I have been named to Team Canada for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar to run the marathon. This is not the first chance I should have been at the championships – in 2015 I was offered an invite in the 1500m, but Athletics Canada declined my chance to participate. In 2017 I was offered another invite in the 5000m, and again Athletics Canada declined my spot. Neither time was I consulted had I wanted to compete. Both times it broke my heart and my spirit.
But I was never going to give up.
I am about to make USATF look good (and here you thought that was not possible!?). Some of you at Big Birdcamp knew I was awaiting an email that said I was on the team, most of you were blissfully unaware – which I am forever thankful for your distractions. Athletics Canada said they would communicate with us – well, maybe – sometime between the 24thand 26th. My former coach received an email mid-day on the 27th, because they entered a wrong address for myself! Thank goodness for Birdcamp and all the women who helped me not want to check my email every second.
I qualified at the Houston Marathon back on January 20th. At the time I promised myself I would never run another marathon; I don’t think I am alone in that thinking – how many of you said you would never run a marathon again after your first one? I knew I was under the IAAF standard at the time, and even with the potential of making the World Championships I was still adamant that I would not do another marathon.
Summer 2019 has been really amazing. Along with being named to my first IAAF Track and Field Championships team, I finished up my doctorate. Nice to meet you, I’m Dr. Sasha (master of words in engineering education and not much else!). Shortly after completing my doctorate the University I had been with offered me a teaching job in first-year engineering design. And now, now I am going to don my country’s singlet at the World Championships, although really I wish I could be wearing O gear.
I’ve realized a few things in the last block of training:
- Surround yourself with women who set your soul on fire. We all have days where our emotions dip, where we feel low. If you surround yourself with women who inspire you, there will always be a story or a message to lift you up.
- Find what works for you. When I was down in Austin, Texas training, I watched Cate Barrett transition into her new role at Oracle. I saw how it ignited her soul, and it reminded me that I need that balance to be great in my running career. I know working part-time and running will help me be my best at anything I endeavour.
- Live in the Moment. I know 2020 is coming, but for now I am savouring representing my country at this upcoming meet. I am not wishing the training away, not looking to the next event.
Thank you, sisterhood, for your love and support. I am my best because of all of you. Keep up your hard work and I’ll keep at mine. We’ll be there for each other, we’ll inspire each other, and thanks to Sally & the team, we’ll look damn fine doing it.
Head Up, Wings Out.