The Hornet Invitational

For the last time in my collegiate career, outdoor season is back! It’s once again a momentous occasion marking the first outdoor completion with both a Men’s and Women’s team competing in San Jose State history!

This exciting day started like so many of my previous race days with a serenade from Bruce Springsteen. This was followed up with the classic three pieces of peanut butter toast and a last minute bag check to make sure I had all of my gear. The race this week was in Sacramento, so we had a 2 hour drive to get to the stadium. As we got onto the bus, my teammate, Adi, asked me how I was feeling about today. I told her that my goal was just to make it onto the track. I’ve been fighting the same achilles injure from the winter and had taken most of this week off to cross train. So as long as I could get through the warmup pain-free and get on the track, I’d be happy. And as always, I made sure to bring the bread.

I was placed in Heat 1 (the fast heat) of 6. Coming off a week of little training, I was nervous about this, but I had to do it. The warmup, drills, and strides all felt good so I decided that I would run the race. With my new cornrows on display for the rest of the world, I took off from the gun and was in the lead. That lasted about 150 meters before the rest of the field realized what pace I was running for myself. We rolled through the first lap in 61 seconds and I was spit out the back of the pack and started running in last. But before that, another runner moved inside too soon and I ended up with another nasty gash on my right leg. I really can’t run a race without getting spiked. The next lap was somewhere around 63-64 seconds, and Coach Wick was worried my achilles was hurting and that’s why I was in the back. In reality, I just didn’t have the right training to run a quick 1500 this early in the season, and I was putting in everything I had. I rolled through that lap, making up some ground on the pack that had pulled away early on. My third lap is where I make up all of my ground because I know it’s the time to grind. With one full lap left in the race, I saw one guy ahead of me and made it my goal to catch him by the finish. My form went to crap, my hamstrings started to tighten up, and I was hurting. But with under 100 meters to go, I passed the guy and finished the race not in last place! Instead I was second to last with a time of 3:57, which is a 2 second PR for me!

The time wasn’t too important for me in this race, but a PR is always nice. I was just happy that I walked out onto the track today without pain, and I know what exercises I can do to work on it and keep my achilles from flaring up again. The season is just getting started, and I should be racing a steeple in about two weeks at San Francisco Distance Carnival or at Stanford. I can’t wait to see what this season has in store, and hopefully I can achieve the goal of setting a new school record in the steeplechase of faster than 8:43!

📸: Huruy Zeratsion
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Mountain West Indoor Championships

It’s been a solid season this winter. I’m thrilled to finally be a part of the team representing San Jose State Men’s Track & Field at the Mountain West Indoor Championships for the very first time, and at our first championship meet in over 30 years. I wasn’t sure that this week was going to go the way I wanted though. After my last race at the Bronco Challenge, I came back to San Jose and started having Achilles pains. I spent an entire week in the pool and on the elliptical keeping my fitness up with the hope I would be better before the conference meet. Earlier this week I was able to start running again and on Wednesday, I tested it with a short two mile tempo at race effort. I never planned on missing conference once I started running this week, I just wasn’t sure how it was going to end up.

We left on Thursday for Albuquerque after a brief stopover in Los Angeles. After we arrived, I got in a short treadmill run to acclimate myself and see how my Achilles was holding up. Like in Boise, I was running the 3000m race. The race was scheduled for Saturday at 1:40pm, so I got a shakeout in on Friday morning, and spent the day supporting the rest of the Spartans competing.

This morning, I woke up to get my little shakeout run in, and then went to get breakfast. The hotel had run out of bread by the time that I had gotten there, but that was okay because I always bring the bread. I made my usual three pieces of peanut butter toast, ate with the team, and then went to my room to get my bag ready for the race. We left the hotel around 11am and headed over to the track. On the way over, I listened to Bruce remind me that no matter how many obstacles I have to go through, I was born to run. We did the usual 20 minute warmup, I did some drills, put on my headband, and was ready to race.

