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Vancouver BC, NACAC- 5th place 1:22

Despite fighting a cold for the past 2 weeks, the excitement stirred as soon as I arrived at the Vancouver BC airport. The double story, glass building allowed views of the beautiful mountains, including our course mountain, Cypress. Inside, the airport showcased a unique man-made wildlife exhibit (complete with sound effects) and numerous glass boxes with Canadian treasures.

The journey continued from the airport onto the skytrain and then onto the Sea Bus. Yes, I said sea bus. A huge ferry boat that would transport me from Vancouver to North Vancouver through the bay. After a quick taxi ride from Adrian (the Canadian coordinator), I finally arrived at my hotel around midnight. Eager for sleep, I tucked myself in with running dreams buzzing in my head.

The next day I woke up to heavy rain and to meet my teammate Maria and her boyfriend Tad to preview the end of the course. The visibility on top of Cypress mountain was slim to none with the heavy rain and fog, but what was visible was awesome! Running the Baden Powell trail, we quickly learned the last kilometer would be a steep, technical downhill with the majority of the race being extremely technical uphill.

Later that day, I noticed I was all bit up...and figured it was just from running the course earlier- NOT THE CASE. I awoke at 3am to find numerous bug bites that were the size of golf balls ALL OVER. Incredibly itchy, I jumped out of bed in fear that these were not mosquito bites, but bed bug bites!!! Pulling back the sheets, I saw a tiny red flea like bug scurry across the mattress. Mortified...I ran over to my computer to google bed bug images, bite images etc...Sure enough, I had been attacked by bed bugs! Could this really be happening?!...the night before I compete in an important race for my country?!!! UHG~ Uncertain what to do, I pulled back the sheets to the other vacant bed in the room and checked for bugs. It looked all clear (little did I know, there happened to be more in that bed, but they hang out in between the mattresses not just on sheets)! Sigh...Not that I slept, but I got up at 6am, eager to check myself over for more bites and to get in the shower. WOW! MORE WELTS! ...a headache, nausea, and confusion...REALLY?!...NO REALLY?! This is really happening?

After a rough night and morning, I showered and had team leader Nancy help me get my things together in plastic bags and transferred them to her room; just in time to leave for the race...but still unsure if the bugs were contained. I couldn't think about all the negative now. I was fine, God has his reasons and this course was going to be awesome. I'm so blessed to be representing my country, and I sure wasn't going to let it or my teammates down!

Starting off uphill, I went out with Brandy and felt great...but soon after my pace slowly diminished and my other teammates (Maria and Amber), as well as one Canadian women, would pass me. Trying not to be weak, I told myself there was still plenty of course to go. Well, that was right, and as enjoyable and challenging as this trail was, I wouldn't catch them. Finishing a disappointing 5th place, a killer 4-6minutes behind my teammates, I was almost in shock. That didn't just happen did it? I learned a lot from this course, and how I need to continue to pry myself out of that slower marathon mentality and training in order to be successful on the shorter (7mile) uphill. The only way to overcome all of this is to focus on the next race (pikes peak). To heal, to stay positive, and to count on those few people who inspire me to pull through. So thank you Lord for the this opportunity to once again represent my country, doing what I absolutely love to do...even though I don't understand why you created bed bugs, I know you have your reasons and I TRUST YOU.

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