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.