Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Getting Round to Blogging Again

It has been a good few weeks since I posted anything and lots has happened since the last blog. There have been three races and plenty of training in between. Before I get into all the training stuff I want to congratulate my fellow Portland team-mate Trevor Dunbar on winning the NCAA West Regional Championships this weekend. The lad is a quality runner and lad and I'm sure he will go far in the sport. If you watch the video of the race you will see that he ran under control all the way and had more than enough in him to outkick the highly rated Sambu - who finished in second. Fair enough some of the Stanford lads were not running flat out, and doing just enough to qualify for the nationals next weekend, but you can only beat what's in front of you. I loved his comments after the race especially the quote "I figured I was up there, so I might as well win the thing."

My race went well, I managed a new PB over 10k despite the fact that it was a cross country race. Had a great weekend in Track town USA as Eugene is known and met some nice new people (its always good to get some more cheers during a race, thanks Maria and all the Portland alums!) as well as seeing Bill Dellinger, Chris Thompson and Jemma Simpson. I will get into the details of the race in my training blog later but just wanted to let people know that we qualified as #23 for the nationals, which will be held in Indiana on Monday 22nd November. The race will be live on flotrack.org and it starts at 12:48 Eastern Time (I think?!) Dont ask me why its on at such a random time, I think its just because the Americans like being a bit weird. So, in England it will be about 6pm so perfect time for getting home from work and trying to maybe catch a glimpse of me somewhere. I have promised my Dad that no hairband will be worn this time round, I have since managed to trim my fringe before races so hair doesn't blow in my eyes during the race. Yes, Mum I know I need a haircut, its just I don't trust any of these dodgy looking Portland hairdressers to do a decent job on touching my precious locks. But, I can assure you the socks will be on and although they aren't as white as they used to be (students don't wash whites and colours separately, waste of time if you ask me) hopefully you can see them somewhere amongst the crowd and give me a little cheer.

Here is the video of the race (I particularly enjoy the opening minute with all those team chants, I'm so glad we don't get involved in that sort of stuff!)Oh and I also forgot in my original post to give a shout out to another team mate Lars Erik Malde who placed 12th at the meet. Despite his faults in being a Manchester United fan, he had a solid race and managed to get all-region honours by finishing inside the top-25:

Regionals Week: A Boost of Confidence ahead of Nationals

So, onto the week of the regionals and all the talk this week was about how muddy the course would be. Last year, it rained the day before the race making things extremely sloppy underfoot and subsequently effecting the times massively. The forecast for the week was similar, rain the night before and drizzle and cold for the day of the race. This didn't bother me in the slightest as I knew a slower race would be to my advantage. I always struggle when the faster boys can up their cadence and pace on hard, flat courses. I would much rather a muddy, hilly course any day - probably because that is what we are used to back home. In terms of mileage for the week I was looking at doing between 80 and 85 miles, so that I could then cut down to 70 for the week of the nationals.

Monday 8th November
8:48 AM: 61:55 (10.0mi, 6:11/mi)
Ran a bit quicker than normal but felt extremely good throughout and nice to run at a steadier pace on the roads.

Tuesday 9th November
15:15 PM: 21:00 w/u (3mi),1200 flushout, 3 x cruise mile (200 jog), 4 x 800 (200 jog)(6.85mi total),16:00 c/d (2mi).
Reps were 4:11 flushout (5:25/mi), 5:05, 5:05, 5:03, 2:20, 2:20, 2:21, 2:20
Ran exactly to plan which was to do 5:05 miles and 2:20 for the 800s. However, the last few 800s were tougher than they should have been. Probably because it was absolutely freezing out and the wind around the top bend was horrific. I didn't get warm the entire session and had a jacket, hat and gloves on! Felt sorry for the rest of the team who were doing the annual four mile time trial after us. It wasn't a day for quick running and 16 mins into the cool down, I couldn't feel my hands so called it a day and jumped onto the warmth of the van. The shower when I got back was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me - I wont tell Jenny that though!

