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Saturday, May 30, 2015

TIS THE SEASON FOR RACING

Sorry guys its been a while since my last blog- Pretty sure I say that every time though!  Anyway lots to report since my last blog.  My last post was just after the NYC half marathon, which was in march.  There has been a lot of racing since then....alright lets start with World XC champs!

I arrived in China with a strained calf that occurred during the NYC half marathon the week before.  I was only able to do easy runs up to that point so I was worried about racing hard on it.  However, Team Canada Physio Marc-Antoine taped it up a few days before the race and it was so much better.  By race day my calf was almost 100% better.  I was worried about the altitude during the race so I went out very conservative- like 50th place through the first 2k.  I began to pick up the pace and started passing women.  By 6k I was in 27th place- fighting for 26th with an Algerian girl- who is very lucky she didn't get disqualified as her coach kept running next to her!  I didn't end up beating her (lame!) but I was happy with 27th and walked away feeling like I had lots more in me for the rest of season. And my calf held up well, so all in all it was a good experience.  Got to feed baby monkeys- highlight of the trip to china.  Worst part- the food.  Not good.  But I survived:)
Team Canada Senior Women

Up next was the Vancouver Sun Run 10k on April 19th.  After winning 2 years in a row, then having to miss out last year due to injury, I wanted this win pretty bad.  Plus this was my first race in Vancouver this season and my family and friends were gonna be there watching- didn't want to disappoint them.  2 days before the race I found out there was a last minute entry- a Kenyan girl who had ran 31:40 10k road.  A full minute faster then my PB.  I knew I was fit and ready to run fast- so I decided I would run with this girl and challenge her for the win. We ran pretty much side by side for the first 6km.  She got a 6 second gap on me and I wasn't able to get back.  She finished 6 seconds ahead of me and I ran 32:34 for 2nd place and a new PB.  Although I didn't get the win like I had wanted- I was proud of myself for going for it! Plus it was still a pretty good pay day:)))  Was super awesome to have my family and friends cheering all over the course-)  I'm a lucky girl to have such a great support system!

2 week training block and suddenly it was May 2 and I was in Palo Alto California ready to run my first track race in almost 2 years.  Payton Jordan Invite 10000m at Stanford University is one of the fastest 10000s in North America.  If you are going to run standard for worlds/olympics- this was the night and place to do it.  38 girls in my race, half of them all going for 32:00 or faster- including myself.  World Champs standard- 3200, Olympic standard- 32:15, Canadian record- 31:44, pan am games standard - top 2 in canada.  There was a lot riding on this race!  I was NERVOUS.    Lanni and I went to the movies that afternoon to try and relax a bit- definitely helped.  Here is a blog I wrote recently for Innovative Fitness about breaking the Canadian record- I titled it "Living the dream!"

"3.5 weeks ago I set the Canadian female record in the 10000m. Even though I say it out loud it  still seems pretty surreal. Not just that, but at the same time I qualified for the 2015 Pan Am games, 2015 world track and field championships and the 2016 Olympics. Is this real life?! It's all very exciting but still quite shocking (in a good way!)

Last year at this time I was in my 6th straight week of no running. I was dealing with a very severe case of Plantar fasciitis. I didn't know when I would be able to run again, let alone race. The idea of breaking a CND record was the furthest thing on my mind- I just needed to get healthy.  As time went on my injury very slowly started to get better- but I still ended up missing out on almost an entire year of racing. I was feeling very sad and discouraged. Watching friends and teammates racing fast and travelling the world- I wanted to be doing that! It was hard to sit on the sidelines.... So when my heel finally started to feel much better in the New Year I was hungrier then ever to get back to racing fast. But I knew it wouldn't happen over night so I was careful not to expect too much. I just wanted to stay healthy. There was never even a thought about running Olympic standard in the 10000m.... Until this spring.

I had a renewed passion for my sport. I was excited for every workout and didn't even care about running in the rain. I was just so happy to be running again- and pain free. And it wasn't just my body that was healed.... So was my heart. I was happy in life- finally settled in kits with my new man, and SO over my divorce. The separation/divorce took a lot out of me emotionally over the past 2 years and I didn't realize how much that had affected my running. But now that's old news and life is good. Finally my mental, emotional and physical health were all on the same page! And that's when I started running faster then I ever had before- or ever thought I could.

When I lined up on the track at the Payton Jordan Invite in California to run those 25 laps I knew I was in the best shape of my life. I knew I was capable of running 32:00- but I didn't even think about going for the Canadian record- 31:44. There was no way I was ready for that...but then the race unfolded and I had one of the most magical races of my career. I ran 31:41.59. Everything came together for me and I ran the race of my life.  Those moments after the race, with my coach and talking to my parents were incredibly special.  An unforgettable night where my dreams became reality. Thanks to all who never stopped believing in me:) It was a struggle at times but that's what makes this all so much sweeter.

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!!"

