NTL #3 and #4 – Harry Jerome and Victoria Track International

The NTL meets continue and while I missed the one out in Halifax I did make my way to the west coast for some Harry Jerome and Victoria International Track Action. After Boston I hopped on a plane and flew west to Vancouver. I was very fortunate to be able to stay at a friend’s house near where all my Vancouver peeps are. I had the good fortune to meet some new people and have some awesome dinners at the Cliff’s house. Plus my usual Vancouver favourites including 49th Parallel Coffee and Lucky’s donuts.

Harry Jerome
Harry Jerome is a household name in Track and Field in Canada. The inaugural meet was held in 1964 and has a tradition of posting some fast times. The meet was held at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby and you get to warm up on these awesome trails

IMG_6577I was slated to run the 1500m, along with a bunch of the other top girls in the country. Aside from my training partner G and Nicole Sifuentes all the other top girls in the 1500m were here. Plus we had some speedy Americans and an Australian in the mix. Rumours were flying that the pace setters were going to out in 2:06, then it was 2:08. My roommate was actually the pace bunny and it was supposed to be around 2:10. It didn’t intimidate me. My coach and I had a plan and I was sticking to it.

I did the usual pre-race warm up. With the awesome trails behind the stadium it was a great place to avoid the heat and the sun. At 8:22 we were scheduled to line up at the start. With 18 girls on the line it was a slightly crowded start line. With #8 on my hips and chest I lined up with the best of them.

To be honest I cannot recall much of the race. I remember the gun going off. I remember focusing on the back of people’s jerseys and make sure I stayed in contact. there was a lot of bumping in the early stages of the race (not surprising given how many girls were on the start line). Shortly before the first lap we really started to string out. I made sure I was tucked in at the back and to keep contact.

Our two rabbits really took off and Sarah Brown went with them. I stayed withIMG_6588 the pack and continued to tuck in. At 1000m Sarah was on her own and I felt the pace quicken as the pack went after her. I stayed in position and moved with the pack of girls. As the bell went I made sure I was right in there. As we rounded 300m to go I could feel someone move on my shoulder and I went with them. I managed to stay on the rail and work my way through some of the pack. I watched Hilary Stellingwerff take off and Kate VB go after her. With 200m to go I had passed Hilary and could see Kate ahead of me. I dug in and kicked for the line. With about 30m to go I think I finally passed Kate and made a dash for the line.

IMG_6578I finished in 2nd. I had finally broken 4:10 and had a shiny new PB of 4:09.22 placing me at the top of the Canadian rankings (for now!).

I was really nervous to have friends come out and watch me race. What if I didn’t perform? What if I just down right sucked and fell out of the race completely. But these are good friends and really good people. And when people come watch you race they don’t care if you win or lose. They care that you are chasing a dream. They love that you believe in yourself to put it all on the line (literally). They come and watch because they love you and love watching your pursue your passions.

The Victoria Track Classic 
Ok people of Victoria I get why you love your city so much. Coming across the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria I was blown away by the beauty of the rugged western coastline. From the massive trees, to the cliffs, to beautiful water I get why people move here.IMG_6610

The Victoria Track Classic followed in very shortly after Vancouver with only 48 hours between the meets. I felt a bit worse for wear after a long day of travel on Tuesday between meets but tried to get the most out of my shakeout and strides.

I was in the 800m and made it into the elite heat. I had the slowest seed-time butIMG_6614 I knew I was ready to go with the girls. Our race was late, almost 9pm, which for me can be challenging with how tired I get. I made sure I got lots of sleep the night before and allowed lots of opportunities through the day to nap when I needed it.

My race plan was pretty simple, make sure I was at the back and move up if I could in the second lap. I have not gone out faster than 62 so I knew this was going to feel quick. I just had to make sure I was off the back but not losing contact. I tucked myself in there and hung on.

The front went out somewhere between 27/28 and I came through trailing the back in 29. I made sure no gapped formed and really got nestled in through 300. I couldn’t see the clock going through 400, but it didn’t matter I knew what I had to do. I later found out from my coach I went through in 60 to 60-mid, which is the fastest I’ve ever gone through in.

In the last lap I really felt the fatigue of the last few days but I tried to put it out of my mind. I was sitting behind Sarah Brown and when she made her move I tried to go with her. There was a massive wall of girls in front of us but we went after them. I heard 1:30 as I went through 600m and I just tried to keep going.

As I rounded the last corner it felt like a wall of girls and nowhere to go. I kept moving for the finish line and making my way past people. I finished just under 2:03 in 2:02.90. It was a PB and a great race. Thankfully I didn’t feel quite as lacticy as I did in Boston, and more importantly I’m getting better at racing the 800m. I’m still figuring it out but I’m so glad to have all these learning opportunities.

There is oIMG_6584nly one stop left on the NTL series this year. It is in Edmonton on July 12th. I’m unsure if I will head there or to Europe. I don’t have to make that decision quite yet. And who knows maybe I’ll do both and fly straight from the west coast over to Europe for some fast races!