Wednesday 10th November
9:46 AM: 83:23 (13mi, 6:25/mi)
Good steady run on the roads, legs a little heavy during the last few miles but no serious issues.

Thursday 11th November
8:39 AM: 39:15 (6.0mi, 6:32/mi)
Easy morning run around Lombard and back to the house, feeling fresh and good.
14:55 PM: 50:57 (7.0mi)
Easy run with the lads to Pier Park and back.

Friday 12th November
14:45 PM: 44:02 inc strides (6mi)
Jog on the course with the team, didn't take long to get the picture its four big laps with a small finish loop at the end. Seems very nice underfoot and if it doesn't rain will be great conditions to run on. Went off onto a road for the rest of the jog and listened to how Alf wanted to ride a horse or something along those lines. In the evening we went out to an Italian restaurant on the Oregon campus, which was right near Hayward field. Once we got inside, their sat Bill Dellinger and Pat Tyson, Pre's old room-mate, who ushered over Dunbar for a chat.

Saturday 13th November
9:50 AM: 23:00 w/u (3mi), 30:53 (6.2mi race),16:22 c/d (2mi)
Ill try to go into depth about the race as much as I can remember. I was delighted with the time and how I ran the race and hopefully can replicate the performance at nationals. The rain that again was predicted the night before the race, again came a day late. So, our race was ran in cool, drizzly conditions which to be honest suited me fine. The video of the race is on the 'back to blogging' post.

As per usual, the announcers did their best to get all our team details wrong. 'Portland state' was the name tag on our starting box and Trevor Dunbar was announced as his Dad 'Marcus Dunbar' on the tannoy. The starting box was only big another for the team to line up in pairs of two, and Alf was on his heels as the gun went, but I pushed Frerker so that he pushed Alf so we could get underway. The first 1k is a bit of a blur, we found ourselves in about 100th place and a lot of bumping and elbowing was done by many - including me. A lot of runners went falling early on and I seem to remember at least three UCLA guys ploughing into the pole which was holding the tape and going down. From the pictures it was also evident that one of the favourites Chris Derrick had a big fall early on. Four of us, Frerker, Caulkins, Craig and I managed to 'pack up' early on, which is always a benefit as it allows you to have some space if the person next to you is a team-mate and not someone trying to battle you for position. We went through the mile very slow in 4:55 and to be honest it felt like we were jogging and I had to tell Caulkins to not get to eager as I could see he was looking to press on. However, it was important for us four to stay together and work as a team to move up the field and I knew Frerker has great race pace judgement so it was crucial to never stray too far ahead of him.

We moved through the field nicely in the next mile and probably grabbed another 25 spots and the group of us went through two miles in 10 minutes flat, which is on for a 31 minute 10k. It was crucial here not to panic at the slow pace and just concentrate on working through the pack. To highlight how condensed this pack was is the fact that the leaders only went through in 9:57. At just before the three mile point, a runner just in front of me fell, which caused no end of chaos. The guy who was immediately behind the faller went to jump him but got tangled and only managed to knee the guy in the head. I somehow managed to sidestep the pair and fall into the arms of Frerker who guided me on a safe path. However, I found out later that Craig was not so lucky and stumbled behind me, which he feels cost him dearly.

As we came past the start line at about three and a half miles, a visible gap started to emerge between the top 40 and the rest. I was feeling good so did my best to close the gap as quick as possible. Once I reached the pack I noticed that it was just Frerker who was alongside me from our original four and it was now Alf who we were hunting down. As we approached four miles and a dip which was covered with bark (which the picture below just misses) we both passed Alf, who was visibly struggling once again. This time it would be his calf that ruined his race and hopefully he can be fit for nationals and repeat his performance of last year which saw him receive All-American honours by finishing in 16th place.

