I can still remember my first cross-country race in grade 6. I was running that 3km race with my twin sister Amy and we would run, take a break, and repeat. There was one girl ahead of us and Amy said, “go get catch her!”, I haven’t stopped running since.
I ran track and field and cross country for the University of Regina for during my college years and learned so many things about myself and training and how to transcend the lessons learned in running throughout my life. I had set out 2 goals for my university running career: break a cougar record and make it to nationals. If it weren’t for my coach in my last year I would not have reached the level needed to obtain them. I have the school’s record for the 800m for a time of 2:18 – and it was the only race my mom came out for. In one of my last cross-country races I was able to make the time to make it to nationals. I cried when I read that email. I don’t cry.
Once I finally convocated, I managed to still sneak into my coaches workouts and put my focus on road racing. One of the best races I signed up for was the Prairie Summit Run It in 2012 and got a taste of trail running. After a few more years of working on my 10km road race and running my first half marathon in Niagara Falls I was asked to become a North Face Ambassador. I of course said yes – who would turn down an opportunity of a lifetime? I got off the road and onto the trails where the races were longer, the competitors became your friends, and the world got a whole lot brighter.
The first race I did as an ambassador was the North Face's Whistler Half. I was nervous and wanted run the best half of my life, so I planned a pace that was around my PR. I should have planned for the location, a prairie girl in the mountains trying to run her fastest race was not a well sought out plan. Thankfully, I am stubborn and blocked out the fact that my legs wanted to fall off and ended up top ten that day in a pretty competitive field. After that race I was able to test the trails in Kananaskis, Blue Mountains for my first 50km race, Kelowna to run in the mountains, and Buffalo Pound for my favorite race - Prairie Summit Run It!
The best part about being an Ambassador for The North Face Regina, besides all the amazing destinations, is that I am able to test and try out so much of their gear! I have to say, I am sold and I loved everything I tried from base layers, to shorts, to jackets, hats, and shoes. Everything is bright and colorful, comfortable and never had I had to worry about putting on a pair of shorts and 500m in end up wearing underwear posing as shorts - you know what I am talking about. My favorite piece has to be the Enduro pack for those long races. I was slightly unprepared for my first 50km. I went for one 3km test run with the pack a few days before the race. It passed, but who knew what it would do to me 10km let alone 48km where everything should be hurting. Who needs extra pains at a time like that? No one, that's who! This pack was amazing. Not only can I fit an entire outfit, band-aids, food and liquid for the day, it doesn't bounce and rub as you run. That also means less strain on your shoulders so you can focus on that stride or reach for that energy bar because you can focus on your calorie deficit and not that rubbing on your back!
This summer has been tough because I am battling an injury, but I cannot wait to be done with surgery and recovery so I can get back to the trails full time. My next goal is to run a 100km trail. Time for the triple digits!