Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finding Success in Failure

Feels like just yesterday I was on my way down to California, and now I'm heading home. The last 16 days have been amazing to say the least.

It is always easiest to post after good races, and to hide and disappear after not so good ones. This time around I had 5 sub par races in California, however my first instinct was not to hide, but instead share how this experience was probably the best thing to happen to me for this season.

After my first round of competitions at Mount Sac, and Azusa, I thought for sure I knew exactly what I needed to do to drop some sick times the next time around. In all actuality, mentally I knew exactly what needed to be done, physically though was another thing.

I had three amazing workouts before the meet at UC San Diego. Things were firing, and my speed was coming back, I felt like I was ready to make some big moves. The day before the meet at my pre-race workouts I felt like a bag of garbage. My glutes were exhausted, hips were tight and legs were heavy, all the things I LOVE to feel the day before my race. Some may find it strange, but I actually enjoy feeling beat up the day before my race, because in my mind, that is my day to feel like garbage instead of actually on race day. I made it through the pre-race well and was more than ready to run the next day.

Race day at UC San Diego was beautiful. The sun was out and there was a slight breeze. The forecast called for rain, but coming from Toronto I knew there wasn't anything the golden state could throw at me I couldn't handle. I no longer felt like garbage, and worked through my warm up with confidence that things were about to go down. There were slight nerves, but mostly excitement, I was amped to roll out and make my mark. My race tactics from the previous week were perfect, so I just replayed that over and over in my head. If I just raced that same way with fresh legs this week, things should come together.

I attacked the first 200m aggressively and in control, coming around the corner I just focused on staying tall and keeping my hips up. I came off the final bend feeling good, I felt like I had ran wisely and maybe, just maybe this time around that 100lbs gorilla would decided to jump on some other poor quarter milers back today. For two to three strides off the corner I felt like I was on top of the world, then perfectly, on cue, that great silver back came out. I had not escaped, he got me.  But I told him 'NO!' and fought through. I pumped my arms, pumped like there was no tomorrow. I could tell it was working, I felt myself closing on the girls beside me. With 50 meters left the quarter miler rigger was kicking in with full force, but the fight was real, I was not giving up.

My time was a tad faster than the week before, but once again nothing to really feeling amazing about.

The Triton Invitation at UC San Diego was a good way to end this block of competition for the season. On and off the track California was overall a great experience. 

Being new to my training group this trip gave me an opportunity to really get to know my coach, my program and the people I train with. I find myself at a new level of comfort with my new surrounding, and a better understanding of how this change is going to make me better in the long run. I was able open up and have some solid heart to hearts with my training partners. And, I was able visit some family and have the opportunity spend some good time with my best friend.

Physically I know I have a lot of work to do before nationals, but mentally I am exactly where I want to be. Determination and motivation are built through struggle, and I am more driven then ever before. 

California gave me the opportunity to fail so I now know what I need to do to succeed.

before anyone ran fast, they were slow” ~A.Henry

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Where Did That Gorilla Come From!?!

Three races, and a million hours of sun later I've come to the end of my opening weekend.  My times were nothing to celebrate, but I find myself surprisingly positive about how this season is going to play out.

Race one this weekend was the 400m at Mount Sac, in Walnut, California.  My week of training leading up felt really good, and I was feeling ready to go.  After my pre-race the day before, I was so sure I was gonna roll out come race day.  When it came to the next day though, things didn't exactly fall into place.  I was quiet, concerned, introvert, just not myself.  I probably looked like someone had shot my dog, and all that showed in my race, and I ran a very dismal time.  For like 15 minutes afterwards I was ready to quit track all together.  Then something awesome happened. My training partners came to me, and brought me back up.  My doubts fleeting my mind with no haste.
The assurance of someone who cares about you, in a time when you're down, can do you wonders.

I left Walnut, and traveled to Azusa to run my second race.  My attitude and demeanor was night and day from my first race of the day.  I was excited once again, and ready to have some fun.  I ran the 200m at Azusa. I ran the race not caring about the time per se, but more for a feeling.  I ran for that feeling, that reminds you why you love track, and as a quarter miler, running a 200m is the perfect race to get that.

Friday was a long day, very early morning and pretty late night.  I got home and was exhausted, but knew that my race on Saturday was going to be great.

Third race of the weekend was the 400m at the Long Beach Invitational.  I was lucky enough to get in the invitational section later in the day so I got to sleep in a bit which my body definitely needed. I thought I would have been really drained coming into my last race, but I was feeling surprising well. After my 200m I was feeling mentally better, and given how bad my first 400m went, I now knew what not to do this time around.

My race execution was perfect.  I came through the 200 and 300 right on point, but then I came around the corner and it hit me!  The wind, the two previous races, and a whole lot of sun from the day before, all took form of a giant gorilla hopping on my back for the last leg of my race.  For 50m I had succumb to the  beast of lactic and fatigue.  It felt like I was doing running A's with a 100lbs weighted vest up a hill with a 45 degree incline.  With 50m left I told myself the faster I finish this, the sooner the pain will stop, so I went to my arms and pumped as hard as I could, and it worked!

Needless to say, none of my times this weekend were anything to write home about.  But given that, I'm extremely happy with how everything went.  You can't enjoy the sun without snow, you can't appreciate success without failure.  Through these three races I've learned a lot it usually takes a whole season to realize.  I'm extremely excited for this season to play out.  I'm ready to apply what I've learned and have some fun while doing it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Prose and Cons

So as I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to use this blog as an opportunity for me to express more than just the athletic side of me.
I'd like to use this as a platform for some creative writing, opinion pieces along side some blogs about how the track side of my life is going.
I'm a fan of feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think of anything I write.

With that being said, I'm going to be working on some revamping of my blog to make it easier to segment off the different categories of writing I'll be putting out.  For now everything will still show up on the regular feed of posts.   Over the next little while some changes will be made to help with the flow of writing that I'll be putting out.

Until then, here is a little something I've been working on.