About a week ago I did another interview at “Thankful Thursdays.” This one was at a fairly new Greek restaurant, Taverna (the gyro dinner is delicious and a steal at $12). Once again I took advantage of the large congregation of Lumberjacks and interviewed junior Lauren Hill. I threw a couple new questions in there to keep things fresh.
If any of you have suggestions on any questions you would like to hear, or some requests for specific Lumberjacks to be interviewed, leave a comment below.
Flotrack Workout Wednesday
The Tuesday following Pre Nationals, Flotrack’s Ryan Fenton came out to watch and record one of our workouts. We did 6xmile out at Ft. Tuthill on 7:00 go’s, which is among our hardest workouts of the season. Fortunately I was able to have a great workout in front of the camera and under the hot lights. I even got a great shout out from Coach Heins, “Jason Pedersen he’s just a grinder. . . He just wants to be on a team that has a shot to do something special in November.” Thanks for the compliment Coach, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So I have been a little lacking on updates a bit. Since my last post, the team has started our newest of many traditions, “Thankful Thursdays.” Every Thursday, we go out as a team to a different restaurant. We started with sushi, Mexican last week, and Greek last night. These make for great opportunities to do more interviews.
Last week, at Caf?? Ol??, I interviewed Eric Lynch. Lynch, as he is commonly known as, is one of the few people remaining at NAU that started with me in the Fall of 2006. He has always been a great friend and I’m glad he is still around to laugh, run and share “old” times with.
Big Sky Championships
The other piece of news is that the mens NAU Cross Country won its 4th straight Big Sky title over the weekend. As a whole, the team ran very well. David McNeill and Diego Estrada continue to impress every time they toe the line. Tim Freriks and Eric Lynch had exceptional days, both earning their first All Conference awards. Congratulations to them.
I did not have my best day, in fact it was definitely my worst performance of the season. I was our 7th man, finishing in 12th place. I didn’t feel all that bad in the race, which is good. I just didn’t seem to have that extra motivation that is needed to really make you hurt on a cross country course. When I realized this, it was rather alarming. “This was your last Big Sky Cross Country Championship, and you couldn’t get ‘up’ for it?” As I mentioned in my Stanford race report, I have been unusually calm about racing this year. This is my fifth year competing collegiately, could it be catching up with me?
Sunday, after finishing my long run with Tim and Andrew Belus, I thought about this and I just came to the conclusion that I need to put myself in the right frame of mind just before and during the race. Being relaxed is a good thing, but a little nervousness goes a long way. So during our workouts this week, which were some of our two hardest, signature workouts — mile repeats and “The Lumberjack” — I practiced putting myself in the right mindset. I don’t want every workout to feel like a race, because that will quickly lead to burnout, but when it got tough I told myself, “You want it; you just have to believe.” This will be my mantra over the last 16 days.
I am currently sitting in my giant hotel room with Rube getting ready for the big race. I thought I would post a new episode of “Getting to know The Lumberjacks” that I recorded yesterday. This one is with NAU’s newest Aussie, Mathew Coloe. Matt comes to Flagstaff as more of a track specialist, but we are hoping for big things from him today and through the rest of the season.
Shortly after finishing my interview with Andrew Belus, I decided I need to include some of the girls in this action. So while we were at breakfast at the DUB on Sunday, I decided to take the opportunity to ask one of the freshmen ladies 20 questions. First up was Sarah Raber from Cottonwood, AZ. I know what you’re thinking, that is the same place Tim is from! Yep, but no relation.
Last week’s debut “Getting to know The Lumberjacks” was a big hit amongst the team and coaches. Now everyone wants their few minutes of fame. So today I was Johnny On The Spot with my camera in the ice bath after a hard, long progression run. The first person to jump in the tub with me was 4th year Junior Andrew Belus from Tempe, Arizona. Andrew was NAU’s 3rd runner at the recent Stanford Invitational and is now known worldwide for running 7.5 km of that race barefoot (see my post).
Over the summer I spent a lot of time immersing myself in triathlon culture. I spent a lot of time reading triathletes’ blogs, including Jordan Rapp’s and one of his “mentors” Simon Whitfield, the first Olympic gold medalist in the sport of triathlon. After speaking with Jordan at a trail race last December, I learned that they had done some training in Flagstaff in past years, so I decided to see if there were any blog posts about their time here. What I found was some videos of the training camp. It was really cool to see them training in the same locations that I train at every day. But the most interesting videos, I thought, were the ones about the people, not the training. Simon Whitfield has several videos on his Youtube channel that are called “20 Questions with…[insert athlete’s name here].” Here is a link to the interview of Jordan.
So I thought it would be fun to start doing something similar with some of my teammates. I ask 20 questions, some running related some not, and post the video. First up is sophomore Tim Freriks from Cottonwood, Arizona. Sorry ladies, he is taken. (small cameo by David McNeill)
Since I last updated this blog quite a lot has happened. Perhaps most notably is that I am a college graduate now. I earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics with a final GPA of 3.48. I think I’m going to round up to 3.5. That’s legit, right?
I have taken my semiannual pilgrimage back home to Simi Valley where I will spend the summer training, eating my Mom’s delicious food, sleeping on my super comfortable bed, seeing best friends and working an internship three days a week. Sounds like the life, doesn’t it?
Today I had my first race since the Lasse Viren 20k I did back in December and will have a race report on that tomorrow!
A month ago today I had surgery to remove Plica in my left knee. I am happy to say that I am now swimming, biking and running with some consistency. I have been doing a lot of rehab, nearly everyday since the day after my surgery, and I have to thank our team trainer Cherise for all of her help. She has so many athletes to care for and she always finds time to help me with exercises, ultrasound, and reassuring me that I’ll be back out there soon while I watch my teammates run workouts on the track.
Earlier this week I told Tim Freriks (Nicknamed “Rube” because he is our lone ranger freshman. You should hear his jokes.) that I was hoping to run about 20 to 25 miles this week. He responded with a chuckle and, “That’s like what? Only a fifth of what you normally do?” While my mileage is much lower right now, I am simply happy to be out there again, improving everyday, and not worrying about if/when my knee will hurt again. As of now I am still very glad that I decided to get the surgery. I have an appointment to see the doctor on Thursday so I should have a better idea of how my recovery is coming along.
Since my last post I have been home for Spring break, back to school for 4 days, then home again to see my great aunt and uncle from Denmark. It is always nice spending time at home, especially this time of year when the hills of Simi Valley are all green. The little running I was able to do was truly a pleasure. I am so glad that I already have the perspective to realize “how good we had it” running as a youth and in high school. I feel like I have written this countless times over the last year on this blog: those trails are rich with memories.
Going home has a new perk this semester: Tina. My girlfriend Tina graduated from NAU in December, graduating with a double major in just 3.5 years. What a stud. Unfortunately this means that she isn’t in Flagstaff anymore. Long distance relationships aren’t my idea of fun, but this is just a passing thing.
Speaking of graduation, I have just over a month left of my undergraduate career! What’s even more exciting is that last weekend I received an acceptance letter to NAU’s Master of Engineering program. I still have at least an entire year of eligibility left and doing grad school seemed like the best way to make the most of my time here in Flagstaff.
Now that I am running more I should have more material. In the coming days I am hoping to have a good idea of what my goals will be for the next 6 months or so. (It’s crazy to think that cross country nationals were 5 months ago.)