This one will be short. Why? Because for the first time in my adult life, I don't have much to say. I've typecast myself as a writer of long, illustrious posts in the past while. This one will unfortunately not live up to expectations. Most of my ramblings have been locked away in another writing project on which I am currently working, and it has got me excited! More on this in a few months. This post will only answer the Maine questions.
In contrast to the summer of 2015 that saw me flirt with the local road racing circuit a bit more than I should have, the summer of 2016 was rather uneventful. Following a semi-breakout block in which I focused on the 1500m, the main goal was simply to load up the legs with mileage. I did that in July, but it has been a different story since then. Strep throat, ghost shin pains, and annoying cases of peroneal/achilles tendinitises (tendonii?) took the fun away from my supposed favourite time of the year, XC prep. Luckily, for the last 7 days, I have been running well and healthy. Since I have little to no recent interesting and concrete stories to share this time, I will share pieces of my mindset entering this fourth and final year with the X-men.
Q- Am I fit?
A- I'm not unfit. I've been fitter. Maybe this is good.
Do I think I am in the best shape of my life? Maybe not quite, but I am close. The amount of workouts (or lack thereof) I had to do to feel close to the top of my game excites me. I think there is a lot of room for growth if all goes well. I find solace in the fact that I at least should avoid burnout. I have peaked early a few times in the past, so perhaps a late start is a blessing in disguise.
Q - How does the team look?
A - Promising
As a predominantly senior team, we know what makes each other tick. Pushing each other in workouts has become second nature, and I count this as a huge advantage. But, as every seasoned XC runner knows, a good team on paper is not everything. Consistency and durability dominates our sport, and the real questions will only be answered in two months. For now, we have one race result under our belt, and things look fine.
Q - Do I want to win the individual AUS gold medal?
So do, like, all my friggin roommates. So does God knows who in the conference. The individual battle will add some spice to the season, having no clear and away favourite picked out just yet. The good thing about cross country is the following: by wanting to outdo each other, we will only get fitter, and this benefits the team. So, at a time, I want to be as fit as I can to hand a whooping to the best versions of Neuffer, Scott, Cal, and friends, but also to assure that these guys are on the strongest team possible. I'll be damned if they don't think the same way. It is also worth mentioning that after running with the same guys for 3 years, I have become comfortable losing to them in knowing the extent of the effort they put into the sport. There is no hiding that we are all competitive guys, but we have learned to use that trait to our advantage over the years. The overarching goal is the success of our team, and we are all fully invested in this purpose. With this special group, it's now or never.
Oh yeah, last thing. This is my message to all the Trackie trolls out there. If you have enough time to post repetitive and foolish predictions on that website, I imagine you take the time out of your day to read this blog too. Here are the real predictions.
Dark horse: Josh Shanks
Dark horse II: Lee McCarron
Dark horse III: Connor McGuire
Best name: Addison Derhak
Best hair: Jake Wing
Father time (Riley Johnston memorial): Jeremie Pellerin/Scott Donald
Voice of the conference: Jonathan Peverill
Biggest hype men: The entire Memorial Men's cross country team
Best Angus: Angus MacIntosh
Fishbowl friend award: Will Russell
Rookie of the year: Who knows, they're rookies. They're all stupid! I may have been the dumbest one of all and I turned out ok!
And please will you all stop throwing Graeme Wach under the bus. He's a decent guy who does not deserve this kind of treatment. Looking at you, "AUS scout."
Wishing you all a long and healthy season,