Camp Walden – The Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord, MA

Before I ever was a runner, I was a camper at place called Camp Walden in South-Eastern Ontario. It was a place I instantly fell in love with from the moment I walked off the bus that first summer in 1990. Walden was named after Henry David Thoreau’s Walden or Life in the Woods. And that’s what camp was, we lived in these modest cabins on this amazing piece of property. We had sailing, water skiing, land sports, canoe tripping… pretty much a mecca for a kid that loved to be outdoors.

IMG_6524Being invited as an Elite Athlete to the Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord, MA where you can run around ‘the real’ Walden Pond was a surreal and almost magical moment for me. My love for the outdoors and sports has so many roots and ties to Walden, as does my desire to live a simple life, but I think it also helps fuel this desire to run faster and faster.

I flew down late on Wednesday for this meet. As a short connection from Toronto I figured I would spend the day at home instead of in a hotel room alone! Flying in I think I actually spotted Walden Pond from above and was totally blown away by how lush and green Massachusetts really is.

My California Dreamin’ buddy Celia was flying iIMG_6526n from Halifax and we were going to drive out to the meet hotel together. Unfortunately Celia’s flight was really delayed. Making the best of the situation I changed in the bathroom of the car rental agency and completed my pre-race shakeout in the Car Rental Parking lot. While not ideal I’m sure it made some people wonder what sort of funny dance I was doing… alone… in stacked parking (now there’s an image).

When Celia arrived we piled in the tiny Chevy Spark, aptly named Glenda, and headed out to the meet hotel. It was fairly late by the time we got there so it was pretty much straight to bed.

We woke up on race day and Celia entertained by Walden Fantasy and we did our shakeout run around Walden Pond. I stopped and took photos of where Thoreau’s cabin once stood and took in the scenery. Not a bad place to do a shakeout run!

IMG_6533

We drove over to the meet in the late afternoon, since we were both racing just after 6:30. I was running the 800 again and hoping to improve on my time from the Pre-Oxy meet. Unfortunately I totally messed up the race plan and my final time was not quite what I was looking for. Celia, however, had her best race of the year and there is definitely more in the tank for her.

More importantly I’m learning a lot about racing. My training age is young, my racing age is even younger. In the last year I have only run four 800m races; relays don’t really count since I never really ran IMG_6529against anyone else! I was supposed to sit back and go through 800m in just over 60s and then make my way through the pack from 400 to 600 to get into position for the final 200. Unfortunately I made a move at 350 that was unnecessary and found myself at the front at 600, at which point I started to kick. Lesson learned this is an 800 not a 1500! I felt pretty lactic-y coming through the last 50m. But more importantly I felt awesome at 600m. Next time I will follow instructions better and make my moves more patiently.

I am totally addicted to racing. I love it. I love the thrill. And like so many other things in life I strive to keep learning. I will learn to be a great 800m runner! Until the next one…