good race, led a lot, died with 800 to go. I’ll write more later.
AM-Woke up fairly relaxed, not really thinking much about the race. There have been times where I've overthought races and this was not going to be one of them. Ate a big breakfast and treated this race like the other races this season. Got to the course about an hour and half before the race. Warmed up slower than usual (probably close to 9 minute pace, we usually are just under 8 min. pace) and i was pretty cold, but not too bad. Stretched, did strides, and were at the start line just like any other race. Due to my lack of abilities of acceleraing quickly, I started on the back line, just like every other race this season.
The start was fast! I was our 7th guy, and there were other teams that seemed to be ahead of almost all of our guys. There was so much snow being kicked up that it was quite annoying, and getting nice footing was near impossible. We started on the far left side of the course, which was ideal. At 500m or so, Ashley cheered us on and Clayton yelled "That's my wife!" Then Clayson yelled, "She's pregnat, you're going to be a dad!" As they both said a couple of other short jokes, I decided to move up. I was hurting. This was fast. I looked up right before 1km, and saw we were in the high 2:30s, low 2:40s(I was probably at 2:43-45). I told myself to slow down. There is no way I could keep that up on this course in perfect conditions. So, I slowed, but eventually so did everyone else. I didn't like the snow getting kicked up in front of me, so I moved to the outside and eventually got to the front before the first short/steep hill. I was on the outside, and surprisingly the grip and footing were great. We came down the hill, and I just relaxed. We cam across 2km around 5:40, so it was pretty quick. I was at the front at this time, and just told myself to relax. I was feeling pretty good here, but 10k is a long race.
We hit 3km and I could feel a bit of fatigue settle in, and just told myself to be there at 8km and see what happens. I stayed a consistent pace. At 4km, there is a hairpin turn, and Tyler Day of NAU and I were next to each other, and I slipped a bit, nothing bad, but it took me out of my rythym. I continued to relax, but it was still frustrating. At 5km we were around 14:40. I still felt good. People passed me here, but didn't surge, so I just enjoyed some time running behind them. As we were heading on the big loop, I tried to run close to the line because it was cleared, and it gave me an advantage over those running in the snow in the middle of the course. I felt like it helped me relax and get into more of a rythym, a lot of people did this behind me, but others around me were running in the middle. I got back into the lead somewhere around here. Coming around the field just a bit after 6km, I started slipping a lot. It was frustrating as I felt a lot of energy was wasted. When we hit the gradual hill around 6.5 km, I started hurting a decent amount and had a thought of "this is where I lost ground at pre-nats, so I'll probably get dropped here." I cut that thought out of my mind quickly. At the last hill (about 7.2km or so), I slipped again and was stuck on the inside and couldn't get any good footing. I slipped a bit going down the hill, and was pretty fatigued here. I tried to run next to the line where the snow was plowed again, but the spectators were on the patch of grass, on the course, cheering. I had to go to the middle, and it was slick. Given, my competitors were there as well, but that was part of my strategy.
The final 2km I was surprised to still be at the front. I was trying to hold on to the same pace I had been running before, but no one was getting much ahead of me or challenging me hard for the lead. Morgan McDonald took it on the final hill, but then let me have it back with ease with 1200m to go(I took the inside of the turn, so I got ahead of him here). I was just waiting for the pack to pass me, and sure enough, about 30-40 seconds after hitting 9km in first, 7 guys passed me like a wall. I stayed with them until about 400m to go, and then told myself to save my kick for the final 200m. I was hurting a lot in those last 400m and was ready to be done. As I was trying to push with 400m to go, I kept slipping and it was the most frustrating part of the race. Joe Klecker and John Dressel both passed me here, and I came across the line in 10th. I was happy about it, as that had been my season goal (top-10). I looked back and was scared when I didn't see any teammates. Then I saw Rory and McMillan. Then a little bit later, Clayson, and a little later, Jake. I had no idea how we did place-wise, but Colorado had 3 guys in the top-11, so I thought they may have beat us, and NAU seemed to finish well, so I thought we may have bonked again, but nope, we got 2nd.
Overall, I'm happy about this race, I would've loved to get the win, but I'm not fit enough currently for the individual win and the team would've needed to run our best day to win(it was an average day for us), but to get second is still a great accomplishment for us. It was a great season, and lots of great memories with this team. Later I found out the reason I was slipping so much was one of my shoes had nearly (4/6) all the spikes screw out of it over the course of the race. Good learning experience, hope to improve every year. On to track!
PM-4 easy miles on a beautiful trail as the sun was setting.