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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Until Next Time

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”

Today was the U-23 NACAC Championships and the last race of my season. My warmup felt great and I had a really good feeling about the race ahead of me. The past few weeks held some of the best practices I have ever had. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to run a new personal best. Unfortunately on my last hurdle start of my warmup, something went wrong and I bruised the entire top of my ankle. The adrenaline was pumping and I shook it off and told myself I was going to be okay. I had been looking forward to this race all year and nothing was going to stop me from running my race. However, as soon as the gun went off I knew something was off. I didn’t feel like my normal hurdle self and my ankle couldn’t hold up through the race. Nothing can describe the disappointment I felt seeing a DNF beside my name and looking down at my bruised and swollen ankle. This was not the way I wanted to end my season. Although today was extremely upsetting, I have to put it behind me and move on. Looking back on this past season I am going reflect on the good, learn from the bad, and use my disappoint as fuel to have a bigger and better season next year.

This past year has been full of ups and downs. The year started off with a bang having one of the best indoor seasons to date. I finished off the indoor season with a CIS gold medal, new 60m and 60mH PB’s, and new Huskie Records in both events. My Hurdle time was also one of the fastest ever run at CIS just missing the record. My outdoor season overall went well, but I am not completely satisfied. Although I am finishing off the season with a new 100mH and 200m personal bests, all I can think about it the potential I did not fulfill. I switched up my training program this outdoor season and changed a lot technically. At practice I would be able to put things together and get in some very good runs but I still need time to make these new changes a habit so I can put a race together when it counts. It is something that will come with time. I just need to be patient.

At first I thought of all the hard work I put in training every day this past year and everything I gave up to be able to represent Canada at these championships. A whole year of hard work and my ultimate goal of running well at my biggest meet of the year gone in a blink of an eye. When you care so much about something, when things go wrong you can’t help but feel down. But all I needed was a little change in perspective to make things feel better. I need to take away how I have grown as an athlete this past year. When times are tough I just need to remember the progress I have made. This was my first year back running injury free in three years. Before this year I had forgotten what it felt like to be able to run a personal best. This year I have had several. My best race last year matched my slowest race this season. Although I didn’t run as fast as I would have hoped this outdoor season I need to remember to be patient. I can’t expect to run a world class time when I could barely run last year. This past year I have had so many good learning experiences. I have learnt what it is like to compete at an elite level. With another year or two of consistent injury free training i have no doubt in my mind I will be able to step it up to the next level. This year was a learning year. Next year means business. There are bigger and better opportunities the next couple years leading into the 2016 olympics and I am ready to train harder than ever before to make my dreams reality.

I can’t wait to get started training for the 2015 season but first I am going to enjoy some much needed rest 🙂

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Go Saskatoon Shaw Interview

Here is the video interview Shaw’s Go Saskatoon show featured on me this past week. It talks about my season this past year and my thoughts and feelings leading into next weekends NACAC Championships. I am super excited to head to Kamloops next week and represent Canada in the 100mH. It will be my last competition of the year so I am going to give it my all and end the season on a good note!

 

Update

Here is an update on my outdoor season so far as I haven’t written a post in a while. Since   Florida I have gotten in a large number of races, some good, some not as good. Everyone has their on and off days. Unfortunately this past week at the Canadian track and field championships it was one of those off weekends. On Saturday I advanced out of the semi finals to make the final Sunday morning. I ended up struggling through the final after catching some sort of flu bug going around my training group. I finished 6th place with one of my slowest times of the season. I was disappointed because my last few practices leading into the championships were some of my best hurdle practices I have ever had. Some technical hurdle things I have been working on for a long time were starting to come together and I had a really good feeling about the weekend. However, even though I didn’t run as well as I hoped, this weekend I achieved one of my main goals for the season. Leading into the competition I had already achieved NACAC (North American, Caribbean, and Central American Championships) standard, but part of the criteria to be selected to  the national team was to finish top 8 at nationals. This means that since I am one of the top two under 23 hurdlers in the country, I will get to represent Canada in the NACAC competition in Kamloops this August. After struggling with Injuries the past few years it feels really good to be running faster than I ever have and to be able to represent my country again.
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Next weekend I will be flying out to Victoria to continue competing on the National Track League series. A few weekends ago I competed in my first NTL meet out in Halifax. I was happy to finish 4th in a tough field of world class hurdlers. In the cold rainy weather I ran just under my PB of 13.38 I ran in Toronto early this season. I am excited to race in some more of these high class races to hopefully lower my time and improve my placing. I have been running well this season (I have improved approx. half a second since last year) but I know I still have a lot of room for improvement.  After Victoria I will end the NTL series in Vancouver a few days later.
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Just Keep Training

Eat, Sleep, Run. That has been my daily routine for the past 12 days. I have reached the half way point of my time here in Orlando. The training here is tough as the coaches are trying to run me into shape. Yesterday my coach Anthony, referred to my workout plan as “Kill me now.” Every day he asks me if I am sure I want to be here because it is a lot of hard work but I smile and say yes every time. Good he replied because this is what it takes to become an elite athlete. It may be hard but I love to push myself and see where my body can take me. It is incredible the amount I still have to learn about the hurdles. I thought I had improved a lot this past indoor season but the coaches here said I still have a lot to work on. This past Saturday I ran my first outdoor race of the season. I opened up with a time of 13.81 the same time that I had run last season to win the Canada Summer Games. Last year I would have been happy with this time but this year I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. After such a good indoor season I thought I would open up with a massive PB. However, my coach told me that I will not be running the times I want working so hard and learning new in training. He said now is the time to put in the hard work so the results will show later in the season when it counts. What is the point of running fast early in the season? He also said that I have some weak spots so if I can strengthen those up and fix up some of my bad mechanics, I will give the girls some competition for the Olympic Trials in two years! The meet may not have been as good as I had wished but its a start and things can only get better. I am looking forward to the next 12 days of training!

CIS 2014

As the CIS Championships come to an end so does my 2014 Indoor track season. I ended off the season with my first CIS gold medal in the 60mH in a personal best time of 8.29s. My time was only 0.06s off the CIS Championship record. Hopefully I will be able to capture that record in my future seasons as a Huskie. Because of the progress I have made this season in hurdles, i am even more excited to work even harder to have more success this outdoor season. I get a well deserved break this week and will start up base training next week. After I finish off the school year I am going to go down south for some warm weather training to get a jump start on my season seeing as I can’t hurdle in the snow here! After some solid training I will start competing and chasing after the standards I need to achieve in order to make one (or hopefully two) national teams this Summer. If all goes well my plan is to make the U23 NACAC team as well as the Commonwealth Games team. The Commonwealth Games will be tough to make as it is a senior level team and I will be up against past olympian hurdles. But with hard work, dedication, and confidence, anything can happen.
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I would like to thank everyone who has been there for me this past season. Without the support of my coach, teammates, friends, family, and amazing boyfriend I would never be where I am today.