Sunday, 29 January 2012

McGill Team Challenge

I spent most of Saturday volunteering for the 17th McGill Team Challenge. This race lies at the midpoint of every Canadian's indoor track season. Six weeks out from CIS and it's time to show your stuff.  The meet was very well run, events started as scheduled, and it looked as though there were enough volunteers to keep things going smoothly. Help came in part from us members of Montreal Endurance, also decked out in our fresh team logo for some free advertising/good PR. My job was to check in athletes before the requisite hour prior to their events. Given the noisy environment it wasn't an ideal job for someone with APD. To me most names sounded the same, especially in French "Did you say LeDuc or Medoc?" Nothing worse than repeating your name while stressed for your race.

Our head coach John Lofranco was live-streaming the entire two day event via a hand-held iPad, though I believe his arms were pretty tired by the end. Also nice to see some cross-fertilization/synergy happening between two allegedly rival teams (McGill 'vs' Concordia). Since this was a university-based team event, club participation was minimized, hence the endurance squad helping on the sidelines. Notable performances: York dominated the shot put -both genders- taking all six podium places; McGill's Charlene Puel earned a meet record in the 1k in 2:48.26 (and met CIS standard) and a bronze with a second standard in the 600m; Laval took 5 of the top 6 places in the 1k including two CIS standards; Ottawa set a new meet record of 3:17.77 in the 4x400m. I had front-row seats for that one as their lap counter/bell ringer.

It was good to touch base with the McGill track runners (they were my varsity team for past four years). Even though turnover in any team is high, there were still some familiar faces. Mostly familiar were the women, as McGill's male participation, especially in the distance events, is right now in utter shambles. I laugh at myself whenever I tell younger runners I'm still 'in training'. Reminds me of the gym rats featured in "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" (Aside: this is one of the greatest documentaries about sports of all time; it may cause a philosophical crisis for some non-professional athletes).

Today -Sunday- I went for a 45 min run despite the risk to my Achilles tendon. Running felt very nice and loose, and enjoyable again except for the slight soreness in the Achilles. Learning to run slow remains my ironic challenge. Perhaps my injury denial is winning out. I should pool run today or tomorrow and stay off my feet. But sometimes exercise is like an itch you have to scratch. Not quite ready for prime time, as usual. Patience.

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