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).
I got some work to do!
Sun Devil Invitations Results
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.
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.
Sun Angel Classic Results | Race Video