Monday, August 31, 2009

Champion In Woerden!


Susan Coltman is back and has a new personal record of 5895 points! This weekend I was the champion of Woerden International Combined Events Competition and took my first podium finish at the senior level! It was a solid collection of results, with just hurdles and high jump as personal event records, but overall enough to amount to a six point improvement in my overall score, raising it from 5889 points to 5895 points!

After my share of disappointments and frustration this past season, I cannot fully express what a feeling it is to have been out there this weekend with a smile on my face event to event and enjoying my talents and seeing the benefit of just relaxing and letting a good performance happen! Thanks to my coach Bart Bennema and to Tom Patrick, sport psychologist, for bringing me to this moment!

I found this quote today, and I think it is very appropriate to share at this moment: Robert H. Schuller - "Tough times never last, but tough people do."

Tomorrow I fly back to Canada and take a small rest, before some serious training leading into the Francophone Games - October 03/04.

Your Athlete,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's Coming Back


Well, I'm smiling and happy to say I'm getting it back in competition! Today was day one of the competition and finally my first personal best result of the season, coming from hurdles and high jump! This weekend the focus is about keeping things simple, just smiling, enjoying and thinking about just one simple cue for each event - and it's working!

Today's results were 13.62 sec on the hurdles. And high jump was the best comeback, clearing 1.73m on my first attempt. My previous competition was the Canadian National Championships where I had a very disappointing and slightly shocking 1.61m final clearance. I opened the competition jumping 1.58m, and jumped clean through 1.61, 1.64, 1.67, 1.70*pb, and 1.73*pb ... well officially my pb in high jump stands at 1.76, taking off from the left leg, but with the switch in take off this past year to my right, my best clearance to date has been 1.69m earlier this year in Italy and France. Then to the shot, only 13.02m. I had a solid warm up for this event and was hitting close to the 14m line, but then in competition I started to feel that mental pressure of "I wanna throw now over 14" and I shut down a little. But I was ok, I relaxed after that throw and was focused to just run the 200m, and it was ok - 24.98sec. Not a pb, but def a solid time and basically can improve yet. After 150m my fitness was failing me, but that will come back , so no worries.

All in all, a solid first day and great sense of relief that things are going back in the right direction and I'm enjoying myself out there :> Now to keep smiling and enjoy day two - longjump, javelin, and 800m!

Your Athlete,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Competition Time


Well after 3 weeks of rest following the nationals, travelling back to Holland and adjusting once again the jetlag, and 6 weeks of training, I'm ready to get out there and compete! This weekend I will be competing in a heptathlon at a mini-international competition in Woerden, in the south of Holland. I say "mini" as in previous years the competition was at a higher level and more international competitors, but anyway it is still a good competition and a nice way to enjoy my last few days in Holland. Tuesday, back home in Canada!

Woerden International Combined Events Competition 2007

Here is a link the the compeition: And for those interested in following results, just click on "Uitslagen" on the left hand menu.

Wish me luck!!!

Your Athlete,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Change Can Be A Good Thing


Well, I hope you are enjoying the final days of your summer holiday! Almost time for school to start again ... sorry, possible sore subject?! hehe

Things are going ok on this end. One week till my heptathlon competition in Woerden and I’m actually getting excited to get out there and compete – been some time since I could actually say that! Training is going well, and I’m gaining one or two things in each event at the moment that I think I can carry through next weekend and play with to just enjoy competing and put less focus on results! Here’s hoping!

I have had a few emotional days making possible final preparations with Bart and discussing options for next year (whether to train here in Holland or go home to Canada!). He’s now gone on holiday, so we have said our goodbyes which this time was much less dramatic in feeling than when I left in June! I think this time around the difference is the sense of rest from what happened this season to date and where I’m heading next year. I was having a hard time shaking this feeling of being scared and unwilling to leave here, but after talking to some good friends, I think I know why.

The hardest part of saying goodbye to Bart was this fear of losing his friendship when I stay in Canada. However, when I’m honest with myself, going home to train does make sense and helps me be in the best position for 2012 qualification. Then a friend pointed out to me that Bart will always be like family to me and we’ll find ways to stay in touch – think about the reverse, living in Holland at the moment I manage to stay in touch with family and friends ok back home!

