The last two weeks were a really good early season test of where I am at. I went to Paris for a training camp, with team mate Kelly and coach Denis. We trained at INSEP which is the national sport centre in France and is filled with super athletes across a number of sports. There were a lot of highlights. For sure, training in such a nice facility was one – basically all sports are represented there. The track is housed in a very cool building; imagine a big track, with then a small banked track inside it and a shortened velodrome for cyclists.
Leaving Winnipeg following the Bison Classic track meet, the same feeling I after the last few weekends hit me – happy to put together decent performances but certainly leaving a lot to be desired. Out of necessity (but also cause I really enjoy it), I compete a lot in the individual events in the early season. The last weekends have looked like Edmonton – Portland – Edmonton – Montreal – Winnipeg, for individual event meets.
My focus during this part of the season is typically in the individual events. I try to compete a ton to get in the quality work that will have me ready for full pentathlon's. This has been one of the privileges of the sport as I've been adopted in so many different sport communities. Two weeks ago I was in Edmonton for a track meet, which is where I am departing from today after another meet. In between I was in Portland for a fencing tourney. All very cool experiences. I am running well, after 5 events in 14 days, I am happy with 4 of them.
Today is Wednesday. And last night I slept really well. Sunday and Monday night were not so nice... The 2011 Pan Am Games were a really good opportunity for me to qualify for London 2012. After 2 weeks at altitude in Colorado Springs and 5 days in Guadalajara, I was as ready as one could possibly be. I felt good. Through crappy weather the first few days in Mexico, we managed to creatively reorganize our training with the help of our COC Games staff. On Saturday the women competed, and Canada qualified its first pentathlete for London - Mel.
It would not come as a surprise to say that things in the village and the competition site are not fully prepared yet. I love Mexico, but even I am a bit surprised. That's life though and none of us seem to be discouraged; amused perhaps. After three nights here, we've got our team gear, developed relationships with our support staff. We have an awesome team doctor, Dory Boyer, and physio, Kitiji. My home physiotherapist is also here as team staff so I'm quite fortunate.
Following two weeks training at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, our team of Mel, Donna, Chris, coaches John and Denis and I, are heading to Guadalajara tomorrow for the Pan American Games. Training here has been quite nice. The altitude makes training tough, but has provided a good adaptation for us. The facilities are amazing here and many American athletes train and live here.
Upon returning from NORCECA Championships, life accelerated forward quickly as per the norm. Training has been quite good overall. I feel some speed in my legs on the track after a long season of quality work. Typically in a year, I would use the XC/indoor/outdoor track seasons as high quality training. This worked through my university career as the timing was right on. This season and last though, the pentathlon season has gone late into the year, so I haven't been able to get the fitness early enough and as a result, race, as I'd like to. This means that I am on the track late in the season, often with a smaller group, or alone, as my colleagues are wrapping up their season. It's hard to believe my team mates on the track are prepping for XC season in the fall, and I'll still be competing until mid October! That is the same case in the pool, as the team I train with is at Nationals and Age Group Nationals. Thankfully my Patriots' coach gave me the workouts to take me through the summer.
On June 14,·our team of five·athletes and two coaches arrived·arrived in Guadalajara Mexico for a 10 day training camp, and to compete at the NORCECA (North, Central America, Caribbean) Championships. The competition was the test event for the Pan American Games and took place primarily at the Club Hipica, where eventing (show jumping, cross country and dressage)·will also take place during the Games. Training here was a positive experience as it exposed us to different weather, altitude, facilities, and training partners. John and Denis did a commendable job driving, which provided a good dose of amusement everyday.
Nothing like writing a massive blog post and then losing it. OK, here we go again. Mel emailed me 13 training anecdotes to succeed that someone compiled along the way. It is a good reminder of why we pursue excellence in sport and what it takes. Among the 13 items; Know Your Sport's history, Train in 72 hour blocks (yesterday, today, and tomorrow), Train Specificity Under Fatigue, and the gem - JFT - Just F-ing Train. JFT projects that sometimes too much analysis may not bring success and that sometimes you just have to put in the work. The crux of the 13 points is that sport is a journey and there is no perfect answer or approach. We remain students of the lifestyle until we leave our sport behind.
