Wednesday, December 16, 2009

USATF Club Nationals

Last weekend was one hell of an experience at Club Nationals.  There were only three of us out there from the Dukes Track Club, but that's all we needed to have a good time.  I know that if we sent a full squad, we could have scored really well and placed high... Next year.  Anyways, it was a nice 30 degrees out there on the 10k grassy course in Lexington, Kentucky.  The race went off at 1:30pm with the sun slowly setting beneath some clouds, which made for a much colder race than the warm up.  The start goes up a 600m hill and after the crest it dips down to a lower field for a loop and back across another rolling hill.  Those rollers lead to the back side of the course and past the start to do it all over again.  I wanted to get out hard, so I just went with the leaders and stayed on whoever was in the top ten for as long as possible.  Lots of gut grinding and teeth chopping occurred throughout this course, as well as loss of blood flow in my fingers.  After the race I realized I could have used some gloves, but it didn't really matter in the race.  Our first mile was hit in 4:40 with about 10 guys packed together.  Next mile was 9:20 something with about 8 guys.  This is where the leaders (two of them) took off and the packed dispersed.  I was in 7th place trying to race with the 6th place guy for the third mile, which was hit in around 14:07 and 14:47 for 5k.  After half way I was still in 7th racing with Ryan Bak.  We came past the starting line again and a few more guys caught us on the up hill.  I knew I had to stay in the top 10, so after the hill I crested it and opened up my stride so that only Bak came with me.  It pasted me on the turns and we pushed up the next uphill.  At this point we had about a mile or so to go.  I started maintaining stride till we came into the finishing area with 800m to go.  Another guy caught us and our finishing pack was now to 3 guys.  The mud at this area wasn't too bad, more compacted soft dirt than anything else, and the windy was howling in our face with 400m to go.  The six mile mark was final visible and counting down from 28:55 to about 29 flat by the time we past it.  So with about 400 to go and two turns I was still trailing and decided to go a little wide to start kicking.  The straightaway and the finish were in sight and I slightly edged out the other guys for 6th place and a new over all 10k PR of 30:03.  

I was very pleased with the place and time, and still think that I can improve my 10k PR from a cross country time to a faster time on the track.  But, since this is cross country I was more pleased with the place.  The next step is to place in the top 10 at the USA Cross Country Championships come February and make that US team!