Pretty great last few weeks! USA Cross Country last week went really well and I was really excited with how it panned out. The course was awesome and definitely one of my favorites, so stoked that it's back there next year. I got 14th this year, and am hoping to knock at least 4 places off of that next year. I hadn't previously ever finished higher than 16th so I'm getting closer! Yay! It was great having a couple of teammates (Loren and Rachel) out there too, and Colorado was well-represented! Plus, Loren was such a good sport when they made him put tape over his BRC logo. But YEAH the course was awesome! Nice iffy footing in places, cold wind, hills (my favorite), and mud. Loved it. So glad that we've forgone the Beautifully Groomed Golf Course style cross country race in favor of more appropriate terrain for the next couple years. The field was great. Without a World's this year though supposedly the field was less deep (according to Letsrun sources, for whatever that's worth...), but really it seemed like the top-20 or so had about as much depth as it usually does. No, there was no Shalane and no Blake Russell for instance, but there was a Sara Hall, a Liz Costello, a Laura Thweatt, and others who offset that loss of depth. So really, I think that's debatable.
Right here is a good place to insert my special thanks to Loren for being a great roommate, pre-race shake-out run partner, fellow detective in the search for the Elusive #48 on the dark streets of St. Louis (long story), and for introducing me to all of A&E's great late-night TV shows, namely Storage Wars, Parking Wars, and Shipping Wars. I don't watch much TV but I can't believe what I've been missing out on this whole time.
The last few months have gone so well, and the cherry on top was U.S. cross, and all of that has me thinking that, you know, maybe the whole having a coach thing gets a little over-rated? That's not to say that subjective advice of someone who is not emotionally attached to your running isn't helpful (it is), and that having someone around to assess what you're doing wrong when things go, well, wrong isn't helpful (it is), but it all really boils down to consistency and common sense. The basics usually seem the same regardless of who is telling you to do what: hard on your hard days, easy on your easy days, and if you screw up then figure out how you screwed up then don't do that thing again, mmkay? Now I'm not professing to know everything (or anything for that matter) or to have any knowledge of the physiology or the more scientific reasoning behind different workouts and different training structures, to be really honest I'm actually probably awfully naive. Could you be a lot better with someone mapping out your every move? Absolutely. Could you be worse? Absolutely. But everyone's an experiment of one and if one thing doesn't work try something else because eventually some combination of things will work, it's just sometimes lots of trial and error getting there. The kicker seems to be that it takes a little more honesty with yourself sometimes: do you really feel crappy today and need to knock a couple miles off of your long run, or are you being a pansy? When does the cost outweigh the benefit? When do you need to push the envelope and when do you pull the reigns? That part is tricky sometimes. But really you just have to have a little faith in yourself and don't outsmart your common sense. And remember: if you say you can or you say you can't, either way you're right. Of course, it's a little easier to say all of this since I think it's a little hard to mess up 3k-10k training anyway. When I move up to the marathon (yes I will), that might be a different story, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Welp, since it's pretty much just been go-go-go since last October and I really haven't put in a good chunk of training longer than 2 weeks that wasn't interrupted with a race, time now to cool the jets for a few weeks and just train. No races on the immediate horizon till the springtime and in the meantime back to the grind! Congrats to everyone on great races for the last few weeks, and good luck to everyone in the Spring Runoff 10 miler! Keep on keepin' on.