I haven't blogged since my promising workout on May 25th. Sparing you excuses, here it is: a rundown of what's happened since that chilly morning.
I had two easy days before Essex. Upon arriving there on Tuesday the 28th it felt pretty hot, and kind of anticlimactic. There weren't too many fans there. South Burlington's tent was right next to ours and I witnessed the man himself, Malcolm Plunkett, talking to Dan Grovesnor and Marc Brandmeyer (three guys who make up Vermont's best ever graduating class) about an hour before the race. I warmed up with Willie for about 8 minutes, then got ready. My legs didn't have that pop I was hoping for. The heat assignments were messed up! With 50 guys checking in, they assigned 32/18, with Willie being one of the top seeds in the slow heat. He ran well, I think 4:27 for the 1,500, and got second in a big PR. I was seeded second, and sandwiched between Dan and Malcolm on the start line. My objective was just to get out hard and hang as long as possible. This backfired a little as I was 30. low at the 200 and 46.0 at 300, right behind Dan. I slowed down and hit 400 in 63 and began to yo-yo behind those guys the rest of the way. At 800 I was 2:09. The third lap must have been super slow. Malc pulled away with 400 to go and I focused on trying to get Dan. I tied up and he beat me by a second. I PRed in 4:06.66 though, technically a 15 second PR. But converted to 1,600 it's about 5.5 seconds. And it's the D3 state record. Definitely happy with that. I'm confident I could go much faster if the race was paced better/less windy/better pack to run with. But I'll take it for now.
After about 3 hours I came back for the 3,000 under the lights. Malcolm and Dan had run 8:37 and 8:43 indoors (on the same day at different meets) so I knew I wasn't beating them. I knew I was due for a huge PR. If I hadn't doubled I wanted to be under 8:50. However, once the race started, my legs had nothing. I had to let them get away and I gradually slowed to 73s, running in complete no-man's land, with those two and Brandmeyer hammering away at the front (maybe 40 meters up) and the second pack about 30 meters back and fading. With one lap to go I saw I was at about 7:54. I knew what I had to do (65), and coach hollered at me to break 9. I worked hard down the backstretch and really dropped the hammer on the turn before tying up a little on the homestretch. Crossed the line 8:58.89 for 4th place, a big PR, and another D3 state record. Pleased with that effort given the context. I wanted to run faster this year, but again, based on the way I ran the race, I know I can go faster. I just need to find the right race next season.
Training was just easy days between then and the state meet. We got to the meet very early and it was already very hot. Nice day for a triple. This was my last meet with Collin. He ran well in the 4x800 and the team was 5th. We hung out before the 1,500. Got our usual dose of Tony Battista's arrogance while checking in and getting hip numbers. My plan was simple: Sit and kick. Tony took it hard pretty hard though, and for that he deserves some respect. His PR in the 1,600 was 4:43 prior to this race. Tony took us out in 67, 2:17, 3:28. I tried to take the lead with 400 to go, even though I was actually feeling kinda dull and weak. He didn't relinquish the inside until less than 200 to go, after which I continued to accelerate and pinwheeled away, cruising the last 50 meters and still closing in 60, to win 4:13.33 to Tony's 4:18.x. So yes, I put over 5 seconds on him in less than 200 meters. Perhaps my best race ever. Props to Tony for running a big PR from the front in the heat. Ballsy. In the end though, he's got a lot to learn. Leading is almost never a good tactic. Willie and Jonesy ended up 3rd and 4th, running 4:22 and 4:24, huge PR for Willie, and small PR for Jonesy.
The 800 was a stroll. Jeremy Ducharme of Hazen was my main competition. The leader went out in 61, but I chilled back in 63. Jeremy took the lead, battling a brutal headwind gust on the backstretch, while I just sat there. With 100 to go I sprinted, got a decent lead, then shut it down. I only ran 2:07, but it didn't really matter to me. Jonesy was third here.
The 3,000 should have been tougher. The rest was much shorter than between the 15 and 8. At this point the heat was over 90, and I was feeling pretty tired to start. But I was the top seed by about 55 seconds, so basically, a lot would have had to go wrong to lose. The pace just felt so slow. We were like 5:30 at the mile. With 800 to go, I made a "move" (ran like a 75) and suddenly had a huge gap, which I guess makes sense since the pack had slowed to around 85s at that point. I didn't see any need to push it down further, and cruised in. It didn't really hurt at all, only tiring. I won in 10:09, with Willie and Collin finishing 2nd and 3rd about 8 seconds back. This put an exclamation point on a dominating exhibition by not only our distance runners, but our whole team, and we defeated our rival Thetford 160 to 91 in the team competition! Helluva day.
The week before New England's I did one hard workout which didn't go as planned. I did 12/1k/400/400/200/200 in 3:36, 2:57, 72, 67, 30, 28 with short rests. I was hoping to do a longer workout and hit faster times on the 1,200 and 1,000. The next day I came down with a cold, and didn't feel good the rest of the week. New England's had pretty poor conditions again. It may have seemed decent, 75 and partly cloudy, but in fact it was really humid and felt way hotter. My cold probably sapped some energy too. I doubled 1,600 and 3,200 which was extremely stupid. I had nothing for that 1,600. Went out in 2:12 and came back in 2:19 for 4:31. Legs felt like bricks. After a long rest I wasn't feeling any better for the 3,200. I was very lazy and let the pack go, only coming through 1,600 in 5:00 while slowing down on that. With a lap to go the clock read 9:00. The leaders were out of sight. I hadn't been digging hard enough the whole race. I decided, that with 400 meters to go in my junior season of high school track, I could at least suck it up and kick. Well, I closed in 62, with a 29 last 200, and finished in 10:02. So yeah, I could have run faster if I'd been tougher. But now that I think back on the race, my stride was absolutely broken after around 2k. I remember my legs just not cooperating. The pain was pretty bad too, especially because of the fast start (we were around 34 for the first 200, not altogether crazy fast, but definitely much, much faster than I could handle that day.) My only regret is not trying to get up in my stride earlier and making a surge, because once I kicked from 400 out I felt a bit better. If I'd done that earlier, I could've run faster. Would I have PRed? Probably not. It sucks to put in a poor effort, especially in that meet. I have the whole summer to think about it. All in all, the meet was incredibly frustrating for me.