Tuesday, March 11, 2014

NACAC 2014 - Pre Race

Team Canada 2014

Here I sit starting this blog while on the plane from Trinidad toward Toronto. I will be honest, I don’t want to go home. Sure I miss things at home, but being away is almost like living the dream and being away from the real world. I have said the same thing when it comes to being in Flagstaff before. Heading home means going back to the real world (aka regular life/work). This trip has been amazing, such a great experience and one that I will never forget. I hope that this is my first Team Canada trip and it has left me with the drive to want to improve even more.

It all started on Wednesday morning. I left Nanaimo on the 10:30am ferry for my short little 15 minute flight over to Vancouver. From there I met up with the West Coast Team Canada, which included Sabrina Wilkie, Theo Hunt, Ryan Cassidy, Thomas Getty and coach Lynn Kanuka. We all gathered on our flight then from Vancouver to Toronto which left at 12pm and arrived at around 7:15pm Eastern. There we met up with the rest of Team Canada, which really is too many to name right now. We had about 3 hours to relax before we were off on our 10:30pm flight from Toronto to Port of Spain in Trinidad.

Catching the last bit of the Canada vs Latvia game at YVR
I kept myself awake on the Vancouver to Toronto flight with plans of sleeping on the Toronto to Trinidad flight; however, I quickly found out I was unable to sleep. I was sitting with coach Rob and Lynn and I don’t think any of us slept very much. We arrived in Trinidad sometime between 5am and 5:30 (can’t remember the exact time) as they are 1 hour ahead of Eastern and 4 hours ahead of Pacific. Another few hour layover and around 7:30 we were off on the flight from Trinidad to Tobago finally arriving around 8am (I think). I might add that it wasn’t until this short flight that I finally felt I could fall asleep; however, at this point it was too late. Go figure!

Killing time in Trinidad

Hello Tobago!

We had a bit of a wait outside the airport for our bus, but thankfully it was in the shade so we weren’t overheating. Plus the breeze in the shade made it kind of nice. Finally the buses came and we were off to the hotel with quick pit stops on the way at a grocery store and a fruit stand. We arrived at the hotel, checked in and a bunch of us immediately got ready to go for our run. 

Luggage Transportation

The legs were certainly feeling the effects of the travel (basically 10:30am Pacific to 4:30am not including the waiting at the airport and stops along the way to the hotel). It also didn’t help that we followed the route the boys too which resulted in us climbing a pretty steep hill (more like mountain) for quite a while. We made it to the top and it started to go down the other side. We went down slightly and then opted to turn around as we didn’t want to have to run back up.


In the end we chose to run on the busy road. We had been warned not to run on the road due to crazy drivers (they drive on the left) but it turned out to be alright. In fact, us girls were honked at quite often and not in any mean nasty way. They were friendly honks, waving and hollering coming from the cars, even the police and fire that went by. I guess they enjoyed seeing a group of white girls running in sports bras and shorts! I got in a nice and relaxed 45 minutes that day.

We got back and showered, had something to eat and then most of us opted to go on the Team Canada excursion which was to go out on a boat snorkeling. I am not a huge water person, but I figured I would give it a try as I didn’t want to end up regretting not going. The water was simply beautiful. I love a good beach with nice blue water. The tour ended up being pretty neat, the snorkeling however, yeah that wasn’t for me. 

Heading to the boat

The Boat

A few of us didn’t last very long out there. Unfortunately I am not the strongest swimmer and they didn’t provide us with any floatation devices or even flippers. Man flippers would have made things WAY easier. Instead the water was choppy, I along with many others swallowed too much salt water (which is nasty as can be) so we ended up calling it a day. I think we lasted 5 minutes? No more than 10 for sure.

The ones who didn’t snorkel spent the time enjoying the boat and keeping an eye on the ones in the water. They certainly had fun. Damn them water babies! We stopped at an island party that appeared so random; however, it probably wasn’t. We even joined in a massive conga line until we had to head back as our time was up and the bus would be waiting. Overall it was a fun day and even though the snorkeling wasn’t the best experience for a few of us, I think we all could agree that we are glad we at least tried it.
 Rachel Hannah and me

Team Canada on a sandbar 

The rest of the evening was spent having supper and then relaxing. I attempted to catch the VIU Mariners Men’s Volleyball team play in their provincial championships; however, the wifi at the hotel was so spotty and crappy that I only caught bits here and there between the screen buffering. Unfortunately after going down 2 sets to 0, VIU rallied back to tie it 2-2 but lost in the 5th set to end their season. I head to bed after that and for the first time in ages I felt asleep right as my head hit the pillow. That NEVER happens with me. I guess being up for something like 36 hours with minimal sleep had something to do with that, but man was it ever glorious not to spend at least an hour tossing and turning.

The next day though, I woke up pretty groggy. In fact, I felt more awake before I went to sleep the night before. Weird how that happens. Friday was spent mostly relaxing. Some team meetings, lunch and at 4:30pm we headed over to check out the course. Most of us did our run on the course, though it wasn’t fully marked so we had to go by the coaches memory as to which way the 2nd half of the course went. We ended up ultimately getting the route wrong (ours was too long) and they changed the course slightly anyways. I got in 40 minutes plus a few strides that night and it wasn’t too bad. They legs felt better than the day before. 

Course Tour
Headed towards the shorter steeper hill

Long steep downhill near the end of the loop

Selfie with Leslie Sexton, Claire Smith (junior) and myself

Team Handshake?

Sunset post course tour

That night was dinner and relaxing, chilling with some of Team USA and simply hanging out until bed. I didn’t fall asleep quite so easy that night, but it still wasn’t as bad as when I am at home. 

Finally got the live stream Canada vs USA game in the 3rd period.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next day or 2 (hopefully)! It is written, I just have to add photos!

Senior women plus Jessy! (L-R) Jessy, Sabrina, Rachel, Jodi, Myself, Leslie, Jessica)

Senior women plus coaches Lynn and Rob

PS. Shout out to Jaimie Phelan and Athletics Canada for some of the photos I used!

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