Thursday, 3 July 2014

#129 Proud to be Canadian

This past weekend was indeed a long one!

Start of the 2014 Pride and Remembrance Run 5K. Photo: John MacMillan
It started on Saturday with the Pride and Remembrance Run 5K, which for me was the 4th straight year running the race (that's kind of a pun).

I've always enjoyed this race and this year was no different. In fact, with expectations of running (really) fast not really there, I was much less anxious and enjoyed the experience much more. I ended up racing pretty well and finished in 3rd place in a time of 16:27. I followed my teammate Dave Clark for almost the entire race but just managed to draw even and move by him in the last hundred metres or so. More importantly however was that Black Lungs Toronto maintained top spot in the team category competition. Congrats to all the Black Lungs who ran and came out to pace and support our crew!

Black Lungs DC and DW being paced by DCL and MDF toward the Pride 5K finish. Photo: Kevin Gough
Big shout out to the Pride organizers who took into account my and others suggestions about ensuring the race was an accurate 5K (it was!) and also by having two waves so that the faster runners in the field would not collide with the slower runners and walkers when doing the second loop of Queen's Park. The race is now much better for it!

Sprinting for the finish. Photo: Alistair Munro
Following the race and after watching the dramatic game between Brasil and Chile, the real fun started over at Casa Bryne Campbell (the CBC) who hosted another fantastic rooftop patio party in Cabbagetown. Much drinking and dancing were had by all (namely me), which made for a less than epic, albeit memorable, 21K run the next morning.

A short time later, I nervously watched as the Dutchies took on Mexico in the Round of 16. In the end, and despite a less than convincing first 60 minutes, they got the result they (probably) deserved but I was still sad to see Mexico bow out in the very last minutes due to a questionable foul and subsequent penalty kick. Onwards to the quarterfinals against the tournament's dark-horse, Costa Rica...

On Monday morning, Melinda and I drove to Ingersoll to spend some time with my family. I really can't say enough about how much I enjoy being at "home" and out of the big city (we left about the same time our utterly embarrassing and downright disgraceful 'mayor' Rob Ford was making his return to city hall). Among other things, we cruised around in a convertible, ate pancakes at Oma's, enjoyed a delicious BBQ at Barry and Shielas' and watched Jurassic Park on a big screen and under the stars.

To kick off my Canada Day celebrations on Tuesday, I made the short trip to Embro, ON for the Highland Games 10K Road Race. There we were met with somewhat contrasting conditions: overcast skies with gale-forced winds, yet warm temps and crippling humidity. The race began at 9 a.m. and it started off hot (in more ways than one). I ran the first K way to fast (chasing some hot-headed high-schoolers in the 5K) but quickly settled into a not uncomfortable pace and also found myself with a clear lead. The skies grew darker by the minute and right around 3K the first drops started to fall. Within seconds, a light rain had evolved into a outright downpour and it wasn't long before I was soaked from head to toe. I glanced at my watch to see 17:25 at the 5K mark and figured I might be able to hold on for another five and finish around 35min. The rain continued, and perhaps even intensified, for another few K before it stopped altogether around 8K. It was only then that I realized the winds, that again begin to howl and were hitting me hard and head-on. Those last 2K were a battle but I managed to hold on and cruise into the finish taking first place comfortably and dipping just under 35 (official time of 34:58).

Showing off my hardware and firm stare at the Embro Highland Games. Photo: Melinda C
For my effort (a glorified tempo session), I took home a small trophy (very cool) and $75! Not a bad start to Canada Day. We (Melinda, Charlie as well as my folks and even some family) stuck around and took in some of the Highland Games festivities which included a tug-of-war contest, dog agility shows, sheep shearing, wool spinning and a bunch of fat guys throwing big rocks in a field. Oh, and the incessant sound of bag-pipes! Haha The Scottish... I truly enjoyed every minute.


Following this, it was much more eating and drinking to celebrate the holiday followed by a reluctant return to TO.

With those shorter races now over, the months of July and August will be primarily aimed at marathon training for STWM. This will mean a few more weeks of speed training before a big emphasis on endurance building. On July 13th, I'll do a "fun run" at The North Face Endurance Challenge Half, which is the same day that the Dutch should be crowned World Cup Champs!!! Lots to look forward to...

1 comment:

Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader said...

Sounds like you had a fun weekend with some great running Dan! I'm also a STWM DC and will also be running The North Face Enduarnce Challenge Half though definitely not at the pace you run. Perhaps I'll see you there?