NCAA West Regional Championships

58 pieces of peanut butter toast. 24 Races. 5 years. One Dream: The NCAA XC National Championships. As I went into this week I knew that it would take another race at peak performance for me to be an All-Region runner in the top 25 and qualify as an individual for nationals. The race was setup to be a perfect day with some fast times. On Thursday, during our warmups, the smoke from the nearby fires was strong and it was a very windy day. The forecast for the race said both the wind and smoke would die down, and it really did. It was sunny, but not too warm at the noon race start, with nearly no wind. The course in Sacramento was the same as two years ago; Three big two mile loops, no hills, barely any dirt, and wide turns and straightaways. Much better than the San Diego course from two weeks ago, and an even faster course than the Wisconsin course from Pre-Nationals. 

From the gun, I got out in a really good position. I was up with the lead 20-30 people, which was exactly where I needed to be. I felt like I was cruising, not working too hard, and putting myself in a good position for when the pack started to pull away. The pack rolled through the first mile around 4:42, and Jose was right there with me. Around the 2k mark there was a little bit of a jumble on a turn and Washington State runner went down right in front of me. My legs did not make it out of this race unscathed. I’ve got spike marks on the front of both of my legs and my right knee. I was right in the middle of the pack and instead of using energy to put my hands up to tell people I was there, I would just let my legs do the talking as I ran into them. As we rounded the turn to start the loop for the second time, I was in a very good position. I was sitting somewhere around 15th-20th place and still didn’t feel like I was working too hard to be there. About 4k into the race I passed Jose, and took the lead for the Spartans. Just a little over 2k later there was a nasty fall on the inside of one of the turns and it took out a lot of the pack. I managed to avoid the runner as he went down right in front of me, but it was still a mess. I was getting shoved from all sides as I collided with other runners around me. I found myself near the top 10 on the outside-left part of the course trying avoid a similar occurrence on the next right turn that was rapidly approaching. This is where the race really took off. The lead pack started to make a surge to separate themselves going into the third loop, and I was not able to cover it. In the span of about 800 meters, I fell from around 10th all the way to 50th. The lead pack dropped me, Jose passed me, and I felt like I had hit a wall. Physically I felt gassed, and wasn’t sure how much I had left in me. I hit the 8k mark and told myself that it doesn’t matter what happens, but I’m not letting this race kill me here. I haven’t trained this hard, put in hundreds of miles this season, and devoted my life to this sport to give up because it’s two kilometers longer than I’m used to. There was UCLA runner directly in front of me, and a St. Mary’s runner in front of him and I set my sights on them. It turned into just picking off one runner after another, and not letting anyone else get passed me. I found something left in the last 2k of the race and just focused on relaxing my arms and having good form. When we got the last kilometer, I just went to the arms. If someone was going to try and pass me, they were going to have to work for it harder than I was. 

I finished 42nd overall and 1st for the Spartans with a time of 30:27.4. It’s the highest finish I’ve had in the West Region Meet by 15 places and the fastest time I’ve run for a 10k by 20 seconds. I’m content with the finish, but I wanted to make it to Nationals. It’s the race that I’ve been dreaming of running for 5 years, and it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t make that happen in my last year. Things don’t always go as we plan them, but I’ve been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to run for the Spartans and have everything go as well as it has. It’s been one hell of a ride, and I can’t believe that this is the end of my collegiate cross country career. I’ve grown so much as a runner and a person and this has been a truly life changing experience for me. I want to thank everyone who reads the blog for following my journey these past five years, for supporting me, for reaching out to me after the races, and for being the best audience that I could ask for. It’s been so great, and I can’t wait to be back for the first official season of the reinstated Men’s Track Program. I’ll close with a quote by Bruce that I feel applies to my dream of nationals, the effort I put into trying to hit that goal, and where it’ll live on forever.

“Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost, I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost, For wanting things that can only be found In the darkness on the edge of town.”

See you in the Darkness on the Edge of Town.

-Craig 

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Photo Credit: Savanna Perez
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Mountain West Conference Championships

The conference championships have always been one of my favorite races of the season, although historically it hasn’t gone great for me. My best conference race was my freshman year, followed with the mess that was the Reno race, and my last effort in 2016 with poor racing tactics at Boise. I’ve been looking forward to this race for two weeks to really see how my training not only this year, but also all of last year has helped me become a better runner. This year was a special year because the race was back at sea level in San Diego. So I wanted to make sure my last conference race was my best one yet. 

