News: The Move

Victoria to Regina.

The Details:

(1)  I autonomously made the decision: 2019 Outdoor season would be my final track season as a member of Vic City Elite in Victoria, BC.

(2) Fall 2019 I am continuing my post-collegiate training, which includes a move back to my hometown roots in Regina, SK.

* For those who don’t know: Yes, I am back living and training in Regina.

The typical response:

–>Most people cringe and respond, Why?

Short Answer:

  • Big Decision to be brave and follow my heart
  • Secondly, because of the SK people
  • I have the privilege to continue training as a high performance athlete in my sport, with my family network, in my hometown

The bigger picture:

Not quite Netflix-level, but below is a brief Season-by-Season Recap of my time in Victoria:

Athletics Canada Western Hub

Year ONE: PC: Arthur Images, PISE Trails – Fall 2015

Athletics Canada Western Hub

Year ONE: PC: Arthur Images – Pre -Vic City Elite practice at Centennial Stadium Fall 2015

Season ONE: 2015- 2016: I graduated from U. Regina, had an awesome year athletically, and was recruited with an offer to come and train post-collegiately, full-time, under Coach Heather Hennigar, in Victoria. With the summer to contemplate, I took the offer and Fall 2015, I made the move to train full-time. Plot twist, not as a sprinter/hurdler, but as a middle distance 800m athlete. Most people were genuinely floored when I said this was what I was doing when I graduated. This year was full of struggle and success, which through perseverance took my 800m from a 2:10 to a 2:06. I was hooked to keep rolling, and people were starting to see why I made this choice to pursue being an Amateur Athlete.

_ART9113.jpg

Year TWO: PC: Arthur Images: Whistler Retreat. October 2016

_ART9920

Year TWO: PC: Arthur Images, Early Morning Shoot with Sarah. October. 2016

NextGen group feb 2017

Year Two: PC: Arthur Images – Some of our Next Gen Teammates// Post- Long Run at Elk Lake. Feb. 2017

 

San Diego Camp Group

Year TWO: Chula Vista Olympic Training Centre – Warm Weather Camp San Diego. Feb. 2017

PISE 2017.jpg

Year TWO: Summer pre-Nationals Prep @ PISE. June 2017

Season TWO: 2016-2017: NextGen Team. A few more members joined our training group, we now had a surfaced track to train on, AC WestHub was booming. This year I really clicked with my training partner Casey, and credit her to holding me accountable for many of my everyday successes , including our first Summer Circuit in Europe. Again my 800m went from 2:06 down to 2:04, I became the SK Outdoor Record Holder. I felt like I had finally received (and earned) some validation, I was on the right path, and training for the Olympics seemed like more of a realistic goal.

 

fullsizeoutput_1882

Year THREE: Grand Canyon – April 2018 AC Altitude Camp

sedona-workout-w-annie

Year THREE: Training in Sedona, AZ. April 2018

20180630_210108.jpg

Year THREE: TLC Fam taking a dance party break at work. June 2018

HJ 2018 1

Year THREE: Harry Jerome International 800m Race. June 2018

Season THREE: 2017-2018: Vic City Elite is officially named and I had the keys to my first, completely on my own place. My “Treetop Home.” I was starting to settle in Victoria, had a social network within the Victoria track community, and also where I worked, with my London Chef Family. My neighbors in this area were also incredible; Victoria was finally starting to feel like home. I could barely believe I was already on year #3 and was relieved to feel like I had some sense of routine. Then came heartbreak, then healing, missed the national final with 9th place, a summer of travel, my best friend’s wedding, and I took my 800m from a 2:04 down to a 2:03. It was an emotional year, but a big learning year for me on and off the track. Financially I was feeling the pressure this year. Yes, I was improving. Yes, I earned a bit more funding each year, and made time to work with training, but it was never enough to cover cost of living and cost of training. I was putting myself into debt for sport, but everything I needed was in Victoria. I was nervous, but went into year #4 with a big piece of humble pie.

fast and female 3

Year FOUR: Fast and Female Event at PISE. October 2018

phoenix

Year FOUR: Phoenix Training Camp. January 2019

phoenix 2019

Year FOUR: Post-Long Run in Scottsdale, AZ January 2019.

Season FOUR: 2018-2019: In my annual reflection, I summarized this Season as my year of the Grinch. Not because I wanted to steal Christmas, but because my heart felt like it was two sizes too small. I went into the year extremely motivated and had a strong, fall base season. Then Christmas rolled around, (I didn’t know it then), but once I left home after the holidays, I was about to become the Grinch.

