Monday, November 12, 2012

A Year in the Making

Yesterday was Sunday and I woke up with the nastiest hangover I've had in a while. Making this hangover even worse was an 8+ hour bus ride from Montreal back to London ahead of me. Today is Monday and I woke up with a pounding headache. Busses and hangovers suck a lot, and so do Monday migraines. One may argue that these two days should be erased and forgotten about. But for me, these two days have rocked so far. I should probably be in class right now getting caught up on everything I've put on hold for the past 2 months, but I think I'll log some computer time and get this blog up. I do it for my fans...

I would love to see the facial expressions of the people pooping next to my stall at the Stop-And-Go yesterday afternoon. Not because I was ripping stinky toots or playing battle shits with those poor confused bastards, but because of my violent vomiting and cursing in that unfortunate stall. What did that toilet do to deserve that sort of punishment? I think I cracked the porcelain. We had a pretty nifty celebration Saturday night and I was paying the price big time. My good pal George says it best; A man at night is a man in the morning. I wasn't a man in either situation. I went from a drunken school girl to a walking puddle in a matter of hours. I was green. I had the mouth-sweats. I was a bag of hammers.

The benefits of being a runner, or any athlete involved in a vigorous training regimen, is that they generally become a very cheap drunk. I remember in highschool I could demolish 26 ounces of poisonous rum, shotgun 15 cans of beer in a 90 minute window (Fubar style), funnel bottles of wine, etc. At 5 foot 7, 132 pounds, I am now lucky enough to start achieving the funny affects after 2-3 beers...running lots of miles has definitely made me a huge lightweight but my wallet is quite content. Before I became a runner I was a very immature person and now I don't have an ounce of immaturity in my body. In my grade 10 rebel days I went to my 8am welding exam with a bottle of red wine in my backpack. The plan after the exam was to go celebrate the start of summer and the shenanigans that were about to unfold on that soon-to-be horrific day. At approximately 11am, I had that bottle of red wine poured into a funnel and pointed to my throat, with a circle of cheering imbeciles chanting for me to conquer the alcohol. I opened my valve, released my thumb, cheers'd to the sky and started chugging. What a great idea at the time! I felt like an unstoppable machine with my buddies baseball medals on, marker all over my face, dancing gracefully for these laughing fools. That ended up being the worst afternoon of my life and Lisa and Sam Campanale's basement walls took a beating when my guts layered them in what would be known as the Campanale Basement Massacre. My past was pretty pathetic. Present day Josh is much more mature than that.

This blog has gotten a decent number of pageviews which gives me a lot of confidence. All the confidence I can get is very important because my lackluster appearance doesn't provide me with this quality. I like to think that these pageviews come from a population of many different and interested blog inquirers, but in hindsight, it's probably just the same 4 people who read it a thousand times over again. If you are reading this, chances are you're a friend of mine, runner, drinking partner, family member, or a coach and know what happened to me at the end of my 2011 cross country season. If you're one of the people that have reached my blog from Singapore, Germany, UK, Tasmania or anything else like that, I'll fill ya in.

In 2010 our men's team was compiled from a bunch of fast rookies, a couple seasoned vets, a kid that showed up to first tryout and ran in jeans, myself, and some optimistic coaches. The women were expected to win National gold again, and that's exactly what they did. Us dudes were expected to do well, but winning National gold was a pretty big shock for us to pull off and that's exactly what we did. After we won Nats there in New Brunswick, 110 pound Daniel Bright was brought back to the hotel at 3am by two lesbian body builders after he was found intoxicated in an alley. Brilliant. At the start of 2011, we lost a couple of bodies including the entire women's team. Us dudes were back to repeat and things were looking very good going into Nationals out in BC. It was literally our race to lose and I lost it for my team, my coaches, and everyone that invested their time into me. At 5k into the race, I started going blank, dizzy, breathing started fading, lost feeling in my legs, and chaos was happening. With 200m to go and another team gold medal in my sights, I collapsed and was unable to get back to my feet and help my team to another title. As I laid there in goose shit, listening to the drama and echoing unfolding around me, my world felt like it was coming to an end. I was held back in hospital for 3 days with Coach Ron while everyone else went back with questions and disappointment. In between all the bloodwork, tests they did on my heart, sexy nurses, and McDonald's meals from Ron; I did a lot of thinking in that hospital bed. I asked myself if I wanted to call it quits after that experience or keep at it and put that tragedy behind me. All the testing that was done on me came back negative and Ron and I went for a Keg dinner to help me feel a little better. Then we saw a mountain goat perched in his habitat, it was just sitting there all majestic and such. Ron was fascinated. Back in London I saw a cardiologist where more tests were done, yet nothing came of it. I started running about a week later and 2012 was going to become a harbour of excellence, perserverance and hope, while the gongshow of 2011 would be my motivation.

