Friday, July 25, 2008
I was boarding a plane on monday from Toronto to Vienna and realized that the next time I would be taking off I would be heading to China. This week was my last competition before the Olympics and as I sat on that eight hour flight over to Europe I couldn't get that out of my head. Since my injury in April I have been out of the competitive scene until now and knew how important this competition would be for me. It wasn't just another chance for me to be out on that carpet, but a chance to get my confidence up. It was my Olympic practice run. I have been working so hard these past couple of months to be ready for the Games and unfortunately with my ankle I couldn't be competing all this time for practice. So when I arrived here in Varna, Bulgaria I was anxious to get out there in front of the crowd. We did run into a few surprises once we were here though. We ended up making it to the hotel Tuesday night after a very long day and a half of traveling. I flew over with my coach, Mimi, and my teammate, Demi, and we were all exhausted and just wanted to sleep. My coach received the competition schedule right when we walked in and thought there was some sort of mistake. Apparently, the schedule had been changed and instead of competing friday and saturday we would be starting on thursday! We had to train the next day only once coming off 30 hours of traveling and a very jet lagged sleep before we competed. This was definitely not the best news to get the second we got here. Honestly, when things like that happen you just have to roll with it. There was obviously nothing we could do and no sense getting upset about it. Well, I can say that now, but at the time I was pretty upset. I wanted a better preparation than that. The day after any long flights are usually a write off. Your head is not all there, your legs are tired and don't even get me started on jumping. I basically feel like I can't get two feet off the ground, BUT I have to say that when you put something in your head you can do anything. After I was initially a little disappointed about the whole situation I knew I had to have a good practice on wednesday to feel ready to go on thursday. So I really focused all my energy on training well. I'm not going to say it was easy because it wasn't. I didn't feel that great, but I pulled it together and even though we were up at 6:30am running on only a few hours of sleep it went better than expected. My energy was there, which was a nice surprise. I guess my two training camps in Spain and Toronto have really helped get me into shape. The biggest challenge of the day was not falling asleep in the afternoon so I could get a full eight hours at night before the competition. That was the hardest part of the trip. I don't know how we did it, but I think it was all that european coffee in the morning because we managed to make it through the day without fading. So it's the day of my first real competition since April and I am excited and nervous. Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
A year ago I would've never believed you if you told me I was going to be on the cover of a magazine. Well, as it would happen, this month I'm on the cover of CHATELAINE!!!! I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy that is to me. At first I thought it was pretty cool, but I've done photo shoots and stuff before so I wasn't that excited. Then I got flown out to Montreal for a day for the shoot and met my long time idol Perdita Felicien and the funniest fencer in the world Sherraine Schalm. We had the most amazing day. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my life. The photographer was definitely starting to lose his patience with us by the end of the day. The best was when he told us to look sexy and we all put on the goofiest faces ever. That was priceless. All three of us had to wear white and got to try on so many designer duds. We were all in heaven. I definitely wore the Prada shoes even though our feet were not in the shot at all. It was probably the coolest thing I've ever gotten to do through my sport and it was in support of all female Canadian athletes. It really couldn't have gotten any better.
I can't believe the last time I wrote was two weeks ago. I have that whole eat, sleep, breathe gymnastics mentality going right now and somewhere along the way I totally neglected my blog. I can honestly say that nothing that exciting has been happening, so you haven't missed anything important. The day after I got back from Spain I started my training camp in Toronto and it was just as intense as I imagined it would be. The only really great part was I had two of my teammates with me, Ali and Demi. Even though we were in the gym every day the time seemed to fly by while they were with me. It's such a different atmosphere training with friends than by yourself. We have all seen each other at our best and worst and no matter what are there for each other. The second I was getting frustrated in the gym, all I had to do was see a huge smile from Demi or a comforting look from Ali and I would instantly feel better. They can read me so well after basically living with each other 24/7 all over the world for weeks at a time. They know my moods and exactly what I'm thinking without even talking to me. They gave me a chance to really enjoy my last training camp in Toronto and not let the pressure get to me. I haven't trained so well and so consistently in the past year than I did these past few weeks. It made me realize just how much I'm going to miss them after this crazy journey is over. After the Olympics I have decided to take the year off so last week was maybe the last time Demi, Ali and I will ever train together. It's really sad to even think about. I know that I will always remember this summer before the Olympics and will always remember the three of us. Thanks for the never ending love and support girls! When I need some extra motivation I know exactly who to come to....
