Sasha’s Sunday Race Recap

This past weekend I headed off to the balmy city of Montreal to participate in the McGill Team Challenge. I had never run in the Tomlinson Fieldhouse so I was pretty excited departing from Billy Bishop airport on Friday afternoon.

I was running the 3000m on the Friday night. Start time was 6pm. Leaving at 1pm from Toronto was a little late, but I was not going to let that distract me from my race. You have to balance what you love with life, after all. I arrived in Montreal just after 2 and took a cab straight to the hotel for a quick change from street clothes to race clothes.

By 4:15 I was at the track, thinking about how I wanted to attack the race, and catching up with some teammates. The Tomlinson Fieldhouse is this really cool building at the edge of campus on the base of Mt. Royal. I think it’s pretty old and has some nostalgia to it. It’s also really cramped, there is not really an extra square inch of space! So Montreal!

The 3000m was divided into 3 heats with a total of 49 women. My heat had 17 women; two rows of women stood on the start line. I had number 17 and was way on the 10916329_10152524976906237_4772113997577505379_ooutside of the track. I actually had to ask an official to give me some more space while starting. My goal was to go out in 37.5, 3:09 for the first kilometre and get faster from there. I was also going to try and let someone else lead the first lap.

I went out in 37 low and lead from the time the gun went. My first km was 3:07 and I felt great. Kilometer 2 felt equally as good in 3:07 again. Then it started to feel very hot, very crowded and I even felt nauseous from doing so many circles!

In the last kilometre I really started to catch the field. I worked my way through the first few girls. But at the same time it felt like more and more people were doing warm ups in the other lanes. Imagine tIMG_5666his, you’re tired, physically and mentally, you come around to the home stretch and you see a field of girls ahead of you that you need to move through, they are in lanes 1 and 2. Plus there are people doing fast strides coming straight at you; you are running upstream against them. It was too overwhelming for me, too claustrophobic and I felt really beaten up mentally. My last km was not at all what I wanted it to be, but I also did not expect to have to overcome so many obstacles.

10609718_867435749975005_4183386239779768905_nOh well, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. It was a 9:25, good enough for CIS standard. I ran it in flats, I ran it alone, and it was a great effort. Plus I felt great going to bed getting ready for my 600m the next day. That’s right the 600m, because everyone doubles in the speed and endurance events! (Next up 300m?!)

Here is a video of the 3000m.

Day 2, the day of my first 600m. I have never raced one before, how strange. I’ve only run some hard 600’s in practice before. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I expected it to feel much faster than my 3000m and I expected to hurt a lot!

I went out perfectly, just under 30s. I was almost in last and I knew that from 200m to 300m I had to look at where I wanted to start making my moves. At 300m a gap opened up on the inside and although I thought I might get boxed in, I didn’t hesitate and started moving up. As we rounded the home stretch again, I squeezed my way to the outside as I saw people start to slow down. Through 400m in 60s; a high 30 or low 31 for lap 2. The leader though was still so afar in front, it was go time.

The last lap I knew I had to work, I knew I had to run fast and work my way through the girls. I focused and started reeling them in. At 275m I was almost in last, at 500m I had moved into 3rd or 4th. With 100m to go I focused on the finish line and kept going, keep those fast feet going and work through the girls. I won my first 600 and my roomie was 2nd! And she PB’d too. It was a pretty awesome feeling.

The video is pretty exciting. I don’t make much of an appearance until that last lap, but on the back stretch it really puts into perspective how fast we were going.

A few hours later I was doing a fun 4x400m. I have never broken 60s for a 400m and it’s always been a goal of mine. All I wanted was a 59.9. We warmed up again and I got my fast feet going. I was placed on a team that was a combination of club girls and varsity girls. I was anchoring, which I find to be a lot of pressure. Our team was second, I was trying so hard to catch my teammate, the one I beat in the 600m, but she had an absolutely phenomenal 400m and ran 56.2!

But I had major success with trying to break 60s for 400m. According to the coaches my split for my last 400m was 57.0s!

What a great ‘rookie’ experience at the McGill team Challenge. The Varsity Blues Women’s Team took top honours, I had three PB’s, and I had a great time supporting my teammates.

Next weekend I’m off to NYC to race in the Armory!