Outrun the Stigma: The Run for Mental Health Awareness

If you live in a major Canadian city then chances are you have seen the devastating effects of unchecked mental illness play out on the streets. Last month, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Police Chief Jim Chu spoke out on just how bad the situation has gotten. And this problem is not unique to Vancouver; it is a nation-wide issue.

On Saturday October 12th, 2014, I will be participating in Outrun the Stigma: The Run for Mental Health Awareness. A collaboration between the Distress Centre on Campus Club and the Mental Awareness Club, this 5km run/3km walk aims to further the critical conversation on mental health. It begins at 10:00am and takes place at the University of Calgary main campus. All proceeds go directly to Distress Centre Calgary.

Join us on Saturday October 12, 2013 and help us Outrun the Stigma surrounding mental health. Register now!

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2013 Season Recap

I have finally settled  back into my student-athlete routine here in Calgary. This means that I now have the time to look back at what I was able to accomplish over the 2013 season. It is amazing to realize that it was well over a year now since I competed in the London Olympics, and what its even crazier, is the fact that as we move away from that we get closer and closer to the 2016 Games in Rio. As always, one has to stop and recognize the incredible support that one receives from various people, organizations, and sponsors. So, before recapping the 2013 season, I want to take the time to thank all those who continue to support me in this pursuit of mine. So many thanks go out to my fiancee, family, friends, coaches, teammates, Athletics Canada, BC Athletics, and all my sponsors: ASICS, Oakley, and CEP Compression! I figured that instead of writing a long blog like in previous years, I make this more enjoyable and just post photos with a few captions to describe the event, so enjoy!

375164_10151614230438374_7990477_n8th Place, Pan-Am Racewalking Cup – Guatemala
For several weeks, I slept in an altitude tent to prepare my body for the Pan Am Racewalking Cup in Guatemala City. After some solid training, I was feeling strong and prepared for the race. Unfortunately, however, something in the food or water got the better of me and I became ill the night before competing. Shaking in the medical tent just 45 minutes before the race, I grappled with the question of whether to race or not. Ultimately, I decided that if I could get through 20km in one piece, I could do just about anything. Poised for a better standing before the illness, I ended up in eight  place, which I was happy with, given how awful I felt. Returning back to Vancouver, the rest of the group and I all took a few days off to allow our bodies to recuperate. It was not the greatest start to the season, but served as an important lesson to watch what you eat and drink while travelling!

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1st Place, 2013 Canadian T&F Championships, Moncton
Won my second national title in a new PB over 10km with a time of 40:01, just shy of going under 40min. It is crazy to think that both my teammates have broken the 40min barrier and I am still looking to break that elusive mark… One day!

inaki-770 5th Place and 3rd Place (team medal), FISU, Kazan, Russia
Just a few days after returning from Moncton, our big European trip commenced and Evan, Ben, and I headed off to Kazan, Russia to compete in the 27th Summer Universiade (FISU). I ultimately ended in 5th place. Though I did not reach my goal of placing in the top three individually, I proudly placed 3rd along with my teammates, Evan Dunfee and Ben Thorne, in the group standing. It was the first medal earned by the Canadian FISU team, and it was a proud moment for our coach, our respective universities, the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia, and us.

1073139_10100677459931871_683224155_o St. Moritz Pre-Worlds Altitude Camp
While we did not race in Switzerland, I must say that my time in St. Moritz will be remembered and cherished forever. Not only did I get to stay in one of the most beautiful places in the world, up in the Swiss Alps, but I also got to hang out with great friends and teammates while doing what I love to do. However, something even more important happened in Switzerland this summer. I finally proposed to my long-time partner and best friend, Carmen, while sitting on the edge of lake Zurich.

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8th Place, IAAF World Championships, Moscow
I went to the Moscow wanting to finish in the top 8 to improve on my previous year’s top-16 finish in London. After a solid 3 week altitude camp in St. Moritz, I was confident that I could achieve something special in the race. I maintained a solid footing within the top five until around 16km, when I received a second warning. As result, I played it safe and slowed down to ensure that I didn’t receive another warning and, ultimately, ended in 8th place. While it would have been nice to finish 5th and be closer to a medal, I am even more certain now that I belong in that front group. It will be fun over the next couple of years to continue to push with the leaders and fight for one of those top three spots.

