Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 USATF Cross Country Championship/Armed Forces Championships

I had an awesome time at the USA XC Championships in St Louis Missouri this weekend.  The Air Force team came away with wins for both the women and men's team (4th year in a row for both the men and women) at the Armed Forces Championships!

Great Bib #

 After a rough last two months dealing with 2 colds, a stomach virus, a DNF at Bandera, moving and my head wound, this last weekend was truly a significant turning point.  I ran 40:35 for 12K (7.5 miles) for an average pace of 5:25 per mile.  The weather was cold, low 20s, and windy.  The course was relatively flat with somewhere around 75 feet of climbing per 2K loop.  The footing was a bit rough with frozen dirt, mud and grass with patches of sloppy mud and grass.

My goals for the race were to run as well or better than last year, be the AF's 5th runner (out of 8), and run sub 5:30 pace.  More specifically on splits, I wanted to run sub 17 for 5K, sub 34 for 10K and speed up the last 2k.  I ended up running 6th of 8 on our best team performance ever, 34 seconds behind our 5th guy (a 3:40 1500 meter runner).  I ran 5:25 pace and came through the 5K in 16:52, the 10K at 33:56 and sped up the last 2K.  I ran almost the same time as last year's San Diego race, on a more challenging course.  So overall, I was very satisfied with my performance and exceeding nearly all my goals.  Brian Dumm, 2010 JFK winner and AF teammate, ran a great race coming in at 39:35 as well!  Watch for Brian this year as he plans on running more ultras… 
Men's 1st Place AF Team

From the gun through the finish, I felt unbelievably "good".  After a full year of ultra-trail specific training and racing combined with now being 33 years old (there was only one guy who was as old as me who placed higher... the next place up), I feared running sub 6 pace at a cross country 12k "sprint" might be a painful and potentially bad experience. 

I ran an even paced race, stayed under control and never felt like I was in danger of slowing or hitting the wall.  After the race I was a bit concerned I might have been too conservative, but after thinking about if for a day or two, I think I came pretty close to running my max... I just had a well planned and executed run.  After 6 years of doing this race, despite the race being out of my focus areas, I guess I figured it out a bit. 

Air Force Men's and Women's 1st Place Teams

Winning the Armed Forces Championship is awesome, but I am also very encouraged to see that I have a good base of speed endurance and strength.  I will now focusing on hill climbing and long endurance (I've been really looking forward to this transition) in preparation for the Chuckanut 50K and the Leona Divide 50 Mile, which are "faster" trail ultras that will hopefully complement my current fitness.  

Lastly, almost more valuable that the actual race itself, was hanging out with my AF running friends and teammates.  There is something to be said about being part of a team that gets together a couple times a year to race.  We had a very fun night celebrating and dancing after the race in St Louis. 


  1. Congrats! Sounds like a great time.

  2. Was looking at the results the day after the race and saw how well you did! Congrats man.

  3. Ugh, I can't imagine running that speed. Nice job!

  4. Thanks guys for the congrats. I had not run under 6 pace for more than a mile or so since last year, so I was scared, but I guess you do maintain some speed running trail ultras!

  5. Good to see the old man still keeping the wheels moving. I missed the AF crew this year...spent the day in finance instead :) Nice work!

  6. You were missed Levi. Look forward to seeing you this summer.

  7. Nice job Jason! I remember those days of I approach 50 years of age this year and after having cancer, I'm blessed to be able to even run a step. Its great seeing you guys succeed! Maybe one day I'll get a chance to train with some of you guys...of course, I wouldn't want to slow y'all down! Again, congrats and stay strong!
    God Bless,
    Mike Sanders

  8. Thank Mike!~ Keep running and I hope to see you out running soon.

  9. It sounds like the two worse weeks but at least you are ready to get back to run.

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