|Elena Tabelev assisting me at the Canadian booth. Photo by Melissa Jean Woodside|
I got pretty emotional when I applied the personal tattoos Sharon and the kids made for me to wear when racing. Sharon made me a cool maple leaf with dedication names around in a circle. Julia made me a lightning bolt with the words faster than a lightning beam. Sam wanted me to have Darth Maul cuz he's a bad ass tough dude and Adele wanted we to wear a pink butterfly to confuse others about my sexual preferences. Joking aside, I was in tears walking to the race start firstly cuz I missed my crew like mad and secondly that I have so much support from my loved ones.
The gun sounded at 6pm and the crowd of skinny people from all over the world shot forward. The temperature was 19 degrees with high humidity and not much wind, bloody perfect condition for an event like this. Once again I got wrapped up in the excitement of the mass start and moved along with the group. My splits, like clockwork came up on my gps consistently between 4:00-4:10 kilometres. This scared the shit out of me, even the Darth Maul tattoo on my wrist was voicing his concern but the pace felt effortless and my heart rate was crazy low so I decided to make like a prom date and just go with the flow. The first 30K flew by super fast, still feeling fresh as a daisy I realized every split was between 3:55 and 4:10. I now have committed, this was going to be very good or end very bad. For no other reason than to exercise relative patience my pace slowed slightly between 30-50K. I passed through the half marathon distance at 1:26, Marathon at 2:55, and 50K at 3:30 all of which I was over the moon with. The speed could have been due to the fast course, maybe the amazing runners alongside me, or maybe the fact that I slept in a high altitude Hypoxico tent for the 4 weeks leading to the event. The week leading into the race the Aspire Sports Institute put on presentations divulging evidence that the sleep high, train low adaptations that I was implementing in my training could lead to an improvement in race day performance at an event like this one. Either way I feel very comfortable saying that I was racing well above my pay grade, just saying.
|Sebastien Roulier, Me, Alicia Woodside,|
Alissa St. Laurent, Dennene Hunley,
Oleg Tabelev, and Kiriam Thompson
Despite the discomfort I was going through it was nothing compared to what my fellow Canadian runners went through that night. It maybe that we are used to the the soft nature of trail running back home or it could be that performing well after travelling to distant countries is a challenge unto itself but its safe to say the majority of Canadians didn't have banner races.
The final 10K of the race started feeling manageable again. Maybe a sense of numbness and "lets get this damn thing over with" came over me but my pace increased. After 7hrs37min and 45sec after starting I crossed the finish line in 37th place. This being my first time representing my country as an ultra marathoner I couldn't be a happier camper and have never felt as much pride as to call myself a Canadian. The support I received on the course from the other runners, our support crew and our coach Armand LeBlanc was second to none. It made me smile when I found out that Sharon and the kids were following the live feed all day. Even better, my Mom and Dad had there entire retirement residence down in Yuma, Arizona glued to the results as they came in.
GO CANADA GO!