For Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, it was both the ultimate compliment and a huge annoyance.
While the hurdler from Whitby, Ont., ran at the World Athletics Final last Saturday in Thessaloniki, Greece, someone rifled through her track bag and stole her training journal.
"I guess I'm doing something right, somebody wants to steal my workouts," Lopes-Schliep said in a phone interview Wednesday. "In a way, I feel honoured that somebody is looking that hard at me and they want to know what I'm doing, but at the same time I'm annoyed that someone would steal my book.
"Somebody obviously feels threatened and wants to know what I'm doing. . . but they'll always be a year behind."
Lopes-Schliep was fourth in the 100-metre hurdles in Greece, capping a season that saw her capture Canada's only medal - a silver - at the world track and field championships in August.
The training journal documented every workout from this past season in detail.
"A training log is an athlete's bible, it outlines absolutely everything in terms of workouts from the rest to the recovery," said the hurdler's agent Kris Mychasiw. "It's a shame that someone took it.
"But track and field is a very small world where everyone know everything, I just hope it turns up."
Lopes-Schliep ran 12.61 at the World Athletics Final, tying three other runners that had identical times including Perdita Felicien of Pickering, Ont. After studying the photo finish, officials awarded silver to American Dawn Harper, bronze to Delloreen Ennis-London of Jamaica, fourth to Lopes-Schliep, and fifth to Felicien. Jamaica's Brigitte Foster-Hylton claimed the gold in 12.58.
Lopes-Schliep discovered her journal had been pinched shortly after the race - the only thing missing from her bag that included a cellphone, pair of spikes and clothes.
"The book was in the back part under my clothes," she said. "They knew what they were looking for. They didn't want anything else."
The bag was never out of her sight for more than five minutes at a time, both during the warmup and the race, when she left it in the women's dressing room.
"Different coaches have different workout plans, so if was to see someone doing a specific workout, I would know. . . hey, that's my workout," she said. "Different coaches, different strategies, different plans. It's interesting to end the season that way."
The biggest annoyance is not being able to look back at specific times of a season during which Lopes-Schliep was consistently among the top hurdlers in the world, picking up where she left off after winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"I like to be able to look year to year what I'm doing, say, a week before Melrose (Games in New York), I can look back and see what I was doing," she said. "It's just neat to see the progress. I won't be able to see it this year, unfortunately."
From now on, she plans to document everything on her computer.
Besides her own daily routine, Lopes-Schliep jotted down research in her journal on her aunts' struggles with diabetes. Lopes-Schliep has a genetic condition called lipodystrophy that several of the women in her family suffer from. One of its characteristics is a decrease in fat that's evident in her muscular physique. It can also lead to diabetes.
Lopes-Schliep flew home from Greece on Monday, and plans to take a month completely off before she eases back into training for next season.
"Once you get past that month, it's almost like I start getting that itchy feeling like I need to do something, the track is just ingrained in me. Then when we finally start, it's like I can't wait for my first race, and then I can't wait to run fast again, and I can't wait to run in a big championship.
"We were at the world championships and I turned to Anthony (McLeary, her coach) and said, 'It feels like yesterday that we were in Beijing at the Olympics, the year flew by.'
"Beijing it felt like I ran out of the stadium so quickly. This year I didn't run around so quickly, I let it soak in and absorbed it."