It's here! The beginning of a new decade and the start of a year synonymous with a level of visual clarity that abandoned me long ago. Amongst other things, fans of athletics (and sport more generally) will note that 2020 is an Olympic Year. Particular to the overlapping and not-entirely-dissimilar subset of the above demographic that makes up my readership, this Olympic Year also happens to have more personal relevance than quadrennials prior. In addition to my annual routine of misspelling the date for the first several weeks of January, this New Year has brought with it a sense of immediacy to my goals as an athlete that I had yet to experience up to this point.
There's something about gunning for an event so big that it becomes synonymous with the year in which it takes place that makes the pursuit seem much more all-encompassing. My relationship to my sport of athletics is greater than any one race or team, but I'd be lying if I said my mindset this season hasn't been shaped disproportionately by a single event looming in the foreground. With the Tokyo Olympic year now upon us, it is difficult from within the insular community of elite-athletics in this country to avoid near-daily reminders of what is going down in Japan from July 24th to August 9th. Nevertheless, while the goals for this season in sport will be outsized for me and many others, the path towards those goals will resemble the same paths we've familiarized ourselves with in the days, weeks, months, and years precipitating this current journey.
It is shockingly easy for me to become fixated on a single event or outcome and to lose sight of the processes that will elicit the result I'm after. It is over 6 months until the Canadian Olympic Trials in Montréal and while my mind constantly directs my focus onto that decisive event, there are still many weeks of training and racing that separate the version of myself writing this entry from the one toeing the line on June 25th. While the cachet attached to this year's prize has served to crystallize my focus in preparation, I must also remind myself that what I hope to achieve in the future is the sum of the goals I set for myself each day. To that end, I am truly enjoying the process of training and excited about the opportunities before me in the nearer future.
In addition to being an Olympic year, 2020 is also the first in my adult life that comes completely uninhibited by academic commitments. As such, I have much more flexibility with regards to my training schedule and I'm seeking to take advantage of this new-found-freedom for all its worth. In 10 days time I'll open my season with an indoor mile at the University of Washington. Following that lactic-production session, I'll be joining several of my Canadian peers in Flagstaff for a full month, breathing the thin air and giving myself a first-crack at a prolonged altitude stint. From Flagstaff, I'll head east to Boston for another indoor race in Mid-February before returning to Vancouver to put some grass-running work in my legs in preparation for the Pan American Cross Country Cup, held across the water in Victoria, February 29th. Training up to this point has been going relatively well and I was able to string together a solid block of big weeks during a December that included a week with Camille's family in San Diego and Mexico (muchos tacos), a week at home in the Okanagan, and a brief but volatile battle with the flu (surprise, surprise). My sole outing onto the XC course at ACXC was a great test of fitness, a ton of fun, and enough to expedite my return to the hills and mud through a spot on the line at the aforementioned Pan Am Cup.
All told, 2019 was a fantastic year for me and one I will recount with fondness for years to come. As is the case in most every pursuit, one mountaintop experience serves as the baseline for the next, even more audacious ambition moving forward. I feel so blessed by the wealth of experiences, relationships, and new opportunities this past year brought. Together, they've provided a solid foundation from which to launch a new year of growth. While I'm already excited for the day when I can reflect on the steps taken in 2020, I'm keeping my eyes open to appreciate each day for what it has in store.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all of these things will be given to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
John Eamon Gay