King Ches gets his 3rd crown.
Now for Cheserek, man what a stud. First we need to talk about just how hard it is to win an NCAA cross championship. You can't hide out there, you have everyone from the half mile, steeple to the 10km gunning for those top spots. Cheserek is just so much better then everyone else. Even last year watching Soratos throw a 53.8 second 400m split in the indoor mile final and he just took it and blew his doors off in the last 200. Is he better then Lawi Lalang was? I would say 100% yes he is. He didn't really go after any fast times last year as it was all about winning tittles and gaining points for Oregon but just think about this for a moment. His teammate last year Eric Jenkins who turned pro and went over to Europe for an outdoor season ran 13:07 for 5000m. And he was getting eaten alive all day long by Ches last year so I would guess he was in 3:33 1500m shape and 12:58-13:00 5000m shape last outdoor season which is crazy for a college athlete.
The only problem he may run into as he moves on from university is that he is still a Kenyan citizen. And even though his times are out of this world in the NCAA and he would make any US world/olympic team he won't have it easy making a Kenyan senior team. They have a stable of guys with 12:50 ability and most of them have 3:30-3:33 1500m speed as well so I guess we will just have to see how much he continues to improve before we start talking about his future as a professional, but regardless it's a bright one.
One of the best stories I've read about Cheserek was an interview Parker Stinson gave, he talked about going into his Sr. year at Oregon and training his ass off all summer. Cheserek showed up as a freshman that fall for cross country and he took him out for a run on Pre's trail. He said Cheserek was "fat" and not in shape so he pushed the pace a bit just to see what the kid had, he talked about running 4:40 pace at the end of the long run trying to drop him and then with two miles left Cheserek just blows the doors off him and gets back a minute ahead of Parker. He said "at that minute I knew I didn't like this kid, but man was he a talent". Obviously they became friends and ran well together as a team for Oregon that year.
Some predictions/thoughts on XC natties
I like Luc Bruchet to take things on the men's side, but this is possibly the deepest field ever assembled for the national title and there are 20 or so strait killers who will be in the mix.
I like Reid for a top 3 finish, the guy is just so strong, he might not have the change of pace over the last kilometer but that guy isn't going to get dropped by anyone. It's great to see him jumping into the race.
Look for big performances from Wilkie and White, the boys didn't get a chance to display their fitness at CIS and here they aren't running with any pressure, it's just get out there, have some fun ending off the season and race hard. They will both be in the lead pack for most of the race, if one of them has a good day then they could crack the top 5-10.
Without Inglish running can any of the CIS girls stick with the likes of Lanni and Natasha in an 8km? I would say probably not as they split 8km's in races faster then anyone else in the field is running them, they probably split 5km's as fast as the closest person's 5000m PB.
I'd say they are the two favorites going in but this is cross country, If anyone is going to challenge it's going to be Sasha Gollish, she's been putting in some big work lately on the aerobic side of things. Also what I said about Lanni and Natasha over 5km/8km I can switch around about Sasha over the 800-1500m. I doubt either Lanni or Natasha can break 60 seconds in an open 400, they aren't really very fast but they are strong as hell. They haven't got that pace change either. So if Sasha can hang on and be even within striking distance with 1km to go she's going to close the show and light everyone up. Dark horse is going to be Rachel Hannah, she's super strong coming off a solid 1:12 half at Scotiabank and is the defending champ so don't underestimate her either.
Special shout out
My week in training
10 miles easy on the treamill (I was traveling on Monday) - AM
10 miles easy again on the treadmill - PM
Workout - 4 mile tempo on the treamill at 12.5mph or 4:48/mile on a 1% grade followed by 6X800m on the indoor track with a 200m pace change somewhere in every 800m interval. The goal was to run 35 second 200m splits nice and comfortable but drop a 30 second 200 in there somewhere on each interval. I took 2 minute recoveries as these ended up being pretty fast between 2:14-2:17. Anyway it was a great workout none the less. 4 miles of tempo and 3 miles of intervals.
14 miles with workout - AM
6 miles easy - PM
10 miles easy - AM
10 miles easy with Dan and Alex + strides - PM
Workout - It was a really nasty day out so I was forced onto the indoor track again for this one. It was 3 X (4X400m) with 1 minute rest between reps and a 2 minute jog between sets. I did this with my buddy Jason. He would lead one and I'd take the next one throughout the workout. On the intervals he led we ran 66's and then I'd run 62's for my leading reps. It felt great and was more about running fast and smooth. I didn't get after any at the end or anything as I felt there was no need with a race this close.
12 miles with workout - AM
8 miles easy - PM
12 miles easy + strides - AM
7 miles easy - PM
16 miles easy with Lodgy - AM
OFF - PM
Workout - 3X2miles on the outdoor track with a 400m jog recovery. I wanted to run 73's and feel nice and controlled. I got the best day possible with literally no wind, that's rare at this track as it's located at one of the highest points in town. Anyway all 3 two mile reps were within 2 seconds of each other and right around 9:40 so it was good knowing I nailed my last big one before nationals and the confidence is high.
12 miles with workout - AM
6 miles easy - PM
That's all for this week folks, training went great, I'm tapering into the race and feeling good. I fully realize I'm making my XC nationals debut at a race with possibly the most depth we've ever had but I'm going to get out there and rip as best I can and have some fun in the process. I can't wait to see all you fine folks there. 100% chance of good times being had by all.
Thanks for reading and keep those sticks on the ice,