Summer Time Blues & Splish Sploshin’ through Vancouver

Welcome to my revamped blog site: The Legendary Lucha Log. Actually, all I did was change the header, but it’s a big deal so we’ll go with it. Credit goes to whoever controls the twitter account for The Terminal Mile for that stellar idea. The summer has been wild and in a split moment, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and the temperatures are dropping. We even had snow in Calgary… in August! Aside from that, throw some popcorn in the microwave, grab yourself a cold soda, and lets get this party started.

This summer has been amazing. In the month of August, I took my talents to Glen Arbor Michigan for a week. If you’ve never been there, follow these directions. Go to expedia.com, book a flight to Traverse City, get up from your desk, walk out, and go to Glen Arbor. You’d never guess, but it’s beautiful out there and it’s quickly become my favourite spot in North America. In saying that, if I ever go missing, you know where to find me. During my trip, I spent a lot of time with family: climbed sand dunes, went boating, sat by the campfire, and played on a sea-doo for the first time. This really allowed me to deflate from the world. The trip was flawless, highlighted by an evening at the lake with the campfire going, viewing a thunderstorm off in the distance and having meteors pass by every minute or two.

Empire, Michigan. Looking over Lake Michigan.
Empire, Michigan – looking west over Lake Michigan.
Glen Arbor, Michigan
Glen Arbor, Michigan

Once that trip ended, it was time to get back to business. Work life has been busy to say the least. It’s been tough trying to balance work and athletics, but I’m still managing it (by subtracting a social life). Coming up, I was focused in on the Dino Dash 5K and Eastside 10K in Vancouver. Looking back on June, July, and August, I literally did nothing but easy runs and my overall mileage decreased by nearly 50% at times. My fitness felt questionable, so these two races were going to be interesting.

Once September came around, I decreased time in the gym (after I put on a couple pounds of muscle), increased time spent on my feet, and incorporated workouts. The first couple weeks of workouts went well; the body felt strong, my mind felt fresh, and I was confident that I could have a good showing at both races. Dino Dash came around and I was hoping to go under 15 minutes for the first time. The course isn’t flat, but it has a fast finish, and depending on the weather, the conditions could be tough. Race day was hot; 27 degrees and sunny. My warmup with Keith Bradford went well and it was time to start. Off the start, some dude (wearing two t-shirts in 27 degree conditions) went flying past me at an all out sprint. Now, if this were to take place 2 years ago, I would have went with him, but I’m a smart man (26% of the time) and waited for him to chill out. He never chilled out, rather he burnt out and after 200m, I was runnin’ solo. If that guy manages to read this, good on ya for flying off the start – respect.

Dino Dash in the Calgary Sun
Dino Dash in the Calgary Sun

Dino Dash went better than expected. Given my lack of training through the summer, I managed to run 14:46 (new course record and PB) comfortably on a hot day, solo, at altitude. Sometimes I surprise myself, and this was one of those moments. Before Dino Dash I applied for sponsorship with New Balance and Nuun Hydration. I was hopeful that something good would come of it, and three days after the race, I got two wonderful replies. For the remainder of 2015, I’ll be representing Team New Balance on the race course. To me, New Balance is the only footwear/apparel brand that I want to be a part of. I’ve trusted their products for the past 2/3 years and no other brand makes products as comfortable/competitive as NB. I also landed a spot on the Nuun Hydration Elite Team. Since June, I’ve been consuming their product before and after runs. It’s the only hydration product that hasn’t given me stomach issues before gym/road workouts. If you haven’t tried it out, I recommend it (available at your local run specialty store).

The next race coming up was Eastside 10K in Vancouver. Again, I didn’t know what to expect from myself, but I wanted to have a strong showing. I don’t fly down to Vancouver to run leisurely. My competition was Chris, Geoff, Kelly, and Theo, so I knew it was going to be tough getting in the top 3. The Eastside course is hilly and the weather conditions sucked, as it poured rain all morning. Factoring this in, any time goal didn’t apply. For the first 4K, I ran with Kelly and Chris, while Geoff Martinson went sight seeing with Alan Brookes. This was a cool experience, as I’ve run with Kelly once before, but never ran with Chris before. They are both world class athletes, so being the kid nobody knows of, this humbled me. Chris and I pulled away from Kelly shortly after and we kept going strong for the next couple of KM’s. 6K into the race, all I heard from the sidelines was “go Chris/Kelly” or “looking strong Chris/Kelly”. So I just kept to myself and focused on finishing strong. Around the 7K mark, I pulled away from Chris and lowered my pace. At this point, I was soaked and just wanted to eat some oatmeal (Stoked Oats!). The final stretch was uneventful and I ended up in second (behind Geoff Martinson) at 30:23. This was a new PB of 20 seconds and I’ll take it for what it is, but there’s more important things on my mind.

The view from Canada Place
The view from Canada Place
Eastside 10K startline
Eastside 10K startline

With Dino Dash and Eastside done with, I’m going to spend some time on the grass and away from the roads. Both races went better than expected, so having these numbers to represent my current base fitness is a good sign. Next up is the SAIT XC open on October 3rd and then a few more XC meets after that. All I’m worried about right now is staying healthy and strong. Spring 2016 is going to be BIG, so it’s important to stay focused on the progress and to be smart with training.

Best of luck to those elites racing this fall with Olympic standards/Canadian records on their minds: Reid Coolsaet (Berlin Marathon), Rob Watson (Chicago Marathon), Eric Gillis (Toronto Marathon), Matt Loiselle (Toronto Marathon), Lanni Marchant (Toronto Marathon). Also, best of luck to Jeremy Deere as he aims to take on the New York Marathon, and to Erin Burrett as she makes her marathon debut in Victoria BC. Most importantly (to me), shout out to some local gems on their recent stellar performances: Kip Kangogo (Montreal) Calum Neff & Jess Kaiser (World Mountain Running Champs), Brian Stewart & Simon Stewart (Eastside 10K), Brayden Hiltz & Dennene Huntley (Lost Souls Ultra), Alissa St. Laurent (went beast mode this summer!), and everybody else who knocked down some PB’s this summer. This list could go on for paragraphs.

Until next time, this has been the introduction to The Legendary Lucha Log. Keep believing, follow your dreams, and work your butt off.

Gratzy

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