I was fortunate enough to get to start near the front of the pack on the left hand side. We started down the main “street” of the town (pedestrians only), which was lined by fences. Thanks to some very helpful Italians, who claimed that “Canadians aren’t afraid of the cold” (which I rightly corrected) I was right at the front after they discreetly kept sliding the fence wider to make room for me and prevent me from tripping on the legs of it. Thank you! The race started with a gun and we were off: A ferocious pack of female mountain runners! There was some “rubbing” and elbows flying, apparently one of our team members was actually shoved! MMA? Mountain Martial Arts? Who knows! The pace was very fast and we tore through the town and headed up to the first uphill trail section. Some power hiking was in order to save some juice for the rest of the run, but after the nasty quick incline we hit a bit more of my territory.. forested trail! I was able to pass a few women through this area as we ran over roots, mud, rocks, and little ups and downs! After this we hit more of a grassy trail through farms and came across the hills of sore legs! I think that’s what they are called.. well maybe not.. but they sure felt like it! Being cheered on by people from all countries, we fought gravity as we muscled our way up a double black diamond ski run. Ow! The Grouse Grind was great training for this section! After this we got a little break in the trails again but after a minute we were back to finish off the race on a grind up to the top of the mountain through a grassy road. I can’t speak enough for all the amazing support of the locals and fans! It was amazing to have so many people encouraging you! And entertaining to try to thank them in their respective languages! ;) The scenery was absolutely stunning and a lifesaver when you thought you couldn’t go on.. all you had to do was look around and be swept away in the beauty! I was able to make two last passes in this last section and finish strong after a brief downhill section to the finish line! It was the BEST feeling to cross that finish line! Stacey and Catrin were waiting for me with open arms and just being the most awesome teammates, as usual!
They finished 50th and 51st respectively around 55minutes while I finished 65th at 58:49 minutes and Mirabelle finished about 5 minutes after me. It was a great finish for us Canadian women! Our men also had a strong performance and I have to give major kudos to them all! It was a true gift to be able to share this experience with them. They are the most amazing group of athletes and a real inspiration!
After the race we scarfed down a lunch then headed up another Gondola to the top of the mountain! It was gorgeous up there! There was a small glacier fed lake, a tribute to the war fought up there, caves, snow, stunning views, and a Ukranian taking a ice bath in the lake! Now THAT’S an ice bath! None for me please.. I did put my big toe in though, that counts right?
After all this we had the closing ceremonies and had a ton of fun dancing up a storm and being part of massive congo lines! As of right now I am writing this on the bus to Milan. Catrin and I had to catch the 3:30am bus to the airport so needless to say there has been no sleep. I'm all set up now in my new hotel! Bravo! I’m off to stay in Milan for the next few days and can’t wait to explore, after a coffee or three!
Thanks so much to you all for all of your support! I am so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life. It wouldn’t be the same without you!
Love you to bits,