Attire: Mizuno running shoes, brother's socks, black tights, red shorts, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, jacket, watch, toque, gloves
The cold wind struck our faces and covered our bodies like a cloud of fog blanketing the lake at your cottage on an early Saturday morning. The night had already risen and daytime wasn't to be seen for another 13 hours, at least.
If you don't go to St FX then you wouldn't know about Liquor Lane, the 700 meter stretch of rubble leading from campus to the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. The path is used on the daily by students all across campus in search of thirst quenchers, and today it became the first 3 and a half minutes of our run. Yet, Liquor Lane crosses right through the middle of our school's cross country course.
"Yo wanna run through the course?"
"Let's do it."
But it wasn't just "running through the course". It was running through a dark-filled forest. Picture turning off all of the lights in your room, throwing the blanket over your head, and closing your eyes. That's how I remember this run.
Oh did I mention it was just 2 of us?
Riley and I had to hold hands the whole way.
As we entered the forest, hand-in-hand, our eyes hadn't yet adjusted to the darkness of the path. Step by step we ran, just waiting for something to jump out and attack us..
I let out a holler, "AH!"
Riley let out a girly holler as he squeezed my hand tighter, "AHHH!!!"
There aren't very high predictions this year for St FX cross country. We're just the farm kids out east running through cows and hopping over fences. We're the team full of misfits. We're the guys and girls who go out on our long runs and drink the river water when we get thirsty.
No website or university has our men's team ranked better than 8th, and our conference has taken a few rough comments, one of which being called an "informal gathering of like-minded lobster farmers".
But enough of dissing my own school.
Here's why X is one of the top contenders in London 2012:
We know how to run.
I'm sorry if you were expecting any more than that. Pretty lame reason. Pretty far from awesome. Kinda like going to a bar and ordering a PBR, but then getting a bottle of FatTire instead, what a terrible disappointment! Sup Watson? (www.leblogdurob.com)
Time for a recap of UNB. Ahh Fredericton. Such a beautiful city, where the grass is green and the girls are above average. We knew this would be the team's biggest challenge yet, having won our first 3 meets more easily than Adele capturing the souls of millions. Laval was coming over from Q-town and they were tryin' to set fire to our rane.
Luckily for us the french boys made a little video of the event for everyone to watch. I can be spotted a few times in the mix, finishing 3rd for the team with our 4th and 5th guys right behind. X took home silver but we made it a close race, hopefully giving Laval a bit of a scare.
It's been months since I wrote one of these! And if you're asking why I chose to finally write another post after giving you guys nothing for so long, here is my answer:
Imagine yourself running. You've got your thin socks on, you've got your Nike running shoes (or in my case Mizuno), you've got your short shorts or your spandex, you've got your favourite polyester t-shirt, you've got your time-keeping device usually known as a watch, and you've got any other swag that you think you've gotta have in order to look the best that you can while running.
Now add people. Whether it's your closest friends, or runners in the community, or it's your running team. In my case today, it was all three. 17 of us were simply running down a dirt road in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on this gloomy, cloudy day when somebody ran passed us. He said hey. Totally normal.
"Who was that???"
"No it wasn't."
"Yeah it was, I know what he looks like!"
"Yea that was Eric Gillis!"
"Should we turn around?"
"Nahhh should we?"
"I'm turning around."
So three of us stopped dead in our tracks and started chasing down Olympian Eric Gillis. About halfway through the chase we actually realized what we were doing. We were trying to catch the 22nd best marathon runner in the world. I'll admit it wasn't easy, we ended up putting a good 3 minute tempo into our long run in order to get him. But when we got him, it was totally worth it.
He asked us our names, he asked us about the team, he asked us about our time trial from yesterday, he asked us our favourite colours..
Okay I lied about that last one but he may as well have asked us our favourite colours because we're basically best friends now.
We were only with him for about 5 minutes until he had to peel off and finish his run, but I'm tellin' you right now, it was the best 5 minutes of my life. Okay, maybe best 5 minutes of the month or something, but turning around and chasing him down was one of the best choices I've made in my short-lived life.
