UCSB Men’s XC 2005

UCSB Men’s XC ’05 – Micah’s journal

Micah Tyhurst

The weeks since Pre-Nats have gone by in a flash, our disheartening performance left us hungry for some more action, though we had to wait, 3 weeks to be exact. The training went well, everyone looked good going into the Big West Championships. The weeks prior I had been running a little harder in the workouts than most, mostly because I thought I had something to make up, but it may have just hindered my performance, though I am not making excuses.

The Big West Championships had arrived, and we were ready for them, ready to take on anyone. The day before we drove down, ran a 5 mile easy run of the course, getting to know every part of it, and strides from the starting line. Everyone still feeling good, we were laughing and enjoying our time. Olive Garden for dinner at 6pm, followed by team meetings, and sleep around 10pm, we had to wake up at 5am. I got what was probably a cumulative 30min or sleep that night, not because of nerves or anything like that, just being uncomfortable. Mike Powers and I got screwed and had to sleep with each other…not the most fun thing, needless to say, I was a bit tired in the morning. Despite a bad night of sleep, I was not letting it get to me, and kept a positive attitude, this was my second race all year, and most peoples 4th.

The warm up went well, my legs felt bad, which is a good sign on race day for some odd reason…we were called to the line, everyone feeling good and ready. Strides before the start, and then BANG, the gun goes off, and so do we. Up the first hill that is about 90m from the start UCR and CSU Fullerton have their guys leading, which lasted until about 400m. Long Beach took over after that, keeping it for a mile. As we passed rows and rows of orange trees, little thoughts crossed my mind, the only things in my head was, stay in the top 10. The mile was covered in 4:45, and I was there, two miles in 9:30, perfectly even, still in the top 10. My third mile was far from impressive; I had fallen back to 5min pace for that one, and let a few people get a head of me that shouldn’t have. I tried to catch them, the last hill of soft dirt and covered by trees was my last surge to catch a Cal Poly runner. By then I didn’t have much left, and could not catch him. I was in 12th for the last 2 miles and didn’t change a bit. The more exciting part of the race was up in the front, where I should have been. Chris Ashley decided to make a push with 800m to go and take down 5 people in front of him and put 11 seconds on the field to win the race, and be named Big West Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Alex Cardiasmenos found himself in 2nd with 80m to go, only to be passed by a few people, and Mike Chavez finished in 5th. The top 10 runners consisted of 6 SLO, 3 UCSB and one LBSU. Our 9 runners finished 1,5,7,12,13,14,16,22.24. SLO had beaten us by 14 points 24-38. We put up a good fight, but I felt like my performance let people down.

Less than a week until Western Regionals at the Stanford Golf Course. This Saturday we will be running our top 7, which as of today has yet to be determined. We are all very much looking forward to going back to Stanford for another race, this time it is a 10k, not the usual 8k that we race all year long, so it will be even more fun, and painful. For more information check out UCSB Track/XC

Stanford Invite and the joys of being human
Stanford Invitational, which took place on Saturday September 24th, was a good day for Gaucho Cross Country. Our race went out well with our pack all running together, 12 of us, through two miles, we kind of took our coaches words a little too literally. After two miles our pack split the top guys, Chris Ashley, Mike Chavez and Scott McConville all broke away, followed closely by Scott Brandos, Alex Cardiasmenos, Tim Aukshunas and Art Avitia. I was tucked behind Art. My goal for this race, because I am coming back form a calf/hamstring “injury” (I don’t like that word at all), was to run a hard race while staying conservative. With the race plan in my head I went for it. We all had horrible positioning for the first two miles, our pack was back in the 70s placing wise. When the front guys broke off I knew not to go with them, I stayed back and let it all happen. I moved up to the top 50 by mile 4, then something happened. In the last 1000m I must have hyper-extended my calf because it hurt like nothing else has ever hurt on me before, I decided to ignore it, I lost a few spots because of it and I fell back to one of the freshmen on my team, Waleed Totari, and he says to me, “You can’t let me beat you.” I couldn’t find any argument against it, and I picked it up, with two blisters forming on my toes and the pain in my calf I pushed hard with 800m to go. Boy did that hurt. I finished with a 51 second PR on the course and in 47th place. Not really what I was expecting, but a decent first Cross Country race in almost 2 years. Coach Dolan said it was a “good” race; I regard his opinion highly and must agree with him. Our team Placed 3rd over-all which has not been done since 2001 when that team went to the NCAA Championships and placed 17th. So after the race my calf hurt so badly, that a warm down was definitely not happening for me. I got ice, and hoped beyond anything that my leg would not hurt in the morning..

