Sunday, June 8, 2014

1:50 something...............

 1:52.33, there I said it.  I’m owning it.  My first race in the 2014 season was my slowest in years.  As much as I wanted to step off just before the finish line to not get those results, I knew it was something I needed to accomplish. Plus, with Athletics Toronto tweeting it, well I guess I can’t hide from it anyways. Ha
In the end I am glad I did it.  The inferno itself was a fantastic meet.  Plenty of athletes, fans in the stands, and an announcer who knew about the sport and let the audience know what was going on. It was great. I’m not sure what I expected with my performance, but I know I wanted to go faster.  I really wanted to break 1:50 for the 800m.  It was this benchmark I had setup for myself.  So I attacked the race like a race!  Sub 53 seconds at 400m (good), 1:19 at 600m (good). All I would have to do is close in a 30 second 200m which should be relatively easy.  NOPE!  About 150m left in the race my entire body seized up. I started my signature Stevie Wonder head swing, with arms like I’m steering a bus, and gritting my teeth so hard you could see my pearly whites from the 100m mark. :P.  Yes, I know none of these running mechanics help you run fast!

I've been coaching athletes young and old for the past 4 years, and I tell them to just lay it on the line and see what happens. That they’ll never regret a race when you run like that.  So I'm glad I wasn't a hypocrite.  I’m glad I did finish.  A coach wrote me after and said the journey always begins somewhere. There’s still lots of season to lay down fast times”.  And he’s right.  Each workout and each race gets me a little stronger and a little fitter.  I’ve got a fantastic training group that is all ready to go fast.  I just got to hop on the train each week and hang on and lay it all out there!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yes, A Freaking Bus

Sitting in the emergency room alone as Leanna had just gone to get me a water, was the first time I realized, I almost died. The emotions rushed over me all at once. What the hell just happened?!?

So let’s go back to the beginning.  I'll write everything I remember. It's a little sporadic and jumps around a little, but that's how I remember it.   I was driving to a friend’s house in Toronto like it was any other. It was supposed to be an uneventful Friday. I approached an intersection in the left hand turn lane, took a look and went through on a yellow light turning red. This I remember. The next part comes in pieces for me. I remember making the turn and being just about straight; then I see it. This massive red, white and black tank coming at me full speed. I can close my eyes now and still see it….A city bus. I distinctly remember thinking, “I’m dead”. Nothing else, no flash of my life, no white light, just “I’m dead”. I know I slammed on the brakes but that made little difference to the impact. The bus crashes into me on the passenger side. The airbag bursts open with white smoky powder filling the air. The next memory I have is gasping for air like you would coming up from a deep dive. I unbuckle my seat belt and climb out of the car as fast as I can. My chest is killing me and I can’t catch my breath. Like when you jump fully into ice water and gasp for air. I take a step out of the car and my left knee buckles and I feel an excruciating sting pain. I just collapsed on the wet road and lay there, trying to breathe; my knee throbbing.

I remember a group of people hunched over me telling me to stay lying down. I remember all I wanted to do was get up and move but the group kept pushing me down. I heard one person say the car is smoking so they got me up and moved away from the accident. The pain in my knee felt like a bone was out. I lift my pant leg up to see how bad it is, and to my surprise it looked like a knee except for a small bump of swelling.

The next thing I remember is sitting on a giant rock near just off the sidewalk (the rock shows an entrance to a ravine behind me) where a first responder knowing CPR checks to see how I’m doing. “what’s your name?” – “Kyle” “Do you know where you are?” – “yes (I gave him intersection)”, “Do you know what happened?”- “A bus hit me”. I know I’m alive and can walk which means I’m okay. “I’m okay” I tell him. But I know I’m in shock. My knees were shaking faster than they ever have. My hands looked like I was having a tremor. -“I’m okay!”

I get up walk over to the intersection and I asked the bus driver if they are okay, she is just shaken up. And the remaining passengers are okay. So everyone is alive and okay. I walk back over to my first responder where people are telling me what they saw and remember. I asked a woman to call Leanna (my girlfriend… I was driving her car…whoops). A woman tells me she saw the city bus run a red light.

I called Leanna. I remember the act of calling but not what I said. I told her I had been in a little fender bender, but I was okay and so was everyone else, but if she wants to come down and see she could, and I’m sitting in an ambulance. When Leanna (and her mom, who was visiting a day before they both left for London, England) arrive at the scene, they see the distruction. The car’s passenger front side is completely destroyed. Pieces are ripped apart from the engine and scattered 20meters past the car. The car had done a 270 (since I was already straight into the intersection) so I was facing the same way I had started when turning left. Nothing really registered with me. I knew I had been in an accident and I knew the car was totaled. My hands shook with adrenaline; Fear and happiness. I knew I was alive and able to walk-so I was okay. Once Leanna could see I was relatively okay she started documenting everything. She took pictures, talked to people, and assessed the scene.