I pushed hard at this point realising that if I could maintain this pace, I could possibly sneak into the top-25 for all region honours. I felt good coming through five miles where unfortunately I don't remember seeing the clock and was still picking up places. I could tell from the cheers of the crowd that I had put a few seconds on Frerker and was just concentrating on what was in front of me. However, coming into the final lap I realised that I didn't really know how big the finish loop was and lost concentration in trying to work out how much time I had left. With 600m to go Frerker drew level with me and I decided that because he knew the course and had ran it last year I would wait till he kicked and follow. However, his kick was astonishing and he blasted off and caught two or three guys in the last 150m and gained four seconds on me and five places - he finished 32nd, I finished 37th. Looking at the results its interesting to see that we weren't that far of the top-25, just ten seconds in fact. So, maybe if I could have maintained that pace for the last mile I could have sneaked an all-region certificate. However, I cant complain too much, I ended up with a PB of thirty seconds and have gained confidence from the fact that I know I can run strong through the pack. Up the front of the race, our very own Trevor Dunbar produced a spectacular finish to take the win. The picture below shows just how close it was at the sharp end of the field.

Sunday 14th November
10:05 AM: 83:28 (12mi)
Easy run in the forest with Frerker, Dunbar, Lars, Basset, Craig and Fauble. The last four miles down Lief were rather interesting with most trying to catch falling leaves and in the process doing a new kind of Fartlek. Awards go to Bassett for an amazing catch in front of an audience of two old ladies and their dog and for nearly falling off the hillside in the process. The second award goes to Craig Hopkins for failing to catch a single leaf, poor show old boy.
16:11 PM: 21:13 (3.0mi, 7:04/mi)
Gentle jog on my own after watching the girls football team go out on penalties in the playoffs. It was funny watching it has half the crowd clearly had no clue what happened after extra time. Also, weird to see that the Yanks use rolling subs in these games and apparently have as many subs throughout the match as they want. Oh, and another thing why the hell does the clock count down to zero and then a buzzer sound to announce the end of play or the half. This isn't Basketball or any other of your made up sports, this is Football leave it alone or font bother. Rant over.

Total Weekly Mileage - 80 miles- A great week, the race went to plan as before hand I said anything around 30:45 would be amazing. The crowds at the race were amazing and it shows the enthusiasm for the sport in America. When you have probably nearly sixty guys out on the course screaming for you it definitely keeps you going. As a result of the regionals the team qualified for the nationals, which is being held in Terre Haute, Indiana a week on Monday. Between now and then it is all about keeping the legs fresh and just turning over the legs with a light workout on Tuesday. I will try to post again before the nationals with my thoughts in the days before the event and some information on how to watch it.

Stronger and Healthier - 'Getting it done'

The aim of the week was to get a good solid week of mileage in, but not sacrifice the quality of the runs. It would be the last week of mileage before easing down and cutting my mileage ahead of the two most important races of the season. The weather in Portland recently has been extremely good and the sun has been shining allowing for some excellent Fall (Autumn for those in England) 'foliage' - which one of the Freshman is extremely excited about. It is really getting to a crucial stage in the season and I am starting to feel optimistic about my chances of making the nationals. The last few weeks of training have gone really well and I have noticed that I am definitely feeling stronger. Maybe, it was the low iron - which was diagnosed the start of the season and which I dismissed as false - that was having an effect. Over the past six weeks I have been taking tablets twice a day for it as well as some Vitamin C and things have definitely improved. Lets just hope that things stay this way and I don't pick up any niggles or colds over the next week or so now I have said that.

Monday 1st November
8:49 AM: 40:04 (6mi, 6:41/mi)
15:16 PM: 88:56 (13mi)
Easy run in the forest in the pouring rain. It chucked it down for the entire run so the forest had little streams running everywhere. Ran out and back with Christmas who afterwards had a sore hip, which isn't a good sign with some important races coming up and him being a key man in our success.

Tuesday 2nd November
15:18 PM: 22:01 w/u (3mi), 1200m flushout, 2 x 1000, 6 x 817m grass loop, 1000 (8.2mi total). ,19:20 c/d (2.5mi). Reps were 4:14 flushout(5:32/mi), 2:56, 2:55, 2:23, 2:21, 2:19, 2:21, 2:20, 2:21, 2:46.
Tough session, the first two 1000s felt easy enough, but for some reason we all struggled a bit on the grass. I don't know if it was because its a bit softer under foot or we have been hitting it hard the last few weeks but we had to cut down the intended 2 x 1000 at the end to just 1 x 1000. Ran the last rep with Trevor and Joash so it was bound to be a bit quicker.

