Till I Collapse

This fall has to be one for the memory books. I have fallen in love with Coach Blackwelder’s training and it has made me feel very confident in each of my races I have entered this fall. From my opener in October at the USC XC Invitational, Vulcan 10k, Charlotte Turkey Trot 8k, and just recently USATF Club Nationals, I don’t think I have been this competitive in years.

The journey to Club Nationals started earlier this fall. I found out they were going to be in Tallahassee this year and realized that trip would be fun and a chance to mix it up with some of the best guys in the nation over 10k on the grass.  With the focus to remain strong through December, we started workouts on the grass in late September. We focused on strength over speed. Longer intervals and tempo runs to build up the aerobic capacity of the body to handle longer race later in the year.

Races started rough and each one seemed to help fine tune the engine. I was really grateful for the opportunity to race in Birmingham at the Vulcan 10k. My good friend and fellow professional runner Lauren Scott, graciously hosted me and showed me around after the race. Look for her to turn some heads this spring on the track. That 10k showed me what I needed to work on and provided insight to what I needed to do for Clubs. Also allowed me to experience a long car ride on the legs and racing the next day. Which is what I knew would happen for Clubs.

The lead up to Clubs went pretty smooth. I had a few bumps and bruises, but nothing that Brad McKay and Tiffany Schride at Performance Therapy couldn’t work out. I also have partnered with Frigid Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy has definitely rejuvenated my legs more than any ice bath I have ever taken. They also have Normatec Recovery boots there to help flush out the legs after hard sessions.

The weekend of Clubs started Thursday evening at 7PM. I locked up Gotta Run Simpsonville, picked up my friend Clay, and headed down the road on the first part of the journey to Tallahassee. We stopped in Atlanta for the night and crashed at Clay’s family’s house for the evening. Morning came too soon, and we went to a local bike path to get in an easy shakeout and strides before shuffling down the rest of the way to Florida.

The drive went pretty smooth. Only hitting traffic when we rolled into downtown Tallahassee. Immediately I went to pick up my race packet at the host hotel before heading to the course to preview it and get in a few fast strides before dinner. The course looked manageable. Rolling terrain on grass and crushed sea shells made up a loop that we would have to traverse 4 times (two 3k loops and two 2k loops). There were tons on runners looking over the course. There were a lot of pro groups there (ZAP Fitness, NAZ Elite, Hudson Elite, Adidas BAA, ETC.) and it began to set in tomorrow was going to be a battle.

After settling into the hotel and grabbing dinner, I rolled out and stretched before heading to bed early. Set my alarm to go off at 6AM so I could get breakfast in and loosen up before heading to Apalachee Park. I shoveled down a bowl of oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee (pre-race staples, actually coffee is just a staple…..without it I am unpleasant to be around for workouts). I returned to the room, lightly rolled out over the foam roller and started dynamic stretches to prime the legs for war.

I got to the course around 9:30AM. It was cold and crisp morning, with a slight breeze. I stayed hunkered down in my car and relaxed before hiking my way down to the staging area near the finish line. I ran into a couple of my friends who came down to spectate and they were nice enough to keep me company on part of my warm-up. Right as I finished jogging, there was announcement for the men’s field to make its way to the start to check in. I grabbed my bag and shuffled up to the start. I waited in line where they checked our bibs and chips on our spikes before we were assigned boxes and sent out toward the line. I finished my drills and quickly changed into my spikes and singlet with 10min till start.

In what seemed as though seconds had passed, USATF officials began screaming to get on the line. Silence overtook the herd of runners surrounding me as we all turned our heads to the starter and waited to be released onto the course.

The pace shot out very fast. I was following my coach’s instructions to get out faster than normal (2:15 at 800m based on what a friend told me) and I felt overwhelmed with everybody going out so hard so early. I was able to calm myself.  A good friend of mine, Seth Proctor (FSU XC Alum), gave me some words of advice for the course and I was sticking to them in the early parts. I was in about 60-70 position through the mile. And soon I started to slowly move up mile by mile. I came through 2mi by the finish in 9:20, and had moved up to about 50th. Already people were falling off and I began to feel more comfortable and started to test the boundaries.

Around 5k into the race. PC: Justin Britton

The second loop around the course I moved up to mid30s and as I started up the hill into the 3rd loop, I started to press the pace. In my mind a top 25 finish seems to become more of a possibility. A lot of great runners were falling behind and I started to get that swagger back that I knew I belonged here. Next thing I knew I was running beside Craig Lutz and Parker Stinson (both multiple time All-Americans in college) and realized, this is my shot. I covered surges and pushed through rough patches. With a lap to go I was in 28th, but started to feel the wheels come off.

PC: Justin Britton

I barely remember much between 9k and the last 200m of the race. I think my body naturally kept itself running. But the last 200m I found myself kicking harder than I have in a few years. I passed numerous people (at 9k I faded a bit) and just missed passing Parker Stinson at the line.

I finished 26th, had to put my legal name of Phillip Freudenthal. It’s a long story why I go by Adam.

As I flung myself across the line, I had to force myself to keep moving through the shoot. I still had no idea where I had placed or my time exactly. People were collapsing on the ground. I kept myself composed until I was able to get to the end and then proceed to puke my brains out.

I grabbed my bag and changed shoes. Ben Sessions who came down to spectate, graciously warmed down with me. 8-9min miles never felt so fast. After jogging a couple miles, it started to sink in how well I competed. Ever since Cow Harbor 10k (where I had a breakout performance in 2014), I haven’t been able to put myself in the mix and feel like I belong there. This weekend helped me find that again.

I got back to the hotel and ice bathed in the pool, and rolled out after my shower. Went out with some friends that evening and woke up early to drive back to Spartanburg. Next year Clubs will be in Louisville……and you already know I’ll be there and be shooting for a higher finished and hopefully a berth on a USA team (top15 get processed but they only take 6 that declare).

PC: Debra Thompson

As for now, I’m trying to quickly recover to run the CRIT this weekend in Columbia. I made a promise that I would some time ago. Hoping the legs have one more race in them. But I will keep running till I collapse!

I would like to take a moment to thank my family for supporting my dream, my coach Carson Blackwelder for believing in me and giving me the best training I have ever had, Brad McKay and Tiffany Schride for their expertise in keeping my legs moving and constantly assessing my gait to keep me healthy, Frigid Cryotherapy for revolutionizing my recovery, and everybody who has supported me this far. I truly thank you!

#RunHappy  #GetHyped

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Posted on December 14, 2016, in Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Till I Collapse.

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