New rushes

Posted by bernicky - October 29th, 2007

OK – here is an updated version of the Why I Run video. Right click and choose save file (or link) – this is a high quality large format WMV file. I made some changes based on earlier comments and added a little more to the movie. I hope to add another 15 to 20 minutes over the next few months.

Comments appreciated.

XC – Provincials

Posted by bernicky - October 27th, 2007

The best thing a coach can hope for at the high school level is to get their athletes to the provincial championships. Honestly I had little to do with the two runners from our school getting to where they are. They both train with a local youth team called McGill Olympic and they are both passionate runners – I am just the guy who fills out the forms and gets them to meets. Still it was exciting to see them both finish middle of the pack today in their first year running at this level. That they made it to the provincials at all was fantastic – that they ran well today is a bonus.

Walk around
The walk around at 7:30 this morning. 10 degrees and it had been raining all night. The course was slick and muddy and only got worse as the day progressed.

Bantam girls
Our Bantam Girls entry into the provincials wearing both team colours – school singlet and McGill Olympic jacket. The GMAA fielded only 5 runners in the Bantam Girls category.

Bantam Boys
Our Bantam Boys entry after the race. 3K at a 4:19 pace in muddy conditions bodes well for the spring track season.

XC championships were being run all over North America today and the difference between the US and Canada is notable in this respect – I have seen reports on US sports news about the high school and collegiate level XC championships and nothing on any Canadian broadcast. The only time Canadian sports television pays any attention to amateur sport is when it is hockey or the Olympics are on – and then only to complain about how poorly our athlete fare and how hard it is for them to get recognition for their achievements. ESPN and the NCAA reporting on amateur sport in the US is second to none and it would be nice if there were some similar reporting done in Canada.

Game over

Posted by bernicky - October 23rd, 2007

For the first time in a long time there is no football this week. The Lakeshore Cougars Pee Wee team lost their semi final game on Saturday morning.

Coach and O Line
Coach Daniels with my son on the right and his partner on the line on the far left.

It was a well played game and despite having a touchdown called back on a behind the play holding penalty the Cougars never gave up hope playing right through to the last second as if they were only a point behind instead of two touchdowns behind.

From a personal standpoint it was a great season. My son started out with the goal of making the bantam team because he was too heavy to play Pee Wee. Then after talking to the bantam coach worked on making weight to play Pee Wee and did so successfully. He maintained his weight and overall fitness and was still at weight for the playoffs. All in all a cool year making a triple A football team is way cool and next season when he moves up to bantam he will have more skills to bring to the game and have a better chance of making the team.

Opportunities abound

Posted by bernicky - October 21st, 2007

Unexpected opportunities crop up periodically and you have to decide whether or not to pursue them. Quite out of the blue it looks like I will have the opportunity to run in a marathon in December the race will happen exactly 6 weeks from today which puts more than a little pressure on whether or not I can actually be ready for a marathon in that period of time. I have been focused on 10K races all season with only on ½ marathon in there. Training times have been very good but I haven’t been doing long runs of any particular distance during the football season. So the question for me is whether or not I can be ready in six weeks to run 42.2.

It’s not that I am out of shape (a little soft maybe but not out of shape) it’s more that 42.2 is a very long race and you have to take it seriously and be concerned if you are not ready for it. I only know one way to run to do my best. Steve Prefontaine once said that to give anything less than everything is to betray the gift. Not all of us have a gift for running but we can still have the same attitude. That being said I can’t imagine being in a city where there is a marathon being run and not participating in the event.

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow training starts.

The thin man

Posted by bernicky - October 16th, 2007

Well it is an expression really. I have been spreading myself a little thin the past little while. My son’s football team has made it to the playoffs by the skin of their teeth and practices have been frequent and furious. At the same time our daughters swim team session have been continuing and through it all I have been trying to train.

I am not certain for what I might be training since I am way too short of cash to run Philly or Manchester and the dates might conflict with a playoff football game anyway. Still I am training. Tonight I took the day off and played some badminton instead of running. Naturally I felt guilty about the indulgence but that is kind of expected.

It is way cool that my son’s football team made the playoffs but other than that life is moving onward at its usual pace.

Why I Run

Posted by bernicky - October 13th, 2007

Here is the first effort at the start of the movie Why I Run (this is a large format WMV file) – it would help if you can speak french as I haven’t figured out how to do subtitles yet for the first interview. So far only the lead in and one interview. What do you like or dislike – better to know now while I am trying to get started than after I have done the full 20 minutes I have planned.

