Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Thank You's!

New Years Eve! Wow what a year! Let's recap, I ran 15 races varying in distance from 5km to half marathon. I traveled to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and San Jose for races, plus my second altitude stint in Flagstaff. I also made Team BC for the National Championships for both 10km and XC. Needless to say it has been an amazing year. 

Runners are obsessed with numbers, I could count up my mileage for the year, but it really means nothing to anyone else. So let's talk about other times, how about personal bests. 2013 was a year in which I set bests in every distance I raced including these highlighted distances! 

5km- 17:57 (2012) to 16:47 (2013)
10km- 36:44 (2012) to 34:42 (2013)
Half marathon- 1:19:57 (2012) to 1:17:03 (2013)

Overall I think running wise it was a very good year. The times I achieved were faster than what I expected. In fact, they were pretty much times I had set as long term goals for 2014. Instead I overachieved I guess you could say reaching those goals in 2013. You know what that means? Even bigger goals for 2014! 

Since the year is about to end I should say a few thank yous. Thank you to Saucony Canada for the past 3 years, it was a great partnership. 

Thank you to both the Bastion Running Club and Prairie Inn Harriers for your continued support, as well as VIRA. Also the Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards where I also took home Nanaimo's Individual Female Athlete of the Year for 2012. All four of these groups have helped fund me in some way towards my goals. 

Thanks to Alan Brookes, CRS and the many race/event organizers and volunteers for having me at your races. 

To my family (who support in person or from afar), friends (both in person and on social media) and to my co-workers (who do their best to get me time off for race/training needs) thank you for your support. I love reading your words of encouragement. Runners are a bit OCD at times and I appreciate you all understanding the everyday requirements of training.  

To Alicia Shay for allowing me to spend 3 weeks in her home the last 2 summers, thank you! I look forward to seeing you again this coming year! 

Of course thanks to the people who take care of me and play a huge role in keeping me healthy. These people include my Chiropractors Dr. Abe Avender who not only puts up with my last minute emergency appointments but ensures my body is ready to keep rolling as well as Dr. Joe Foglia who is also available with his expertise when needed. Between these two I am set though I can't forget my RMT is Yvonne Visser who has magic hands and can work wonders on my tired muscles.

Lastly, my coach of course. Matt Clout and I have known each other for years upon years. He took me on in late 2008 and has played a massive role in getting me to where I am right now. I am proud to have him as my coach and only wish we lived in the same city (he is in Victoria, me in Nanaimo) so that he could assist me through some of my workouts first hand. I look forward to seeing what we can do in 2014!

As I mentioned, I have big plans for 2014, which includes my first National Team where I will run for Team Canada at the 2014 NACAC Championships. See the local news article here.This reminds me that I need to add a thank you to Josh Aldrich from Nanaimo Daily News and his dedication to keeping up to date with my race results.

I wouldn't doubt that I am missing some important people in here, so I may add to this post later! Otherwise, I wish everyone a happy healthy new year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Canadian National XC 2013

Ahh Nationals. This race always scares me. For some reason I am more nervous when you put me off road onto either the track or trails. I tried my best all week not to think about or stress about the race too much. I had been asked about my goals for the race and I had stated "Top 10" but I truly did not know whether or not I was capable of that. I knew 100% that I was fit, but would that transfer over to the dirt, mud and hills? 

The weekend of the race I was scheduled to work, so I took off both Friday and Saturday by swapping shifts with my coworker. I thought about heading over to Vancouver Friday night, but in the end decided to stay in town and sleep in my own bed. Instead, I spent Friday night supporting a local team (VIU Mariner's Men's Volleyball) in a home game match. Over the last year I have become a fan of the sport, though I won't lie, I totally jumped on the bandwagon last year when the team made it to Nationals and came 4th. I had asked for a 3-0 win so I could get home and to bed, but was still happy they went 3-1 that night (and the next day), but enough about them. 

