Sunday, 25 November 2012

Recap & Review

It’s been a few weeks since the last blog was written. Initially the plan was to recap NAIA’s separately, but now it’s going to be mashed in here.

For UBC the NAIA championships went extremely well. The girl’s team couldn’t have done any better. Coming into the race ranked first and finishing the race that was is pretty awesome. I’m sure most of them were nervous, but they lived up to the expectations and performed. Having 4 All Americans Canadians was an impressive feat. That being said all the girls ran well and should be congratulated on their team title!

Coming in ranked 5th, I think the men’s team definitely had a chance to get on the podium. The conditions really played to our strengths, and with it being cold and mucky it was the kind of weather we are used to training in. When the gun went off, it was the last I saw of our team until the finish line. I wanted to situate myself in the front group of runners and see how it played out. I knew I was at a new fitness, but I wasn’t exactly sure were that would put me.  There was a few points during the race where I kind of though ‘alright, when are these guys going to drop me?’ That point never came. There were a few guys in the front group that surged here and there, which thinned out the group over the first 3 laps. Every time they would surge, they would gap me, however I would just increase the pace ever so slightly and would real them back in when they slowed. I made it to about 800m to go before they broke me, however I was able to finish hard, picking off one of the guys on the last hill and confirming a medal spot. Immediately after crossing the line my thoughts reverted right back ‘TEAM’ my head was immediately turned to see where our next guy was. Tim Hueby Booby was our next finisher in 26th, getting one of them All-American plaques. Kudos to you sir, quite and exquisite run.  The team ran well and adding in the rest of the score we had 201 points total, 87 points better than last year. That would have placed us 3rd last year, this year 6th, which is obviously disappointing but what can you do. It was definitely a nice consolation winning the overall combined score and beating them San Marcos people.

The bus ride wasn’t too bad; Marek definitely lightened it up when he contradicted his no alcohol rule in a matter of minutes by popping the champagne bottle. We made it home in one piece, and were able to cap the whole trip off with a little team rendezvous at the Coppertank for a couple of adult pops.

For some people the season was over after NAIA’s, but for the real men and really manly women they chose to buck up one more time for the Canadian cross country nationals. Most people actually ran as it was at Jericho, which for those of you who may not know (like the 5 people not on the team that are reading this) is basically our home course. The week leading up to the race felt like and eternity for me, I just wanted to get the weekend and race. The combination of nerves and XCitement kept building over the course of the week and I really just wanted to get out there and finish off the season. The majority of my thoughts this week were of making the Senior national team, which before NAIA’s I have never seriously considered it.

The race it self was brutally painful. To look at 10km as just a distance, is not that daunting we run much farther than that on our off days. But for me racing 10km is another story; that is far! I’ve always done well at cross but I’m used to racing 800’s and 1500’s on the track, there is a gap between those race and running 10, 000m. Luckily running the race didn’t turn out to bad at all. I was able to stick with the front group for the better part of 7km and was able to hold on the last 3 to secure a top 5 finish and sport on the national team. In doing so I equaled my personal best through 8km and almost broke 30 minutes for 10km.

If somebody had told me that I would do something like this at the start of the season I would have just laughed. When we gathered for our annual training camp in Whistler at the end of August the coaches always hand out goal sheets, mine at the start of the season was top-15 at both NAIA's and Canadian Nationals. Things turned out much better than I thought, it proves that if you stay healthy and work hard the performances will come. Hopefully everything will go well the next few months, and this upward trend will continue on.

Thank to everybody that made it out both meets, especially everyone that made it down to Vancouver (Wa.), it was like running a race at home. Hopefully the recent performances by the UBC team will motivate them to strive further. There are many talented runners and as long as you put in the mileage the times will start rolling come the spring.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Thoughts on CIS and our last few days prior to NAIA's

This past Saturday saw the all of the Canadian schools, save us and SFU compete in the CIS Cross Country Championship, for those of you who don't know that would be the Canadian University Championship. Coincidentally we happened to be a workout the same time the race was going on. For the past 4 years, my routine on this day has been quite similar; wake up in the morning, check for updates about the race, get change then spend the whole time in transportation to practice on the social media outlets looking for any sort of updates I can find. Following that I'll be checking my phone throughout practice for any other updates about the races, this usually happens after warmup, and after the intervals before cool down starts. Unfortunately, we don't get to race the the other Canadian teams other than UVIC, whom may we race once or twice a season, and it's definitely not when our teams are both fit for Championship season. I know for me and some of the guys on the team it really interesting to see how the rest of the Canadian runners do, many of the guys running at CIS are teammates from back home, or old high school rivals. I would say the NAIA is much deeper than the CIS and we are thankful for the outdoor track season, however I know I would much rather compete against Canada's best university runners during the fall. More pride is taken being a Canadian and competing against the best from Canada. Though we may not get to run against the university masses, most of the strongest will make there way out to our home course at Jericho Beach, for the Canadian Cross Country Championships; for us UBC boys we will get a chance to mix it up with Canada's best, I think that we'll be turning a few head. The meet goes off on the 24th of November, and I encourage everyone who is reading this and not racing to come cheer on Canada's best, the race even feature some Olympians from the past summer.

