Monday, September 5, 2011

Disappointed is an Understatement!

I am back in San Diego now after travelling home from Daegu on Friday. I have now had almost a week to reflect on my race last week and it has been really challenging to get over my disappointment. The following are my thoughts on how I finished 37th place with a time of 1:43:31.

My training had been going very well leading up to going to Korea. Upon arrival at the pre-camp in Changwon City I had what I believe to be my best training ever and I was feeling great. Training in Korea was a bit up and down because of the weather. The weather during the pre-camp was cool but had pretty high humidity which drove up my heart rate a lot. My one harder workout while I was there went very well though and so it made me feel pretty confident for the race. Once we traveled to Daegu we got a drastic change in the weather. It was extremely hot and we had the normal humidity and so the temperatures went from about 20c in Changwon City to well over 30c in Daegu. This was a huge change for me, especially coming from San Diego. Training went well the first few days there and then 3 days before the race I started to notice that my heart rate went up considerably, way higher than it should have been even for the weather conditions. I also noticed that it was beginning to be harder to take deep breaths at any time during the day. I expressed my concern to our team doctor and we decided that it would be good for me to try and use an inhaler to open up my chest. I also started taking Singulair which is an allergy/asthma medication to see if that would help also. I noticed no difference. I was feeling very scared because I knew that this would be a problem for the race and there was nothing else I could do to try and fix it.

I felt good in the warm up and was hoping for the best. I kept cool before the race by putting bags of ice on me as we waited to be called out to the start line. My plan for the race was to stay with a group of walkers that had similar personal bests and seasons best as me so that I would have people to walk with and fight. When the gun went off I stayed at the back of the big pack which started off really slow. We went through the first km in 4:52 which was even a bit slower than I was planning to start off at so I was happy about that. I stayed in the same position until the group started to spread out. I stayed with the group of girls that I had planned on being with and went through the first 5km's in 23:57 which was right around where I thought I should be. After that point I started to feel myself struggling a bit to stay with the girls I was with. I started to drop off and feel worst and worst. By 8km's I felt as though I was loosing control of my body and every km seemed to get slower and slower. Went through 10km's in 48:39 which, even though it was slower than the first 5km's, wasnt too bad but I knew it was just going to get worst and it did. My breathing became more labored and my body heavy. I felt as though I could only control that my body was still in motion but not the speed or effort that I was moving. In my head I thought that I must have been going 7 minutes per km and didnt want to look at my splits to see what they actually were. People that were watching me race on tv or in person were saying that I was swaying and looked as though I was going to collapse. I knew in my head that I could collapse but didnt know if it would happen before or after I crossed the finish line. I was determined to finish since I didnt go all the way to Korea to drop out. I ended up collapsing at the finish line and started cramping really bad in my left hamstring. The pain was unbearable and I had to be taken away on a stretcher. I was just thankful to be done.

After talking to the Canadian medical and coaching staff, we determined that I was dehydrated. Despite my best efforts hydrating in the days leading up to the race, I obviously failed myself with balancing between water, electrolytes and sodium intake. This is the first time that this has ever happened to me and I am very disappointed that my result came from something that could have been prevented. I am embarrassed about it because I know to everyone it seems like "how could you not have been drinking enough?". Trust me, I was drinking a lot, I was going to the bathroom very often throughout the day and I wasnt just drinking water. In my opinion, I think the biggest thing I was lacking was sodium. I am not used to adding salt to my food when I am in the USA but the food in the village was prepared with little to no salt and so I was not getting enough in my food or in other areas of my diet on the trip.

I can go over and over what happened and why it happened but it doesnt matter now. I am going to move on from this now and not dwell on the performance and the mistakes ive made. I have had an amazing season so far and I have achieved so much so far that I will not look back on 2011 and only think of my result in Daegu. Instead I will think of the Canadian record that I broke and beating my personal best by almost 4 minutes.

I am now continuing to train for 3 more weeks as I prepare for my final race of the season on September 24th in Naumburg, Germany. I fly to Dusseldorf, Germany on Monday and will stay with Sabine and Bastian Krantz again before the race. I am looking forward to finishing off my season strong and putting revenge on how I did in Daegu.

Thanks for all the support that you have all given me through my good and bad times. It helps me move on to the next race and fight for better!

Keep on walking,


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