Saturday, 20 July 2013

Fall 2012

Continuing with my ridiculously late sum up of the past year, last fall was probably my best season of running so far. I went into this season a little nervous but more than ready to go after a spot on that Worlds team. Competing at NACAC the year before had been one of the best experiences of my life and I knew that World Championships would be beyond anything I could even imagine. I had to make the team and that was that.

I started the season off at the Maine XC Festival of Champions on September 29. I decided to go to this meet because I wanted to get in an early race to get my confidence back after not racing track. This race was ideal since it was 5 km-my distance for nationals, it was close enough that I could drive down, it's fairly competitive with more than 600 high school aged girls in the race, and it had a reputation as a very well organised meet. The race went well and I placed second overall with a time of 18:28. It didn't feel awesome and I could tell that I wasn't super fit but more importantly, I knew that I was healthy again and ready for some solid training and racing.

I spent October racing in the provincial high school series which are 3 km races. There isn't a lot of competition on the island so I used these as workouts and just enjoyed them. I won my sixth consecutive provincial title and set a course record on my home course, a great way to finish up my high school career!

With Nationals at the end of November, I really wanted to get in a 5 km race earlier in the month since I didn't have a lot of experience with that distance. Ontario can always be counted on for good competition and the Athletics Ontario Championship just happened to be two weeks before Nationals- perfect! It was a good race and I ran in a group for the first kilometre or so before we strung out and I ran most of the race on my own in second place. I moved into first just as we hit the last hill going into the finish line, winning the race in 17:45 and getting the confidence that I needed going into Nationals.

I met with a couple coaches in Vancouver but I stayed focussed on the race. I never really know what to expect going into races so my goal was just to be in the top six and get on the World Championship team. I knew it would be tough but I felt fit and thought that I could do it. I had a bad start and ended up stuck back in the 40s or so for the first kilometer. It was pretty congested and I felt like I was coming to a stop a few times as girls fell and bunched up around the turns. Going into the second kilometer I knew I had to work to get out of that mess of runners and I somehow made my way up to the lead group. We ran as a small group for a couple kilometers before a couple of the girls moved up and gapped us for a bit. On the last kilometer I bridged the gap and we all ran a hard finish and I took the win in 17:21. I had never even considered that I had a chance to win the race and I'm not gonna lie, when I crossed the line in first I was half confused and half shocked but once that wore off I was just beyond excited.

Overall it was an amazing season and I couldn't wait to represent Canada at NACAC and Worlds a few months later. I'll sum up those adventures in the next post! Wow, just remembering last year's cross country is getting me pumped to take on some new race experiences in the NCAA in the coming months, I can't wait!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Back to Blogging

After a bit of an...extended hiatus from blogging...I thought I should sum up the craziness of this past year of running. I've experienced the highs, the lows, and everything in between. It wasn't always pretty but I've learned lots and become a stronger runner during this journey. There have been too many shenanigans to fit into one post so I'm going to just take it by season, starting with

Summer 2012

I entered this track season with big goals and even bigger determination. I wanted to

a) medal at Canadian Youth Championships

b) run some big pb's

c) get noticed by university coaches

And I accomplished none of those goals.

Training in a small town without teammates or a coach nearby has never been advantageous but I think this track season was one where I needed that support the most. After a couple months of suffering through training, dropping workouts, blood tests, and doctor's visits I finally discovered that I had serious iron-deficiency anemia.

It's almost funny when I think of the months that I spent anemic without I or my doctor picking up on it, I had pretty much every symptom in the book: My legs were heavy and tired during every run, I was exhausted all of the time, I couldn't sleep at night, I always felt freezing cold, and I couldn't focus very well in school.

By the time I went to a new doctor it was the beginning of July, I had just DNFed for the first time in my life, and my iron stores had completely bottomed out... Well that's not how I had planned out my season. My new doctor was shocked when she looked at my test results from the last few months that showed my hemoglobin, iron, and ferritin dropping yet no one had picked up on it. She put me on an iron supplement and explained that I wouldn't be able to do any running until my levels got closer to the normal range. There aren't words that can describe how tough it was for me to scrap the season. I couldn't imagine not being able to compete at my last Youth Nationals and I had no idea where I would end up for university without the results to prove myself to coaches. There was nothing I could do other than focussing on getting healthy so I took my iron supplements, ate lots of red meat, took a bit of time completely off, and then spent about a month water running before I could start doing any running at all.

That was a rough time in my running career and it wasn't fun at all but I definitely learned from it and luckily I was able to start running again in August just in time to get ready for cross country. More on that in the next post!