Monday, August 22, 2011

Leaving On A Jet Plane

This morning, I find myself in yet another airport, Newark this time, as I prepare for what is hopefully my last flight for a while! Finally, back to Toronto.

I actually don’t mind airports, people watching can be quite entertaining sometimes; airports are perfect for that. You don’t often have to look very hard to find someone doing something that will make you laugh…either because of their mannerisms, stupidity or just the sheer bewilderment at what they’re trying to attempt. Or maybe just the way they look. There is plenty to observe.

It’s amusing to watch people try and rush past the line onto the plane, like they need to get on as soon as possible and are more important than everyone else. Really? They’re going to wait for everyone to board anyways; rushing past people onto the plane is not going to move up your departure time. Calm down…Then there’s the wide variety of characters getting off the plane. A couple who are obviously coming back from vacation, a string of people on a business trip, the guy who’s visibly nervous about the big meeting he’s heading to (and not dressed properly for) and the new acquaintances who are awkwardly saying goodbye after talking on the flight for the past hour.

Then there’s the non-stop stream of people constantly parading by you for inspection. Some crying babies in a stroller drooling on themselves, a person on the back of the golf cart who doesn’t actually need a ride, a 300lb dude who should have to buy two seats on the plane, the occasional hot chick, the occasional chick who thinks she’s hot, a family wearing matching souvenir t-shirts from their vacation, an old couple that should be on the golf cart and on and on it goes…

 "Can you come to the airport? I forgot my pants."        Legolas wants his boots back.

People watching is fun.
You know where else is good for people watching? The bars on a Friday or Saturday night when you’re sober and nearly everyone else is drunk. That, is entertaining. But, we’ll leave that for when I’m in season.

- Linc

Friday, August 19, 2011

I've Been Everywhere

I’ve been living out of a suitcase, basically, since May 19th now. It’s a bit strange to have your entire life packed into one bag for that long, but it seems almost normal now…I’m relaxing with Mel in Philadelphia this week before finally heading back home to Toronto on Monday.

Seeing as I’m not running right now, and Mel works all day, I have some free time on my hands (actually, a lot of free time). I’ve looked back at everywhere I’ve traveled these last few months. See if you can follow along!

Scottsdale --> Flagstaff --> Los Angeles --> Philadelphia --> Vancouver --> Phoenix --> Flagstaff --> Calgary --> Vancouver --> Victoria --> Vancouver --> Toronto --> Frankfurt --> Brussels --> Kamen (Germany) --> Leeds --> Manchester --> Bradford --> Kamen --> Turnhout (Belgium) --> London --> Turnhout --> Leuven (Belgium) --> Brussels --> Montreal --> Philadelphia.

Along with a bunch of small stops in between along the way…You might be saying to yourself, “that’s a lot of places, I wonder how many miles that is?” Well, I just happen to have added them all up….I told you, a lotttt of free time on my hands. It was 32,208.7 km or 20,023.6 miles to be exact; enough to get me my “Prestige” status in the Star Alliance for next year. No more bag fees. Sweet.

To go off topic completely, what the hell is with this new trend/fad/craze called “planking”. Honestly, it might be the stupidest thing I have ever seen to actually get given a name. Why is this even recognized as being something real. Here’s a link so that you can check out the absurdity of it for yourself:

While I’m on the subject, I also hate the use of the word epic. Yeah, I said it. It’s annoying and completely overused. Epic should be used to describe something like the ocean (literally epic) or a book such as The Iliad and The Odyssey. Your haircut is not epic, neither was your shot in beer pong, the picture you took, your new shoes, or the fact that you got out of work early on a Friday. Nor was something someone did, an “Epic Fail”. It makes no sense. Fail is a verb, failure is a noun. Fail CAN’T be epic.  It is not epic, to say epic. Please stop saying it.

    - Linc

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine

I almost wrote this Saturday night after hitting up the Beer/Music/Food festival in Leuven after the race. It would have been my first slightly intoxicated entry on here, so I thought that, maybe, I should hold off. Although, it probably would have been a bit more entertaining to read…

The last few races didn’t quite go according to plan. It’s tough to hit some fast times when the weather is such garbage. I think the past 12 days in Belgium has been filled with some form of rain every single day. I’ve never seen a summer so cold and rainy in my life. Basically, the weather has sucked… I knew I was ready for a good race after the pacing job in Oordegem, so I was hoping the meet in Ninove would be the place to do it. The guys were going after the A standard again, so all I’d need to do was hang on for as long as I could. Unfortunately, I was put in the B race and ended up leading through about 1000m. It was also pouring rain and about 14/55 degrees. Other than getting introduced on the line to the Monday Night Football theme song, it was pretty forgettable.

