It has been a while since I have sat down and wrote what has been on my mind, so this blog is it. If you read the title, you know that I am going to give you 5 of my thoughts before I get on an airplane bound for the World Half Marathon Championships tonight. Well, without further adieu, here are my five thoughts:
I am very excited to run this race! There are so many reasons for why am excited. The first reason is that I am heading to continental Europe for the first time. I have been to the British Isles, way back in 2006, but never to the “mainland.” Everyone that goes overseas always seems to have such a great time. They rave about the food, beer, and the people. Another reason that I am excited is that this race will be my first (not my last) USA senior team. It is a point of pride for all runners to put on the jersey of their native country, as it shows that they are one of the best runners in their country. But for me it is special because I know that I have earned it. Last fall, Pete and I were creating my fall/winter road racing schedule, and we came up with a plan to finish the season at the USA Half Marathon Championships. This was because it was the main selector for the World Half Team. Making the team reaffirms the idea that I progressing towards my dream of being the best runner I can. Ultimately, the dream includes representing the USA at the biggest stage: the Olympics. Since the Olympics only happens every four years, I will try to make as many USA teams until then.
- I am confident coming into the race. Coming into the USA Half Champs, I was very confident, but still was weary with running my first half marathon. Having never run a half marathon before, I did not know what to expect. This time I will know what it is like to race 13.1 miles, and I can mentally prepare for it. Looking back at my training logs, I know that my training has gone almost 100 percent to plan. My workouts have been better than before, I have been feeling much better in general, and overall life is good, which indicates that I am going to have a fantastic race in Copenhagen. Last weekend I had a disappointing race at Gate River, but one race does not make a season. Pete has constantly reminded me that while you can fake a fast mile or a 5km, you cannot fake a fast half marathon. So, I am headed to Denmark knowing that I am “oiled, greased, and ready to roll,” as legendary Western State Coach Duane Vandenbusche would say.
- Road Racing is so much fun! It may be the fact that in school, like most collegiate runners, I never did much road racing; maybe the occasional turkey trot, but there is not specific season dedicated to road racing. Since turning professional, there are road races all through out the year, and the falls have turned into an unofficial road racing season. One of the great things about road races is that there are so many people to meet, and I have already made some friends. Heading to the World Champs, I will be able to meet even more people! Another thing I like about road racing is that it is different from both track and cross country. I have run both track and cross country since I started running as a sophomore in high school, but only once or twice a year I would run a road race. I view life as always changing, so road racing has been a change which has energized my running. For example, there are so many more distances to race, including races longer than 10,000m, which seem to be better suited for my self. Also, I have had quite a bit of success running the roads. I mean, who does not like to be successful? Starting with Gate River Run last year, I have had placed top 10 at 4 national road championships, with two of them being in the top 5. With all of that said, I want to continue to run road races, but will always step back to the track and the grass. It seems that all of the best runners in US history, Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, Bob Kennedy, have always raced all three areas of running.
- I am glad to be back in Blowing Rock. Every year, Chris Borch is generous enough to donate to ZAP, which allows us to train at his alma mater, Furman University. Before I move on, I would like to say how grateful I am for the generosity that Chris and Furman University extends to ZAP by giving us this opportunity. We usually head there for five weeks right after our 6-7 week stint in Florida. The set up is fantastic. We get put up in nice apartments just off campus, allowed to use all of the athletic facilities, and most importantly get our meals at the dinning hall. There are many trails and bike paths right from our front door that are great for running. And on top of everything else, we get to train with another professional group, Furman Elite. But by the end of the trip, we all seem anxious to get back home. For me, I decided that I wanted to come back a week early to get some time to be holed up in the mountains before I headed off to Europe.
The trip home was a fun one as I headed to Cowpens National Battlefield (I am a history nerd), but there was a feeling of ease when I pulled up to the long driveway of ZAP. After being away for over three months. I was finally home. In previous blogs, I have mentioned with all of the travel that it is nice it is to be rooted to one place for a bit. Coming back to ZAP, I got that feeling immediately, but unfortunately I am only at ZAP for less than a week. Maybe after this trip I will have some time to enjoy home, but that never happens, as there is always another race to run.
- How my goals have changed over the years, and will continue to change. I remember being a freshman at Western State and one of the guys on the team went to California and ran 28:44 for 10km. My first reaction was “Holy shit that is fast. That’s two 14:22’s in a row.” Little did I know that I would end up running 20 seconds faster than that in school, and can only hope that there was some freshman that year that had the same reaction for me. Over time my goals have changed to where I am able to reach goals that seemed so far off. One goal that most runners have, myself included, is to make National teams, with the Olympics the pinnacle. As a freshman, seven years ago, I would dream of running in the USA Jersey, and they only seemed like dreams back then. Now I have the opportunity to live out that dream. I know that I have not got here on my own. There have been parents, grandparents, friends, teammates, teachers, mentors, sponsors, fans, and coaches helping me the whole way. They have shared in my dreams, and while I will be the one to live that dream out, I know that there are so many people that will be cheering me on. If any of you are reading, I am grateful for all of your support. It is one of the many reasons that I run.
For anyone interested, here is a link to a live stream of the World Half Marathon Championships. I will start at 7:55am EST (5:55am for you in Colorado) on Saturday March 29.
- One bonus thought, courtesy of my friend/former teammate and coach, Jesse Chettle:
— Jesse Chettle (@jesse_chettle) March 24, 2014