Rememberance of things past

Posted by bernicky - October 8th, 2007

Hume Cronin wrote that memory is a terrible liar in his brilliant autobiography Terrible Liar and he is right. There is something about memory that colours the past in richer hues than are possible. That being said I have been on a Carpenter’s kick recently courtesy of Div-x . Some kind soul has been uploading old Carpenters singles to the site and I have been in dreamland.

Not being a musicologist I cannot offer anything of significance about The Carpenters or their body of work but I will offer this as a fan: Karen Carpenter has on of the most distinctive voices and styles of the twentieth century. In terms of vocal stylings she is as identifiable as Sinatra, Porter, Merman, Streisand, or Gorme and it has been pleasant visiting with her.

Posted by bernicky - October 7th, 2007

Finish line XC
When all is said and done this is what runners are aiming for – the finish line.

Jason picked me up at my place around quarter to eight and we headed off down the 20 to Les Cedres. Mistake one: No map. Mistake two: Quebec has the worst signs in the world for driving. The trip all started wrong when Jason went to turn up to the 40 (the route he knows) and I suggested that the 20 would be faster. As a navigator I am probably not to be trusted especially without a map and working strictly from my memory of the map I saw on line. With a few wrong turns but moving in the general direction of our eventual destination we actually made it to the site with time to spare.

In all honesty I had no idea what I was facing. Last night I phoned Ian who had run the course numerous times and he told me that it was a hilly and sandy course but that the course was hard packed sand and it wasn’t as bad as I had heard. With that information in hand I lined up after a quick 2 K warm up and was ready to run. The start was semi packed sand and if that was as bad as it was going to get then everything was going to be fine. On the first couple of turns on the serpentine course it was easy to figure out not to get too much into the corners as there was no footing in the soft deep sand there. The first 400 meters were a little softer than expected but things firmed up as we approached the first biggish hill and the footing looked like it was going to get markedly better.

The sudden appearance of powdery soft deep sand at the top of the hill and characterizing the course for the next kilometer was a complete nightmare. My legs and butt muscles burned furiously as I tried to keep anything approaching a pace as it seemed my feet just kept sliding sideways in the sand. It was frustrating and seemingly endless. After a while the course turned into a more heavily wooded area with soft packed earth rutted by quad tracks and coated with pine needles. At about 2K there was a sudden sharp downhill run which was a little slick and slightly rutted but not too much of a problem at the base of the hill though there was an up hill that was once again soft sand which allowed for little purchase. Once to the top of the hill the course firmed up again and remained fast until about 4K when there was another sharp downhill that was a little more treacherous, a little rocky and deeply rutted by yesterdays heavy rain it made for some interesting navigation on the way down. Once again the up hill side was soft sand which lead to more soft sand, followed by slightly less soft sand. Then all the way around once again.

I have no idea how I could have prepared for the race short of training on sand. My finishing time was 54:05 which placed me 3rd in my AG (woohoo – I got to take home a medal) and 27th overall. So far the last few races have gone very well for me so I can’t complain about the time or the end result.

Jason – my chauffeur for the day also is a teacher and had a handful of students running in the in 1K event. He was very happy with their results.

Des Cedres

Posted by bernicky - October 6th, 2007

The map is one of a place referred to simply as Des Cedres (The Cedars). It is a cross country skiing area which also hosts the only XC event on the Endurance calendar. Jason Cordery is giving me a lift to the race tomorrow – he is younger and faster than me so it will likely be the only time I get to speak to him will be before the race and after the race. He has some students who will also be running a 1 K after we do our 11 K. 11 K is an odd distance for a race and over the years I have heard that this is a difficult course. Not being a true XC runner it is likely that this race will not go well in comparison to my recent road race results but I could not resist the challenge of doing a ninth race on the circuit this year making a total of ten races for an injury plagued year which isn’t so bad really.Race report to come.


Posted by bernicky - October 2nd, 2007

The Toronto Sports Network (TSN) is also known as The Sports Network but should really change its name to North American Major League Network because if it doesn’t happen in Football, Baseball, Hockey or Golf (which is as much of a sport as Scrabble is) then it doesn’t exist. Earlier this year the European record for the mile fell and the world record almost bit the dust too but it didn’t even make a single line in the sports news. This past weekend Haile Gebrselassie set the world record for the marathon – absolutely nothing in the sports news.

I can understand such omissions on the local news reports but on “the sports network” there should be time to cover even “fringe sports” like track and field and the marathon.