Grab yourself a beer because I’ve had 4 and that’s far too many. We are going through Philly from KM0 to KM21.1, so lets do this.
Today was absolutely stellar. As of late, I’ve put together a good string of training and I felt like today was going to be a nice PB day. In saying that, you don’t travel across a country and drop some $ for mediocre performances; you’re in it to win it (or to better yourself). With runners across America aiming to qualify for Olympic marathon trials, the elite competition was going to be strong. The temperature was perfect (7 degrees), but the wind was howling from the WNW which meant 70% of the race was going to be against wind. As a giant in a field of hobbits, that wind didn’t work well in my favour.
Now, this race almost didn’t happen because of heightened security. We found out afterwards, Anonymous released information stating that ISIS (screw those guys!) was planning a U.S. attack today. As a result, there were hour long waits to get into the race area, patrolled by FBI counter terrorism units and the Philly Police. After some line budging (sorry), I made it to the start line with 10 minutes to spare. No warmup, no drills, no problem. The only saving grace was meeting the legendary Bill Rodgers. I’m a HUGE fan of this guy, so this was truly an honour as we had a short pre-race chat (it’s top secret stuff).
Back to the start line and off the gun went. For the first 3K or so, I was in third and feeling comfortable. The crowds along the sides were huge! They were well equipped with cowbells, flags, and America chants. After that point, we turned into the wind and guess who had the lead – this guy. For the next 2km, I was solo at the front, until I realized all these hobbits where streamlining off me, using me as the guinea pig. I turned and told the guys that this was not cool. We went through 5K in 14:44.
From 5K until 10K, we had a good group of 7-8 guys. The wind was really picking up and it was tough the hold the pace. At one point, we all slowed down significantly and the guys looked around, seeing who would lead the pack. I straight up told them, I’m not leading so don’t expect me to do it. The crowds were starting to dwindle down, but we passed a beer station that was oh-so-tempting. This was a slower section as we went through 10K in 30:19 (10K PB).
The next 5K was the hilly section. At this point, there were 7 of us and we picked it up the pace. Nothing crazy happened, went through 15K in 44:52.
Things got interesting for the last 6.1k. For the first 15k, our group of 7 really bonded and created this special brotherhood. We were indestructible, like N’Sync pre-2004. See:
After the turn-around at 17.5k (11 miles), everybody (except me) took off. It was a full out sprint and I just didn’t have the legs for a huge surge. Everything happened so quickly, I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the boys! After a kilometre, I noticed Scott Smith (Hoka) fell from the pack, but he was out of my reach. I rolled through mile 12 in 59:low and just had to keep pace. The last mile was smooth and crossing the line in 1:04:28 was the coolest feeling in the world!
Coming into the race, I had 2 goals:
1) Qualify for Team Canada – World Half Champs
2) Run 1:04:xx
The recipe for success was quite simple: work your ass off everyday, believe you can do it, focus on your goals, don’t be afraid to fail, eat the right foods, and never ever give up, ever. Everyday serves a purpose, so no matter if it was a rest day, easy run day, workout; I always did it to 100%.
Philly officially wraps up the season. Looking back, I cannot be more thankful to those who have been supportive and positive role models in my life. I met some incredible people and elite Canadian athletes this year, whom I only dreamed of meeting not too long ago. New Balance, Stoked Oats, and Nuun Hydration have been amazing to me as they keep me going. And last, but certainly not least, the Alberta running community. Everybody from the land of oil has been so supportive. Alberta makes this engine run, I just do the work. Here’s to a great 2015 and a healthy, strong, 2016.