Friday, April 5, 2013



Wow- what a fantastic trip to Europe!  Can't say enough good things about everyone on the National XC team- what a bunch of beauties!  Special shout out to the boys- Luc, Matt, Cam, Kelly, Mo and Chris- you guys entertained me when all the ladies were studying (which was all the time!)  Even though you took ugly pictures of me and posted them on twitter I still have nothing but love for you all! Also- thank-you to all the support staff- PAULA, BRENDA, MAREK, DAVE, MARCUS AND THELMA- you were all amazing.  And to my parents who came all the way to Poland to cheer me on- thank-you so much for being there and sharing my first Worlds experience with me.  You guys are awesome!


Today's blog is gonna be about my experience at the World Cross Country Championships- last time I blogged (about 2 week ago) I was in Walcz, Poland at Team Canada's training camp.  I was still sick with bronchitis and pretty worried that I would not be healthy on race day.....

On the Friday before our race (sunday was race day) we got to check out the course.  Man oh man it was crazy!  Mud, ice, snow, hills, dirt barriers and tons of twists and turns.  Oh and it was something like -10 that day- freakin cold!!!  I know I'm Canadian and supposed to be used to cold weather, but Vancouver doesn't get cold like that!  I'm not used to it and I didn't like it.  Not one bit.  Anyway the course was unlike anything we had ever seen before- it was gonna be tough but we were excited for it!  Challenging and fun! 


I had visited the doctor on Wednesday and he gave me new antibiotics- and they actually worked!  By Friday I was feeling SOOOO much better- the fluid in my lungs was almost all gone and I was only coughing a little bit.  When race day arrived I was feeling almost 100%- barely coughing at all anymore.  I couldn't believe that I was finally feeling good after being so sick for so long. It was a freakin miracle! But going into the race I was still unsure of what to expect.  I may be healthy again, but was my fitness still there?  I missed so many important workouts and runs over the past few weeks.  I was very concerned that I would totally suck in the race.  My original goal had been to place in the top 40- but now I just wanted to put in a hard effort and finish the race- place didn't matter.

RACE DAY!!!!  It was about -1C and cloudy on race day.  I got in a 20 min warm up jog, and then the next 30 mins before the race were pretty crazy.  We were rushing to get all the Canadain senior woman together and to the call tent 20 mins before the start.  Once we were in there, we were allowed to go out to the start line to do some drills and strides- but it was very crowded and muddy.  I only really got in 2 pretty shitty strides.  Oh well!  The call tent was madness and there were clothes flying everywhere!  Some French chic spiked me in the call tent!  I didn't get spiked in the race- only in the call tent!  lol.  So my ankle was bleeding before the race even started. 

So the gun goes off and I hammer it out of the gates.  Going into the first turn I find myself in the top 20 pack of ladies.  Surprising, but awesome!  The first 2km loop I just stuck in the pack and felt out the course.  I wasn't really thinking- just running and trying not to slip or fall- stay on your feet Tasha! When I came through the first loop, someone yelled at me that I was in 14th place.  This was shocking to me, but I felt great so I just kept rolling where I was.  Kim Conley of the USA was right in front of me and I just stuck behind her for the next loop. 

 There wasn't much movement of places from 2k to 4k- I think I dropped to 17th or 18th....not too sure though.  There was a bunch of us all going back and forth.  At the half way point I was still feeling pretty good.  I was kinda in disbelief that I was in the top 20 still. 

Going through 6km I was starting to hurt and knew it would be tough for me to hold onto a spot in the top 20.  I fought hard and tried to focus on keeping a good rythm- but that twisty, muddy course was not helping me.  With about 500m to go we hit the big hill and thats where I got passed by about 4 girls, including my very awesome teammate Rachel Cliff.  I just couldn't move up that hill- it was painful!  Rachel and another girl were about 15 meters ahead of me with about 200m to go- and I just started sprinitng as fast as my lil legs would go.  At first I wasn't gaining on them, but then with 50 meters to go I was reeling them in- and ended up passing Rachel (sorry- love you!!!!) right at the line.  We finished 24th and 25th!!!  Holy shit we were all kinds of happy, excited, shocked, overwhelmed- it was awesome!  It was pretty cool to get to share that experience with Rachel as well- we both had the race of our lives! 

After the race, everyone was super excited.  Rachel Hannah and Lindsay Carson both placed in the top 60- helping our team place 8th overall!  Awesome!!!!!  There was so much energy and excitement in the Team Canada tent- something I will never forget.  The senior men were just getting their spikes on and they were super pumped for their race after watching us ladies throw it down!  

I was sitting in a chair taking my spikes off and I became very overwhelmed with emotion.  Weeks leading up to the race I was so stressed about my illness (and some other things...).  I didn't know at one point if I would even be able to race.  If you had told me 5 days before the race when I could barely get through a run that I would place 24th and feel fantastic I would tell you no way in hell is that happening.  It was very surreal and I was just so relieved. I couldn't believe that that not only did I just run at my first World Championship event- I actually ran well. I shed a few tears (yeah yeah I know I cry alot).  Sometimes you just need to take a moment to yourself and reflect.

The last 3 months have been some of the hardest of my life- a lot of personal stuff going on that got me pretty depressed.  I was freakin sad.  Running has been my saviour and gotten me through some very shitty days.  That and a few absolutely amazing people (MOM/DAD, KIM, DEANNA, JESS, CHRISTY, MARILYN, KATE- love you all! Couldn't possibly put into words how much I appreciate all of you.)  Things are looking up now though and I've got my health back!  I will never take my health for granted again and am going to make sure I take better care of myself. 

It's good to be home, healthy and back training.  I've got a lot of racing to do this month- can't wait!  I'll keep you all posted! 

- T

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