That pretty much sums up my entire season. While it doesn’t seem like it was a very long one this year, let me say that it was full of great experiences with many highs and a very few lows. And on that note, I leave you guys. Thanks for following me this season, and I look forward to sharing more about my races and experiences over the next 12 months.

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Recovery and Compression Gear

I recently joined Team CEP Compression Canada, as an athlete ambassador for their product. As part of this ambassador deal, I get the benefit of receiving top quality product in the area of recovery wear.

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More and more, athletes, and in particular runners, have begun using compression socks to increase their performance during a run and after runs to reduce muscle fatigue. I am not 100% certain as to how the science behind it works, but I do know that the compression wear allows for an increase in circulation.

Now, people might be wondering why I have decided to write a blog about this, and while it may seem evident that as an ambassador, I am encouraged to promote the product, I thought I would share with people how I use compression gear around my training and sport.

My use of compression gear is very limited and is only worn during specific times. I am not an athlete that competes in compression gear, but I do rely on it for my recovery and travel times. I tend to put on compression socks or compression tights (CEP Clone) after long or intensive workouts. The idea behind this, as mentioned before, is to allow for the increase in circulation of the blood in the legs. In essence, this allows the legs to recover much faster. Most athletes use this type of recovery tactic in addition to other measures such as warming down after sessions, dipping in an ice bath, eating recovery meals, etc. The idea of wearing compression gear is simply to enhance and add to the recovery period to ensure that one is at an optimal level for the next session, whether it is later that day or the next day.

The compression gear is also commonly worn while traveling. I have made it a habit to put on either compression socks or compression tights while traveling to once again promote increased blood flow in the legs and feet, avoiding the typical swelling that occurs. In most instances, as athletes, our travels tend to be close to days when we compete, so ensuring that our legs are at an optimal stage as soon as possible is always the goal.

So, how does this translate to a person interested in this? Like most things related to sport, it is all about testing things out. By no means am I saying that every athlete or person who exercises should wear compression gear, but I do think that there are some benefits to wearing such gear, much like wearing the appropriate running shoes. Ultimately, it comes down to each individual figuring out what works best for them.

As for me, compression gear, particularly CEP compression socks and Clone tights, provide me with a very important and necessary step in my recovery phase.

 

 

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Race Update – Circuito Internacional de Chihuahua 2013

After 6 months of not competing, I returned to the racing scene this season when I traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico to take part in the first of the IAAF Race Walk Challenge races of 2013.

Prior to the race, I spent 2 weeks training in Phoenix, Arizona. During the first week I took part in the annual Athletics Canada Olympic Program Training Camp. This allowed me to get regroup with my training partners Evan Dunfee and Ben Thorne and my coach, Gerry. It had been quite some time since I had last worked out with a group of people, so the change was welcomed.

Following that week, I moved on to another hotel in Phoenix and was joined by my girlfriend, Carmen, who took over the trainer duties from Gerry. She rode along with me for every session as I continued to prepare for the race in Chihuahua.

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During those two weeks in Phoenix I managed to put together a solid training block where I walked 180km. So, naturally, heading into Chihuahua I felt confident in my ability to put together a solid performance.

The race itself took place in a new 1km loop in the downtown area of the city of Chihuahua. The course was a tough one, with a slope going from end to end. This meant that we had to walk up and down the slope 20 times. While it may not seem like a big deal at first, the effort of walking up a road that differs by 7+meters from end to end becomes quite taxing on the legs. This type of course in addition to the altitude of Chihuahua of 1400m makes for a very challenging race, and as a result, it makes it harder for athletes to post quicker times.

So taking these things into consideration, I am quite happy with the 2nd place performance in a time of 1:24:18. While not my fastest effort, it definitely sets me up well this early in the season.

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For the next couple of months I will turn my attention to finishing up the semester of school while continuing to train towards the summer. Since my next race will not be until the end of May, I will be able to focus on putting in the additional mileage necessary to ensure that I am in top form heading into the major competitions in the later part of the season.

