Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A look at STWM and is running something of a religion?

Hey folks, so here we are, a few days out from STWM weekend. I'm super excited, not only to race but to spend some time in one of my favorite cities and hang out with some good peeps. The weather is looking anything but favorable with heavy rain and winds in the 30km/h range but I'm still going to go out and give it a good rip. Anyway, I don't have a lot of time for this post so I'll quickly give some shout outs and people to watch this weekend followed by a short rant about how I feel like in this day and age people seem to be looking for a sense of belonging and where some would turn to religion in the past, I wonder if they are choosing activities/groups like running, crossfit, cycling... etc more and more in modern day.

Athletics Canada Updating 2017 WC Marathon Standards.

So I'm sure most of you that read this know that earlier today Athletics Canada announced that the standards used for the 2015 WC in Beijing have been updated and made stricter. To be assured of a place on the 3 person team you have to run the times that were in place for the Olympic selection. (2:12:50 and 2:29:50) Or, run their secondary time, which doesn't guarantee selection of 2:14:10 and 2:31:20, both well under the previous marks of 2:15:00 and 2:35:00. I know this has got to be super frustration for some of the girls and guys who were planning on trying to run the standard this weekend in Toronto. With such little notice, the weather forecast and added pressure of knowing the time is faster then anticipated it's an unfortunate situation. I really don't think the previous standards needed to be altered, it would have been great to send a full squad so they could gain the experience of competing at the highest level and return knowing what it takes to get to that next level. I'll save the discussion on this until more comes out, but it's something we need to talk about for sure.

Shout Outs

So lot's went down last weekend from road races to cross country meets people were out there getting after it. The biggest one on the east coast was the AUS meet where Mr. Cyr and Dewolf appeard to be out for a Sunday jog going 1-2 in the exact same time. I didn't catch the finish line photo but I suspect they did a "super friends" high five as they crossed. I predict some serious pack running from X at the AUS champs with Neuffer and Donald in there as well. I'm interested to see how they fair at CIS this year, they have 5 men who will all run very well and are in 30-31 minute shape so they are in the mix for sure. My boy Matt Power also showed some racing chops and hung tough with the boys until they shifted into beast mode and managed a strong 3rd place showing. I predict Matt will be an AUS all star and finish 6th at the big dance. On the other end of the country was the Victoria Marathon Weekend. Robbie D won the half as he continues his comeback on route to NYC. Trevor "Nacho Libre" Hofbauer got the win in the 8km while Lyndsay Carson cleaned up on the women's side. In the marathon we saw Sabrina Wilkie back in action making her debut in an impressive 2:45. Well done friends....well done!

People to watch this weekend at STWM

1 - Eric Gillis - Complete stud, coming off his best year to date and a 10th place finish in Rio, if the weather holds he's going to be close to the CR.

2 - The women's national marathon championship battle. Realistically I see this going down between Krista, Rachel, Leslie, Dayna and Tarah. There are other great athletes in the field like Erin, Meggan, Shelly, Tanis who could all throw down something fast and possibly sneak under 2:35. But, it'll be interesting to see that pack of 5 shake out up front. All have potential to run very close to if not under 2:30 so keep an eye on this storyline.

3 - The battle of the beauties, John Mason, Kevin Coffey, Robert Winslow, David  Le Porho and Philippe Viau-Dupuis. All seem to be close in fitness and running well. On a perfect day I can see all these guys going south of 2:20, heck 2 have already done it. This could be the battle for the 3rd spot in the Canadian Championship. (I like Kip to repeat his Silver). 

4 - The debut of Tristan Woodfine and Jeff Costen. (Now to be fair I feel like I remember Woodfine running Rotterdam a couple years back when Winslow went 2:19?). Anyway, Woodfine is a stud when he's at his best and could potentially run as fast as 2:15 if all goes well. The marathon is cruel tho so we will have to wait until 11:00 on Sunday to see where the dust settles. As for Costen, like I've said before, kids got spunk, loves to put himself in the hurt box and grind. He's a student of the sport and knows his range of abilities and 9 times out of 10 gets the most out of his body. He ran his half debut on this course in 2014 going 1:08:02 for 3rd and won the half last year, I expect a smartly executed race from the wolf, with a strong last 10k as he runs through the carnage.