Wednesday 3rd November
9:18 AM: 83:03 (13mi, 6:23/mi)
Nice steady mid-week longer run. These are now starting to feel good and I feel that I can cut down to 6:20s and feel quite controlled now.
17:50 PM: 34:09 (5mi, 6:50/mi)

Thursday 4th November
9:33 AM: 35:17 (5.56mi, 6:21/mi)
Easy morning run, the pace crept up a bit as I felt really good.
15:20 PM: 75:20 (11mi)
Run in the forest with the team.

Friday 5th November
15:22 PM: 21:38 w/u (3mi), 8 mile tempo (45:00, 5:37/mi) 21:53 c/d (3mi).
Ran the tempo on Lief in the forest which is very undulating and a bit muddy under foot. Started off slow and the idea was to cut down every mile and run 8 to 10 miles. I am never one to go for the shorter of the options but today my gleut tightened up at seven miles so I decided to just call it a day with Bassett and Cody at the 8 mile mark. Dunbar had already gone into the distance as he didn't want to go off really easy and Frerker, Lars, Craig and Caulkins all did ten with the last two miles at around 5 minute pace. I wasn't too bothered about missing out as it will keep my legs a little bit fresher and I still got a decent workout from doing eight.

Saturday 6th November
6:38 AM: 39:30 (5.2mi)
Early run with Craig before heading to watch the Man Utd v Wolves match downtown. Lars (Man Utd fan) and Geiger (adopted Wolves fan) wanted to watch the game and I will watch any game of football, while Craig and Scott were pulled along by the temptation of a full English breakfast. Decent game and decent food and Ipswich managed a win as well, so good start to the day.
15:06 PM: 62:23 (9mi)
Nice controlled run to Pier Park, couple of loops then back to campus. Ran with Craig, Scott and a few others, feeling strong.

Sunday 7th November
10:00 AM: 1:45:00 (15mi)
Shorter Sunday run this week with the regionals in mind. Just went on a short trail in the forest then onto Lief and back to campus. Felt good and the weather for November is unbelievable!

Total Weekly Mileage 110.16mi - Nice week of mileage with a good session on Tuesday and an easier tempo on Friday. From now on its all about easing down for the regionals then nationals as there isn't much I can do now which will benefit either of those races. The only thing I can do is make myself more tired so it will be important to run sensibly, get as much sleep as possible and eat healthily to ensure that doesn't happen.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Portland boys don't slow, thirty-two in a row!

Well, Ill start this blog by saying the lads did a 'great job' (that's some American for you right there) in executing the pre-race plan despite a few set-backs in and before the race. None of us wanted to be on the team that lost the Pilots record winning streak at the WCC - and I am pleased to say that we weren't. The aim before the race was to let Alf go out hard and burn some people off who were silly enough to go out with his pace. The aim was then for Craig, Cosby, Bassett and I to work through the field and pick off as many of these as possible and aim for those top five spots. I will get into details of the race a bit later on, but I also want to say congratulations to my English 'mate' Craig Hopkins for a stunning win this weekend. After a much better performance and week in general, all eyes are now on the regionals in a couple of weeks and fingers crossed with a solid performance the Pilots can roll onto nationals. I have posted a video of the race below and there are plenty of pictures that I will add throughout the post.

Monday 25th October
10:31 AM: 70:36 (11mi, 6:25/mi)
Steady run on my own on the road loop back to campus, now decided that I prefer doing eleven and five miles, instead of ten and six. The reason for this is that if I run at a decent pace eleven miles is around seventy minutes. Furthermore, eleven is my lucky number, which to be honest is the real reason behind the switch.
17:58 PM: 33:04 (5mi, 6:37/mi)
Easy run just before it got dark and after class.

