This was the 3rd consecutive year that I have participated in the Canadian National XC Championships. After having not run XC since 1999 when I quit the track club after high school, I decided to give it a try. It was quite intimidating to step back on the line after so many years of road racing; however, it was a fun experience that took me to Guelph that year as part of Team BC.
Both last year and this year Nationals were at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, which meant Team BC wasn’t quite as necessary. Good thing for that too, as I missed out on making the team both years. Unlike last year’s mud fest with stormy conditions, this year was mild weather with sun. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of mud considering it rained quite often and quite hard in the weeks leading up to the race; however, with a few days of sun here and there the course wasn’t quite as wet and muddy.
I took the 8:30am ferry over to Vancouver and left Nanaimo with nice sunshine.
From the ferry shortly after leaving Nanaimo
When I arrived on the mainland, I hit some brief rain as I drove through the North Shore but was greeted to sunny skies at the course. I arrived just in time to catch the Junior Girls race, which included Rebecca and Miryam Bassett as well as another local high school athlete Erica DeShiffart. All three are actually younger than Junior age by 1-2 years and they ran quite well for their first National experience.
I quickly met up withMeggan Franks, whom was my roommate in Montreal back in April for the Canadian Half Marathon Championships.
Meggan and I post race
Part way through the Junior men’s race I headed off to warm up. Unfortunately, getting ready to even start my warm up took me longer than planned as I forgot to change the length of my spikes up until that point. I had to cut my warm up shorter than normal in order to compensate.
After the junior men they held a community race and then I found myself on the start line. At this point I ran into my sister who came down to watch, along with my coach (or adviser as he likes to be called) Matt. I did some strides and found that my right hamstring was a bit tight but at this point there was nothing I could do about it.
We were on the line and the race took off. We did the 1km loop first in which I feel as though I ran through strong.
Unfortunately part way through the first of three 2km loops, I didn’t run quite as strong. The first two of those 2km loops weren’t ideal but I found that I was just finding my legs on the final 2km loop. I suppose that is the distance runner in me. One of my Chiro’s laughed before when I referred to the 7km distance as a sprint. It’s no secret that I prefer races that are longer.
2nd loop maybe?
I had a good battle with a girl named Jodi for the final lap from what I can remember. I would catch her on the hill and then she would gap me on the downhill. She had a decent gap of probably 10m on the downhill for the final lap; however, I was able to track her down in the final stretch and pass her just before the line. Last year, a different Jodi passed me just before the line, so this year I was NOT going to let that happen again. I crossed the line in 34th (31st Canadian) and was off of my goal of at least the top 30. Yes I would love to have been closer to 20th, but it wasn’t my day and it wasn’t my race.
Battle down the finish with Jodi
Overall the conditions were much better than last year’s mud fest, with each race being much faster than the year before. I was exactly 2 minutes faster than last year finishing in 25:53.
Post race chats! (starting to get cold!)
The race was won by Megan Brown, followed by Kate Harrison and then BC’s own Natasha (Wodak) Fraser. I am excited to hopefully follow Tasha’s experience at Worlds in 2013!
Speedy Natasha Fraser (3rd), Myself and Speedy Rachel Cliff (4th). Both are off to NACAC and hopefully Worlds!
Ryan Noel-Hodge, Megan and myself post races
Results are found here courtesy Mark Nelson's wonderful and speedy Race Day Timing Service!