Before I get into anything, a huge shout out to my buds Jeff Costen and Andrew Courchene for letting me crash with them last weekend. The boys are both strait beauties and I had a ton of fun hanging with them. Courchene seems to be getting back into things and is training again which is awesome and you know Costen is always in fine form. I road tripped out to the London meet last Sunday with him after my half to watch he and the boys roll a 5000m. Jeff ran great as did the rest of the boys and most opened up the season with a 14:XX 5000 to their name. It was pretty rad too getting to chat with Mike and Paul Rochus and watching Leslie Sexton roll a stellar 5km mid marathon cycle, she's another beaut. If you've never been to a London Distance Club meet I highly suggest you register for one. The facility is top notch and Steve and his team run it like a top shelf event.
As for my race, it went pretty well. Despite getting a much appreciated Trackie.ca thread in my honor for not dipping/leaning at the line I was pretty happy with the race. When Montreal fell through I had to scramble to do something so I had ran a low key 5km at home when my flights got canceled and decided to jump into goodlife. I ran 1:09:17 which was good for 2ed place and given the cold, rain and 30km/h winds I think it's fair to say that effort was worth 68 flat on a better day. It wasn't like STWM half last year where I could just jump into a group on a perfectly flat course and run every split basically dead even and walk away with a 68. In this race we were running up and down hills, battling the elements and I was doing a lot of leading, which I'm more then ok with. It just wasn't conducive to producing a PB. Regardless I'm confident that my next time out I'll take a minute or more off my current PB at the distance, and run something in the 67's. The key will be to find a good race with lot's of guys to run with. Looking back on it, I'm happy how things turned out and even though Montreal didn't work out for me I was able to get a race in at home and still run a decent half early in the season.
Now, onto the coaching announcement. As some of you know for the last year I've been feeling my way around in training by myself and sort of writing workouts based on what I'm reading and following online. But I knew that to get to the next level and to continue to make strides and run faster I would need to seek out the help of a coach that had a good grasp on training and one that I trusted and felt I could really learn from. There were a few on my list but after talking to my boy Ryan Noel-Hodge (who I also got to see last weekend), I knew John Lofranco was someone who I'd work well with if he had the space to take me on. I notice John's comments on various topics on the boards, as well as seeing him posting comments on Steve Magness's podcast site among others that he shares mostly the same ideas and philosophies on running/training as I do. He just knows WAY more and has a track record of producing and guiding runners of all abilities, from those looking to BQ, to those currently going after Olympic standards. Anyway, after sitting down with him, and John graciously agreeing to take me on I'm very excited to see where things go from here. It's so great to not have to think about anything other the executing workouts and runs. The guesswork is gone and I have the confidence and faith in John that I know all I have to do on my end is hit the workouts he gives me, and give him the most honest and direct feedback possible so we can learn what will work best with me going forward. It will be a fun process that will take a lot of hard work but I'm excited to see where it goes.
Thoughts on the diamond league season opener.
1 - Asbel Kiprop picked up right where he left off and won't be challenged by anyone if he stays healthy and runs smartly. The only person who can beat him is himself by running stupidly/tactically unsound. When he is on, as we saw last year, he can run times that nobody else can, and in tactical races his 1:43 low 800m speed (I bet he can go 1:42) means he can blow the doors off whoever in a slow race. In the season opener, he sowed he can run from the front and even when shutting it down on the third lap can still put a missive gap on the rest of the field. Granted all the major players weren't there. Makloufi is the X factor, and Iguider, Centro and Willis are all stellar, but I can't see anyone challenging Asbel in 2016. Regardless, this is an event to watch closely, it really is where the best talent in distance running lies.
2 - Caster Semenya is a heavy favorite to take the gold in the 800 this year, I won't give my thoughts on her competing as I'm not informed enough on her situation to say weather or not it's fair for her to run like she is now or if she should be taking testosterone blockers. But I will say that it looked as if she was jogging the first 600m of that race in lane two and then just crushed the last 200. I mean as we know, the 800 is basically a race where there is a slight deceleration the whole way, she appeared to have so much left it wasn't even funny while running a low 1:58. If things stay the way they are she's going to win the 800 with ease.
3 - Almaz Ayana is still the number one threat to Genzebe Dibaba and has the most devastating "strike for home" out there. She doesn't have the type of closing speed of Dibaba, I mean look at the last 800 Dibaba ran in the final last summer in the 15, nobody has that speed, but I feel like Ayana is strong enough to stretch Dibaba and really give her trouble in any race longer then 1500. I can't wait to see them both clash.
4 - The men's steeple is as stacked as ever! Man, this is such a brutal event to be running in. Birech didn't appear to be the force he was last year, but the steeple is a different beast from flat races and that was the opener for almost everyone in the field. Most of the athletes who ran had been doing off distance races or road races leading into this meet so expect the next one to be a lot faster then 8:05. I expect a Kenyan sweep in Rio.
As for my training, coach John gave me a down week after my half so it was just some easy running with strides and what not. Next week you'll have something more interesting to read on that front. Anyway, that's all for this update, sorry for the delay, but we are now back to regularly scheduled programming!