Sunday, October 23, 2011

Know Your Course

I woke up on Thursday morning at about 9:30am. It was pouring rain. Pouring to the point that each little nook and cranny in my driveway became a puddle that I had to avoid walking through on the way to the car. Pouring so hard that the windshield wipers were at maximum speed. Pouring so much that the Hornet's Nest (our division cross country course, and 2011 ofsaa course) was completely wrecked to pieces.

Having the East Conference runners race the same course the day before doesn't help, either. This course used to be grass. I would know, I've trained there plenty of times. So many times that I know how beautiful it looks on a warm, dry, day. But on this day, the course was like a long lost cousin to me. A long lost cousin covered in mud.

I arrived just before 11am to see the midget boys finish their race. As each little grade nine kid stepped over the finish line it was like a little part of them died on the inside. It was like their spirit had literally been washed away by the rain. Cold, miserable, alone, and not knowing what to do next except collapse onto the wet ground.

After that race, the weather only got better. But the course only got worse. Hundreds of highschool kids mucking up the field with their cross country spikes, and running through pits of water until you could hear the squeak of each step as they ran past you. It was time for the senior boys.

Slow start, good enough pace for the boys to chirp Yves every time he attempted to lead the group. After maybe one kilometre, he took off leaving the rest of us in his dust. After another couple k, Alex Berhe, Mickey Day, and myself lost the pack and made it quite clear that we were fighting for the two remaining podium spots. 2km to go; we entered the forrest. With mud being splashed in every direction, we all took a big sigh of relief once the field was in sight again. "Stop slacking! Make a move!" was one of many reactions from the audience as we were still seen running together with 500 metres to go.

400.. 300... I made a move. Alex responded. What happened next still doesn't make sense in my head, and I still see it as a blur, but the details were set in stone. Alex took a wrong turn with 100 metres to go. Mickey followed him. This left me in the clear for an easy second place finish. But as I kept running, everyone was screaming their hearts out saying to turn around. They were talking to the other guys. I thought they were talking to me. I stopped, slipped, and turned my head around to see two guys sprinting right at me. Anyone in their right mind would run.

Mickey Day, an OFSAA silver medalist in the 800m, caught me on the last stride. I could only wish I had known my course 100% before turning back and making a mistake like I did. Alex has even more regrets. We can only learn from this. A shot was taken at the finish line which now represents my and Mickey's profile pictures on facebook.

Know your course. See y'all next week.
S. Donald

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Hit the Escalator

Lots of runners talk about "hitting the wall" when they've come to a point in the race when they just can't run anymore. Last Saturday I hit the escalator. A down escalator while I was trying to run up.

Picture it. You're using all of your energy trying to get up the escalator, but you're hardly moving because the escalator's going down. If you try really hard you might be able to get somewhere, but then it's game over and your body collapses. I hope you realize that this is all just one big metaphor.

It was the St. Lawrence invitational. I was running and people were passing me on the elevator. Or they were just taking the stairs because anything is more efficient than moving the opposite direction on an escalator. I think we all learned that fact at the age of 4. And I think we all had the mall cops turn off the escalators because we were being a nuisance to the other shoppers.. Oh just me? Awkward.

Great course. Tough race. I finished within the top 10 percent of the uni runners so that's all I could've asked for.

In other news, today was pre-ofsaa. There were some solid runs, and there were some upsets.
But that's cross country baby. West Conference next week.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Really not a recap

Phew. Last Friday was my first meet of the season. Recap? I think so.

Such a beautiful day it was; back on the final day of the 9th month of the 2011th year since Jesus died. The sun was shining bright and everyone's smiles were shining even brighter. After watching some future OFSAA champions run the elementary school races, it was time for the midgets to break-in the course. Then all the juniors. Then the senior girls. Then it started raining. Then the senior boys got to run.

But who doesn't like a bit of rain cooling them off throughout 7 kilometres of running? I'll tell you who; probably a small child.. or an elderly man searching for the meaning of life.

The race was smooth. I felt good and kept up a decent pace. Although there came a time when I thought I had about 2k left.. that was like 6.9k into the run. Awkward. I took home the silver while Glebe took gold and bronze.

Next race: Saturday - noon - St. Lawrence University.
21 universities will be showing up this weekend, the Ottawa Lions will have to run hard.