Saturday morning I got up and thought "Why didn't I go over last night." You see, I normally work 2-10 which means I stay up late and sleep in, so waking up at 7:15 is NEVER fun for me. I knew I could catch a few winks on the ferry though and that I did. Curled up with my blanket in my truck. Ahh the best part of ferry rides. Yes sleeping in my truck on the car deck. 

All week long the weather had been sunny and nice, then Friday night it started to rain and it continued on Saturday. I arrived at the course just after 11am and in time to see the Junior women run their 5km race at 11:15. Great to see Nanaimo girls in the mix, including Miryam Bassett (Oceanside), Marita DeSchiffart and Amy Morris. Right away I could see the course was getting sloppy so the decision was made to ditch my 9mm spikes and go for my 12's. 

The junior men went after, including Nanaimo boys Thomas and Peter Oxland (Oceanside), Sean Miller plus Chris and Anthony Serban. I had to miss the last lap of their race as I raced off back to my truck to put in my spikes and get ready for my warm up. All the kids gave their best effort in sloppy conditions and made me proud of course. 

I headed off on my warm and and while it was raining I thought it wasn't too bad, then after 10' I turned around and hit the headwind and thought "OMG." This was going to be an interesting race. Some drills and strides, a quick visit with my sister who came down to watch, spikes on, more strides, clothes off, whining that it was cold and then we were on the line. 


At 1:50 we were off and the race went off quickly and then settled down as it usually does. There was definitely some jostling at the start to find a good route. I think as we hit the first big puddle at about 850m or so, there was some laughing. I don't think anyone was expecting with just 24 hours of rain to have that much mud so fast. Being the 5th race of the day didn't disappoint. 

First loop just before hitting the first big puddle (photo credit Warren McCulloch)

The route is 1 x 1km loop, then 3 x 2km loops for 7km total. During the 1st 2km loop, I found myself in 10th place. Yes I totally counted, twice in fact to make sure I was right. Alright I thought, hold it here and hang on for dear life.  I fell back from the lead pack and then off from the chase pack where I wanted to be ideally.

Photo credit: Craig Odermatt

 Photo Credit: Rita Ivanauskas

During the 2nd 2km loop I think I picked off one girl, Bevin Kennelly I believe to put me in 9th. I kept pushing along and things slowly started to feel better. Yes, as the race went on, I felt stronger. In fact, when I hit the 3rd and final 2km loop, I was able to pass Jodi Nesbitt and then as we climbed the hill up the back I could see Sabrina had fallen off and she was coming back to me. I pushed the hill and the downhill and was determined to close a gap that had once been at least 100m. I would say in the final 700m maybe (I am horrible at estimating distance), I caught Sabrina and just kept pushing. Over the final little bump and through the mud pit onto the finish where I crossed the line 7th. 

Heading into the final hill section of the final lap (photo credit Craig)

 Final 500m of the race (photo credit Warren)

 Done!! (Photo credit Chris Kelsall)

Overall, very happy with the race. There are always things to improve on, such as wishing I had been more aggressive mid race; however, I came on strong in the end and achieved my Top 10 goal and simply CRUSHED the disappointment of finishing 34th last year. Maybe XC isn't so bad after all? ;) I also improved on my 4th place finish at BC XC to finish 2nd place for Team BC. 

MUDDY!! (and cold!)

Right after finishing, I visited with my sister and former (could be great again) runner Jay plus Craig who had found me and then headed back to get my clothes. By the time I got back to my clothes, I was freezing and shaking so bad. My spikes were covered in mud and I was struggling to untie them so I simply ripped them off my feet. Eventually I ended up doing my cool down in order to warm up while keeping an eye on the men's race. 

From there onto the awards where Team BC placed 2nd for Senior Women. Team BC and Team Ontario actually tied with 27 points but it came down to our 4th place finishers. Team BC had placed one spot behind Team Ontario.

Top Provincial Teams (Ontario-back, BC-middle, Alberta-front)

I stayed in Vancouver to hit the after party, but then in a bonehead move, I realized that I had apparently gone to Vancouver without my driver's license, which was since found in the bag I take to work. Doh! I am sure everyone else had a great time at the party though! I won't make that mistake again! 