There were about 20 people in my heat, which again is a lot of people to fit on an indoor track. I got lucky this time and wasn’t up on the curve and also wasn’t boxed in at the start. I didn’t have the best start, but I still got out considerably well. I didn’t have to deal with the people coming off the turn at the merge, so that was nice. I held onto the front pack while I let the race settle a bit, but got out a little bit quicker than I had planned. Edgar was up in the very front pacing through the mile at 4:35 pace, and he did a perfect job. He pulled enough people up there with him that would die off later in the race, but put me through the mile right where I needed to be. I never fell too far off of the lead pack, and always had two or three guys around me to work with. I got spiked a few times on the turns when guys would swing a little wide, and I got close to taking them down. I rolled through the mile around 4:32/4:33 and was sitting in the top 10, and I knew I was running exactly the type of race I needed to be running. I just worked on moving up and working with the people around me as the race went on. With four laps, 800m, I knew it was time to start working. I started making my moves around the people that were dying off, and continued to move up. Going into the last two laps, I knew it was really time to work. My last two laps were 32 and 30 seconds respectively. I was running in fourth place going into the last lap and was a second away from first place at the end of the race.

I finished fourth in my heat, and twelfth overall in the two heat finals, with a time of 8:31. And since we were running at five thousand feet of elevation, there is a 13 second time conversation. That means my time today equates to a 3000m race at sea level with a time of 8:18. And if you recall the race in Boise of 8:28, that’s a 10 second PR, and an even faster school record! I can say that it’s truly been such a humbling experience getting to represent the history that SJSU’s Track program carries with it, and I can’t wait to see what I can do in the steeplechase and 5000m races this spring. I’ll close this indoor season with a Springsteen quote that’s been playing in my head all season.

“If you think it’s your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball”

See you on the line

-Craig

The Bronco Challenge

It seems like it’s been much longer than three weeks since my last rase. Since then, schools started, I’ve been sick twice, and I’ve had some crazy good long runs in between. But everything was looking good for my first shot at the 3000m and I was ready for business. This week we traveled to Boise, Idaho for The Bronco Challenge. Most of the distance squad was also running the 3000m with me, so it was very similar to the setup we had in Albuquerque, but without the altitude.

The morning started out with a 8:30 shakeout in the snow and slush, followed by the classic 3 pieces of peanut butter toast and Bruce telling me where dreams are found and lost. The race wasn’t scheduled until 4:10pm today, so we had most of the day to watch the other races and freak out a little bit.

My plan for the race was to roll through the first mile at 4:30 and then shoot for a sub 8:30 finishing time. Having never run the 3k indoors, I really didn’t know if this was a good plan, but I was going to stick to it.

There were 26 people in the race. There’s only 6 lanes on and indoor track, and 26 is hard enough to fit on a 9 lane outdoor track. So it was tight on the waterfall start. I got out well and settled into about 4th and all of us came on the outside waterfall, so it was a smooth merge for us upfront. Two guys took off early on in the race, and there was a pacer running right with me going 4:30 through the mile. He hopped off after a few laps, which left me leading the chase pack and Jose right behind me. The guy in first had pulled away and I was closing in on the Utah athlete he dropped. I rolled through the mile right around 4:30-31. Jose passed me after the turn and started to separate from me a little bit and passed the Utah athlete as well. As I got to the Utah athlete he surged and intentionally moved into my lane to prevent me from passing him. He did this for another two laps until I just surged ahead of him. With about 800 meters to go, I had caught back up to Jose and started to make my move with 3 laps to go. I passed Jose just after the turn and just kept working the last 500 meters. I knew it would be tight to get under 8:30, but as long as I keep pushing I knew I could get it.

I finished in second place, first collegiate, with a time of 8:28 and new San Jose State school record in the 3000m. It’s been a long 5 years to get to run an indoor season, but the hard work and good training has finally started to pay off. It’s clear to see that I brought the bread today!

