A Year In Review

If you had asked me 365 days ago what my 2014 might look like, I definitely did not think I would be as competitive and running as much as I am now.

Last winter I planned to relax, enjoy the bar at the ski club, run when I wanted, maybe ride the stationary bike, but just generally let my body, and more importantly my mind, heal after a very busy 2013 preparing for the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

The monkey and I in ArizonaThen Arizona happened. I remember Big Mike Mandel sending out an email asking all us camp participants to be prepared; make sure you have been training hard, putting in some big days on the trainer, be prepared for some long riding in Arizona. I knew there was a follow car and I have good bike etiquette; I will get in the van if I can’t keep up. I emailed Mike and said that I wasn’t prepared, but that I was okay with that, I would get in the car and would not hold the group up.

Day 1, 150k to and from South Mountain. Some people rode there and then up South Mtn and then got in the van. Some people took the van to South Mtn, then went up and rode home. Beast mode kicks in and I rode to and from South Mtn. And then just because one of the guys wanted to chase down a KOM, I decided I had to give the QOM a shot: success! We climbed Mount Lemmon the next day too! Oh and the day after that I did a 100k ride before running for an hour and thirty minutes!

The reality is that your aerobic capacity doesn’t really ‘go away.’ In 2013 I spent a lot of time on my feet and my bike growing that aerobic capacity in preparation for Israel. More than anything I needed to give my brain a break from everything!

From there I went home and still did ‘my thing.’ Still lots of skiing to be done. But around that time I did start going to track. At the request of friends it was asked if I could come out of my hermit hole and be a little more social, I obliged. It was not until mid April that I started coming out with any consistency. I had a false start with some foot pain, I had tripped over Rol’s toolbox at the bottom of the stairs one wintery morning!

First Harry’s Spring Run Off happened. I managed to get myself an elite bib. #TeamGollian was supposed to be there but Gill wasn’t feeling well so off I went on my own. 3rd! I finished 3rd in a very competitive field, with a massive hill at the end. Not bad for a training run.Zoomphoto Inc Event Photography

Then the Sporting Life 10k happened. I was the defending champion and the field was much more competitive this year. But this time Gillian was there to keep me calm. I ran almost 2 minutes faster this year and defended my title!

Sometime after that the twilight meets started happening at U of T. First there was a 3000m, it had been about 15 years since I ran a 3000m on the outdoor track 1track. I ran a 9:32, 30 seconds faster than my highschool PB, in my opening track race! In my opening 1500 I solo’d and managed to run just under nationals standard, 4:24. Two weeks later I solo’d again and ran a 4:18. What?! That was almost 10 seconds faster than my PB!

By nationals I’d still only run 3 1500’s, so it was more of a learning experience again than racing. Although I did PB again at Nationals finishing 5th in 4:16.

Belgium is where I really got to open it up. I remember standing on the start line thinking this is going to be fast. And I was so excited. I had to stay calm so my heart rate didn’t get too high before I started. I was standing beside a Kenyan woman and remember thinking her waist is the size of my leg! And oh yeah I’m going to beat you. And I did. That was my fastest race of the year and I ran a 4:13.

My other races in Belgium weren’t fabulous. Unfortunately I had my shoe pulled off in my second race leading to a nasty blister! Blisters are real injuries and they are are horrible.

Break time happened and then it was time to get ready for 5k and 10k road race championships. Three days before the 5k road race championships I found a pothole in Sunnybrook Park and suffered a sprain. One that was bad enough to keep me off my feet for 5 days. Needless to say I did not race 5k Championships.

Two weeks later I pulled the pin on 10k Championships. Better to be healthy than racing on a slightly injured ankle. While I had no pain, we knew that I was best staying on flat, predictable ground.

To say I dislike X-Country running is an understatement. Well it’s not that I don’t like the training I really just don’t like racing in the cold. Actually I really like the volume of X-Country. I pushed myself by working with the guys as much as I could.

In preparation for X-Country Nationals I used the TO Womens 8k. On that crisp XC Crossfall morning I went out and broke the course record. It’s been a long time since I’ve broken a course record. But the day was made even more special having my better half biking behind me as moral support. How often do you get to be that up close with someone from start to finish in a road race like that?!

I think my highlight for this year was the Ontario X-Country Championships. Again Cross is my weakness, so winning the Ontario Championships made me smile. Before this I had never been on the podium for X-Country.

S and TNationals was a disappointment. I suffered a stitch and just couldn’t go; it felt like there were knives coming out of my stomach. What I learned later was that I had an infected and broken root canal, which had likely caused the stitch.

I actually went down to Cornell to run an 800m and 3000m, when things finally went sideways with my tooth. While my 800 was great (2:09 off no speed training) I just felt so sick in my 3000. Now I know why. At least it’s out now!

2014 was an awesome year. And again if you had asked me a year ago if this is where I thought 2014 was going, I would have had no idea.

I also learned so much this year.

Never give up. Always have fun. Listen to you body. Sleep. Then sleep some more. Learn when to eat food and when you need to fuel. Love what you do. Do what you love with people you love. Fall in love with someone who respects you.

What will happen in 2015? Who knows. But I’m going to keep training. Keep having fun. Hopefully break some PR’s along the way, run for Team Canada, and learn something new along the way.

Thanks to all my family and friends for their love and support in 2014. I closed 2014 with an awesome workout on the track