, Taylor Milne, Kyle Boorsma, Rachel Aubrey, Chantelle Groenewoud and Andrea Seccafien. After doing much of my running on my own it’s great to have some training partners and to spend time with some really good friends.
The first few days at altitude are all about acclimatization, this means running a little bit easier on runs and making sure you are recovering as much as possible between runs. No matter how easy you go the altitude still gets to you and after being up here for three days I’m starting to feel its effects… but I guess that is the point!
My goal for the next 3.5 weeks is to not only get in a great block of training, but more importantly I just want to get back to enjoying running. The last couple of months have been nothing but doctors appointments and stress and that took a toll on both my love for running as well as my hairline ;). Hopefully after a few weeks of good training I’ll return to sea level with a renewed confidence in myself and motivation for the training and racing to come.
A few shots from a hike we did earlier this week:
BC Athletics is pleased to announce Jessica Smith and Chris Winter as our new Athlete Representative Directors. Jessica and Chris will be working closely with BC Athletics in their new roles. As Athlete Representative Directors, they will be responsible for initiating, coordinating and presenting communication between athletes and the BC Athletics Board of Directors. If any athletes have concerns, suggestions, proposals for change or other important input, they are asked to please contact either Jessica or Chris at the information below (email or twitter). Please join us in welcoming Jessica and Chris to the team!