I feel likely a crazy veteran of XC having started running XC when I was ten (1988) and running at about ten Junior Olympic XC Championships before high school. I had the privilege to run Division I at Navy and do some gnarly courses around the mid-Atlantic and then as an All-Marine runner do five National Championships, a couple club championships with the Tidewater Striders Teams, and one World Military XC  in Tunisia.  I am a realistic competitor- I got half way through high school and got realistic about my future in running. I never stopped dreaming of competing at the highest level, but my level of hard work could never push my level of talent to the true elites. I just set more realistic goals of what I wanted to get out of sport. I raced hard and had a fun time doing it all.

With all that XC and for that matter, all my racing, one of the top three hardest races I have done was National XC Championships Boulder 2007! (PBP and Kona 2009 being the other two)

Deena Kastor out there making a winning mess!

In 2007, I had just arrived in Boulder and was still doing reserve (IRR) time for the Marines and was allowed to race for the Marines. I thought I would be ready for the altitude due to my 6 weeks of aclimization- ha! It’s always harder at altitude! (even, now!) The snow had been on the ground for nearly two weeks and the ground was frozen but just as race day approached, a thaw began and it got really pleasant right before and on race day. Sound familiar?  (it is happening, right now!)

?, J-Brown, myself and, Tim Tapply

Picture does not do conditions justice!

Just two humbled runners from VB.

On race day, the 2k looped grass course that was flat as a pancake had six races on it before I got to hear the gun and do my six laps. By then, the warm conditions had taken the damp course to a new level of muck and mire. I went out in what I considered an easy pace…not easy enough… because I blew sky-high. I suffered and granted I was not the only one. I definitely picked off some other lung-seared dudes in my final two laps. I will never forget what felt like running in deep sand and breathing through a straw. It was miserable. My time 43:15 or 5:48 pace and 80th out of 141.

My notes on the race.

My race start is only about 26 hours away and despite being 7 years older and not having the same kind of speed, I tend to think I still got the same heart that I did as a ten year old. I do know I am a smarter athlete- exponentially smarter than 2007. Tomorrow I don’t aspire to be at the top with the true elites, but I do plan on competing. I have some peers in Boulder who might be cherry picking the citizens 4k for both financial and ego reasons- all good, but that is not my way of racing. I have picked out a couple military dudes I know and hope to pass in the closing kilometers. I will look for the small victories like going out easy or smartly, trying to beat many of the masters times through 8k, and having more fun than anyone else! Twelve kilometers of XC at altitude no matter the conditions is pure punishment- can’t wait!


One response to “NATIONAL XC CHAMPS TOMORROW- oh Shi#!”

  1. Todd says:

    Go get em Billy!

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