Other pictures from the race:

Race Results: http://www.iaaf.org/results/iaaf-permit-race-walking-meeting/2013/circuito-internacional-de-marcha-chihuahua-20-5200/men/20-kilometres-race-walk/final/result

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A balancing act.

It has been 4 months since my last post. It is crazy to think about the changes that have transpired in such a short period of time.

Back then I had finished completing what was at the time a dream, my goal. Although not the ultimate goal, competing at the Olympics came to represent so much. The sweat, the dedication, the sacrifice, the choices all amounted to something quite special. It was an end result, a product of hard work and passion for numerous people including coaches, therapists, family members, loved ones and many more. This however, seemed to go much quicker than the process did.

After I returned from London on the 14th of August, I felt like something was missing. There were a mixture of feelings, and I was quite uncertain of what it meant. My mind struggled to grasp the reality of what had just happened, and was also trying to come to terms with what was ahead of me. The past seemed so nostalgic and fantastical, while the future seemed to build fear and suspense.

Despite this uncertainty, I moved to Calgary on the 2nd of September, and I embarked on what was another difficult, yet rewarding opportunity. Law school would expose me to a world that I had so eagerly sought, a place to challenge me intellectually. This was something that I had been missing over the past 2 years as a full-time athlete. While I do recognize the value and necessity of dedicating one’s full efforts to something like sport to achieve those goals, I also recognize the need to exercise that all-important muscle, the brain.

When I first arrived at Murray Fraser Hall at the University of Calgary, I was quite uncertain of what to expect from this new pursuit. At the time of that commencement, I was in a break from training, and my exercise regime resembled one of the average individual, the occasional run and gym session. Struggling with recovery from body breakdowns from the past 4 years, I was in a state of limbo. I felt split between a world of education and the world of sport. I was eager to address minor body issues before taking up on my training but, at the same time, law school was beginning to attract my interest and demand my time.

Many out there wonder how athletes of all levels and particularly athletes at an elite level manage to balance all their interests and commitments.

By no means am I saying that I am doing something that other athletes at my level haven’t done before. Also, what I am sharing is by no means a new art, but rather, I simply feel the need to share the struggles and challenges of making this happen, particularly at a time in my career where things seem so unclear.

I am quite focused on continuing with my racewalking career, as I see great potential in future events. The question that I had to ask myself was how easy or challenging I was going to make this process. Law school, for those who don’t know, requires a great deal of time reading cases and understanding concepts. This balancing act of mine definitely and appropriately mirrors the process and struggles of a law student. There are ups and there are downs, there are days that one feels like quitting, but there are also days when one gets the feeling of conquering the world. My rediscovery of the student/athlete lifestyle has been much like that.

I can’t say that I have mastered this process, but I think I am getting closer to figuring out how to make this work. This year will be an experiment to see how capable of managing these two worlds I can be.

Let me share with you guys what an average will look like:

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While this schedule shows the plan, it does not mean that things always work out according to it. I will have to be adaptable to the long hours of studying and at times the necessity to put sport aside, particularly during exams.

Up until now, things have worked out well. I have managed to maintain a level of fitness that is sufficient while working hard at school. The real challenge will start in January when my training workload will increase substantially and I will be gearing to be ready for the upcoming summer competitions.

The next few months will be like a dance routine in which one side pulls the other in an alternative sequence, and while one dominates the other at certain times, it is clear that they work harmoniously in the end.

Today, after my first semester of law school, things are beginning to seem quite clear again, much like when I was preparing for the Olympics. I feel like I have a clear path ahead of me, and although it has turns and hills along the way, I can see where it is taking me, the pursuit of excellence.

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Post Olympic Recap/TrackField97.com Feature

THE FOLLOWING FEATURE WAS WRITTEN BY TrackField97.com. IT PROVIDES A GREAT OVERVIEW OF MY OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE.  THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYONE SUPPORT!

Feature by: Stewart for www.trackfield97.com
It was only a few months ago that TrackField97.com started featuring race walking on our web site and amongst our first featured athletes included Canadian national champion and now 2012 Olympian Inaki Gomez.

Prior to our first feature in June, Inaki Gomez had achieved the qualifying A-standard for the men’s 20k race walk at the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games not once but three times within the first year of the qualifying period for the Olympics. “My first qualifying walk came in Naumburg, Germany in 2011. That being my first A-standard it was also the most memorable. I crossed the line in a time of 1:22:06”.