After that, I decided to head off to England again for another 800m in the BMC series. I arrived in the UK on the 9th, amidst all of the rioting; not the best timing for my first trip to London. Luckily, I didn’t get raped or robbed. The 13 year olds were too busy pilfering the shops and fire bombing police cars...I stayed with my roommate from Scottsdale, Darren St. Clair, who showed me how real driving is done on the wrong side of the road. The race itself was mediocre. After a beautiful day, it decided to get cold and windy in the evening (again!). I ended up 3rd with a 1:49.68. Only .27 behind 1:43 man Chepkirwok! Ha. I had agreed on doing some more pace work here, little did I know what I had gotten myself into. After I crossed the line, I spoke to the meet director about my duties and found out that I had 6 minutes recovery before pacing the women’s 800m in 62. I then had 12 minutes recovery before pacing the men’s 1500m in 2:02. Surprisingly, I was bang on. But, the 2:02 hurt more than 1:49. A painful experience, to say the least. I’m not sure it was worth the money!

The race Saturday night in Leuven was the last one of the season. I was excited for another chance to finally run something fast. It was raining all day, but by the time the race rolled around it wasn’t actually too bad. The first 200m was fine, but then it felt like we came to a crawl as I chopped my stride and had to slow up several times over the next 600m. The leaders were through in 2:00 and I was about 2:01. Way too slow. It seems like I have no finish right now, regardless of the pace. So, it would have been much better for me to come through 2-3 seconds faster and just hang on. I don’t think it would have made me close any slower. I ended up 7th, I think, in 3:45.18. The pacing Wednesday night probably didn’t help matters…Oh well, I guess.

And so ends a very frustrating season.

I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off before easing back into things again. Can’t wait to have a proper, healthy fall under me for once! Looking forward to it…

    - Linc

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Field Of Dreams

We were surrounded by farm fields in the middle of nowhere, Belgium. It seemed as if we were driving in the wrong direction. I can’t recall even seeing a sign for Oordegem. We were lost... Then, poking up just beyond the tops of the trees ahead to our left were some light standards. Really? This is where the track is? This is where we’re going to try and run some 3:34’s for 1500m?
It was hard to believe.
The track itself was actually really nice. There was a small stadium, a bar, a short woodchip trail for warm up and a very fast surface.

It reminded me of Field of Dreams.

The temperature was perfect and it was dead calm. Other than a couple of random raindrops, you couldn’t ask for a more ideal setting to run a race. Kyle Smith and I were meant to set the pace. He was going through 800-900m and I was going to 1000-1100m depending on how we felt. The agent who set up the race gave everyone a specific order to run in. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. It seemed a little weird. When Nate mentioned that he didn’t want to be right behind me in 3rd, he almost got tossed to the B heat. That was that, everyone had their positions.

We went through the first 400m in 56 high, 57. We put in a bit of a surge there after getting yelled at to pick it up and my legs didn’t feel too good. I was worried I might not make it. Then, by 600m, they felt fine again. We came through the 800m mark in 1:54.0 and I felt great. Kyle swung out at about 850m and I took over from there. I hit the 1000m mark in 2:21 low (a new pb! Ha) and felt fine. I kept it going up the home straight and hit the bell in 2:36.0. The race was on.

Nate continued to push the pace up the back straight until the Ethiopian athlete took over at maybe 200-150m to go. Ciaran O Lionaird (Irishman) came flying up out of nowhere around the turn and battled the Ethiopian all the way to the line. Nate was hanging on and Taylor was making a late push…
1st and 2nd were both 3:34!? I couldn’t believe it. There was certainly some magic in the air on this night. Now we just had to hope Nate and Taylor weren’t too far back…Unfortunately, they came up just shy of the standard with a 3:35.80 and 3:36.71, respectively.
Nonetheless, a great race for everyone involved.

I know some people have been skeptical about the times, but I saw it happen and had 3:35 low on my watch for Nate. It was legit.

Time for the Canadian boys to take another crack at it Saturday in Ninove. This time, I’ll actually be racing. Hopefully, I didn’t leave my best effort of the season on the track as a rabbit!!

   - Linc

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Da Dip

The last race in Gent didn’t really go as well as I had hoped for. It was cold and windy and you didn’t know what heat you’d be in until they called you to the line. I didn’t feel very good after about 800m and never felt relaxed. I think I struggled home in about 3:48.1. Hopefully, it was just the travel catching up to me. Writing about a race when it was crap is no fun, so I’ll leave it at that.

Our group was living in a little town called Kamen-Methler (about an hour north of Dusseldorf), Germany for a little while; it’s not exactly an exciting place. Aside from the Sport School where we were staying, there were about 2 restaurants, 1 grocery store, a train station, some soccer fields and a couple of Pharmacies. With boredom setting in quickly, Ellerton and I took to whooping up on some local German kids at their National pastime: Foosball. It was very satisfying, even if they were only 13.

With all the downtime we had, Wynn came up with a little routine that he’d lead us through to help with our flexibility. I think it turned out pretty well. Check it out below (I'd recommend full screening that bad boy):

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

I’ve returned to good ole Turnhout, Belgium for the next couple of weeks. It feels good to be back, some familiarity over here is always nice! We’re heading off to Oordegem tonight so that Kyle and I can pace Nate and Taylor in a small local meet to hopefully hit the A standard! Best of Luck to them!!

    - Linc