In January I became an auntie while I was home in Sask for the holidays, and when I came back to Victoria, something was off. (Grinch formation phase one). I disregarded it, kept training, working, and taking action to make my athletic and personal goals reality. There were some glaring setbacks, but as the Grinch in denial, I ignored them… For months… I went to altitude training, and when I came down, something was terribly wrong. I slept 13 hours, had sharp pains, and voiced my concerns of feeling hollow and empty. I proceeded to run my slowest 800m race to date, and knew it was time to figure out what was wrong. I felt isolated, alone, and wasn’t able to get out of bed. After a full week of complete isolation, cancelled races, and time to myself, I braved a letter and realized despite the community I had, Victoria was no longer home, nor where I needed to be.

In May, I made the decision I would move to Regina. I would stay with the VCE Team through to the end of the outdoor season, tell everyone in person of my decision, pack my little car up with four years worth of memories and lessons, and would start a new chapter in Regina Fall 2019. There were many hard goodbye’s in Victoria which made me grateful for the last four years and gave me a knowing I’ll be back to visit. But as soon as I confirmed this move, everything clicked for me. It was right and I felt it through to my core. I won my next race. I ran PB times both in practice and in races consistently. I felt like me again. Once I drove all of my things home to Regina, and spent the next two months living out of a suitcase, I was able to travel and enjoy running again.

Those two months gave me the chance to reflect and enjoy my time as a VCE athlete, and to some extent feel a bit like I was on a final farewell tour now that the move was done. This was an interesting limbo where I did not quite feel like a Victoria athlete nor a Regina Athlete. I was just Adrea, a Canadian, and that was enough. At Nationals this year, I had my Grinch aha! moment, my heart exploded into at least two sizes more while I competed in the National Final. As cliché as it sounds, I made the decision to follow my heart and it was 100% what I needed to do. This summer I took that 2:03 800m down to a 2:02 and cracked top 100 in the IAAF world rankings.

The cherry on the cake to my last few weeks with VCE was the chance to hop in some races in Europe. Teammate Sarah and I were on our own, (until we linked up and made some Canadian and American Oiselle friends) and it turned out great!

 

London

Year FOUR: Sarah and Adrea in London, UK. August 2019

LONDON 1

Year FOUR: London, UK Skyline. August 2019

pacing rovereto

Year FOUR: Pacing the 1500m in Roveretto, Italy. August 2019

 


Season FIVE: 2019-2020

Curious to know what’s next?

Stay Tuned.

BRussels - Adrea

Season FIVE: Homecoming. Fall 2019

Beginning in Victoria

Since graduation of high school, and more recently from the University of Regina, a common curiosity lies in the question, “What are you doing now?”

As a U. Regina Alumni, the go-to answer has been, “I’m running track full-time, but now as an 800m runner.” Although this is accurate, I find most people are too polite to ask what this really means. This reaction is evident in silence, loss of words, or inquiries on my marathon time*, which usually continue to end the conversation. To everyone I gave this answer to, below is the explanation I meant for our conversation to evolve into.

The truth is, I didn’t know what life as a middle distance runner entailed. After a year and half with my new training group Vic City Elite, I finally feel able to share some insight. Looking back, there are three distinctive phases I went through to reach the following conclusions; first: autonomous decision making, second: struggle, and finally: acceptance.

Phase one: Autonomous Decision Making

In my final year as a Cougar athlete for the University of Regina, I made the decision to run track for myself. Coming out of high school, I had received the University recruiting package; however, I was by no means training for it nor aware of what being on this team entailed. Within my first four years I had experienced both success and failure on the track, but knew I was ultimately attending University for academic purposes, as an attempt to figure out what I was going to be or do as an adult. Track was only a bonus, a social scene, an athletic niche I was invited to. By the time I arrived at my final year, I had the realization that graduation was only four classes away. Realistically I could be done my degree in one semester, which meant competing another year in track required an additional two classes. Did I really want to pay for more classes just to do track?

Initially, the answer was no. I spent September merely as a student, without track.

After a month into my final fall semester as a student without the hyphenated athlete attachment, I was amazed at how easy it was to get ahead of school readings and assignments with the additional time on my hands. I went for coffee with my former coach Alger Seon with the intention to thank him for the previous four years of coaching me. I ended up leaving from coffee with my mind changed, hooked on the idea of reaching my potential. For the first time, I was not asked, or expected to compete in track; for the first time I made a decision that I wanted to do track whole heartedly, to appease myself– to be better. This led to my greatest season: two University records, hitting national standard in 3 events, a CanWest gold, silver, bronze, (3 PB’s), Track MVP, and U Regina’s prestigious Female Athlete of the Year.

 

After a full season of being authentically committed to being better, I was hooked. When I had the opportunity to continue with the Athletics Canada West Hub in Victoria, I had a few meetings, came down for a visit, and took the leap of faith in the potential Heather Hennigar saw in me. For the second time, I was able to choose track, and 100% for myself, not because of an external influence. This autonomous decision making process has proved to be invaluable to me, and in my opinion necessary to continued growth.