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I am so happy I didn't miss the event this year. Even though I was a bit jet lagged from my trip the day before, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. The HBC Run for Canada is on July 1st and it's basically a huge fundraiser for us Canadian amateur athletes. Anyone can come and participate in a 10k run, a 1k kids run and/or a 3k jog/walk down by the lake shore. All the proceeds go to supporting the athletes and this year they raised about $2 million dollars! I don't think I've seen a bigger turnout of supporters and there were a lot of Olympic bound athletes in these very cool personalized shirts helping out all day. I think my favorite part was watching the little kids do their 1k run and giving them their medals afterwards. The competitiveness definitely comes out and there were a few tears shed of course, but it's adorable and I love it.
I had to be up at around 5:45am to get down by the water for 7am, but it was worth it. The day always flies by and it was a lot of fun. It was so great to see so many athletes I hadn't seen in over a year! I was catching up with people that I was at Pan Ams with last July and meeting new athletes from the GTA. We were sharing stories, joking around and supporting all the runners. I find it so funny that none of the athletes run the 10k, but there's really no need to risk injury this year of all years. We just always laugh about it because there are some pretty intense hardcore runners that show up to the event and could probably outrun and outlast us all!
Anyways, I was asked at the end of the day to say a little thank you on behalf of all the athletes and I was very honored to do so. Of course I was pretty nervous to get up in front of the thousands of people that showed up for the day, but it went really well. I don't know why I stress so much before I speak because when I actually get up there you can't shut me up. Funny huh?
My good friend, Ohenewa Akuffo, who just happens to be Canadian Wrestling Champion and Olympic bound as well spent the whole day with me (check us out in my pic). I hadn't seen her since I left for Spain and it was so great to have a little fun outside the gym or the clinic. Thanks for making the Run that much better! See you at the clinic :)
For next year anyone interested in the Run for Canada check out www.hbc.com and come support your athletes!!!! THANKS HBC!
I have to say I was a little sad to leave Marbella last week. We woke up at 4am in the pitch black morning to catch our flight to Paris. There were still tons of people on the streets coming home from their night out and the warm breeze coming off the water made me want to just sit on the beach and watch the sunrise. When we took off it was starting to get light out and there were absolutely no clouds in the sky so I said goodbye to Spain for the last time properly.
So after a long and delayed flight from Paris we got back to Toronto last sunday afternoon and I don't think I even smiled until I came around the corner through customs and saw my mom waiting for me. That's my favorite part of any trip. Coming back from wherever you were and seeing your family or friends standing there because they missed you. It was the perfect homecoming. I noticed her immediately. My mom is a pretty cool lady. She has this awesome Victoria Beckham inspired hairstyle and an everyday killer orange purse (which I absolutely love and want to steal). Let's just say she's pretty noticeable. I hope I get that from her someday.
Anyways, I don't think I've ever talked so much in my life from the airport to our house. I got so excited to see her and I wanted to tell her everything about my trip. I think it hit me that it's July and I leave for Beijing in a month!!!! I have one more little trip and then the next time I pack my bags it's for the Olympics! That is so CRAZY!!! It could be also that after my training camp in Spain I feel like I've improved so much and am really ready to compete. I left all my insecurities and doubts over in Spain that first week and I'm feeling good. I've got my confidence up and am sooo ready to get our there and compete. A few days ago I checked my email and I had one from a good friend of mine Nazmi from Australia who will also be in Beijing with me for Rhythmic. It was one line, "getting excited?". It put the biggest smile on my face. I have never been so excited in my life....nothing could describe it. 30 days to go.....