Thursday, I ran the (flat) 3k at the Adrian Martinez Classic. While I originally wanted to take a crack at the 4-minute barrier at what would essentially be a home meet for me–the Festival of Miles in Saint Louis– my final class at Providence College dictated that I return to the east coast before the meet. I mean, we all know why I’m in grad school, but I figure I may as well finish the degree at this point. Something about an MBA being useful…

I flew back to Providence on May 23 after a few days of house-sitting for the Padgetts in LA with my eye on Adrian on the first of June. Having finally finished my job at PC, I had plenty of time once I’d returned to lounge around, rest, and recover from my flight. And believe me, I took full advantage of it.

The lead-in to the race was solid, though not ideal. After a few days in which I spent an inordinate number of my waking hours napping (and many of the rest of them either eating or running), I soloed out one of my best workouts on the track in a while last Saturday, going to some dark places to get it done and thereby validating my decision to go to sleep at 9 pm instead of attending campus dance the previous night (Sorry, Savage. But tbf, I don’t think you even read these).

The night of workout, on the other hand, I spent hanging out with friends: I went to Waterfire for the first time in a while, grabbed a (single–I was being responsible, Ray) drink at the GCB, and danced at the Unity Center’s Funk Night. If you know me reasonably well, you must understand how wildly disappointed I was by the utter dearth of funk music played at said event, but it was still fun. This is a digression anyway. The point is, I was hitting REM during afternoon naps for the next three days because 1:30 am is way past my bedtime. But you know, graduation weekend, right? I’d already skipped campus dance.

Luckily, hitting REM during afternoon naps had me rested enough and ready to go by Adrian. Having class from 6:30 to 10:00 the night before was annoying enough, but come race day I was ready to go.

If you don’t feel like reading my recap, you can watch the race video here.  It definitely didn’t play out perfectly. I was stuck with hip 3 in a super-elite 23 man waterfall start, so I got buried from the gun. I managed to sneak my way up through the field, but by the time I’d connected with the lead pack I’d expended some, though not like a devastating amount of, energy to do so. Suffice to say I came through the mile in about 4:12 with a first lap around 65-point.

Once I’d connected with the leaders with just over 1000 to go, I thought I’d have a chance to settle in and relax–I hadn’t run super fast in practice, and I hadn’t run a fast flat race yet this spring, so 63.s were absolutely flying for ya boy, and at a mile, I was no doubt feeling the hurt. Unfortunately, the guy right ahead of me had just decided that was his chance to sprint up to the front of the lead pack, and I was left dragging a couple guys along behind a big old gap.

With about 900 meters to go, one of said guys I’d dragged a bit–Mason Ferlic– decided to pass me, at which point my pride as a steeplechaser (I’d say he’s the heir apparent in the event, once all the current vets get old) kicked in and I latched on to him. Ray would later say, “I knew when Ferlic went by you, if you had anything left you’d go with him,” and if you go to about 5:40 in the video, you can even watch me look to my right and make the decision to roll.

The rest of the race is pretty straightforward. I sat on Mason and Aaron Nelson for a lap, took the last lap myself, ran down one or two guys from the lead pack, didn’t get passed by anyone (including a hard-charging Ryan Mahalsky who I just held off at the line), and I think I managed to close in a 30, if I remember the clock at 2800 correctly.

At this point, I’m optimistic for the rest of my season. I’m very happy with my result, and I think I could have run a few seconds faster in different circumstances. Considering I started with a 9:04 steeplechase, I’ve come a long way just over the course of this season. I’ll be fitter and sharper in three weeks, so I’m optimistic for what USAs will hold.

And of course, I’m proud of my fourth consecutive sub-8 3k in non-championship races. Some of them have played out differently than others, but if one thing’s certain, you can count on me putting up a solid effort in the flat 3k. For any doubters, I’d like to refer you to Russell Westbrook’s immortal words after a loss to the Celtics two years ago: 

Don’t get it twisted. I do this.