4 Races, 2 OU Records, 1 Canadian Record, & 1 Overall Banner
4 Races = 4 Golds
About two weeks before the Championships Ross sat me down and asked if I could run multiple events. We decided to enter me in all of the races I had qualified in (600-3000 + 4×800) and decide what to scratch me from later. In the end it was the 1000m we pulled me from, since I had three other excellent teammates to compete in the 1000m.
Friday night was the 3000m and the 4×800. During my warm up I got to watch my very talented teammate, Gabriela, just dominate the 1000m. She ran a very tactical race and really put the ‘hurt’ on the field with 1 lap to go. I thought to myself, ‘channel your inner Gabriela for the 3000m and use your kick at the end.’
The 3000 was very tactical as well. I was sandwiched between 2 Guelph ladies for much of the race. I had a lot of trouble judging my position in the turns; the banked track threw me off, and I kept colliding with Heather Petrick’s foot. With 1km to go the pace quickened and I sat in. As we passed through 500m to go I knew it was time to channel my speed and make a move. As we rounded the corner I starting picking up the pace in the home stretch. I was clear in front with 400m to go and kept putting distance on 2nd place from there. It was the first time I have ever negative split a 3000m race, finishing the last 1k in 3:00 flat, for a total of 9:21.
1 OUA Record and 1 Canadian Record
About 3.5 hours later was the 4x800m. After a quick refueling and some chill time I warmed up again. I was very sad that my teammate Mad K would not be with us for the 4×800. She had really hurt her foot in the 1k and we all knew it was best that she didn’t push things.
There were 5 women’s teams in the 4×800 and we knew that Guelph and Ottawa were our main competition. Rachel did an amazing job as our lead woman, she lead from wire to wire on her first leg and pushed ahead of the field. Honor took the baton from Rachel and fought hard; her last 400 was absolutely grueling and she fought off the Ottawa girl. I was third, since I really did not want to anchor! I felt like my cadence was a little off having just run a 3000m. And I must have been a little excited, since I went through the first 200m in 29s and 400m in 59s. Gabriela grabbed the baton from me and she could tell I was hurting! She ran a very controlled and quick 800m. She said with 200m to go she knew she could break 8:40 and took off with a tear.
Our final time was 8:37.18 (RJ-2:11, HW-2:11, SG-2:05, and GS-2:08). Not only did we shatter the old OU record by over 10 seconds but we also broke the indoor 4x800m indoor record! My first Canadian record! Even better that it was with my teammates (#StrongerTogether).
Another OUA Record
Saturday started with the 600m. I think (but I think I might be wrong) this is my weakest event. I guess I don’t see myself as having a ton of speed, but I do have a ton of speed endurance. The 600m is a really gutsy race and you are committed from the time you toe the line. There is no room for mistakes. It is an all out gutsy race and you have to trust your instincts.
I had two teammates in this race with me, Rachel and Fiona. Both come from the speed side, while I come from the endurance side. I like the 600m because it makes me faster and a better distance runner. I know that I cannot lead this race from the gun, I just don’t have the speed over the first 300m. But I also know I can trust my endurance and use my speed endurance at the end.
I took over the lead with about 250m to go. I was nervous doing this because Rachel has such an amazing kick in the 400m. As I passed with 1 lap to go I just though about staying strong and focusing ahead. My face says it all as I’m finishing. The 600m is pretty grueling and really intense. I surprised myself and broke the OUA record! I ran a 1:30.41, breaking a record that has stood since 1982 (just after I was born!).
The last race for me for the weekend was the 1500m, and I think this is my favourite distance. Gabriela and I were in this together and we knew we had to work together so we could hopefully finish 1-2. The gun went off and quickly, Gabriela was just on the inside rail behind Carise Thompson of Guelph and I sat on Carise’s shoulder.
The race went out at a very controlled pace, just over 4:30. This made for a very bunched pack through 1000m. Carise really picked up the pace with 500m to go. Gabriela and I went with her. Again at 300m the pace really quickened. And when that bell went Gabriela went charging forward with her amazing kick and I went after her. We wanted to go 1-2 in the race and bring in 18 points for the team challenge from this race. Coming around the last bend G put her mega speed legs on and charged for the finish. I pushed back and drove for the line. We had an absolute all out sprint for the finish. We put 6 seconds on third place and finished with one one-hundredth between us. It was my 4th gold medal for the OUA Championships.
The U of T Women’s Track and Field Team finished with 180 points total. We won all of the track races except for the 60m (and we still had someone on the podium). All three relay teams finished on the podium. Our fielders were amazing as well, taking podiums in every event but one. This banner is truly a result of a group of people working together; we were greater than the sum of our parts.
I am so honoured to be a part of the Varsity Blues squad. Not only are they strong and fast, but they show grace and empathy off the playing field. All of these young women inspire me to be a better athlete, friend, and person everyday; I am so grateful to have them in my life.
Well that’s a wrap on the Ontario Championships. Rest and Recovery are in order, and of course, celebrating our success.