Thursday, 7 May 2015

There Is No Free Lunch

Well there should be.. after a road race.. on the day of a National Track League (NTL) event.. and serve beer. Hear me out. Please critique when finished. To be clear, I'm not saying a free lunch will bring fans to NTL's. I just really like cliches

Track and Field isn't the most watched sport, surprise. However, I think that's partly our own fault because we don't make it an experience for fans. Here's how I think we can make it an experience. Combine road racing and track. Marathons are able to put out huge prize money because they have tons of people paying an entry fee to run, jog, walk or crawl 26 miles. They also have large crowds from runners loved ones watching and cheering. The same setup can't be achieved with track races because you can't have thousands of people lining up on the waterfall.

BUT, you can arrange a road race the same day of a track meet in close proximity to the track. Road races are insanely popular and the demographic is perfect. Varied ages, families, singles, active people who can appreciate the difficulty of running, throwing and jumping at the elite athlete level.

So our potential fans get done their road race, time for a cool down and food. They go for a little jog and then head to food. Conveniently, food is located in the stadium that the NTL event is being held. People go through the line and grab their food. They are directed into the stadium's bleachers where they can sit and eat their food. Announce there are draw prizes and that beer will be served at the concession where you can get a free [implement sponsor] bar by showing your bib.

Now, we have adults drinking beer, young children watching elite track athletes and a stadium that is filled with more than just friends and families of athletes. Prize money will increase as well because of the road race that was just hosted.

A possible problem is new fans don't know what/who to cheer for. Nashville has a similar problem, please click that link it's funny, if Nashville can teach their fans hockey we can teach ours Track and Field.

That right there is an experience for everyone. 10 years down the road we want up and coming junior and senior athletes to look back and think NTL's were awesome, I got to go run a road race with my family and then go cheer on athletes like Levins and O'Connell.  I was inspired to be like them and wanted to participate in NTL's one day. That's probably an AC wet dream right there.

Also, we need to make the field more viewer friendly. Have live standings of field events, I can't stand not knowing who is winning throughout the event. I think NTL's are great but turning them into an actual experience for current fans and making new ones is not only doable but it would make them even better. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how to make Track and Field better in Canada. If this idea is passable feel free to pass onto people of influence.

Is this blog even about my running? I have been so far out to lunch with these last couple posts. We have our first track workout on the 3rd of May and I open up my season in Calgary with a 1500m & 800m that weekend. Last year, I solo'ed a 3:59 but this year I'm fitter and I should have competition with Hames and maybe some others depending who shows up to dance.  Fast times will come later, patience and consistency for now.

Later Tator,


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Recruits, Superstitions, Social Media

Before I go into that running thing. We received great news that Stefan Daniel (Youth Canadian XC Champ) will be joining us next season to run XC for the Dinos. He will fit in nicely with our current core of young runners, Greico, James 'Hames', Pennock and well I'm kind of young. We have another 5-8 guys on the depth chart fighting for the last few spots so come fall it should make for a strong XC team this season and the years to come. Young runners out there, come to Calgary and run with us. If Coach Doug can make my untalented legs move quick imagine what he can do with yours.

Don't step on the baseball lines, don't have sex before the race, don't do this, do that. Do you have them? As much as I don't like to admit it, I definitely have them. If I have a race go well, I'll replicate it as much as possible. A couple summers ago I would always have a beer the night before a race, last summer I ate a ton of beets (Pickled, Borscht, Raw), indoors I never showered before a race but then I started running bad so I started showering and started running better. Science people.

Most recently I started a blog, as I started this blog I also entered into my most inconsistent streak of a running in years. I got quite sick two days after reporting I was healthy (The 'H' word) in my last entry and missed 4 more days of training. I jinxed myself hard, so yeah I won't be saying the H word anymore, just assume I am if I don't mention not being the H word.  I almost scraped the whole blog in the name of superstition but I decided I would blame it on what really caused my inconsistency: I was making worse decisions than whoever planned The Bay of Pigs.