It’s been a short season but the last race of indoor is in about a week and a half back in Albuquerque for the Mountain West Conference Championships. I’ll either be running the mile of the 3k, with hopes of a new PR in either event. I’ll be back soon!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational

This is a very exciting blog post for me. After five cross country season and four outdoor track season at San Jose State, the Men’s Track & Field team has been reinstated! This is the first time since 1988 that San Jose State has an official men’s team competing in track and field. It also marks the first time that I’ve had to opportunity to race an indoor track season. It’s a shorter break from the end of cross country season to the start of the outdoor track season, but I’ve always liked a bit of a challenge and today’s race was definitely that.

Indoor track is a bit different from outdoor track and not just in location. The track is a 200 meter track with banked turns (similar to those found on a cycling track) in comparison to a 400 meter flat outdoor track. It presents a new set of technique and running style that I haven’t experienced before, but I enjoyed my season opener if it was nothing else but practicing my technique.

This meet all the distance runners, except Evaristo, were entered to run the 1 mile race. In my race was Jose, Edgar, Charlie, two UCLA runners, and a few runners from New Mexico. My plan was to take the race out running somewhere between 63-64 seconds per lap. The race went out exactly how I needed it to go, with the first 400m at 63 seconds. There was a nice string of about 5 of us in the lead pack, with a rabbit about 10 meters ahead of us. The rabbit would pull us through 800 meters before he stepped off the track. I passed through 800 at 2:07, again exactly where I needed to be. The turns took me a few laps to get the hang of and I was hovering more towards the outside of lane one so I didn’t clip anyone that was on the inside of me. After I got more comfortable with the pack, I ran the turns tighter and had a better feel for the track. My ankles got clipped a few times by a runner behind me and I was lucky not to have fallen earlier in the race. That luck didn’t hold on forever though. Just after we passed through the 1200 meter mark, a runner behind me kicked me a few times before deciding to jump to the outside lane and try to pass me on the curve. He got in front of me and moved back inside, I got tangled up with him in the process, and I went down. I learned that indoor tracks are not as soft as their outdoor counterparts can be and they also make a much louder noise when you fall on them because they’re wood underneath. Because it was on the curve, I ended up rolling down the track into the sand pit before I could get back up. I was down for maybe 2 seconds, but in that time the lead pack had put pulled away too much and I couldn’t get back with them. I got up and gave it all I had left, and didn’t have much of a kick because I spent so much energy after the fall. I ended up finishing in 8th place with a time of 4:20.9 (Which converts to a 4:14 mile at sea level).

Overall I’m pleased with the effort I gave, happy that the fall didn’t hurt me anymore than a few scrapes and bruises, and I’ll take it as a learning experience to do better in my next indoor competition. The combination of it being an early season race, the altitude in Albuquerque, and falling mid-race made this a very difficult race, but I think that as the season progresses, I’ll only have better races to come. More than anything I’m so excited that Men’s Track and Field is back at San Jose State and it’s so exciting to be a part of this fantastic team! The men’s team will be traveling to Idaho for the Bronco Challenge on February 9th.

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

Mt Sac Relays

It’s been almost 9 months since I’ve been on the track, and it feels really good to be back bringing the bread. Before I get to the race, I’ll go into more detail of why my season is starting so late.

In late January, I was recovering from a nagging ankle injury I had since the middle of December. I had just started running again, and 10 days into my training something went wrong with my IT band. Still not really sure what happened, but it wasn’t good. I couldn’t walk or run without being in a huge amounts of pain, and it made training difficult. I was unsure if I would actually have a track season this spring. I was working with an athletic trainer for over an hour every day on rehab, going for 28 mile long rides on my bike, and simulating track workouts on an elliptical. Mentally, it was tough to have such good training in the fall to having to prepare for not running at all in the spring. Literally going nowhere on stationary machines also took its toll because it was hard to find the positives in my training, and it was tough to go to practice to watch the team leave you behind for their morning run. Looking at it now, if I had started my running a week or two later, I wouldn’t have had enough training to run this race yesterday so I’m extremely lucky with the timing of everything. My training to get here wasn’t much easier. After my coach, athletic trainer, and I decided that I was okay to start running again, I was ramping up the training nearly 20 miles every week. We’d throw in tempos, fartleks, and track work, that was pushing the physical limits of what I should have been doing at the time. I was treading a fine line between having more high quality training and pushing my body further than I should have, and that’s obvious from the shin splints I’ve had for the past week. So that’s the insight of what’s been going on with my season and where my mind is going into this race.

