My Timex race training climaxed on Wed. All us Antiques who are running nationals gathered at the SMU track and laid down a big effort: 20x400m with 30s rests. It was awesome. We all took our time dicking around before the workout – one more drill, one more strider, one more useless stretch – in an effort to delay the pain. But once we crossed the start line for the first time, it was all about the mission. I was running with three other dudes, and we switched the lead each time and worked as a unit, encouraging each other and getting through it as a team. We hit all 20 reps between 78s-81s and then finished fast – 73s for me. After the workout, I was glowing. It restored a bit of self-confidence that had drained away after a disappointing performance in the Rum Runners Relay. Now all the hard stuff is in the bank – all I have to do is run easy for a week and then collect the dividends on race day.
So Sexy Hot Swiss Miss (your girl’s a doctor now!!!!), where indeed has my ambivalence led me? Well, I didn’t get off the pot. My mileage over the past four weeks has been pretty good: 80k, 96k, 82k, 62k (step-back week), and this week will be over 80k. That’s far from superhero mileage, but it’s okay for a 10k. My workouts have been going well for the most part, although I’m worried by the fact that I haven’t done well at my longer threshold runs – I hope it’s just tired legs. I’ve also dropped a few pounds to get down to a better racing weight. So I’d say that I’ve committed to running a PB at the Zoo. I’m not fit enough for a sub-34, but the sub-35 is a real possibility. I still haven’t totally conquered my ambivalence, but I’ve made some peace with it – and I’m already looking forward to a great season next year.
I’m realizing more and more, though, that a big part of my running these days is about the people I’m running with and not just the pursuit of times. I’m astonished at how great a group of people I’ve found gathered around Cliff. After those gruelling 400s, we all went for burgers and beer, and it was such a joy just hanging out with these folks. Part of it was to celebrate a special accomplishment: one of the Antiques (and my closest running bud) not only published his first book of short stories in Sept but also got shortlisted for the Giller Prize. You can guess who it was – he’s the only guy of the five who has a story about running! But mainly we got together because we’re all bound by some inner harmonic that has led us to Cliff and each other. Maybe that’s overdramatizing it a bit, but it seems to me that there is a kind of life rhythm that we all share, and we’re driven to move in similar ways – around and around the track.
So in a week, I will fly to Toronto with the rest of Team Nova Scotia, propelled by all the dollar donations people made to the Timex Team through the Timex raffle and other fundraising efforts. I’m mindful of and grateful to all the volunteers who helped collect the cash, so I want to represent them well by running my best. I’ve put time and sweat and discomfort into this; I’m ready to roll – and chase a few gazelles while I’m at it. I’m also ready for the post-race festivities and to uphold Nova Scotia’s reputation as the best friggin party province in the country. I’ll drink not for myself, but for all bluenosers!