Tuesday 26th October
15:18 PM 22:15 w/u (3mi), 1200 flushout, 2 x 1000 (400 rec), 3 x cruise mile (200 rec), 1000.(6.9 mi total) 27:00 c/d (3.3mi). Reps were 4:12 (5:29/mi) flushout, 2:58, 2:52, 5:14, 5:11, 5:14, 2:47.
Nice Easy session, the miles were very easy as we only aimed to do between 5:10 and 5:15s. I literally jogged at the back of the group and focused on feeling really relaxed. Last 1000 was a little quicker with Cosby blasting off and running a 2:43, I was going to go after him but no need and better to save it for the race at the weekend.

Wednesday 27th October
11:33 AM: 83:20 (13.0mi, 6:25/mi)
Solo run on and around Lombard, ran a little quicker than I intended but felt good.
18:13 PM: 35:30 (5.0mi, 7:06/mi)
Gentle run after class.

Thursday 28th October
9:06 AM: 46:49 (7mi, 6:42/mi)
15:03 PM: 53:28 (7.12mi)
Two easy runs, in the afternoon went out with the lads to Pier Park and ran back to school nice and slow with Fauble.

Friday 29th October
15:28 PM: 49:08 (6.5mi) inc strides
Jogged the course after arriving in San Jose and it was a hilly and these Americans have been making out. Ive added a picture below although you cant really see much because of all the fog. But the race has five good hills in it and lots of other undulations. Stayed in a room with Craigo in the hotel and we had some good quality British time watching a bit of James Bond before the team meeting. The idea for the race is for our pack to go out steady in around 4:50 for the first mile then to hold close to 5 minute mileing from there.

Saturday 30th October
8:48 AM: 23:41 w/u (3mi), race 25:11 (5th, 5mi total, 5:02/mi) ,c/d 35:29 (4.5mi)
Woke up and the promised rain never really materialised so spikes were out of the question as the ground was solid underneath due to Californian humidity. This wasn't a problem as we have done all our workouts in racing flats anyway and I love the streaks. However, when we got over to the course it started to drizzle and this is how it stayed for our race. With the race being in the hills this meant that it was really misty around the course and you can probably see that in the videos.

So, onto the race and all was going well until three minutes before the race, when it soon became apparent that there was only five of our lads on the start line. Cosby came running down the hill screaming "Coach, I don't have my vest!", so Coach had to run off and fetch a number while we frantically pulled off my purple long sleeve and proceeded to rip its sleeves off. I wish the video shows this as I'm sure they were filming it throughout. The starter then ordered that we shouldn't do any more strides and get ready for his gun. But, Craig was still wondering around at the top of the hill, probably sipping on his drinks bottle (the thing is constantly glued to his hand!) and dreaming of England. However, just before the gun he managed to make his way down to us and we were finally ready for the off.

The gun went and by the top of the first little incline about 200m in, I noticed my right shoe felt loose and to my horror looked down to find it untied and flying around. I made the decision not to stop and if the worst came to the worst I would kick it off and run without it. I called to Bassett to give me some space and tried to move into a spot out of trouble where nobody in the pack could stand on it. A mile in the group of four of us were in the perfect position and went through the mile in around 4:50, which is quick considering it has a big hill. However, to our horror by the end of the hill and the start of the two main laps Alf, who had established a good early lead taking a few crazy kids out with him, was visibly in pain and coming back towards us. We passed him soon after that and he called to us that he had pulled a hamstring or something, that was it, it was up to us we had to now all run well.

At around 5k, there is another hill as you pass the finish line to start the final lap. I decided that the San Francisco lad by this point was stretching his lead to much and someone out of the chasing pack had to make a move. I maintained the pace up the hill and by the top of it Craig turned to me and said "it's just me and you mate", as the other two portland guys had fallen off the pace. We were now in a pack of five, us two Portland guys, two San Francisco guys and Boyle of Gonzaga. We managed to quickly drop one of the San Fran guys and at the start of the fourth mile and another of the big hills Craig made a big move to catch Madeira of San Fran who had led from the gun. As soon as he caught him the pair slowed and the other three of us caught up and it was a five way race with 800m to go.

