Long-time reader, first time blogger. It has become quite common to open up blogs with a joke to ease tension. So without anything overwhelming cliché that will instantly marginalise my readers: I hope you all brought your passports…
Because we’re about to go cross country.
In hindsight I probably should’ve gone with the how much does a polar bear weigh… enough to break the ice. However both are equally appalling displays of humour.
I’ll commence by giving you a bit of background of where I have come from. As a Junior I was able to taste minor success, but like most Victorian boys I was far more concerned with chasing the dream of AFL, so my passion for running waned. The older I grew the more I seemed to enjoy my running. Although a series of setbacks sidelined me for close to two years, my determination and thirst for results never left me. Patience was the key to staying in the sport when I very nearly left it. I was disgruntled by my lack of impact in age categorised races and patchy training.
So what changed?
My real return to running after a long absence was following my completion of VCE exams. After putting academia first for so long I decided it was time to commit to running and give it a real go. I began to ramp up training, and quickly inklings of improvement were shown. I was fortunate enough to earn my first Australian singlet, when I qualified for the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Poland. The race was not my best efforts due to a chest infection that hampered my lead in, despite this I felt as though I gained a lot of experience and my confidence grew. From Worlds I went back to racing for Old Haileybury . I thoroughly enjoy the clubs atmosphere and was able to earn some success representing them in the Victorian Road 10km Championships. However as university demands began to grow and the rigors of law school began to cause me to make compromises I was not yet ready to make I decided it was time for a change. After discussing the option of racing in the USA with a number of colleges, it came down to finding the place that would let me balance my education and running endeavours. I had been talking to a number of colleges and hadn’t been too fazed by it, but eventually I decided it was the best option. After much deliberation I chose to take up a place at Lamar University a college in South East Texas about an hour from Houston. A friend of mine Matt Johnsen had already established himself as an elite runner there and I figured if I could have half the progression he has had I would be well satisfied.
As I write this blog I am coming to the end of my first cross country season for Lamar. So what have I learnt? So far I have been able to consistently put a whole season worth of training together of 65-70 mile weeks, which was a big step up from the 40mile I was doing in Australia. Consistency is key to long term success and that’s no real secret. My first experiences of racing in America were humbling; I knew I could give so much more than what I was putting down. I needed to learn how to run in races were there was literally over 100 guys who could go out there and in the politest possible way show me how much I bloody needed to improve. Every race I learnt more and more and I can already see chunks of time dropping from my pbs as I move into a much more concerted training regime. By times alone I have improved significantly over longer distance since coming out and that gives me confidence I have made the right decision in coming to the States and Lamar. I am optimistic for the future and will look to take my chances come indoor track season to lower my pbs further.
Next blog I will be writing about major influences on my career and the sport in general.
Until next time I wish you all health and happiness on the trails and beyond.