“The emotions were of joy and relief. At that point, I felt that I could begin to focus on the next season (2012), and have a good plan to perform in London at the Games”.

Inaki went on to show good form as he achieved the A-Standard twice in the 2012 season with amazing performances in Taicang, China and at the IAAF World Race Walk Cup in Saransk
Russia. The times were 1:21:05 and 1:21:58, respectively.

Upon establishing the Olympic A-Standard, his friends and family who have been giving him amazing support throughout his young career were absolutely overwhelmed and happy for him.
“Everyone in my support group knows how long I have been working for this opportunity. They were all excited to get the opportunity to share this amazing experience with me. Many family and friends also made the trek to London to share it all with me”.

At the Canadian trials in June, Inaki participated in not a 20k, but a 10k distance and Inaki recalls his experience at the Championships: “Rather than having a 20km race, Athletics
Canada put together a 10km race to give us the opportunity to meet the final part of the criteria (finishing within the top 3) and also allowing us to have a month recovery before the race in London”.

“My approach to the trials was a bit unique. Being the only one with an A-standard, I was only required to finish in the top three. Despite the fact that we have two other top caliber walkers in Canada, they were unable to achieve the A-standard within the qualifying period allowing me to come into the trials with a more relaxed approach. I was focused on finishing in the top 3 and using this 10km race as more of a workout/tune-up session.

After the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials, Inaki went into final preparations for the London 2012 Games: “I travelled to St. Moritz, Switzerland to join the Australian Race walkers, Jared Tallent and Chris Erickson, to take part in an altitude Pre-Olympic Camp. Other walkers also joined us there, Isamu Fujisawa (Japan) and Quentin Rew (NZ), which made for a great training group. I stayed in St. Moritz until the 22nd of July, and I then travelled to London for a two day visit of the Olympic Village. This also served as an opportunity for me to get my accreditation and Team uniform for the games.

With the Race walking community being quite close, Inaki has been quite fortunate to become good friends with the top Australian walkers. Over the past 2 years, he has trained with Jared Tallent, who is undoubtedly one of the best walkers over the past 5 years. He has admired Tallent’s ability to always perform at the major championships. The shared friendship and training together also played a key role in Inaki’s preparation for the Games.

After going through the accreditation process for the Games, Athletics Canada sent Inaki back to Germany 3 days later, where he would spend yet another week putting together his final week of training prior to the race. “This was also a great opportunity to stay away from all the distractions that come with being at a village full of athletes from around the world. I traveled back to London on the 1st of August and settled myself in the village for 2 days before the big day”.

Going into the race, Inaki wasn’t particularly emotional however he was definitely feeling honored knowing that he was representing his country on the biggest stage in athletics. “Having
represented Canada at many Games and Championships, I felt like this was very similar. Nonetheless, one can’t forget that the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of our sport, so it definitely had a special feel to it.

In speaking on his general Olympic experience, Inaki didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremony due to his Pre-Olympic Camp in Germany.  He didn’t feel totally left out as all the Canadian athletes at the camp had a celebration dinner in the town center of Kamen, Germany, and afterwards they then went back to their training center to watch the ceremony live on a big screen as a group.

“The Olympic village was very similar to other villages that I’ve been at. The food court is always overwhelmingly big with lots of choices, so one has to be careful to not over eat. Other than that, the set up of the village was quite relaxed and welcoming”.

Inaki took us through his performance at the Games and also the experience gained: “I am very proud with the way I managed to race on the day at the Games. I executed the race plan as my coach and I had wanted. Having finished in the top 16 at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, we knew that I was capable of doing something similar at the Olympics so I went ahead with the same focus”.

“I went out with the big group allowing for the leaders to set the pace. I was confident that my speed and fitness would allow me to carry on with them. At 10km I went through in a time of 40:24 around 20th position. From then onwards, I began picking up those people ahead of me. With the help of a couple of DQs and a DNF, I was able to move my way up to 13th position in the final lap. Knowing that this was in the bag, I enjoyed the final lap.

