I was thrilled to have the opportunity to head to the fabulous Bend, OR on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.Just as sweet was my reason to go.I packed up my running clothes and Newton running shoes and left for the airport.An hour later I had landed in one of the chillest towns I have ever visited.
First stop was to pick up registration in the Charming downtown Bend and meet up with my “XTERRA family” as they are the reason we have such a phenomenol world wide series to compete in.I love them.In the first five minutes, I had at least a dozen very welcome hugs and kisses.
The rest of the day was spent looking over the course, fueling, laughing with my friends and enjoying live music at the local Little Woody Beer Festival.I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place and set of moments to further sweeten this race.
Race morning, I drank my green tea and a small protein shake for breakfast. Then I stretched and did 10 minutes of yoga sun salutations to energize my legs and lungs and focus on my goals for the race.Competition was stiff as the best runners from 25 states were there includingNIKE championship athletes among others.
As the gun went off, it was one of those slow motion moments as I realized how much this race meant to me on so many levels.A year ago I had almost passed away due to massive parasites and the residual problems I’ve been working to overcome since.A year ago, I didn’t know if I would ever race again.Today as I toed the line in my hot pink Newtons, my heart sang with joy on a perfect sunny fall morning. I was excited to race, feel good, and inspire and be inspired by others.
The gun went off and everyone ran.I felt lucky that I had experience on my side as I set a pace slower than I wanted to, remembering this was a 13 mile race with hills and twists and switch backs.As we ran past the glistening DeschutesRiver and wound through the trails, my early pacing decision paid off as I started passing the female runners one by one.My much loved Newtons must have really stood out as several of the spectators started calling me “Pink Shoes!”I loved it.I smiled. As I crossed the finish line I realized I had met my goal. I won the national champion title for my age group and placed 5th overall female. Next up is worlds in Hawaii on December 6th!