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Being 75 days out from a major life goal I should be bubbly, full of life, highly motivated and knocking my workouts out of the park right? Well perhaps not quite…

A funk came over our group this morning. The wind blew strong, a chill in the air and grey rolling clouds. More than half the group opted for the afternoon while Bridey is off ’chasing the sun’ overseas. Our favourite venue had the dreaded ’ground closed’ sign in place so we jumped on the faithful ’blue track’ next door. It was hard to get excited about the prospect of banging out ’k’ reps, particularly when the wind knocked me and training partners Pat Moore and Matt Brady back several steps every time we hit the home straight.

Even after 1 lap I knew the workout was destined to be a “just get it done” category. In such circumstanced my mantra becomes more like;

“Don’t force it, keep the quality honest, focus on rhythm.”

While I kept the watch rolling I could have easily had thrown it away because the numbers didn’t tell a happy tale. But by putting it into context quickly I didn’t allow the times for each rep to say much about current form. It was a tough morning, I just had to get through it.

It reminds me of when I ran a series of races in Canada in 2000 chasing qualifying times. One particular race was held in the Quebec City of Sherbrook. All of the athletes had opportunity to stay on Campus at the university where the track meet would be held. It was a dull, dreary place to spend several days and right on cue the night of the meet was grey, overcast with a chill in the air.

For the past few days my coach Ian Leitch who was travelling with me, was excited about the men’s 800m at Sherbrook as it featured 1:43 man Jose Barbosa from Brazil. The night progressed with lacklustre results including my own 1500m, all the while Barbosa continued to run laps in his tracksuit. The final event was the men’s 800m but alas for Leitchy, Barbosa continued to run laps, uninterested in taking off his warm layer and challenging the company of runners there that night.

For a high performing athlete looking to qualify for the Olympics I could see why for Barbosa, it just wasn’t worth it. He had a limited number of times he could call on a big effort and the cold grey night in Sherbrook was not one of those nights.

He did run a hell of a lot of laps though!


Jose Barbosa won the silver medal at the World Championships in Athletics in 1991. A picture of him appear above.