“The loud chants and screams from the crowds made the experience all the more rewarding especially when I crossed the finish line in a new personal best of 1:20:58, which was also a new Canadian Record. It was definitely an honor to prove myself at a major championship once again and be able to break a record that I’ve been after all season at the biggest stage. It was great to put together what both my coach and I had planned all along, a good performance”.

“In terms of experienced gained, I definitely believe that I feel confident in my ability to race the
big guys now. Having competed at the IAAF Race Walk Challenge and other major races I had the opportunity to race most of the competitors that were at the Games so their presence and ability was no real shock to me, I was definitely prepared. Being able to prove myself in two major races this year finishing in the top-16, I know that I can take this a bit further in years to come. The Olympic experience in itself has shown me that I will be ready to push for a medal in 4 years, the plan begins now”.

Looking ahead into the future, we asked Inaki how much competing at the London Olympics motivated him as an athlete: “Any time someone gets the opportunity to have this experience,
the hunger and eagerness to improve grows”. He is looking forward to carrying this momentum forward to the next few years and is highly motivated to move into the top 5 rankings, and eventually podium positions over the next four years.

In a few days, Inaki Gomez will be returning to Canada where he will be heading back to the University of Calgary to begin a degree in Law. He will be juggling between studies and training over the next couple of years to not only further his progression in race walking, but also get his education and long-term career to the next level. “I have always found the need to have a balanced life, and I believe this to be a right step moving ahead”.

As for the distant future, he will continue to focus on moving up the rankings over the next few years. “Leading to Rio, my coach and I are definitely looking to make a something special
happen in Brazil, so we will be aiming for a medal there”.

TrackField97.com would like to thank our featured Canadian elite race walker for taking the time to share his London 2012 Olympic experience with us. We wish Inaki Gomez the best of
luck in is studies and look forward to seeing him on the podium in Rio.

See our previous feature on Inaki Gomez: http://trackfield97.com/inaki-gomez-canadian-race-walker-2012-olympic-qualifier/

Facts about Inaki Gomez:

  • Sponsor: Asics Canada (ACA)
  • Club: Racewalk West
  • Coaches: Gerry Dragomis and Blair Miller

Best Known Performaces:

  • Mile Race Walk (track) – 5:46.40
  • 5,000m Race Walk (track) – 18:45.64
  • 10,000m Race Walk (track) – 40:01.00
  • 10km Race Walk (road) – 40:32.00
  • 20,000m Race Walk (track) – 1:24:48.00
  • 20km Race Walk (road) – 1:20:58 (Canadian Record)

Education:

  • J.D. Candidate, University of Calgary, 2015
  • Graduated from the University of British Columbia, Major in International Relations, 2011
  • Graduated from Vancouver College High School, 2006

E:mail: inakigomezg@gmail.com

Follow Inaki on Twitter: @InakiGomezG

 www.trackfield97.com

 

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Check out the video from this past weekend’s Harry Jerome. I raced the Mile Walk winning in a time of 5:46.40. This new PB was two seconds faster than my previous performance achieved last year in England. Unfortunately, Ben Thorne who managed to pass me in the last 200m was DQ after the race. For full results you can also check out this link: http://www.nationaltrackleague.ca/documents/2012HarryJeromeResults.pdf

Harry Jerome Int. Track Classic 2012, Mile Walk – by Andy White

Video – Mile Walk: 2012 NTL – Harry Jerome International Track Classic

Also, I wanted to congratulate some fellow UBC T-birds who achieved their Olympic Standards during this competition:
- Liz Gleadle, W Javeline  - 61.15 (Olympic A Standard)
- Curtis  Moss, M Javeline – 80.43 (Olympic B Standard)

Good luck to all other athletes competing in the rest of the NTL series who are looking to achieve those elusive standards!

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IAAF World Race Walking Cup – Saransk, Russia

We went, competed, and came back  all in the span of a week. Despite spending over 60 hours of traveling both ways up in the air and on the ground, we managed to acclimatize to the time zone, new food, and excitement of the event. Our successes as a group and individuals were not limited to the competition alone this time, but also to our ability to adapt to all these factors. Sometimes we forget about how all of these things have an impact on one’s performance. Overall, as a team we managed this quite well.

