© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

North Vancouver’s Chantelle Groenewoud is back training in Guelph, Ontario with the Speed River Track and Field Club. She took some time off to travel after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to find a sense of normalcy in her life. After competing in the NCAA she continued to train hard and race even after her eligibility was completed, while she continued with school, finishing her fifth year of university.

Groenewoud specialises in the 3,000m steeplechase and currently has her sights set on competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Her personal best time in the steeple is 9:45.42.

Groenewoud has some international experience, as she competed in the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in 2008, the 2013 World University Games (FISU) that took place in Kazan, Russia as well as the 2014 Heusden-Zolder KBC Night of Athletics in Belgium, where she ran her current personal best performance.

Christopher Kelsall: Being from North Vancouver, do you miss the mountains, rain and the ocean, while training in Guelph and of course from your days in Illinois?

Chantelle Groenewoud: I miss the ocean and mountains very much but I do not miss the rain at all! Growing up a majority of my runs were up and down Grouse Mountain which really helped build strength quickly.

CK: Did you ever “race” up the Grouse Grind? If so, what is your best time?

CG: Yes of course. If you haven’t raced the Grouse Grind you’re not a true Vancouverite. My best time is 34:30.

CK: Do you have Jessica Furlan’s Canadian record of 9:33 in your sites for 2015?

CG: It’s definitely on my mind but not necessarily my main focus by any means. It would be great to have the Canadian Record but I’ve learned obsessing over the numbers doesn’t get me anywhere. When I focus on competing and being in the moment it seems that the times take care of themselves.

CK: You mentioned that you would like to become a better all-around runner and indicated racing the 1500m and the 5,000m in addition to your current specialisation in the steeple. Are you keen at this time to explore whether you might be more talented at a different distance?

CG: Since training with Dave (Scott-Thomas) I have improved in every event from 800m to 5000m but none of them are taking up any of my focus. I would like to improve in these events just to prove to myself that I can make improvements in more areas than just my main event. None of my times in the other events are anything spectacular but I think that it helps with the Steeplechase to either experience an event with more speed than I’m used to or more endurance.

CK: What are the key training differences that have allowed you to improve so much, since starting with Scott-Thomas?

CG: I think increasing the amount of workouts per week. Having so many competitive girls to run with every day and having other people you can relate to on the constant struggle of being a post-collegiate athlete.  

CK: Considering that you took two months off this summer, does that mean you will miss the cross country season and focus on building your mileage back up?

CG: I haven’t actually had a cross country season since my senior year of college. I think the plan is to just slowly start enjoying the easy runs and then making my way from there.

CK: With your time off were you waiting for the moment to hit; when the desire returned or you felt motivated naturally? Did it come?

CG: It was a crazy busy 2.5 months away and with no consistency or familiarity so I never felt an absolute need to get back at any point and now that I’m back in Guelph I almost feel like I need to find my equilibrium again before I feel really motivated.

CK: Did taking Kinesiology and Pre-Physical Therapy inform your training or your understanding of training?

CG: I think it’s definitely helped with finding purpose in the tasks asked of me and realizing the importance behind them. It’s a lot easier to do something when you know exactly how it will benefit you.

CK: Your longer term goal is Rio 2016 of course. What are some of your short-term goals?

CG: Well for running specific goals I would have to say there is always trying to qualify for the big events this summer such as Pan-Am Games in Toronto, and World Champs in Beijing. I would like to create a better balance this year with training and find a new fire and passion with the sport. It gets tough to continue to love what you’re doing and your reasons for why you do it change. I’m going through a bit of an emotional change with it currently and I took almost two months off this summer just to travel and be normal but I’m looking forward to having a fresh start with it when I get back to Guelph.

CK: Did you successfully connect with normal again and did you enjoy it?

CG: I did connect with normal; it’s a weird experience because it’s good but has its own downside as well. Doing what you want all the time also isn’t as satisfying. Athletics can bring a nice discipline into your life that keeps you for lack of a better word “on track”.