Sunday, September 20, 2009

SSU Bears. . .Friendship Invitational

The last post was on Monday morning, almost an entire week ago. Since then, a lot of good miles were put in and a week of training that led up to our meet at Cedarville. Even though we had a race on Saturday, we still did two workouts, one on Monday and an easy 2k at race pace on Wednesday. The Monday workout was one of my strongest workouts of the year. I have been saying, after workouts, how it was the best workout of my life, because I keep feeling so strong. But, I am going to stop saying that from now on, because in my opinion, it is hard to differentiate what your best workout is since they are all so very different. So, I will say, this is the best I have run this particular workout in my 3 years of being at Shawnee.

The workout consisted of a two mile time trial/interval on Spartan Stadium track and after that, 3 x 1 miles hard on the floodwall. This workout is always a tough one, not just because of the intensity and amount of miles in it, but because the first part of it is on the track. This was my first time on a track since last April! Plus, it was on Spartan Stadiums track, which is in very poor condition. After a 3 mile warm-up, I laced up my old pair of Nike Eldoret spikes. These spikes have seen the days, since my Sophomore year in high school, including epic 2 mile races against Josh Linkous and an my entire Freshman year of cross in college. Since then, I have bought a new pair of Eldorets but continue to wear my old ones in workouts, because they feel so good! Anyways, we started the two mile and I was volunteered to lead us out. I hit some 72’s and continued to lead after 5 laps. I think we were at the mile in 4:43. Eric passed me after this and he opened a big gap so it was like I was still leading. Linkous and CC flew by me on the last lap and I ended up running 9:35. That’s a 7 seconds PR, so I can’t be upset. I also felt comfortable on the track, probably since I was out in the front. Now….onto the grass for some fast miles.

Some people changed into flats for the miles, but I continued to wear my spikes. I tore these miles up, must have been the spikes. The first one was 4:51, than 4:45 on the last two. I simply felt really comfortable the entire time and got out in front of everyone. Everyone had an amazing workout, it was crazy how many people PR’d in the 2 mile and then ran sub 5 miles. A nice cool down ended a good day of training and it was time to relax some for the rest of the week, that’s what I thought at least……

Tuesday, CC, Shane, Holbrook, and I went to the trails. We ran on the ADT again since it has been in really good shape and the path was cleared off a lot more than the other trails. After a couple miles in the run, my heart sank and I am sure Shane’s did as well. The single track trail that I once loved was now a 10 foot wide bulldozed piece of junk. The trail that I learned how to run trails on now was the worse trail of them all. It had mounds and little hills throughout the trail and it was hard to run on. When we got to the service road at mile 4, we took it back to the car and finished our run on the Lakeside Trail. I do not know why they had to do this. They are probably going to start logging or something. What happened to protecting our State Forests!.? Well, my frustration about the trails turned into excitement when we stopped at Buckeye Dairy Bar for milkshakes. I ordered the best tasting one flavored shake I have ever had: Raspberry. It was bursting with so many flavors!

Wednesday, we had a 2k at race pace on the course. Wysocki and I went out to run some extra mile before we started, and then we started. My race pace was set at 6:22, which would be 25:30. I ran that to the second. Somehow 8 guys were ahead of me. My legs were very heavy. The workout on Monday made my calves feel so knotted up, a feeling that my legs have never felt! It was not a pain feeling, just sore and tired. The trails on Wednesday didn’t help them recover either. Thursday and Friday were both easy runs, so I was counting on them to get me to feel better by Saturday. Also, three ice baths on Thursday and two on Friday helped them recover a ton.


Saturday morning, time to race. The feeling of waking up on the day of a race, especially a cross country race, is like no other. I am actually excited to wake up! I gathered my bag and grabbed some food for the road and loaded up on the bus. The bus trip was relaxing, as I was able to nod off for once. I am usually never able to sleep on a bus, but this time I did. I fixed a bagel with honey about halfway there and drank plenty of water. Once we got to Cedarville, we were able to chill out for about 40 minutes before we had to warm-up. The warm-up went well, I wasn’t fresh by any means but I was better than the last couple of days for sure. The next 45 minutes were spent stretching/loosening, getting the chip on my shoe, drinking more water, getting my shoes on and tied(just perfect, my Eldorets), and then some strides out in starting field. This is usually how all races begin for me, from the warm-up to the gun.

When the gun went off, everything was silent. This is such a surreal experience. I think about it a lot and how I wish every moment was like this. But, I can only experience it about 10 times a year, only in cross country races. Right from the start, Corey, Galen, Linkous, and me were in the front. We weren’t way out, but 4 abreast in the front of the main pack. The rest of my team followed close behind. We were at the mile in about 5:05. At this point, I had slid back a few seconds, behind about 7 of our guys and I was focused on running with Cedarville’s number one guy, which was TJ. I only was able to stay with him for about 400 meters, than I decided to go ahead and leave him. I never saw another Cedarville runner from then on. I was still chillin' about two seconds behind the main pack, because no one was making a move to take the lead. I had no worries because I was ready to move as soon as someone broke away. That someone came at about 2.5 miles; he actually came from behind me and not from the front group. It was a guy in a CRC jersey, so not even a college runner. He went flying by me and a Dennison guy went with him. The Dennison runner was a Kenyan. But, when they went, I went. I quickly passed the entire front pack and was in third all by myself, with the CRC and Kenyan in front of me.

(How the race looked at 3.5 miles, in 3rd right now)

I was hoping a lot of my teammates would go with me so we could work on running down second place. I wasn’t catching the CRC guy. He ended up running like a 9:47 last two miles and won by over 20 seconds! But, the Dennison guy was in reach the rest of the race. I was at 15:25 for the 3 mile, a consistent pace by all means. I kept the same distance ahead of the pace behind me for the rest of the race. With about 800 meters to go a Wright St guy went flying by me in hopes for a heroic finish but I passed him easily as I was finishing the last straight away. I was still gunning for second. I didn’t get a chance to pass him, but 3rd place is very good and I am very happy. Plus, I PR’d, again. I ended up running 25:41, so that is really good based on the hard week of training and sore legs.

(Me holding off the guys down the finish)

As for the rest of the team, Corey got 5th, Shane ran a 25:54 and got 7th, Link was 8th at 25:55, and Galen was 11th at 26:03. So, our top five was very solid, almost 5 times under 26. We also put our top 5 ahead of Cedarville’s number 1! They are ranked ahead of us too, they were 11th, and we were 12th. I am thinking that might change. Our point total was 29 and Cedarville had 81. I am glad we showed what we could do and got the result we wanted. Still, we cannot look past Cedarville, they have a good team. Their top 4 were in front of our 6 man, so, they are right behind us. Last year I ran a bad race here, a 27:25; this year I was 1 minute and 44 seconds faster. WOW!

The trip back home was good. We stopped at Eric’s parent’s house for food. It was really good. Mrs. Putnam cooks lights out. It is always a lot more enjoyable trip when the race went well. Everyone is in a good mood and talking. I love it.

Later that night after getting home, showered, and unpacked, some of us headed out to Reece’s house to chill. We had some awesome burgers and played some cornhole. We all stayed out there for the night and got to bed at midnight. We were all whipped from the day.

This morning, we headed out to Hangover and met the team. The entire team was actually there this week! The run was nice, I only did 13 to put me at 86 for the week. A really good 86. It rained the entire run, but it was refreshing. After the run we all stopped at Buckeye Dairy Bar and got food and milkshakes. The Raspberry shake was in popular demand today!

Now, like every other Sunday night, I have to regroup and start planning out my next week.

That is me, Running Free!

(Corey, Shane, and I with our Plaques)

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