I ran the next day, it is supposed to be our long run, in pain, all 28 minutes of my run. Monday it felt better I just went for a run, Tuesday just another run, both days I only ran 8 miles. Wednesday came and it was a workout. I got half way through and could not fight through the pain any longer.

For the previous 6 years I had run through anything, and never gotten injured or had to take a day off for any reason. I ran through shin splints as a frosh in HS and never had any ailments after that. In my mind there is (was) no pain that I couldn’t run through. Until recently I have been Superhuman, unbreakable, then the knee problem in Colorado, then the calf/hamstring problem a few weeks ago, and just as that is finished and I am feeling unbreakable again, a strained calf, that is the diagnosis.

Thursday through Saturday were in the pool for me, with several trips to the training room, and today (Sunday) I ran for 30 min with limited pain, virtually none, just the fact that I knew it was there was bothering me really. Tomorrow will be another pool day, with the training room, and then Tuesday I look to make my return. Unfortunately this is probably going to hurt my chances on a trip to Pre-Nats with the top 7 because they will want to take the fastest guys at the time, and right now that is not looking like me. Right now I only want what is best for the team, that is the sacrifice of Cross Country and Team sports. What’s best for the team right now seems to be racing fast and me getting 100% healthy, that is it. More updates to come, I apologize for the tardiness and Oct. 15th in Terra Haute, Indiana is the next meet, Pre-Nats.

The First Two Weeks of Cross Country 2005

The summer in Colorado has paid off so far. In our home opening meet on September 3rd our Men’s team took on Cal Poly SLO. Many outstanding performances happened on that date. We raced our top returner, Chris Ashley, unattached and I didn’t race, so we were down already two scorers. Despite this, we still put up a strong fight against a Nationally Ranked team. Mike Chavez and Chris Ashley lead a strong 1-2 punch against SLO finishing 1st and 2nd respectively. As well, they both broke the course record of 24:35 running 24:29, Chavez, and 24:32, Ashley. Alex Cardiasmenos continued his strong cross country running by being the Gaucho’s 2nd scoring man across. The top 5 scoring positions were rounded off by Art Avitia (7th), Scott McConville (9th) and Red-shirt Sophomore Tim Aukshunas (18th). Had Chris Ashley been in uniform we would have won the meet by 10 points, but whats done is done, and we moved on.

On the 10th of September our B team ran at the UC Irvine Invitational. If one saw the times for the 5-mile course they would be blazing! A huge error by the lead bike lead the runners to a course that was at least 1000m short, hence the blazing times. Despite this error the Gaucho’s had more strong performances came by way of Mike Powers, running unattached, and placing in the top 15 over-all, and Justin Coburn placing 11th scoring. Our freshmen got more experience and ran very strong races. The freshmen pack, lead by Waleed Totari (Damien HS, La Verne, CA) placed highly, Totari (13th), Daniel Cuevas (Rialto HS, Rialto, CA) placed 15th and Scott Smith (Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, CA) placed 27th. Our 5th and 6th runners were Stewart Harwell, senior, and our 800m All-American Tetlo Emmen in his first year as a Cross Country runner. Our B team did us proud by taking 3rd to Chico State (usually a top 3 finisher in D.II NCAA) and Long Beach State.

So far we are started off very well, and will be running our A team at Stanford on the 24th of September. That is going to be my first Cross Country race since 2003, I can’t wait! Our team is in really good shape, and looking to turn some heads this year. Keep and eye out for us!


Week three – Boulder

We went out to meet two runners from the area at their place; from there we followed them to a trail, that even if I explained how to get there, you would never find it. They gave us a warning to, “Watch out for ‘Shotgun Willy.'” The man who yells that people are running on his property, luckily we had no run in with him. A great run, flat, for the first time.

