The Setback…

Is the platform for your comeback.

Moving to Toronto was a major stepping stone in my long term road to success in the sport of track and field. However, major changes are not always easy. At first, things were looking great. I was running fairly well and made the World University Games. However, last season every race I ran got slower and slower. This is not a normal trend for a hurdler, because normally the more races you run, the faster your time will get as you figure out your race rhythm. At the end of the season I felt burnt out, so I took a long deserved break and looked forward to the 2016 season.

At the beginning of every season, we get a bunch of assessments done to make sure our bodies are in tip top shape for the long season ahead. The team nutritionist called me in one day because she noticed a hormonal imbalance in my blood work. After getting a body composition test done, she confirmed that I had “relative energy deficiency in sport,” also known as RED-S. The syndrome RED-S refers to impaired physiological function including, but not limited to, metabolic rate, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis, etc. caused by relative energy deficiency. Since my training was going well at the time, we didn’t think too much of it. We made a few minor dietary changes to try and regulate my hormones again and I kept on training harder than ever.

However, come indoor season when my results did not show the work I put into my training, we discovered that I was deeper in RED-S than originally expected. The two main things performance wise that RED-S affected were my strength and training adaptability. I had lost a lot of muscle and did not have the strength that my power event requires. I was not able to gain any positive training benefits as my body was not recovering properly. After talking with my nutritionist and stringing events together, she figures RED-S is also the cause for my decline in performance last season as well.

Sitting down with my coaches in the middle of an Olympic year, we had some tough decisions to make. I could either keep going with my training program  and risk going even deeper into RED-S so i wouldn’t disrupt my training program mid season or go back to square one and focus on getting 100% healthy and prepare for a good year next year instead. We ended up deciding to give up on this season and get 100% healthy as our end goal is the 2020 Olympic games. This was a tough decision to make for both me and my coach. It killed me a little inside as I was giving up any hope of making this years Olympic Games as well as giving up on much of a competition season all together.

Trying to get back 100% healthy has been no easy road. I have only been able to run every second day, with reduced volume. While my teammates geared up for outdoor season in spikes and were getting light and fast in the gym, I would be trucking along with easy grass workouts and lifting heavy to try and regain my muscle mass. I have had to increase my body weight to try and kick start my physiological systems that were disrupted this past year. As RED-S lowers your immune system, I also just found out I have had a parasite for the past 7 weeks. The hardest part mentally was trying to race, even though I am no where near ready. My coach thinks it will be more beneficial getting in a couple races no matter what the result may be than totally being out of the sport for the whole year. I am done with my “racing” this season but I will continue to try and get 100% healthy for next year, without taking any steps backward.

No matter how many obstacles were thrown at me this past year, I am going to focus on the positives and grow as a person and athlete. I truly believe in the quote, “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you greater than any obstacle.” I have overcome obstacles much greater already, which gives me the confidence I will be able to overcome this stronger than ever.

 

 

Christmas Bake Sale

When I am not running and jumping over things, I have a passion for art, which I would like to turn into a fundraiser for my “Road to Rio” and beyond!

I have created a Facebook page displaying some of my art and baking that will be on sale as part of this fundraiser. My first fundraiser will be a Christmas Bake Sale. The following will be on Sale for a limited time:

1. Rum Spiked Eggnog Cupcakes or Eggnog cupcakes with caramel buttercream
2. Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Christmas Bark
3. Santa Snowman Sugar Cookies

These Holiday treats are on pre-order now! They will be available for pick-up/ drop-off between December. 21-24th. Message me if you are interested, have any questions, or special requests!

Happy Holidays!

 

This Year is the Year

http://www.gofundme.com/h4dt04

It is almost time for me to head back to Toronto to start a  new year of training. This year is a big year for me as the 2016 Rio Olympic Games approach. This year will also play a big role in determining what my future holds. Because it is such a big year I will be focusing all my time an energy in pursuing my ultimate goal of reaching the Olympics. It is not going to be an easy goal as I am still very young in the large pool of 100m Hurdlers. However, my coach and I believe it is an achievable goal. The link above provides a larger explanation of my year and the financial barriers that keep athletes from reaching their goals.

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Change

I have been away training with the National Speed/ Hurdle group for two months now.   Our primary training base is in Toronto, but I have spent the past three weeks training in St. Kitts and am now kicking off my season in Florida.