Ok so lets get back to this blog!  So after that race I was feeling pretty good and very excited to race more. But I was careful to let my body recover properly.  I spent the week in California with BCEP and just did some easy training. It was great- and kendra pomfret did my hair with a cool braided style every day- so that was pretty sweet too:)

I was home for 4 days then back to Cali to race a 5000m at the Hoka One One invite in LA.  After 200 days of no rain in LA, there was a freak thunder and lightening rain storm and after hours of delays the meet was ultimately cancelled.  That sucked.  Went home and just got back to training for a few weeks.

Alright so we are now almost all caught up!  This past weekend, May 24th, I raced the IAAF Gold label Ottawa 10km (Canadian Champs as well).  This is always one of my favourite races of the year- such an awesome weekend, great race/course/conditions, and always lots of fun!  The field was stacked with 6 or 7 Africans with PBs faster then mine- and then there was Lanni- I knew she was gonna be tough to beat.  I wanted to run fast, but mostly I really wanted to win the CND title.  From the gun Lanni and I went out with the Africans.  It was a risky move, as I knew they were going for the course record- 31:20.  No guts, no glory, so we went for it.  Unlike the 10000m 3 weeks ago, which felt controlled, this felt fast the entire time! We went through 2k in 6:11- yikes- that was fast "just hold on tasha!!!" was going through my head.  We were running into a head wind for the first 4.5 km but I was nicely tucked into the back of the pack.  Around 4k, 2 of the Africans broke away and it was just Lanni and I left as the rest of the pack began to drop back. At 5km (15:48) we went up a hill and thats when Lanni gapped me.  I tried not to let her get to far ahead....just stay close enough that you can out kick her in the last km.  But around 7.5k I was suffering.  She widened her gap to about 8 seconds.  With one mile to go the streets were lined with spectators, just screaming and cheering- it was amazing!  The energy was unreal and suddenly I felt a surge of adrenaline and I was picking it up.  I could feel Lanni coming back to me, and by 9k I was beginning to close the gap.  But this is when Lanni started to pick it up too!  I felt like I was running so fast but I just wasn't making any more ground on her.  In fact she seemed to be getting further ahead!  Lanni always says she does't have a kick...well girl you did that day!  Good on ya!  I ended up 2nd Canadian, 4th overall with a huge road 10k PB- 31:58.2.  Lanni finished 10 seconds ahead of me and was the CND Champion- congrats to her, shes tough as nails. I was still very happy - I never gave up and I ran as hard as I could.  No regrets- Lanni was just better that day.

That night a group of us all went out and celebrated with drinks and dancing- it was awesome!  Ended up in Quebec at the end of the night....it was quite the night:)

Now we are all caught up!  Here I am in Calgary about to race again this weekend.  Canadian half marathon championships!  Should be another great battle between lanni and I....and Dayna has been kicking ass lately so I fully expect her to challenge for the W too.  Should be a fun morning of running (as fun as running can be at 630 freakin AM!!!).  Then its back to training for 2 weeks....and on June 13 I will race the NYC Mini 10km!  Excited to head back to NYC:)

I've still got a full summer of races, so I am doing my best to recover in between these spring races now.  I have been getting bi-weekly massages for almost a year now with my amazing RMT- Bobby Crudo.  Seeing him regularly has made a big difference in my training and helped me to avoid injuries.  So I'm gonna keep seeing him, taking days off when I need to, water running when I'm sore and hopefully I'll stay healthy all summer- and run even faster!
Coming down Georgia St in the first 1km of the Sun Run
 Running for the kitties at the Sun Run - VOKRA
my 2 best friends at the finish liine of the Sun Run
 Coach Rich and I right after I broke the CDN record!  
 Canadian girls kicking butt in Cali 

Asics Canada girls were on FIRE at the PJ Invite!
 Goeff M and I doing some wine tasting while in Cali:) 
Jess Smith and I were not happy about the thunder storm in LA!
 Talking to kids about running!  Inspiring the next generation:) 
 Lanni and I running hard in Ottawa 
 No Guts- No Glory!  Running with the Africans at the Ottawa 10km 
The man who has made my heart whole again:)
 lovely time visiting him in Winnipeg last week while he is there doing West Side Story

8 comments:

  1. You definitely didn't look like you were suffering at the 7.5K mark last weekend. I was on the other side of the canal at that point and you were flying - too bad you both couldn't hear everyone's comments as we all turned to watch you both run to the finish.

    Good luck tomorrow!!

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  2. Hi Natasha, I just want to say what an excellent story of how you went though with your recovery last year. I'm going though the same thing this year. I was suppose to race the sun run and Ottawa 10k but I had to drop out due to a knee injury. Everyday, I'm been really devasted of how I can't run for a few weeks. Is there any piece of advise of how I can get though this? Good luck with your training and the rest of the summer season.

    Sincerely,
    Jay Sneddon Ottawa lions distance runner

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice to see your spirit of wining in race. good and keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great blog post! Glad you're doing so awesome! The PF injury is a fun one, I'm working on mine!

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