I first had the honor of representing Canada at the World’s Mountain Running Championship in Switzerland in 2007 (I’m not sure if my involvement at the Canada Summer Games in 1997, which resulted in a bad race (race walking) followed by smoking a wine-tipped cigar, drowning my sorrows by eating a Peanut Buster Parfait and line dancing at a bar counts as the true experience!). Participating at the World’s was truly an amazing experience, and I was so happy just be there and to be part of the Canadian Team. It really opened my eyes to just how freakin’ fast and talented women from other countries are! It also opened my eyes to just how tiny the mountains (or hills) are here in Ontario! Not sure if the 2 times I hung out in an oxygen tent beforehand did much good (most likely not)!
Last weekend I had another amazing opportunity to wear the red and white uniform at the World’s Duathlon Competition in Ottawa. As written in my last post, my summer has been filled with a fun combination of trail running and duathlon training, and now it was time to test out just how far my training had taken me. Guess my training paid off (much thanks to my amazing coach Suzanne Zelazo), and the sun was shining on me last Saturday, as I placed within the top ten women overall and won the title of world champ for women aged 35-39! I must say that standing on the podium with the Canadian Flag around me was a pretty neat experience (and being the sentimental fool that I am, I keep telling myself “don’t cry you fool”).
But it wasn’t so much the fact that I had won that had me so emotional-rather it was the overall experience that moved me so much! Although I had initially been a bit disappointed that the Worlds’ was changed from Columbia to Ottawa, I am now so grateful that the race was held in our nation’s Capital. Having the race in our own backyard meant that the course was filled with people (both friends and strangers) cheering myself and other Canadian teammates on! Thanks to our bright red uniforms (which I think were the best out of all the countries!), it was easy to spot the Canucks from a mile away! And having 6 of my closest girlfriends there to support and cheer me on was the icing on the cake. I don’t think I ever went more than a few minutes without hearing someone say Go Faraone! Go Jenn! or Go Canada!
Another true and proud Canadian moment was when fellow teammate Sasha Gollish and I were running side-by-side (in first place) into the transition area at the end of the first 10km run (how is that for a symbolic moment?). Or when Great Britain athlete Gill Fullen (who later went on to become the first woman overall) missed grabbing water from the aid station and took me up on my offer to sip some water from my cup (even in a race, us Canadians are always thinking of others!). And finally, watching fellow teammate, Robert Wilde and Duncan Mounsey graciously accept their bronze medals-did I mention that they were in the 80-84 and 75-79 age category respectively? How’s that for motivation!
So what’s next? I’m already starting to think about next season, and how I can get even faster on the bike. I have my eyes set on the World’s Duathlon in Australia in 2015. I also have several 5 Peaks races (including one in Whistler next weekend) and a few other trail races lined up for this fall. But most importantly, I am looking forward to spending a bit more time with my kids Sophia and Dominic and husband Steve, who have been my biggest fans. And finally, later this evening, I am simply looking forward to some leisurely running in the ravines and trails close to home, thinking about how proud I am to be Canadian!