The start of the Season

December 15 was my first indoor meet of the season. It was just a small, local meet, held here at the U of C where I train. Overall I am extremely encouraged with where I am at, considering the circumstances. This was my first meet in over 19 months. I was nervous for sure. I entered 4 events to make it a full day at the track. No point in holding back on the first day right? 60 metre hurdles was first. I won my heat with a time of 8.62, not far off my personal best of 8.54. The 60m sprint was next, and I got a personal best of 7.88. A couple hours later I threw shot put, and only threw 9.94m. This was discouraging for me, but I’m making a lot of progress in training, and I know one day soon, everything is going to come together! I can feel it! Last event of the day was long jump. I was probably most nervous about long jump because since my surgery, I decided to switch my take off foot. My whole life I have taken off of my left foot in all my jumping events (long jump, triple jump, high jump). Practice has been a challenge retraining my body to do the opposite of what it has already done. My reason for switching feet is to take some of the pressure off my left foot, as it is still my take off foot for high jump.

Before this meet I had never done a full jump with a full approach, so anything could happen. Fortunately for my first jump, I didn’t land on my face! I jumped 5.66 metres, and walked out of the pit to a very proud coach. Les was so excited and that got me pumped to just let loose on the next ones and see what happened. On my fifth and final attempt I jumped 5.89 metres. For context, my personal best is 5.97 metres. I am less than 10 cm away from my PB on my first day of competition!

I am so thankful for how the day went because it is a great platform to build on for the season. I came away extremely encouraged and optimistic toward the future. Another huge encouragement was that my husband, Aaron was feeling well enough to come watch me and cheer me on the whole day. I loved having my biggest supporter on the sidelines. It was great to see all the familiar faces in the track community here in Calgary that I have been away from for so long.

That very same night was the meeting with the two leaders of Athletics Canada where they explained their new “strategic plan” for track and field in Canada. They gave a 45 minute presentation, but the group of us (about 30 athletes and coaches) stayed asking questions and pleading our cause for a total of 3 hours. It was encouraging to see other athletes and coaches fighting for Les and all the athletes as a whole, even though AC turned a blind eye to everything we said and couldn’t answer half of our questions. The outcome: athletics canada actually has no plan or place for combined events athletes (me and most of my group) at the 2 hubs for Canada that we are supposed to move to for support and coaching (located in Vancouver or Toronto). It will not benefit us to move to a hub because athletics canada has no coaches in either of those places who can coach the heptathlon, and definitely not to the Olympic and world class caliber that Les does. They have therefore cut us out of track and field in Canada. In their presentation, there were actually question marks next to our event!!

Furthermore, the sport institute at Calgary is no longer for us to utilize as track athletes since athletics canada has pulled their funding from program. So it is official, they told us to our faces, we are on our own and our coach has no job with them anymore. In the meanwhile, I will focus on training hard, staying healthy and performing well for as long as we have a coach and facilities. This will be a challenging road ahead, but that is the current update. Thanks for reading!

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One Reply to “The start of the Season”

  1. Natasha- what a great start to the season! Usually these first meets are more like “training sessions”, but to get a PB and be so close to your PB in other events is amazing! I can relate with the foot change in LJ and it must have been encouraging (and a huge relief!) to jump so well the first time you tried from full approach! I admire how you took a risk by putting yourself out there and competing without having any idea of how it would go in LJ.
    Outside support for amateur athlete comes and goes throughout an athlete’s career in this country. This will be a difficult transition for you and the group- there’s no doubt.
    Keep taking risks, keep building on the positives, and keep it rollin’!!!

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