Fully Vaccinated + Approvals of Olympic Trials!

I have never been so grateful to say I am fully vaccinated. *Insert Happy Dance Here!!

April 5: Received Vaccine #1 in Phoenix, AZ

April 26: Received Vaccine #2 in Phoenix, AZ

May 10: Two weeks post-vaccination to become fully effective.

May 13: End of two week quarantine return to Canada (Including x3 negative covid-19 test results)

What’s Next?

This is a question I have been hopeful to begin answering since March 2020. Currently as a fully vaccinated individual, the short answer is continued patience and resilient focus.

The real ground-breaking change requires a majority of folks to be vaccinated. So yes, for now I continue to socially distance, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and stay safe while I wait for a majority to receive full immunizations. The current precautions are done with the relief if I am to catch the virus, my body will be able to tolerate the infection. During my two week quarantine upon return to Canada I had two weeks of alone time to wonder what comes next? First was hope at all of the possibilities. My thoughts concluded the big-picture emergence from covid-19 will be gradual, with most change occurring on an individual basis. The little things: shops will start to open, sport facilities will host games, music will fill concert halls, event invitations will slowly trickle in, I’ll get to snuggle nephews and meet my new niece. Borders may open, travel bans will lift, schools will be able to host students, families can gather, and hopefully a lot more. It is exciting to have so many things to look forward to! Estimating timelines of these are another can of worms that time will tell.

The next upcoming change? Today Athletics Canada announced their approval from provincial and municipal health authorities for the go-ahead to host the 2021 Olympic Trials in Montreal. Plus the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are still a go. Of course both will be heavily modified, likely no spectators but hope for a startline feels like a step in the right direction for what is coming next!

Step One = Get vaccinated (Check!)

Step Two = Run fast, train smart, compete to my full potential. Perform on demand

Like every other athlete, we are trying to make safe plans in an unfamiliar landscape but I believe we are all itching to get back to competing safely + regularly. There are many unsung heroes making an effort to innovate and accomplish “covid-safe” races and if you are among them, I hope you receive this huge thank-you from me! Domestic races are likely on the horizon and after an Arizona rust-buster race, I have a competitive fire patiently waiting to unleash on a start line. With today’s Trials announcement, it looks like:

Canadian track is back in business (covid-style)!

Stay Tuned!

#CovidCampBubble #FullyVaccinated #TrackTime

#AdreaMade #TeamAlger #BusinessofFast

Part II: Where and What is Home: Finding Home on the Gravel Roads

Phase Five: Home is a State of Mind

When I began working with a new mental performance guide in Victoria, my initial goal was to work on consciously tapping into a mental high-performance arena. I had gone through my PB races and the common denominator was my head space in all of them. I wanted his help to learn how I could plan to get into this headspace on demand. This was a tall order, but I do believe we made headway as I did manage to run multiple PB times every year I have raced. 

In my last year at the AC West Hub, I realized I was no longer working on strategies on how to groom my high-performance arena. Instead I was using my mental performance time to work on strategies of:

– How to shield myself and cope when I overheard teammates gossiping

– How to complete my workouts based on what I need, even though it was different than teammates. 

– How to belong to a team where I felt I had to hide and belittle my self

– How to win a race knowing my success will likely not be celebrated

– Why do I feel guilty doing well in a race and in key workouts?

– How to find “my space” by warming up in the corner and training on the outskirts of the team

Somehow I managed to lose my focus and shift away from my initial goal. 

The little voice was clearly indicating things were wrong and for the first time in 2019 I realized the only place I felt homesick was at the track. After a month of training camp and a return to our home-based training centre in Victoria, I did my first post-flight flush workout and confided I felt hollow, empty, and tired. This was devastating to me because the track had previously served as a place I associated a feeling of home and belonging. I don’t have an exact date of when, but in that moment I knew the Victoria track was no longer a place of home for me. Accepting this realization was difficult because outside of the track I had a beautiful home and life I had created on the island with my work colleagues, neighbours, and friends. These good-byes were very difficult, but the relief and freedom I felt in my decision to continue with my next chapter in sport gave me hope for what was to come next. 