We drove down on Wednesday with a largely uneventful car ride, with a lot of The Byrds that Charlie keep requesting, and not much else. Thursday included a nice shakeout with Coach Wick in the morning and then a lazy day in the hotel as I was trying to recover for a slight cold I had. I just had to make sure I was all ready to go for my race Friday.

We left the hotel Friday at 4:15pm, and drove to El Camino College for my race at 6:55pm. The weather was pretty close to perfect with a good temperature but a little bit of a wind down the backstretch. I did my 20 minute warmup, did some light hurdle drills and a few test jumps on the turf to make sure my shin wasn’t going to bother me today. With a good warmup a lot of nerves and a brief sense of calm, I headed to the hipping tent to go out to the track.

The race started out fast. I went straight the back of the pack and rolled through the 200m mark at 36 seconds, but that was okay with me because I knew what times I needed to run (71 seconds per lap). If I got too caught up in the pack, then I was a little afraid that I would blow up. I moved through the first full lap (600m) at 70.13 with clean barriers and a clear path to the water jump. I stayed exactly where I needed to be and kept clipping off the times that I needed to run while keeping the pack right in front of me. My lap splits couldn’t have been any more perfect than doing this in a workout. 36, 70, 71, 71, 71, 72, 71, 67. There was probably only three of four bad hurdles on the day and two of those were on the last lap. With two laps to go, I just focused on maintaining my speed and picking off the people as they slowed up a little bit. With 300m to go in the race, I really started to move up. I passed a group of people on the outside, had probably my worst water jump in a long time, and had very poor form on the last barrier. I was tired, everything was burning, and I was struggling to breathe, but I finished just a second off my time last year with an 8:54.39. This time should also take me to the first round of NCAA Nationals (yes we have that this year).

I’ve feel like I have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders from running a race without any pain, doing it with 5 weeks of training, and potentially getting a qualifying mark for first round of nationals. Now I get the next six weeks to focus on my training and hopefully move onto the final round of nationals. I’ll be back in a few weeks with another race, so I’ll be back soon.

Last Lap Video

20th Maccabiah Games: 5k

Boker Tov! It’s been a quite a long track season, and now it’s finally coming to an end. Three days after the 10km road race, I was back on the track for a nighttime 5k in the stadium at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

I didn’t wake up to any alarm since the race was at night, so I postponed Bruce until the ride over to the track. I was planning on eating three pieces of peanut butter bread (the line for the toaster was too long) but I could only manage to eat two. My teammate, Samuel, had the third piece and I don’t want to take credit or anything but I think it helped him get the silver medal in the 800 and the 4x400m. Just kidding, he did that by running some super smart, savvy races. The rest of the day included playing cards, watching Netflix, and just trying to stay distracted. At 6pm I took the shuttle from the hotel to the track for my race at 8:35pm. I listened to Bruce tell me I was Born to Run in the Promosed Land at the Darkness on the Edge of Town. I went for my usual 20 minute warmup, did some drilled, spiked up, and got onto the track. 

The race started out jogging the first lap at around 77 seconds, which is when the two Israeli’s and South African runner jumped to the front and pushed the pace down to about 67. I stayed off them a little bit and just kept going at around 70/71 per lap. With eight laps to go I caught back up to the lead pack, who had slowed down dramatically. Here’s where I made a stupid decision in the race. I saw the guy in third and thought that I could beat him. So instead of slowing down, matching their pace and then kicking at the end, I took the lead. My next mistake was not ratcheting the pace down. I knew these guys could kick me, and I wasn’t pushing enough to run the kick out of them. I kept going by in 70/71 maybe a couple 72’s in there, and just about 2 laps to go the group of three passed me and took off. Mentally, I gave up right there and I hate myself for doing it. I pride myself on fighting through races and always kicking at the end, but when these guys passed me I convinced myself I couldn’t catch them. I got 4th since I had a bad mentality in the race, and I’m sure I’ll never let that happen ever again in any 5k or 10k I run in the future. 