We left San Jose Thursday morning at 9am, landed in San Diego, and went straight to the course for our pre-race warmup. The course was not very flat with an even mix of uphill and downhill, a fair amount of curves, and a lot of dirt. We still laced up the spikes, but had some smaller pyramids in them than we raced with at Wisconsin. The race was designed to be two bigger loops, followed by two smaller loops. It was nice to start with the big loops and then finish with a smaller loop. Friday morning began with a 5:45am wakeup and a 5:55am shakeout run. After that, I had the classic three pieces of peanut butter toast with the bread I make sure I always bring. We left to go to the course and Bruce reminded me that I was Born to Run. My parents said a brief hello before the race, we went for the usual 20 minute warmup, and then it was time to rock and roll. 

The starter of the race gave the “On your mark” command and fired the gun very quickly which I think threw off some of the racers. It allowed me to get out well in the pack and situate myself right up in the front. Because of the narrow course and mixed terrain at the start, there was a lot of jostling, pushing, and running into other people on the turns. The course was not equipped well to handle the pack of people that we started out with. Around 1.5K I got clipped from behind on one of the turns and would have gone down if I hadn’t grabbed the back of a nearby Air Force runner. Shortly after, a Boise runner clipped the back of my spikes and went down, so it was really tight conditions. The entire first loop was pretty packed up with the leaders pulling slightly ahead of the rest of the pack around the 2K mark. By the time we hit the downhill of the second loop, it pack was still at least 20-25 people strong and barely starting to accordion. I worked on maintaining the pack I was in for the second lap, and once I passed the 4K mark, I knew it was time to pick it up. On the downhill at the start of the third lap I had caught up to Jose and was sitting around 14th place. I worked the downhill to get the next pack and just maintain going up the hill. There were a couple Air Force, Wyoming, and Boise runners ahead of me so I worked to make sure I either passed them or kept moving with them in the pack. The third lap was shorter than the first two, so in no time we were back to the start for the fourth and final lap. I was somewhere around 10th place at 7K with an Air Force guy right on my tail, a Boise runner in front of me, and a Wyoming runner just past him. The last three minutes of the race, my form went to absolute garbage. My arms were flailing, I was going really wide on the turns, and I was hurting. I passed the Boise guy early on into the final 1K, and moved in front of the Wyoming guy with just enough to go that he couldn’t catch me at the finish. When I got to the top of the hill with about 150 meters left in the race, I didn’t have much left. I was leaning forward so much people though I was going to fall, and with about 20 meters left into the race I was gone.

 I don’t remember finishing the race or the athletic trainer that was there to catch me from passing out or being rushed to the medical tent. I struggled to control my breathing, my heart rate was very high, I was overheated, dizzy, and on the verge of passing out. They gave me water and gatorade, and then tried to cool me down as fast as possible. I had a bag of ice under my head, two on my upper body, and one on my stomach. I was so hot that the ice was steaming as it melted so quickly. I was in the athletic tent for about 40 minutes with the athletic trainers before I tried to get up and walk. I felt like a baby giraffe trying to walk out of there and make my way over to the team. My parents were there waiting for me and they walked me over to the tent.

I literally gave it all I had in the race. There was nothing more that I could have done, and I’m so, so happy with the results. I finished with a time of 24:58 and placed 8th overall, which gave me the distinction of All-Conference Second Team. I can’t say that that place was worth the state of exhaustion I was put in afterwards, but it definitely made me feel better knowing that I left everything I had out there. Coach Sarver and Coach Wick both agreed this time that I had executed the race perfectly, and had brought the bread better than ever before. 

Our next race is the NCAA West Regionals on November 9th in Sacramento, where I and the rest of the Spartans try to qualify for the NCAA nationals meet back in Wisconsin. Two weeks is going to go by faster than I can think, and I can’t wait to be back with another post about how it goes. See ya real soon. 

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All-Conference 2nd Team
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The Spartans! 

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.

Stanford Invitational

It’s been a month since our last meet, but the time has been full of hard workouts, higher mileage weeks, and a lot of time in the training room. But with these four weeks of training under my belt, my fitness is in a really good spot with even more room for improvement.

Today started with a 6am wake up call from Bruce Springsteen and the usual three pieces of peanut butter toast. I watched an episode of ‘The Office’, and then Charlie and I walked up to meet Coach Wick at 7:30.

