The Race to Kinvara

And so begins my recollection of my adventure in Ireland. I kept meaning to post this sooner but I kept having thoughts of OOO I forgot that…so here is my summary!

 

I packed the night before   and was given a lift to the airport by my gracious parents. (love you Boo Mum and Dad) I had attempted to pack everything in a carry on but ended up checking in luggage . I got through security quite quick and proceeded to acquire a starbucks dinner/lunch as I knew I would not be fed on this flight. The joys of flying within Canada

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The first flight was shorter or at least i felt short for 4 hours, I proceeded to race to the bathroom and then attempt to find my second gate. I quickly began recognising people as they were rocking the Kit shirts we all received in the mail. They were a lovely poly cotton and super comfy for travel! I met Jenny who was not only on my team but was my roomie for the duration of the trip!

The second flight? was pretty glorious for me I had a WHOLE row to myself. So I took all 3 pillows, john bear and two blankets and made myself a little bed. I managed to get a few hours of sleep and was also surprised by how short the flight was…..I always forget that flying from the centre of the universe is quicker then Vancouver.

We arrived 10:40 local time and proceeded to customers. the Response “wow that’s a short trip” “Yes I am aware” was funny…but also quite old as everyone had been making that joke when I had first mentioned the trip.

I got my luggage right away (others did not) and we proceeded to head to the bus! We all received our kits. This is where I felt like an Olympic athlete. All of the gear was in my size and put together for us! I loved the yellow colour . In particular my favourite item is the jacket .I felt so beautiful as I tried the gear on. We then got settled freshened up and then had a delicious late lunch

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A few of us then wandered into Dublin. We came across a running store and hit a pub. I forget that when you order a cider…they really mean a BIG glass of cider….at this point I hadn’t really slept so I was probably pushing almost 20 hours of being awake despite my sleeping on the plane.

After some more wandering and photos we then proceeded to the Guinness storehouse tour. You may not know this internet but I am in fact allergic to beer! But this was now my second time in Dublin and dammit I was going to try some! Luckily as part of the tour..you get a small taster glass in which you are given specific instructions on how to properly drink Guinness. Word to the wise Guinness is a very dark beer and is essentially a meal. So I couldn’t even finish the taster…but I can see the appeal (and had no major skin reaction..I know It’s really sexy isn’t it) and proceeded to share my remaining taster with Trey from the states…who was really stoked. We became besties after that.

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I will say the Guinness tour is really fun even if you aren’t into the beer since you learn all about the advertising the company has done and the history on how it’s made. Not to mention the amazing 360 view at the end from over top of the city!

 

With that we were rushed off to our fancy dinner..where Team Canada White would begin to plot our legs of the race. So at this point my mileage was quite low so I opted to run 2 shorter legs which worked out well since some of my teammates only wanted to run once! We were strategic in picking because we all agreed at the end of the day we wanted to enjoy the race.

The food was delicious, we all got a beer stein glass (I gave mine to Mr Tall!) and proceeded to get to know each other as well as our driver Paul.

DAY 1

I got up at 530am. I am a morning person internet. But anything before 6am I considering quite gross. I proceeded to apply all the body glide and then perfect my lipstick as Jenny and I geared up to check out and eat. Breakfast at the hotel was perfect. Lots of variety and loads of time before the race started. We checked out and then procceeded to our shuttles….when I say shuttles I mean then :

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There were tables and proper seats. There was food and drinks and CUPCAKES. I could not believe this was all for us. OH and wifi because tweeting is important. Least in my world anyway . We drove to the start took photos and then geared for the first runners to leave. I kept finding myself just shaking my head. We hadn’t even started running it and I couldn’t believe my surroundings.

I agreed to run twice that day on the shorter distances. I ran 3rd after Shelby who is a wicked amazing trail runner and just seemed to breeze past the other runners on some serious hills. I waited at the transition zone. My nerves started to hit me. Next thing I knew Shelby was coming around the corner with the wristband . I initially ran the wrong way but then got back on track and started my trek. There were some seriously steep hills but I kept pushing myself along. I found myself in awe of how many sheep there are ….like whose taking care of all these sheep?

Next thing I know I see Marc come up beside me…he ran everyone in all day. What a guy. He was such an encouragement because I found the last hill quite taxing…but turns out I ran my fastest 5k in quite sometime. Given everything…I was so shocked..and I had major runners high going on.