I've spent my first night in Budapest, having arrived yesterday. It was a bit of·a stressed flight coming over but it all worked out. Except for being short a bag. Other than that, all is well. My bag arrived today, which was unexpected. My coach had to get a bit assertive with the airport staff to get it. Tomorrow the women are up in the semi-final. I compete the following day (Friday). I felt better today than I did in Italy which is a positive sign. In Italy I was a bit tired and John, our coach, thought I looked worn down. I am hoping to having a strong meet here, of course. I guess that goes without saying. This time, I feel that pressure more than normal, simply because despite a good pre-season and a lot of work, I have not performed well yet. I have had good workouts and am fit. I've had good technical training as well. For whatever reason, whether psychological or otherwise, I just have not shown it yet.
The second World Cup of the season was supposed to be an opportunity to build off of Palm Springs and apply the changes I'd made it workout. Unfortunately, and oddly, it went the other way. I had a real struggle through my semi-final. I swam on the slow end of what I would consider acceptable. I fenced poorly. And my run/shoot was nothing stellar. It's frustrating when the building blocks are in place and one has faith that the performance will follow, yet it is not in site. Last season I felt new highs and my goal was to retain the level I finished with. Sport is a fickle beast sometimes and nothing is promised. So yeah, I'm a bit down. There were pieces that were good and I will hold onto those and take them forward. That is where the lessons come from, and I have to believe I will find my stride. This was a huge World Cup and many strong athletes did not reach the final. I don't find solace in that, however, it is a reality.
The Mexican Open meet was a success overall. It gave me a chance to compete again which was the main focus. I had a solid fence (3rd), and swim (considering the 7000 ft altitude). I rode well, putting me into fourth position. In the combined event, I had a strong first shoot, moving up to the 3rd. Unfortunately the second shoot was weak and I fell to 10, where despite a good third series, I wasn't able to move up from.
Life is entering the whirlwind stage now.... I left for Detroit last weekend for a North American Cup div 2 fencing tourney. There were 93 men, and I won which was great. I fenced quite well consistently throughout, and there were a couple matches I had to come back from behind so it was rewarding to test myself in that regard. We flew to Windsor and drove to Detoit. Interesting city to come into, very different experience.
Hello. So tough go Friday in the semi-final. The field was quite big, about 85 athletes. I needed to be top 12 in the pool and finished about 17 or 18. I could have moved up but had a poor shoot. My fitness is coming along, but I'm not there yet. The new laser system was a bit of a tough transfer of skills and I have a lot of work to do.
Finally, Sunday, which means tomorrow I can relax.... Well sort of. No training as I've raced all weekend. But my massage therapist is still scheduled to beat me up a bit and I have a little photo session with Kendra Dombowsky, who has put together some awesome shots for me. Otherwise, rest. I ran a 1000m and 1500m at Golden Bear in Edmonton Friday and Saturday. Ran 10 seconds off best times in both. Which was disappointing, but realistic given I've been sick last week and still feel weak. I also didn't rest going into the meet is it is more of a training exercise. But expectations are always high.
We are wrapped up in Palm Springs now. I finished 4th, so out of the medals. It was a good meet considering I am not rested and came to get an early season run through. Felt I met my goals in each area. Never an exciting story when I describe it this way, but the reality is a lot of the competitions we do are just to get valuable experience.
Our family had an excellent Christmas together. We spent it in Mexico. The highlight (beyond training in the sun and playing beach volleyball all day) was running into a number of athletes. In particular, I met Simon Lessing who if I recall correctly won triathlon World Champs an unheard of number of times (5?) and his wife, who's name escaped me but who went to the Olympics 4 times! She's a runner and raced the 10,000m to the marathon. Bet they make some fit babies. Haha. I also ran into Mark Tewksbury and his partner Rob. It was kinda random as they were roaming the beach and I was just sitting with my family watching the waves. It was out of context for both of us. And we had a great chat.
Back into normal training this week, and feeling it top to bottom. I thought it would be fun to race an 800m on the indoor track at Jack Simpson Saturday. This was after my first day on the track Thursday and some overall good training that week. I wanted to see how I'd respond to fatigue and little training. I went 2:03, which is really slow no doubt, but I was quite pleased overall. Back to the routine work now. Will race a couple swims this Fri/Sat as well.
