And, rounding the bend into the home stretch, he steps into lane two and runs the remaining 100m of his season faster than his competitors to grab gold in the Athletics Ontario 1500m championships.
Thus ended my 2010 track season. I ran 3:49.97 to win the 1500m, a race that in which I maintained 3rd position as the leaders shuffled around until the last 200m when I moved into 2nd and then into 1st with 80m left. It was a relatively easy race - a rather large departure from the trainwreak that was the 800m the previous afternoon. I had warmed up, legs feeling fantastic and ready to go. I settled into 3rd off the gun and maintained that for the first lap in about 54 seconds. From there things went downhill. At 500m my legs went flat and my form disintergrated. 4th place flew by me and the leaders gapped me. At 100m to go, 5 and 6 pulled level with me but I knew who these athletes were.... I knew I couldnt let them take me and I fought them off to the line. I ran 1:54.8 - 4 seconds off both my pb and the winner.
Thus when I toed the line the next day for the 1500m, I was preparing for a similar race as the 800m and was determined that I would run myself into the ground in order to get a result. However, I was pleased to find out that my legs felt strong and the race started off slow...playing right into my hands and culminating with the finish described above.
And now for a (dare I say it myself?) well-deserved break. Looking back, training for my summer season began 4 days after the CIS Championships in March and since then I have logged over 850 miles and raced 14 times. I have criss-crossed the country for a total of 13309m and approximately 42 minutes and 20 seconds of racing. That's a heck of a lot, especially for someone who has never put together such a long summer season before.
And what have I taken away from this season? How have I changed and what lessons have I learnt?
- Never give up! If I can get within 100m of the finish line, no matter how badly I feel, there is always something left in the tank to kick.
- The art of recovery. Both mentally and physically, I have discovered ways of making sure that I return my next race or training session ready to face the challenge. There are no secrets - just taking good care of your body (eg eating and sleeping right) and having a positive attitude make a world of difference.
- Racing Maturity. While the wisdom of my tactics are often debated, I am getting better at making decisions while in the pack. Timing and location are essential to set oneself up for success. My main strategy is to react to developments in the pack; with further training and growth I hope to be strong enough to take control of races myself.
- No time for heroes. In training, no single Hurculean effort determines one's success. It is more so the everyday, regular efforts that culminate over weeks and months. In races, the objective is to win - to be at the front of the pack only when it counts: at the finish line. Bolting at the gun to try to lead start to finish is rarely an effective strategy.
- I have so much to learn. This pretty much sums itself up!
- Base Camp II. That's where I am at now. I still have far to go before I reach the summit of this mountain. But I think it's possible. Time will tell!
Thats all for now. I'm taking two weeks off from running and then will dive into the XC season. I will continue to blog (perhaps not as regularly during my sabbatical) about the life of a EMIP. Thanks for following me this season and look out for more to come!