First off, I want to drop a shout out to everyone that ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. Even though the weather conditions weren’t ideal, some big PB’s came out of the race and I couldn’t be more proud of the Calgary runners. Another shout out to Dylan Wykes, who dropped out of the race due to injury. The man has a heart of gold and has worked so incredibly hard over the past 5 years, even through numerous injuries. He’s one of my role models, an idol, and I wish nothing but the best for his running career.
Now onto the goods. Over the weekend, there was another race taking place – Canada’s largest 10K, the Vancouver Sun Run. This one brought out 50,000 people and it’s home to the most competitive elite field. When I was planning out my 2015 race schedule, I put this one down as a tester, to see where the fitness level was at. The past few months have been a roller coaster. It’s been filled with a frustrating First Half in Vancouver, a decent St. Pat’s 5k, a decent Glencoe IceBreaker, some strong workouts, and a lot of miles. To be honest, I didn’t know if I was getting burnt out, or sick, or injured, or what. Even though that was going on, I truly believed in my high-mileage program and I felt glimpses of breaking out.
So, lets cut to the race and lets get rolling. Sunday was a beautiful morning in Vancouver – 10 degrees, sunny, calm. The conditions were nearly perfect. After a long week of work and running, I didn’t know what to expect from the course. Coming into it, my PB for 10K was 32:09 and my 5K was 15:34; so aiming for 31 minutes was hopeful, but not unrealistic. My new warm-up consists of chatting with everyone I can, not to get them off of their game, but to just enjoy the moment. This sport is a gift and life is too short. When you take it too seriously, you’ll never meet your expectations.
After 3 minutes of standing around, the gun went off and we were off. The first K was downhill, but not too quick. The Kenyans controlled the lead pack which consisted of about 15 guys. I was all alone, between the lead pack and the chase pack. Just after 2K, Colin Fewer (Saucony) jumped along beside me. It was at this moment, I knew it was going to be a good race – I had somebody to run with, it was a fast course, the conditions were perfect, and my muscles were strong. At the 3K mark, the only thing that could go wrong, did. My f’in shoe came untied! Seriously, how does that even happen! Thousands of KM’s logged over the past 3 years and a shoe malfunction had to happen at this point in-time. Bullshit.
After stopping to tie my shoe, I decided to get back into the race and grind it out. The whole debacle cost me about 10-15 seconds. I was in about 23rd place now and PISSED! Immediately, I flew past the group consisting of Jim Finlayson and Jerry Ziak, and caught up with the bros (Keenan and Russell). While I was with Keenan and Russ, I looked over to them and asked “this is an interval workout, right?” Russ chuckled over it, Keenan had none of it. At the Burrard street hill, I layed down a massive surge and peeled away from the group.
Crossing over the bridge, I had my eyes set on Colin. He was far ahead of me and it was going to take a gutsy effort to catch him. After peeling away from the bros, I was sitting around 15th. As the K’s went by, I managed to pass a couple more guys that were falling off from the lead pack. At the 8K mark, I was catching up to Colin – who was catching up to Theo Hunt and Dancan Kasia. Now at Granville Street, we were all packing together, making the last K very interesting. At this moment, the candle inside was burning stronger than ever before. I found this new inner power, flexed my abs of steel so tightly that my skin almost turned green and dug so deep that I layed down this huge finishing kick – a 52second 400m. This kick took me from 12th to 9th overall, 5th Canadian to 3rd Canadian, and it shattered my PB by setting it now to 30:42. During the race (even with a shoe malfunction), I set 4 PB’s – 5K (twice!), 8K, and 10K.
Currently, I’ve never been so excited moving forward. This breakthrough instills new hope and hopefully it inspires others. Believing in yourself is a powerful thing – the mind is a powerful tool, capable of so many wonders. Even when you don’t think you can, believe you can and it will happen. In 2012, I didn’t think I could be a force on the road, but everyday, I wake up and believe, and pray, and smile, and believe more, and work my ass off, and these are the results. Without the support of my peers, this journey (so far) would not be possible. Thank you.