This weekend we went to New York, and I witnessed some very cool things, running-wise. First, on Saturday, an event called Summer Streets, which essentially closed Park Ave from about 30th (I think) to 72nd, so that people could walk, run or bike up and down the street. Just because those are good things to do! The other thing was that Central Park was closed, not for a race, but for a 20 mile training run (with numbers, water stops and marshals) organized by the New York Road Runners. It was great to see such support and encouragement for running!
Imagine if Montreal closed Rene-Lesvesque for a Saturday so people could run? Chaos. The people would be up in arms. Close a street? Where would the cars go?! And yet… would it be so hard? If Manhattan can close one of its main streets for 6 hours on a weekend, (and Madison Ave was closed on Sunday for Indian Independence), surely Montreal could do with less bellyaching when we want to close streets for races, or heck, even and easy run!
I’ve run in quite a few cities around the world this year: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, London (Ontario), Calgary in Canada, and Boston, New York, Paris, Oslo, Athens and Oia (Greek islands) abroad. Maybe there’s a bit of “the grass is greener” syndrome, but other than Athens and Oslo (where I wasn’t really able to find the best places to run, I think), those other cities kick Montreal’s ass for running. Yes, the mountain is awesome, and we get by ok. But the feeling in Montreal about runners is not nice. Instead of a respectful nod (hey, you are doing something that’s kind of hard), there are looks of annoyance (why are you showing me up?), or cat calls (“Cours Forest, cours!”). Perhaps it is the general tone these days (what with the strikes and elections at all), but I get the feeling that people are more prideful than caring here. Eager to thump a chest, but not willing to hold a door if you’re not the right kind of person. And so that carries over to this idea that runners are somehow the wrong kind of person. What can we do to change this?
On a more personal note: I raced last week. I achieved my basic goal of running under 17min for 5k, with a 16:58.6 chip time. Yes, gun time is official time, but whatever. Close enough. I am 35 now, I will take what I can get.
The streak is still going: I have run every day. I’ve run through bronchitis, jet lag, and surprisingly few aches and pains. Back in the spring, I had a thought that I would train for the 1500. I had these suspicions that I was a miler. Anyway, I didn’t exactly train specifically for the 1500. What happened was that I started out working on the turnover, and that was fine. I ended up doing some solid 200m repeats in about 33-34secs. Then I got married.
That’s a pretty lame joke. Actually, being married has not in any way hampered my ability to run or train. The wedding itself, however, took away some of my time. Then the honeymoon, on which I was more concerned with just getting my daily runs in, rather than worrying about intervals. Then I had to go back to Europe (poor me) for another family wedding. All that flying seemed to contribute to the bronchitis, which proceeded through most of June. So in early July I decided that while I was not going to be ready to run 1500 at the NA Masters Track championships in St. John, I would give the local 5k Endurance classic a go.
I just started doing workouts at my goal 5k pace (16:40-55), starting with 8×600 in 1:58, then 6×800 in 2:41, then 5x1k in 3:21. I did some tempos and hill sprints along the way. It was not the ideal training plan, but it was probably the best thing to do in order to try to run a fast 5k in 6 weeks. So I did that.
The race went well. I ran very even splits (3:21,24,26,24,23) and despite some pre-race calf tightness, my Mizuno Wave Universes carried me through without a hitch. Thanks Arnold for setting that up, by the way. Mizuno is very supportive of their elite athletes, and they are even nice to me, too! 😉
I am ok with it, and I think it actually proves the theory that I’m more of a miler, considering McMillan-equivalent for my 5k in the mile was 4:51. In the spring I ran 4:53. So four months of training and I improved an equivalent of 2 seconds. It could be that the training was not really “training” me that much, considering the volume and quality are all well below my lifetime maximums. Seems like around 17min for 5k is my threshold for “untrained.” But I don’t know. I certainly didn’t feel like I could have run 16:58 in March. So if I did try to run a mile now, I wonder what I would run? I don’t really feel like running a mile anyway, so I guess we won’t find out! Ha!
The next race I will do, if it is held, will be the Alumni 5k xc race at the Western International meet. That should be fun. In the meantime though, I’ll just chill with some easy jogs and home renovations. Good times.