Thank you Leah for the great pictures, and thanks to Captains David Sweet and Sam Cohen, as always, for your inspiration and leadership.
Coaches…it goes without being said, but your plan is crafting champions and we will win you the championship.
My second cross country race of the 2011 season (and my life) was this past Sunday and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results, which a teammate just showed me – 30 hours later.
7:30 wakeup, as per my usual routine, followed by a trip to the restroom (which wasn’t overwhelmingly successful), some praying and a clif bar. I then ran down to the (full) team shuttle where I learned I was granted, as the newest member of the team, some coach-athlete bonding time with Coaches Jacob Benesch and Ben Joslin.
We stopped off to pick up the breakfast/lunch (overkill, since athletes don’t eat breakfast before they compete…maybe the money could be better spent on more seats/another shuttle?) and then walked over to the train which dropped us off a mere 5 blocks from the race. It was quite a pleasant ride.
As I got there, I took a 5-hour energy shot. I know, I know, nothing new on race day, but I’ve tried it on non-training days before and didn’t feel any effects, adverse or otherwise, so I figured why not. Afterwards, we walked down to the bathrooms where I was wildly successful.
We walked out of the restroom just in time to catch the girls’ starting gun and we ran over there to cheer them on. They started at 10, we began at 10:45, which left very little time to hang around and cheer for them as they completed their first flat loop and headed into the hills. So we warmed up.
We caught them coming out of the hills, cheered a bit, then went over and changed into our flats and singlets.
The starting line was cramped and I didn’t address my pre-race nerves until I arrived at the line where I paced helplessly. Before I knew it, the gun went off and we ran!
I was the last one off the line, in keeping with our plan of starting slow then coming up from behind and winning. The lead 20-30 runners ran OUTSIDE cones which were set up…before someone told them to get back on track. Luckily, I wasn’t in the lead 🙂
First mile: 6:11. I went out right behind Adam Weiss and stuck right on his heel all the way through the first 10 minutes. My goal pace was, again, a 6:15-6:20 but he was pulling me along and I’d be a fool to give it up. After 10 minutes, I pulled ahead and did some pacing until we went through the meat of the hills…when I slowed down and Adam pulled ahead.
Second mile: 12:40.
Over the weekend, Coach Ben spent some meals with us in the girls’ dorms, and we discussed our race plan. He told me to go out slow enough to maintain, but not too slow that I have anything left at the end. After mile 2.5, I would hit the back hills from miles 2.5-3.7, roughly. Then .3 is flat, and the last mile has cemetary hill (the steepest hill) and the descent…followed by 700 meters of flat, all out speed.
Cemetary hill, I knew I was going to be tired no matter what, and the flats, well…it’s the end of the race. I’m going to kick. The back hills was where I needed to push it and leave it all. So I did.
I don’t remember anything after Adam passed me. I remember tasting pennies (death) and I remember flying past people downhill…but that’s it.
Before we tackled cemetary hill, I was running side by side with a fellow who had a couple of inches on me. The race course (as was made apparent by spray-painted arrows) took a left AROUND a stump in the middle of the field. He took a much sharper left and CUT the stump…while I went around, picked up the pace, and cut in front of him. 25 feet after the stump, was a patch of mud on the left alongside the path. As he cut to my right (yes, he cut left first, then right), I continued onwards and splashed through the mud. Whether I got him or not, I hoped I did, and as I ran through, I screamed, “LIKE A BOSS!”
Huge adrenaline boost, but he picked up the pace nonetheless. I held on just as we approached the base of the hill. “26:00 and a mile left Eli! Don’t look at your watch! (I was checking to see if 26 was, actually 26. I don’t know why I did that.) Don’t look down until the end of the race! Pass this guy right now, he’s SLOWING YOU DOWN!” came Coach Joslin’s booming voice. So I did. It didn’t do me much good though, he repassed me again and lengthened the lead. I was hurting bad.
I hit the last mile in 6:52 for a total time of 32:52 (I shaved off 51 seconds from last week) which was good for 31st overall (I climbed 8 ranks from last week) and 8th place on the team (I climbed one spot on the team).
The 3 miles I know about equal 19:32 which means the middle two miles took me 13:20 for an average pace of 6:34.4 for the entire race, 6:30.7 for the first 2 and last mile and a 6:40 for the middle two miles.
That’s ~7 seconds faster/mile than my 5k record on this course (20:04) and ~4 seconds slower than my 5k PR on a track (19:32).
Both the YU Macs and the Lady Macs placed second in our races and we shaved 2 minutes off of last weeks collective time. I was :48 seconds behind 7th place Adam Weiss. After tomorrow night’s workout, I’ll be ready to take 7th on the team.
Primary goal: Break 32:30 – Unfulfilled.
Secondary goal: Break 32 – Unfulfilled.
Tertiary goal: Beat Stephen – Accomplished.
We’re making history every time we step onto that field. I’m proud to be a member of this team.