My race was scheduled for 10:30 and the weather was a little warm, but not as bad as it’s been in past years. The course also changed this year. They had us running on a lot more dirt, longer grass, and made sharper turns. Overall, it was a slower course. We did the usual 20 minute warmup, drills, and spiked up for the first time this season.

The start was actually smoother than it’s been in years past, with no one going down on the sharp left turn 200 meters from the start. I got out with good speed, but was jostling around the pack trying to find some space to run and not get boxed in on the turns. The footing this year was worse than years previous and it really showed in the times. There were lots of times where my shoes couldn’t grip through the hay and dirt and it was frustrating to lose a few steps every time we ran through these patches. Since the course also changed, I got really confused on where we were going in the first lap, so it took me the first loop to get used to that and then I understood where I could move past people on the course. Charlie was with me through the first 2k loop, and then I put my sights on Huruy, passing him around the 5k mark. He and I worked well the rest of the race with me leading him through 6k, Huruy pulling ahead of me around 7k, and then working together up the hill to the finish. I finished 24th overall as 2nd man for the Spartans with a time of 24:47.7. Coach Wick agreed with me that I brought the bread today, but the recipe can be even better by the time we get to the West Region meet.

Jose had a great day and moved well with the front pack placing 10th with a time of 24:21, Huruy was 3rd man in 29th place with a time of 25:03, our freshman Luis was in 39th place running 25:18, and Edgar and Charlie finished right next to each other in 59th and 60th with times of 25:37.0 and 25:37.7 respectively. And rounding out the Spartans competing today was Evarsito in 110th place with a time of 26:52.

As a team we placed 5th on the day with a score that I think the team is happy with. Our next meet is in two weeks in Madison, Wisconsin for the Pre-nationals race. It’ll be the biggest test for the Spartans in recent history and provide a good place to see how we can perform at the West Region meet in November. It’s the exciting part of season now where we’ll have races every two weeks, so I hope you’re excited, because I am. See ya soon!

San Francisco Invitational

This is it. The final cross country season of my spartan career. I can still remember the first race here 5 season ago, where did the time go? It feels good to be back running at the start of a season after redshirting last fall and my injury stricken spring. I’m not as far into my training as I should be due to an IT band injury at the start of August, so I’m just getting back into the swing of things. Today’s race was more of a workout/tempo than an all out race.

It started like most race days, waking up just before Bruce could remind me I was Born to Run. I followed this up by bringing the bread and making the classic three pieces of peanut butter toast. We left campus at 7:15 and made the hour long trek up to Golden Gate Park for the race. The women were first with their 6k at 10:00 and we followed them with a 10:45 start time. The weather was cool and overcast, and nice weather for a race. We did the 20 minute warmup, drills, strides and headed to the start line.

When the gun when off, I had no traction and slipped on the grass. I regained my footing and got into a good position at the start and stayed towards the outside of the group to keep from getting boxed in. I stayed in the middle of the pack through the first mile and then they started to move away. Because I was treating this more as a workout and less as a race I just focused on keeping an even pace. And for the first three loops, I did just that. I didn’t try to move with any of the packs in front of me or pick anyone off, I just kept cruising. For the entire race I was averaging a 5:17 mile, so a little faster than I would have gone had I run a tempo workout instead of the race. I picked it just a little bit on the last loop and finished 6th for the Spartans in 41st with a time of 26:17.

At this race 2 years ago I ran 26:03. So for this being just a workout, I’m pleased with the overall time. It was necessary to get me into the racing mindset and to provide a good base for me to build from. Now we’ve got a solid 4 week training block until our next race in Sacramento on September 29th. See ya in a month!

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Silicon Valley Elite Turkey Trot

Happy Thanksgiving! Today was the second race of my season, my second road race ever, and my first 5k Turkey Trot (Gobble Gobble Gobble)! I was entered in the elite section of the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, which was scheduled for 8am. The really nice thing about this race was where it started, about two and a half miles away from my house. It started out like so many of my races with a nice serenade from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” followed by the usual three pieces of peanut butter toast as I got ready to bring the bread.

It was a bit strange not having to drive anywhere to get to the start line, so I just stayed at my house until about 6:55, when I left to meet Jose at the main fountain on San Jose State’s campus. We did our twenty minute warmup down the Guadalupe River Trail, did some drills and just tried to mentally prepare for the race ahead. Jose has run this race multiple times in the past, so I was really happy to have someone who knew the race and how it runs.

