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 😉




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.

Road to Rio and Beyond

Here is the link to my 2015 training campaign. Help make my dreams of becoming an Olympian a Reality. I love being able to live and train in my hometown of Saskatoon around my family and friends. However, the training conditions in Saskatoon are not ideal for an elite athlete. The cold long winters force us to train indoors. As a 100m Hurdler, I am unable to train for my race as the indoor facilities do not have a straight away long enough to set up 10 hurdles. The track is only available to track athletes from the times of 4:30-6:30 daily. This is not enough time to finish a long, hard workout. To get better, you have to train and compete against the best in your event. To get in good quality races, I have to travel across the country and to the States to get in races that are not available locally.

I have been told to relocate to a high performance training centre to train and work with the best in the sport. However, at this time my bank account and schooling can not afford to do so. Currently I am training in Saskatoon and working with the National Hurdle Coach and training group part-time. This group is located out of Toronto and train down south for a large portion of the year. I have been invited to train with them whenever it works around my schedule. This is a great opportunity but of course with everything has a price tag. I have provincial funding but it does not cover the costs of my expenses for the upcoming season. Therefore am seeking additional help to offset some of these expenses and would be extremely grateful for any support you could provide. It is a big year in the sport as the Olympics are right around the corner.

Gold Medal Plates 2014

Last night I had the honour of attending the Gold Medal Plates Olympic Fundraiser as a “Olympic Hopeful.” Gold Medal Plates is a celebration of Canadian excellence in cuisine, arts, and athletic achievement. The goal of the event is to raise money to support Canada’s high performance athletes.

Some of the top culinary chefs from Saskatoon competed against each other for a spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships. Each chef prepared a small dish that each guest got to go around and sample. There were all kinds of exquisite dishes from lamb to a beef entree covered in bone marrow. My favourite dish featured a black squid taco. I didn’t know what kind of food I was tasting most of the time but each dish was very aesthetically pleasing. Chef Chris Hill from the Delta Bessborough, was crowned the Gold Plates Champion and gets to go on to the 2014 Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna.

During the event I got the chance to meet and chat with past Olympians, which was very inspiring. After the culinary competition, the athletes were seated at a VIP table. I was seated with PAFHQ construction company, whom were great company. All the athletes were introduced on stage as they discussed the goals and history behind the event.

Overall there was great food, entertainment, and company. It was a fun event for a great cause. The financial burden of competing at an elite level is the number one reason athletes drop out of sport. As a young and upcoming athlete myself, it is a struggle to make ends meet between school, track and keeping a part time job. It was nice to see such a great turnout of people supporting then next generation of athletes on route to Rio 2016 and beyond.

Processed with Moldiv

Gold Medal Plates 2014


Proper nutrition and hydration plays a major role in an athletes success. I work very closely with a nutritionist to try and find a balanced diet that will fuel my heavy training schedule. Dehydration is an issue I have trouble with as I find it hard to keep hydrated. I have a water bottle with me at all times but I never know how much water is enough. The other day I discovered a new invention coming out early 2015 that is probably going to be my new best friend. It is called the “Vessyl.” The Vessyl is a smart cup that knows the makeup and tracks everything you drink. Features of the Vessyl include:

-Lose Weight: It tracks your liquid calories over the course of the day and week. You might be surprised the amount of calories you consume from your drinks. “Beverages are the #1 single source of calories.”
-Stay Hydrated: Get to your Pryme Zone during the day so you can perform your best
-Regulate Caffeine: Stay sharp but not jittery. Vessyl will help you smooth out your consumption
-Build Muscle: Track protein and recovery beverages to get the most out of your workouts.
-Sleep Better: Learn how to choose and time your beverage intake to get quality sleep
-Curb Sugar: There is nothing sweet about having too much sugar.

I think this cup will help me a lot with my nutrition and hydration, which is one of my main goals to work on this coming season. I thought that I would share this because it could be beneficial to many people. It always amazes me with the things people come up with now a days. This is the first of many products “Mark One” is coming up with to help track your nutrition. The founder came up with the idea because he believes tracking your nutrition is just as if not more important than tracking your exercise like many other gadgets out there.

Use this link to check out the Vessyl. Help me get my vessel for free. For every person that used this link to order their own Vessyl, I will get $10 off my order 🙂

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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