Next Stop: Athletics Canada Senior Nationals- Ottawa, ON
Meet Results Link: http://liveresults.athletics.ca/Live_Results/2017/Championships/
Meet hashtag: #ACTF2017
With a brief return to my home training base Victoria, BC, I successfully moved out of my place (in lieu of accepting my new place), celebrated Canada Day, and packed for my next destination: Ottawa, Ontario! A huge thank-you goes out to Scott, Sophie, and Casey; there is no way I could have finished all of these things in Victoria without your help!
In case anyone was wondering, it is a full day of travel to leave from Victoria, BC to arrive in Ottawa, ON. I arrived at the YYJ airport for 6:00AM, and arrived around 9:30PM in YOW. I’ll admit, I opted for the most cost efficient flight, but I do believe I lost a few hours with time change as well. Needless to say, three planes, and one rental car later, I was happy to meet my fellow Vic City ladies Casey and Laurence at the airport. Finally we were in Ottawa and navigated the empty midnight streets to our accommodations
As most amateur athletes know, financial burdens of travel can add up fast. When friends and family help out with a place to stay for the weekend it helps tremendously! We were lucky to stay very comfortably with family of fellow Canadian athlete Tommy Des Brisay. I first met Tommy at AC’s warm weather training camp in San Diego, and again in Flagstaff, Arizona. I cannot say enough good things about him and his family! I was happy to be able to catch his race in Ottawa, because Tommy is a busy guy! This weekend he was busy with earlier races, packing, and preparing for travel to London to represent Canada at Para-Worlds this summer. For more on Tommy’s story with running and the awareness and inspiration he brings to autism, I highly encourage watching the stories below:
I want to reiterate again, thank-you to Tommy, MaryAnn, Peter, and May, the hospitality was above and beyond what I could have hoped for! I speak on all of our behalf when I say we thoroughly appreciated and are grateful for having a home to stay at during our time in Ottawa!
After Tommy’s race, it was time for me to focus on my quickly approaching 800m semi-final. Until the night before, this race seemed like any other. Arrive, settle in, pick up a few groceries, race prep, relax, and optimize recovery. In general I consider myself laid back, but after I said good night to my roommates and closed the bedroom door, my nerves kicked in like never before. At first, I tried telling myself, this is a good thing, it means there will be some adrenaline stimulated and that is a benefit to your running. Usually I would roll over, and go to sleep without a problem. As the clock struck 2:00AM, I realized this was false hope. I needed to relax in order to get some sleep so the next day I wouldn’t look like a zombie running from The Walking Dead. Instead of ignoring it any longer, at 2:00AM I decided to think about why I was feeling this nervousness.
After rolling through a series of superficial reasons, I finally arrived at some truths. The ultimate reason I was losing sleep was the realization of fear. Not the typical fear of being scared or inadequate. This was the realization that there are at least twenty girls who are all well and beyond capable to take one of the eight spots available in the 800m final. Mathematically that meant there would be twelve, talented, fast, capable, 800m ladies, who would not be racing in the final. The even more terrifying thought was I was a part of that top twenty. This race wasn’t about to be a revelation of who is and who is not fast. It is clear the girls in all three heats of this semi-final are fast, and this was the exciting head to head competition where we all come together and take our shot at tactical racing. Regardless of results, the guarantee was that there would be extreme triumph and extreme heartbreak, with very little in between. Any predictions for the top 8 in this race were as likely as the final eight predictions in NCAA March Madness drafts. It was anybody’s game/ race.
By 2:45am I managed to work out the probabilities of my race. Physically I looked like I was shivering because my nerves had me shaking instead of letting me go to sleep. I think I eventually shivered enough that I tired out and that is what drifted me into sleep that night. This unpredictability was unsettling, but humbling to accept and believe in the high level of athleticism I was a part of.
The next day my only objective was to be and feel calm. When I was finally at the track my coach Heather asked me what my race plan was and how I was feeling. Seeing my fellow competitors buzzing around with their warm ups I was brutally honest and told her I was terrified. Mostly because anything could happen, I was a part of this greatness, which meant it was my chance to stand out amongst the best! An opportunity to go for it. I couldn’t tell you what she said in return, but I felt the same sense of energy reciprocated back to me, that she too was excited and believed I was ready to have a good race. Somewhere during the day my fear switched over into excitement and I couldn’t tell you when that was. I know I finished my warm-up, call tent procedures, then raced. The rest becomes a blur with words that only seem to make sense to me.
Reality of the results: I ran my second fastest 800m to date, and knew I ran that race to the best of my ability given the circumstances of my section. I didn’t make top two, therefore, I knew I wasn’t going to make the final. But I was still so proud that I was able to leave that race without regrets. My legs didn’t have as much speed as I would have liked in the final 80m and the other girls were smart in their tactics when I tried to make an earlier move. The aforementioned adrenaline kept the lactic somewhat at bay as I watched the remaining two heats.
I was so excited to see training partner Laurence Côté win her heat with a huge smile as she crossed the finish line. As she came around to the athlete exit I gave her the biggest hug and I was (and am) genuinely so happy for her!
In my case, there were no flowers, media, interviews or cameras. Instead I left unnoticed by most which I believe contributed to the ability to leave with a peaceful feeling knowing I had ran a good race amongst a full heat of professional runners. I gained the confidence to know I was capable of more. Yes, it was bittersweet I missed the final eight by placing ninth, but it just gave me more time to prepare for my next set of races in Europe. Besides, I was expected to place significantly less than ninth place. Instead, I went for a beautiful, long cool down jog along the Canal that runs alongside the track and appreciated the beautiful sunset that only comes after a storm. Although I left this championship with one race less than I was planning, the one race I was guaranteed rekindled confidence, and catalyzed focus to move forward to the next race with my head held high. A huge thank-you goes out to my fellow 800m ladies, your fierceness holds me accountable to be better- and I appreciate that!
Stay Tuned: Time to pack for the next stop of this tour!