The run the next day felt awful, it was extremely hot, and my body could not take it, I only ran 9 miles, instead of 10, I couldn’t take it, I am not looking for a repeat of last years occurrence.The Sunday run at Mags felt amazing, I started off slowly, letting everyone get away, and then crept up on each one as the run went on. Today was what we call “The Deuce,” our two hour run. The last two hour run I had done was almost a year ago, the day of my heatstroke, and as I got towards the front I decided it would be a better idea for me to take it easy and just finish it. We ran the full Magnolia road, from beginning to dead end and back to where we started. It felt amazing to finish the run. I feel like I have truly conquered the sickness that struck me last year.

A few tempos in this week, and I am feeling amazing, I am going to be in the best shape of my career if this keeps up.

Our run on July 13th, which just happens to be my birthday, was a great run. We drove out to a trail around Wonderland Lake, it was fine until we headed up a trail called “Hogsback” which put us on top of a ridge, that few wanted to do, the run was actually a hiking trail, with stairs to get to the top. After climbing 700ft in half a mile we reached the top, the view was well worth the climb, from there one could nearly see out to Denver, 20+ miles away. There are few things that can compare to taking in a great view after pushing hard to get there.

The run today made me feel even better about my shape, I came back faster than I ran out. A great run, iced in the creek with everyone afterwards, and we are all still healthy and running well. Two of our teammates have taken a few days to go out to California to visit family and such. With 6 of us here now, it is a little less crazy, but still crowded. 6 runners, soon to become 12 in the next two weeks, then it will be 9. Last year’s first man Chris Ashley will be coming out with Alumni JT Service, Chris White and Assistant Coach Dave Monico, all due to arrive on Wednesday. The way I see it the more the merrier, more to come later!

Week two – Boulder

So much has happened in the last week it is hard to summarize in to just a few paragraphs. Life has changed a lot. We have all met the local guys, we ran with them this past Sunday, July 3rd. It was great we all went to an amazing trail called Switzerland, we talked at length with the other runners, and really enjoyed a good Sunday run. I had pains in my knee just a few days prior and took 3 days off, it was unexplainable what caused it, but it was there and gone in a matter of a few days, though it cut into my training I will still be ready for the fall, 3 days in July is better then a week or two in September and October. Monday was a nice recovery for most of us, I pushed a little with Mike Chavez we averaged 6:15 for 8 miles, an easy day for us.

Monday being the fourth of July we were not sure what happens around here. Our teammate Justin Coburn knew a former CU runner who is in town living with some other former CU runners, they got in contact and we played two full games of softball the “Cali boys” against the other people, that was a good time, but extremely tiring. We all came back and crashed, and crashed hard. We were informed that there was a BBQ at the house where Justin’s friend is staying, the house belongs to a set of twins, Jorge and Ed Torres, both All-American and Jorge was 2002 NCAA Cross Country Champion for CU as well as alternate for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Living with them is Dathan Ritzenhien, 2004 Olympian in the 10k with a PR of 27:38.5. This was a great BBQ to say the least. For the “Cali boys” this was one day we will never forget. But one must always remember that despite them being great runners, they are also people, and people the same as all of us. It was awkward for some, and easy for others, myself being the latter. We all returned to our condo to view the fireworks coming from Folsom Field, the CU football field, and called it a night for the workout the next morning.

Tuesday was a good day, feeling great Loren Bland and I set out early to do a tempo, it went very well, we both felt great about it, especially because he had only been at altitude for a few days. Tuesday was a good day, resting for most, the remaining teammates of mine ran in the evening and all ran well. We are all still healthy, some sore in places, but the normal place to be sore, we are all getting ready for the road ahead…

Week one – Boulder Colorado

If you have never experienced the drive from California to Colorado, then I suggest doing it some time, the views are incredible. With every state comes a completely different surrounding, the deserts of Nevada, the rolling green hills of southern Utah and the beautifully striated rocks of Grand Junction Colorado, carved out by the Colorado river, to the massive mountain peaks of Vail and Boulder. It truly was an incredible drive. My teammates and I began our journey on the 21st and arrived in Boulder at night on the 22nd, due to stops. At 5300ft Boulder is a veritable Mecca of training for any endurance athlete. I am currently reading Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear, and we have visited several of the trails already that they run on in the book. After the first run we quickly learn that altitude is a little tougher than we thought, but we have adapted in the first week. Life is just what happens between runs around here, and mostly its just boring, filled with boardgames, videogames, reading and movies, our lives are nothing short of exciting every second of the day, but despite the lack of excitement in our lives we still are doing what needs to be done for the season, 6 more weeks to go.

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