Coming round the final bend with the finish line in sight, Craig made another move and I went to follow but got cut up by the two San Francisco guys and lost five metres instantly. I never could make the stride difference up and subsequently got also passed by Boyle of Gonzaga in the final 300m. Craig went on to outkick the two San Fran guys and despite their early celebrations it soon became clear that we had secured the win for a 32nd year in a row. Full credit to the San Francisco guys they ran a strong race and were closer than ever to be beating us. If it hadnt been for Cody Wells stepping it up for a 6th place finish, who knows it could have gone the other way. I was pleased to run 25:11 but slightly disappointed with the finish and to lose three places in 500m of running. The time compares well to those of previous years where few people have broken 25 mins due to the hills and undulation of the course. Furthermore, with a loose shoe for the entire race, which was close to slipping off going up the hills, I suppose I should be pleased with it.

The rest of the day was a good laugh, we got to dress up and go to an awards banquet. Then afterwards went to San Fransisco and had a few pictures in front of the Golden Gate bridge with the trophy.

Sunday 31st October
9:58 AM: 1:58:35 (17mi)
Didn't have a great sleep as we went to the 'mansion' for a Halloween party. They seem to love Halloween out here and forced me and Craigo to dress up. DP and Fauble came to the rescue, supplying us with aged 8-10 m and m costumes which went down well. Mine being the better as it was just normal chocolate m and ms opposed to Craig's peanut m and m costume (why put nuts in chocolate? bad idea!). So the run was a bit of a shocker as combined with heavy legs from the race yesterday it was a bit of a death march. Got home and went for a well earned nap.

Total Weekly Mileage: 97ish Miles - All in all, a good week. Another team title and I was pleased that I felt a million times better during the race than I did at either Willamette or the Pre-Nationals. For once, I wasn't looking for the finish line a mile into the race, and felt strong right until the final mile. Hopefully, can reproduce this sort of performance at regionals where I think the course will be more like cross country back home (well underfoot at least).

"Time to get in shape"

A new day, a new week and a renewed optimism in my running. I have put the disappointment of the pre-nationals behind me and with the girlfriend being in town, all is well in the world again. She has helped me remember that I have put in a good few months of training and I just have to be patient and let the good performances come. So, the aim for this week was to relax and spend some time with Jenny exploring Portland, as I had no classes with it being Fall Break, whilst also getting some good quality mileage in. Had a chat with Coach and we both agreed that I didn't really ease down for pre-nationals and the cold I picked up a few weeks ago could still be having an effect. Also, the aim now will be to focus on the quality of my running and really sharpen up for these bigger races in the next few weeks. I now have to run the Conference Championships to prove I should be selected to run at Regionals and Nationals in November, but I'm excited as it means a trip to San Francisco.

Monday 18th October
11:38 AM: 31:53 (5.0mi, 6:23/mi
Went out a bit later than usual, but felt nice and fresh after a day off.
16:50 PM: 77:14 (12.0mi, 6:26/mi

Tuesday 19th October
15:26 PM: 21:23 w/u (3.0mi), 4 x 400 (400 jog rec), 6 x cruise mile (1 min rec), 4 x 400 (400 jog rec) (10.7mi total), 10:22 c/d (1.3mi).
Reps were 70, 66, 70, 66, 4:58, 5:08, 5:06, 5:08, 5:08, 5:07, 67, 66, 67, 67.
Did the session after spending the morning in town, with the girlfriend shopping hard! Session went well I started off in the second group but after running a 5min mile and dropping them on the first rep, I stepped straight into the next group so only had a 15 sec rest between first and second mile. The 400s were pushed at the end but I just did them at my own pace and although they felt tough, they will hopefully be of benefit in the long run.

