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So I’m packing my bags for the misty mountain

June 16, 2011

Nationals this year (June 22-25) are in Calgary, AB which sits at an altitude of 3400 feet.  That altitude isn’t all that high but it will likely still make distance races a little harder (slower).  In order to prepare for the elevation a bunch of us from Speed River are heading to Canmore, which is about an hour’s drive from Calgary.  Canmore is at 4400 feet which is very similar to Sedona, AZ where I’ve done many runs while training in Flagstaff.  On a typical run you won’t even notice any altitude but when you try and run fast on the track it’s just a little slower.  It’s not like 7000+ feet when you’re gasping for air between intervals. I’m looking forward to the trip because I’ve never been to Banff and have heard great things.

The 10 000m at Nationals in recent years has not been deep and for good reason.  Not many people want to travel ($) and invest in 25 laps without getting a good time because of hot weather, tactical races, or in this year’s case, altitude.  There are only 6 guys on the start list this year.  When I first saw the start list there were only three so I decided to run the 5000m as well, partly because I thought they might can the 10.  I’m gunning for both of them so the plan in the 10 is to be the first Canadian (one Kenyan in the field) and save as much as I can for the 5000m two days later.  The 5000m is also visibly weaker than a few years ago but it will suit me fine and be tough to win.  One of the guys without a seed time on the start list actually ran 13:43 last week at the NCAA champs.

I guarantee that if the  National 10 000m was run the night before the Harry Jerome meet in Vancouver or at the Victoria Track Classic that the fields would be decent.  Canada used to run the 10 at a separate meet attracting international athletes by offering prize money and good weather.  The result was that Canadians took advantage of the opportunity to chase fast times on Canadian soil.  I remember watching races won in the low 28 minute range where athletes running 30 flat were in the ‘B’ section running with 20+ other athletes.  Wow, I’m sounding like an old guy.

Last night I got another little glimpse of former track fitness at the end of my workout.  I did a 6′ pick-up and then went to the track for a 2400m and then 5 X 1000m with 2 min rest.  The plan was to start off at 1/2 marathon pace and then ramp up the last 3-4 km repeats.  My last 4 were 2:46, 2:42, 2:44, 2:40 which were tough but I felt very much in control.  Young Andrew Nixon did most of the workout with me and looks good heading into the 5000 at Nats.



  1. June 16, 2011 5:09 pm

    Another problem running at altitude is dehydration. It is slower and more insidious than the thinner air because people don’t always think about the increase in altitude causing hydration issues. Enjoy nationals.

  2. Derrick permalink
    June 16, 2011 10:16 pm

    Banff/Canmore is amazing. You’ll love it.

    If you’re looking for trail suggestions in Canmore, stop into the Nordic Ski Centre and ask for Magi Scallion. She’s the marketing director and ran for Queen’s while you were at Guelph.

    Leslie from the Banff Tourism Centre could also make some recommendations, but might involve more mountain stuff.

    Good luck!

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