Distance: 9.5 mi.
Goal: Qualify for Ivy League Ekiden trip; shoot for 14:50 as a time that should make it.
Race: 19th overall; 3rd automatic spot for the Ekiden trip; 14:53.
Despite some serious overanalyzing this week, the race and the goal were straightforward. In order to automatically qualify for the Ivy League Ekiden team, I had to finish in the top four Ivy League alums in the race, as other members of the team were being selected subjectively based on other performances (or other criteria, apparently). Given the guys I knew were in it, I figured that I would have to be a bit under 15:00 to be sure (and Jordan nailed it on the head, saying that 14:59 would go... which would have barely secured the last auto spot). Rather than going into the race focusing on the particular guys, I figured I would just try to run 14:50-55 in a smart, controlled way.
The start of the race, near the Providence Place mall
The race went well from start to finish for Ari and me. I got out pretty well (drafting of Shalane Flanagan through the half mile) and went through the first somewhat downhill mile in 4:41 feeling pretty good. The second mile felt long, heading all the way out towards I-195 and then most of the way back on South Main and while my legs still felt fairly good, I could feel the race hitting my stomach. Ari, Mark Olivier (Columbia), Emory Mort (Cornell) and I were all fairly close nearing two miles in about 9:30 (4:49). As we turned back towards downtown on Canal Street the pack broke up with Emery and Ari pulling ahead of Mark and me. I thought I had dropped Mark, but he was back on and past me up the final hill and it took a decent kick over the top to catch him (and former OU runner Matt Daniels, apparently, at the line). My last mile was probably around 4:55. It was great to know right at the finish line that Ari and I had made it. It was warm and sunny--near perfect race conditions.
Kicking toward the finish line after the final hill
A few of the guys in contention for the trip cooled down together towards India Point, and I also caught up with Chris Gould, whose team looked very strong at the Amherst Invitational yesterday (edging out Brookline) and who was happy with his 16:44 today.
Hopefully I'll know the composition of the entire Ivy Ekiden team in the next few days. The other guys who automatically qualified today were Mort and Olivier. There are full race results at CoolRunning. We're bound for Japan on October 8th. Chobi, anyone?
Sunday, September 21, 2008