I couldn’t get the result I wanted, time or medal wise, with a 14:54 and 4th place, but it taught me a very important lesson in running the 5k: Don’t ever count yourself out. It such a simple thing to say, but so hard to execute. This past year I’ve struggled a lot with that in the jumps I’ve made in my running and I’m finally coming around to understanding that it’s not a fluke that I’m running fast times. My times come through hard work, good training, and efficient racing, and I’ll continue to work on that into the next seasons. 

There’s a song I like to listen to before every race by my uncle, Nelson Wright, called Orphans of The Past”, which I really think sums up track racing. 

“Every chord has a line, every passage has its time, the road has a reason that he won’t have to answer for”

I’ll see you on the road

-Craig

Last Race with the “d Squad”

The 20th Maccabiah: 10K

Hello from Israel! It’s a bit surreal to be competing for team USA in Israel, but the races are finally underway six days into the competition. The first race was a 10k road race, and it’s quite the story. Let’s get started.

The race wasn’t scheduled until 7:45pm, so I spent most of the day in the hotel. Don’t worry, a friend of mine helped me find peanut butter, so I had the classic three pieces of peanut butter toast. Later in the day, I took a nice walk around the Jerusalem Forest to clam my nerves. We left the hotel at 5:45pm, got dropped off a mile away from the start of he course and walked over. I did my usual warmup about 50 minutes out from the race, came back, and then found out the race was pushed back to 8:15pm. Then it was moved forward to 8:05, then back to 8:10, then back up to 8:05… Then since there was a road race for the general population at the same time, there were 2000 people racing, and security guards who wouldn’t let Maccabiah athletes to get to the front of the race. Overall, the race was not well designed for the competitive runners, and it was too hard to get any accurate information.

Anyway… The race started out well. I went right to the front and had the motorcycle leading me through the streets of Jerusalem. Just around 500m, I had a South African runner who was hanging right on my back. Around 3k into the race he threw in a surge, and that was the last I saw of him. So I was off in no man’s land, with at least 1 minute between me and 3rd at just around the 4k mark. Then the course got bad. Then next 1500m we’re all up a hill. And it was brutal. The course was not designed to anyone to run fast, and now I knew why. Around 7k, we turned up a street and went through the Jaffa Gate into the Old City. That was a cool experience to run through there, but road flats are not meant to run on slick cobblestone paths, so that slowed me down a bit. By the time I had gotten to the 9k marker, I knew there was no way for anyone to pass me, and I was hurting, so I didn’t kill myself to get up the last hill to the finish.

I finished in 2nd place in both the Open race and the Maccabiah Competiton in 34:xx. So not an earth shattering, but the course wasn’t ever going to be fast.

The craziest part of the night was the medal ceremony. It was pretty surreal to stand on the medal podium, hold up the American flag and get a silver medal. I’m so excited to have been a part of the 10k, even if I wanted to pull my hair out at how disorganized it was. My next race is the 5k and 4×400 on the track on Thursday night. 


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Portland Track Festival

Hello again! We’re two weeks into June and I’m still pushing my track season on for another month, but naturally I’m still bringing the bread. It’s been about two months since my last steeplechase at the Mt. Sac Relays where I set my current PR of 8:53. The race today up in Portland, Oregon gave me a perfect opportunity to have a shot at getting the SJSU Steeplechase record and also have one more race before the Maccabiah games in Israel. 
The race today wasn’t until 5:50pm, so I had a lot of time to wait around. Due to the fact my race was so late in the day, I woke up without Bruce and had some cherios before I ate my peanut butter toast. I played some cards with my dad, let him win a couple of rounds, and then eventually we headed over to the track at Lewis & Clark College at 3:30pm. Closer to race time, I did my usual 20 minute warmup, drills, put on my #Blkkngs headband, and headed to the start line. 