Wednesday 20th October
13:19 PM: 88:38 (13.0mi)
Run with team in the forest, Alf, Chase, Cody and I decided to do a little extra than the others so went up to the top of the forest encountering some big hills. Pushed the pace on the way back and felt good to open the legs in the forest for once. Went to the cinema and the mall in the evening and was kind of glad that the ice skating was closed by the time we had finished watching the film - it ruins your legs for days!

Thursday 21st October
10:10 AM: 64:40 (10mi, 6:28/mi)
Nice steady run before setting off to Portland zoo.
18:33 PM: 41:23 (6.0mi, 6:54/mi)
Easy run after spending the day on my feet and had a burrito at like half five! I love the zoo and the penguins are actually quality. Best animal by far, end of discussion.

Friday 22nd October
14:37 PM: 21:53 w/u (3mi), 1200 flushout, 1mi, 6 x 800m grass loop, 1mi.(8.4mi total), 21:00 c/d (2.6mi)
Reps were 4:13 (5:29/mi) flushout, 4:40, 2:19, 2:18, 2:19, 2:18, 2:17, 2:17, 4:35.
Best session of the year so far, everything felt really controlled and relaxed. Especially the last mile where we were all sharing the pace and just having a chat. Went downtown in the evening and had a nice meal at a really good italian restaurant before meeting up with some of the lads and Christmas and his girlfriend at a Pub. The two couples decided to leave early but had a shocker getting home with the max trains and buses deciding to be delayed. This all meant that Craig'o' Hopkins had to come to our rescue. I mean he had intended to go on into the night with the lads but the bouncers refused his English id. Frerker being the nice lad he is, donated Craig his car to drive home and the boy did us proud in rescuing us from a 45 minute wait for the next train home - despite nearly running a red light we got home safe and sound.

Saturday 23rd October
14:58 PM: 94:37 (13.0mi, 7:17/mi)
Easy run with Frerker and Geiger after dropping Jenny off at the airport. The wind picked up and the rain was coming down by the time we got out but got it done. The other boys only did six miles so after they left I ran 6:45s to get the pace down to something near respectable!

Sunday 24th October
10:00 AM: 2:12:52 (19mi)
Had to run back to school and it was possibly the wettest run I have ever done. It didn't stop raining from start to finish, the forest was extremely muddy and all in all was an unpleasant experience!

Total Weekly Mileage: 107 miles - Nice solid week of running, the two workouts went well and feeling more confident ahead of the conference next weekend. Had a really good week with the girlfriend and it was nice to finish my runs and just chill out, eat some good food and watch some films. Was accused of being non-existent all week because of Jenny being here, but a mans got to do what a mans got to do.

Pre-Nationals Week

I'll add the training weeks separately over the next few days so that it will be easier to read each of them. This is due to the fact that I probably will have a lot to say about each of the races i have done over the past few weeks which will be too much for just one post. Also, there are plenty of pictures and videos for me to upload to each of the weeks since I last added my training updates. The aim of the week was to ease down and do about 90mi and just do some easy running in the days before the race. Hoping to run solidly around 24:30 if possible and have a good laugh on my first big trip with the team.

Monday 11th October
9:29 AM: 63:40 (10mi, 6:22/mi)
17:37 PM: 39:54 (6.02mi, 6:38/mi) inc strides

Tuesday 12th October
8:44 AM: 30:01 (4.5mi)
15:17 PM: 22:05 w/u (3mi), 1200 lactate flush. 6 x 150, 8 x 817m (precise!) grass loop, 6 x 150 (9mi total), 21:58 c/d (2.65mi)
Rep Times were 4:12 (5:28/mi) for flushout, 150s were at (4.00/mi - 4:10/mi), 2:22, 2:22, 2:23, 2:21, 2:22, 2:21, 2:18, 2:16 (so 4:45 down to 4:30/mi), 150s at same pace as before.
Pleased with how the session went, nice to get the legs turning over with some 150s and I ran easy on the first six 800s just at the back of the pack. Then put my spikes on for the last two reps and started a few seconds behind the group trying to close the gap. Felt a little sluggish but the last two reps felt good.

