Sunday, 22 November 2015

XC2015 - The Aftermath

8 days have passed
2lbs have been gained
60 perceived lbs have been gained
1 cold has been caught
About 20 blurry pictures have been deleted off my phone.

Yeah, I guess this is what we call the fallout. The hangover that follows the cross country season is dire. I can't say I've experienced it before, as this is in fact the first season I finish (or conquer, really). I am having trouble pinpointing my emotions when I reflect on my season, and maybe this is why the descent back to reality has yet to happen, and why my current chocolate covered almond consumption would put Graeme Wach to shame (this is probably untrue).

As you may have inferred, 8 days marks the time between the present and the CIS championship. It isn't much, but it was enough time for me to reflect on many components of the season. It has been said that eventual perceived outcome is 10% circumstantial and 90% reactional. With respect to this, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to interpret this season as a whole. Now that the spikes have been put to rest, I can choose to focus on the positives, or to dwell on the negatives. In my own mind, neither approach does my season justice. I recognize that I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, but I also realize I need to familiarize myself with the mistakes I have committed in training. This post helps me critically evaluate my training plan, and I believe this is instrumental, as failure to do so can be costly.

This post is also a way of reminding myself why I love what I am doing. When running becomes forced upon rather than sought after, it becomes harder to romanticize. To lose sight of the simplicity of the sport in the over-glorifying lights of the CIS is inevitable at this time of year. Coupled with a tireless class schedule, the fall is a recipe for disaster. Healthy bodies showing promise in all of September crumble under physical and mental strain, and even thinking becomes laborious. So, to finally gain perspective by sitting back and reflecting on what exactly happened, in a sense, is therapeutic.

However, for now, focusing on lighter aspects seems timely. At CIS, I've had the pleasure of meeting many fellow runners who told me they followed my posts. Now that I have concrete evidence that this blog has real readers other than my mom and sometimes Cal and Neuffer, I will try to include something for everyone. So, in no particular order, I present to you my season from a few different angles. Feel free to jump around.

The 2015 Cross Country Season in pictures

2015 AUS-RSEQ Interlocking meet

2015 RSEQ Interlocking meet All-Star team
Moncton Invitational

Moncton Invitational 
Front row (Left to right) - Jeremie Pellerin, Jeremie Pellerin, Jeremie Pellerin

2015 AUS Championship

AUS Banquet - Community Service award winners - Ft. Father Stan
AUS All-Stars #833in14
We abducted a new Xman in Laval in BuddyBuss
Dropping beats with DJ Scotty D
Xmen and Xwomen 2015-2016

CIS 2015
CIS AP 2015

CIS AP 2015

The 2015 Cross Country Season in Results:

September 26th - StFX Invitational 8k - 6th - 27:11 - 
October 3rd - RSEQ-AUS Interlocking meet 8k- 6th - 25:40 - 
October 17th - Classique Universite de Moncton 8k - 2nd - 26:04
October 31st - AUS Championships 10k - 4th - 32:21
November 14th - CIS Championships 10k - 39th - 31:43

The 2015 Cross Country Season in Pros and Cons

Pro: I sidestepped the StFX XC Mononucleosis scare of 2015
Con: I did not sidestep whatever weird virus Paul MacLellan picked up from a local Dairy Queen Boutine.

Pro: I was healthy in time to participate in the StFX invitational in which we drew straws to determine the order of finishers.
Con: I only picked straw #6

Pro: Our XC rec hockey team is above .500
Con: I forgot how to dangle and snipe, and consequently, I cannot celly.

Pro: I saw Oldster making it rain dollar bills. 
Con: I did not make a bet with him.

Pro: I made a rap. 
Con: I am not a rapper.

Pro: I went on a run with Lee McCarron once this year.
Con: I twisted my ankle.

Pro: 3 out of the 5 Greening Boys made it to the AUS/CIS start line.
Con: May Stuart MacPherson's ITB and Alex Neuffer's shinbones rest in pieces.

Pro: I found my shade of Just for Men (medium-dark brown)
Con: My facial hair game still heavily relies on Just for Men. 

Pro: I made an appearance on JDM's prestigious twitter page.
Con: I did not make the cut for Muchachos and Mustachios.

Pro: I got my picture taken with Taylor Milne.
Con: I got my picture taken with Taylor Milne.

The 2015 Cross Country Season in Shoutouts

Shoutout to the boys from Calgary for finally getting my name right. Hope you all fed Rome some Gatorade on Sunday.

Shoutout to Les Boys à Laval for a strong showing across the board. Vous nous avez démontrés comment vous roulez toujours!

Shoutout to Alex Bussières for being our tour guide in Laval, and for practicing his english.

Shoutout to Jake Wing for getting his own version of Hotline Bling stuck in my head.

Shoutout to David Freake for the quality coverage of the CIS on here -

Shoutout to JDM, the modern-day CIS Hype Machine.

