Canadian Championships 2015

IMG_6729It has been quite a year if I look back to Moncton just 365 days ago. I was 5th, I got out kicked in the last 80m. A lot has changed since then. I’ve stuck with the plan my coaches, Ross and Terry, set out for me. I added more mileage, some speed, Dr. Kris helped me get stronger, and I myself grow hungrier every day to be a champion.

Nationals is over and I’m sitting on a plane watching The Second Best Marigold Hotel. It is no Wes Anderson movie or a kids movie, but it’s a good distraction. Oh, and I’m coming home with a silver medal

IMG_6712I set out on Tuesday for Alberta. I find I need all the time I can get with time change. Plus it was a great excuse to visit a very great friend who left Ontario last year to come back to her homeIMG_6714 province. And I can see why. I had such a blast with her in Calgary; we really did laugh from the time I landed to when she headed out on for a ride on Wednesday. Plus I brought some much-needed rain to Calgary, apparently I even brought hail. (This is what happens with Sarah and I get together).

On Wednesday I was very thankful that my friend Claire Sumner was able to give me a lift from Calgary to Edmonton. I actually bumped into Claire’s mom the night before while walking down the street in Calgary; her mom is one of my running heroes. Claire was racing the 5000m with teammate Jess O’Connell. Claire has come along way since I’ve known her. I was sad when she left U of T for Queens; but she’s found a great fit and is thriving at her new school.

On Thursday I opted to do my pre-race near the hotel. The track offered no shady areas and there was a street by the hotel that had this great tree canopy. Sure I didn’t get to put my spikes on but at least I didn’t get super dehydrated. Edmonton sure is dry so I was taking every precaution necessary.

Friday was semi-finals. The qualifying rounds were rolled into the semi-finals 11722277_10153158564658052_2742020875747041374_owith only 23 girls in the field; that’s just a few too many girls for a straight final. Unfortunately whomever planned the schedule did not quite leave enough time between heats to get people off the track and announce everyone on the line. All of us girls were stuck in the marshalling tent, but at least we were talking ice cream, beer and giggling as we were nervously waiting to be taken out to do some strides. Well we ran out of time and after sitting in there for what seemed like forever, we were taken out to the start line. With only 7 girls in heat one and 10 in heat two, how come we couldn’t just roll it into a final? I did what I needed to do and made it through the heats and onto the final.

The final was about 24 hours later so I headed back to the hotel to eat some dinner and rest up for the next day. Mads, my teammate, was also racing the next day so we had yummy salad in bed from Restaurant Dauphine. Edmonton has really stepped up its food game.

I was really nervous on Saturday morning. I wasn’t feeling great and my stomach sure let me know it. I headed out for my shakeout run and started to feel better. My legs woke up, my stomach settled, and I headed back to the hotel to watch the 800m semi-finals. While Mads didn’t make the final she really gave it her all. She ran one smart race and positioned well; and I know next year she’s going to be a real threat. Some of my other great friends I’ve met along my travels made the final, including Melissa Bishop, Rachel Francois and Celia Peters.

I headed to the track around 5pm and straight to the gyms to do my activation. It worked the day before so I figured I’d head back there again. Luckily Saturday was not nearly as scorching hot as Friday and so warm up was quite enjoyable. I headed out on the same route as semi-finals and got my head in the game. A little Lean On Summer Anthem, some self talk, and I was getting myself in the zone.

Since it wasn’t so hot I decided to do my drills and a few strides on the hammer throw field. A wee bit sketchy with the divots but it did the job. Terry helped me get my number on the back of my singlet and I headed to the marshalling tent again. I learned my lesson the day before and left my mobile behind. I put my spikes on, my name on my front and the number 9’s on both hips and my left chest.

It was go-time. Head out on the track and do your last few strides. Why we were waiting to be marshalled the wind seemed to have really picked up, Sheila Reid and I really did feel like the tent was blowing us over as we tied our spikes in the marshalling area.

Twelve girls on the line. One Scottish, one girl missing in action (apparently she10710505_10153160524743052_7499099161691593914_o didn’t think she had any chance at the final so when her ride left for Stampede she headed off the party!). When the gun went Sarah Inglis, the Scottish one, went right to the front. What did she have to lose? She wanted a time and we were all vying for a medal. When we came around the first time to the home stretch I thought I hit a wall and was being pulled back all at once; it was one seriously fierce wind.

11728699_10153160524613052_3541813401246068183_oI tucked in. I wanted to hide from the wind and conserve my energy. Luckily I inherited my parent’s ‘petit-ness’ and was able to tuck in behind Nicole. Around we went, Sarah way out in front and Nicole leading the charge for the Canadian contingent. There was a lot of bumping as we kept coming into the wind in the home stretch. I knew I could only hide for three laps on that fourth lap coming into the finish I would have to expose myself.

11722275_10153160520618052_5695844792186604700_oFists balled. Leaning at what felt like a 45 degree angle. I pushed forward. I chased that gold medal. I pushed as hard as I could for the finish line. Nicole lead wire to wire and deserved her win. I tucked in just behind her and Kate just behind me. I think this picture really says it all.

11717465_10153160520048052_3172769089922986529_oIt’s been an amazing journey this last year. One that will continue. From 5th to a sliver medal. This isn’t a dream, this is my reality. A reality I carve out for myself everyday. I reality I love and love more every day. Chase your dreams because you never know where they will lead you.

Pan Am’s here I come!

PS – 1500m Night

I also owe you all an update on my last race in London. Well Steve Weiler did an amazing job at putting together a world-class event. Nicole and I really went after it, but we just missed world standard. I walked away with a new PB. It was great getting to race for the first time since Moncton 2014.