So, the IAAF World Race Walking Cup. I want to start by providing some background. The event happens on a bi-annual basis and most Walkers consider it the third most important competition behind the Olympics and World Championships. The level of competition is sometimes greater than that of the Olympics and Worlds since each country is allowed to enter up to 5 athletes per race. When you consider that the Russians and Chinese have over 7 athletes each in the top 50 in the world…well…you can expect some tough competition. This year’s event was particularly interesting because it was held in Saransk, Russia, which is considered the Mecca of Race Walk. This is the city that hosts the national training center for the famous and successful Russian race walking program.

This year’s event saw more than 400 athletes entered in 5 different races: 10km Jr. Men and Women, 20km Sr. Men and Women; and 50km Sr. Men. My race, the 20km race, had a big field of 130 walkers entered and 124 of those started the event. Not only was this one of the largest ever fields and the largest race I’ve competed in, but it was also the cream of the crop competing.

As I said, the long travel was quite taxing, but despite all of it, I felt comfortable enough heading into the race. I had come down with a cold the Friday before making the trip, so my last few days of training in Vancouver were not ideal and my final preparations in Saransk were not optimal. However, my coach, Gerry, just kept reminding me that I was in good enough shape to not be affected by any of those minor discomforts. We focused on being relaxed, resting, and hydrating well to ensure that I would be recovered by race day.

It turned out to be a fantastic race and experience. Never had I felt such energy as I did on this course. There must have been over 30,000 people lined up along the course or siting on the designated areas around the course. Those who compete in stadiums might understand this feeling, but for a walking event, this was one of the best (if not the best) attended and well received race that I have ever seen. Despite the favoritism for the Russians, the crowds also had chants going for the other athletes, especially as the races progressed.

The race itself was really something. When you have 124 athletes lined up at the start, you know that it is going to be difficult to move up at the start. The first km was quite a struggle to settle into a rhythm  because I was fighting to stay on my feet between all the pushing and shoving. As a result,  the first km was a slow one at 4:26min, but we all expected this to change quickly. For those of us who decided to stick with the leading pack saw a drop in pace to 4:01 in the second km. A rapid change in pace like this can either work for or against an athlete. Despite being around the 60th spot after the first lap, I quickly began moving up the field to the front. By the 5km mark I was in the 22nd spot with a split of 20:36. Working with Chris Erickson and Adam Rutter, my training partners during my Australian preparation, we pushed each other along. By the 10km mark, we had worked together to chase down some walkers ahead of us, and we crossed the line to a split of 40:55 (20:19) and I was now ranked 20th. This trend of chasing down athletes continued through to the 15km mark where I crossed the line in 18th position with a split time of 1:01:36 (20:41). At around 16km I began to make a move and picked up the pace slightly. I managed to close my last 5km in (20:22), and in the process I picked up two more athletes ahead of me to finish the race with a time of 1:21:58 and a 14th place finish at a major event. I must also add that Chris Erickson had a fantastic race and managed to dip below the Olympic A standard to secure his spot on the talent-packed Australian team.

So, as an experience this race was not only my second fastest 20km time and my third A-standard within the qualifying period, but it was also the first time that I was able to race and compete against the best in the world, not just simply participating in the event. I am pleased to know that heading into London I can compete and challenge for those top-16 spots. I do need to remember that this early success needs to be replicated on the big stage, so we will focus over the next 2 and half months to have the best preparation possible so I’m ready to meet the challenge.

I should also recap some of the other fantastic results from the team. Firstly, this was the first time in a long time that we had a full team for the event, so we were real happy and excited to see where we could end up as a team. The rest of the team performed very well despite very tough conditions of 28 degrees. We had Creighton Connolly finishing with a huge PB of 1:30:49 in the 82nd position. Ben Thorne, our junior up and comer, raced strategically and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:31:26 also securing his World Jr. Championship qualifying mark for the summer  with a 10km split of 42:34. Bruno Carrière, also in his rookie season over the 20km distance,  unfortunately  struggled with the warm conditions limiting his performance to a 1:43:28. Finally, Evan Dunfee went out challenging with the front pack and aiming to achieve that elusive Olympic mark. Despite looking great through the first 10km, the conditions got the best of him and he struggled over the next couple km before abandoning the race. It wasn’t what was planned, but he put up a gutsy effort. We can expect great things from him in the near future.

