The 2014 Hershey Canadian Indoor Championships take place February 20 to 22 in Montreal, Que. Over the next few weeks we will profile some of the top athletes competing in the event. The Hershey Canadian Indoor Championships serve as a national championship for youth and junior age category athletes and the event will also feature competition from Canada's national team athletes in Open events. For more information and to register for the event visit Indoors.Athletics.ca.
Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., will race in the women's Open 800m on Saturday February 21. A talented middle-distance runner, Melissa represented Canada at the Olympic Games in 2012 and is currently the two-time defending Canadian 800m champion.
AC:How has your training been going this past fall and now winter?
MB: This fall has been a great base season for us. After the Commonwealth Games we took the better part of 4 weeks off, with some active rest near the end. As always getting back into the swing of things can be a little difficult, but (her coach) Dennis (Fairall) and I did a gradual progression into tougher longer stuff. With the weather being so mild here in Windsor, up until about mid December before I left to go home for Christmas, we were still outside at our park getting some good workouts in. Overall, a good start to my season I would say. Once in San Diego at the beginning of the New Year I got on the track for the first time since August. A bit of a shock to my system, but I have to start somewhere getting on different surfaces and working different systems. Now that I'm home, we're in the middle of a deep freeze, I'm sticking to indoor workouts and some longer runs on the treadmill.
AC:How would you rate your 2014 season? What, if any lessons did you learn last year that will help you moving forward?
MB: I think 2014 was one of my better, positive seasons. Although I PB'd by a very small amount, I was consistent throughout the whole year. Commonwealth Games was a great experience, in my heart I think I should have been on the podium. However, that's just how things worked out. I had a really great experience getting through the rounds, dealing with outside factors in my life, and really taking things in stride. I have learned that you can't control everything, and I'm still learning from every race. No race is the same; sometimes being on the inside rail is a good thing, and other times it's a bad thing. I'm (still) learning to judge the race as it gets going and gaining confidence in my abilities each time. Everything happens for a reason... my Mom always tells me this (and I do agree with her). It's about getting through those barriers and learning from them.
AC:What role does the indoor season play as you prepare for a year that features the Pan Am Games and the World Championships?
MB: The indoor season will be a chance for me to race and stay sharp. I'm not expecting a whole lot of the indoor season in terms of time or personal bests. Obviously that would be a perfect scenario to PB every time you race, but that's not real life. We will continue to train through indoors to get ready for a very busy outdoor season with two big International championship races.
AC:What specific elements of your race or fitness are you focusing on this winter and this year?
MB: Nothing specific, I think it's about building on the base of fitness I've been building all these years. Every year is another block on top of the other, slowly climbing to my peak. The idea of workouts remain generally the same, it's the intensity and quality that may perhaps change. This base season has been great for my aerobic system. We haven't had a season that long recently, mostly due to weather. So it's been great. I'm ready for the track sessions now though :)
AC:With the Indoor Championships in Montreal, any memories of a competition or the city itself that you'd like to share? What do you like most about coming to Montreal?
MB: I can remember when I was competing for the Ottawa Lions and taking day trips there for meets, coming home late at night. Those were always fun. Montreal is a beautiful city and I love visiting there. Now though, it's a chance to see my family. Montreal is much closer to my home in Eganville than Windsor is. So whenever the chance comes to get up there I will jump at it.
AC:What are your goals for 2015?
MB: My goals for this year are to win the Canadian Championships. I'd like to constantly be running under 2:00 minutes. A podium finish at Pan Ams would be wonderful and I'd like to have a great performance at Worlds this year, top 5 would be great! And obviously a personal best is top of my list :) A Canadian Record, I'm sure every 800m runner in Canada is going for that and it's on everyone's radar. Diane (Cummings) left big shoes to fill! I hope that the strong group of women we have in the 800m right now are able to accomplish that. From general development standpoint, I think the goal isn't necessarily in the race, it's my training. I'd like to approach each workout with top quality. So far it's been good, I think that will change my strength in the race.