One would think coming to my hometown would be an easy way to feel at home. But I was different, the city had changed, and I was very jet-lagged. I realized home had become unfamiliar. My family home still had the same layout, but I was out of touch with it. Likely because I was out of touch with my self. While I did my year review and planning for 2020  I realized that this year was scheduled to be Tokyo 2020 Olympic Year and I revisited my mental goals to achieve my high-performance arena. I realized I had been there once I made my decision to move home back to Regina. It felt good there. I ran PB Fast at Nationals, in the South, and Europe by embracing this HP arena. 

Without immediate races on my horizon, I have been working on how I can tap into this space beyond a race scenario. This ultimately has been leading me back to the question: What is home and how do I get there? 

Despite the obvious chaos of COVID-19 this year I spent a lot of time on the gravel roads outside the city because the track, weight room, pool, and well pretty much all of the City of Regina was closed. Open sky, gravel roads, the wind, and Adrea-time. There was comfort, beauty, snow, sunshine, animals, sunsets, and ultimately growth. That go for a run “kumbaya” feeling where I belong, feel safe, and am welcome. Away from the city noise, away from racing and every day conflicts. Just running in the middle of nowhere present in the now. The more I normalized the gravel roads into my new normal training grounds, I slowly started finding myself slipping back into my Home state-of-mind which was becoming synonymous with my high-performance arena. I was running free. I was looking forward to running. I was doing 200m repeats in a straight line. My passion was coming back. 

Eventually the track re-opened in an unexpected unveiling of the SK Re-open plan. When I made my way onto the Outdoor Douglas Park track I was startled that I dreaded being there and how uncomfortable I was. Not only was I shocked to see other people, but a part of me immediately cringed and felt uncomfortable. That first night I went to the track I found out it closed 30 minutes later, but in that brief time I walked back to my car and realized I didn’t want to go back to the track. I wanted to continue my workouts on the gravel roads. I wasn’t ready to leave home. (Flashback to my Victoria experience of homesickness!) I convinced myself it was because the gravel roads were closer than the track and this saved me a trip across the city. There were fewer people which made it easier to implement social + physical distancing to ultimately feel safe. Plus the track had restricted and often changing hours outside of when I initially planned to run. 

After x4 weeks of workouts and telling myself the above story, I finally acknowledged the real reason I didn’t want to go to the track. The track had become a place of business, work, and a reminder of the loss of home I had previously felt at the track. On the other hand the gravel roads had become home, a place of thriving, fitness, friendly neighbours, and a place where I felt passion towards running and my sport. My question became how do I feel at home at the track again? 

Starting with once a week I slowly made an effort to be at the track. For strides. For a warm-up before a run around the lake. For drills. Slowly acknowledging the previous shielding and other strategies I had been previously relying on to be at a track. After a few weeks I started realizing I didn’t need to do this anymore. It was okay for me to return to the track and in fact my return was welcomed by friendly and familiar faces. 

I finally realized, I was home. 

Recently I met with U. Regina Teammate Arthur Ward and fellow Olympic hopeful Astrid Nyame to do a photoshoot with Arthur Images highlighting how Saskatchewan athletes have been staying ready and motivated in our time away from competition and being back at home in SK. I am thrilled with Arthur’s project and how it turned out. Seeing my interview in filmed footage reminds me my journey this year with COVID was to fall back in love with running, and learn the lesson of how to move forward from loss. Now that I am home, physically and mentally, I am ready to continue building my empire with the hope for a 2021 competition season. Whether or not it comes to fruition. I will be ready. 

Sportrait Story: Gravel Roads + the Track By Arthur Images

#AdreaMade #TeamAlger #StayReady

What is the Opposite of “Racism?”

White Privilege. Racism. Black Lives Matter. REDress Project. Colonization.

Conversations about these topics are necessary and uncomfortable.

Why does seeing these words make us initially feel uncomfortable? 

Feel Guilt? Feel Shame? Feel Hurt? Feel Injustice? 

Perhaps the gift of being asked to stay home for safety from COVID-19, has also given us time to slow down and spend time in our spiritual home inside ourselves. By making time to check-in with now, it is obvious the old “normal” we previously accepted is ready for an update. In the safety of our internal homes it is my hope we can re-imagine a new “now” that is inclusive, peaceful, and accepting of one human-race.

