Traveling to Denmark with Team USA for worlds

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In March I had the chance to travel to Denmark as part of Team USA for the World Cross Country Championships that were being held there.  Here’s a photo journal of my trip.

Monday 3/25- Travel Day

I departed from the MSP Airport at 1 pm and arrived in Detroit around 3 pm, where I then had a 6 hour layover and met up with the most of the Team USA Junior team. We left Detroit around 9:30 for the 7 hour flight to Amsterdam.

Tuesday 3/26

We landed in Amsterdam around 10 a.m. local time where we departed on the third and final flight to Billund, Denmark. After going through customs and collecting our luggage we had an hour and a half bus ride to the team hotel, The Helnan Marselis. After checking into our rooms that had views of the Kattegat Sea we ran on trails right outside of the hotel. I had a 6 mile easy run. After that we had dinner at the hotel with all of the Team USA Athletes.

Wednesday 3/27

Wednesday morning began with breakfast at the hotel with the rest of Team USA and then a run shortly after at 10. Today I had a 5 mile easy run that I did with most of the junior girls on a path outside of our hotel. After our run we headed to lunch at the hotel which consisted of salad, chicken, pasta, roasted vegetables, fruit, Danish bread, and Danish desserts. Later in the day, all of the Team USA women took taxis into downtown Aarhus where we went to a Danish cafe, different shops, and a grocery store. We got back to the hotel for dinner which was pretty much the same thing we had for lunch. After dinner, we met in a hotel room to play card games like BS and spoons with the whole junior’s team.

Thursday 3/28

After breakfast we took a bus to the course where we would race on Saturday. I did not have a running workout today so I just walked the course which was absolutely insane, nothing like any course I had seen or run on before. We checked out the team and warm-up areas as well. Once we got back to the hotel we ate lunch. After lunch Heidi Nielson, Carter Cheesman, Gabe Mundo, and I rented bikes and biked into town where we went to H&M and Great Coffee. Earlier in the day I had signed up for treatment from Team USA’s massage therapist, so we got back to the hotel in time for that.  Many teams from other countries began to arrive at our hotel. We met Phoebe Mcknight, Izzy Rich, Tessa Hunt, and Kirstie Rae who were on the New Zealand junior’s team and they were all super nice. Then at dinner, some of the New Zealand junior boys team sat with us. After dinner, we went to sleep.

Friday 3/29 – Day before the race

Like usual, the day started with breakfast which was followed by my last run before the race, 30 minutes and 6×60 meter strides. After the run, Team USA headed back to the course for team pictures. After the pictures the junior girls team walked the course again and talked through the different hills and features. Once we got back to the hotel we got together with the New Zealand girls to trade gear, I traded a USA tank top for a New Zealand short sleeve, my spike bag for New Zealand socks, and a USATF pin for a New Zealand keychain. At 3:30 we had a team meeting with the pros, juniors, and sprint relay team. We talked about the race and got our bibs. Later we had dinner and then after dinner we met in Kayla Sarmi and Nicole Clermont’s room to paint our nails red, white, and blue, make USA themed hair ribbons, and talk about the race.

Saturday 10/30 – Race Day

At 8 am I had my usual race day breakfast of oatmeal, banana, and bar. After that I braided my hair, put my Team USA uniform on, and got my stuff together for the race. The junior girls team left for the course at 9:30, 2 hours before start time. Once we got to the course we headed to the team tents where we sat around, listened to music, and put golf glitter on our face until it was time to warm-up. I started my warm-up at 10:35, 1 hour before start time.

It was perfect race weather, 55 and sunny. At 11 am we headed to the check-in tent as a team where we got chips for our shoes, changed into our spikes, and took our warm-ups off. Thirty-five minutes later the gun went off and the 6 kilometer race began. The first 400 meters of the race was uphill with occasional sand paths interrupting the grass. At the top of the first hill was the cheering tent what had colored lights, music, beer, food, and a lot of cheering. Once we got through the tent there were rolling hills. My plan was to stay patient the first lap so that I wouldn’t bonk on the second and third laps; I stuck with my plan and started in the middle of Team USA with Nicole, Kayla, and Savannah just ahead of me. At the bottom of one of the many hills there was a big water pit, which was actually really fun to run through. Soon after the water pit there was a mud pit that marked about 800 meters to go for the 2 kilometer lap. The most dreaded part of this insane course came shortly after the mud pit, the roof. We ran straight up the roof of a museum. After fighting through the sand pit we then had to go down the hill which was so steep they made a banked turn at the bottom to keep people from falling. That marked the end of the 2k loop, which we did three times total. I placed second for team USA and 60th overall.

After the girl’s junior race we watched the boys junior, women’s pro, and men’s pro races. Back at the hotel we ate lunch and got flush-outs from the team massage therapist. Later, the junior’s team and I swam in the freezing cold sea, only for a little bit because it was so cold.

The dinner and celebration started at 8:00pm at the Denmark Sailing Centre, where they awarded the top three teams from each race. There was also a DJ and everybody was dancing, it was a lot of fun. When we got back to the hotel we packed up all of our stuff because we had to leave for the airport at 7am.

This concluded my Denmark trip. I am so grateful that I was able to travel to Denmark to represent Team USA, compete against some of the best in the world, and meet so many cool people.

 

 

 

 

 

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