I graduated from my program and was ready to take on the real world, run for myself, make some money, chip away at some marathons and just figure things out. A couple blogposts ago I talked about ditching the New York City Marathon to go back to Fanshawe and run Cross Country for one last time.   Let me tell you how great that decision was. Remember that hurricane that came to the eastern seaboard and effed shit up? They cancelled the marathon two days before the race was supposed to happen. I would have been in the Big Apple when they broke the news and I would have absolutely snapped, knowing I trained and travelled there to run and then could have ran for Fanshawe instead. I wanted to go back to Fanshawe to redeem myself after last year and help finish what we started. I went back to better my education and complete another program also. There is a good chance that I may even be back next year and the year after that. I figure I could just become the next Van Wilder and take every program that the school has to offer until I figure out what I like. I'll be a jack of all trades and drive around in my own golf cart around campus. Girls like guys with good skills, I need more skills. The theme of this season was very clear and everyone knew that nothing less than 1st place in the country this year would be accepted. There was this really cute girl that showed up to tryout in September that also altered my brain to make the decision to come back. Amazing how she had that affect on me:) When coach John unveiled the new Falcon shirts it put goosebumps on my scrawny little arms. It says "UNFINISHED BUSINESS" on the back of them and that was the motto for the entire season. 

I'm just rambling on right now and I know I've lost the readers interest so I'll put this as simplistic as possible. We dominated Provincial Championships, putting 6 of us in the top 13 on October 20th. This probably scared the shit out of the rest of the country. On Saturday morning I woke up with redemption on my mind. You could see it in everyone's eyes man, we weren't going to let anyone get in the way of us this time. Coach John delivered his speech, we went to the course, the women raced their hearts out and it was time for us to go out there and get the job done. We had a lot of support which was awesome, All eyes were on us. Fanshawe Alumni came just to watch, along with parents and friends. Everyone had their battles and strategy. We figured if we put together 6 solid races on Saturday, no one would touch us. I put Trev and Ally's initials on my hand, something I've done all season. I warmed up, drills and strides, made sure I knew where the St. Foy Frenchies were and then toed the line. Predator Clint did his thing up front there despite running 25:41 for the 3rd straight Nationals. He is cursed in terms of running that same friggen' time, but he isn't complaining because he came 2nd in the race individually for the second straight year- he's legit people. My plan was to roll with DB for a few KM then start beasting my way up the pack and take as many scalps as I could. The start of the race was pretty crazy and there were bodies everywhere (the first 400 was probably dropped under 60 seconds) and I found myself in front of DB the entire way. I ran super smart and and just floated along nicely, reeling in bodies like a beast would. The thought of my incident in 2011 entered my mind a hundred times during the race and I kept blocking that demon out with things like: I can't wait to party after the race, damn it's nice having John Mason yelling at me right now, I hope I looked good coming up that hill in the picture you just took mom, revenge is a meal best served cold, this is for you Tbarts and Ally, this is for you boys and coaches, there will be absolutely no ambulances this year, I hope I don't shit myself, I might puke my way out of the finishing chute after the race, I'm gonna drink gin like an animal tonight, quick go catch that St. Foy kid, cursing back and forth with that idiot in the back section of the 3k loop, did he actually just call me slim shady, so-long gay boy, suck on these chinese balls, that kenyan dude is gonna crash hard, how bad do you want this, we're gonna do this, keep digging buddy you're almost there, 200m and I'm feeling better than last time, god damnit Sean Sweeny just out kicked me by a second. 

I rolled through the line and flashed my Fanshawe singlet for the cameras. I finished in 10th place with a time of 26:18. I looked back and there was DB, Rick, Mckellar, and BG. It was exhilarating to see our whole squad finish in the top 26. My emotions just started pouring out and I was fist pumping and yelling like a crazy bastard. I ran great and I knew redemption just happened. Business was finished. That was one of the best moments of my life so far; just jumping around with a permanent smile, hugging everyone and celebrating..I'm getting so happy thinking about it- I want to start screaming in the computer lab I'm in right now and break dance for everyone in here. After the race, Clint and I helped pace Kyle and Mike in the community/coaches 5k race. We had to live up to our nicknames as Predator and Beast so pacing those boys to a fast and strong 5k was the right thing to do.

It was so nice to show that you can do great things if you want it bad enough. I could have been wallowing with my head down or I could have came back to re-live another season with my family and teammates. I got to meet a super cool chick, help my boys win National College Cross Country Gold, further my education, and tell you all about my amazing experience this season. This season was a message from god that everything in fact does happen for a reason. Dreams do not work unless you do. Champions are made when no one is watching. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. When life hits you hard you gotta get up and keep grinding man. Whatever it is that interests you, work hard and be the best at it. Do what makes you happy and live life abundantly. 

Thanks to everyone that has supported me and the team this year. This was a year in the making and I can finally breathe and relax a little now. This is definitely a bittersweet moment for me because I am ending my running career at Fanshawe as a champion but I'm gonna miss these experiences like crazy. I can't thank my coaches enough for investing the time into me and making me something I never thought I'd become. The relationships I've made in this sport will last a lifetime. 

I said I'd take a week off completely from running. I'm going to party like a rock star for a couple weeks now but I don't think I'll get passed day 3 of no running. In about a week from now I'm gonna start logging some sexy base mileage for the winter. I'm thinking like 100miles a week and then just work my way up from there. Cam Levins reportedly just signed with Speed River and is working with Dave Scott-Thomas but will be training in Utah still. He also ran 190 miles last week. Most people I know don't drive 100 miles a week, so I'll just start there. I also want to get a Beer Mile organized soon, so I'll keep you running people up to date with that. This Saturday, November 17th I will be hosting a party at my mothers pad to celebrate 3 months of sobriety and a fairy tale ending to an amazing season running with my Falcons. Alcohol and food, runners and non-runners, pin the tail on the Dane Moffatt, hugs, high fives, sky punches, fist pumps, beer pong, no bongs, good looking and ugly people, dogs, ratchets, music and winning will be a few things on display, so come check it out.