5 - The half debut of Matt McNeil. This kid has a ton of talent, he didn't get much love on the boards last year going into CIS but he certainly showed he deserved to be in the conversation with the big boys. I could seriously she him running 5 minute miles the whole way and looking smooth doing it. Watch out for this one, it's going to be fast!

Is Running like Religion?

That's a weird way to phrase it, but after reading Michael Rochus's last two articles and listening to more Joe Rogan podcasts then I care to admit, I've been doing some serious thinking about this. As it stands, there doesn't seem to be the same numbers going to church every Sunday like you would see say 50 years ago. Now, I'm not a super spiritual person. I've read the Bible, and I believe the scriptures but I don't see the need or point for that matter of going to church one hour a week and claiming that religion. A building is just that, a building. One's faith is different, it's something that's yours and you don't have to show up somewhere or be seen attending a mass to believe what you believe. If you truly have faith, then your a living testimony to your beliefs, you don't have to tell anyone anything, they will see what you believe through the way you live and that's simply enough.

So with that said, I feel like people in general like the feeling of belonging, and church/religion for most people is just that, a sense of belonging to something. What I'm wondering, are sports like running, triathlon, cycling, crossfit starting to attract more people and fill that void that some people are searching for? When you have something that makes you different, and something you share with only other like minded people it gives that sense of belonging and accomplishment. Not to mention that it's improving ones health and you normally participate in these activities with like minded, driven individuals.

This may be just a jumble of thoughts but it's something that I've been thinking about a lot recently. When I'm driving on a Sunday morning and pass a church with a few dozen cars in the parking lot, then 5 minutes later pass a group of 75 runners heading out on their Sunday long run from their local Running Room I can't help but smile and think, how great is it that we can find belonging in a pursuit as simple as running.

Anyway friends, that's all I've got time for this week, I promise I'm going somewhere with that last point about running/religion haha, I assure you I haven't lost my whole mind yet. I'll elaborate more when I spend some more time thinking about it. But yeah, it's off to Scotia, I'll report back next week with great stories, a race recap and some snaps of some beauties getting into shenanigans! :).

Thanks for reading and see you next time

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Chicago Marathon Preview and under 2 weeks out from STWM

Hey folks! How goes it? I'm sure your all training hard, or for some of you the taper crazies are starting to set in! Fear not, it's normal, when you start to overthink things and doubt yourself, look back over your training logs and find confidence in what you've done. Know that you can only hurt yourself by trying to squeeze in more work before your goal race. It's better to get on the line 10% under-trained then 1% over-trained. This is ESPECIALLY true for all you beauties taking on the marathon, get those legs fresh and enjoy the reduced volume. When in doubt, always do less. Anyway, things over here on the east coast are going great. I'm feeling sharp for the first time in a long time, there's pop in my legs and I'm about as lean as I can get without people asking me if I'm doing OK haha. We are in the homestretch of the training for the Scotiabank half. My goals are pretty strait forward. Chop a little over a minute off my time there last year. I'll find a group of guys going after 2:14/15 and roll with them. 5:07-5:10/mile or 3:10-3:12/km. I've done a ton of work in that zone over the last 6-8 weeks so it should feel good. I've got the confidence to know that even if I go out a little hot I can still grind out 3:15/km when I'm tired so it'll be fun. I'll break down the full marathon for STWM 2016 next week. But the half should be pretty solid. Last year I was 4th in 68 minutes and 1 second behind 3rd. I can already tell it'll take a lot faster then that to crack the top 3. Matt McNiel is in unreal shape right now so don't be surprised if he runs 5 minute miles the whole way and goes 65 mid to high. There's also Josh Bolton who's in phenomenal shape and has already gone 67:40 this year so he's looking to go 66. Also in the field is Trevor Zimak who's at least in 68 minute shape himself (Split 70 in his last marathon and routinely splits sub 70's during training). Needless to say the kid here is going to have to dig deep, channel my inner Kipchoge and just grind it out. Regardless of the outcome, I know I've trained incredibly hard and I'll be able to walk away from the race knowing my preparation was excellent. After that It'll be all eyes towards XC nationals in Kingston. So without further rambling I'll look at the Elite Field for this weekends Chicago Marathon.

