Long Time Coming

It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal blog. It’s not for lack of anything to say, rather I’ve been quite busy with some exciting projects.

I think it has actually been so long that I’ve not even recapped the half marathon I ran in October. So let me do that first. The race was pretty awesome, actually. Originally the goal was to run 1:23, which was, at the time, the qualifier for the New York Marathon. I had been training enough that it wasn’t going to be a problem, but it was to be something to motivate me in case things got ugly, something to help me avoid a complete collapse. Then, the week before the race, NYM announced new standards! For open men, the time dropped to 1:19. Now that was more of a challenge! I found out later that because of the timing of the announcement after the qualifying window for 2012 would officially open, they would not require the new standards until 2013. It didn’t make a difference.

I met my buddy Paul Gallant at the start line, and we reaffirmed our plan to run 3:45 kms and to help each other block the wind. Mihira Lakshman of Canadian Running was supposed to join us, too. We found him at the start line, but he went out a little quicker. Paul and I hit our splits exactly, all the way to the turnaround. At first, there was a decent group, but eventually it dwindled to Paul, myself, and a Spainish marathoner. We decided that since we were a couple of hacks just trying to stave off old age, while the marathoner was somewhat of an international (even if his pace was only sub-2:40), we wouldn’t ask him to block. Didier Morelli joined us and helped to block a bit as well.

At the turnaround, Paul opened up on me, but I held my pace. We had averaged almost 3:45 exactly for the first 12k. The first K back with the wind was 3:40 for me, so I wasn’t worried about losing Paul. To be honest, I was happy to have stuck with him that long! I could see Mihira in the distance and decided to see if I could reel him in.

I was hurting a bit, but the fact that my splits kept getting faster (3:38, 3:34) kept me going. I was doing frantic math in my head, calculating how much I could slow down and stay under 1:19. I was building myself a nice cushion, and as I got back downtown, just before Bathurst, where the marathoners split off, I saw Didier again and I was full of confidence. I think I told him I felt awesome…probably a little exaggeration, but I was reeling guys in.

I caught Mihira with about 2k to go. My plan was that as soon as I saw the 20k sign, I’d really hammer it home, and try to reel in Paul, who was also coming back to me. I never saw the sign, however, and next thing I new, I was turning up Bay and there was 500m to go. At that point, I gave up on catching Paul, but there were three runners in front of me that I thought I could get. I started a kick and took one guy (Tyler Lahti, I think) down, but my motivation dwindled (i.e. it was kind of hurting) and I finished just back of the next pack. Still, 1:17:55 was well above (or below, I guess) my expectations, so I was quite happy with the day.

Graydon Snider ran the marathon that day as well. It started out well, as he went through half in 1:12…but that was too fast, even for the windy day, and he faded to a PB of 2:34:51. Alex St.Jalm of Trimes also ran a PB of 3:08:33. Glenn Cowan finished in 2:50:33, not a PB, but a solid time. So our small marathon crew did well.

After that, I took a week off, and then, for some reason, I went on a tear. I ran every day from Wednesday November 2, to Monday November 28. 26 consecutive days of running. That’s almost double my longest streak ever. There were not too many workouts in there (one very good one with Javier Cuevas: 20min at 3:42 pace, 3x3min at 3:18 pace, 1x6min at 3:24), and there were a few easy 30min runs, but it was a good solid block of consistent running. I took Tuesday off because I had a long day of meetings and could not get out for a run during the day. I could have gone earlier in the morning, or when I got home late, but I had been feeling a bit run down, so I figured it was a good opportunity to rest.

I started a new streak yesterday, though, with a jog up to Summit Circle with the group, which included a little bit of steady state and some strides.

This is getting long, but I should also comment on the Concordia team’s performances at CIS. Dom, Liz and Molly ran for the ladies. Dom finished in 34th, the same as last year, which might be viewed as an improvement, considering how competitive the race was this year. She still had some trouble staying consistent, but battled hard. It was a big fall for Dominique, as she really improved her confidence and mental toughness. Liz and Molly were back in the pack, but again, the level was quite high. Liz is a very consistent runner, and rarely runs outside of her “fitness window.” Molly was participating in her first CIS championship in cross country. She came over from the soccer team, and really this fall was just about getting used to running.

On the guys side, I’ve heard too many comments about how Ryan had a bad race. Ryan did not have a bad race. It’s easy to look at the results and assume that 47th place was below expectations. But inside our group, we knew it was going to be a competitive day, and we also knew that Ryan was not the same runner he was at Western, when he beat most of the OUA, minus a few Lancers and Gryphons. At provincials, we knew he was not as healthy as he had been, but we decided to go for the win anyway. He stayed with the leaders as long as he could, and then he faded. It was not a strategy to maximize his finishing place: it was all or nothing. We got nothing. Sometimes you have to roll the dice.

At CIS, it was a different story. We already had evidence that he was not likely to be in All-Canadian contention. Between provincials and CIS, he ran nothing but easy runs in an attempt to dig himself out of the hole he had been in. The plan was to start conservative and try to move up as best he could. This way, if he was feeling good, he might rise to top 14, but if not, he wouldn’t blow up. It was a position-maximizing strategy that worked. He finished 4th out of Quebec runners (he had been 9th at provincials). Like Dom, he was around where was last year, but with the increased depth, it can be viewed as an improvement. Ryan had as good a race on the day as he could have.

Sofiane had a good race, too. He finished his career as a Stinger with his best ever CIS placing (78th), this in the most competitive field he ever faced. Simon Driver ran his guts out, puking at the line, and for a guy running 2-3x a week, 85th place was quite good. He’s got another year next year to run for us, and as the newborn gets older, training should get easier.

Wow, if you’ve come this far, you are a rabid fan of my ramblings. I appreciate the eyes. I mentioned at the beginning that I was involved in some projects. There’s one big project that we will announce really soon. You can see hints of it if you follow our Twitter, and read the daily Start List posts. I just want to dot the Is and cross the Ts first. It’s a long-term project, so there’s no need to rush. Stay tuned!