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But anyways, onto the more important track talk. This was meant to be a continuation of the last blog before my outdoor season was over but that just didn't happen.. What can ya do. So I finished the last blog off after talking about my season opening 1500m. I'm the kind of guy that just wants to race every weekend once I get a taste so after that I wanted to come back the very next weekend and run my first 800m of the season. My coach, however, wanted to be more patient, so against my extremely stubborn instincts I listened and kept grinding it out, patiently waiting. I continued to do a lot more strength stuff compared to my previous outdoor seasons so on May 31 when I finally got to run my first 800m I was incredibly unsure about how ready I was for it. It ended up feeling pretty much like you'd expect. I never really hit lactic but running 800m pace felt incredibly forced and I just couldn't get my legs turning over well enough. Opened up with a pedestrian 1:59.19.
Following this race we threw in another week and a half long training block before my next race. During this week and a half the wind in Toronto was absolutely crazy and I'll never forget it. I don't want to sound like a baby and make excuses but it was getting up to 50km/h at some points. As a result I didn't really have any stellar workouts but we still got in a little bit of 800m specific stuff so I was starting to feel more comfortable with that pace again.
Next up was the AO championships in Toronto and the wind didn't even flinch for this one. During the warmup my good buddy Lawrence Xie (a guy with a 1:54 personal best and a 1:56 season best) and I actually had a real conversation about just wanting to keep things under 2 minutes. The race was nuts. It started off with someone losing a shoe and running 400m barefoot before being forced to drop out, and a good chunk of the field dropped out on the second lap going into the wind because it was just too much to handle. The winner of the fast heat was Corey Bellemore (recently crowned Beer Mile King of the World) in a high 1:51, well off his PB so that should be an indicator of how horrible the conditions were. I ended up escaping with a time of 1:59.90.
After this catastrophe it was really time to get going. My week of training after that race started with a 5km tempo that made me question my entire life, but after that I was really hit with some faster workouts. I started to find my groove a lot quicker than I thought I would after so much time doing strength work so that was encouraging. I took the next weekend off from racing which gave me the opportunity to head out to my friend's cottage for a few days. Other than the fartlek workout I did along the lakeside road, the weekend was filled with water skiing, tennis, and fishing, a huge component to any good middle distance training program.
On June 26 we were back at York again. It was pretty hot out but the conditions were miles better than 2 weeks prior. Before the race I ended up talking to Seb Saville a little bit and he told me he was going to take it out in 54 or 55. He had raced the night before at the Speed River Inferno so he wanted to take it a bit easier due to being a bit spent. This was music to my ears because this meant we pretty much had a rabbit. I ended up splitting a high 56 or low 57 feeling really good and with 300m to go I felt like I could really get going but just 50m later the wheels started to fall off and I kind of struggled home for the last 200m. Still ended up finishing with my best time of the season at 1:57.81.
The very next weekend I was off to Hamilton. This was my first time at this track but I had heard great things about it. Even on windy days the football stadium pretty much blocks the wind from reaching the track. Despite this, I got stuck in a situation with a bunch of people that decided to exaggerate their seed times. I realized this 200m into the race when a few of them got out in 26 seconds through 200m and immediately threw out the anchor right in front of me. I ended up splitting 58 at 400m after trying to sort through that mess. I eventually took the lead with 300m to go and just tried to push for home. With 100m to go I got passed and for whatever reason he decided to cut back into lane 1 immediately and cut me off like we were at trials fighting for a spot on the Olympic team.. So if you're the guy that did that and you're reading this, give your head a shake. I finished the race with a time of 1:58.24, pretty disappointing after running a SB the weekend before.
The following week featured my first overspeed workout of the season. I managed to run a 200m @25, a 400m @56 and a 300m @41 with 2 minutes rest between each. After that I just focused on recovering for my next race in London. I've ran a PB at this track every year for the last 2 outdoor seasons before this one, so I'd say this is definitely my favourite track to run on. The race got strung out early as the leader went through 400m in 53 seconds. I pretty much just hung on for the first lap and by the time I realized how fast we were going it was too late to chill out so I just went for it. I ended up splitting a low 56 through 400m and a high 1:25 through 600m. After this I hopped on the struggle bus and crawled home but I still came away with a new PB of 1:57.18, continuing the PB trend in London.
At this point in the season I was pretty spent. My left knee had been hurting, I had achilles pain, and I was just mentally drained. By the time my final meet came around people were asking me why I wasn't going to race just a few days later in Toronto and I simply replied with "I'm hanging on by a thread here". Despite feeling drained I felt like I was still fit to run a good race. Unfortunately, I was stuck in another race with a bunch of people that had given extremely false seed times, I'm pretty sure it was even some of the same people from Hamilton. At the cut in it was clear that no one wanted to lead so everyone bunched up and made a big mess of it. I ended up popping out in the lead but we sure did split some slow times. I think I was just barely under 59 seconds at 400m. I did my very best to start pushing for home right away but I've never been good at closing extremely hard to save a race that started slow. I ran a disappointing 1:58.55 to finish off the season.
This race showed me that I need to become more versatile. Right now I can only run fast times in very specific scenarios and that's just not good enough. I need to be able to make people pay in the second lap if I'm forced to go through 400m slowly, I don't know what to do exactly to fix this problem but I fully intend on figuring it out.
I now find myself in an interesting situation. My coach has left the program to take advantage of some career opportunities that are coming his way and he doesn't want to coach if he can't fully commit to it, a decision that I respect and appreciate. What this means is that I am without a coach until September. York is currently lacking a distance coach and I have no idea how the hiring process is going so until then, I'm on my own. I'm still relatively inexperienced when it comes to middle distance training so it'll be interesting trying to figure out what I should be doing this month, any helpful advice is welcomed. If you'd like to see the workouts I was doing during the outdoor season and what I'll be doing this year get the Sweat Mobile app and follow me, I pretty much use that app as my training log.
Overall, I'm grateful to get through the year essentially injury free and with a few new PBs through the indoor and outdoor seasons. Today is officially the start of my final season as a York Lion and my final chance to qualify for the CIS championships. Pressure's on lads.
Until next time,
Filthy Fouz out.