September 11th was my debut as a Cross Country Maccabee and I was quite pleased with my performance.
The girl’s race was called for 10:00 and our race was called for 11:00 and the bus came to pick us up at 8:30. It arrived on time and we got to Van Cortlandt around 9 AM, roughly.
Immediately, I put on my music and began to stretch as my knee was hurting a bit from Friday’s long hill workout. I put up my hood, got my sweat going a bit, stretched…then realized it was only 9:25. I couldn’t calm my pre-race nerves, so I decided to go with them and began visualizing my race, over and over.
I knew the course, as I’d been racing the 5k version throughout the course of the summer (6 races in total)…or so I thought. Today’s course was a bit different, in fact. It was two loops around the field (before even discussing any hills), then the back hills, cemetary hill, and then back out for a 700 meter kick.
Yehudah came out for the race…it was a nice surprise. The pictures at the end of the post are, as always, his. Thanks for coming out Yehudah.
We all lined up together, which was a really cool experience, seeing all 13 teams side by side toeing the line. After a moment of silence for those who perished on 9/11/01, the course is gone over and the gun is fired. Which was also cool.
Coach told us what we should be going out at for our first mile. Some listened, some didn’t. I don’t remember him telling me anything, so instead I set a goal for myself of 6:15-6:20…which I would attempt to hold for as long as possible. I believe it was a fair assessment of my abilities, given my 31:51.97 time trial four days earlier.
My first mile was spot on – a 6:18. The second mile included a bit of an incline, what’s known as freshman hill. As a result, my time at the second mile was a 12:40. So my second mile was a 6:22. Still on pace, more or less. But then I lost it during miles 3 and 4. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I dropped the pace dramatically.
Along the course, there were many racers who had stopped, many who were walking, and even a few who were getting rid of their breakfast on the side of the trail. Luckily, the hills didn’t break me as they once did just 4 months earlier. I attacked the hills, and the strategy worked well for me. I think that my body simply wasn’t ready for that amount of hills though. Hopefully, with more training, my body will not tire as quickly and I’ll be able to hammer through with a little more ease.
Several fans commented on my moustache. The most I could do at any point in the race after mile 3 was give a weak thumbs-up. Which I did. I was called Luigi twice and “that kid with the smiling moustache!”.
Throughout the entire race I wasn’t passed once. As I came out of the forest with ~750 meters to go, I saw Coach Ben who screamed to me that Stephen (my teammate) was just up ahead. Sure enough, I saw him and decided it was time to reel him in. He looked like he was hurting which was bad for us as a team, but good for me to be able to beat him.
I was, at the time, running alongside another racer from Pace University who, as I picked up the pace, matched my pace. This didn’t bother me, as I knew I could drop him as soon as I went to pick off Stephen. What bothered me was his laboured breathing as we began to run faster and faster – what felt like a 5:30 or faster at that point. His labored breathing made me fear we were going too fast and if I kicked too early, I wouldn’t have enough gas to reach the line before Stephen. I was in 9th place on the team at this point, and Stephen was in 8th.
Stephen may never know how close he came to me overtaking him (unless he looks at the results)…it was 4 seconds. I kicked too late, overtaking the Pace University runner and beating him by 2 seconds in the process…but running out of real estate when chasing down Steve. Next time, old friend. Next time.
Total time: 33:43 for 39th individual place in the race and ninth on the team.
Captains David Sweet and Sam Cohen placed 3rd and 9th with a 29:31 and a 30:17, respectively. They are excellent role models and to produce times that resemble their’s in the slightest remain my long term goal.
4 of our racers posted top 20 times which enabled….
Yeshiva University to place Second overall in the standings out of 13 teams.
TEAM SCORES: 1. Queens College – 28 points [1, 2, 7, 8, 10, (18), (23)] 2. Yeshiva – 70 points [3, 9, 17, 20, 21, (28), (30)] 3. Goldey-Beacom – 85 points [4, 11, 19, 24, 27, (32), (37)] 4. John Jay – 162 points [16, 29, 34, 39, 44, (52), (62)] 5. Pace University – 172 points [13, 26, 31, 36, 66] 6. City College of NY – 180 points [15, 33, 35, 38, 59, (74), (75)] 7. NYU-Polytechnic – 197 points [5, 22, 43, 60, 67, (68), (72)] 8. Brooklyn College – 216 points [14, 40, 48, 50, 64, (69), (73)] 9. Bergen Community College – 216 points [25, 42, 47, 49, 53] 10. Baruch College – 236 points [6, 12, 70, 71, 77] 11. Concordia College – 272 points [41, 54, 55, 57, 65] 12. York College – 303 points [45, 58, 61, 63, 76, (81)] 13.Cooper Union – 310 points [46, 51, 56, 78, 79, (80)]
I have much work to do to get my time down below a 30:00 but I don’t think it’s too lofty of a goal for this season. I have nowhere to go but up. Tomorrow, recovery.
Great job today, Maccabees. I’m proud and excited to be a part of this team.
Primary goal: Beat Yoni – check.
Secondary goal: post a sub 31:30 – unfulfilled.
Tertiary goal: Place top 6 on the team – unfulfilled.