February 2, 2013 by Enoch Nadler
Sorry it took me so long to get this done.
Angela and I had a great trip back home. This was the first time since we’ve moved away from Florida that we had both been home together. It was great to be able to spend some quality time with our families and over all it was a great trip. We really appreciated everyone making time for us and letting us stay in their homes. I especially appreciated all the great food everyone made so that I could have a normal week of training to prep for my race. In Tampa I did most of my runs around Davis Island and on Bayshore. Seeing dolphins and feeling the ocean breeze was a nice change from the pounding wind of a Texas winter. Then the second half of our trips was in my home town of Keystone Heights. It was nostalgic training on the same streets where I first started running about 15 years ago.
On Friday evening after a nice dinner with my mom, Angela and I headed over to St. Augustine to pick up my race packet and check into our hotel. We stopped by the race expo and to get my number. They had a list of the elite entries so I took a quick look at the competition. I recognized a few guys on the list. First, I saw Jarrod Shoemaker who has run this race the past few years and has run around 14:35 both times. I knew he was going to be tough to beat since he is an Olympian from 2008 in the Triathlon. He also was on a wheaties box which is pretty cool.http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/regional_editions/globe_west/west/wheaties.jpg Next I saw Emmanual Bor from Kenya, he ran for Alabama so we had raced many times in college. His 5k PR is 13:43 and has also run 4:00 in the mile so he has great speed. Also on the list was Evans Kirwa who recently ran for Embry-Riddle and has run 14:03 on the track. I knew all these guys would be ready to roll so I was excited for a fast race. I decided my race plan would be to sit back the first mile and let somebody else lead. From there I planned to try and surge around 2.3 miles to the finish. After stoping by the hotel we grabbed a quick dinner with a friend from college. It was great to see Justin Taylor and his fiance Ashlyn and here about their upcoming wedding plans. After that we headed up and went to bed to get some rest.
I woke up around seven since the race didn’t start till 9. I did some stretching and then we made the quick 2 min drive to the race. I got in a nice two mile warm up and made sure to check out the last mile of the course. I hadn’t run this race since 2002 so I needed a little refresher. My mom made the drive over to the race so it was great to have her there. We use to go to all my races together so it brought back a lot of great memories for us both. After some more warm up drills and strides I gave Angela a hug and kiss and headed to the line. I saw some friends from my high school days like Tripp Southerland at the line so it felt like old times again. The gun went off and I was happy that Jarrod went right to the front and took the pace out hard. I tucked in right behind him and focused on staying relaxed. To my surprise we hit the mile in 4:28 and I was feeling pretty good considering the fast pace. After the mile Jarrod seemed to back off a bit, Evans and I took over the lead for a bit but we were all pretty close together. With such a fast pace I wasn’t sure if would be able to really pick it up at 2.3 miles and hold on from there. I decided to change my plan and throw in some surges from 1.5-2.5 miles and then try and hold on from that point. At 1.55miles I surged pretty hard around a sharp turn and they both covered it pretty quickly. I settled in behind them and waited till after 2 miles for my next attack. We hit the second mile in 4:44 which was still a solid pace but it had slowed a bit since none of us really wanted to lead and push the pace. After this point I really focused on surging on the next few turns. Jarrod and I started to separate a little from the other guys. He seemed to cover my every move so I wasn’t sure how the last half mile was gonna play out. With about 400 meteres to go we were still neck and neck so I really started to kick it in from that point. Justin was positioned at this point on the course so he gave me some encouragement which helped a lot. I took everything I had to create a little separation and hold on for the win. It wasn’t easy but I was elated to have won the race and to run such a fast time. Angela and my mom were waiting for me at the finish line. They were both so happy for me and it made the moment even more special. I was really surprised that at this point in my training and comeback that I was able to put up such a solid time. It was a 15 second PR on the road and only 2 seconds off my track 5k PR from college. My goal this year for the 5k was to break 14:30 on the road so it was great to get that done on the first try. I got in a nice cool down and then got my award. We grabbed a quick shower and lunch at the beach before heading off to the airport. It was an awesome trip back home and it was great seeing everyone.
I really appreciate all the support Angela and my family has provided and I couldn’t run without them. Also, I really appreciate all of you keeping up with my progress. This was a great start to a new year and I can’t wait to see how far I can push towards my ultimate goal of making the Olympic Trials.