Felt surprisingly great. My legs finally had the pop and spring back that I had lost somewhere in Scotland last weekend. I got really nervous a couple of times, but nothing that lasted more than a couple minutes. My strides felt easy, even the long 300 meter stride that usually shocks my system. I felt confident and ready to go!
The race went out really quick, and I positioned myself at the back of the first group. We were going a lot quicker than I expected, but I wanted to give myself a shot to make the World XC team. Only 6 people make it and I was sitting in 8th, already a little out of my comfort zone. I kept telling myself to stay with them, thinking at some point they would settle into a calmer rhythm. They didn’t and I fell back around 3k. From that point until a little more than 1k left I wanted someone to pull me off the course and save me from my misery. I was moving backwards – I could hear coaches telling their athletes they could catch me and watching people pass me. Anyone that cheered for me got a sad look of helplessness from me as a I trotted by. On the last loop Renee (she made the world team last year and won the Club XC race I got 6th at in December) dropped out – I finally decided that wasn’t an option. Even though I was still trotting along no one had passed me in a while and technically I had moved up 1 spot! I started to pick up the pace again, and going into the inner loop (around 800 meters left) I had my eyes set on the back of Gwen Jorgensen. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot left, so I had to time my kick perfectly if I was going to sneak into 10th place. With 110 meters to go I kicked as hard as I possibly could, but so did she. I barely nipped her at the line, continuing my streak of out leaning my competitors at the line.
My entire body hurt. I laid on the ground as a camera man snapped shots of me pleading with the officials to just let me lay in the grass a little longer. I definitely went out too fast and didn’t make the world team. On the positive side, I made the NACAC team, got on the podium, and won some money. Other than Renee none of the girls I was running with for the first 3k moved backwards and none of the people who ran smart were able to catch up to them and make the world team. So, basically the best I could have done was 7th and other than a little more money I’d be in the same position I am now. By the way, the position I’m in now is great! I’m very happy to have made the NACAC team. My goal was top 15 – a lofty goal if you had asked my coach what I was capable of at the beginning of my season. For a girl who was never all-American and only averaged 35 miles a week since June (after my last break due to injury) I’m pretty pleased to be getting 10th among the nations best!