The thing itself is the absence of compromise.

“If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I am tired? That’s besides the point. It’s simply that I just have to.”                – Emil Zatopek

The past two weeks have been rough. Suffice it to say that I did less mileage in two weeks than I usually run in one. I don’t have any good excuses, but I suppose that’s the crux of the problem. When you’re training on your own and lacking motivation, the little things get blown up into huge obstacles. And this, of course, is unacceptable. There is nothing to do now but move on and focus on training hard this week, and the week after that, and so on. Chasing lost mileage is something that I am probably prone to doing, but fortunately I know better now.

The one highlight of the past two weeks was my “birthday run.” I turned 23 on May 17th, so I took it upon myself to run a mile for each year of my life. I probably cheated because I did it as a double, but it was two days after my 10,000m race, and frankly I didn’t want to run for three hours in one go. So I opted for 15 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it’s my biggest mileage day ever, but it’s up there. I also need to note that my parents are slowly starting to accept my mileage madness. When I told them about my birthday plans, my mom didn’t say things like “you’re crazy” or “but you only race 5k, why do you need to run 23 miles?” or “you’ll ruin your knees forever.” Instead, she calmly inquired as to what I would do when I turned 40 or 50. This, I believe, is progress. I’m honestly not sure what one would do at that age. I suppose that at some point, it would be prudent to switch to kilometers.

This week promises to be exciting. The 401 race series kicked off in Windsor on Saturday with some fast races. I will be racing the 3000m on Wednesday in London, the second stop of the 401 series. The series ends with a 1500m/mile in Guelph on June 5th. This series is a brilliant idea. If the results from Windsor or the performance lists for London are any indicator, this will be a great opportunity for Ontario runners to get in competitive fields and run some fast times. Some of the races might lack depth at the front end this year (Taylor Milne ran 3:38 in Windsor and was six seconds up on the runner-up, Matt Hulse), but this series will grow in the future. The old “if you build it, they will come” cliche is probably pretty apt here. I commend the efforts of all those in charge of the 401 series for their efforts to build competitive meets in Ontario.

At the moment, I’m not sure what to expect in my 3k race on Wednesday. My 10k two weeks ago surprised me; I honestly didn’t think I was that fit. I’m not sure if my 10k fitness will translate into a personal best in the 3k, but I’m willing to give it a go. At worst I can write the race off as “speed work,” since it will be a good prep for my 5k track races later this month. Nicole Bush, who runs the 3000m steeplechase faster than I can run the 3000m sans barriers and water pit, is supposed to be in the field, so hopefully I won’t get embarrassed too badly. Nevertheless, I’m excited to race again.

Finally, another reason to be excited about track and field this week is the Bislett 5000m (part of the IAAF Golden League series). Most of the field has a personal best under 13 minutes. In addition, both Lagat and Solinsky will be going after the American record. Hopefully there will be a live feed online, as this race promises to be exciting.

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