Why did I all of a sudden start making bad decisions? Was I thinking more about my blog than what I should be doing with running? Did I get too excited and train harder than I should have so I can sound like a badass on my blog? No, definitely just jinxed myself by saying I was the H word.

Social Media
It did raise an interesting thought about whether participating on social media makes you care more about how many people are reading, commenting, liking your content as opposed to why you are doing what you are doing that's allowing you to post the content. For instance, do you go somewhere cool to get the gratification of going there, or do you do it for the nice picture you can take, post to Instasham and get the gratification of a ton of likes.

I did some thinking about why I run and why I started a blog. I run because I want to be as fast as possible and I get gratification from winning races. I started a blog because I felt it could enhance my ability to win races. Running fast has to be the main priority, a blog is just a means to that end: blog-> exposure -> sponsors -> money -> better training. Also, really fun to have. Also, if I inspire some Canadians to be consistent and run fast, even better.

The same goes for my other social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Obviously it's a fine line between attracting sponsors with effective social media and getting side tracked from your goals by the instant gratification of social media. Essentially, my goal should be to build my social media so sponsors receive gratification from what I post and I receive money in da bank boisssss.

So while we are on the topic on social media, you might as well add me on everything. No it's not weird. I'm a big fan of people. Especially weird ones.

Snapchat: HeyBroHam
Twitter: @RomanJustinen
Facebook: Roman Justinen

P.S. Snapchat is by far my favorite and I do a fun little show on my story every so often called 'Cooking With Roman' with my roommate. Check it out.

I haven't watched a Burt Reynolds movie in a while so I don't have another cool send off,


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Patience Buddayyy

April is easily my favorite time of the year. We go into 'Hill Phase' and build up our mileage. The weather is getting nice and it's a lot easier waking up at 6 for morning runs when it's not pitch black out. I haven't mentioned this but I've been on an internship since January. It was fine during indoor because I wasn't doubling a whole lot but now that I am I have to be on top of my sleep schedule. Luckily, my work is quite flexible so I'm able to make it to practice on time.

10 days into my build up I started having trouble with my right knee and it cost me 7 days of running. I've been reading quite few blogs and after seeing how so many athletes try to run through injuries just to have them become way worse I shut it down until it healed. It's pretty good now so I'm back doubling and livin the dream. In my last post I got all sassy and suggested building up mileage in a reasonable manor. My build up volume wise was gradual, but I did a terrible job of balancing the intensity of my run and that bugged my knee. I got pretty cocky, felt invincible on my runs and didn't listen to my body in terms of how fast I should be running. A little patience would have been good.

As for racing, the next couple weeks are going to be big down in the U.S. and there will be lots of Canadians running fast times with the NCAA season kicking off. It would be neat to go down and run some fast races early (all the cool kids are doing it) but I think in the grand scheme of things it's worth it for me to build up mileage and go through hill phase. Trust the system and it will pay off.

I think that's all for now, I'm healthy, life is boring, I'm in a routine, I just have to stay consistent and should be in for a fast summer.

Keep your wheels spinnin' and your beavers grinnin'


Friday, 27 March 2015

Past Year Recap

YOO.  Before I get into what's ahead for me I feel I should provide some context of what I have done in the last year. This post is going to be really boring but necessary.

Last outdoor I ran 1:54, 3:50, 8:34 and 14:37 for 800, 1500, 3000 and 5000 respectively. I ran my 1500 and 5000 pb down at sea level in late May and spent the rest of my season solo'ing 3:54/55 in Calgary and Edmonton. My work schedule wasn't very flexible so I had a tough time getting away back down to sea level to race. Most people don't realize it but your times in Calgary will be slower than anywhere else. In a 1500 it's around 1 second per lap compared to sea level. I don't mind it because I know when I do go to sea level I'm going to have a good race. Last summer it was just a matter of getting down there. Overall I took 6 seconds off my 1500, and 38 off my 5000. Decent improvement curve but I knew I had more to give.

