Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Short and Sweet XC Season

My cross country season opened and closed at the Canadian Cross Country National Championships in Vancouver, BC. Due to the big move across country I wasn’t able to plan a complete season this year and so specific training leading up to this race was minimal. Regardless, it was fun to jump into this race, especially because three of my ex-Mountaineer teammates were on the line with me. All Canadians, Stephanie Aldea, Kate Harrison and Jessica O’Connell all showed up to vie for a spot on the team to represent their country at the world championship in Poland. The clouds opened up and we were treated to quintessential cross country weather: mid-40’s and sunny skies. The course, however, was 75% mud pit due to the rain storms that came through at the beginning of the week.

Kate Harrison
Steph Aldea

Jess O'Connell

All three had spectacular races with Kate finishing in 2nd, Jess 13th and Steph 14th. I finished the 7k course in 25:58, good for 36th place. The cool thing was I was just a couple heads behind ultra-running phenom, Ellie Greenwood, who just won and broke the JFK 50 miler record last weekend. I had the opportunity to speak to her at the finish line; she was as nice as could be and I was exciting to take a picture with her. 

Wishing everyone would slow down!
Ellie and me at the finish line
My feet and legs are definitely feeling the spikes this morning as I prepare to do my long run. We are heading to Deception Pass State Park to prepare for my final race of the year, the Deception Pass 25k on December 8th. I'm confident that this race won't go out in 5:20-pace so I will be feeling much more in my element.

Me and Steph celebrating at Boundary Bay Brewery

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hello, Bellingham

Before loading up the Escape to embark on the journey across country, I braced myself for what I thought was going to be a miserable experience, highlighted by cheap hotels and crappy food and lots of Marc Maron. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by beautiful landscapes, gorgeous weather, great deals from Hotwire and Expedia and meals that fit my picky needs. We took advantage of the trip and stopped at many cool places to run including Dowdy Draw in Boulder, Colorado, the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction Colorado, Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake and Cowiche Canyon in Yakima, Washington. 

Our "POD" loaded up and ready to go.

Hays, Kansas sunset.

Passing through the Rockies at 12,000 feet.

View of the Flatirons from Boulder, Colorado.
Down in the Cowiche, Canyon.

Living on the edge in the Colorado National Monument.

Top of Frary Peak Trail on Antelope Island, SLC.
After the 7 day drive, we decided to get initiated into the Bellingham running scene by competing in the Padden Mudfest, a 10k trail run around Lake Padden. Temperatures were in the upper 50’s with a light drizzle. I wore my old-school Inov-8 F-lite 335’s, as my other pairs are still in transit. The race was put on by the Greater Bellingham Running Club and many locals showed up to get up, down and dirty as the course had two big climbs and constant rolling and turning. Luckily I tied my shoes tight enough to prevent them from getting sucked off into the 6-inch deep mud pits. I started conservative, as I usually do, and passed 3 women before the first hill and then the first place woman at mile 2. From then on it was me and the boys. I finished first female and 8th overall in 47:29. The post-race spread was organic roasted red pepper soup or chili and fresh-baked bread donated from the local bakery, Great Harvest. This was a great start to my Pacific Northwest racing career and I look forward to the many opportunities it has to offer. 

Lovin' the Pacific Northwest.