It’s been a long last 10 days, starting with traveling to Japan last Thursday for the Chiba International Ekiden and culminating with the AGSI National XC Champs in Guelph yesterday. Neither race was really worth writing about, but the trip to Japan was definitely a great experience.
My entire fall season has been pretty frustrating dealing with some nagging injuries for months after the World Championships this past August, and then getting hit by h1n1 shortly after the Canadian 10km road championships in October. I tried not to be too vocal about getting h1n1 because I was convinced I could bounce back quickly and still run well in both Japan and Guelph. But, the reality of things is that it set me back a lot. I tried a real crash program to get back into shape, but just did not have enough time to do so. The week of training I showed in my last post was by far the best week I had all fall. So, with those excuses out on the table I’ll digress and detail the two races:
I was on the 5th leg of the Ekiden race, a 10km leg. I was prepared to run the entire 10km solo, as we were 25km into the race at that point, and with only 15 teams out there I figured it would be pretty spread. The race was broadcast on national TV in Japan and I was able to keep track of how my Canadian teammates were doing by peering over the shoulder of some of the race volunteers who were watching the race on their phones. After Reid Coolsaet led off with a fantastic 13:38 5km leg and our other guys and gals hung tough I was pleasantly surprised to receive the sash from Chantelle (in 7-8th position) at the same time as the Russian team came through. I latched onto the Russian guy and traded leads with him for the first 5km. There were no km markers along the course until the 1/2 way point, so the first indication of how fast we were running was when we hit 5km. I had the time of 29:29 (that Eric Gillis ran for the same leg in the 2008 Ekiden race) in the back of my mind as my goal. So, when we hit the 1/2 way in 14:53 I was a bit deflated. It was a mistake for me to think so much about the time, because I was competing against this Russian guy, and I should have just focused on competing and not worried about the time. So, feeling a bit deflated and really tired the Russian guy started to pull away from me. The course was pretty hilly over the last 4-5km and I just completely fell apart. I finished in 30:26, 11th fastest of 15 on my leg. I was pretty shocked and dejected afterwards. But, I tried not to dwell on it too much and quickly shifted my focus, looking ahead to the National XC Champs 5 days later in Guelph.
I knew with the Ekiden race on Monday, a long time-warpped day of travel on Tuesday, and my lack of consistent training the past 3 months that coming 3rd for at Nationals XC for the third year in a row was going to be a very tough task. But, I figured I’d just get out there in the lead group and go for it.
Eric Gillis took the race out really hard, I ran the first loop about 25-50m back with Taylor Milne, Matt Brunsting, and Richard Mosely. I knew I was going out way too hard, but just figured I’d try and hang on as long as possible with these guys. Well, that only lasted for a couple more km as by the end of the second loop Milne and Brunsting had gapped me and Mosely was off somewhere, either ahead or behind, trying to figure out how many laps the race was! By the end of the second lap I was completely spent and actually thought about stopping! But, I just kept plugging away. Going into the hill at the end of the 3rd lap I got passed by Kelly Wiebe and Mosely and I started to feel pretty sorry for myself as I cralwed up the hill. But, a minute or so later I gave myself a little pep talk and rolled past Mosely and started to track down a fading Taylor Milne. I moved past Milne into 5th with about 1500m to go and thought I might actually pass Wiebe to get back into fourth. I got within 2 or 3 seconds of him with 1km to go, but the wheels came off in the last 500m and I was passed up the hill by Alex Genest, to end up 6th. It was a really tough race, and I was just happy that I toughed it out, as I easily could have slid back out of the top 10. Big congrats to everyone out there, especially Bairu who absolutely killed it, running sub 29!
So, that’s it for a very lack luster fall road/xc racing season. I was originally planning on going over to Europe and running XC races in Belgium and Italy in December. But, that’d be a complete waste of time considering the shape I am in. Instead I am going to take an easy week, try to get my act together with work on my Master’s and recharge the batteries and get ready for a big year in 2010!
I’ll post some photos from Japan, and a little more about that trip shortly.