Is there a better sound than snow melting off your roof and the water dripping down? A better feeling than the first 12 degree day with sunshine and a warm breeze on your face? A better taste than spring in the air. We’ve nearly made it through another long Canadian winter and you can’t help but feel a sense of optimism knowing that spring is just around the corner.
Most years, usually around the end of February, I become conscious about running and of the sense of being nearly at the end of the winter. There have been a few years when I’ve trained very well indoors and it has set the tone for the outdoor season which is of course our main focus, and this year has been one of those years. I was fortunate to be healthy throughout the winter and we were able to remain very consistent with training. Josh and I raced four times together, running three 1500′s and one 3000 metre race at competitions here in Ottawa. We ran 4:11 in two early races and then hit a 4:08 in February, which got us to within a second of my 1500 metre personal best of 4:07 which Greg and I ran together outdoors in 2007. We had a chance also in February to spend a week training in Miramar, FL where the visually impaired 4 x 100m relay team where holding a relay camp. Our time in Florida probably did a lot for my fitness as all we did basically was train hard, eat and sleep. Then two Saturdays ago Josh and I ran 8:51.69 for 3000m here at the Dome. This represented a big 17-second personal best for me. We went into this race hoping to break 9 minutes – I haven’t raced many 3000′s so we felt that 9:00 would have been solid. We found ourselves in there with a few high schoolers and college runners and just hung on basically and came away with third in the race. Obviously we were super pleased with how it went. It made me realize that really we are capable of more than we might know, even now. This is exciting.
What are the things that have enabled us to have success over the winter? I believe it has to do with consistent workouts where we’ve basically hit the prescribed pace every time, taking recovery days as truly easy days, great coaching, and the growing belief that I can handle any workout that Ian throws at us. And there have been some doozies! One we have done twice now involves repetitions of 2400 metres. We run the first kilometre as tempo and then continue right into a kilometre at 3 to 5 km pace, and hit the final 400m aiming for 1500m pace. We do three of these with lots of rest in between. Getting my mind around this workout has been as much a test for me as the physical effort itself.
Its a busy time at work right now as we are approaching our year-end, and also the end of the All Abilities Welcome project to promote inclusive community recreation which I’ve been working on over the past four years. After March 31 there are some questionmarks in terms of our funding at ALA. We’re hopeful that we’ll get some good news on one of the grant submissions we currently have out there. April is going to be a busy month too. Josh and I along with Stuart, Noella and Cody from our national team and my coach Ian are heading to Arizona where we’ll be training with a group coached by Wynn Gmitroski who coached 800m Canadian record holder Gary Reid previously. Josh and I are going to try to get the 1500m elite standard at a meet in Tempe, Az on April 7. From there we’re heading out to California where we’ll compete at Mount Sac on Apr 19-21. Josh and I are going to race a 5000m here.
Finally, as some of you might know I’m one of the subjects of a lawsuit involving a group run in the winter of 2010. I wrote about this recently on the Athletes First blog (www.athletesfirst.ca), recounting what took place. The direct link to the post is