There were about thirty elites entered into the race with guys who have run low 13:10’s and lots of 13:30 guys. So with my PR of 14:33, I was a little nervous going into this race. We got out pretty hard. There was a lot of jostling in the first 200 meters, and it got tight as we throttled down a single street lane. After the first 600 meters it started to spread out a bit more. I felt like I got out where I wanted too, not caught up with the leaders, but not too slow. My plan was to work with Jose for as long as I could and never let him get too far ahead of me. After the first lap, we settled into the race and guys who went out a bit too hard started to pay the price. Jose and I rolled through the mile around 4:35, a little slower than we wanted but not too bad. I kept keying off the guys ahead of me and working on not letting them pull further away. I rolled through the second mile at 9:25, but I didn’t feel like I had slowed down and run a 4:50, so I’m a bit skeptical that was the actual time for that mile. With one lap left, I knew I had some work to still get the finish that I wanted. I caught up to Jose with about 1000 meters left in the race, and kept going after the guys ahead of him. At this point I was off in no-mans-land, and just trying to hang on and finish the race. I was hurting a good amount, and couldn’t really feel my arms as I made the turn down the last straightaway to the finish.

I finished in 20th place, with a time of 14:39 officially, and Jose was just being me in 22nd place with 14:49. Not a PR for me or what I wanted to run today (14:15), but a time I’m pleased with. I ran a smart, gritty race, and never stopped working. Being in 8k/10k shape is a lot different than Steeplechase/5k shape, so to run within 6 seconds of my PR makes me happy. I’m definitely taking this as a learning opportunity and a great way for me to get the feel of what it’s like to run with other elite athletes. I’m really excited to see what I can do on the track this spring. With the training I’ve had this fall, the confidence I’ve built in my racing, and some big PR’s on the season, it’s going to be an amazing spring season. I can’t wait to be back on the track to write for all of you again. Until then, see you on the track.

-Craig

The Bronco Invitational

Hello for the first and last time of my 2017 Cross Country season. Because my summer racing in Israel went so late into July, my coach and I thought it would be best for me to redshirt this season. In doing so, I’ve been having some of the best training of my life. I’ve been doing higher milage weeks, getting faster in my workouts, and being able to really push myself hard in training. The good part about this season is that it now gives me a fifth and final season in both cross and track for the 2018/2019 season. The downside is that I don’t have many opportunities to race this fall because of the distance to get to meets and the limited quantity of good meets. But I’m happy I got out to run the Bronco Invitational in Baylands Park this year.

This race is generally one of the quickest courses that the team will compete in for the season. It’s a great combination of dirt, a small patches of grass, and a little concrete that makes for a quick race. I was both excited and nervous to start racing so late into the season without having any sort of rust-buster. The race got moved up to 8:00 due to fear of poor conditions from the wildfires raging up north in Napa and Sonoma. I woke up with Bruce reminding me what I was born to do today and had my three pieces of peanut butter toast. I left my house and got the pitch black park at 6:25, waiting for the rest of the team to show up. Quickly thereafter we did our 20 minute warmup, some drills, strides, and headed over to the line for the start.

I got out really well in the race this year. I jumped around a little bit to not be boxed in for the first turn and went straight into the front. If you recall the last time I did that at the Mountain West Conference meet last year, I panicked a lot a dropped back fast. This time, I knew that I could run with the front of the pack and not be too far out of my league. I held the lead for just a little bit, and then merged in with the rest of the lead pack. The first lap was fine, and I knew where I needed to work a little bit. Last year on the second loop, with the little hills, I slowed down a little bit too much. This year I attacked the hills and moved into a good spot. Close enough to see the leaders, but not pushing myself above what I could handle. After the first of the three big loops, there was a little separation between where I was and the lead pack. I was pulling a couple guys along with me, but I closed that gap by the end of the second lap. The third and final lap was where I really started to put good work in. I was in about 13th or 14th place with a little over 1600 meters to go, when I started making my move. I caught up to Jose with abut 1200 to go and was sitting in 11th place. I was moving with an old high school rival of mine, UCLA’s George Gleason, and we were both using each other to bring that final push to the finish. We both moved up really well in the final 800 of the race and I just narrowly got ahead of him in the home stretch. I finished in a time of 23:48.3 in 6th place overall.

This is a really nice improvement from my 24:11 last season, and it makes me even more excited to see what I can do this spring on the track. This is the only real post of my  “cross country season” and I’ll also be running a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll have a nice posting about that race too. Until then, see you on the trails.

