Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pursuant to Tostitos with a Hint of Lime, takeout pizza and other gluttonous fare, I have decided to take a long break from running (ten days, not counting Thursday) given that I am done racing for 2006. Well, there is one more race to go, a race so terrifying that it doesn't even have a website. Indeed, this might well be the most important race of all. The focus is on next year now, however. It has been a very long year and though I didn't make the breakthrough in times that I thought I would, that was a matter of aligning fitness with conditions. I hit peak fitness in mid-summer and in late fall on a hilly course. On the whole, I ran a lot of good races and a few that were inexplicably bad, but I was more consistent than ever.

Here's what happened in the 15 races I have run this year:

  • I was 2-1 against 75-year old Ed Whitlock, beating him at two miles and 10 km but losing at 5 km.
  • I jogged half a race but still won maple syrup and a hat. Needless to say, I intend to come back and set things right by running faster and winning nothing.
  • This year, I also won a flashlight, a hat, and a water bottle belt.
  • I ran a relay race with three co-workers wearing our work uniforms. We came 63rd, mostly thanks to me. Really.
  • On Canada Day, I ran a 10 km race...and a bunch of Americans showed up. The kid in front of me, wearing American flag shorts, zig-zagged the course, high-fiving volunteers along the way. I finally caught him at 9 km and muttered "let's go, Uncle Sam". I still don't know if that was friendly encouragement or an insult.
  • While running a half marathon in September, I stopped at 14 km because of excruciating pain from, um, starting off way too fast. It happened to be at a water stop. I have never stopped for water in my life, so I didn't know what to do. Before I knew it, I was standing on the side of the road casually sipping Gatorade. Proving that I should never drive, I almost bowled over a few runners trying to "merge" back in.
  • An excited camel jogged alongside me at one of my races. He was inside his pen, but he was also four times my size. Also here, while negotiating the labyrinthine course at the Toronto Zoo, featuring more than 135-degree turns than Michael Ignatieff, I threw up my hand and yelled a profanity. Two runners behind me supportively muttered, "no kidding!"
  • At the Detroit Half Marathon, in a victory for harangued swarthy travelers everywhere, I ran unimpeded across the American border, twice, as law enforcement officials watched powerlessly.

    I'm aiming for a top-5 finish at the Egg Nog Jog, where I was 6th last year. Next year, I will shoot for a 36-minute 10k, a 1:22 half marathon (guaranteed entry to the New York Marathon) and a 5k time under 18 minutes. Like my plan for a 3.7 GPA, I will have to work harder than I have ever worked to get it, but I think it's about time that I did it.
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