After leaving the Olympian and continuing our 20k run, the 3 of us had so much to talk about. But the cool part wasn't that we got to see him. The cool part was that we realized we never even asked him any questions, he was the one interviewing us and pestering us with so many questions that by the time he ran off by himself we were left there speechless.
Eric Gillis - weighing in at 128lbs with a height of 5 feet and 8 inches. Maybe I have a future in the sport of running..
Last year by this time I had already written like 4 blog posts about the track meets leading up to OFSAA, so I'm gonna do what I can to squeeze them all into one right now.
For the first time ever I was convinced to 'triple' at a track meet. Running the 2k steeple, 1500, and 3k all in one day isn't necessarily what most people call 'fun', so I was forced to take a few of 'em easy.
Rock paper scissors decided the 3000m. After winning the odd-man-out RPS against P-mar and Berhe, I made it to the finals against Marshall. The finals occurred mid-race when he and I dropped back from the pack to play best 2 out of 3. Nothin beats rock. EXCEPT FOR PAPER APPARENTLY. I lost 2-1 and was forced to surrender any home stretch kick that I had.
Tripling again, but over the course of 2 days, I went out in search of a sub-4 1500m performance. An accomplishment that no Donald has ever seen before. Such a task that has had me training harder than ever just to defeat the dreaded "four minutes". After going through the first 800 metres in 3:52 pace, my legs suffered the consequences. Coming in behind 4 other guys, I was able to carry myself across the line in 3:59.
The 3k was quite different. The plan was to take the race slow so that we could get in a good workout a couple days later. With 200 metres to go though, an unexpected occurrence had Berhe and me on our toes (literally). The up-and-comer, Adam Richardson, had sat on our butts for long enough and made a move. Now, at this point I was considering letting him go because I had already secured my spot at East Regions, but what's the point in running a race if you're gonna lose right? Caught him.
To me, this meet is bigger than OFSAA. It always has been. It determines whether or not you compete at one of the biggest high school track meets in North America. You gotta get there, and the rules are simple: You come top 4, you're in. Anything else, you're out.
This time I was man enough to drop out of the steeple.
By my calculations, Thursday's 1500 started out at 4:04 pace for the first 800 metres. A little slow for any other meet, a lot slow for a meet that held everything on the line. Finishing at 3:59 once again, my last 700m was at 3:54 pace. I came 5th but I'll be seeing an OFSAA light as a few guys ahead of me are scratching the event.
Another personal best in the 3k, coming 4th at 8:39.
Sikubwabo and Coughler finished dead even for both races. Although I wasn't able to see either finish, I heard it looked a little something like this one..
To see the final lap you can skip ahead to the 3 minute mark.
So I'm OFSAA bound. Once again I'm the only person from Nepean but that's alright. Represent.
1500 heats on Thursday
1500 finals on Friday
3000 finals on Saturday
Conquered my first steeplechase today! Well, that's not true. I did a 1500m steeple 2 years ago in the dome, but there was no water pit and the barriers weren't very high. It's basically like when a girl says she's had sex but it didn't count cause the guy was a jerk and it was a mistake.
K that was my first sexual reference on this blog.
Berhe and I ran the 1500 steeple today. I can't say it went great, but I can't say it was bad. It came down to the final hundred, right after I leaped over the last barrier with the wrong leg and landed in a half-retarded crouching position whilst trying to keep my balance by flailing my arms. Neither of us began to sprint because we both knew that we'd pay for it in the 3k later. I can't say that I didn't try to push out my chest at the finish line, but I won't say that that's why I took home the win.
About 6 and a half hours later, the Open Men's 3000m came along. Oh such an interesting race it was. 60 kids of all different ages were lined up; from all different schools around the city; all with different goals; all wondering how on earth they were standing on the start line with 59 other guys. I'm pretty sure there were more racers than spectators at this point during the day. BANG. The gun went off.
All I can say about this race is that Palamar booked the last 400 without hesitation. Right as we heard the bell, he took off. Classic. Berhe passed me with 200 to go. Classic. Didn't go down without a fight though, managed to beat him on the last stride. Classic.
Good day at the races for Nepean and The Ottawa Lions. West Conference Next week. I'll be bringin it.
