Sunday, April 21, 2013

5k Race Report, and a Book Recommendation?

Swim: 14k
Bike: 1 hour, on my new bars :)
Run: 37 miles

            The forecast was not looking great, and I still needed to qualify for NCCAAs in the 5k. Thursday night I looked through the performance list to see who was going to be there. I remembered racing against Kris, from Franklin, earlier in the year, and I decided to Facebook him to come up with a race plan. Going into the race I knew Kris had run fast, and I needed to run solid, so trading off every 400m seemed like a good plan to me. I also knew my teammate Ross would be trying to run the same splits as me, so we were going to have a good group. Turns out, Kris was supposed to be pacing his teammate through 2 miles @ :75/400m, so that worked even better. Ross and I could just latch on, and not have to do any work—score!

            Friday we traveled to Rose-Hulman for their Twilight meet. Sure enough, it was cold (40s) with 16mph winds. The past few years it has always been raining, storming, windy, cold, or a mixture of all the above. Last weekend was windy and I was hoping the meet would be calm weather…but it wasn’t. Before the running events started, coach asked Ross and me if we were still running or if we made an “exit strategy” for the race. What’s this “exit strategy” he spoke of? I’m healthy, and able to run: I was going to run and qualify. I was mentally prepared, the pacemaker was ready, it was time to go!

            About an hour before the start of the race, Ross and I began out warm up. We confirmed the race strategy, and planned what we would do if things did not go as planned. We like to plan…Okay, I like to plan. :)

            As we were taking our sweats off, the weather decided it wanted to make the race a little more challenging…it started sleeting! April 19th in Indiana, and it is sleeting. Gotta love it. At that point I didn’t even care, I was ready to race. They lined us up by number, and the gun went off. There was a stud that took off from the start and never looked back. He went on to run 14:5X…solo. As for the rest of us, we settled into a pack pretty quickly. I knew Kris was the pacer, so I settled in behind him and two other guys and turned my brain off.  I don’t remember 400m splits, but I know I was feeling great. I just had to follow the person ahead of me. We came through the mile in 5:05, which was a little slower than what I wanted, but that’s okay. It felt like a warm-up mile. After hearing the mile split, Kris picked it up and we started running :73. We came through the 2 mile @ 9:57 (4:52 mile). I knew this is where I would have to start working since Kris was stepping off the track, and now there was only one guy ahead of me in the pack. Our next 400m was :74, which was slower than I wanted, so I took over. 1400m to go and I was now leading the chase pack. My next 3 400m splits were :73, :72, :71 to come through 3 miles in 14:48 (4:50mile). I ended up closing the last 200m in :33 to run 15:22.09, a 12second PR. Couldn’t have done it without the help of our awesome pacesetter, and all of my teammates cheering spread around the track. Thanks, y’all!

The best part of the Twilight Meet...the pie afterward!
            I qualified for NCCAAs, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I also felt pretty good after the race, and I feel that I have much more to give in my next few races. I said I wanted to go sub 15:00 this year, and I believe it is still possible. I probably have 2 5ks left of my college career, and I fully believe sub 15 is in the cards.

            Also, I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and it is now easily one of my favorite books…ever. It’s a children’s (well more like teen) book that I had to read for my Cross Cultural Children’s Lit class, and it is completely awesome. It’s a real book, with real thoughts and feelings. The author writes in the exact tone a teenage boy would think. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s awkward, and it’s great. There is pain, and there is hope. It gives insight to life on an Indian Reservation, and the struggles that go along with it, through the eyes of a young boy. Honestly, if you have the time, you NEED to read this book! And if you do read it, let me know what you think!

Have a great week, y’all. Good luck to all the track teams out there that are gearing up for conference meets this weekend!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Update of the Month...Since I Was Lazy

Swim: not much, but got back into it last week...

Bike: None…after the getting hit by a car 3 weeks ago
Run: A lot!

