My 2011 Indoor season opener will be this Saturday at the Husky Classic at the University of Washington. I will be running my first sea level 3000 since 2008, where I ran 8:26 in the very same meet. At the time I was very pleased to be well under the conference qualifying mark of 8:30. I went on to run an altitude adjusted 8:22 at the Big Sky Championships at Idaho State a couple weeks later. Despite all that I have done and accomplished as a runner since that race, I can still only call myself an ???8:20???s guy.??? I want that to change this weekend.
Considering the little hiccups I have had in my training since cross country (a bit of a nagging knee injury and a broken wrist), I feel like my workouts have been superb. Just as I had hoped, each session feels better than the last ??? leaving me more confident for my final track season looming on the horizon. How fit am I? It???s difficult to say, but Saturday???s race should give me a pretty good clue.
I get the feeling Coach Heins is on the same page as me. What am I capable of right now? Before Wednesday night???s workout, Coach told me he wanted me to go out in 68s and make sure i went under the conference qualifying mark of 8:30. I proceeded to put together perhaps my best eight 400???s in succession ever. And I felt great doing it too. So after a rather sleepless night (I seem to struggle to get a good night???s sleep after 7pm workouts when I have practice again at 8am??? or maybe I???m just that antsy to race?), I decided to speak with Coach. ???I got a time in my head: 8:15. 8:15 is not 68???s.??? He replied with a chuckle and agreed that I am probably capable of something under 8:20. In short, I have permission to go for it??? just as long as it doesn???t cost me the conference mark.
NAU is bringing other distance runners in search of new PR???s and conference, or in some cases, national qualifying marks. Diego Estrada has found himself in the fastest 3000 heat of the weekend, featuring numerous professionals and some of the greatest collegiate runners the rubber oval has ever seen. Diego has one of the best attitudes about racing that I have ever come across ??? a lot of confidence with a strong desire to lead and a splash of ignorance ??? and it is refreshing to be around. I have no doubts he will stick his nose in it. I wish them all good luck and I???m sure we will all return to Flagstaff as more accomplished runners than when we left this afternoon.
This trip brings back fond memories of the last time I was in Seattle. It reminds me of the ???old??? crew, and specifically my ex-teammate, ex-roommate, and now long distance friend Nell Rojas, who calls Spain home these days. We had a lot of fun on these trips, which we try to relive as often as possible on Skype. If it weren???t for that 8 hour time difference we probably would spend more time recounting these memories than we did living them the first time around. Running has given me many of my closest relationships.
Time permitting, I may have a race report up on Saturday or Sunday. Stay tuned???