Some pro news.
Well that Zurich meet wasn't as cracking as I had hopped it would be. I mean there was definitely some solid performances. Most notably Shannon Rowbury taking the win in a seasons best of 3:57 and Muir coming second to steal the diamond race. In the women's 800 the top 3 from Rio went 1-2-3 again just a little slower but still a winning time of 1:56. The men's 5000 really showed that the top dogs are fatigued from a long season of chasing times to qualify, running diamond leagues, rounds at the games and now they are just hanging on. Gebrewit benefited from nobody going with the pace and closed ridiculously fast in an otherwise pedestrian race to snatch 50K for his efforts. Other then that Lashawn Merritt took the win in the 400 and Ruth Jibet proved her dominance again in the women's steeple with a solid 9:07.
This week the last meeting of the year takes place. There's a few story lines that should be on our radars in terms of fast times. I've outlined the diamond races that are still up for grabs last week so check out my last post if your looking at who needs what in this last meeting. But in terms of tasty races. The women's 5000 will be quick because, well Ayana is running and her legs don't go any slower then 70 seconds/quarter. so could Shannon Rowbury jump on the train and threaten Molly's AR of 14:42? I personally doubt it as she was likely at her highest fitness ever last year when she ran 3:56 and ran 14:48 but it's not impossible. Keep an eye on that one for sure. In the men's 1500 the diamond race is basically decided but will we see anyone go for a sub 3:30? I think Kiprop is toast for the year and has just burned a little too hot for too long. He ran 3:29 in like mid April. But Makhloufi is still rocking and rolling. Dropping 1:42 800's like a boss. He will go with a hot pace if it's presented and I also think Managoi of Kenya is still full of running so he may run fast as well. Then there's Blankenship and Andrews who would love to end the season with a new PB. I doubt either are in anything better then 3:34 shape but it's something to watch for. In the men's steeple if this had been a week ago I'd be excited to see if Jager could make an assault on a sub 8 clocking but he looked really sluggish in that 5000 and has had a heck of a season. I suspect this will be an 8:05-8:10 race with a fast last 300m. No blazing times but some good competitive running. Lastly, the men's 800m. Like the other events I feel like this being an Olympic year, everyone has been on their game for a very long time and holding their peak for at least a couple months. I doubt we see anything too quick here. But we could see a 1:43/44. I'm taking Kipketer but I'm also keeping an eye on Clayton Murphy to see how he runs after a story book year.
On the roads next week we are also in for a treat, the Great North Run will be contested in South Shields once again and it's always exciting. Farah ran a smoking time there last year and has won it ever since the great Bekele held him off in 2012. Dathan Ritzenhein is also in the field and ran a decent solo 10 mile at Crim a couple weeks ago. I suspect he's marathon fit but can still run around 61 mid on the quick point to point course. This is definitely one to get up early and watch!
Why I love this sport and it's inclusiveness.
I don't normally get all emo or sappy on here, but lately on runs while shuffling along listening to "Scared" by the Hip, I think about well....running and all the good things it's given me. I think about the friends I've made along the way, guys who have been in it since they were kids, ran track, cross, heck even befriended an ofssa medalist who came through in the class with Matt Hughs. My point is, the running community is just so inclusive. It doesn't matter if you run a 13 minute 5k or a 40 minute 5k. We set out to accomplish the same goal and we form a bond through that endeavor. In the grand scheme of things, even though I'm very committed to my running and it's incredibly important to me I'm far from being a top of the food chain athlete. But I can toe the line with Olympians on any given weekend and can go grab a beer with them after the race. (This happened just a few months back in fact with our boy Reid). After the run is done, we are all just people who are brought together by one sport and it's something I haven't seen in any others that I've participated in. In reality I was, at a time during my Jr career a far better hockey player then I am a runner but the same camaraderie just wasn't there. And though I made some lasting friendships that I certainly value very much it just ins't the same.
Maybe I'm getting sentimental here, I don't know but it's something I've been pondering lately and I even notice it when I frequent different social media mediums. People that I once just followed on twitter or Instagram I've ended up meeting at race expos, a start line or I get a msg saying they are in town and we go for a run and grab some food. It's really what I value most about the sport and the thing that holds the most importance to me. The sport has given me lifelong friends that I'd do anything for and these are also people who I learn a lot from and admire greatly.
I think that to be a good runner you really need determination, discipline and an incredible work ethic. These aren't traits that we simply turn off after we finish our training or run our goal race. They are skills that transfer to our daily lives and it's apparent in all the people I've met throughout this journey over the past 5 years. I've met friends like JJ out in BC who's work ethic, faith and personality have led him to great success in running, work and his life in general. You won't catch many 29 year olds with their lives as together as that guy. My bud Ryan, living the solitary life in northern Quebec teaching kids of various nationalities and effecting change in each of their lives. Amy, an extraordinary soul with a passion for words, she writes such incredible stories about all the amazing runners in this great community of ours. Jeff, a young guy who can come off quiet and reserved but has a very wise head on his shoulders, handling PR and working for some of the most important people in the Ontario political system. I could list literally 50 more people off the top of my head.
I guess this is sort of a thank you to the sport itself. Thank you for including me in this great community and allowing me to participate even as a late comer and most importantly thank you for the friendships that you have brought me. I'll never take it for granted and hope I can leave the sport just a little better then I found it.
On that note, I want to share an awesome story with you guys about another amazing human I met through running. Jay Sneddon, is an inspirational young man who I met in person for the first time on the starting line back in May at Ottawa Race Weekend. I won't ruin Jay's story for you, instead I'll link to a piece written about him in the Vancouver Sun. Keep up the awesome work Jay, I'll see you in Kingston bud! http://www.vancouversun.com/health/running+delivers+boost+confidence/11719185/story.html
My week in training.
Monday - 76' with 4X15" strides + General Strength
Tuesday - 48' with 10X200m @ mile race pace off 90" rest
Wednesday - 62' with 4X15" strides
Thursday - 79' with 10X1'/2' continuous going between 5:00/5:30/mile. The average for the 30' was 5:19/mile
Friday - OFF + General Strength
Saturday - 90' easy long run
Sunday - 60' super chill.
So my week was lighter then the last few, I was really feeling the cumulative fatigue and we are trying to freshen the legs up a bit for a nice 5km PB this weekend then it's back to the grind.
That's it for me,
Enjoy the week folks and stay frosty
Shoutout to the crew down at Saucony HQ in the US. I had a sneak peak of the Spring/Summer 2017 kit waiting for me along with a really nice card. Thanks guys. It's seriously a privilege to run for the company.