On Sunday, the women's team and men's team contested the relay event. Melanie and Donna got the two spots for the women. They had an average day from the beginning through the ride, but a strong combined which was really exciting to watch brought them up from 4th to 2nd. I cheered and yelled really hard, along with Mathea and our coaches.
Competing tomorrow. Feel pretty good. Today, we went to the facility. It looked ok. Photo attached of the fencing venue. Had a good swim, fencing lesson, and run/shoot. So far, I've seen the Americans, Cubans, Brazilians, Chileans, Ecuador, Dominicana, Guatemala, Venezuala and Panama.
Spent the weekend in Edmonton and Saskatoon at two different fencing tournaments. They both went pretty average, but good reps against good fencers, especially in Saskatoon. Big strong farm boys who bout hard. haha. Anyway, I'm in Rio now for the Pan American Championships.
I am in Ottawa for the week, training with my close friend and team mate Mel. I left Wednesday night for AthletesCAN's Forum which was hosted near Ottawa in Gatineau. On thursday morning, we did the fourth annual KidsCAN School Day, which was a lot of fun.
Err, just wrote this blog but lost it. Gotta love technology sometimes. Here we go again.
Riding and training in general are going really well at this camp outside Rome. The pentathlon centre here is pretty cool - everything is on site and it's pretty small and quaint with about 10 rooms for guests. I lifted weights yesterday and the equipment was super old-school. The best part of lifting was the ''Impossible is Nothing'' Adidas poster hanging in this little gym. I thought that was a good source of inspiration while lifting alone.
Saturday, as I was fencing at the Hokkaido Cup in Red Deer, I should have been on a plane to Rome for a training camp. Apparantly I thought it was Sunday I was leaving. At the least the fencing tournament went fairly well to make it worthwhile. Saturday I have a fit as I realize I've missed my flight.
I think this was week one back at it, as far as near-full training. Load is probably 85%. Everything hurts, top to bottom, that started Tuesday which wasn't a great sign for the week ahead. I lacked any speed in the pool from the accumulated fatigue, but it's all good - that's how things start out till I adapt.
A few weeks to catch up on here. I would have hoped to get the updates Blog-wise happening faster, but I’ve been on the run.
I suppose the last chance I had to write this was a week ago while flying back from Guatemala, but I was tired… So here it is today, whilst flying to Hungary. The mission continues, to pursue as many points as possible to earn a spot for London. Obviously, and if you’ve read previous posts you know, the level of pressure is high.
Recently the IOC made a bold decision to recommend wrestling's removal from the Olympic program.
I love the Olympic Games and have had a passion from a young age. My life seems to have a srong affinity toward understanding Olympic matters.
I am excited to share news the COC sent last week. Ohenawa Akuffo (Wrestling), Elise Marcotte (Synchronized Swimming) and myself are going to Greece to attend a conference that brings about 200 athletes from around the world together for two weeks (June 11 - 25).
This is a post I intended to write immediately after the clinic, but I hadn’t found the right moment to let my thoughts out. And because this was such a powerful and nearly perfect experience, I was/am intimidated I wouldn’t/ won’t get it right. Kady Hobbins posted a review (thanks!) and with that, I felt I had to get this out of my head and onto my computer, so at the least it is preserved for me to tell my kids about someday, with some degree of accuracy.
Last week I started back to training, lightly. This week, a little more pressure. It's a nice time of year in some ways (despite cold and lack of sunlight) because I return to a routine I've known for years. I returned to our indoor track at the Olympic Oval and because of the transition that the XC runners are doing now, I was on my own running through our normal warmup path. Normally I'd rather have the group, but it was a good time to run alone through the dark, cold, crisp, but special route.
The community of Delacour is hosting a fundraiser - Delacour 2012 - on November 19. This will be a super fun event with Tom Ponting MCing, Dr. Steve Norris Speaking, and entertainment from the Keister Family Fiddlers, as well as live and silent auctions. Take a look at the attached brochure below and if you are free that evening, please come and have some fun.
Flew to Palm Springs today for the first World Cup of the season. Lots of interesting developments in the world of pent. The second WC, to be held in March is cancelled as it was scheduled for Cairo. That's a shame as I don't think they will be replacing the competition elsewhere, but perhaps they will, hard to know.