Why I’m Running XC Provincials

Yes – you read that right. I, Devan Wiebe, a whiny 800m runner*, will be participating in the BC Cross Country Championships this weekend. I was going to write “racing” but I think “participating” is the better word choice. As while it’s unlikely that I’ll be battling for gold, (unless the leaders take the first 5.2km really, really, easy), I’ll be tackling the same course and mixing it up with some of the best runners in the province.

I’m not a cross country runner. (Side note: is anyone? Or are some distance runners just a lot tougher than others?). My mileage is feeble, my “long run” is an hour, and I consider any interval over 400m to be “distance” running. However, I’m healthy, have been easing back into training since mid-September, and I’m injury free – so what’s the harm (excluding to my ego)?

Reflecting on my (disappointing) track season last year, it’s easy to find excuses for why I didn’t perform as well as I wanted. But the bottom line was that I didn’t take opportunities to challenge myself. I had good reason (aka. a stress fracture), for not doing so, but still – I chose to avoid placing myself in situations where I didn’t have confidence that I would perform well. I shied away from exposing my weaknesses. (Examples: I’m not “ready” for indoors, it’s too soon to run a time trial, I can’t do a V02 max test, I don’t want to drive all the way to Coquitlam for one 400m, etc.). I doubt I would have run better in the summer if I had pushed myself into these scenarios, but I would have given my coach more information, which always adds value.

So – in the spirit of information and community fun, there will be no hiding this weekend! My weakness is going to be out and about on a 6km course, but that weakness is going to be a lack of fitness – not a fear of trying.

*PS There are lots of 800m runners who are awesome at cross country, I’m just not one of them (yet).

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