As my outdoor season has come to an end, I am writing this blog about halfway through my three week break from running. Although there are still meets going on now and in the near future, most people who have been racing since the beginning of the year as I have will finish track around this time and start getting ready for XC season.
This season has been one that has contained plenty of struggle and did not turn out to what I wanted and thought it would be. Although this is something that I am already used to dealing with, this season was unlike any other and really took a toll on me.
Just to start off, I would like to state that I would hate for this blog to turn into a place where I just go on and complain about how bad my season has been and how the next one will be better. There is no need for me to try and invoke readers to feel sympathetic for how things are going for me. Instead, I will kind of just go through and try to to explain my season, what I learned about myself and explain my current state of self.
One big struggle that I dealt with during the season was the fact that I had found out that I had low iron levels. Although my ferritin levels were not as bad as many other people that I know have had problems with it, it still impacted me significantly. Training started off rough but I progressed through it and was able to get the right work in eventually. But when it came to the races, there was seemingly nothing left in the tank. Not taking any time off did not help this and I did not let it get back to the level that would help me run the way I wanted to. This is something that I really want to focus on and correct during this downtime for the upcoming XC season.
Another problem that I really faced this season was really just a mental one to do with who I am and how I think about things.
I have always kind of viewed myself as a person who likes to think logically and analytically. I like to use deductive reasoning and find out what is the most logical step and decision to be made. This is something that I have always really done and will probably continue to do that for the rest of my life. In any type of sport, this is a mindset that is a definite hindrance and hard to have. Going into races, this realist attitude of mine is a hindrance if I am in a string of bad races. I will continue to lose and lower my confidence in myself day-by-day and this makes it harder to have a good performance. This for sure was the case during the season for me and took me a while to get out of this funk.
The way the season started for me was just abysmal. It was basically just bad race after bad race and I had no idea why that was the case (intentional rhyming there, =D). As I came to learn later, this was most likely due to my low iron but it still really affected my confidence whenever I was suiting up to race. It took all the way until the middle of June for me to actually have a good race and get a PB in the 1500m. It was a decent improvement by three seconds but was still nowhere close to where I wanted to be.
I finally wrapped up my season on Canada Day in Hamilton. I was feeling good going into this race and knew I was peaked to have a good race and end this horrid season with a bang. It was too bad that I ended up instead doing a head first slide into 2nd base, which in this case was half way through a 1500m. I guess that was just fitting of how a season like this would end, right?
In the end, it DOES actually matter. Now I am just stuck waiting. Waiting for something, anything.
It was really cool seeing other teammates do well. From Josh Martin running 3:58 at 1500m Night to Josh Zilles running 3:56 at the Canada Day meet in Hamilton alongside Nick D'Alessandro dropping his PB in the 800m from 1:55 to 1:52 low by the end of the season. Even Alex Cyr, a man who runs a severely less active blog, running a 3:47 1500m at the last meet of the year before setting off back to the island. I think just about all of my teammates and training partners who competed this season are happy with their improvements and successes. This is something that I love to see, but I would be lying if it didn't hurt me. It's hard to see peers doing the same thing that you're doing day in and day out and them receiving the success they deserve while I see none of that.
I have just as much chance to do well in running as anyone of these guys. I want to do just as well as anyone else and want/need to find out how I can achieve this. As of right now, there is really no magic solution that I can think of and I think the only solution is just to keep on slaving away.
One separate point that I would like to make is that this season, more than others, I decided to focus less on track and think about other things. Ever since I got involved in running, it has always been the aspect in my life that I have focused on the most. Because of this, I ignored many other aspects that are equally and even more important. This season, I still put the work in and stayed disciplined to the sport but I also set my focuses on other aspects as well. This is a much healthier approach in life and just improves how I am living my life at the moment.
One of these aspects was my writing, something that I started only about eight months ago. Writing has really turned into a new passion in my life and something that I want to definitely continue to explore in the foreseeable future.
During the season, I decided to enter the field of journalism and have started writing for a website, DBLTAP.com. The site is mainly based on video games and ESports, something that I have been interested and enjoyed for a very long time. I am really enjoying this and love the fact that I can get to to write about something for 15 hours a week that I really enjoy. Although I do not get paid for the work I do now, this opportunity is one that may start something up in the future for a career in something that I really like.
As for now, the off season has fully taken affect and I am enjoying the current time off that I have now. XC season has always been my favourite of the two seasons and I'm already itching to get back at it. I cannot wait to show myself how much I have really improved over the past year and have a second year that I will be proud of.
The Windsor Lancers are set to prove that we are still one of the best teams in the nation, and I am so excited to be a part of it.