In our “Welcome to Our Blog” Steph talked about some of the reasons for us starting this website. “We have created this website to open a window into our lives as a married professional running couple and dare to entertain those who follow our journey. We will share our triumphs and heartaches in competing, tell tales of our journeys across the globe all while trying to capture the glamorous and not so glamorous parts of our routine.”
Well, this weekend’s USA 15k Championships in Jacksonville, FL produced a little of everything:
Married Professional Running Couple: Steph and I took advantage of being a married couple as this race had an unofficial married couple competition put together by the elite coordinator Richard Clark Fannin (more on him later). The first of its kind as far as I know. So any race directors out there thinking of something similar contact us. 1:34:41 for a combined 30k of running was Steph and I’s winning time (5:04 pace between us). Nice to know we are tough to beat as a couple, at least in a foot race.
Triumphs: This week the triumph belongs to Steph. A great race for her finishing 3rd-50:09 in the women’s race. She has her eyes set on a big performance at the Boston Marathon April 15 and thus was a little apprehensive about how her body would respond in the middle of heavy training. The days leading up to the race for Steph were a bit of a roller coaster, which has happened to her before. A lot of things to throw into the mix, coming down from elevation, travel, and the before mention marathon training. Keep in mind the race was on a Sat. morning. A recap of what I heard from Steph:
-Wed afternoon after run “I felt good at the end of my run, started running fast the last mile dipped under 7:20 (woohoo!), maybe there is something to this coming down from altitude.”
-Thur afternoon after a day of travel and no coffee “That run was a death march, I don’t think I ran a single mile under 8:30, I’m so tired, my legs feel dead!”
-Fri AM after a huge night of sleep and a short run “I still feel bad, (insert curse word)”
-Fri PM 2nd easy run “Felt bad, strides helped a little, had to force my legs to get going”
-Sat post race “I felt so strong Ben, it was awesome, I went out controlled and then around halfway I decide to just go after the two leaders. Pretty sure Janet (race winner) looked back at one point and looked a little surprised to see me coming.”
Oh the fun stuff I get to hear up to her races. So the triumphs for Steph comes in the fact that she didn’t let how bad she was feeling affect her mind going into the race. She knew deep down she was training well and didn’t take herself out of the race mentally before it began.
Heartaches: The minor heartache of the day belonged to me and it was more of a stomach ache. After a great 1st four miles, passing in 18:44 with the leaders, I developed a pesky stomach cramp. It forced me to step off the gas a bit and try to regroup. Lucky for me fellow Team USA AZ teammate and friend Scott Smith came by with a light touch on the back and urged me to come with him. I kept close to him the rest of the way hanging on to finish in 44:32 3 seconds back of Scott’s 44:29. This is significant and leads to the real heartbreak of the day. The 15k Champs has a team competition. Three runner teams in a combined time format. So in essence a 45k team time, no way a tie could happen right? Well the men’s race ended up deadlocked between Team USA Arizona Scott 44:29, myself 44:32, Matt Llano 45:14 and ASTF (Amatuer Sport of Track & Field) 44:27, 44:43, 45:05. Both given a total time of 2:14:15 (4:48 avg mile for those keeping track) The race committee was stuck with what Richard Fannin would call a Crap sandwich (he may have used a different word) as they had no tie breaker procedure in place. The timer of the event said that they can look at times to the hundreth and so they did and ASTF ended up 0.28 seconds ahead of us. I know in theory a chip time can be accurate to the hundredth of the second but anyone that has run a few road races knows that they can’t always be relied on, for example the 10th place finisher of the 15k, Donn Cabral was left out the results altogether because his chip did not work*(Donn Cabral was added to the official USATF results but he still did not appear in the results the local paper printed the next day). So to lose a tie breaker based off chip time to the nearest hundredth is sure tough to swallow. Especially when it was shown that the chip time isn’t always 100% accurate. I guess it is a lesson learned for the race committee, something to fix for next time around, and unfortunately a hit to the wallet to the tune of $1000 per team member.
Oh, and did I mention that the same exact thing happened in the womens race! I am not making this stuff up. Team USA AZ women and Boulder Running Company tied, with Boulder Running Company being declared the winner! What are the chances?
Glamorous and not so Glamorous
Many times the not so glamorous part comes in the travel. Things like 3:30am wake ups, multiple flights, shuttle rides, all while lugging around half the kitchen in a big roller bag. Finding a safe restaurant in a new city for Steph can prove to be very difficult so we pack a hot plate, pots, utensils, and a hearty stash of snacks. Waking up early the day after a race to travel is always a bit tough, but many of the glamorous perks of our job make up for it. This varies race to race, but when in Jacksonville it is usually the aforementioned Richard Fannin that will make sure you get what you need. He picked us up from the airport personally, took us to a Gluten Free bakery and a grocery store so Steph could stock up for the weekend. He also plans a huge post race party for all the elites, that this year included fried alligator, a private bar rented out topped off with street performers playing with fire.
In case you haven’t heard we’ll be in NYC Thursday at 6:15 putting on a running drills clinic, Q & A, and giving away Picky Bars to all those attending! So bundle up, grab a friend and join us at Central Park lawn.