Pre-Nationals

It’s been quite the weekend out in Madison. Lots of flights, running, and some great accents from the locals. We started early Friday morning leaving San Jose for Madison at 6:30 with a short layover in Denver. We went straight to the course after the flight and did our pre race day run, some drills, and learned the course. This is different from most courses in the West because it’s designed to be a cross country course! It’s not a golf course we’re using for the weekend, it’s a cross country course year round, and boy was it nice. It’s got some inclines, wide straights and turns, downhills, and a great straightaway for the finish. The race is two medium loops, a small inner loop, and a big loop that drops you at a long straightaway to finish. I was really excited to have a chance to be out here. The past 5 years I’ve been on this team, we’ve been working for a chance to get to a big meet like this and it only makes the program stronger for the future.

Race day started out with a fairly late wake up call of 8:00 followed by a short 10 minute shakeout run and breakfast. I had the usual peanut butter toast and added a hot cup of chamomile tea to calm the nerves a little bit. We left the hotel at 10:30am with a 12:30pm start time for our race. At 11:40am we hit the course to warmup, stripped off some of our layers, and laced up the spikes.

At race time it was about 47°F with a slight breeze, but nothing too bad. We brought out the gold half tights paired with the light blue Spartans singlets. Most of the field was wearing gloves, and I’m happy I had those during the race today. We started off quick from the gun. I got out well, got jostled a little bit, took a spike to the knee and left leg, but got into a good position with Huruy. I kept contact with a pack and settled into the race and was in for a surprise just before 2K with a hill we weren’t able to run the day before. The second loop was a little slower and looking back at the race, this is where I needed to push a little harder. I slowed down a little bit and dropped back in the pack as we rounded 4K, and turned into the shortest loop of the course. I passed Huruy right at this point and started moving my way down the course. There was a small pack of guy that I kept in my sights and used them to keep moving up. I used the uphill around 6.5K to move past the guys struggling up it and closed the ground on another pack in front of me. After 7K, I made it my goal to make sure no one passed me to the finish. And to the best of my knowledge, I did just that. I finished in 62nd place with a time of 24:48, and second for the Spartans.

I’m very happy with my time and my placement and I brought the bread all the way to Wisconsin! This was around where Coach Wick and I predicted I would finish. We changed the recipe of the bread for this week, adding a harder start and grinding harder at 4K and it still needs to be perfected. I know a bit more places I can work harder, and with more training in the upcoming weeks, I’ll only be getting stronger. The next race is the Mountain West Conference Championships in San Diego on October 26th. It’ll be nice have a race in some warmer conditions! See you in two weeks.

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