Shoutout to Matt McNeil and Alex Wilkie. Cause sheesh.

Shoutout to Angus MacIntosh for almost mastering The Pain Face.

Shoutout to Matt Noseworthy - fastest hair growth in the CIS.

Shoutout to Jeremie Pellerin - Best accessories in the AUS (power pants, sunglasses, wool hats, terminator arms. etc.)

Shoutout to Pierre Dumouchel and Blair Morgan for hanging on after an AP FFTF.

Shoutout to the boys of UPEI in their inaugural season. Big things to come for the boys in green!

Shoutout to DJ Scotty D, DJ O'Regan and to Raymond and all our other faithful callers.

Shoutout to Graeme Wach and whoever runs the Graeme Wach instagram account. Well done.

Shoutout to the Boys at 18 Greening for a good house showing and for all being dusters at NHL 16

Shoutout to coaches Bernie and Kevin and manager Brenda for all their help along the way.

Shoutout to all the X boys and girls for another great year together.

Shoutout to Taylor Milne.

The 2015 Cross Country Season in Analysis:

Ok, this is where you stop reading if you aren't about the training talk. I am still trying to decide whether I finished the season on an upswing or on a downswing. The matter is the following: I placed best against my competitors in my first meet of the year, Interlock, coming off two weeks of no running at all. Following that meet, my results were still good, but the edge that I seemed to have on that day was gone, or at least less sharp. This could mean that I had gotten worse, or my competitors had gotten better. Either scenario should be enough to send me thinking about why that is. In my mind, the three indicating questions I must answer in baptizing a training block as good or bad are the following: did I get injured, did I get burnt out, and did I stagnate?

On one hand, I can favourably answer these questions. I ran pretty well to extremely well for my current capabilities from June to mid November. I was able to run all the races I wanted to run without suffering from obvious burnout, and consistently ran PBs . On the other hand, things could have gone better, as technically, I was injured. Since the beginning of September, to suppress a looming stress..uhm.. reaction (trying to avoid the F word), I enrolled in the Lee Wesselius School of Reduced Mileage and Intensity. I averaged just over 60km per week. This is including the two weeks I took completely off. I know for a fact I was never burnt out, simply because I was not running nearly enough. While I can infer that my competitors improved, and by way of this, reject the hypothesis that I went backwards, I still need to figure something out. Why did I not improve with them?

This has become a common theme in the last few seasons for me. I seem to come to fitness quite quickly, only to keep the same level or slightly worsen by the end, rather than nailing a peak. I could hypothesize and question about many things, like the lack of miles in my legs, but I believe my answers will only come with experience. A couple things I want to look at closely include my amount of summer racing, which this time around, was rather substantial. I also intend to change my way of tapering a bit, among other things, but that is mostly for me to figure out by visiting different aspects of training.

Inside these aspects lie the eternal questions that only each individual runner can answer for themselves - to go fast or slow on easy days, to run two or three workouts per week, when to pick it up and when to tone it down, etc. It is very easy to collect theoretical answers, but to choose those that work well with the individual is another dragon to slay. I guess in my case, I have a lot to learn, but I believe I have grasped the most important idea, and that one is to always be flexible, and to always be learning. Being stuck in one's ways is probably the most detrimental approach to training. With this in mind, I will work on different things in order to not only keep the early season edge, but to try and build on it.

Moving forward, a recent hot topic on my mind has been mileage. I am entertaining my own version of bravado, which has nothing to do with bench press, but rather how many miles I could run in a week. The thought of jumping into 100+ mile weeks is enticing, as there is an attractive quality to the idea of training rigorously, and going beyond all that is presently logical inside my 20-year-old runner's body and mind. I'm talking about a lifestyle change that would put everything secondary to running. One of complete dedication, without distraction of any kind. Nothing is more foolproof than simply out-training your competitors, right? (Aside from a plethora of injury and burnout possibilities...). It is tempting to throw rationality out the window and just completely immerse oneself into one's sport. Countering this rather radical idea is the one of balance and patience; the one of slowly increasing everything over years. I believe if this extreme lifestyle is for me, it will find me eventually. For now, a slow gravitation towards it seems like the healthiest option.

So for now, these are the extents of my thoughts in training. The fact that I have become increasingly interested in my next training phase is a good enough indicator for me to put those chocolate-covered almonds away and to reboot. I wish to convert these thoughts into results in February in the land of 167m ovals. I leave you on a high note, or notes, rather.

The 2015 Cross Country Season in Music


1 comment:

  1. That right there is a blog post.......hit all the topics the readers want and then some! Love it! Keep it coming bud, there's more then just Cal, Alex , your mom and I reading these ramblings!

    PS: 100 mile weeks are pretty great if you can do it and stay healthy. The more you run, the more you can handle, it's just about getting there. I wouldn't make the jump right away but over the course of 2 months you could get there.