by Dathan Ritzenhein | Jan 28, 2013 |
The other night I made the commitment to race the USA Cross Country Championships! I am so excited to get back out on the turf and race. It has been nearly four months since I ran 2:07:47 in the Chicago Marathon, and this will be a great first race back.
2012 was a long year. I started racing in January and didn’t miss a beat until October, so my body and mind needed the break to recover and then get back into shape. Training has gone well and I can’t think of a better opportunity to get back into racing and start 2013 where I left off last fall. Cross country has always been a passion of mine so getting back onto the mud and grass was an easy choice. I don’t know what it is about cross country but it just feels natural. Some runners hate it, but I have always felt comfortable and that is one reason I always come back every couple years to the USA Cross Country Championships. I hope this year I will have a great opportunity to try and add a fourth title to my name and I look forward to the challenge from the young blood in the race as well as those who I have raced against for the last 15 years.
Cross country is racing in its purest form and it always brings me back to the pure love of competition. I don’t look at the clock and check my splits or worry about the weather. You get out there and just go, trying to push it to the max. I have had some battle royals with great runners as well as some total blow outs and that excitement is something I love. The strategy in cross country is so much more than on the track or road. On the track you just try not to get dropped and kick at the end. One the road you can focus on time and splits. But in cross country things can change all the time, and you need to know your body and be ready mentally prepared to run on your own. It doesn’t matter if you have dropped everyone or you are being dropped, you have to be able to push yourself.
After my good break and build up back to fitness I feel refreshed, fit and ready to start the year off with a bang. I know the challenges that are always right around the corner so I am going to enjoy this one!