Saturday, 15 October 2011

#32: Nothin' Shakin' (But the Leaves on the Trees)

Just read an article in the Globe ( about the Scotiabank Marathon tomorrow and had a few thoughts...

First of all, I certainly hope Mr Brookes is right in saying that there will be no problems having the finish line (@ Bay and King) at the same location as the 'Occupy Toronto' protests set to take place today and carry over into tomorrow. I respect the right for people to exercise their democratic right to peaceful protest, assembly and free speech (regardless of how hopeless their causes and how annoying their voices), but I will not be happy if some idiot with a cardboard sign gets in my way as I make my way toward the finish. I am confident this won't be an issue.

Next is a few comments made my last year's marathon winner, Keneth Mungara from Kenya, who says: "You can’t say how fast you can go, it depends on the pacemakers. I can’t push then if they go slow. I have to save my energy until they leave, then I push it on my own... They may cost a lot of money but they do a lot of the job. They cook the race. I can’t cook, I take it to the table.”

And there goes all my respect for him! Excuse me, but aren't you supposed to be an elite athlete?! Didn't you take home some $30,000 in extra cash last year for setting a marathon record on Canadian soil?! And here you're flat out admitting that the results depend not so much on how fast you run, but on how fast your (expensive) pacers run! I'm speachless. I've always respected and admired the Kenyans and West Africans and anyone really, who could run so fast for so long, but I am now at a point where I'm not so sure it's deserved. I mean how much faster could I run if I had a few pacers? We all could probably knock a few minutes off our best times with some help. What gets me the most is that we, the regular joe-shmo runners, are paying ridiculously expensive race fees which are being used to pay for greedy race directors, exordinate prize money for aging Africans who can't compete at a high level anymore, and pacers who allow them to do it! I don't giving a flying fish if there's an African leading the race or pacers helping him doing it. All I need is a course of a certified length and a clock at the end telling me how fast I went. I don't need medals, awards, fancy t-shirts, my name on a bib, or free junk! Let's go back to when races where about one and only one thing: running.

Next is something I do care about and that's our elite Canadian runners. As I sit here and worry about how the wind will likely affect my performance tomorrow; I can't imagine how it must feel for the guys who are needing to run the fastest races of their lives in order to meet the qualifying standard (2:11:29) for the 2012 Olympics. Eric Gillis, Reid Coolsaet, Rob Watson, Matt Loseille, and Dylan Wykes are the only elite runners I care about and certainly hope they will be getting the best support (race) money can buy in order to help them succeed. I would really love to see three Canadians in London next summer and wish them all the best on their journeys to achieve that goal. They work harder than anyone seems to appreciate and should be given far more support and recognition for the amazing athletes they are!

My final comment is about the weather. Yes, it's something we can't change or control and thus have little reason to complain about it, but I'll do it anyway because it's been all I've been thinking about for the past week. The forecast for tomorrow is a cool and comfortable 9 degrees with only a 30% chance of scattered rain; almost ideal for racing. What isn't ideal is a wicked westerly wind clocking at 35km/h! Wind is the bane of a runners existance. It can stop us flat in our tracks and defeat us mentally long before it affects us physically. Having done everything right in training for 14 weeks, I am nervous not because I am not prepared, but because my performance may well be dictated by a factor completely out of my control, and that sucks (actually it blows). My goal has changed slightly over the past months: first it was to run sub 3, then sub 2:55, then sub 2:50, then to run 4:00/km (2:48:48), and then to run 2:48 flat. It looks as if it may have to change yet again. I feel I am capable of the 2:48 (perhaps even better!) but I no longer have control of this, or at least not as much control as I would have liked. As of now, nothing changes. The goal is still 2:48. I will do what I am capable of doing and will deal with what happens along the way...

A race report will follow shortly.

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