This week I am taking time out to celebrate some achievements from May! While it may have taken me awhile to post these results, it was somewhat strategic as I didn’t want to reveal ALL my training secrets! The internet is a big place… and you never know who from Ireland, USA, Fiji or Tonga may be looking to get an edge on the competition.
At the beginning of March, one of the tasks the Northern Lights coaching staff asked us to do was create personal goals for ourselves in preparation for IC14. The goals were to align with our team values and be measurable, with a target as to when we were going to achieve them.
A lot of my goals had May targets in order to coincide with the beginning of the footy season so I could assess just how much work I’ve been putting in during the off-season.
To give you an idea of how long it took for me to achieve these goals, I can say that I started building a base in November upon selection to the national team, but really amped up my training in January (after the hoopla of the holidays).
Team Value: Show Commitment
Have one mason jar salad per weekday for the months of February and March
Check! I even extended the streak through April! Yes, believe it or not, this once salad-avoiding girl made and ate a salad for lunch at work EVERYDAY for THREE WHOLE MONTHS straight. It still even blows my mind. For some reason, I would always forget to take my lunch on the last Friday of the month and Steve would have to save me by delivering my lunch to work for me. Call it cheesy, but it was really great to have someone so supportive and say, “I didn’t want you to lose your streak!” even though my work is not exactly on the way to school for him.
Since I made the change, I am finding it hard and disappointing to have anything but a homemade salad for lunch now. In downtown Toronto, a lunch salad can range anywhere from $10-$15, so buying one everyday really adds up! Also another added bonus was that I could actually control what and how much was going into my salads. If you’re interested in trying a mason jar salad, the recipe is found in our Brains Courage Heart Food cookbook!
Cycle to work every day for the month of May
Another check! I started cycling to work everyday as soon as I bought my bike in April, am still continuing today! It is by far the most efficient way to get around the city during rush hour – and being an efficient person – walking is just too slow for me now. I lucked out in May as I only got caught in the pouring rain one trip home – right before I had to catch a flight back home to Edmonton (it was the worst).
I also completed the 50km route of the Becel Ride for Heart on Sunday, June 1! For those who don’t know, they shut down two of Toronto’s busiest freeways – the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway – and you and 13,000 of your cycling friends get to ride down it. Check it out!
Team Value: Elite Fitness
Complete 3 dead hang pull-ups by may 1
Pull-ups. Every female’s favourite two words. NOT. A few years ago I had a fitness goal to do ONE, yes ONE pull-up and even hired a personal trainer to help me achieve this goal. I was so close, but life got in the way, I stopped working towards that goal, forgot about it and the dream was gone…
I remember the day – June 29, 2013. Steve and I had just finished a tabata in preparation for the Parallel Cup (game against the US in the off years of International Cup), and we were walking past a playground. I decided to mess around and pretend to do a chin-up. To my complete surprise, I ended up pumping out a chin-up without even thinking about it. I was shocked. My life-long dream had been fulfilled just by working out and getting stronger in preparation for the Parallel Cup last year.
I wanted a bigger challenge for International Cup this time around, so I set the goal of 3 dead hang pull-ups. Just by going to Body Pump Mondays and DCC Wednesdays, my overall strength increased over the off-season in order for me to be able to do 4 in a row! Now, whenever I see a set of monkey bars, I run over and do a few just because I am still overwhelmed every time I do them.
Complete a 3km time under 13 minutes by May 1
This was one of the biggest fitness goal shocks I had. I did monthly time trials over the off-season and started in November with a 14:36 time. Over the months I saw my time decrease and shaved off a minute by February to have a 13:36 time. When I was preparing for the next time trial, I thought there was no way I was going to be even close to hitting the sub-13 minute mark… but I surprised myself and ran a 13:00.56! Being the Engineer I am, that 0.56 seconds over 13 minutes meant that I didn’t actually run a sub-13 minute 3km, so I went back to the track 3 days later and ran it again. This time, I got a 12:52!!! Another goal complete!
Achieve a 10.0 beep test result by May 1
I like running the beep test because if you have a baseline number and run it on a similar surface, you should be able to gauge your own personal fitness. I am still shocked as to how many people fear the beep test. Once you learn to accept that you are running it against yourself, your results can depend on many factors, and that whatever you get is just a general number, beep tests are pretty tolerable!
For those living under a rock, the beep test involves running continuously between two points that are 20m apart from side to side. These runs are synchronized with pre-recorded audio which plays beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep decreases, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording.
At the beginning of November, I started at a level 8.4 on the beep test and wanted to hit that magic level 10.0 by the beginning of the footy season. Again, by following our Northern Lights strength and fitness program, I was able to achieve my goal and hit a 10.7 by the beginning of May! My personal best has been a 10.10 at our May Northern Lights Eastern Training Camp. I also recently ran a back alley beep test (the latest Toronto craze) and ran a 10.4.
As fitness is a huge component of the game, I am excited to be going into the International Cup knowing that over the past 9 months I’ve put in the hard work and it looks to be paying off!
Check out the video of me ACHIEVING my fitness goals!
BIG SHOUT-OUT TO TEAM MATES CANDACE AND HEATHER FOR FILMING AND DOING THESE CRAZY THINGS WITH ME!