On Sunday I returned to Flagstaff after a great four week stay in Simi Valley. I have not been able to jump back into training with my teammates, as I am still fighting a sore knee. The good news is that I got an MRI and there is nothing serious — no tears. Basically there is some inflammation behind the patella (knee cap) that is causing the pain. When the swelling goes away, the pain should follow suit.
My last post I mentioned setting resolutions, or goals, for the new year. With this minor setback, I may have to alter a few ambitions, but hopefully the big picture remains the same.
- Continue to improve my running by logging high mileage weeks.
- This track season I really want to improve my 5000 time of 14:50 and my steeplechase of 9:09.
- Compete at NCAA Cross Country Championships once again and improve on my 95th place finish of 2009. The ultimate goal is to be an All-American — top 40.
- Improve my swimming.
- I will try to get in the pool at least once a week for the entire year. Obviously, when time and running permits, I will spend more time in the pool.
- Seek out coaching to improve my stroke.
- Compete in some of the Ventura Splash and Dash aquathlon series events, assuming the series continues in 2010.
- Compete in more triathlons.
- I had a great time competing in the Breath of Life triathlon last June, and will likely do this one again.
- As of now, the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island in July is on my calendar. As I understand the rules, if I am one of the top-3 amateurs I will earn my elite license.
Now for a shout out: Congratulations to my girlfriend, Tina Johnson, for her first Half Marathon last Saturday! My parents and I went down to Irvine to watch Tina compete in her first race over 5k! She did a great job and I am so very impressed and proud that she has become a runner just like me.
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.
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!
…and Happy Earth Day to the rest of you!