Hi friends. I'd like to take this opportunity to let the 3-4 people that are outside of my close friends that actually read this know, yes, I'm still alive. Kind of left the blog high and dry through the indoor season due to trying to be a good student and just being busy with life.. So let's just dive right into a recap.
As you would know if you were following along in the summer (when I wrote my last post), I went through a coaching change this year and was under the tutelage of Matt Loiselle, 2:16 marathoner, NCAA alumni and all around good guy. It was immediately clear that I would be doing more strength work than I had ever done before. It might not seem like a lot to most people but I'm still relatively new to middle distance running so having weeks consistently around 75km to start the season sure seemed like a lot and I quickly dropped down to what is apparently my new race weight of a trim 173 pounds. I was definitely excited to see what I could do after this slight change in training from last year.
I started my season nice and early in November with my second 1500m ever and lowered my time from 4:14 to 4:10. Felt smooth as gravel the whole way but I was honestly expecting a big PB because of added strength and the fact that I didn't exactly set the bar too high when I ran 4:14. I followed this up with a 2:00 800m the week after which I was fine with since we hadn't really been doing anything faster than 31-32 seconds per 200m in workouts yet.
Through December I continued to add quite a bit of strength and even got thrown into what I consider some pretty lengthy 20-30 minute tempo runs. Considering I used to be a sprinter I think my former self would be pretty disappointed in me for diving into that madness. Aside from getting reasonably emotional during tempo runs December went well and I was feeling confident going into the real competitions of the season.
We shook the rust off in Windsor with a 4x800m and 1000m. The 4x800m was satisfactory for an early season race. I split 1:58.9 and our total time was 7:58. It was fine but we knew we had a lot of work to do. The next day I tried to stay in denial about my legs being absolutely fried but denial can only take you so far so I ended up dragging ass to a 2:36. The race legs just weren't there I guess so the 800m the night before took more out of me than I thought it would, took it out slow.. Still tied up, what a race.
Next for me was my first 600m of the season in Ottawa. Coming into the indoor season I had some pretty lofty goals for the 600m. I felt as though I had a breakthrough last year lowering my PB from 1:24.91 to 1:23.13 so I wanted to keep the train rolling. I wanted to be good enough to get into the fast heat at OUAs and run 1:21 or faster. The road to this goal got off to a bumpy start as I opened up in 1:24.74. I wasn't completely in panic mode yet because I opened up in around the same time last year and was able to take a big chunk of time off throughout the season so why not do it again right?
I decided to run another 1000m at our home meet because I really didn't want to go through the whole season with a season's best of 2:36. To ensure that I would PB I did the most logical thing that I could think of.. Went through 200m in 28 seconds. I actually felt decent going through 400m in 59 and 600m around 1:30, but the last 400m got pretty exciting and I actually almost face planted with 150m to go due to getting bumped around a bit and my legs not really responding the way I'd like them to. Nevertheless, I still got out of there with a new PB of 2:33.91.
Next up was the Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York City. This was most likely going to be the last competitive 4x800m we raced until OUAs so this was absolutely huge. Myself, along with the rest of the 4x800m team weren't entered in any individual events so we could just focus on the one race. For those that haven't been to the Armory.. 10/10, would recommend. The race was pretty intimidating with a handful of Division 1 NCAA schools in the race but at least we knew if we were hanging off the back we were still running fast. I ended up splitting 1:56.81. The splits were electronically timed and I ran the lead off leg so that's about as close as I can get to running an offical PB without actually doing a straight up 800m. The race was pretty tough because we ended up being by ourself for a good chunk of it. Most of the other teams kept banging out 1:51s and we just couldn't hang with them. We did however end up running 7:49 and that showed us that we had a chance to qualify for the CIS championships in our own barn.
Up next was Windsor once again, my last race before OUAs. The goal was run a fast 600m, get in the fast heat at OUAs and just feel good moving forward. Pretty much did the exact opposite of all that. I boldly overseeded and got myself into a heat with 2 of the nation's best, Alex Ullman and Corey Bellemore. I was very honest with myself and told myself that chances were I wouldn't even see Bellemore the whole race and boy was I bang on with that prediction. Regarding Ullman, I've seen him split 53/54 through 400m so I thought maybe there would be a chance that I'd still be in the neighbourhood at that point in the race and then have the absolute pleasure of watching him blow by me/widen the gap in the last lap like I've seen him do to so many other people. Turns out they both decided to split 51, I got spit out the back and had a pretty rough last 200m. I ran 1:25, I don't even remember the exact time because it didn't matter and I was beyond rattled. We'd have to go back a few years to find the last time I ran that slow so needless to say my confidence was a bit shot after this race.
The couple of weeks leading into OUAs went really well. We kept the workouts fast and crisp and really got the legs moving. With all the crazy (and stupid) conversions going on in the CIS we figured if we ran under 7:45 in the 4x800m on the flat Windsor track we would be all set to go. I could go on and on about how I got bumped around and had to run most of my leg in lane 2 or 3 but in reality, I simply had my worst 4x800m run of my life and put us in a hole that we couldn't dig ourselves out of. After I handed off the baton I couldn't even watch the rest of the race, I couldn't believe that I was the one that blew it and pretty much ended our chances of qualifying for the CIS championships. I've literally never felt so defeated. That night I was constantly waking up thinking it was just some nightmare and that we had another chance but in reality it was all over.
I went into my 600m the next day with pretty minimal sleep and even less confidence. It was a pretty meaningless race but I still wanted to salvage some self esteem. It still wasn't the most inspiring race but I ran a season's best of 1:24.67. Still well off my PB but I'm trying to find anything positive here.
This season was an absolute rollercoaster of a season and I was pretty shaken up for a few days following OUAs, but now I'm having a very relaxing offseason and I'm already getting excited to get back to work. I'm down to one year of CIS eligibility and after that I really don't know where my track career will go or if it will even exist. I really want to keep running but if I get through next year and I'm not running times that make me think it's worth it to keep going it will be pretty difficult to not just focus on post-undergrad life. Either way, starting in about a week and a half now the final push is starting. From day 1 of my outdoor season until the very end of my CIS career I want to be absolutely perfect. This means doing all the little things that a lot of people think is a waste of time and that I was often too lazy to do like mobility drills, stretching, more core work. I want to really do it right so they actually have something relevant to say at my graduation ceremony.
I think that's all for now. Best of luck to everyone competing at the CIS championships next weekend and all the best to everyone during their outdoor season. Stay nasty everyone.