The Gate River Run 15K was also USA Track & Field’s 15K National Championship. I finished 26th overall in the men’s race with a time of 49:30. It was a tough race and despite feeling sick, I fought hard and gained valuable experience in my first USATF-sanctioned event.
Going into the race my goal was to run under 48 minutes for the 15K. I thought I could hold 16:00 5K pace if everything came together perfectly. I ran my first 5K in 16:05 and was feeling comfortable and in control.
The elite women’s race started 6 minutes before the men and it was fun to see the women go out in one big pack. The men also went out in one big pack and I decided to hold back early on. I didn’t want to press during the first 5K and I was surprised to see that no second pack formed. Running solo off the back of the first pack gave me an opportunity to find my own rhythm and I knew later on there would be people to catch.
I caught a few people during the second 5K and I split 32:30 at the 10K. I still felt relaxed and in control but I saw I was slowing down. I realized I needed to really press on the last 5K if I wanted to get anywhere close to my time goal. I focused on keeping my eyes up and trying to catch the next runner. I lost my stride for a second when I ran over a mini speed bump that I didn’t see in road. I collected myself and tried to push as hard as I could before mile 8 when I knew we would hit the on-ramp to the Hart Bridge. I wanted to hit the bridge with a lot of momentum and I hoped I could make it a swift and fast incline on my way to the downhill last mile.
Hart Bridge definitely rocked me. The incline and the wind slowly wore me down and I lost a lot of momentum. At one point I had to tell myself, “you CANNOT stop and walk on this bridge.” As someone who prides themselves on being a good hill runner, the experience was humbling. Despite my trouble on the uphill I collected myself at the top and finished the race strongly with a 5:06 last mile.
After the race I collected my stuff and did an easy 10-minute cool down in the parking lot of the Jacksonville Jaguar’s stadium. I saw Gwen Jorgensen being interviewed after her race and I rode in the elevator with Marielle Hall back at the race hotel. Other than that it was your pretty typical road race. I met Jim, the elite athlete coordinator, on Sunday morning while riding the elevator back up to my room after doing an easy 40-minute run. Jim was really nice and invited me to come back again next year which I will definitely consider. I left a lot of time out there on the Hart Bridge and I would like to come back for vengeance.
You can view my training for this race here (updated monthly).
Also, you can follow me on Instagram @ohloru and please feel free to send me an email.
Finally, stay tuned for my next project. I am starting a podcast to talk with other competitive runners about their training and performance. Planning to release my first episode later this month.
A brief update on my training and racing, as well as my thoughts about shoe technology and the upcoming 2020 Olympic Team Trials for the Marathon.
I averaged 66 miles/week in December and 72 miles/week in January. In January I increased my long run to 16 miles and did a lot of 20-minute runs in the evening. I found that running twice a day helped keep my legs loose, and the short run in the evening gave me energy and momentum towards my next run in the morning. Learn more about my training history here.
FIRST RACE OF 2020
I raced the Frostbite 5-Miler with a goal of running 5:10 pace and ended up finishing 2nd overall in 26:10 (5:14 pace). I was happy with my performance; the first race of the year is always tough, and it was windy. I decided to wear racing flats instead of the Next% even though I swore them off last year. It worked out well and my calves and feet got a good workout.
My next race will be the Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, FL on March 7th. This race is also the USATF 15K Championship.
I’m glad that Brooks and other companies are releasing competitors to Nike’s Next%. Ohio-native Evan Schwartz recently reviewed the Hyperion Elite and believes it’s the better shoe. I like the World Athletics ruling, and I hope we can return our focus to racing and the athletes competing instead of the shoes.
U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS
I am excited for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials being held in Atlanta on February 29th. 260 men and 511 women qualified for the race that will be used to select 3 male and 3 female athletes to compete for the U.S. during this summer’s Olympic Games. You can see below what it took to qualify – an amazing feat by any male or female distance runner. Learn more about the athletes here.
USA Track & Field Qualification Standards for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta (Feb. 29, 2020)
Marathon (“A” Standard)
Marathon (“B” Standard)
Half Marathon (“B” Standard)
Marathon: September 1, 2017 to January 19, 2020
Half Marathon: September 1, 2018 to January 19, 2020
Stay tuned for more information following my next race, and check out the Sunday Long Run if you’re ever in town – we are building a strong crew and we are getting after it!