The next morning we found fellow teammate and 2:38 marathoner Michelle Suszek. The three of us drove up to Cypress Mountain Ski Area, site of the 2010 winter Olympics, to check out the last 2 miles of the NACAC Mountain Running Championship course. We were in for a doozey: 1200 meters of a boulder-field climb, slick granite faces, chimney cracks, a waste-deep mud pit and a screaming technical downhill finish.
We had dinner with Amber and Chris, who we got to know and love at last year's NACAC championship. We had a delicious dinner at a little Italian place, Carmelo's, and then stopped at Whole Food's to pick up our pre-race breakfasts.
The morning of the race, we woke to overcast skies and a steady rain. Our caravan left the hotel at 7:30am and proceeding to the starting line at Horseshoe Bay. We were lucky enough to get a spot at the trail-head parking lot, as it was only capable of holding a dozen cars. The race began just after 9:00am with about 45 participants. Up we went for approximately 3,000 feet elevation gain. Given the last race (Loon Mountain) and having only been able to run healthy for 2 weeks, I wasn't sure what to expect. I started out following close behind Amber and we soon caught Michelle. I figured she was having a bad race due to her bed bug nightmare (http://dreamliverun.com). I stayed within eye-shot of Brandy (2012 Mountain Running World Team member) for about 2 miles and then Amber and I took turns leading and watching out for trail markings. I felt very happy to be close to Amber (3rd at 2011 NACAC and just missed making the world team last year). She was a huge comfort for me; given the technical course and how hard it is to watch for markers, I definitely didn't want to be on my own.
Tad caught up to us at the top of the boulder field and then took off all the way to the finish. I was able to keep up with Amber until the steep descent to the finish and then she bolted. Coming around the final turns, I felt like a runner again. I felt strong in my stride and proud of my performance.
Nancy Hobbs & Richard Bolt Photos