Hey Flrunners! It's been about three weeks since my last update and I have had such a hectic schedule lately that it has felt more like three months. Since the beginning of this month, I have definitely added a lot more activity both physically and mentally in my life at school and in running, but I have been able to survive my first batch of tests, essays, quizzes, and races of the year (for the most part). September isn't a month that I put all that much stock into as far as racing, but it is still nice to have my first two races out of the way so I can start to get into a rhythm.
After a hard 8xbridge repeats session on September 2nd, I raced four days later on a warm King's Academy course and came in 2nd in 16:26. Though I wasn't completely satisfied, I knew coming in that Gaby Correa from Ransom and Ilio Sanchez from John I. Leonard would be stiff competition and it was nice to be able to take away that I was fit enough to hang with those guys. Coming off of this race, I was back to my normal long run on sunday morning already looking forward to the Cobra Country XC invitational on the 20th. During the two weeks between King's Academy and Cobra Country I was able to get in one longer 30 minute fartlek on wednesday that averaged out to be faster and farther than I had ever run in a workout, a shorter unstructured fartlek on saturday, an easy long run sunday, and 4x3:00/3:00 off the tuesday leading into the race all while having two of the higher mileage weeks i have had all year. Clearly, heading into my second race I knew i was fit, but was perhaps a little hesitant given how hard my block of training had been leading up to it.
On Saturday, I was a little put off when I woke up to find that the rain from earlier in the week had continued the entire night leaving the course mushy, soggy, and spongy. The course at South County Regional is a personal favorite of mine because I am usually able to get a lot of push off the ground and fall into a smooth tempo, though this was certainly not the case as I felt like the ground was working against me most of the way. Immediately from the gun, I looked up to find the all-to-farmiliar sight of the back of Illio's jersey, just as I had seen two weeks earlier. The two of us separated ourselves within the first 1000meters of the race and began to paint a very similar picture of the race at King's Academy. After two miles, he put ten yards on me and continued to push the pace every time i tried to reel him in. With 600m to go I made a hard charge up the hill to pull up on his shoulder only to be dropped again on the downhill. After regrouping for one last move, I went again with 150m to go and slowly started to see him come back to me. About two strides away from the line I knew the only way I was going to get my body over the line in front of his was to leap superman style across the finish. In a blur, my chest hit the muddy, wet ground and propelled me forward like a slip and slide which was actually a pretty satisfying way to end a race.
To be able to win, and run the fastest time I have ever recorded on what I consider to be my home course (16:16) given the conditions, I am content with it but it is still tough knowing I am capable of something much quicker (but that is why it's September!) I can confidently say that it was one of the most frustrating and absurd races I have ever run, and I can't wait to race Illio again, as he is one of the gutsiest runners I have had to race against. With that being said, perhaps the MOST frustrating thing is that I dove across the line and have yet to find one picture or video of it happening, so if anyone could help me out with that one it would be greatly appreciated.
My next race will be at Flrunners, which will be a great team trip. We have yet to run a race this year with our full team, but I'm not worried because, with two months until state, the guys will come around eventually and hopefully have nice late season runs. Flrunners is a race I am really pointing towards coming out and obliterating a dated PR of mine. I feel so strong right now and races will start to feel easier with the quicker workouts to come. With all the great performances around the state so far, this season is shaping up to be a blast in November. Best of luck to everyone in their next races!