by Dathan Ritzenhein | Aug 14, 2012 |
It has been way too long since I wrote a blog! The Olympic Trials hit and I have been on the fly ever since. From Eugene I went back to Park City for a week, to Michigan for five days, onto London for the Crystal Palace meet, down to Font Romeu France for three weeks and onto London. After such a crazy summer, it is nice to settle down in Michigan for a couple weeks before heading back out to Park City for a last block of altitude training before the Chicago Marathon.
I suppose the most logical place to start is with the emotional and amazing high of just making my third Olympic team back in June. Going into that race I had the added pressure of needing to achieve the Olympic A standard, as well as getting in the top three. I was confident going in, but of course I didn’t think I would be running in a monsoon. I have never raced in rain as intense as the trials 10k. Still, I had to put that out of my mind and grind out the pace from the front. The relief of crossing the finish line accomplishing both hurdles was incredible!
With only six weeks before the Olympics I had no time to soak in the Trials excitement, we had to get right back into it. I trained hard and after dropping the family off in Michigan I headed to Europe. Three weeks later I ran my final prep race, a 5000m at the London Crystal Palace meet. It was tough coming off of hard training and jet lag but even though the pace wasn’t fast I felt good about getting that last effort in before the Olympics.
The following day I hopped a plane and joined the rest of my Oregon Project group for three final weeks in Font Romeu, France putting the last finishing touches on my training. I had a blast there and was able to run the best speed workouts I have ever done. I felt prepared for almost anything coming into London.
I had so much energy and pop in my stride in the days leading up to the race. When the gun went off, I have to say I felt ready for any scenario, but I didn’t anticipate the first mile and a half to be so slow. It was a little discouraging because I knew the best thing for me was to have a fast pace from the start. Finally, at 6 laps into the race the pace took off. We ran the next 19 laps at 27:00 pace. The hardest part was the constant surging and pace change. Sadly, I fell victim to one of those surges wth about seven laps to go. I lost contact like I wasn’t even paying attention. I was behind an athlete that didn’t go with a surge and all of the sudden I realized I was gapped by 10 meters. I moved around him, but at that point in the race it was hard to close the gap when it was going fast and I had lost a few seconds. I spent the next six laps trying to claw my way back up. I reconnected with the pack then the real kicking took off. Unfortunately, I spent all my energy trying to close that gap and didn’t have much left when the fast last lap came. I definitely showed my time away from racing the big championships on the track.
Moving on, I was disappointed with my racing tactics, but I am happy to be healthy and ready to keep the great training going into the Chicago Marathon. A year ago I thought I might be done running, so being back and training better than ever is such a blessing.