This month and this fall marks the beginning of a long awaited fresh start in Guelph. An opportunity God has given me to continue doing what I love, and attempt a masters degree in math/stats at the same time. I feel like running competitively and pursuing a masters degree is a good balance, that way if one goes wrong I still hopefully have the other to lean back on. It could be busy at times, but being busy is better than having nothing to do, like when I was injured this spring. Man that was depressing. Naturally, it is a bit overwhelming adapting to the new environment, meeting so many new people between training with Speed River and my masters program, but it is definitely a good thing. Unlike at Waterloo last year, I feel like I belong here, and that I made the right decision to make Guelph the next stage in my life. Whether I am here for a year or two or long term I am not sure, but I trust that God will lead me with those decisions. But I am much more convicted this year that this is the best place for me where I am at in my life right now.
I have an extremely fast group of people to train with here at Guelph, and that is something that is new for me. I like it. For the time being, I realize that many workouts I will get dropped on the later intervals, because the people that drop me are much more accomplished runners than I am. Olympians, CIS champions, World Championship/World Juniors participants are in that group. It is all part of a process/adjustment for me. I have confidence that eventually I will get to that level if I train like they do. I like how the coach Dave Scott Thomas stresses tempo runs/intervals (~half marathon pace). We do some sort of tempo work twice a week. I am not used to doing tempos that frequently, but running them with other people is much easier than running them by yourself. All of the sudden 5:10 miles don't feel so hard anymore. We had a crazy workout last week that consisted of 4 miles at 5k pace on the cross country course with a 20 minute tempo in between the first and second mile interval, and 5 min recovery between each mile. I averaged 4:44 and the top guys were under 4:40 for the last few.
This weekend was national championship 10k road race/Oasis Zoo Run in Toronto. A good chance to see where I stack up and see if the hard training has paid off yet. I had an average race, placing as the 7th Canadian. It was wet, and tough course, so times are irrelevant, but perhaps the Coolsaet differential statistic more relevant in this case for measuring my performance. I was 50 seconds behind Coolsaet. I was 35 seconds behind him in April when I was in the best shape of my life and right before my injury. So if I go by that statistic, I am relatively close to where I was at that time. It wasn't a great race, but I can take some confidence from it, and hopefully I can run a fast half marathon next month. I am thinking Niagara Falls Half as my next race, but I need to hear from the elite coordinator that I emailed but not heard anything from yet. It would be ideal for me since its close and typically has guys running in the 1:05-1:06 range which is what I am aiming for.