The good news is that I placed within the top 10, and as 7th I am the first alternate when it comes to NACAC's in February. That could potentially mean Team Canada should enough girls commit. I have already heard at least 4 have said no, due to the trip being self funded and also due to it being a non World XC year; however, being my first Team Canada opportunity, I will go if enough girls say yes! Stay tuned for that news! 

Results are found here. Congrats to Natasha Wodak for the women's win and Luc Bruchet for the men's win.  

For those who missed my BC XC report that I just posted tonight (finally) here it is. 

BC XC Championships 2013

***So this is majorly delayed. I honestly have procrastinated big time on this, writing most of it not long after the race, but then I put it off until now. Stay tuned for the National XC Race Report! *****

Fall is here, so that means my cross country season has started. I should point out that my cross country "season" has remained at a total of two XC races each year for the past few years. The first being the BC Championships and the second being the National Championships. Let me state though that after finishing 34th overall at Nationals last year I pretty much decided that I was giving up on XC and would not run it in 2013. Here we are in 2013 and I have committed to another season. 

The BC Championships took place at Clearbrook Park in Abbotsford BC last Saturday October 26th. My race wasn't until 2:30pm so I was able to spend Friday night at home and then take the 8:30am ferry over to the mainland. Last year, leading into the race, we had a lot of rain making the course and fields pretty sopping wet. This year was the reverse, very little rains meant a dry course. In fact, spikes weren't really needed and in the end I kind of wish I never wore them! I will get to that later though. 

Having taken the 8:30am ferry, I arrived to Abbotsford real early, probably around 11:30. The 10:30 ferry would have been ideal time wise, but everything would have to have happened smoothly without any delays. To avoid the stress, I opted for the earlier ferry. This allowed me to relax when I got there, see some of the Nanaimo Track and Field kids and other friends. 

I should rewind for a minute and state that for the first time in ages (a year actually) I pulled out my XC Spikes from the closest on Friday night only to find out that I apparently had forgotten to wash them after Nationals last November. Mud caked on but surprisingly they didn't smell too horrible. I washed up both pairs (not sure when I wore the other ones but they were muddy too) and then put newspaper inside them so they would dry. I took out the insoles and wrapped them in paper too. 

Fastforward back to the race, at about 1:10pm (20 minutes before my warm up) I got my gear ready. I had grabbed both pairs of spikes before I left in the morning as I wasn't sure which I wanted to race in. At this time, I decided which pair I wanted to race in and then realized that I had left the insoles at home still wrapped in paper next to the fireplace. Ugh. At least the other ones had insoles in them. Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough at the time to even consider trying the insoles in the other pair of spikes, not until someone else pointed it out right before the race. 

Nevertheless, I got everything ready and then went out for my warm up. It's funny, I was more nervous for this race than I was for racing San Jose earlier in the month. I guess cause so far XC has been my nemesis. 

Eventually 2:30pm came and we were off on our way. My plan was simply to go hard or go home. I had nothing to lose. I went out with the lead pack and stuck with them for most of the first of three loops until Rachel Cliff, Sabrina Wilkie and Sarah Iginlis started to pull away. On the second lap I realized my legs were not really there. Alison Jackson pulled ahead of me and I did my best to hang on. 

First lap hill



Heading into 2nd lap

Finally on the 3rd lap, I started to feel a bit better and gained some ground. I noticed that Sarah had fallen off and I slowly starting gaining on her. With probably 1km left, I passed her and she tried to go with me. Thankfully, she didn't have it and I pushed on to finish in 4th place. That earned me some greatly needed $$ and a spot on Team BC for the National Championships at Jericho Beach on November 30th.


 TGTD (Thank God That's Done) Spikes in hand!

Pretty sure the first things I said when I crossed the line was "I hate XC" and then "Spikes suck" or something along those lines as I proceeded to remove my spikes right then and there. Overall for top 6 it finished Rachel, Sabrina, Alison, Myself, Sarah and then Lisa Brooking. I did a nice cool down while cheering on the men in their 10km and then headed off back to catch the 7pm ferry home. 

 Results are found here