NCAA West Region Outdoor Championships

It’s been one hell of a season and only two races long. Unfortunately this is the end of the road for my season, but I couldn’t be more happy that I was given the opportunity to run at the NCAA outdoor championships. Four days after the race at the Mt. Sac relays, I developed an Achilles injury and was back to cross training for another two weeks. At this point in just the spring season I’ve had 7 weeks of running and 12 weeks of with zero miles logged and just cross training. The injury wasn’t the end of my season, but it ultimately killed most of my training momentum I had gained in the weeks previous. Nonetheless I charged forward and made the best that I could make out of it. I had a good week and a half of training before this race and I doing everything that I could to set myself up for a good race.

The race was set for 8:30pm, as I was in the second of three heats. I woke up without Bruce because it was a late race, but rocked out to him on the van ride over to the stadium. For breakfast, naturally I had my classic peanut butter toast. And for the rest of the day I read a good Clive Cussler book and walked around and tried to keep the blood flowing throughout the day. We left the hotel at 6:20pm and headed over to the track and I did my warmup an hour before my race.

The warmup for this race was good. For once in a seemingly long time, I actually felt good and didn’t have and pain in my Achilles, back, or IT band. I did clean practice hurdles, my first since my last race, and was focused on the race. I was so focused, I completely forgot to race with my headband. I didn’t realize until I had finished my race that I didn’t wear it. I didn’t know what to expect in this race, I knew it would be fast, but I knew what I had to do.

The plan was to get in a good position early on and then run right around 70 seconds per lap. And I did a good job of that. I was boxed early on because I started as hip #1 and was on the rail, but still set myself up for good positioning and clean barriers. The first water jump wasn’t bad, but not great either. I had too much time in this race to focus too much on my technique and towards the middle and end of the race, it really because apparent I was favoring my right leg so I wouldn’t put strain on my left Achilles. I was still in the mix for the second and third laps of the race, and that’s when the leaders started to make their moves to string the race out. I think that if I had better and more consistent training this season I could have moved with them. But I felt weak and undertrained, and I tried to hold on the best that I could. I had some more bad jumps and clipped my heal on knee on two barriers. The last lap I picked it up a little bit and didn’t quit my fight. I finished in 12 in my heat and 36th overall in the event with a time of 9:03.88. No bread being brought today.

I’m very proud that I had the opportunity to represent San Jose State for the first time in over 30 years at the national championships, and I know exactly what I need to work on to get back here next year and go even further into the season. I’m using today as a a learning experience for the type of race, the strategy I need to work on for next season, and how I can work on my all around strength.

Today was also my last time racing against Noah McDermott. He was in the third heat, but we’ve been battling back and forth for the last four years on the track and in the fall during cross country season. He’s a great competitor and a great runner and I wish him all the best as he continues his post collegiate running career. Hard to believe that four years ago him and I were out in Eugene racing at US Junior Nationals and that our times were in the 9:30’s! It’s really been quite a journey.

I’m excited to see what I can do this upcoming fall with a solid summer of training, working on preventing injuries, and just an even greater desire to race faster and better. Bruce says it best,

“Baby we were born to Run”

See you in the fall

-Craig

My last collegiate race with Noah McDermott
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One thought on “NCAA West Region Outdoor Championships

  1. Professor Huff, you are a amazing young man. I love your always positive and gracious attitude. Your a winner in my book.
    Michael

    Like

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