Trials to Miles

The key to our sport is consistency, and the only thing that was consistent during most of February and March was the fact that I was unable to run. After the 3k I hopped in with my good friend Matthew Elliott at ETSU, I ended up developing an issue with my posterior tib. Luckily Dr. Jack and my masseuse Casey at Southeast Sports helped me get back on track to have a solid March, but that was short lived.

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About halfway through March, I developed a soreness in my throat. And a severe cough. I ended up going to urgent care twice. First time they said it was the common cold and another few days of struggling through running I returned to find out I had bronchitis. After getting on medication I thought I was clear, and I was quiet wrong. Just a few days later I ended up “sleeping” most of the evening on the bathroom floor with a fever. Needless to say I lost 6lbs in the course of the night and the flu was upon me.  I rode out four glorious days in my bed. Between trying to get my calorie intake back up and the countless number of Netflixing I did, my mind could not get off the fact that I couldn’t run and I was missing training. It sucked to dropout of the 15k in Columbia, then scratch Reedy River, and have to call the race director at Cooper to tell her I could not make it. Frustration was clouding my mind.

Why couldn’t I catch a break? I just wanted to get out there and compete and show my fitness. The string of success I had during the winter really amped me up for a spring that I was hoping would smash my record book. Instead I had to battle health issues and self doubt to get this train back on the track.

Week after week I looked toward my comeback race at the Riker Danzig Newport 10000. I was lucky enough to hop in a 3k at my alma mater the week before Newport. Coach Ben Paxton (who am I very grateful to have been coached by and who helped develop me into the running I am today) let me into the race. The day before I did a long interval workout and used the 3k to simulate how I would feel at the end of the 10k. Well I can tell you, I felt bad. Never knew a seven and a half lap race could feel longer than a 10k. But each stride was rough. I was spent when I finished. I kept reminding myself….I had the flu. It will take time to get back.

I never like going backwards. That is exactly what I felt like was happening. Nothing felt as smooth as before. But that race at Winthrop was exactly what I needed. My next few workouts exceed my expectations. My tempo was back down to normal pacing and so was the speed segments. I found a renewed confidence in my running again. And it helped to have my friend Kimberly Ruck to keep me positive.

Finally my trip to Newport had arrived. I flew up to Newark on Thursday after a light prerace workout. The plane rides were as comfortable as a plane ride can be for a guy that is 6’2″. My adventure started off with navigating the train system to the subways to take me to Newport. Only thing is I feel asleep on my subway and wound up in the heart of Manhattan by the Freedom Tower. I acted like I knew what I was doing, but quickly ducked back down into the subway and hitched the next ride back across the river. I finally got to the hotel and posted up for the night. Grabbing dinner and some snacks I quickly passed out from the days events.

The next day was beautiful. Woke up and made some coffee as I studied the course on my computer and watched the morning news. I tried my best to memorize the course, but after looking over it for an hour I decided that I would just do my best to figure it out. As I stepped out of the hotel It became apparent that I was under dressed. It was a crisp morning as I navigated the course. The scenery was beautiful. especially the neighborhoods the course traverse through. I was getting excited and anxious to race. Also came back to a package at the hotel from Saucony with my race kit in it. Gotta love a sponsor who personally delivers to you on the fly!

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My best friend Maggie came in from Fairfield to come watch my race. We got a late lunch together and walked around the mall. We we ended up hanging out until I headed to dinner with the other athletes. They race director Will Fodor treated us to an amazing pasta dinner. I got to meet some of the race coordinators at the dinner and it was a lot of fun to talk about the New Jersey area and share where I was from. Soon the dinner was over and I ventured back to the hotel to prep for the morning.

Morning came and I threw on my warmups, grabbed my bag and Generation UCAN and headed out the door. I started my warmup with Kimberly. Easy 20min along the last few miles of the course and proceeded to jam out and do drills as I put on my kit and flats. As I started to stride over to the start my nerves were on end. Then there I was on the line. That moment of complete calm before utter chaos. Every body slightly lowering into their starting positions. Seconds pass like hours. Then….GO!.

We started off quick, well for my current fitness it felt quick but I committed myself to holding on to the leaders as long as I could. That was the game plan and when the monkey jumped on my back I would sort that out as it came. Quickly the nationalized Kenyan was laying on serious surges in the first mile. I just laid back and maintained contact. We circled back to toward the start and we had developed into a solid pack. A moment of panic occurred as we did a 180 turn and some loose gravel sent people sliding and me well off course onto the sidewalk. I accidentally bumped into Donn Cabral as I corrected my course and surged back. The next two miles started taking its toll on my and I fell off the pace.

Former teammate Ricky Flynn passed me and I tried to rally to go with but he just motored by. I kept trying to hold form and push. And when I got to five miles I found a new gear and started to clip away. I steadily moved up from 8th to 6th and finished in 30:20. I was disappointed I could not crack into the top 5 but I was happy with a solid comeback to racing after about a month off from issues.

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The rest of my visit to NJ was short. I had only a few hours to get cleaned up and grab lunch with Maggie. We explored the waterfront and some local eateries before she was sweet enough to drive me to Newark Airport. Apparently my train skills did not impress her and she felt the need to personally make sure that I did not end up in another town. It was a great way to end a fun trip to the Northeast. I will be back Newport and watch out Cow Harbor because I am hungry to get after it there!

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I am taking the next week to just put some mileage on my legs and heal up from the race. I don’t wanna rush back into intense training and have another set back. I am really blessed to have amazing sponsors, family, and friends to help me through the trials we face in life. They are in my corner and I am ready to get after my goals. Till next time everybody!

#FINDYOURSTRONG

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Posted on May 7, 2015, in Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Trials to Miles.

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