-Craig

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NCAA West Regional Championships

Hello for the final time of 2016. Crazy to think that I’ve already spent three years running at San Jose State. As is tradition, the season always ends with the NCAA Championships. This year, the West Regional championships were in Sacramento. It’s a lot better than going to Seattle, since we didn’t have to fly and it wasn’t raining. We drove up Thursday afternoon and ran the course. It’s pretty warm up in Sacramento these couple of days, so even different from two weeks ago from Boise. The course was pretty nice. Three loops around, with really long and wide straightaways. It was similar to Seattle, but with kinda longer grass. The drive up, was pretty uneventful as was the warmup, so that kinda wrapped up Thursday.

Race day started with an 8:00 wake up call and shakeout run, where we saw wild turkeys roaming the streets of Sacramento. Breakfast consisted of the usual 3 pieces of peanut butter toast, since I brought the bread. We didn’t have to leave the hotel until  10:00, with a 12 o’clock race time, so we wouldn’t have to sit out in the heat for too long. We got in the usual 20 minute warmup, leg swings, and drills before the race, so it was looking like it’d be a good day.

I started out this race a lot better than Boise. I got out strong, and was up with the top 20 for the first mile. I knew that if I didn’t want to blow up, I’d have to ease off a little bit. I settled into a good position with Huruy, and then just kept moving. I saw UCLA’s George Gleason, who I ran against in high school, and kept him in my sights as the target to keep moving up with. There were certain parts of the race that just felt like I was flying down the straightaway as if I was in a moment of zen. At the end of the second loop, I already felt like I was pushing myself to my limits. My dad reminded me, today on this Veterans Day, that my pain was temporary and it’s going to hurt, but to think of his father in a fox hole in the midst of the Korean War. Whenever my mind drifted to pain in the race, I shut it down with this thought and kept pushing onward. Around the start of the third lap, I moved into second place for the Spartans and really put on the heat. I broke it into smaller sections, “only 2k so that’s like 6 minutes” I would tell myself. When I saw the 9k marker on the course, I put on the afterburners. I felt like I was giving it my all, and even I couldn’t believe that I was still moving up at the rate I was. I ended up finishing in 57th place with a time of 30:47.3. Which are two big improvements in both time and place to from years previous.

Overall, the Spartans moved up once again. We placed 11th overall out of 29 teams. Leading the way for the Spartans was Jose in 8th place overall (possibly a Nationals Qualifier). I was the second man. In Third was Huruy in 74th running 31:13.5, followed up by Ben in 90th place running 31:43.0, and rounding the scoring spots was Josue in 115th running 32:12.9. Not too far behind was Raul in 133rd running 32:31.6, and last but not least making his 10k debut was Evaristo in 176th running 33:53.7. It’s been quite the season, with more ups than downs, and I’m proud to have raced with this group of guys.

Before I close for the year, I’d like to take a minute to remember my mom’s father and thank him for his service in World War II. This race last year in Seattle was the last time that I had the opportunity to see him before he passed away, and there’s not a race that goes by without me thinking of him. He was always supportive of my running career and even tried to watch me race last year in the pouring rain. I’ve always been extremely lucky to have the support of my family and it’s made a world of difference. Today, my mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law were all out there supporting me. I want to thank everyone who reads the blog for supporting me in running and allowing me to share my amazing opportunities with every one of you. With that, I’ll close with a Vic’s Vibe, one of my grandfather’s many sayings.

“Onward, upward, and forward!”

See you on the track,

Craig

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Mountain West Conference Championships

It feels like it’s been a lot shorter than two weeks, yet here we are again. This year, the Mountain West Championships were in Boise, Idaho, so it was full of airplanes, layovers, and seeing people I used to race against in high school. We started our trip with an early Thursday morning flight to Portland, Oregon, where I ran into Edison High School’s Jeff Thies, and then a quick lunch and into Boise. We did our pre-meet shakeout on the golf course to get the lay of the land. The course a big 2k loop that was mostly rolling hills the entire time, with one longer stretch of uphill. It was kinda like Stanford’s golf course, but with a bit more unevenness to it. And besides dinner and a team meeting, it was a pretty uneventful day.

