2.5 mile warm up, strides, race where I froze, post-race freezing, and then some warming up after a couple hours. I'll write more later, but I'm very proud of the team to push through the conditions and earn our first team national title. I'm thankful for the coaches we have, the teammates who didn't race, and for NAU for setting the bar so high, as well as being very gracious and classy about their loss.
Race report: Got to the line after the warm up, did some strides, then I started taking off the outer 2 layers, until I was just in armsleeves, jersey, and hat. I felt cold before the race started. I did a couple strides, and then put some olive oil on my legs like last year, and then was ready. I was already soaked before the race even started. I was also really cold. The gun went off, and luckily, we were on the second to outside box, so even though I couldn't get moving quickly, I didn't get boxed in. I eventually started passing people ahead, and was in about 20th once we started the first turn. I passed Matt and thought we were looking good as a team, because most of us were already up close to the front. I got passed by Kigen around here, as he started running on the inside where the grass was longer, but didn't have any mud. This kinda ticked me off, but whatever. I slowly moved up and was in the top few. At 2k/3k I started feeling pretty terrible. My calves already started burning, and my quads were hurting. I was right behind Peter Suefer here, and he started pulling away. I went with him for a bit, but I was feeling like garbage, so I let him go and decided to run with the pack.
From 3k to 8k, I still felt like garbage. Suefer had made a big gap, so I tried to close it a few times, once at 5k, and once at 6k, but I just didn't feel how I've felt all year. Running in the mud and being cold was really tough today. Around 4k, I had told myself to just stay in it iwht the main pack, because 1)the team needed me, and 2) I wanted to, at the very least, finish in the top-3. This led me to making moves to try and get to the front.
Around 8k, the pace kept picking up and we passed Suefer. I was feeling slightly better here, but still not my best. Once Kurgat passed Suefer, I tried to go around the pack and catch up. At about 1k to go, I had gotten some really good momentum, and was trying to catch up to Kurgat who now had a 10 meter lead or so. Once the fence ended, Kiprop went OUTSIDE the course, running in the grass where there was NO mud, and then he passed me and cut me off. I slipped, almost fell, and had to re-accelerate. Right after, Klecker made a move around us all, and takes the lead of our chase pack. I had to put a lot of effort into catching back up to him, and then I was with him until about 400m to go. Kurgat had increased his lead to a point where catching him didn't seem possible, and Klecker had started to pull away. I heard someone yell "you gotta catch this Colorado guy for points" at me here. This was the only time I heard someone yell anything about points or the team race the whole race. Right after this point, Seufer passed me and started battling with Klecker. Klecker dropped him, and he was dropping off, and I dug as deep as I could in the last 100m to get the minimal goal of top-3. I caught him with about 5 meters left, and it was great.
After the race, I was more exhausted than I've been after any race this season. I watched the finish of other runners, but I had no idea what was going on. Eventually Danny or Jake came to me, saying "I think we won." Due to NAU being such a good team, I didn't believe them. I was also so cold that it never settled in. Eventually, I went to the media tent, and was asked what it was like to win by over 50 points, and then I knew the chances of us not getting the win were next to none, so I was pumped. We then had a team interview, were congratulated by NAU, and it was great, other than being so cold. I couldn't stop shivering during all this time, and I actually couldn't focus on how great the team win was becuase I felt like I was freezing. After walking back to the tent, I was so cold and couldn't stop shivering, that they trainer stopped me and had me go back to the medical tent. They treated me for hypothermia, put tons of blankets and heaters on me. I wasn't the only one with that problem. They started asking me my name, and other things I can't remember, but eventually I was back at the awards, and I think I was warm again. This was such a great experience having the team get the win, and it was such a hard race. Onto the next step.