Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Interview with Canadian Champion and Olympian Adrienne Power

My old training partner, best friend, hero and inspiration Adrienne Power agreed to let me interview for my blog. I hope you enjoy reading this interview and can see just how dedicated and determined an individual needs to be to be a champion and Olympian. I have gained even more respect for the sport of track and field and Adrienne just by doing this interview.

So who is Adrienne Power?

Q: Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you came from?

I am originally from rural Nova Scotia in a place called East Jeddore. I have been evolved in sport since I can remember and played whatever I could get my hands on. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and loved to compete with the boys. I became much more serious in sport when I hit high school. I played soccer, basketball, badminton, baseball and Track & Field. After high school I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax and really came out of my shell and became a public speaker and varsity team leader during my time there. I decided on Commerce for my degree and I have never looked back. Business another passion of mine and becoming a success in the boardroom is a priority as well as international success on the track. East Jeddore has never rubbed off though and I’m a country girl at heart forever.

Q: How did you get involved in Track and Field?

In grade 12 two new gym teachers came to my high school “Eastern Shore District High school” and started coaching all the teams there and asked why I hadn’t been taken to metro track & field championships because I was so quick when playing all other sports. So they drove me out to Sackville to give track a try. I entered the 100m, 200m and the long jump. I showed up with basketball shorts and a t-shirt that was too big for me and high cut sneakers. I was warming up and saw some of the girls I’d be running against. They had tight spandex tops, little bottoms and small looking sneakers with spikes in the bottom. I thought maybe I wasn’t prepared for this sport but got into the starting blocks for the 100m anyway. The gun went off and I ran all over my lane but, I made it the finish line and 20m behind me was the rest of the field of girls. I knew then that Track could be a sport for me to excel. Since I have been competing in Track for 10 years and have been a Team Canada athlete for 7 years. I competed for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and have come a long way from the girl in the big t-shirt in 1999. I am the Canadian Champion in the 200m and one of the 4x400m relay team members.

Q: Who is your coach and what is he/she like?

My main coach is Peter Lord. He coaches my track workouts and some dynamic workouts as well. Jonathan Doucette is my weights coach and has been with me just under one year now. Jonathan is the throws coach at Dalhouise as well as develops weight programs for multiple events athletes. I started at Chebucto Track Club during my first summer before I entered University. Doug Mitchell runs this group and he came up to me after that first race and said I had talent. Side note: I was home last week at my Dad’s house and under a magnet on my locker was Doug Mitchell’s card and a post-it note saying Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday practice times. That’s totally where my track journey began. Peter has coached me since 2000 and has been there for me these past 10 years. Peter coaches the sprints, long jump and triple jump events at Dalhouise where he is the head Track & Field coach. Peter has an amazing understanding of Periodization and Physiology. His yearly planning has ensured personal best performance each year since I started the sport. Peter is not just my coach on the track but, also mentally he creates a support system. I could need help at practice or I could be at the Beijing Olympics on the brink of a breakdown and I can always call him. Even if I’m in China and its’ 3:30am in Nova Scotia. That’s what a great coach does. Great coaches aren’t just there for practice they need to be there for all situations and he has helped me grow.

Q: What type of work do you do on the track weekly?

I have a couple of different types of Track workouts. On Mondays I do a little tempo work (very light) with 70m tempo run and 20m walk type during indoor. On Tuesday I will do speed type runs. With or without a weight sled 25m all out bursts and sometimes some starts from the blocks. Wednesday I do hurdle drills. These are mobility and hip flexor focused. Thursday is my speed endurance day. I’ll usually do 4x200m at almost race pace or something like 3x4x70m and 1x120mand 1x70m. I consider this my hardest workout of the week in terms of lactic. Sunday will be a longer speed type day and sometimes testing day. I’ll do maybe 3x120 or 3x50, 3x30, 3x25 and maybe tag a 200m on the end of it.

Check out one of Adrienne's commercals below:

Q: What is your weight training regime like?

Mondays are upper body days. I have a 1 and a half routine I go through to keep my upper-body strong to hold on during the 4x400m relay and to pump through the last 100m of the 200m. I also do core which is 3 exercises and I do 3-4 sets. Tuesdays after my track workout I’ll do some jumps stuff and in the weight room I do front or back squats and back extensions. Wednesday is core after the hurdles. Thursday is some Olympic lifting (cleans) and some hamstring work. Friday is another core day as well. Sunday after the track workout I’ll do jump squats and some hamstring stuff.

Q: Do you eat healthy? If so what do you eat and what are your vices? I heard you liked raw cookie dough?

