Saturday was a windy, relatively-cold day here in Flagstaff. As I traveled down the mountain to Tempe, I was relieved to see the temperatures come up and the wind calm down a bit. Temperature was probably low 70s for my race with about 15mph winds. I was pumped for the race and felt well prepared.
As I thought, the race in front turned out to be an effort between me and teammate Marten Bostrom. First lap was 71 seconds. Perfect. I followed close behind Marten much of the race, hitting splits (the ones that I remember) of 2:23 at 800m, 4:49 1600m for the first half. The pace felt good and the headwind on the back stretch wasn’t too bad. I thought for sure I was in for a great time.
About 600m to go, Marten took off (or, maybe I slowed down?). I distinctly remember hearing Coach Heins yell to Marten that he needed a sub-70s last lap to go under the NCAA Regional mark of 9:07.00. Lucky for him, he was able to cross the line in 9:06.95. Unfortunately, I had a dismal last lap and finished in 9:14.94.
The time was over 5 seconds off my PR, but there are a few things to be happy about.
Most of my hurdling went really well, with the exception of the opening laps. I tend to be a little overzealous and jump to high. I think I am wasting some energy on the first few hurdles and would benefit from more practice (obviously). This summer, I would like to work with my high school’s hurdling coach to become more proficient. If I can continue to practice hurdling throughout the year,?? I think I will see large improvements next Spring.
Water jumps went great. This is really encouraging because more practice on water jumps is a little daunting. All that pounding seems to be rough on my back.
9:14.94 is my second-best time in the steeplechase. I guess that isn’t too bad for a red shirt season.
What’s up next
Since the race, I have taken three days off. This is the longest break I’ve had since after cross country nationals at the end of November. The time off couldn’t have come at a better time. School is very busy right now: rough draft for ME499 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos project due Monday, final report due for ME 386 Machine Design due today, as well as homework assignments in other classes. Red shirting this season was a great choice.
I will probably start running again tomorrow and I plan to start swimming and biking a lot more in preparation for the Breath of Life triathlon at the end of June. The goal is to break 2 hours and 10 minutes for the Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run).
Tomorrow’s Sun Devil Invitational at Arizona State will start at 7pm. The mens steeplechase is after the mens and womens hurdles and the womens steeplechase, so it looks like I will probably run at 7:45ish. Tomorrow’s high in Tempe is expected to be 85F, but it should cool down to below 80 by the time my race starts.
At the Sun Angel Invitational a couple of weeks ago, I noted that I probably didn’t eat enough before the race. I won’t make the mistake this time. I will have a good breakfast and some fruit and a sandwich for lunch around 2pm. A snack a few hours before the race should make sure that I’m not worried about nutrition on the starting line.
The heat sheet shows that there are a number of athletes entered around the 9:30 mark. Teammate Marten Bostrom looks to be my top competition, as he ran 9:06.89 back in 2006. Marten won the 5k here in Flagstaff this winter at the Big Sky Indoor Championships.
Considering the field entered, the plan will be to get out and run my own, comfortable race. I would really like to PR (9:09.04 currently) and would like to get close to the 9 minute mark. I want to make sure I don’t go out faster than 70 and blow up. 72s will get me to 9 flat, so that will be the goal pace.
Considering the workouts I have had lately, I think 9 minutes is a reasonable goal. I would really like to head into the summer and cross country training with a big PR.
Today was my last workout before what I like to call the “Olympics.” This is a term some of us like to use at NAU when we are talking about our biggest races of the season which is generally our last as well. Saturday will be my Olympics in the steeplechase.
After a great workout on Monday (3x4min, 4x3min, 3x2min with 2min jog recovery), today we had 6×800 with evens over hurdles and water jump. Paces were sea-level 5k goal pace on the flat 800s and steeplechase goal pace on the others.
The workout went well. There was maybe a 15mph head wind on the backstretch, but I ran most of the workout behind teammate John Killian (9:01 3k steeple this season) so it wasn’t too bad. Splits were 2:20.4, 2:21.5, 2;20.7, 2:23.0, 2:21.3, 2:23.2. I felt pretty tired coming into the workout and thought 6 would be too many before Saturday’s race. The workout was tough, but I felt like I was holding back a bit on the last 800. In the end, I think it ended up being a good workout giving me pace work as well as some confidence heading into this weekend.
Now before I get back to studying for tomorrow’s Thermodynamics II test, I want to wish my Farfar (Grandpa in Danish) Happy Birthday!
Word got out to my teammates that I started this blog, now everyone wants a piece of it. I have had many suggestions of what I should put on here in the last couple days, but Marten Bostrom gave the only good one. Maybe wisdom does come with years. After all, he is the oldest runner in the NCAA.
As the RunPD tag line says, I really have been “running as fast as I can since ’93.” As many runners know, sometimes you can push yourself too hard and it makes you pay in the end. This was the case at my Marmonte League Finals in 2006, my senior year. I was running the 3200m and friend and teammate Michael Cybulski (8:53 two-miler later that year) agreed to pace me to try to run a 9:20 (a 5-second PR). All was going well until the last 200m; I knew it was going to be a very rough finish.
The video below shows the last 80m of the race.