Out of the three steeple’s I’ve raced this season, this one had the best competition. I was seeded 9th in a field of 11 athletes, and was hungry to get a good time. I started out the race in the front for the first 200 meters, but unlike other races, I didn’t panic. I made sure that the lead pack was never more than one second ahead of me, and kept moving up well throughout the race. I was running 70’s and 71’s for most of the race, with a couple 72’s sprikled in. Where I excelled the most in the race was my water jumps. I saw the other competitors lose precious seconds on the water jumps, and I had maybe one that was sub par. Because of this I was able to make big move in the last two laps of the race and set myself up for a third place finish. 

I finished in 3rd place with a time of 8:50.9. It’s not quite what I wanted to run, I didn’t get the school record, and I’m a bit bummed it wasn’t under 8:50. But, it’s still a 3 second PR for me. With all things considered, I’m happy with my performance and even more excited to see what I’ll be able to do in a 10k road race and 5k track race in Israel for Team USA. I leave for Israel on June 27th and I race the 10th and 13th of July. I’ll have two separate postings for each of those races. See you soon!

Spartan Up!

Last Chance Meet

The Last Chance Meet is always a fun one. The dynamic is different from big meets like the Mt. Sac or Stanford Invitational, but still presents an opportunity to run good times. Today was my last chance at running a 5k before the Maccabiah Games this July in Israel. I would have preferred to run another steeplechase, since I think I can break the SJSU school record of 8:46 with the training that I’ve been having, but I figured there would be better competition in the 5k.

The morning started out like a normal race day with some toast and Bruce Springsteen getting me in the race day mindset. We left San Jose at 9:00am with the earlier racers running at 11am. My race wasn’t until 2pm so I just listened to some more Bruce and joked around with Raul and Huruy. Before I knew it, we were starting our warmup and drills to get ready for the race.

The race started out well. I rolled through the first 200m in 33, but I was with the pack that I needed to be with, so I stuck on to the back of them. Then things got a little rough. Unfortunately, there was a really fast group at the front, then there was me and my group, but no one between us. From the second to fifth lap, I was leading the chase pack and doing all the work for the rest of the group. It was really windy on the backstretch, and I was fed up with doing all the work. So halfway through the fifth lap, I put on the brakes. Like I literally started doing a workout pace. That pissed off a couple of people behind me, which was the plan, and they moved to the front and started leading. I let them lead for the next two laps, taking us through seven and a half laps before I took the lead again. When I did that, I was consistently running 70 second laps and moving up on some people who couldn’t hang with the front group. I rolled through two miles at 9:25 overall and a 4:42 mile. Over the next 4.5 laps, I worked hard to get my lap times lower. Unlike the 5k at Stanford, I knew that I was making up ground and getting faster lap times. I felt a lot better in this race, even with some strong winds, but still managed to push hard. I closed my last 400 meters in 66 seconds to finish 4th overall with a time of 14:33.35. As for the other guys on the team, Raul finally…finally broke 15 in the race with a 14:56, and Huruy had a great second chance at the 5k running 14:47.

The end of the season is always bittersweet. It’s fantastic to be able to see these tremendous improvements in training and racing year over year, but it also brings a close to some teammate’s time at San Jose State. This year on the men’s team, Raul will be graduating and leaving us to pursue a new running career with a running club of his choice. On the women’s team, Karina and Jessie are both graduating with big plans for their futures.

Just one more little update with the First Round of NCAA’s. So I’ve run the qualifying time to get me into the race, but some new rules are keeping me from actually getting entered. Coach Wick and the athletics compliance office at SJSU is doing everything that they can in their power to be able to get me to race in Austin a week and a half from now. If the NCAA denies our appeal, then that will officially end my season. But I can’t wait to be back here in a couple of months to write about the Macabbiah Games. It’s an exciting time! I’ll be back soon with one (maybe 2) last post of the season. Stay tuned….

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My last race with Raul