Nov 15, 2019
I’m currently traveling to Florida to compete in the Flanigan’s Rockin Rib 10k. It’s always awesome returning to this race every year as this was the first race I traveled to as an elite athlete in 2016. The elite field has always been about 10-15 athletes and it has allowed for great camaraderie. I’ve made more connections here than other races due to the smaller field and the local running community at the race. This year the elite field has grown to over 30 athletes, which is incredible. The race is a huge testament to the vision of Renee Grant and Mike Giacobbe, who are in their 7th year of putting on the race. They provide a memorable experience for all participants as the event has continued to sell-out each year.
It’s been about 5 weeks since the Twin Cities Marathon. I’ve mostly been recovering and doing some travel as it’s the best time to do so with my schedule. I went to Chicago the weekend after TCM where I witnessed one of the best days in U.S. Marathon history with 24 U.S. Men and Women running under the Olympic Trials A-Standard of 2:15 and 2:37, respectively. I also got to catch up with friends in the city and the Loyola Ramblers Cross Country team. I joined them for a run and also observed a workout as they prepared for a meet that Friday. They raced great at the meet as they had a team spread of about 1:20 from 24:50-26:10 with 12 athletes running in that range. They seem to be one of the deepest teams in Loyola history. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do the rest of the year.
The next weekend, I went down to Iowa City with my Dad and brother Kevin to watch a Hawkeye football game. We attended the game with my cousins and uncles and it’s always fun to watch a good college football game. This one happened to be in the rain and after the game we hung out in the parking lot to have a few dogs and burgers. We even handed some out to random passer-byers who were hungry.
That Sunday, I was lucky enough to witness the MNUFC play their first MLS playoff game with a friend. Unfortunately, the Loons couldn’t find the back of the net enough and suffered a 2-1 loss. But the atmosphere at the new stadium was a spectacle and feeling the energy of the fan base that night proved to me that good things are coming to MN when it comes to professional soccer.
The next thing on tap began Oct 24th, when a plan to drive my younger sister’s car to her in California came to fruition as I spent the next 5 days driving cross-country in her RAV4. It was a cool journey and I saw some beautiful areas including the Black Hills of South Dakota, the canyons and mountains of Salt Lake City and the American River Trail in California. I even got caught in a southern Wyoming traffic jam featuring a cattle crossing. The driving was somewhat monotonous at times with either Spotify or a book on tape playing in the background. But I always enjoy the solitude and the easy rhythm of an open road with a good song playing. I arrived in Oakland on Tuesday evening to drop the car and Laura’s stuff off and then had a flight at 6:30am the next morning to go to NYC to visit my older sister Jennie. I planned to watch the final World Marathon Major of the year where two of my teammates, Katy and Tyler Jermann, and a few friends from the cities were competing. So, I only saw Laura for about an hour due to her work travels, but that’s the way it goes sometimes!
NYC was a change from the open roads going west, as there is a constant, packed energy in the city with all of the people and things to do. I have to mention I jumped right into a “NY moment” within the first hour of arriving in the city as my sister needed help moving a filing cabinet. We first moved it down 5 flights of stairs from her neighbor, then through the streets for 3 blocks, and then up 6 floors to her apartment. Woo! That was just the warmup before my run that night. After that, I rested a bit, trained a bit, and thanks to my sister, we had the opportunity to meet Eliud Kipchoge at a Nike event for Project Moonshot, which is a 16-week training program preparing 160 athletes to compete in the NYC Marathon. The event was awesome and hearing about Kipchoge’s achievements of the past 2 years was inspiring. I also caught up with my team and friends in the race as we attended Olympian Carrie Tollefson’s podcast on Saturday. I then checked out the city with team president Austin Budlong and met up with team founder Pat Goodwin as well. My teammates ran impressive races on Sunday with Katy finishing as 5th American and Tyler taking the 6th American spot.
After NYC, I settled back into a routine with training and work in MN. I returned to team practice for a few workouts where the Fall season we are supposed to be having has resembled winter as of late. Also, on the weekend, my teammates Kevin and Joel were both able to run sub-63:30 at the Indy Half Marathon to lower a PB for Kevin and post an extremely impressive debut for Joel to qualify for the Trials. We will all be able to train for the Olympic Trials Marathon now, which I think will be a huge benefit to all of us.
This past Wednesday, Team USA Minnesota hosted a party for supporters at the Summit Brewing Company. The event was awesome and it was fun to catch up with everyone there and have the entire community in the same room. I hope we can make it a yearly or even quarterly occurrence. We also revealed our new team name and logo, but we can’t officially announce it until January 1st. So stay tuned for that.
One note on training, I have recently experienced some knee pain after a cold (single-digits) track workout Tuesday. It has steadily improved since, but I am still a little wary about it. I went into the Doc right away and he was able to work on some areas connected to the knee, which provided a huge boost and immediate relief to the sore spot. I will test it out a bit before the race and hopefully I will be ready to go, but the decision will be based on how the next few days go.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but stay tuned, as after Florida, I am headed to Charlotte, NC, for 4 days to check out a potential training area for the team in January and February during the Trials buildup. I will then head down to Atlanta on Nov 23rd to see the official Olympic Trials course. The race organizers are hosting an event to allow athletes the chance to run on it with a police escort. It’s an awesome opportunity and I’m glad I’ll get the chance to participate. Then it’s back home for Turkey Day. I’ll plan to be on the line at the Life Time Turkey Day 5k in Minneapolis. Hope to see you there.