Brenda Chisholm looked me in the eyes five minutes before the gun. "Be gutsy, Alex" is what she told me. I did not take that comment lightly. That's a woman who has kept Bernie in line for 40 (?) plus years. That's a woman who has seen things. That's a woman with whom you do not disagree. So I listened. I marched my way to the start line, and ran into Scotty. "Cyr, we're bunched up here. I don't want to get boxed in. I'm expecting you to go out hard, faster than the guys next to us." "Ok Scott, got it." I thought to myself, "hey I have pretty good leg speed. Not too many of these guys can beat me over 1500m. I should be able to get off the line faster than whoever is there if I really try. Unless it's like, Corey Bellemore. That would really suck. Nah, what are the odds? I'll be fine." I then check to see who is lining up to my right. Oh sweet, it's Corey Bellemore. (Spoiler: I did win the footrace off the line. He soon passed me. Didn't see him again until that night in one of Chuck's AP busses. He's pretty nice.)
Soon after, we were off. 500m into the race, I was sitting in fifth place. Away from danger, but much higher up than I would eventually finish, and I was aware of this. The individual leading the race was a man who was quoted saying "if you go out in front of Yves, Bellemore and Tree, you're an idiot." That man was Cal DeWolfe. He was jacked up on caffeine and adrenaline, as we all were. He soon settled in a few places behind me. I was told I was in 25th for the first lap. Feeling great, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up the pace. During the next two laps, I was a man on a mission, targeting runner after runner and picking them off. With one lap to go, I was 17th. I'll interject for those who are not familiar with the CIS scene: 170 runners toe the line. 14th is All-Canadian. My placing last year was 39. For my standards, I was in a good place.
Then, it came. Like a hot flash, a wave of lactate consumed my legs. I was quickly passed by runners who had better gaged their effort levels. Rome, Ullman, Racine, Cal, Seneca and company paraded by me and my failing running stride. I was cooked, and crossed the line in 31st. I retreated to my parents' car and sat down for a solid hour, replenishing my debt in oxygen. Never had I pushed so hard in a race. Big shout to Therapist Laura for bringing me back to life.
|Snapchat credit - Cullen MacInnis|
What do I think about this? I don't know. Cal and I talked about how people's interpretations on XC seasons are often skewed because of the overemphasis placed on CIS. I don't want to fall in that trap and quantify my season using one race results, one number. 31. By this logic, last year would then be quantified by last year's placing, 39. In a full year of consistent training, have I only improved by eight places? No way! In some ways, I believe I have made great jumps in the last calendar year. My 1500m time has improved. My AUS race was a good one. I ran workouts faster than I ever have before during this season. So, to limit my self-evaluation to one event, one race, is selling myself short. A high CIS finish is sexy as all heck, but it is not the only way to define a season. Even if it was the only way, no ragrets.
I've been joking with the guys lately by telling them that as soon as I cross that CIS finish line (and it's still CIS by the way) I will demand to be called "Alex Cyr, The Miler." I want to spend some time going down in distance to focus on the 1500m. If all goes well, I hope to ride this wave until the summer, and see if I can improve my 800-1500-3000 times. It's just a fun experiment, but one that I am motivated for. Gonna seek out some pointers from Willy Russ and ViJake; the Centros of the east. For now, I am taking a bit of time to recuperate before the indoor season. My main goal is to stay healthy so that I can have a fun last season in the blue and white.
I intend on reflecting more about this in an upcoming post, so I will not eternalize myself. I realize that I am reaching a transitional period in my running. My time at X is soon over. I plan on pursuing my education and training at a new destination, and where that is, I am still unsure. More on this in a few months. For now, an understanding of whatsoever situation I find myself in is enough. I realize that my undergraduate career is over. I am no longer "expected" to run. To me, this means that running no longer symbolizes a compliment to my schooling, but rather an adult commitment. To decide that I will continue to train seriously is to consciously understand what that entails. Eating better, sleeping more, avoiding negative distractions, etc.
At 21 years old, I can only rationalize a continuation in my training if this means a continuation in the betterment of my lifestyle. The second I notice myself going backwards in my commitment level will be the time I retire from competitive running. For now, my decision is to continue seeking improvement. I want to try taking it to a new commitment level; one I have not yet reached. I am still enjoying the process, so I may as well dig deeper.
Ok, wasn't going to do these in fear of getting repetitive. But, I heard from a few that they were well received, so let's go at it once more.
Shoutout to Callum Drever for replacing Matt McNeil for best D-floor presence in the AUS.
Shoutout to Addison Derhak for being runner up in this category for his antics with dance floor poles.
Shoutout to Daniel Maguire and Angus MacIntosh, the merciless haunters of new Facebook friendships.
Shoutout to Cal for getting into Dal law and becoming dead to all of us.
Shoutout to Rome for bringing Castaway's Tom Hanks back to life.
Shoutout to Michaela Walker for magically becoming a cross girl
Shoutout to Nick MacMackin aka The Kitty Cat #353in16 #9Lives
Shoutout to John Peverill for bringing the slicked back wide blonde gel-stricken mohawk back in style (or in style for the first time I guess)
Shoutout to G. Hathaway and his boys for great hospitality on XC Nats weekend. Still learning how to #PullAGavin
Shoutout to Gary and the boys at Sunset and Randolph for a great time in the City of Roses
Shoutout to Andrew Peverill for confirming he's coming to X next year (disclaimer: no verbal commitment yet, but he said it with his eyes I think)
Shoutout to Les Boys for capturing the elusive gold on home course. Knew it was just a matter of time before the french prevailed on Les Plaines.
Shoutout to my boys - DBC, Naughty, Ostrich, Fabio, Beef-Goose, Frisky, Silk and Boutine. A memorable year with a rough ending.
Shoutout to our massive cheer squad. I'm sure no other school coming from that far out had quite the support staff that we did. Having you guys spread out on the course made that last loop slightly more tolerable.
Shoutout to Manu #LeSauveteurDuSoir
Shoutout to Taylor Milne, an ageless wonder.
|Start line at CIS|
|AUS All-Stars (Missing from photo: Lee Wesselius)|
|Coaches can get krabby before race day|
|My bosses at the St.FX Wellness Centre, Joe and Gerry. They grew out their facial hair in support of the XC team! This photo is only 2 weeks in, you should see them now!|
|Our PEISAA crew|
|The Frenchmen ft. Liz|
PS - DJ Scotty D and I had prepared a little pump up jam leading into the race. Turns out, our rapping ability is only good for a 10th place finish..
À la prochaine,