Trent Stellingwerff is my nutritionist and the nutritionist of a number of Team Canada Track Athletes. He designs my program year round. He makes up what a day should look like for each of my training blocks. It has been a lot stricter than I have been use to when I was a varsity athlete. He says I can have chocolate…… once every 3 days. The diet has made a big difference though and I feel I have more energy and recover much quicker then on my old diet. My favorite foods are chicken breast, sweet potato, green beans and milk. Trent is ensuring though that I mix it up and add new things all the time to get a good variety. The raw cookie is very missed!

Q: Do you take protein supplements? If so what ones and when?

Yes I take protein supplements. I take a supplement brand called Rival-Us. The protein I take is PROMASIL® Athletes Protein is used by athletes during training, competition and recovery to immediately enhance whole-body amino acid and nitrogen balance*, protein synthesis* and retention. I’ll take it right after training during the recover window (10-20mins after training) and also a little in the morning if I don’t have time to get in the proper protein from my food. I also take Nutra-Sea fish oil, glutamine, a multi vitamin (Opti-Women), and NO-Xplode (per-workout drink).

Q: Are you a sponsored athlete? If so who sponsors you and what do they do for you? Did you find it difficult to get sponsors?

My sponsors are:

BMO Nesbitt Burns (Financial Supporter since 2009) www.bmonesbittburns.com

Rival-Us (Supplement and Financial Supporter since 2010) http://www.rivalus.net

I have started to receive support from a number of Nova Scotia community members through a trust fund.

Adidas (apparel sponsor since 2003) www.adidas.com/ca

UpMyGame – Better Sports Performance (Supporter since 2008) http://www.upmygame.com/ this site give me the ability to upload my sprint and weight videos and analyze them as well as my coaches to fix technique and imbalance issues.

BioPed (Supporter since 2009) Tony Conrad, Bedford location ensures I have the best orthotics to max out my abilities on the track. www.bioped.com

Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation through the Support 4 Sport Program www.support4sport.ca

You can watch my commercial @ http://www.support4sport.ca/?pg=2

Canadian Sports Centre Atlantic (Supporting since 2003) http://www.cscatlantic.ca/ This is a support office for Atlantic high performance athletes. They help with supporting massage, marketing, body composition testing, video, yearly planning and much much more.

Limelight (My Motivational Speaking Agent since 2009) http://www.limelightgroup.com

Finding sponsors has been challenging but, I believe that if you have talent, personality and drive to be the best, your supports will find you.

Q: You have done a lot for sport in the Maritimes especially the province of Nova Scotia, could you tell me about all the things you have done or are doing?

Well throughout my track career I have become a team leader at Dalhousie and I have continued on with this after my university career. I volunteer as a relay coach at Dal and bring the Team Canada knowledge and experience home. I also do nutrition and supplement talks to Nova Scotian track & field youth to advise them on the good and bad to enable them to make the right choices. I have given over 300 speeches mostly across Atlantic Canada and some even across Canada. In these speeches share my story and teach how I go about accomplishing goals and motivate my audiences with a success driven framework. Each month I donate between 3-5 speeches to schools and youth group across the province. Lately I have been involved in Girls Soar which is an initiative is dedicated to increasing opportunities for girls and young women to be active. We are working to increase the number of female centered opportunities for physical activity primarily through promotion and education in the Halifax Regional Municipality. I believe sport can really give young girls life skills such as team building, support building, dedication, drive and healthy life styles. Sports gives a ton of self-confidence and ability to be self motivated. Taking what I have learned and grown to become and sharing it with youth and business groups has become very important to me. Growing Atlantic Canada into a community where health and fitness is a priority to me. Having the ability to do my part in this way and motivate youth and community members to follow their dream has been one of my most treasured gifts as a result of my track career.

Q: How has the sport changed since you began running?

I went from being a shy tomboy to become an extroverted Olympian. I owe Track so much for everything I have become. As you can see from all the above answers it has taken a huge team and support group of individuals to make an Olympian and sculpt the person I have become and I am so thankful for the time and effort all these people have put in and continue to support. I have learned so much from all the traveling, stress, success, pressure, hard work and sweat. I’m an Olympian, educated business women, coach, role model but, under it all not much has changed and I’m still that country girl from East Jeddore.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your experience at the Bejing Olympics? I heard that you hurt your ankle prior is this true? Were you happy with your results? What do you think you could have done differently?