The last few days my newsfeed has been full of close friends, fellow athletes, and neighbours sharing their personal stories and experiences of racism, fear of police, teaching their children safety, and their experiences being judged because of their skin colour. As a female, white, Canadian I can more than ever feel and be aware of the white privilege I have. In hearing the stories and injustices both abroad and in my own backyard, I also feel guilt and shame, that I have not leveraged my privilege to improve the environment for those around me, and that I am not more educated. To those I have let down, I am deeply sorry. 

The heaviness, the pain, the injustice, the fear, the racism. Thank-you to the bravery of those sharing their story, telling it straight. I hear you. I see you. I am trying to stand up for you. I feel my own ignorance. My choice and privilege to not have to know. It is my intention moving forward to no longer choose ignorance. Racism is not a subject that is only happening south of the border, or far away. Racism is unfortunately also prevalent in my own back yard in Canada. On the prairies. Towards Immigrants. Black Lives Matter movements. Indigenous Communities. Refugees.

It hurts. It’s frustrating. It’s painful. 

How do we make this right? What actions do I take? How to implement change? How does my community begin healing? 

I am flooded with questions. How to undo generations of learned hatred? How to teach love, kindness, acceptance, compassion? 

How to educate and start the conversations of such sensitive subject matter? How to create a safe space for healing when it has been repeatedly demonstrated racism is tolerated?

 How does the awareness start? It already has. 

Residential Schools. Colonization. Indian Act. REDress Project. Highway of Tears. 

Black Lives Matter. Security. Justice. Fear. MLK Assassination. 

Racism is not a new problem. These last few days I am reminded of the embarrassment of my own ignorance. Rather than repressing and ignoring this emotional reaction and surge of public interest, I am acknowledging the elephant in the room. Racism. There is a lot I do not know. This means there is a lot I can learn. The research has begun. Writing is how I make sense of chaos, it’s how I get grounded and reconnect to my self. I feel shame for my silence, my ignorance. I want to be better. Today I am writing and sharing this in an effort to start conversation. To acknowledge there is a lack of education, and accepting now is when this healing and awareness need to start. 

What’s next? 

After the recent outpouring of news and stories of racism, I found myself wondering, What is the opposite of racism? My own list was: Acceptance, Inclusive, peace, human-race, together.

I am disappointed at how short this list is and that the answer was not immediate. Hoping for more, I decided to ask Google the same question, what is the opposite of racism? The results:
Anti-racism, tolerant, multi-cultural, fair, impartial, unbiased, open-minded, equitable. In a quick search on my phone, it was difficult to find an antonym for racism, meanwhile endless examples of synonyms and definitions of racism populated my search. I did however, find there were others who shared the same question- but also lacked a satisfactory answer. There was unanimous agreement, the problem is racism. The next step, and my question, is identifying and taking action towards the solution. I am left concerned the solution is not as clear as the problem. Is it acceptance? peace? Inclusion? Or is it time to innovate new diction?

I want to honour the injustices of cases like George Floyd, the missing indigenous women of our Canadian community, and other long list of people who have been lost to racism. But I feel crippled in that I do not know how. I am still learning the best way to do this. For me, at this time, it makes sense to share my own learning curve, ask for guidance, and hopefully inspire helpful conversation and dialogue.

Actions to take now: 

– Education. The first step to solving anything is knowing what needs to be solved. 

– Read. Most of us have access to Google. And access to a library full of written literature and media. Search any of these key words. The resources already exist. 

– Listen to those sharing their stories locally. Do more than hear them. Listen. Demonstrate Compassion. Be Kind.

Choose Vocabulary. Think about the dialogue passing through one’s own lips. What am I saying? Is it helpful? Is it harmful? Is it a joke? At whose expense?

– Stand up and correct ignorance from family, friends, colleagues, teammates. 

– Have public conversations outside of social media. 

– Research. Investigate locally, how to make a tangible, positive change.

– Ask, does this feel right?

I realize I am not an expert. I realize I am only one person. I am trying to learn. I want to be better. I am certain this could have been written much better, but it reflects where I am at today.

Is there hope? It is my belief hatred is a learned choice of behaviour. Because it is a choice, this means there is also the choice to choose love. 

Changing behaviour is undoubtedly difficult, but I remain hopeful it is possible. Let’s make better choices. Together. 

Starter Resources: