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Athlete Factory Monthly Newsletter - August 2016
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 ATHLETE PROFILE 
  Mathieu Bilodeau

Age:               32
Sport:            50k Race Walk
Level:            Olympic - Rio 2016
Follow Mat:  @MatBilodeau
You've competed at a national and international level in swimming, triathlon, cross country skiing, and now race walking.  Race walking came to you through injury.  What made you decide to run with the idea?

I was doing mostly triathlon at the time, trying to do a comeback in 2013.  I had a big crash that I was trying to recover from. For training, I was on the track every Thursday at the Olympic Oval.  I would just train with my group and my current mentor, Janice McCaffrey, would be on the track with her race walking group.  After seeing her group training for a while, I decided I needed to approach her to learn more.  
She told me she went to the Olympics in race-walking.  My response was "What? What's race walking?". I talked to her more about it, and she said "you should try it."  A month later, I went to the Oval and she showed me the technique.  She told me that if I could do 200-meters in under 55 seconds I have a natural talent for race walking.  I did 52 seconds.

I told her I wanted to race walk 50k in the next Olympics [two years away at the time of this session]. Her response was that I needed to do that same speed for a full 50k to make it.  I told her that I was going to prove her wrong.  In 7 months I qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.  

How did your first international race walking experience go?

I was in the best shape of my life and ready to race.  It was 45 degrees during our competition.  I had done all my prep at altitude in France where it was much cooler.  I wasn't ready for that amount of heat. I completely died in that 50k and didn't perform well. After Beijjing I said "I don't think this is my sport. I'm kind of tired."  It took me three months after Beijing to get back to a decent training regime. I told myself I had one more shot to qualify for Rio 2016.

What got you back into training after this let down?

I contacted Coach Dorian during this time.  My IT Band, my hips were so tight and so painful at this time. This sport is so new to me that my body wasn't reacting well after training so hard for the seven months leading up to Beijing.  I met with Dorian and we decided I needed to build my strength.

I was disinterested in race-walking during those three months and could only do 10k at a time mentally. I was so drained.  I took September and October off, biking to work instead of walking. I was probably only walking about 35 km per week at this time. [At the time of interview, Mat was walking 220k a week]. 

You got ready for your qualifying race after injury sidelined you earlier this year. How did your qualifier go?

At a training camp, I developed a stress fracture in the beginning of February 2016 because I did too much too soon coming back to race walking.  I was out for three weeks.  When I was ready to walk again it was February 25th and the race I had to do to qualify was March 12th.  I had about two and a half weeks to get ready for this Olympic Qualifier.  I told myself at the start that if I get to 30k and I'm on pace, I'll go for it and if not, I'll drop out of the race.  I don't know; I was fresh mentally and I pushed it.  My times were where they needed to be. I was excited.  If I wouldn't have qualified in March, I would've had to do another 50k in Rome in May.  Trying to peak again for the Olympics in August would've been very challenging.  

How has training with at the Athlete Factory helped you?

I feel so much stronger.  If you look at my technique compared to last year I'm more upright.  I'm using much more hamstring to increase my power forward.  I'm way faster because I'm able to push forward more.  I see the difference.  Usually when I was doing an easy walk of 25 to 35k I would be doing 5 minutes per kilometer and it was pretty tough.  Now I'm averaging about 4:50 per kilometer and it looks much easier.  I just keep getting stronger.  
IMPORTANT DATES

Performance Assessments

Fri Aug 5: 6pm-7pm
Sat Aug 13: 2-3pm
Mon Aug 29: 8-9pm

Holiday Hours
Mon Aug 1: 9am-4pm
Fri Aug 12: 6am-12pm

DID YOU KNOW?

Symptoms of a concussion recover faster than the brain does
  Learn more here

For the future, what's the plan?

For Rio, my goal is to get top 16 out of a field of 100 walkers. Going into the games, you wish for a medal.  I don't like to limit myself.  Right now, if I get 25th, I'll be the only guy in the field who has been working full time and only been training for 2 years.  Getting the games in such a short time is already a good result.  In Tokyo in four years, I'm going for a medal.  I don't want to put too much pressure on myself for these games.  These guys I'm competing against have been racing for ten plus years.  I started two years ago.

Athlete News

Lucy Faba, Alex Lamacchia, Celeste Holy and Jillian Hielema won gold for the Jr. Cougars Basketball team at the Lloret Cup in Spain.

Jaden Caston took home gold at the Alberta Summer games with his Zone 3 lacrosse team.

Jarvis Chantler took home four awards at the Alberta Summer games in slalom, downriver, wildwater, and team polo.

Good luck to Mathieu Bilodeau on his competition in Rio. Watch him compete August 19th at 5am MT.

Karina Stevenson was added to Team Canada's U20 Rugby roster.  The team heads to play in the UK in the middle of the month.

Hakeem Dawodu won a rematch against Marat Magomedov.  The match was rescheduled after a draw during their December 18th battle last year.  Hakeem was decided the winner on a TKO in Round 2. Congrats Hakeem!

See the end of Hakeem's winning fight here
New Group Session
Join Coach Doug for an Energy Systems session Thursday mornings at 8am

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