Real quickly I want to direct your attention to Jordan Rapp’s most recent blog post, “Mementous.” I met Jordan at the Lasse Viren 20k in December and he seemed like a great guy. Unfortunately, he was injured while on a training ride about five weeks ago which left him full of screws and some plates in his face. Apparently he is doing much better now, even starting to exercise again, but is suffering from a bit of insomnia. If you read the post, you will see his lack of sleep is our gain. Brilliant writer with a great perspective of things. I highly recommend checking it out.
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.
After watching and celebrating my girlfriend’s graduation on Friday, my parents and I headed West back home to Simi Valley. The snow was nice for a few days, but training in it all Winter is just too much for me. Consistency and enjoying training are so much more important than any benefits training at altitude provides.
Upon arriving in Simi on Saturday, I went out for a 10 miler in the rain. Bad news is you get a lot wetter running in the rain than you ever do running in snow. Good news, however, is it was 57??F which means no ice!
Yesterday I decided to run the Lasse Viren 20k in Malibu, Ca. Before the race I started chatting with a guy that looked to be a pretty decent runner (and probably my main competition). He told me he had trained in Flagstaff in 2008. We began talking about triathlons and then he told me he won Ironman Arizona a few weeks ago. Then it clicked in my head that I was talking with Jordan Rapp!
From the gun Jordan, myself and another guy took off. About 400m later, Mr. Anonymous dropped back and I took the lead. I came through 1 mile in 5:35 with Jordan a few seconds back. I continued pulling away with 5:43, 5:41, 6:07 and 6:44 miles (last two were hilly). I reached a flatter, asphault section and dropped back below 6:00 pace with a 5:53 and came through the 10k in 36:46. I ran 72:20 here in 2006, and was debating whether I wanted to take it easy-enough to just win or go for a PR. I thought about my dilemma while cruising a downhill 5:15 mile. These trails were the setting for many tough long runs this summer, including my first-and-only 20 milers. As I reminisced of the many times I have run Sycamore Canyon with friends, the choice disappeared and it was obvious that I would keep pressing on for a PR.
The next miles were 5:36, 5:44, 5:36, 5:43 and 5:23. I opened it up just a bit the last mile and finished in 1:10:35. I am definitely happy with that performance: taking the win, running sub 5:45 pace for 20k at the end of my “first week back,” a ~1:45 PR. . . while being slightly under the weather. I probably shouldn’t be running so hard this early in my training, but I had fun. Assuming I didn’t injure anything yesterday, I am sure the effort will not have any adverse affects to my upcoming seasons.
After the race I spoke with Jordan and his wife Jill for a while. Very nice people. I told them of my triathlon aspirations and they encouraged me to seek out some folks at USA Triathlon (USAT). They are currently living in the area and I tried to explain a few locations for great trail runs and hopefully I will see them around during the rest of my Winter break.
Shout out to my mom. She also competed yesterday and won her 48-52 age group! Winning is in the family :). Great job Mom and thanks for driving!
Yesterday was the Dina La Vigna Breath of Life Triathlon in Ventura, Ca. It was my first Olympic distance triathlon and first race in the ocean. The last month and a half I have been training pretty hard in hopes that I could break 2 hours and 10 minutes.
When it was all said and done, I smashed my goal by over 10 minutes. I was shocked to see that my time was well under 2 hours, 1:58:22. I placed 8th overall out of 422 competitors and 2nd in my age group behind Agoura High School cross country and track alum and current UPenn runner Chris Baird. You can read more about my race report on the Slowtwitch forums.
I will now be taking a few days off before ramping the running volume back up for cross country. Our team is looking really good for this Fall which is awesome, but that means I will likely be fighting for my position as one of the top-7 again. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As triathlons go, I will definitely be doing more. Yesterday’s results have me really excited for my future in triathlons. The plan is still to put all my focus into running until I have exhausted my eligibility. After that, who knows…