Basically here is the quick rundown of my last few weeks:
March 2- UW Stevens Point — 15:34 5k
March 9- Lapped out at Clermont Draft Legal
March 22- WashU Mini Meet – 51.71 400m, 2:01.4 800m
March 27- Hit by car on a training ride
March 29- WashU Invite — dropped out of the 5k @ 2 miles
April 4- WashU Select — 4:05.5 1500m, 1:59.05 800m, :53 400m split
April 12-SLU Invite — 16:10 5k

March was a long, emotional, mentally draining month for me. I had 3 big races planned: SP, Clermont, WashU Invite. I knew it was going to take a lot of physical, emotional, and mental energy to perform well at all three of the races, but I had no doubt I could do it. After coming off a low in Clermont, I was determined to have a good outdoor track opener (and it went well) and run a fast 5k at the second meet. Unfortunately I was hit by a car, and had a nice trip to the ER 2 days before the race was supposed to happen. I already was very much mentally and emotionally invested into the WashU 5k, so I decided to race anyway. The pain was bad enough by mile 2 that I decided to drop out. Looking back on it, I probably should have sat that one out.
 (At least the view was good...)

Outdoor 5k #2 did not go any better. The conditions were not great for racing (steady 18-20mph winds), but once again, I wanted to run 15:15. After 200m I decided to take the race into my own hands and try to make it happen. I ended up coming through the mile in 4:52 (2 seconds faster than I needed to), but I started to slowly fall apart after that. The wind and cooler temps took a toll on me, and probably the fact that I tried to go at it alone, and I was swallowed up by the pack at mile 2 (5:07/10:00). My third mile was just ugly, as I ran 5:30, and closed the last 200m in :38 to finish in 16:10. Was it a smart race? No. Did I learn something? Sure.
 (New running shoes always make things better...right?)

This brings us to the interesting point of this post. I have always been an aggressive racer. This goes all the way back to 5th and 6th grade track meets. I have always been coached/taught “big risk, big reward” and I have never been afraid to risk it. If I feel I am in shape to run a certain time, I will go for it. Some may call it dumb, but it is what it is. I’ve always been more of a “I may have 9 bad races/blow ups, then on the 10th race knock 30 seconds off a 5k” rather than a “2 seconds here, 3 seconds there” for 9 races and a solid season ending race. Is there a right or wrong way to race? I’m not sure. I don’t think I am a patient racer on the track, but in the tri it is usually a different story. I think I will just have to continue to try and find a balance that works.

Now, we are two weeks away from NCCAA (Christian Nationals) and I have qualified in the 400m, 800m, 1500m…but not the 5k. I will be running the 5k, again, this weekend to hit the qualifying standard since that is what I actually want to run at NCCAAs. This weekend will just be about hitting the standard, racing smart, and not worrying about a PR.  The Rose-Hulman Twilight is always a fun meet, so I am looking forward to it.
 (Greenville Mud Run 5k)

Switching gears, I am thankful that everybody I know that ran Boston is safe—I pray for the people and families affected by this horrific, senseless incident. I just don’t understand how anybody could do something like that!

Have a great week, Y’all :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sub 4:20 Miler, But Intimidated By the 1500m?

This is the video my first ever sub 4:20 mile. I ran 4:18.58 and set the Greenville College indoor mile record. Why am I posting this? Well, recently I have had a few people ask me for the video, but there are other reasons for posting. This is probably the best executed mile I have ever run.

They say, “What you think about, you bring about.” This weekend I am racing the 1500m at Washington University (well, SLU actually), but I have never really been a good 1500m runner. I love the indoor mile, but I really don’t care for the 1500m—although 109m less running actually sounds like it should be more fun! The NCCAA (Christian Nationals) qualifying standard is 4:09.5 and I have honestly never run the qualifying time before the meet—I have run 4:01 in the weeks after the meet, but that is after the fact. This year I would like to actually hit the standard the first time out so I don’t have to worry about it later. With the solid indoor season I had, and a good outdoor season opener, 4:09 should not be that difficult, but it will be a mental task. Running for 4 minutes is not the hard part…blocking out all the other "bad" 1500s I've run (and all the other crazy things that have happened in the past week) is the hard part . I am very much looking forward to the challenge.