That being said, we have one big meet to focus on before the Canadian Championships. The final UBC team race of the 2012 season will be the NAIA Championships, held in Vancouver, Washington. The race is scheduled one week prior to the Jericho, November 17th, the men go off at 11:45am with the women's team racing just prior to that at 10:30am.

The past week has seen us back from conference and the teams putting the last few miles in the legs before we begin our taper into these last two Championship races. Our the last few workouts have been pretty standard for us leading up to races, miles in the mud last Tuesday, some long repeats in the mud at Jericho on Saturday, and last night some 800's in the mud. Lots of mud, however everybody seems to be coming in to form when it matters most. Hopefully this training in the mud will pay off in Washington, as well all know that Jericho will be one giant puddle. The course in Washington has the potential to be quite muddy, and with the way the forecast looks, mud is definitely on the menu. Compared to most schools, who race on fast course all season, we have been banging around in the mud on Tuesday's and Saturday's for some time now, so I think its safe to say the team knows how to handle it. Throw it the cold temperature and the race looks to resemble a much more Canadian form of cross country.

Both teams are ranked in the top 5, the men being 5th and women holding the number 1 ranking. Not to put pressure on the women's team but they should feel good about their chances, especially after the regional meet where they put 6 women before San Marcos completed their team score. As long as the get after it and run hard Saturday the results will come. For the men the road to the podium looks a bit tougher. All top 5 teams are quite strong  and on any given day the team that races the best could take the title. The UBC men's team is deep, with the top 5 having changed several times through out the season and the pack usually having a small spread. The team is composed with veterans, Tim Huebsch and Luc Bruchet having run at the NAIA championships a combined 5 times prior to this year. Being the two Seniors on the team, they know more or less what is expected of them and how the races often play out. The rest of the team is made of runners with less NAIA experience, however many of them have ran at other big meets, they should be able to handle the pressure. On race day, the team will have to make sure to mark out any blue San Marcos jerseys and red South Oregon in the race and do their best to beat them to the line. With the top team being very close, the race should come down to a small point spread.

 Hopefully everybody on the team does not chase individual glory, we cannot afford to have anyone blow up. Each member of the team needs to realize they are running for the friend and training partner beside them. This is our shot for team title and everyone on the team matters.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A (vague) biography of a reg. team that is most certainly not us

This post bring an idea of the personalities of the Men's team traveling to San Diego for regionals. We want everyone out there to know the team a little better. No longer do we want people asking if Track or Cross Country is a Varsity Sport, 'No I am not part of the UBC Run Club.' We wear normal running shoes (other than a certain Japanese fellow) and short shorts and can run laps around anybody on campus.

Tim Noriaki Harajuku Smith: Despite what his name may suggest, this 400m runner turned marathoner turned cross country runners brings a pleasant Asian presence to the team. A very good season thus far, attributed to the fact that he's been seen wearing shoes on occasion, TS has provided the support that the team required after losing a number of key contributors from last years squad. Although he has the attention of a fly, he manages, miraculously, to keep himself occupied for 8,000m. I, for one, welcome his return because it also legitimizes the use of TIMTIMYE. Runners beware: Wearing minimalistic shoes in close proximity to T.S garners unwelcome attention from his nether regions

Matt Galea: The most chivalrous of the bunch. Singing  I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, singing Ayo Galileo  Although only in his second year, he has a slew of experience in the field of cross country running. After making both regionals and nationals in his freshman year, the team will need him to continue to run well in order to give the likes of Southern Oregon and San Marcos a scare. Watch for big things from the silent knight in San Diego and onwards. The only runner on the team that appears not to be a Nike Rep, he rocks brands that people didn't even know existed anymore, notably PUMA. Favourite food: mashed potatoes.

Luc B: The Golden Boi. Although for much of the season it looked like this guy had the aerobic capacity of a 3 year old child, the LB that we all know and love came out to play at the Thunderbirds most recent meet in Santa Clara where he not only led the team to an impressive time, he did so by lugging around 4lbs of Spaghetti from the night before. Eyeing a top 10 performance at Nationals, the team will need a performance as big as his appetite come Nov 17. The only barrier between him and glory is Roberto's Tacos, a road side restaurant that remains in business solely based on contributions from the UBC XC team.

Bilal Shamsi: Otherwise known as Biloo & Babar, he is seen more often than not wearing soccer apparel rather than running apparel. Prior to going to UBC, I was 100% sure he ran in his underwear because I couldn't imagine companies making spandex that minute. His extreme fear for canine beasts will make Regionals particular interesting since the course is held at one of California's most popular and vicious dog parks. How he will respond to this remains up in the air. What is certain however, is B will have a stellar race if he decides to avoid snacking on the following: Kosher MacDonalds, Sour Patch Kids, Cherry Blasters and the like.

