The snow eventually stopped, though our Masters got stuck racing in it. We killed some time around the hotel room before finally heading over to the course at about 12:30pm.
While we would have loved to watch the other races, due to the freezing cold, we opted to go only an hour before. The junior girls had just finished when we arrived and the junior boys just beginning. We went on our warm up around the course, did some drills etc and then were heading to the line.
Did I mention the difference in the course?
It was cold, have I mentioned that? A few strides and we were on the line ready to go....."on your marks" he announces and then we heard "click" "click" "click" the puzzled starter looks at the gun and then says "3 more minutes" as he has to reload the gun. I threw a jacket over my shoulders, but it was useless. By the time we lined up to start again, I was literally shaking. My warm up was totally useless and gone. I was starting frozen.
Senior Women Start
The race started and it went off fast. It was a shock to my body due to being so cold. I think I hit the first corner about 3/4 of the way to the back of the group but then slowly worked my way back up a bit. I really do not remember much of the race. We came around the first loop and I was still feeling okay, but man that hill was hard. Still not as bad as Aldergrove's course for BC's though. I picked off people on each lap, slowly but surely. No one passed me (that I remember).
We ran two 2.5km loops and then a 2km loop to finish. After the 2nd lap, I felt light headed. Not really light headed, but I had this weird feeling in my body where I thought to myself "I hope I don't pass out." But then I started to concentrate on the breathing of the girl beside me. She was breathing harder than I was, why was I not gasping like that. I must not be working hard enough. I passed her on the downhill and never saw her again.
I was glad to see the turn off for the 2km loop as it seemed like a short cut after the two 2.5km loops. I knew the finish wasn't far off. I kept working and hit the final uphill right behind 2 girls. I told myself that I was going to take them down. I heard someone yell from the sidelines something about me going to pass them and finish ahead (can't remember the exact words). I got to the top of the hill just steps behind the girls, but as it flattened out, I threw in a pick up and passed them both.
I had no idea where I had finished. I found my team mates in the finish area and heard Craig tell Melissa she was 15th. I figured there was about 10 people including Jess between her and me, so I guessed 25th. Turns out I was 27th overall (26th Canadian) and RIGHT on the bubble for the top half as there were 53 finishers. You know what? I was more happy with 25th than I was when I heard 27th. Only 2 spots I know, but I wanted to be clear of the bubble.
I put on some clothes, grabbed my camera and did my warm down on the course while trying to capture photos of the senior men. Cam Levins ran a stellar race, taking over the lead on the last lap and running away with the race. He is a local Vancouver Island boy who run's for university down in Utah. Too bad he wasn't on Team BC as he never ran the BC Championships.
By the time the guys finished, I was turning blue according to Matt C. A ride home and then a nice warm shower was next on the agenda.
In the end, the senior women Team BC came 2nd overall and senior men Team BC came 3rd overall. Natasha ran well finishing in 5th earning her a spot on the world team (they had better take a team this year), Lucy in 10th, Melissa in 15th, Jess in 20th, Me in 27th and Catherine in 39th. Way to go ladies!
Senior Women Take the Silver
What did I think of my race? It was a good experience which has opened my eyes to a few things that I must work on. It renewed my motivation for the sport and I am looking forward to what the future holds. It was fun and while I would have preferred no snow as it kept me a bit timid on the corners, the snow made it unique and a new experience for me. I cannot not be happy with finishing in the top half of the race considering it was the National Championships. I am honored to have been there, especially since I hadn't run Cross Country since 1999 prior to this year.
I must say a quick note to the Bastion Running Club who sponsored part of my trip. Here is the president Dave presenting me with a cheque on the Monday before the race.
Up next.... After Party!