The day started with a 6:45am wake up call for a shakeout run. With my dad’s recommendation of “perpetual motion” I woke up to CCR’s Up Around the Bend. We did an easy ten minute shakeout with some strides, and then got breakfast. Of course I made the usual three pieces of peanut butter toast, so I didn’t change up the routine too much this time. We left the hotel at 8:45am and headed over to the course. I made sure to listen to my pre-race Bruce playlist on the way over too. Then we did our warmup, drills, strides, and it was time to race.

Believe it or not, I started in the front of the race. I know, crazy right? Craig starting out fast in a race? No way. Well I ran like a moron by getting to the front for the first minute, and then by the end of the second kilometer had managed to end up in the back of the race. When I got to the front, I started panicking and so I slowed down not to get ahead of myself. Unfortunately for me, the same time I decided to do that, the rest of the race decided it had gone out too slow and started picking up the pace. By the one kilometer mark, Jose and Ben had caught me and instead of moving with them I just stayed on cruise control. By the start of the second loop, Josue had caught me, and I snapped out of my daze. I started moving up for the entire rest of the race, but the toll of slowing down had already taken effect. I made goof progress moving up and picking off groups, refusing to let my mistake let me from having and okay race. In the end, I’m never going to be happy with my result, but I have to accept it as a learning experience. On the plus side, I placed just outside the top 25, so I’m making improvements. I finished overall in 27th place with a time of 24:59.4 as 2nd man for the Spartans.

Looking back on race I ran, I’m disappointed with myself because I made the race so much harder than it had to be. If I had moved with Jose and Ben at that first kilometer I wouldn’t have had to work harder in the other laps of the race to get back into a position I should have been in to start. I felt strong while I was moving up in the race and know that I could have contended for a top fifteen spot, but it just got away from me.

The rest of the team didn’t really preform as our usual selfs either. We just had a bad race, and that’s putting it nicely. Jose had an outstanding race as the lead scorer of the Spartans placing 11th overall, making All Conference Second Team, with a time of 24:23.1, I was behind him, behind me was Ben in his final Mountain West Race placing 42nd with a time of 25:22.5, behind him was Huruy placing 51st with a time of 25:50.5, and rounding out the scoring squad was Josue with a time 26:00.2, and sixth and final man for the Spartans was Raul running 27:04.4 placing 63rd.

Our final race of the season will be in Sacramento on November 11th. We’re hoping that this poor performance will not repeat itself and we’re going into it ready to fight back. See you in two weeks!

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The Bronco Invitational

It’s so nice to be on a pretty normal schedule for races. It’s been two weeks since Stanford and it’ll be two more weeks until Confernece, so this was a good test of what our team will look like. It started a little differently this morning with a 5:30am serenading from John Fogerty telling me to run through the jungle. I forgot to set the song to Bruce, so it would have to do. Next came the usual three pieces of peanut butter toast, and just waiting around until I got picked up.

The race today was at Baylands park, very similar to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in the type of trail. This is one of the fastest courses that I’ve run on, and coming off a strong Stanford race, I was ready for a good race. The weather couldn’t have been better with a slight breeze, temperature in the mid sixties, and just enough moisture on the course to keep the dust down.

I started out the race faster than I’ve ever done. For the first 400 meters I was right with Ben, which surprised me a bit. I don’t like going out hard for fear of blowing up later in the race, but Coach Wick has been working with me to push harder at the start to put myself in a good position for the end. By the first mile, I was probably sitting around 20th – 30th place, which again is rare for me to do. I felt like I was working throughout the entire race and picking off people, but never pushing myself over the point of no return. I made sure to keep Josue, Ben, and Jose in my sights and to keep pushing to get up to where they were. I ended up finishing  15th overall, 12th collegiate, and 3rd man for San Jose State with a time of 24:11.9.

This is the second time that I felt that I had run an 8k well. Everything that needed to happen to make this a good race, did. And it clearly did for the rest of the Spartans as well. As a team, we defended our team title from last year! We beat second place UCLA by nine points, and third place UCSB by thirty-three points. We had a really close pack, with only a forty-nine second spread from 1st man to 5th man. As our first man we had Jumping Jose running 23:47 placing 6th, second was British Ben running 23:57.8, then me, fourth man was a Hip Hop Huruy running 24:34.5 placing 34th, close behind in 36th place as 5th man was Josue rounding out the scoring sqaud running 23:36.7, 6th man was Evaristo in 150th running 26:23.3, and Juan finished the day for the Spartans with a time of 27:46.7 placing 172th.

Our next race will be in Boise, Idaho for the Mountain West Conference Championships. See you in two weeks!