The Beijing Olympics was an amazing experience and I had to deal with the pressure and stress the Olympics brings. When I think of 2008 I of course think of the Olympics but, what stands out to me was the journey to get there. The standards and Olympic Trials I had to endure to even be considered was a large challenge. Having the head coach of Team Canada Athletics come up, hug me and whisper in my ear you’re an Olympian has been a defining moment for me. I flew to Beijing and then to Singapore where our per-Olympic camp was and on the first day I was training I decided to hit the workout hard as if I didn’t do any traveling and I sprained my big toe way up in the arch of my left foot. I couldn’t run for the 2 weeks leading up to the games and I put my spikes on for the first time in my heats. I embraced the experience and was disappointed of course but, my family traveled there to watch and with the support of my teammates I had a great experience.

I guess I wouldn’t have hit the workout so hard at the beginning of the camp and ease into the training. I guess that’s why experience at these things is so important. In the last few years I have been on a few Team Canada Teams and I learn more and more on each one to develop my knowledge and experience to get set up for my next big challenge.

Q: Who is your hero and why?

My Hero is my Grandfather. His name is Lloyd Mitchell he was a sniper in World War 2 and was in the Dieppe Raid where only 1 on 5 survived. I spent the first 5 years of my life with him and my Grandmother. He taught me everything. How to cook, clean, hunt, fish and be a good person. He would tell me war stories and how import it was to fight for our freedom. He watched the Olympic Games with me when I was 4 and he looked down at me and said “that’s going to be you someday Adrienne, an Olympian”. Since then I have worked so hard to make my dreams come true and make my Grandfather and family proud. And know I represent Canada just like he did in World War 2.

Q: What is your most prized memory from Track and Field?

I would have to say after the Head coach told me I was going to be an Olympian I went to my mom who was just outside and told her. She cried and said “your Grandfather would be so proud”.

Q: If there is one thing you would like to tell someone getting involved in track and field, what would it be?

Track is an individual sport and there are highs and lows you need to deal with on your own. The ones that will succeed will be the ones that can dig themselves out of any hole to show up on that track and put down the best performances when the pressure is on. Train hard and then train harder!

Q: I know that you are very passionate about track and field, and sometimes that can be misunderstood for cockiness on the track. How would you describe your passion vs cockiness?

Since I’ve played sports competitively I have always had a high intensity level during competition. I can remember warming up in high school for basketball games and just letting loose on the court and letting my speed take over. I can remember my Mother came to a game once in grade 12 and watched me get super hyped up and play hard. She said she didn’t want to come to another games because of my intensity. On the Track it’s the same for me. I like to get a sweat on and feel the intensity of competition. This is how I get into the zone where my performances hit their highest levels. I actually enjoy the warm-up during practice and in competition. I get to go at my own pace and listen to how my body feels. When I’m having a good day I’m smiling so big on the inside and it only drives the warm-up harder. But, even on my best days when I look super intense I always still need my coach to say “Adrienne you look smoking fast today” to actually fully keep the fast feelings coming. Even though I look so confident I’ll always need positive reinforcement.

It takes these high levels of intensity to be a high performance athlete and it is sometimes misunderstood. If I’m at Canadian National Championships and I warm-up this way I blend in more with my peers. I would say almost all Team Canada Team members have an intense warm-up similar to mine. At that level it seem to be accepted and reinforced with positive feedback from National coaches and my personal coaches too. But, when I come home and compete at local meets and warm-up with the same intensity and drive it is seen in a much different light by a few coaches. It is more seen that I am cocky and more all about myself. It is hugely misunderstood. When I am at home I really need to bring my mental game up to get the times I need and the passion and intensity you see is how I get worked up to get the job done on the track. I hope that the youth of Track & Field in Atlantic Canada view me as a role model and see this intensity as passion. Being focused and working hard is what got me this far in the sport and I hope seeing me compete at home in person motivates them to be the same.

Q: What keeps you driven to continually train and compete?

I love to put everything into something. With Track I get those few races a year when I get a performance that seemed so far away. In these moments I have had my highest highs. When I get on the track to train it’s those moments in competition that motivate me along with pushing my body so far and getting back up 4mins later and pushing even harder. Going home after a workout where you know you gave it everything and couldn’t have possibly given anymore is one of the most rewarding experiences and I get to feel that every week.

Q: When will you retire and what will you do after retirement? Do you plan on coaching?

I plan to retire from track in the next 4-5 years. I’d like to try another sport after retirement. I really like Golf or maybe even Bobsled or Speed Skating. I think I’ll always be involved with Track to some capacity and coaching could be an option.

Q: If you weren't a sprinter what would you be and why?

If I wasn’t a sprinter I think I’d be a pole-vaulter. Sometimes when I check-in for a meet the registration desks think I’m a pole-vaulter because of my upper body build. Looks pretty fun to fly.

So who is Adrienne Power?













  1. What about the Elevator story?

  2. What I want to say is I love your questions!
    It's simple, but can make us know more about Adrienne!
    Thanks for it!