February 9, 2015

2015 USA Cross Country Championships

2015 USA Cross Country Championships 12K - 40:42, 48th place

[Cross-post from FRB report]

The course was in excellent condition considering Boulder received significant snow last weekend, followed by warm and sunny weather (not to mentioned seven races before our race started at 1pm). The grass was a little spongy, but only muddy in a couple spots (including the ditch). There weren't any hills to speak of  (very nice) - the challenges were the altitude (5550') and the temperature (70s!).

I had a goal of breaking 41 minutes (6:50 per 2K lap). I knew the best strategy was to start at the back and just try and work my way up throughout the race. Passing people (opposed to being passed) builds momentum and positive energy. As you can see by the splits / place chart, I executed that plan about as well as I could have hoped to. There were 114 runners on the starting line, and almost all of them were ahead of me a few minutes into the race. On the first lap I just tried to avoid tripping, then kept moving up once it spread out a bit. I kept the effort very even for 11K, then picked it up and ran the last kilometer in 3:08. Maybe left a little too much left in the tank, but for my first race since Chicago, I wanted to err on the side of being conservative and be sure to finish strong.

I felt good about the effort and about running a smart race. Five weeks ago, I didn't think there was any way I'd even be in decent condition by now. I didn't get crazy, panic, or attempt to squeeze in a bunch of hard sessions to prepare specifically for this one. I just stuck to being sensible with my workouts (long-term vision) and let my body gradually adapt. I feel myself starting to come around now. I had a good steady-state run on the Tuesday before the race, so a nice week altogether.

That will be the theme as I continue to build towards London. I'm not expecting (nor attempting) any PR-fast tuneup races, and I'm not going to try and beat the big/benchmark workouts of prior training cycles. I believe that training accumulates over time and I've been at this for about four years now. If I stay consistent, healthy, and patient, I think I can time it right and be really fit in April... while continuing to have fun doing all the other things I love doing (ie. skiing a lot).

I'm glad I decided to open up the season in Boulder. There's always something worthwhile in running in national championship events. And there's something to be said about getting outside of your comfort zone (lacing up the spikes instead of flats) once in a while. I'll definitely make an effort to get to Bend over the next couple years for the upcoming cross country championships.

Andrea took lots of fantastic photos. She was all over the course with our friends from Colorado, who came to watch. Catching up with my friends from Vail was a major incentive for making the trip, and we ending up having a great weekend.

Full Results.


Conner Mantz of Smithfield, UT dominated the Junior Mens 8K

Womens start

Here we go...

Fast guys

Regular guys

Final turn

Vail crew plus some people we never met before, but they cheered for me, so they're cool

Mt Sanitas w/ Ben and Kirsten

Suzy and River

(this may have been my first time holding a baby)


  1. I wish 40:42 was for "regular guys", nice going. You two are looking great! Miss yah...

  2. Awesome job Jake!! Set's you up great to start your next build up. Keep it going my friend. Love a good XC race. And finishing that strong at altitude is super impressive. Cheers