We did have some slip ups. Shelby got lost on his 2nd leg and we lost some time with it. And poor Alex was having some stomach issues. But my god what an amazing support system this team was.  Oh and 3 of my team mates jumped into a river…so that’s the thing! We had so much fun as each of us took turns running. Shannon was definitely the mum of our team and is my inspiration of what I hope to be running like as I get older. Seriously shes a beast.

Jenny and I also bonded a lot! She was an excellent roommate and I could not have lucked out better with her. So cheers to her for being such a great buddy!

Marc ran everyone in as I mentioned. Tyler was such a great captain and sprinter. I don’t think I can speak highly enough of my teammates. As well our driver and motorcycle driver.

The 2nd leg was quite flat. I felt stiffer just from sitting in the van but again I found a good stride and pace. I was alone at one point running alongside a river and just enjoying the quiet. Strange thought but my usual running places are quite crowded so it was nice to enjoy the serenity of the run.

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Also life goal achieved. I made it onto the Saucony snapchat story TWICE.

After my 2nd leg I enjoyed this cupcake and we finished in Kilkenny. We got massages drinks….i felt so pampered! (Also slightly in pain as you can see in this photo….)

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We enjoyed an amazing dinner at our hotel and went around all the tables and talked about the highlights of our day. I went to bed that night after some drinks and relaxation .

DAY 2

Another early wake up call. But before we ran we played Tourist! I finally can say I’ve been to the Cliffs of Moher and my god are they stunning. Even the drive there seemed beautiful. About 10 minutes of taking photos the rain started to roll in a bit…but Ireland in July is quite mild .

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We then began our start from Doolin. Today I would be running the very last stage of the race. Meaning I had to wait all day but I was ok with that! The landscape on this run was quite different compared to the countryside the day prior. We were right by the ocean..and the sun was out!

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We cheered . We laughed. And then it came time to my run. I was running in not quite a back alley but that’s what it felt like…and eventually I made it on to a main road (don’t worry people were directing traffic)

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I honestly found myself getting nervous every time cars came by simply because I was seeing them on the other side of the road. I came down a slight hill and there was my team! We had a Canada flag and all sorts of stuff alongside our team sign. Tyler made it clear that we crossed as a team ! Marc even ran in cowboy boots. I’d like to give a special shout out to Alex who was an excellent cheerleader as I found myself wanting to slow down but I was so close to the finish.

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We then could see the finish line, we linked arms and crossed together. I could have cried and just about did. Massages drinks. We were done. The race was over.

Next thing you know we head to our hotel get changed and we head out to a traditional Irish dinner at bunratty castle which I would 100% recommend.  The food was excellent the dancing and singing were amazing and the staff just a riot to interact with. Everyone got finishers medal and the winners got plaques !

Some of my team partied. Some of us didn’t. But all of us toasted at dinner to our success and how much fun we had ! Also I believe almost every single person asked me in some variation “So do you just like live in red lipstick…because you had it on this entire time?” I was also asked on how I manage to keep it on so cleanly post run . What can I say? I like to run pretty!

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I woke up the next day, finished packing and we then bussed back to the Dublin Airport. Shawn made for an excellent bus buddy as I attempted to nap on his shoulder. I honestly felt like a sponsored athlete as I walked through the Airport in all my saucony gear.  The flights home were decent and my parents were there waiting for me as I waited for my bags.

REFLECTION

It’s been almost a month since the trip…and honestly it still doesn’t feel real. I have a lucky penny charm on my Pandora bracelet because I honestly had a lot of luck on my side going into this trip. 2016 has been an odd year and it really felt like things weren’t going my way. I met so many interesting people. I felt like the biggest nerd talking about running non stop but that’s why we all work in running retail. Because we have a passion and maybe even an obsession with the sport. Running enriches my life in so many ways and this trip is just one more reason. Not many people can say I’ve run across Ireland. Or parts of it anyway. The majority of people we spoke do locally were quite shocked that any person would attempt to do such a thing even in relay format.

Not to mention I’ve been consistently running every week since I’ve been home and still speed focused..! So huzzah!

 

But this trip couldn’t have come at a better time.

Thank you Saucony

Thank you Forerunners North Vancouver

Thank you Team Canada White

And thanks to all my friends who continue to support my running online and offline

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