EuroRace Adventure – Race #2

Race Adventure took me to Heusden-Zolder, a quaint little village about 50km east of Leuven.

Leading up to the race
Returning from my adventures in Oxford it had been a great few days of training. I took the train from Oxford early Wednesday morning so I could get on the track that evening; one more tune-up workout. It went better than expected. I felt light and fast, that feeling of flying around corners where the legs find no effort.

I will never grow tired of working hard to find those effortless moments. There is something so satisfying and so rewarding in those moments.

Pre-race day
What do you do when you leave your family for a few weeks? You buy them presents of course!

I wandered through the streets of Leuven looking for the perfect gifts for my family. Belgian chocolate was of course on the menu, but also some other Belgian treats. It was a very successful adventure and I loved thinking of little things that would make them smile.

All that was left was the pre-race warm up. I was so excited when I got to the track and ran into Kate! What better than to see your friends from home at your home away from home!?

20140720-162306-58986435.jpg

Race Day
It was a perfect day to have my feet up, The British Open was on BBC and the Tour was on some Belgian channel; no commercials just sporting streaming bliss!

The Tour stage was gruelling, straight through the French Alps at extremely high temperatures. It made for some very exciting riding.

At 3:45 I had to part with the cycling and riding and get in the car to head to Heusden.

It was an easy drive and as we rolled in you could hear the roar coming from the stadium. As I checked in and peered into the stadium I could see all of the spectators trying to hide I the shade; she was a toasty afternoon!

Finding some shade I started to put my numbers on my singlet. The numbers were huge and it felt like I was in a barrel with the two numbers front and back!

It was a very well organized meet. The athletes had a secured warmup area, right near the check in area and the track. I ran through the town on my warm up, looking at the stunning brick work of the homes lining the streets.

I felt great in the warm up, light and fast. I checked in and was given 007 for my hip. I’m not a huge movie buff but I do love me some James Bond, so I was pretty stoked to have 007.

In the tent I met Celia Peters, our rabbit and a fellow Canadian. She was planning to go through in 2:12 and I planned on sticking to her like glue.

We were marched to the start line, a few fast strides and I was ready to go.

Off with the gun and off with the girls. A lot of pushing, a lot of surging and we were through 200 very quick. Almost immediately I could feel the pace slowing and I moved up in the group. More pushing, more bouncing around, I felt a spike puncture my knee. No problem, stay focused and stay in the mix.

Through 400 we were 66s (I think) and I could feel the group slowing down again. I moved around to try and get to the front and start to push the pace.

Then disaster struck. My foot was wedged between the person in front of me and the girl behind me and just like that it came off. Well only partway off. Stay focused it’s only a shoe.

20140720-162409-59049573.jpg

Thoughts flew through my head. Do I try and wiggle it off? Do I try and shove my foot farther forward. But stay focused, it’s only a shoe, stay with the group.

I lost track of where we were with time. Ack 2:16 through 800m, it’s time to go! I went to go around and I think I did. But slowly this burning feeling was creeping into my left big toe. Stay focused, stay with the pack. But what do I do with my shoe.

I barely remember what happened between 800 and 1100m. But with 400m to go my toe and my shoe were all I could think about. My foot was totally wedged and I couldn’t get my shoe off. And it must have been pulled back to where the plastic plate met the foam, because every step felt like I was landing on a little edge.

My focus was shot but I was not giving up. At 300 to go with everyone taking off I tried. I really tried. But my heart wasn’t in it. And my foot felt like it had a little coal underneath my big toe

20140720-162523-59123024.jpg

They all can’t be perfect, part of racing is taking the good with the bad. I saw Kate VB just before her warm up. She congratulated me on not giving up. I said that I had the bad luck for Canada that night and to go and give it her all.

It was an awesome night for Kate! She ran a PB, a 4:05.39, which is a great result heading into Glasgow and I am so excited for her.

Jessica Furlan also PB’d by 15s in the 3000SC shattering her own and the Canadian record.

Celebrate your friends and celebrate their successes. We are all working for a common goal of being faster, stronger, better.

I am looking forward to racing again. To more hard work on the track and the road. To celebrating success and learning from mistakes. One bad race won’t stop me from chasing a dream.