2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

So, the second of the fall majors is upon us. Full disclosure I was not happy they took out the rabbits from this race. We have NYC for a tactical fall marathon and Boston in the spring. Chicago was way more exciting when you had E. Mutai and Kimetto both going sub 2:04 in an epic battle in comparison to a sluggish race like last year. But I guess they want to save some money and make it so more Americans can be competitive until the last move is made (Like Puskedra last year in it all the way until 40k).

With that said, looking at the men's start list and what the major players have done this year I expect we will see a mid to high 2:08 race with a strong move coming around 35k. There are 4 major studs in the field and 3 of them have run fast marathons before. Dickson Chumba should be considered the favorite going into this followed by the always consistent Tsegaye Kebede, now Kebede hasn't really shown the magic as of late but this guy has run about as many sub 2:10 marathons single handedly as every american ever combined. He's a beast over 26.2 so look for him to wait it out, hope for a couple people to expose themselves early and then close hard. Then you have veteran Abel Kirui, 2012 Olympic silver medalist coached by the famed Canova. He really hadn't done a whole lot since 2012 until this year where he came back with a solid 2:08 in Tokyo as well as a decent 46 minute 10 miler. If he's found his 2012 form he can be in the mix for sure. The last big guy I'd keep an eye out for is Micha Kogo, this is a guy who really hasn't figured out the marathon yet. He's run 2:06 on Chicago before but he's a complete stud over the shorter stuff. The guy has broken 27 minutes on the road for 10k. Run 26:35 for 10000m and 59 flat for 13.1. He's been average this year running 62 minutes at the always fast RAK half marathon and 2:08 flat in Paris. If he knocks one out of the park he could win the race, or he could blow up and go over 2:10. He's hard to judge but has all the tools to win. 

Now, the one X-Factor is the debut of former Arizona state standout and sub 27 minute man Stephen Sambu. This guy is an assassin on the roads. He trains with Coach James Li in Arizona with the likes of Lalang, Lagat, Chelanga, Abdi et al. Since going pro he's been utterly dominant on the roads from 5k to the half marathon so there's no reason to suspect he won't excel over 26.2, he may be the guy to put your money on.  

As for the American field, Luke Puskedra should lead the way here, if the pace up front is fast enough he could very well dip under 2:10. Elkanah Kibet is another guy who sort of came out of nowhere last year and dropped a 2:11 mid so he may also threaten that 2:10 mark. The last american of note is Diego Estrada. He's definitively got the talent to run well over the marathon but I don't like this sub 2:10 talk when he's yet to finish one. his half PB is impressive but I hope he runs smart and knocks out a 2:12 or so and then really gets after his next one.

As for the women's marathon, it's much more of a 1 women race. Originally I saw both Edna and Florence Kiplagat on the start list but it appears Edna has withdrawn. So the safe bet is on Florence she's far and away the best in this race. She's run 2:23 this year, (Has a 2:19 PR) and dropped a ridiculous 65:09 half marathon last year. She's going to take the win here but if she falters look for Kipketer or Baysa to contend as well.

The women's American field isn't very strong as the marathon event in general in the US is very top heavy. You've got about 5 girls who can consistently break 2:30 by a strong margin then a whole crew of 2:30-2:35ers. I suspect Serena Burla will come out on top as first american in about 2:30-33.

My week in training.

Monday - 92' with 4X15" strides

Tuesday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Wednesday - 64' with 12X200m worked down from 32" off 90" rest.

Thursday - 77' Farlek on the trails 15X1'/1' @ 5:00/5:30 a mile continuous. (Hard on trails)

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Sunday - 120' Long Run with 4X15' mid run @ 5:15/mile on the hilly Blvd Loop 

So that's another one in the books, we started taking my volume down a bit to freshen the legs for Scotia. Before I get out of here, if anyone hasn't read my boy Micheal Rochus's piece on the homepage go give it a read (Junk Miles). It's important our sport starts to attract more casual fans and he's got some ideas that can really work. Give it a read!

Until next time keep those sticks on the ice guys, and go jays!