For the past month weeks I have been training my butt off (although with my recent weight room routine maybe I am actually training it on?) with my close running and personal friends, Hilary Stellingwerff and Alicia Shay in the brilliant blue-skied strip-mall haven of one of Phoenix’s finest suburbs, Anthem Arizona. While Alicia is climbing her way back to her beastly fitness of past years, Hilary and I attacked a polarized approach to 1500m training, including: long runs, tempo, threshold, VO2 max, and power-speed work to concurrently work on our endurance and speed; more specific 1500m pace and anaerobic training to be introduced later in the year as we enter the competition training phase.
Both Hilary and I have been ever so close to breakthrough performances over the last few years and we are both 110% committed to making our callings a reality this year at the 2012 Olympic Games. Although some might consider us competitors vying for limited and highly coveted spots on the Canadian Olympic squat, we both realize that in the end our biggest foes are ourselves, the elements and other factors out of our control, and that in fact training together will bring out the best in each other and ourselves.
A stable full of Canadian runners are now based in Phoenix – most of them part of Wynn Gmistroski’s national middle distance training centre group. HIlary and I were welcome to join the group for workout sessions which felt like being back in college with 20 or so athletes all running around like crazy people at the same time. In fact, going to training camps reminds me of suddenly being ten years younger and being back in the carefree days of college. Actually, it is even better than being in college – there are no classes, reading, papers or exams to balance with training!
We managed to spend an entire week where the only time we were away from our base camp (Alicia’s house!) was when we were at the track, the trails, the gym, or the grocery store. I think there were two trips to Starbucks before we finally bought a bodum to make coffee at home. The famous Phoenix outlet mall was literally across the street from our backyard and we did not even make a trip to check out of favourite stores until ten days into the training camp. Between training, sleeping, eating and recovery, there was no spare time or energy for frivolous pass times such as browsing for sales (but don’t worry, that’s what “Off Days” are for!). While my hometown of Kelowna was pummeled with record low temperatures and snowfall, I was doing exactly what the doctor prescribed: running as fast and as much as I could while soaking in the magical powers of vitamin D. Ah, if only the snowbird life were always possible!