It’s just that after 4 years together I am very comfortable working with Bart and value his friendship. But I guess this is just part of our journey. He made a joke 4 years ago that if I was serious about training I needed to be here in Holland and he would coach me. Ultimately the joke was on him, because I packed my bags, arranged a visa and showed up ready to train! Thing is, at that moment, it was just what I needed – I saw the opportunity of a fresh start and someone who believed in me, someone who taught me to believe in myself!

Now, compared to 4 years ago, I have a strong PB in the heptathlon, a world ranking, and potential to improve much further still! I am aware of what works and what doesn’t work and finally financially independent as a full-time athlete! All in all, I’m in a position to stand up for myself and not just ask, but demand the best for me!

So, I’m opening myself up to the idea of training with Andy Higgins in Toronto or Les Gramantik in Calgary. I’m ready to embrace this opportunity to challenge myself on new fronts and get back to my roots. But it’s a funny thing about coming home – looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you. After 4 years at university in America and 4 years living in Holland, it feels strange to come “home” to Canada and realize just how much I’ve changed since I left.

I’ve always considered myself a free spirit, go where the wind goes and take chances. I say to myself I am independent, hardworking and stubborn enough to handle what life throws me. I always trust that my family will love me whether I win or lose the various battles, and home would always be there when I was ready – I just didn’t think home would come so soon.

I had hoped Bart would be my coach throughout my career, bring me all the way – that we would stand together in London in 2012, and feel proud of our 7 year partnership and journey. Because of that hope, I felt at first that I was failing to make Holland work. Like going home was some sort of consolation. Then I stopped myself and took a good long look at this past year: how tough it was, how often I struggled and how lost I felt the past few months. Going home is not a consolation at all. It’s just realizing my limits and saying, I need my family and friends – there’s nothing defeated about that!

If I could have the best of both worlds, I would pack Bart in my suitcase and bring him with me, but his life is here. He’s shaping up to be a top coach in Holland and has his own journey to take. Therefore, our paths may soon part as coach and athlete, but I know as friends, we’ll always stay in touch.

Then again, nothing is truly decided for next year and beyond! For now I’ll try stay focused on the upcoming two competitions and getting back to just enjoying my talent as a track athlete! Come October, I’ll take the necessary time to make the best choice for myself and how to proceed forward!

Your Athlete,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Since We Last Spoke . . .

Hello Again!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer vacation! Location wise I find myself back in Holland till the end of August.

My goal this year was to achieve 6000 points and qualify for the World Championships, however I didn't reach my goal. After finishing second at the Canadian National Championships and a score of only 5710 points, I took a break from training. I enjoyed being home with family and friends, and lots of good food without following an eating schedule!

While I was home, I requested the help of Sport Canada and found myself in the hands of a sport psychologist working out of Toronto. Tom is working to help “normalize” my experience of this past year and bring my awareness to the fact that every athlete will experience a moment like this in his or her career, more or less.

Our primary goal is about clearing my expectations and learning to get back to enjoying my sport. I am taking some space and rest from times, distances, standards and the milestone of 6000 points, which I chased all year. I am trying to gain some perspective on these goals to understand their true place.

This year, I was faced with a reality check of sorts. I came to Holland this year prepared to train hard and adjust to a new setting. However, I ask now if it was too much of a good thing?! I thought it was great, training in a great location, great coach, training mates and what seemed an ideal living situation. However, it was all track! The largest difficulty I had this year was that I lacked a support system. I had just me here and it was just training and recovery, training and recovery. With that, more and more of my identity became wrapped up in my performance. Therefore, at this moment I need to learn to remove my self worth from falling short.

Things are going well. I am learning to keep things simple and get back to enjoying just the movements of my sport. I am feeling sure that I will be stronger for going through this year and be ready to resume my path to London, 2012 Olympics!

For now, my plan is to compete in Woerden, The Netherlands (August 29/30) and to finish off my season, I will compete at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Beirut, Lebanon (October 03/04).

Your Athlete,