Friday, September 9, 2011

USA 20k Championships Reflection

On September 5th, I returned to the USA 20k Championships in New Haven, Connecticut.  In 2009, I learned a valuable lesson: never toe the line at a US Championship race unless you are healthy, fit, and ready to compete.  The goal going into the race in 2011 was a top ten finish.  My final place...9th in a time of 1:11.05.  Photos by (Chris Nickinson and John Nepolitan).

Post-race interview courtesy of RunnerSpace:

Mid-warm up.
After being in east coast for two weeks leading up to the race I figured I'd be ready for the humidity.  However, the weather gods had other plans.  According to locals, these were the worst conditions in several years.  Nevertheless, we all had to cope.  I knew it was a rough day when I passed one top woman walking along the water leading up to 7 miles and then yet another very consistent performer a couple minutes later.

Brett Gotcher, 2009 Champion, mid-stride.
Brett finished a solid 5th.
Top men hammering it out.
It has become apparent that Flagstaff, Az is the place to train.  Three of the top ten men and two of the top ten women train in Flagstaff.  But wait, it gets even better!  Both the men's and women's winners prepared for this race in Flagstaff.  I present your 2011 champions: Abdi Abdiraham and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom.

Abdi, aka Black Cactus, with a dominating win.

Each year at the elite meeting, a family member of the late Ryan Shay (2004 Champion) gives a heartfelt talk in remembrance.  This year, Abdi spoke on his most prominent memories of Ryan and their friendship.  

Janet takes the win.  Janet is often seen at our
weekly Bagel Run in Flagstaff.

Although I am not entirely happy with my race, I am encouraged that I am "back in the saddle."  After many airport delays and the worst travel nightmare, our crew finally made it back to Flagstaff to get recovered from our Labor Day festivities.  I am now ready to hit a few short weeks of marathon specific training to prepare for Twin Cities Marathon in early October.  I have high goals to achieve and unfinished business to take care of!

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