Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here, There And Everywhere

My apologies, it’s been a while since I last ventured into the world of online blogging. I’m sure all my faithful readers have been on the edge of their seats for weeks now, waiting for an update…Well, here it is!

I’m not really sure where to begin. There’s been a lot that’s happened in the last little while and I can’t even remember what I wrote about last! Ha. Quin just reminded me that our Sushi meal was in the last one. I guess that puts me back on the West Coast…

My second race out there wasn’t as good as the first one, but still my 2nd best of the season. 3:45.90. Along with a solid first race, it was also great to see many familiar faces. We had a bunch of Penn Staters make the trip, with fellow Nittany Lions Ryan Foster, Cas Loxsom and Fawn Dorr all competing. As well Lisa Hopey who made the trip up to spectate with Mel!

The Toronto International Track and Field Games were up next, so I hopped on a plane to Toronto where I was able to spend about 10 days at home; my first time back since March. I had another mediocre performance at Toronto finishing 7th in a time of 3:44.53. The results are still moving consistently in the right direction, but they’re still frustrating as well. The times are just not up to the level that I expect of myself. This was the final meet in the National Track League (NTL) which saw 10 different event Champions crowned. I thought it was a great idea and definitely hope that it continues in the future…If things such as running clocks, announcers giving splits/projected times, music, small entertainment between events, and a beer garden could be added to all the meets, then we’d really have something!!

Off to the Nations Capital. The Athletics Ontario Championships were held July 16-17 and I decided to delay my trip to Europe by a couple of days in order to compete. The 1500m was on Saturday, followed by the 800m on Sunday. The weather was scorching hot with temperatures reaching (without the humidity) 34/94 and 37/99 degrees, respectively, when I raced in the early afternoon each day. The 1500m on Saturday went well. I sat in second place for most of the race and had a strong last 100m to claim the victory. The 800m went much the same way. I ran the first 700m in second place before swinging wide in the home straight and powering home to another “W”. It had been far too long since my last win on the track and it felt really good to do it again. It also gave me some renewed confidence and an entirely new mindset in approaching the upcoming races.

I went straight to the airport in Ottawa after the meet and flew across the pond to Brussels after a connection in Frankfurt. I took the train up to a little town called Kamen-Methler where I settled in with the rest of our group that was already there. Tuesday consisted of a couple of easy 20 minutes runs to help shake off the travel. I think I found out Wednesday, that I would be heading to Manchester to race the Trafford Grand Prix, part of the British Milers Club(BMC) series. So, I had to book another flight and jump back on the train/plane Friday to head over to England; you know: Fish, chips, cup o’ tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary Freakin poppins… I was traveling with Lemlem and Ellerton and we decided we’d rent a car in Leeds/Bradford instead of taking the train. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I’ve never been a passenger on the wrong side of the road, let alone driven there. Getting used to being on the left hand side, as well as shifting with my left hand, took some getting used to. I also found myself looking up and out the window for the rear view mirror on several occasions. We had written down some directions off the computer and somehow managed the 70 minute trip each way without one wrong turn. Somewhat of a miracle; and I only almost killed us twice.

I was racing an 800m in Manchester and I wasn’t sure what to expect with all the travel and being my first race off the plane. When all was said and done, I had another first place finish and a new PB of 1:48.73! Definitely feels good to win again…Even if it was the “B” race. I led from about 250m to go, so there’s still more in the tank! Hopefully, I can keep this win streak rolling…

The day following the race, Ellerton and I got in an easy 50 minutes before heading off for some Manchester sight seeing. I was pretty pumped to be able to head up United Road to Old Trafford for a first hand view of the Theatre of Dreams...Then we drove into central Manchester to take in the sights and sounds of the city. After walking around the city, taking some pictures, watching a fight and some little kids get smoked by the water fountains we settled in at an old English pub for some dinner. I figured I had to try Ye Olde Fish ‘n Chips with some local cask ale. It hit the spot.
Here’s a few pictures form our journey along with my race video:

I’m back in Germany for a couple of days before heading to Belgium for a 1500m on Saturday night!
Until next time, Cheers mate!

    - Linc

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Walk Like A Champion

Alright, so writing this thing is a bit harder than I thought it would be amidst all this traveling around. You’d think there would be all this time, but it just seems to disappear…probably because I just sit here reading about sports; accumulating a bunch of completely useless, arbitrary sports knowledge and stats that aren’t actually very good for anything; except maybe wasting brain space…

On to the Finals at Nationals.
I’m not really sure what to say about it, other than I’m disappointed. 8th place really isn’t where I wanted to be when I crossed the line. I was up at the front and allowed myself to get swallowed up and spit out the back of the pack in last place. I should know better than that by now. The pace was slow, which is what I wanted, considering my lack of fitness at the moment. The problem with a slow pace is that if you’re not towards the front when the kick starts, you just won’t make up enough ground on the people in front of you at this level.
I’m frustrated with myself for allowing that to happen, but I guess it can partially be attributed to my serious lack of racing over the past 2 years. It takes some getting used to again. It’s no real consolation, but if you told me in mid-January that I’d finish 8th place at Nationals in 5 months time, I don’t think I would have believed it (considering where I was coming from)!
There are no real excuses for the way I ran, but I have to try and find the positives for now and hope to build on them moving forward.

We left Nationals Sunday morning and arrived in what seems to be a permanently overcast Vancouver. Nate, Ellerton, Quin and I settled in at the Hilton (yeah, that’s how we roll) for 5 days to get ready for Harry Jerome. It was a pretty quiet week where many hours were spent in restaurants and the hotel lobby for wifi(which was awful). Quin and I decided to try an all you can eat sushi place on Tuesday night. We went to town. There is no doubt they lost money on us. It will be difficult to accurately recap the enormous amount and vast array of fish and rice that we consumed. But, I’ll give it a try:
Miso soup, Gomae salad(x2), beef tataki, spicy tuna sashimi, tobiko sushi(flying fish roe), spicy tuna cone, yam tempura roll, California roll, spicy tuna roll, beef teriyaki roll, dynamite roll(w/ shrimp tempura), chopped scallop roll, BBQ Eel roll, Alaska roll, House roll(x2), gold sand roll, beef teriyaki, deep fried scallops(x2), Gyoza, BBQ short ribs, chicken skewer, breaded lemon chicken, Octopus w/garlic & butter, Salmon tempura, white yam tempura, and topped off with some mango pudding for dessert.
The High Points: Salmon Tempura, House roll
The Low points: The Octopus, Flying fish roe
A very satisfying meal.

The Harry Jerome 1500m was Friday night and I was hoping for a much better result than my previous encounters with this distance thus far in the season. It didn’t disappoint. My confidence has been a bit MIA lately, so I again found myself at the back of the pack. The pace was meant to be fast, so I was content with being there for the first couple of laps. I came through in about 59, 1:58 and then finished with a 3:42.21. Over a 5 second seasonal best. I’ll take it. It’s a Big step in the right direction and goes a long way towards restoring that ever so important confidence required when toeing the line. Next time I’m there, my mind will be in a much different state. Its time to start racing.

Victoria is on Sunday and I’ll be running a 15 again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to comeback off short rest to knock a few more ticks off my time.
Giddy Up!

   - Linc
p.s. Huge shout out to Ellerton for busting a 1:45.04 on Friday night!! A well deserved A standard and World Championships qualifier. “Very Nice”