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.

 

 

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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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Day in the life of a training camp athlete

I arrived in St. Kitts for a national sprint/ hurdle warm weather training camp a couple days of go. The recent fundraising campaign I started was to fund this and other great opportunities that are arising as I grow as an athlete. I thought I would share what a typical day in the life of a training camp athlete is to those who are supporting me on my training adventures.

7:45am: Wake-up call! I start out the morning out by waking up and getting ready for the long workout ahead. I made a big bowl of oatmeal mixed with eggs white, fruit, and nuts. I load up on sunscreen and head out the door to practice.

9:00am-2:00pm-ish: Workout! The workout changes daily but we typically spent 5 hours out on the track. Today I had hydration testing so I had to weigh myself before and after the workout as well as everything I took in and out of my body. I am looking forward to getting the results back tomorrow. Our warm-up takes approximately an hour. Most people find it crazy our track warmup takes as long as most peoples workouts. Today I had speed endurance and sled pulls which took up the bulk of my time at the track. Afterwards I had a few strength exercises and took an ice bath to recover for tomorrows workout.

2:30pm: Lunch Time! Grocery shopping was extremely expensive with a small selection so I have to get creative in making meals that are healthy and of course taste good!

3:00pm- 6:00pm: Time to Relax! It is important not to over do it with activities and rest up and recover from the days workout so you can work hard again the next day. So far I have spent my time reading by the ocean, catching up on work back home, and napping.

6:30pm: Dinner! I like to eat a balanced meal of protein, carbs, and veggies. Todays dinner consisted of fish, asparagus, and quinoa.

7:00pm-10:00pm: More down time. I use this time to try and keep in touch with my friends and family back home and maybe catch up on some TV shows before bed to wind down for the evening.

10:00pm: Bedtime! Tomorrow will be another hard day!

So now you know what it takes to be an athlete in training for the olympics. When people heard I was going to St. Kitts everyone was so jealous because I get to go on another trip.  What they don’t often realize is that it is more hard work and downtime then exploring and getting to do touristy fun things. However, I can’t complain about the weather and appreciate the opportunity 😉

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Canadian Sprinters Head for Warm St Kitts to Train for Pan Am Games

Here is an article about the training camp I am attending and about the hardships Canadian athletes are facing preparing for upcoming championships.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – Canadian sprinters will be heading to St. Kitts after a plan to redevelop Toronto’s Track and Field Centre for the Pan Am Games was scrapped, leaving Canada’s top sprinters outraged.

The group is leaving for a warm-weather camp in Basseterre, St. Kitts on November 20th.

Senior Sports Officer in the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Sports, Mr. Vernon Springer has confirmed that over 30 athletes and officials will spend one month training at St. Kitts’ internationally-recognised Silver Jubilee Athletics Stadium.

He told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) that the team is expected to return in January 2015 using the Silver Jubilee Stadium from the 3rd to the 24th.

“The Canadian Team is also expected to return in 2015 for an eight to nine-month period to live in St. Kitts and train at the Silver Jubilee Stadium in preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio,” Mr. Springer disclosed.

Lori Ewing, writing in the Canadian Press said the $45.5 million CIBC Stadium is beside the fieldhouse and will host track and field for both the Pan Ams and Parapan Ams. It’s jointly funded by the federal government and York University but is owned by the City of Toronto.

And delays in replacing the centre’s indoor track at York University have left the athletes literally out in the cold.

A spokesman for the Pan Am Games organizing committee confirmed that the plans, which included building a new weight room and meeting rooms, and extending the straightaway of the indoor 200- metre track at York, have been cancelled.

“We remain hopeful that the expanded legacy component for the track and field centre will happen post-Games,” said Teddy Katz, the chief spokesman for TO2015.

It’s bad news for Canada’s top sprinters, who are preparing for the Games in a tiny, cramped room at York.

“We had this expectation coming into the year where we thought, ‘This is going to be so amazing, we’re going to have an indoor facility, we felt like we were really being taken care of, Pan Ams are coming so everything is going to be great, and it’s going to be the perfect setup for Rio (2016 Olympics),” said hurdler Phylicia George.

“But it’s been the total flip of that where we’re kind of out on our own, like ‘Figure things out for yourself, and get it done however you can get it done.’ It’s frustrating. We try not to harp on it every day, because that’s the reality of the situation, I still have to train, I still want to go to Pan Ams and compete well, I can’t be sitting down and crying about it.

“We’re doing what we can to make sure we can be ready. But is it optimal situation? No, not at all.”

George, who was sixth in the 100-metre hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics, trains year-round at York with a national training group that includes Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, and the members of Canada’s men’s relay team that won bronze at the 2013 world championships.

A small room inside the fieldhouse – a building that has barely changed since the days Ben Johnson and Angela Issajenko powered down its track – is where they lift weights, receive massages, soak in ice baths and hold meetings. There can be a couple dozen people squeezed in at one time.

There is one squat rack and one lifting platform, so there’s invariably a lineup to use it, George said.

“When it’s really busy, it can get pretty chaotic,” said Dontae Richards-Kwok, a member of Canada’s relay team. “That’s our weight room, that’s where we have our meetings, that’s where we have the treatment people come in. . . we can have two therapists doing massages, and our coaches might be in there, all our backpacks and stuff. You can imagine with 20 people in the room, that’s only 20 feet by 10 feet maybe, it can get pretty hectic.”

Adding to their frustration, problems with the resurfacing of the indoor track have delayed its opening, so the sprinters have been training on another outdoor track at a different location in the city, which they often share

“It’s frustrating,”George said. “You want to know that you can be training at your best, and putting your best in, and it just kind of seems like when these things are planned or done, it wasn’t well thought out, and the athlete’s ability to train wasn’t necessarily taken into consideration.”

George said they haven’t been informed when the track might re-open. The group is leaving for St. Kitts for a warm-weather camp Nov. 20, and she said worst-case scenario is they wouldn’t be back inside before then.

The $45.5-million CIBC Stadium is beside the fieldhouse and will host track and field for both the Pan Ams and Parapan Ams. It’s jointly funded by the federal government and York University but is owned by the City of Toronto.

“York University representatives did participate in conversations about enhancements to the Toronto Track and Field Centre but there was no formal agreement, project plan or budget to move forward,” university spokesperson Joanne Rider said in an email. “We are open to exploring potential enhancements following the Games.”

Katz couldn’t specify the reasons for pulling the plug on the fieldhouse expansion, which Athletics Canada officials applauded when the plan was unveiled two years ago.

“I completely understand (the athletes’) frustration,” said Athletics Canada CEO Rob Guy.

“Here’s these athletes who have put their lives on hold, and are trying to win medals for Canada, and there’s this great opportunity there and there’s as many questions as answers right now.”

The timing of the upheaval, Guy added, couldn’t be worse.

“Brutal. Brutal,” he said. “We’ve got Pan Am Games where we’re being asked to have our best athletes, and the best prepared they can be, and we’ve got a world championships in Beijing in August, and Rio is 650-some odd days away, and we’ve got these issues. It’s not good.”

The July 10-26 Pan Am Games and Aug. 7-15 Parapan Games, which are being held at venues across southern Ontario, are expected to cost about $2.5 billion, including security, transportation and the athletes village.