Fast forward Off Week where I had my fair share of "apple juice" and a week later I started to build base for xc. It's easily one of my favorite times because you get into a routine. You don't have to worry about staying up late because your body literally doesn't let you. It's awesome. Coach Doug Lamont and I decided 600min/week would be reasonable based on my past base seasons. HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE (I think that's a top 40 song but that's the only part of it I know. Please comment if you know the title). Seriously though, when building base please build up gradually. I took 3 weeks to build up to 600 minutes. Then I took a down week and then rattled off 3 600 minute weeks. We got into racing and our team was doing well. We acquired Russell Pennock from Vic and recruited Alex 'Hames' James and Ryan Grieco. Add in Gareth Hadfield plus myself and our top 5 was pretty decent. Hames, Pennock, Hadfield and I were tightly bunched up throughout the season so we knew if we could keep that tight grouping at CIS we would surprise some people and place well. Alas, XC is fickle. We did not perform as we wanted and could not get the grouping, finishing 8th overall. I finished 18th, my best finish, and Pennock was 19th with a dirty kick to win ROY. In XC the team achievement is much more important than personal achievements. Anyone who thinks different is a plug.

Moving on from an anti-climatic XC season I jumped into indoor a little too quickly. After Off Week I got back on the track my second day back and paid for it by missing a few days a training with shin splints. Big Idiot=Roman. I healed up and built up running again. With the new conversions we were thinking that Edmonton would be one of the faster tracks for racing. The field wasn't deep enough to run fast times and our distance crew was headed into Canwest with no guarantee we were going to CIS. Scary stuff right there. The guys team were ranked 4th going into Canwest 17.5 points back of 1st. We knew we had a shot at winning if some stuff went well. Everything went well. Hames got 2nd in the 3km in 8:18 with a 16 second pb. I anchored the 4x800m to 2nd splitting 1:52. Garrett King won the 600m. I won the 1500m. Also, our relays scored 28 points. Every running event scored at least 1 point. It felt like we couldn't lose, someone would win a race and the next person would be like watch this I can do better. Incredible stuff. We ended up blowing out Canwest and winning by 14 points. Two weeks later at CIS the sole bright spot was the veteran Garrett King 600m Bronze. Hames and I had pretty average races. We learned a lot and hope to compete in races with deeper fields next indoor to come into CIS with a bit more confidence and faster times.

Considering how bored I am as I write this I can only imagine how bored you are reading it. Hopefully it gives some context as well as it should give me a reference point for future posts.

From the KM High City.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Beginning

Cool, hi. I started a blog. Why. First of all because I was inspired by Cyr, Freake, Rae and of course my favorite blog, LeBlogDuRob, Rob Watson. I enjoy reading about their running and hope my tidbits and experiences can be half as interesting as Mr Watson's. Second, I wanted a place to spam my thoughts and ideas in a public space. A blog seemed like a reasonable location. As for the name, I want to thank David Freake, he was talking about how consistency is the key to success and used the metaphor "Rome wasn't built in a day". Since that's my nickname and I believe getting fast is a process I figured it was a reasonable name for the blog.

As for who I am, my name is Roman Justinen and I'm from small town central Alberta.  I'm a 4th year distance runner from U of Calgary. Part of the #NiceGuysWorkHardLoveTheGame Thanks Kitely-McInnes. I used to be pretty bad at running (4:34 1500m in HS) and then progressed pretty quickly once I got to U of C (3:50 last summer, I'm still no Palamar). I live in a Track Shack with Alex 'Hames' James, Ryan Grieco and Bill Hoppe. We mostly run, eat and sleep a ton so it's ideal for getting fast.

Things you'll be reading about in this blog. As Hames put it, "This is a tale of an effervescent, young boy from Rocky Mountain House who journeyed to the big city to make a name for himself on the track only to find love, existential contemplation and friendship along the way." A real wordsmith that kid is. It's going to be mostly about running because duh. We might touch on some topics I find interesting such as leadership, gender equality and the mentality of winning as they tie into my running experience.

Happy Consistent Running,