Choosing a university to go to was probably the toughest decision of my life, other than that one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and had to decide whether I should get up and pee or stay in my cozy, warm bed. I got up and peed. Definitely worth it.
I've chosen St.FX. Don't ask me why; I have my reasons. I can't wait to start training with the boys out east, they're a great group of runners.
My brother, Ian - a current student at the University of Guelph - may not be totally psyched about my decision like I am, but at least he can appreciate the fact that I didn't choose to go to Windsor.
My other brother, Sam - a current student at the University of McGill - has apparently known for the past year where I would choose to go. So did you get it right, Sam? Straight up. Leave a comment.
My oldest brother, JayZ - a current artist in the rap industry - told me to remember one thing, one thing. I came I saw I conquered, from record sales to soldout concerts, so if you want this encore, I need you to scream 'til your lungs get sore...
As for my future dating life, I haven't had a lot of time to think about if my soul mate is going to St. FX. It's kind of bothering me. But I'm single and ready to tingle. I wanna get a tingly sensation when I meet a girl, it just shows that maybe she's the one for me.
I know it's been a month since my last bloggy blog but I like to take long breaks between posts so that I will be older, therefore wiser, therefore I will have more knowledge, therefore I will have more to say, therefore I will be more interesting. Here's what I have to say:
This kind of has to do with running because Nike's all like "We support runners" and "Training is tough". Yea well guess what, Nike? I haven't seen you run a mile in your life so how 'bout you just go back to Bill Bowerman's garage and stop being so expensive. This can be found in Google images if you simply type "funny pics".
Steve Prefontaine always believed that running was a work of art. I've had trouble believing this over the past few years though. I've always thought that running was just a sport. You just run. It's hard; it's physically and mentally difficult. But overall, you're just pushing your body. You're simply running.
Today at practice our group was running some 3k stuff. Some 800s, some 1000s, even a 1200 in there. I ran the workout with Alex Berhe. We were goin. We were givin' 'er. It was only after we had finished the workout when I came to my "running is an art" realization. A man came up to me who had been watching us run and said, "Nicely done." Nicely done? Nicely done? I repeated those two words over and over in my head. They fit so well together; they blend; they mix like soap and water.
He didn't say "Good job" or "Good work" or "Great workout" or "Lookin good" or "Way to go" or anything along those lines like a regular person would say. No he said "Nicely done" like I had just painted a portait of him laying down naked with a fruit basket. That's when the idea came into my head that I had just created a work of art.
This is one of my favourite scenes from any motion picture in the history of motion pictures.
What makes a champion? Is it their hard work? Is it their training program? Is it their coach? Is it their teammates? Is it their diet? Is it their desire? In my opinion, yes yes yes yes yes and yes.
Canadian Running Magazine made this video to show just what makes a championship-winning team. It becomes more and more inspiring as the montage goes on, so inspiring that non-runners will even be captivated. The video brings together footage from Nationals this year where Guelph took home gold in the men's and women's cross country races.
"Get to work they're fuckin dyin' up there!" - DST
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go study for exams.
"3.. 2.. 1.. Go."
The cold, crisp air grasping the cheeks of ten guys fighting for their spot on the road. Second after second, minute after minute, 20 shoes colaborate to form the intervals of a championship-winning team.
"3.. 2.. 1.. Go."
Stride after stride after stride. Snow flies out from under each foot creating a white cloud around the runners. The legs are picking up the pace.
"3.. 2.. 1.. Go."
The breathing is only getting heavier. Panting, sniffing, coughing. Every guy is trying his hardest; every guy is working. No one's talking.
I worked out with the Guelph guys on Friday afternoon, it was quite the cold run, but I felt good. Ian had no food in the house when I got there so I just had a piece of lemon mirangue pie that my mom sent with me and I was good to go workout with the team. Food is overrated anyway.
Overall, recruiting weekend was good. Got to meet some big runners; got a lot of free meals, including some latenight wings with two-time ofsaa medalist Mr. Shawn Masters. Who knows if either of us will go to Guelph, but they gave us free towels so... it's lookin good.