Friday, April 30, 2010

Palo Alto Down Time

AM: 5 miles
PM: 3 miles incl. 2x60 secs., 2x30 secs.
2 laps jog the curves, stride the straights

Typically when we travel to meets we arrive the day before, particularly when traveling out west. Since Payton Jordan is a Saturday only meet, our Thursday arrival meant we had an entire day--almost two, since our race isn't until late Saturday night--of down time before racing. Today was that day.

I started things off with a relaxed AM run from the motel with Pezz. Yes, I said motel. To call it a hotel would be doing a disservice to fine establishments everywhere, but that's a whole different story. At any rate, the morning run was relaxed and enjoyable. A few minutes after the run, Pezz took a call from Allison Grace, one of the Zap Fitness athletes who was also in town for the race. The Zappos were headed to a late brunch at Hobee's, a Palo Alto institution, so Pezz and I decided to tag along. Everyone knows breakfast is my favorite meal, and I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity for some tasty deliciousness. I was quickly realizing there are some benefits to not racing the day after our arrival.

After a few hours of relaxing (and trying to dissolve the blueberry coffee cake that was sitting like an anvil in my stomach), we headed over to the track for our afternoon shakeout. The stadium was hopping with athletes getting in their pre-race prep, and we spent a few extra minutes soaking up the buzz. The energy around here is truly contagious. I found myself getting excited for tomorrow night for the first time since I got here.

Here's the thing though. The fields are stacked. Galen Rupp is going for a new American Record in the men's 10k. In the women's 5k, Olympians Shalane Flanagan, Amy Yoder-Begley and Shannon Rowbury will be duking it out with current NCAA 10k record holder Lisa Koll (who ran 31:18 at the first Stanford meet in March). And so on and so forth throughout the meet. While my race isn't the headliner of the night, there are several girls who are more than capable of running under 32 minutes. The field is populated with about an equal mix of professionals and D1 standouts; the only D2ers in the race are Tanya, myself, Sarah Porter from Western Washington and one Adams State girl. In short, I need to run the race of my life. No scratch that; it is very possible that I could indeed run the race of my life, break 34 minutes and still be very near the back of the pack. I find this prospect equal parts intimidating and exciting. If I run smart and tough, I should be able to latch onto a few people and get carried along to a big PR. That's the plan.