I ended up with a 9:26, just one second off my PR, and 2nd place in that race. This race comes to mind whenever I see another athlete experience bonking. Unfortunately, I have had other experiences similar to this one, especially in the steeplechase. I can only hope there won’t be more to come.
It’s April in Flagstaff, so that means snow apparently. After a nice, crisp 5 mile morning run yesterday, I had 12 miles to do in the afternoon. Skies were cloudy all day, until about 4pm… right when I went running. It snowed an inch or so for an hour and then let up for the last 20 minutes of the run. I actually saw some blue skies and sun after the snow had stopped, so that was a nice end to the long, lonely run.
Today I had the classic 12 400s. Goal pace was 5k race pace (69-70) on 3 minutes. I ran the first half hitting 68-70, then dropped it down to 65-66 and closed up the last one in 59. It felt good to finish up fast and I am already excited about the steeplechase next week.
I got to give a shout out to my roommate Nell Rojas for winning her heat of the 5000m at the 51st Mt. Sac Relays. Nell ran a PR of 16:28.11 to win the University/Open section. She even was interviewed by Flotrack after the race.
Some of my teammates destroyed the 10k last night. Diego Estrada, just a freshman, placed second in the invite heat in 28:54.60 in his first 10k on the track. Ahmed Osman was fourth in 28:56.41 and Ben Ashekettle finished eigth in 29:04.78. Most years, those times are fast enough to make it to NCAA Championships. Video of the last 6 laps.
My short 2009 Outdoor Track campaign will be coming to an end in 10 days at the Sun Devil Invitational at Arizona State University. I will be running a 3000m Steeplechase for the second time this year.
After lowering my mileage last week for the 5k at Sun Angel, I am bringing it back up a bit this week and will probably end up somewhere around 90 miles. A year ago, 90 probably would have been an all-time high for me. I know that some people advise tapering for up to several weeks, but I feel like I get flat if I go too long without pushing myself much. I had a sub-par performance at this year’s indoor conference championships, I think, because I had several weeks in a row at relatively low mileage.
I had a nice workout on Monday: 20 minute Lactate Threshold (LT) and then some pace work 3 x 600m over hurdles on the track. The LT was run at 5:28 pace and right at my target heart rate of 175. Jogged back to the track ~0.5 mile and then started my 600s on 4:00 go’s. Goal pace was 1:48 (9:00 3k pace) and I hit 1:49.4, 1:46.5, 1:46.0. I got to trail World Championships-bound-teammate David McNeil as he was running 4×600 at 5k pace (I think he was running around 1:37s).
It looks like Friday I get to do that classic 12×400 @ 5k pace on 3:00 go’s.
Next week, I will probably lower the mileage down to 60 miles which should leave me feeling nice and fresh. Hopefully I can get below last year’s PR of 9:09.04 set in 100+ degree temperatures in Sacramento.
Saturday was the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State University. It was an all-day affair with premiere events in the evening. I was scheduled to run the 5k at 9:25 pm, just an hour or so before my usual bed time. Unfortunately, due to rain earlier in the day, the race was postponed an hour!
“Great things happen to people who make great things happen to themselves. That was all I was thinking, ‘I got to make a great thing happen.'” Simon Whitfield
My plan for the race was to try to run 70 seconds/lap from the gun and really start racing the second half. I told myself to run smart the first 2km, run tough the second 2km, and then get after it — try to makes something great happen.
The race was pretty crowded, 34 runners lined the starting line, and the start was kind of hectic. I tried to tuck in on the rail near the back to avoid any of the mess. After ~300m of jockeying for position, I found myself in a comfortable spot. My first two laps were about 69s and I was feeling pretty good. “Run smart” I kept trying to tell myself. I came around the 1600 mark at 4:40 and was on the back of a pack of about 5 runners. Perfect. The next mile I hit a few 71s and came through the 3200 in 9:23 (technically a Personal Record from 9:25 in high school). The next mile was pretty tough and I started to fade. I think I probably had some 75s laps in there, yet people were still coming back to me. I charged on the best I could and finished in 19th with a time of 14:50.69; a PR by 0.11 seconds set 51 weeks earlier.
I guess a PR is a PR… I ran five thousand meters faster than I ever had before. With the 100 mile weeks I had put in since the beginning of March I thought I would be much faster than I was one year ago. I don’t like to make excuses, but I do try to learn something from every race. Here are some thoughts about the race:
I think I did a good job trying to adjust to the late start time and not let it affect me psychologically. Thursday and Friday night I stayed up past midnight to try to adjust (I still got 9+ hours of sleep).
I should have eaten more of a dinner before the race. Since the race ended up being over an hour late, I think I had not eaten anything other than bars in six or seven hours… definitely not best. A sandwich around 6 pm would have been best I think.
I was excited to get out there and run a new PR. Some of my more recent races I have not had the best racing attitude and it shows in my performances. Racing hurts, and you have to be prepared to embrace it.
My trip to Las Vegas last week probably didn’t help my performance. I took a day off when I was scheduled for an easy day and was not able to get in my prescribed long run.
I will be back at ASU in two weeks for my next race, 3000m Steeplechase. This will be my last race of my short 2009 outdoor track campaign and my last chance to impress my coach and teammates before cross country season comes around.