Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't Forget Your Passport

One of my favourite aspects of sport has always been the travel. Unfortunately, it is not always as glamorous as it sounds to travel the world. I have been to a handful of exciting cities/countries, but then my adventure and sightseeing is limited to the hotel, track and whatever is in between! On occasion I find extra time and energy to explore my surroundings and learn a little something about the corner of the world in which I happen to be.

In just over a week, my coach, my training mates, and I will make our way to Tenerife, a Spanish island, in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. We will enjoy 11 days of training in the sun and weather in the area of 25 degrees Celsius. After travel and rest days, I will have 15 training sessions and begin to technically attack my events and prepare for competitions.

When we return to Holland, I will then start with a few small evening competitions and test my hurdles, shot put, long jump, and 200m. The other events, high jump, javelin and 800m are solid for the heptathlon out of training.

From there, I will make my way to the north of Italy, to Desenzano del Garda. Here I will open my heptathlon season and compete at the 22nd meeting of Multistars. The date of the competition is May 09-10, 2009. With the confidence that training has been going well, I hope to surpass the 6000point milestone for the heptathlon.

This goal will serve to help me get one-step closer to qualifying for the World Championships, but in addition, when I am over 6000points I have been extended a invitation to compete in the prestigious Götzis Hypo Meeting, at the end of May in Götzis, Austria. (Plan B will be to attend a competition at this time in Arles, France).

Travel, travel travel, throughout Europe, and then back across the ocean to Canada. I will return to Canada in mid-June and focus on the Canadian National Track and Field Championships, held in Toronto, Ontario, and qualification for the World Championships, which will send me back across the ocean to Europe, to compete in Berlin, Germany!

Phew, lots to see and do ... passport in hand and off I go! Wish me luck!

Your Athlete,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Success Has Its Price: Sacrifice

One of the more famous quote from Bill Cosby, which I find helps me on my journey, is: In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

Fear is a natural part of growing up. Fears are always with us; they just change as we grow up. When you are young, a list of common fears includes the dark, the silence, the bogeyman; the list is endless. Fear arises when we are insecure and uncertain. But we need to learn to embrace the fear, to accept it, and use it to our advantage.

Of course, I sacrifice many things to pursue my athletic dream. However, I do not think I have sacrifice things I cannot do in the future. I still have a handful of ambitious and not so ambitions goals for later in my life and I do not think I am giving them up at this moment – it is just that I have put them in the future, instead of pursuing them now.

My journey has been adventurous, and living abroad, in the Netherlands, has taught me a great deal about myself. For instance, moving here at age 24 I did not know the first thing about buying my own groceries, or cooking edible and tasty food – bit of a spoiled kid I guess! The most important on the list of discoveries however, is that it taught me that I am strong and independent enough to stand on my own, but I need people.

So back to understanding what I sacrifice now, I think the hardest to handle is being away from my family, and closet of friends. I have lost boyfriends, missed important weddings, missed my university reunions, and Tuesday movie night!

I think it is sometimes the silly little comforts of home I also miss big time. Luckily, I had space in my luggage coming back this time around to bring with me: Honey Nut Cheerios, Kraft Dinner, banana bread cookies, Coffee Crisp bars, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup, and Tim Hortons Coffee … all to embrace small moments of home, so far away!

When it comes to fear beyond giving something up, I have fears related directly to my goals as an athlete. I have a goal and I am making all these previously mentioned sacrifices as the price to pursue my goal. I know that I want to live my life without regrets. I do not want to wake up at 35 and wonder if I could have done it. Therefore, I am trying and I will know one way or the other. Nevertheless, I worry what it my ultimately mean to me if I do not make it all the way. Will a part of me feel like it is missing, and leave me feeling as if I have a sort of phantom limb syndrome? There are a millions steps to be taken in pursuit of my goal. Will people still remember the in between steps I achieved if I do not get all the way?

Well that is an attempt to express my fear in words. But you know what Mr. Bill Cosby, you can beat your bottom dollar I want success more than I am afraid to fail; I want this badly enough! As hard as it gets some days, and it gets hard, I close my eyes some nights and I can almost see it, feel it, taste it even – that end result. It is there just waiting for me to come get it. Even if it is hard one day, the joy is still there so I am able to get up each day and train hard, with passion.

Your Athlete,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thank you, Thank you!

Hello All,

Wow, what a week! It was nice to be home, even if it went by so quickly.

It was an absolute pleasure and experience to meet you all on Tuesday and Wednesday. You all left me feeling a little like a celebrity and I cannot even fully describe that feeling and my thanks for all you have brought to my life and training. Your cards and letters are great and I will treasure them.

Thank you all very much again, for your support and encouragement!

Now on to phase two of the year. Phase one was a build up of strength and fitness and preparation. Now we will spend the next 6 weeks building speed and working on technique and be ready for competitions starting in late April!

Your Athlete,