The women’s race saw some fantastic performances from Nicola Evangelista and Rachel Seaman. This was a very competitive race with the likes of the unstoppable Russians and the surging Claire Tallent. I think that both our girls did a great job earning their ground and posting awesome times. Rachel finished 42nd with a time of 1:38:43. And Nicola, who was on her first ever national team, did not disappoint. We witnessed her moving up the field finishing in 63rd with a 5 min PB of 1:42:43. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will see great things from her in the future.

Other noteworthy performances include Jared Tallent‘s 3rd place finish in the gruelling 50km race with a time of 3:40:32 just behind the two Russians.

I hope I haven’t lost you yet! As you can see, this trip packed a lot of bang into a small time frame. As a team, we are very pleased with the results from this event. Despite some struggles, we believe that the Walking program in Canada has a very bright future. This was just the beginning. Now, we can focus on becoming a world-class group, that competes hard and gets results.

Thanks for staying with me on this long post! I hope you have enjoyed the read and I look forward to sharing more stories as the Olympics draw nearer…

In the meantime, check out the official results and photos from the event in the links below: http://iaaf.org/mini/wrw12/Results/Results.aspx

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Spring Recap and World Cup Preview.

I hope the phrase “better late than never” applies here.  I know I haven’t been the best at keeping everyone updated, but I will make the effort to write more frequently now that the summer (and with that, the London 2012 Olympic Games!!!) is nearing.

Firstly, I’ll just say that my trip to Australia was a success. Overall, this experience propelled me and my career to new heights. As an athlete, you can’t ask for more than great weather, a strong training group, and first class facilities; all things that both Evan and I were privileged to have this past winter. By the time I got home, I had accomplished what I set out to do…to have my best winter preparation ever. Here are some of the results:

  • Olympic A+ Standard
  • 2 personal bests (18:45.64 for 5000m & 1:21:05.00 for 20km)
  • 1st place at Sydney Track Classic
  • 3rd place at Australian 20km Championships
  • 8th place at IAAF RW Challenge Race in China

Since coming back, I’ve maintained that same rhythm of training that I developed in Australia. With only 5 week between our return in March and our next departure on May 8th, we had enough time to plan out a short training cycle that would prepare us for our next task: the IAAF World Cup of RW in Saransk, Russia. This next event is an important one since it will be my last 20km race before London. It will serve as a good measure of where I am relative to the top walkers in the world. Currently, I am ranked 31st on the IAAF Tops List, so we will be looking to improve on that ranking.

Check out the event website for race news and live results: http://www.iaaf.org/mini/wrw12/index.aspx and look forward to hearing from me more often as the road to London gets a little shorter.

Also check out some of the pictures from Australia in the Gallery.

-Inaki

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Sydney Track Classic Race Report.

Training since Thredbo went quite well for everyone in the group, and confidence was running high heading to Sydney for a quick 5,000m race at the Sydney Track Classic . This short race was meant to be our last fast prep session before the upcoming 20km race in Hobart, Tazmania. It sure proved to be a very fast event with lots of PBs, in what was a very competitive field of athletes.

Check out the results from the event: http://www.nswathletics.info/liveresults/2012/stc12/

Also, the following should provide a more complete story to the way the race unfolded. These are splits from my watch and from the official event:

    

Lap splits up to 3,000m from the official results.

Kilometer splits from my Garmin watch.

This encouraging result of 18:45:64 for 5,000m makes me very competitive with some of the top walkers in the world. It was very exciting to be able to compete against one of the world’s best walkers, Jared Tallent, who fought until the end and was close to catching me down the stretch. This first step of the season sets me off well for the next few races. I feel very confident that I will be able to carry this momentum over to the longer distance of 20km.

While my performance was a noteworthy one, I could not pass on without mentioning the amazing performance of Evan Dunfee. Despite struggling with a bit of a cold over the week leading to the race, he was able to put together a great performance and finish 4th in the race with a new PB of 19:08, a 14 second improvement. This performance should set him well for next weekend as he chases down the Olympic A-Standard of 1:22:30. Stay tuned to see how it goes.

Finally, here are some photos from the weekend:

  

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