I've recently rediscovered the dog days of summer. Hot day after hot day, sweaty run after sweaty run. Running shirtless in my short shorts and my fake-oakley-douche-glasses have become a routine. (About those, I'm sorry if they radiate bad vibes. They're just the glasses that best fit my small head. No, to compliment them I do not cover myself in axe body spray nor do I wear tight V-necks very often). Since my last year of running felt like it was directed by Lemony Snickett, this newfound consistency feels new to me. I have realized that I have fallen into the much sought-after groove of summer. Skin gets darker, times get better, you become lighter and confidence is higher. And for me, my red blood count slowly gets better.
For you medical junkies, when I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, my hemoglobin levels were at 77micro g/micro l. After recently getting tested, I am up to 112 micro g/micro l. The optimal levels for a runner being 140 to 180, I still have a way to go, but the improvement is there, and the times have already been dropping considerably. Since running 18:47 for a pitiful 5k in earlyJune, I've been feeling progressively better, and I'm anxious to see where this treatment along with smart training will take me.
Yesterday I hit up the Cox and Palmer 5 and 10k in Charlottetown. Getting to the race, I felt good, but something was telling me that bad luck was on its way. First, I broke my complimentary porcelain mug within minutes of signing up by clumsily dropping it on the ground. Then, I tripped over a black cat coming out of an alley during my warmup. Being a non-superstitious guy, I didn't affect me much, except that Superstition by Stevie Wonder had gotten stuck in my head, and I still catch myself subconsciously humming it. Anyway, as the race gets going, I settle in the front with a few guys. By 2km, I had build a small lead, and was running alone. When I hit a point of the road blocked by cones and a big white truck, I turned. I built my lead from there and won pretty confortably in a humble time of 14:11. Wait, what? I know I've been feeling better, but I'm no allstar Lee Wesselius or Mike Tate just yet. Turns out I had missed the turn around and only had run 4.4k. Worst of it is that I dragged a few people with me and many people ended up making the same mistake. So, lesson of the day: Road racing is a lot like American politics; if you don't know where you're going, don't lead.
Turns out my luck wasn't so bad after all. The head of chip timing, Miguel, graciously extrapolated the times over 5k. It was by no means anyone else's fault but mine, and not to mention the big truck driver's (who actually had nothing to do with the race, just a guy chilling on the boardwalk with his hemi) so I felt bad for the mixup. There were people waiting for us at the turnaround, but because we had never actually gotten there, they simply hadn't seen us. Disregarding that little mishap, the race was very well put up. R2R is always reliable when it comes to chip timing and organisation, and I will definitely keep hitting up their events as much as I can in the future. Also, I had never seen so many door prizes at a single race. There must have been near 50. However, my luck again didn't shine through. My '5k' time was calculated and marked down as a 16:45, which I am pretty excited about. Still a minute off my personal best, but if things keep going like this, I see it going down pretty soon. A feat that will be easier to conquer with my new battle equipment curteousy of Cox and Palmer and Hasheems variety!
|Asics Gel Hyperspeeds (left) and Asics Gel Nimbus (right)|
Now, it's time to put racing on hold for a bit and focus on next week. I am lucky enough to have been selected as a coach for team PEI at the Francophone games in Gatineau from July 22-28th (missed the athlete age cutoff my a mere 8 months). Since I was competing in the games the last time around, the week might prove itself to be pretty nostalgic. I am very excited for this opportunity, because PEI is sending an athletics team like never before. We have an amazing group, and a Francophone Games post will definitely be in the making next week. For now, enjoy this little clip. Our relay team for the games ran a 4x100 at the PEI Champs. I had to fill in for one guy who couldn't make it. I'm not sure if they'll want to admit that they ran a PB with a distance runner occupying the second leg, but I was fired up about it. Even won my first and probably last sprinting ribbon. Video creds go to JFC head coach Nathan Comeau, and constructive criticism creds go to Ryan O'Regan complaining about my passing.
So that's what the groove of summer has gotten me up to. I noticed that many runners are dealing with frustrating injuries, so for those of you who are reading and who can't enjoy summer to its fullest extent because of stress fractures, ACL repairs, sesamoiditis, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, knee bursitis, Darius Kasparaitis and etc., I wish you a speedy recovery, and I assure you that not only does it get better, but it gets twice as enjoyable.
P.S. - I'm hoping to see a few X-men and women in the nation's capital next week, as I've already been talking to a few. Maybe get out for a run and get fired up for next year together!