David Spade: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T MENTION HEEL-STRIKING. Originally thought to max out at 800m (possibly 799m with a questionable lean), apparently Spade has metamorphed into a cross country runner. There remains strong controversy surrounding the exact spelling of said runners name however. He enjoys seeing party rockers in the house tonight, and especially likes when everybody has a good time. His stellar form and superb forefoot strike makes him a beast in XC. Ladies take note, Spade goes long and hard and don't you ever forget it.

Jack Williams: He has been known to spend the majority of his days in his cave; with conclusions being drawn that he spends more time playing games on his computer than playing with his lil' willy. Calculations have been made by his roommates that it's a 4.5 hour to 4 hour split between these two activities. When the schedule calls for practice, this little gremlin somehow finds the capability to leave his chamber. Though his small stature of 4'11 makes him the smallest kid on the team, don't dwell on that factor, Wacko Wills can hold his own with the best of the rest. Though he has an extremely outgoing personality, your interaction with this little boy is most likely going to end before you say a word; for the reason that he speaks his own language. This language is only understood a few members of the team, with the main reason being that it consists of 4 words.

Ser Willard Cliff: A descendant from a long line of runners, Ser Willard has emerged this season as a threat on the grass and dirt. This future Sauder grad, does not run just purely on fitness, but uses his brains to increase his performance. In the early part of the season he could be scene on the race course with his calculator, breaking down which parts of the race are most important. In Santa Clara he apparently perfected this formula, deducting that running the last mile fastest often produces the greatest results; this propelled him to a huge personal best.

Timothy Huebsch: Known to few as Mr. Noisewaters or Cholo Dolo, the lone Aryan of our team is known most commonly as The Captain. After a solid summer of high mileage and abstaining from masturbation, T. has become a member of the team heavily relied upon upfront. After a big race from him at the Charles Bowles Invitational,  he really showed that having a sperm count as high as cloud 9 proves instrumental in running success. With the greasy blonde hair and the lack of kick-back on his stride, many often ponder how he's capable of running so fast. Two things to look our for come the big meets in November are big races from TH and his pain train face, which is sure to scare people into hiding, and cause women to cry for years on end. 

Jake Bruchet: Rounding out the men's regional team, this soft, docile child adds much needed compassion to the team. He brings a caring aspect that every team needs. Whenever one of the men have troubles, J's mother-like attitude always helps to console.  J. can often be found annoying the shit out of his 5 roommates, by singing along with very women-ish country songs. His favorites artist is the lovely Taylor Swift. Though he has a soft side, Jacob has be known to show up at the big meets, and perform when it matters, he seems to be rounding in to the best form of his life after the last few practices. Hopefully he's able to get those Taylor Swift songs out of his head and get some DMX in there and give "What These Bitches Want"

All in good fun!

First Post Ever - Trials and Tribulations of our Four Years

            I find it quite ironic that today is the first blog posting ever… This blog was actually created at least a year ago, but as you see nothing ever really got going. The blog has simply been stuck in the files of interweb for 365+ days. A few days ago I was musing around some running blogs and I though it was time to get one going for the UBC cross country and track (distance) team. As I came to the blog site it seemed as though the one I created last year was still around, so I though what the hakmenyadmadinijhad, this one should be good enough to use.

            To this date the team has been together, training for nearly eight weeks. It began up at Whistler with training camp (and a certain half Japanese man puking enough for a small village) and now up to this point has brought us through our four required meets prior to regionals. Most would say the four meets ran by the team this season were successful. We won the open sections at both Sundodger (Seattle, WA) and The Charles Bowles Invitational (Willamette, OR). Several of our runners ran exceptional at these meets, especially Tim Huebsch ripping up the field in Oregon. At our third meet of the year, a 10km hosted by Western Washington, our team was beat heavily by UVIC. Though it looked bad on the score sheet, several members of the team ran a conservative race, so as to save themselves for the final meet at Santa Clara. I think the team being rested an going head to head with Victoria, we would give them a run for their money. The last meet of the ‘regular season’ saw the team run on a fast course, The Bronco Invitational hosted by Santa Clara University. The team averaged 24.55 on the course, as well as setting a school record for overall time, 2.04.38. This all seems very good, and is, however some members of the team didn’t have their best races, as well some of the guys had missed a bit of training due to minor issues. Needless to say I think the team is even better than we showed at Santa Clara. 

            The conclusion of the meet in Santa Clara brought a new confidence to the team, as we beat the then number two-ranked Cal State San Marcos team. For the first time I think we all, even coach Marek, realized that we have a legitimate shot at winning NAIA’s (knock on wood). We moved up to the second rank in the National Polls, as well as garnishing several first place votes. Though we seem to be facing a bit of adversity with a few members of the top five having minor set backs, it seems that everyone is putting in the necessary work. Most of the team members are in the best shape of their career, come November 17 (NAIA) and the following week at Canadian XC Nationals, the men of the UBC cross country team will be making a splash in the water.

Coming Soon… Regionals team bios

Au revoir and  crystalnacht to everyone