Earlier this month I had the awesome opportunity to represent Team USA in Scotland at the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country Challenge. It was my first time racing in the red, white, and blue and I was thrilled to have qualified for my first US national team. Although I'm in the middle of marathon training, and running a XC race might not seem like part of your typical marathon training plan, I wasn't about to pass up a chance to rep Team USA. So in early January, I was off to Scotland!
The trip was incredible - I got to spend time with running friends old and new, met athletes from other countries, had a joyful run in the Scottish hills, walked the Royal Mile and explored Edinburgh's castle, tried some scotch, did not try haggis, and of course, RACED! The race was by far the most challenging XC race I've ever done - it was super muddy, so muddy in fact that we had to duct-tape our spikes on to make sure we didn't lose a shoe! The course included two small streams, which on the 4-loop course meant there a total of 8 creek crossings. My legs weren't quite long enough to hurdle the creek (there is definitely NO future in the steeplechase for me!), so time and again I splashed my way across the stream, soaking many a poor photographer.
The mud and muck of the course proved a formidable challenge to the Americans, and our Senior Women's team didn't have the showing we'd hoped for. Although I wish I'd finished higher up in the field, I was proud to pass runners on every lap and finish as a scoring runner for Team USA. The challenging conditions meant I had to stay focused on every step in order to stay on my feet, and the mental practice should serve me well in LA in the big 26.2, which is coming up quick!
There's less than 3 weeks til the Marathon Trials and I've got one big workout to go before the hay is in the barn. Marathon training still has me quite exhausted, so I'll wrap up the post by leaving you with some final Scotland photos (a pic is worth a thousand words right?) and a link to an article about the race in the Davis Enterprise (thank you local paper!).
Happy winter training, everyone!