Our spring training camp in St. Kitts’ purpose is to get away from the cold Canadian weather and get a head start on our outdoor season. Life is not rough and I enjoyed the nice hot Caribbean weather but it was no Vacation. Our primary focus was to get in good quality training leading into the outdoor season, and I did just that. I spent the majority of my time in St. Kitts training, eating, napping, resting, and sleeping.

Our team also suffered a tragedy during our time in St. Kitts. One of my teammates drowned in a swimming accident one afternoon after practice. It has been a hard few weeks for my team and I but we have to continue to stay strong and represent our teammate well in the upcoming season.

I started off my season yesterday in Clermont, Florida running the 100mH against some of the fastest girls in the world. It was a low key meet but had the best quality competition I have ever run against. My competition was able to push me to run a unofficial personal best of 13.28. I say unofficial because I had a little bit too much wind at my back for the race to count, but hey it is still the fastest I have ever run. I am happy with my results for my first race back in a long time. Last year I started out the season running half a second slower than I opened with this year, so I am very excited to see what this upcoming season has to bring.

My next meet is in Gainesville, Florida next weekend. My new coach is currently training to change a lot in both my running and hurdling technique. My main focus the next few weeks will be trying to get these new changes ingrained in my muscle memory so they will eventually transfer over when I race. My coach said to expect fast results once I can get a handle on these changes!

I will be sure to keep updating my blog as my season unfolds!

 

Sheaf Article

Sprinter Michelle Young goes on to train at eastern track hub

Former Huskie sprinter Michelle Young has been an avid runner since her elementary school days.

“I really enjoyed running up and down the hallways and racing my friends,” said Young. “I discovered the sport by joining my elementary school’s relay team.”

Young competed with the University of Saskatchewan track and field team for four years. During her time spent with the Huskies, she also participated in the Canada Summer Games, the Canada West Championship and the CIS Championships and won gold in both the 100-metre and 60-metre hurdles.

“Winning the 100-metre hurdles at the Summer Games was a major milestone in my athletic career because it was my first success coming back from an injury that took me out of track for a few years,” said Young. “The feeling of accomplishing a goal you worked hard for all year is unforgettable.”

After a successful stint with the Huskies, Young will soon be going on to train at The High Performance Track and Field hub in Toronto.

Canada is home to two of these national training centres: a western hub in Victoria and an eastern hub in Toronto. Both centres offer athletes access to world-class training and medical facilities. The eastern hub specializes in sprints, hurdles and relays while the western hub focuses more on using nutrition, strength training and physiotherapy to optimize performance.

Despite leaving for Toronto soon, Young said that her time spent competing with the Huskie team has been a valuable learning experience that will continue to shape her identity as an athlete. Though track and field is ultimately an individual sport, Young’s relationship with her teammates and coaches at the U of S acted as a steadfast support system for her while competing as a Huskie.

Though it will be difficult to say goodbye to her family, friends and fellow athletes, Young is anxious to kick off her new life in Ontario.

“I’m excited about my upcoming move to Toronto and the new opportunities that will come from this change,” said Young. “I started working with the coaches from Toronto last spring. When the opportunity to join the group arose a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be the best decision moving forward with my track career.”

After being sidelined due to a back injury preventing her from competing with the Huskies, Young said she felt that she was ready for a change.

“I don’t want to look back and regret chances and opportunities I didn’t take, so I believe this is the right move,” said Young.

Despite this injury, Young remains optimistic about her future in track.

“My ultimate goal is to put 100 per cent effort into my sport and see where it takes me,” said Young. “Ideally I would like to make the Olympics and compete on the Diamond League circuit.”

Rather than relying on pre-performance rituals, Young says the best way to maintain her competitive edge before running is simply to relax and enjoy herself.

“I don’t want to become reliant on something that could possibly not be there one day,” she said. “Having fun is the best indicator that I will have a good race. When I get too serious or stressed out, I don’t tend to have the best races.”

When faced with adversity in her athletic career such as injuries or discouragement, Young looks to other track athletes for inspiration. Canadian sprinter Perdita Felicien, former world champion in hurdles, is one of her main sources of motivation.

Felicien “was one of the best hurdlers in Canadian history and I will always remember watching her race on TV growing up,” said Young. “She has had many up and downs throughout her career and is a good person to look up to as a reminder to stay strong during the hard times in sport.”

Relocating to Toronto to train with the eastern track hub will be a huge change for the Saskatoon native, but it’s a change that she believes is for the best as she will be able to indulge daily in the sport that she’s so passionate about.

“In a sport where one hundredth of a second can make all the difference, you never know what to expect,” said Young.

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