The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time

Where does time go?! 6 weeks ago I was in a major funk. I was struggling to get over my lingering health issues and had finally decided to take a week completely off from training and just relax. I wasn’t confident in my body and each run was a major stressor. I had another cardiologist appointment coming up and a figured I’d just hang tight until I met with him. During that meeting he had me do an Exercise Stress Test and he cleared me to keep training and to head to altitude for a planned training camp. I got back into some easy running for a few days and then headed off to Phoenix fitted with a nifty Cardiac Event Monitor. This little device was going to be my training partner and roommate for the next month. Other than a daily shower I was going to be wearing it full time to ensure than there was nothing funky going on with my heart that they couldn’t catch in short term monitoring. (I thought about wearing this thing while on the plane, but had second thoughts when I imagined what the TSA would do when they saw this “device” strapped to me! Ha!)

So there I was, In Flagstaff, Arizona at 7,000 ft and in pretty awful shape. I knew the next couple of weeks were going to be rough. And they were. Altitude has this amazing ability to make even the best athlete feel like the little fat kid in gym class. Everything is hard. So when you’re not in great shape life sucks. The first workouts were the worst! That said I just tried to keep everything in perspective. I adopted the Oregon Football motto “Win the Day”. I just took each day as it came and tried to get the most out of it as I could. With each workout I saw improvement and by the end of the 3.5 weeks at altitude I could see the light. I felt like a runner again.

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Once back down at sea level I got to say goodbye to my event monitor. That little guy I will not miss. The data from the previous month was analyzed and again I was given the all clear. This was good news. It was time to start thinking about racing!

A couple of quality workouts and there I was, standing on the start line at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Nothing like one of the best meets of the year to use as a “rust buster”! My goal was to just get in the mix and feel it out. And it felt great! I lacked some confidence and my hurdling was awful, but I managed to roll an 8:37 and I felt pretty darn good doing so!

payton jordan 2014
payton jordan 2014 (Photo Cred: Aric Van Halen)

Before this past weekend I had my trepidations about racing. It had been almost 6 months and training had gone off the rails a few times. Now with one under the belt I’m pumped for the next one down in LA in a week’s time.

"Team Canada"getting in a pre-comp workout
“Team Canada”getting in a pre-comp workout

 

Cheers

 

Chris

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The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go

Every year teams of runners ascend to Flagstaff, Arizona for its many soft trails and ultra thin air. Americans, Canadians, Germans, Australians, Swedes, you name it, they are here. And while we all represent different teams and countries, for the few weeks we spend up here, we share the same trails, tracks, gyms, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s a unique atmosphere and there is a certain type of comfort seeing other runners from all over the world coming to the same place to do the same thing and chase the same goals. Later in the season these same people will be our competitors, but while up here the atmosphere is relaxed and everyone is on the same page.

This is my second stint at altitude and I already seem to be acclimatizing a little bit better this time around. Maybe it’s because I know what to expect, or maybe it’s because I came into camp a little more rested. The experts will say that your body adjusts faster the more time you spend at altitude. Whatever the reason, the first few runs have felt better and I seem to be surviving a little better on the hills this time around.

I’m actually a bit shocked I even made it to Flagstaff. After the up and down last couple of months I’ve had I had almost written off going to altitude. Even last week I hadn’t put too much thought into the trip. However, after seeing another Cardiologist late last week, where I did and passed a Cardiac Stress Test, I was cleared to continue training and to go to altitude. Two days later I was on a plane headed South.

So far it’s been a great move! It’s great to be back with my Speed River teammates, Alex Genest, Taylor Milne, Kyle Boorsma, Rachel Aubrey, Chantelle Groenewoud and Andrea Seccafien. After doing much of my running on my own it’s great to have some training partners and to spend time with some really good friends.

The first few days at altitude are all about acclimatization, this means running a little bit easier on runs and making sure you are recovering as much as possible between runs. No matter how easy you go the altitude still gets to you and after being up here for three days I’m starting to feel its effects… but I guess that is the point!

My goal for the next 3.5 weeks is to not only get in a great block of training, but more importantly I just want to get back to enjoying running. The last couple of months have been nothing but doctors appointments and stress and that took a toll on both my love for running as well as my hairline ;). Hopefully after a few weeks of good training I’ll return to sea level with a renewed confidence in myself and motivation for the training and racing to come.

 

A few shots from a hike we did earlier this week:

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Sitting at 8,500ft with the city of Flagstaff in the background below.

 

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Using the timer on my camera resulted in a super awkward group photo

 

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Chantelle, Alex and Andrea sharing a laugh
A Couple of Bros
A Couple of Bros