Wednesday 13th October
12:18PM: 89:24 (13.07mi, 6:51/mi) inc strides

Thursday 14th October
5:50AM: 43:38 (6mi, 7:16/mi)
God knows how I got out of bed this early to run but we were leaving for the flight at 6:45 so had to get it done. It was the first cold morning we have had and nice to get the hat and gloves out again. Was a bit weird running this early in the morning again and felt a lot harder than it does at 9am!
19:08PM: 49:10 (6.5mi, 7:36/mi)
Run with team in Indianapolis after we had landed, ran around some park which smelt of fried chicken and weed (no stereotypes here of course!) Was a bit of a shambles of a run really and the most entertaining part was watching Alf run out into the night so that all you could see was his socks, racial banter! Afterwards we spent nearly an hour driving to find this whole foods supermarket that the girls coach wanted to go to. I was devastated to find that there was only salad to eat and as most of you know salad isn't my favourite food in the world. However, to my surprise the salad was actually really good, but it had to have been considering it cost me $18! What a joke!

Friday 15th October
12:02PM: 49:56 (7mi, 7:11mi) inc strides.
Drove to the course after spending a lovely night with Lars, was very romantic. Just jogged round it and took note of the hills or lack of them! I mean it does climb a fair bit but it is always gradual. It was really firm under foot and am not sure whether the ground will actually take a spike, 6mm at best or quarter inches for the US boys. Had dinner at some Italian in Indiana and we waited for about an hour to be seated, some of the girls outside decided that I was John Mayer, which according to Frerker is a compliment.

Saturday 16th October
8:12AM: 15:24 shakeout (2mi)
11:56AM: 21:00 w/u (3mi) Race (25:13, 118th, 5mi), 21:03 c/d (2.56mi).
Well what a shocker! For a starters it was about 20c but I don't really mind the heat so I cant use that as an excuse. I felt the incline more than I thought I would but it wasn't hilly so I cant use that as an excuse either. It was just one of those days, we went off hard but not anything ridiculous and I was feeling tired at about a mile and a half, never a good sign (as you can see in the pic above I'm struggling after the first lap). For the rest of the race I was hoping for it to end and once Frerker went past me about three miles I just couldn't keep a decent pace. I was behind one lad at one point around 4 miles and could see how slow he was moving yet I couldn't close the gap. I hopefully will put the race behind me and never feel that bad in a race again. Like in the pictures at Willamette its noticeable that I'm working hard throughout by the grimace on my face and I know for sure that I don't usually do this. I know I am in shape so hopefully better things will come and at least I can use the experience of running the national course as a positive. Also, I quite liked the hairband I was wearing and it may feature in some races later in the year. Below is another picture of me struggling, this time down the home straight, just praying for the finish line:

18:23PM: 34:32 (4.6mi, 7:31/mi)
Evening run around Indianapolis from the hotel we were staying at. Lars, Cosby and I decided to do a little run as there wasn't much else to do considering we were staying an extra night in Indianapolis. The run once more was a bit sketchy and we saw some interesting sights of Mid-West America. I wasn't sure if it was the fact we were running, wearing purple long sleeves, or because we were wearing tights but the people were most definitely not giving us the best of looks. Had a good evening chilling with the girls team and was nice to have us all together as a team for once.

Sunday 17th October
Flew back to Portland and girlfriend week kicked off. We drove the bus to the hotel Jenny was staying at (she flew in on Saturday evening) and it was nice to see her after so long!! Spent the day sleeping and watching films, eating chocolate and generally chilling out, just like old times.

Total Weekly Mileage: 85 miles - could have done 90 to 100 but was nice to have the day off on Sunday to relax and spend some time with the missus. Also, needed a little break after the shambles of Pre-nationals to allow myself to recharge and come back fresh and ready for the next few weeks which could make or break my season. Below is a video of the race, not sure if I ever feature in it, because I haven't actually been able to bring myself to watch it! You may notice my team-mate Trevor Dunbar "getting it done" though:

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