Phase Two: The Struggle

After recognizing the opportunity I had, the next step was making the move to Victoria. To say I struggled is an understatement. New city, new coach, new job, new event, new facility, new team, new home, new car, new workouts, new friends, new life. Have I mentioned everything was new to me?

While working two part-time jobs + a completely new training program + a city I was lost 90% of the time = I cried at home… A lot. Then came learning how to decide between affording rent or groceries.  December rolled around and I ended up with plantar fasciitus and faced my first injury that kept me from running. Hello introduction to water-running. My plans of opportunity, success, growth, transition, and improvement seemed to have fallen through. The reason I left home was to run in a professional environment and somewhere when I was trying to figure it out, it seemed the only thing I wasn’t doing was running.

In hindsight, I didn’t struggle because everything was new, financially I was a student, nor because I was injured. These are all just problems, that most people encounter at some point; therefore, to have a pity-party for myself would be nothing less than selfish. The nice thought about problems, is that most are fixable, if willing to put in the time to invent a fitting and realistic solution. One of the first steps to gaining this perspective on my situation was to recognize what I did have and be authentically grateful. So when I chose rent > groceries, I was happy I had somewhere to sleep, shower, go home to. When I memorized my address and didn’t get lost trying to find home after every run= success! When I paid a training camp expense solely with credit I remembered how lucky I was to be selected to attend the camp. When I did “cold tubs”  in the ocean with Olympic Mountain ranges in the background, I knew there was nothing I could complain about.

Instead, the real reason I struggled was through my own uncertainty, hesitation, loneliness, and fear of myself, both on and off the track. Typing this up right now, it seems so simple to put these words down on a page. But each word has a lesson, an aha! moment, if you will. Uncomfortable, failing, broken, helpless, embarrassed, shameful, were all feelings I associated with my time in “the struggle.” My feeling of inadequacy were genuine, and recognizing this was key. I came to understand these four words and realizing my negative connotation of “the struggle” was a choice, and that was changeable. By consciously choosing to embrace and enjoy the struggle has become very empowering. Free samples at the grocery store? Hitting a split to an hundredth of a second? Jogging to an ocean view sunset? Team potluck/ BBQ in the park? Yes, please. In recognizing that most athletes are also in the struggle erases some of the loneliness, and has taught me to appreciate I can’t have success without the struggle first.

 

 

Phase Three: Acceptance 

As much as I would like to say I have accepted the struggle and moved on, realistically, I know I am still there. The difference is now I am not entirely afraid of it anymore. There are still days where I catch myself with doubt or nerves, but I know for myself, that I am on the right path. Living in a place as beautiful as Victoria, and having the luxury to train outdoors year round makes appreciating the scenery undeniable. An underlying comfort I have is knowing when (and hopefully only if) I hit rock bottom, my family will still be accepting and provide me somewhere to go- despite my pride being at an all time low. If I was a bird getting kicked out of the nest, it’s nice to know I’ll have a pond to land in instead of whatever is at the bottom of the cliff of a mountain. Sometimes there is comfort in knowing the worst case scenario really isn’t that bad.

The biggest idea I was able to fully believe in was: I can do this. After a tactical race at 2016 Nationals for the Olympic Trials I didn’t make it out of the semi-finals, however; after crossing the finish line amongst some the best in Canada, I had a conscious moment of seeing my ranking and realizing, it is possible. I knew that day I didn’t make the Olympic team, nor the national final, but a fire was lit, and I knew what I needed to do. The sense of purpose had finally revealed itself to me, and I was secretly beaming from the inside with my internal discovery.

Trials 2016-4

2016 Senior Trials Edmonton, AB Photo Credit – Arthur Images

Trials 2016-2

2016 Senior Trials Edmonton, AB Photo Credit – Arthur Images

AC Trials 2017

2016 Senior Trials Edmonton, AB Photo Credit – Arthur Images

In conclusion, although I may live in Struggle-ville part-time, I am pleased to say I lead a life where I travel a lot, including trips to: the Land of West Coast Work-outs, the town of Train-a-Lot, Lactic-City, Island of mileage, and the most recent development of Character. Looking forward to future stops at Personal Best Complex, National Team Headquarters, and Being-a-Boss Building in the district of Getting-It-Together. Hopefully see you there soon!

Much love,
xoxo

IMG_3487

Geneva, Switzerland July 2015

Valentines Ferris Wheels

Seattle, WA – Feb 2015

 

*Disclaimer- I have not yet ran a marathon, therefore I do not have a marathon time or race to discuss