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.