I remember next talking with the police officer and the tow truck driver. The officer asked me what I wanted to do with the car. I told him the tow truck driver said he could pop out the dents for $500 and be good as new. The police officer looked at me, then the car (remember engine parts are down the street) and started to laugh. I think that was my way of dealing with it. Just joke about the situation and avoid actually assessing things.

I finally went to the hospital. I didn't want to go until I had talked to the officer and talked to any witnesses. But it was sitting in the emerg room alone was when all the emotions flooded me. It’s when I realized just how serious what had happened was. That I was almost very seriously injured or worse…. Before I left I had an x-ray that came back negative for any breaks, which was great, and found out two days later the physical damage to my body was MCL sprain, seat belt lacerations on my hips, and cracked/bruised ribs.

So yeah, that’s my story. It’s been just over 2 weeks since my accident. I’ve since then drove, begun walking without a limp and learning how to accept what happened. The swelling is pretty much gone from my knee so I can fully extend it now. Though spots are tender, it feels great to move, regardless if it’s just walking. My ribs still hurt; they typically wake me up when I sleep on them and it still hurts to breathe a bit, but it’s gone down. Driving still rattles me. The first time I got into the car, just to sit in it, was too much for me. But since then I’ve slowly done small trips. It takes me longer and I need a mental breather once I’m there, but I’m doing it. I’ve talked to a councillor about these issues and I’m experiencing a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and should be gone in 2 months.

Yes, this was and is the scariest thing I’ve ever faced in my life. I hope no one experiences this. But I’m learning how to accept and move forward. Much of this is similar to analysing a very important race I just blew. Is this one this going to change everything? Am I going to quit because something bad happened? Regardless this was an accident. Accidents can and do happen. I’ve been driving 14 years without an accident, why can’t I make another 14 without something or longer. Crazy thing was that as soon as I realized everyone was okay I called my coach, Dave Reid and asked him to set me up with an MRI to see how long I’m out from running. Huh, guess I love this shit!!!!

My friends and family have been amazing. Leanna’s been incredible with this, she has supported me through so much and I owe her the world. Bobbo, Tara, Morgan Fam, Megs, LuLu, Laura, Pete & Kate, and my own family. THANK YOU FOR CHECKING IN AND BRINGING ME BACK. I may have to adjust my goals slightly but I’m still going to put it all out there, and let’s be honest, if a bus can’t stop me, what can?!

A few pics of the scene





Monday, April 29, 2013

PENN RELAYS

1200m start!
Seb Coe 
This weekend I hopped on a plane to Philly for the Penn Relays; USA vs the World.  Was it ever fun!!  Let's paint the picture.  Huge stadium filled with fans screaming their heads off for their favourite people, schools, and countries   It's a constant battle between the U.S.A chant and JAMAICA.  As for the athletes  well it has some of the best athletes in the World, present and past.

Canada had teams in the Men's and Women's 4x100m, 4x400m, Women's 4x800m and Men's Distance Medley (DMR).  I was on the DMR, which is made up of a 1200m, 400m, 800m, and 1600m.

Canada White
I know what you're thinking, I was the 800m leg....WRONG!!!  I moved up a little distance to that 1200m leg.  As I stepped on the line, I looked to my left and there's an Olympian and to my right a 1:43 guy, 2 other Olympians-one of which is a bronze world medalist, and others with much faster Pb's in the 1500m.
Umm.....YUP!

Let's rewind to last year in the same event when I ran the same leg.  I got a little antsy and put the first surge in with 300m to go and started the train to the finish....and with 50m to go....I rigged up and fell apart.  So going into this year, my coach was straight up with the strategy for me; sit in the mix and stay in contact. 

This year would be different.  I felt confident in my training and in my fitness.  So when the gun went off, I got right in the mix.  "Stay relaxed", that's all that went through my mind.  First lap was quick, second lap slowed....Now lap 3.  Last year I went with 300m to go.  I wasn't going to make the same mistake. Then BAM everyone started to ramp it up at 300m....HERE WE GO! I was tucked on the inside lane slightly boxed in and clipping (stepping on the heels) the runner in-front of me.  Gotta go wide...Nope!  Someone else had the same plan and got out just before me, putting me to a halt   Stay relaxed and keep pushing!!!  I came around the turn with about 150m to go and put it all out there.  As I came off the straight away I knew I was still strong.  I ran hard in handed off to my teammate and he took off.  WHACK!!!!  Team GB slammed into me plowing me over sending me straight to the ground.  

My time was 2:53.5.  I handed off in 7th, and 0.1 from 6th place (6th was the Olympian with a Bronze medal from the World Championships).  To put this race in perspective, last year I ran 2 seconds slower handing off in 5th, and in that same race 1st place last year handed off in 2:53. One other note....Team Ethiopia missed the World Record by about a half second this weekend. .......YUP, so I was pretty happy with my performance.

Battle Scars
Our team ran well.  We put it all out there and I'm happy.  I'm back in Flagstaff, and putting in one last cycle before heading to California for a blazing fast race on the 17th.  I'm a little banged up, but hey, chicks dig scars!!!
Battle Scars














If you want to watch the race,