Over-ripe

There is much I would like to say, or only such much attention a blog-reader has. Suffice to say a part of our group completed a solid racing period where I saw a huge leap in personal progress highlighted with 3 PBs in the span of 10 days. In short, I felt an odd comfort throughout the races I have never felt before. Although I’m still not beeping too loudly on anyones radar or standing solo atop the Quebec or Canadian rankings (far from it), I feel optimistic that there is still room for improvement and I could turn a few heads in a matter of time.

Come these recent weeks, fresh off of personal victory, and barely able to fit my usual shirts over my now enormous head (I blame Didier for making me feel like a super-hero), I was ready for more practices, where I would undoubtedly be tearing up the track with my newfound(land) speed. No dice. Heavy legs, and heavier lungs I talked to john who eased my pain and told me this could be a case of being overripe after several days of racing. I suppose one can’t be in a constant state of improvement, something I feel spoiled by in these last 3 races. So that is where we stand now, focused, and giddy-legged. Eager for more, to say the least.

That narcissistic rant aside, there are some things I’d like to have written somewhere in the annals of this wonderful interweb. I’m usually known as the kid who says the word ‘tatties’ a lot, but this might be a bit more on the serious side. I promise any more uploads later will be far funnier.

There is much to be said about track and field. Needless to say, for the most part it is an individual sport. Our focus should often be egocentric, because there will always be those who are faster than us. Incremental success forced by hard work is the harsh reality. One must create personal small-term goals irrespective of what is going on around you. World records and elite PBs should be looked at as triumphs and works of art, but not a benchmark to measure success. Focusing on the increasingly faster times of ones closest competitors can create a daunting task, making the gap between times seem like hours. Being paranoid about the success of your competitors can only hurt you. Being self-focused (this doesn’t mean you can’t follow your teammates or competitors progress, but don’t go stalker crazy) is essential to personal growth and triumph.

I say this for two reasons. The first (and I will do my best to not contradict myself), is even with this focus on your own success, the word ‘we’ is vital. I believe it is truly important to use because our races and times are reflections of a number of things: personal hard work, training and support from the coach, teammates, friends and family (a quick shout out to my parents and kellys parents for hosting us over the last few weekends. Remarkable). There may be just one person in that race, but the screams, the nerves, and the hours of training are shared by more than just the athlete, but all of their teammates and coaches. So often our success can’t even be pinpointed to specific reasons (some may be familiar with the ‘sausage factory situation’ I have spoke of). Our successes are shared with our teammates as we are a reflection of each other. The sense of ‘we’ gives credit to those people and things that have made us who we are and keeps us humble.

The second reason I talk about a self-centered approach has to do with coaching. There is enough stress from qualifying standards and personal pressure, that having a coach should act as a stress reliever. An ideal coach will be honest, have their athletes best interests in mind, and never (and I mean never) compare or contrast two different athletes performances. The individual performance of one athlete should not be used as a standard for others. Critiquing or comparing styles or strengths is one thing, but athletes are not just numbers or times. Every runner is different and requires different methods of coaching. I imagine a good coach would rather 10 committed athletes to train in there own individual way, than a group of 50 that you just throw workouts at, and see who it works on.

To conclude, I’m pretty pumped on this group of kids I’m training with, got some damn good chemistry. Switching things up can be difficult sometimes, but this has worked out thus far. Graydon even came for the ride. Having the whole group at races is such an amazing feeling, your incoherent shouts are the causes for some pretty great races. Better believe if I can spare some breath in my lungs its being used for screaming. Let’s hope that works at provincials, because those Quebec boys are quick I tells ya! Until next time computer people.