Terry Reaches for Win at Reach for a Star

Terry Reaches for Win at Reach for a Star

By Darius Terry

I was able to start off Memorial Day with a 5k alongside some fellow Aggies at the Reach for a Star 5k. The race quickly separated into a pack of 7 through the first mile, with 5 of those being Aggies, and we split around 4:40 for that mile so it was an honest pace.

A State Street Mile Sprint

A State Street Mile Sprint

The State Street Mile felt more like a sprint than a mid-distance event. Aided by a total 104m of downhill, the Women’s Elite Race went out in 61/62 through 400m putting us on pace to break the course record of 4:22. Shortly after the half mile mark I found myself separating from the pack with a lead group of four.

Three for Three for Terry

Three for Three for Terry

It was quite a three week stretch for me. I started off with a 5k at the Bryan Clay Invitational, in which I broke the 14 minute barrier for the first time since 2011. Afterwards, my confidence was as high as it had ever been and I was able to follow it up with a couple of great performances on the roads for the Aggies.

A Slightly Bigger Fish in a Familiar Pond

A Slightly Bigger Fish in a Familiar Pond

The last time that I raced the Great Race was in 2007, when I was in the eighth grade. At that time I was still relatively new to running and managed to come away highly satisfied with an age-group win. It was nice being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

4 Races x 2000 Driving Miles x Newborn

4 Races x 2000 Driving Miles x Newborn

Before having our first baby, Ethan, on March 13, I decided that committing to a series of PA races would be the best way to guarantee that my fitness survived the big life changes to come. I would be dragging my fiancé Amanda along, because she’d be on maternity leave. I knew I would be sleep deprived, but I’d have a sense of urgency about my training and I would race myself into shape doing Stow Lake 5k, the Los Gatos Great Race 4 Miler, and the Danville Mile. Then the HOKA ONE ONE Project Carbon X was added and the agenda turned to 4 races in 3 weeks for my new family. Somehow it seemed to work, but it wasn’t easy. 

I Have Cancer Again. I’ve Never Been More Grateful to Belong to the Running Community

I Have Cancer Again. I’ve Never Been More Grateful to Belong to the Running Community

Looking back, I realize now I was feeling more fatigued than usual in the fall. But at the time, it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. Life is always pretty busy. I’m the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, about three hours north of Los Angeles. I’m about to turn 59, married, and a dad to 12-year-old triplets. Although it’s been 31 years since the best race of my life—the 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials, which I won—I still like to run, at least 30 minutes a day when I’m healthy. So sure, a little fatigue comes with the territory.

Hinkle at USATF Indoors

Hinkle at USATF Indoors

[ Photo credit: Joseph Hale @jkh_photo ]

By Jenna Hinkle

Since I got a late start to my cross country season, I decided not to take a long break after USATF National Club Cross Country Championships. Instead, I took a short two days off before fully throwing myself into training for the indoor track season. My winter training was mentally one of the hardest training cycles I have had to date. I was used to taking the holiday season to relax and decompress from running. Instead, this year I found myself setting out on a solo 16 mile long run tempo the day of Christmas Eve. However, I was able to stay true to my training throughout December and January with the singular goal in mind of qualifying for the USATF Indoor Championships.

I kicked off my indoor season at the UW Opener in Seattle, Washington with the 3000m. Being the first indoor race of my career, I was excited both to test my fitness and find out what all the indoor hype was about. Let me tell you, the "indoor cough" is a real thing. I opened up with a 9 second PR, bringing my time down from a 9:24 to 9:15, and securing my spot in the 2 mile at the USATF Indoor Championships. This gave me the flexibility to hop in to other events, thus my next race I signed up for a 5k. I PR'd by just over half a second, a good indicator for my overall fitness this early in the year.

Before heading to the USATF Indoor Championships I got to stop by the HOKA ONE ONE headquarters and receive a "care package" full of HOKA gear, including a new uniform for the meet. I cannot thank HOKA enough for all the support they provide us, as I left their headquarters feeling even more excited for the national championships! I then began a smooth travel day to New York, ending with my arrival at the hotel in Staten Island. The next morning, I woke up and decided to make my way into the city for my shake out run. I caught the Staten Island Ferry, which passes closely by the Statue of Liberty, before jumping on the subway to Central Park. I spent the next 40 minutes running through Central Park while taking in all the sights it had to offer. One the things I enjoy the most about being a runner is the opportunity the sport has given me to travel and explore new places. Running through Central Park, I reflected about how grateful I was to both the Aggies Running Club and HOKA ONE ONE for the opportunity to go on this trip and pursue my passion.

Race day seemed to come quickly as I was soon catching an Uber to the Ocean Breeze Athletic facility. While my trip to New York was a solo one, I did not feel alone, as I received so much support from my HOKA Aggie teammates back home. I was also introduced to other runners affiliated with HOKA, reminding me of the community that comes with running. I took this support into the race as I found myself positioned right where I wanted to be in the lead pack. I passed through the mile in the PR pace of 4:56, feeling smooth and confident. Unfortunately, on the back stretch of my next lap my heel was clipped and I found myself sprawled out on the track. Having never fallen during a race before my initial reaction was shock, followed by a wave of disappointment as the lead pack had already opened up a large gap. However, determined not to drop out I picked myself up and finished the race.

While my race did not go as planned, the USATF Indoor Championships were still a great learning experience for me. I learned what it feels like to race on a big stage, and being surrounded by the best runners in the country reignited my passion to compete at the highest level. It is safe to say my experience this past weekend has sent me into the outdoor season with a heightened focus and lofty goals. Time to fly!

USATF Indoor Championships Results

Back up after a trip down to the track surface, heel-clipped… [ Photo credit: Joseph Hale @jkh_photo ]

Back up after a trip down to the track surface, heel-clipped… [ Photo credit: Joseph Hale @jkh_photo ]

Dix Dishes It On Club Nats 2018

Dix Dishes It On Club Nats 2018

By Roger Dix

Understandably, a number of Aggies who remembered the last time the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships were held in Spokane may have been reticent to make the trip this time. Memories of race time temps in the teens and a vicious 40 mph cross wind might have been a little much to overcome. As I tracked the daily temps for Spokane in the preceding weeks and days it was certainly comforting to see daytime highs in the mid 30s and lows barely dropping to the 20s, with little wind or precipitation. It was cold running weather for a California guy but nothing outrageous.

I think that most California runners who make the annual pilgrimage to Club XC Nationals in December are very used to the fact that almost every other spot in the US is much colder than we are used to. We understand that while 50 degrees is cool in California, 50 degrees for Club XC Nationals would feel amazingly warm. With what I have seen California XC runners expose themselves to in December, I feel that it takes a special toughness to run XC no matter where the individual comes from.

Several top local area runners were on my flight from Sacramento to Spokane, including Aggie teammates Peanut Harms and Tom Cushman. With all of the good runner conversation it felt like the shortest two hour flight I had ever been on. As we got off the plane I could feel a distinct wintery chill, but in actuality it was highly tolerable. That night we received our room and roommate assignments, amd went out for dinner followed by a team meeting. The next morning after breakfast we all received our HOKA ONE ONE swag (thanks HOKA!) that made us the best looking team at Club Nats. In the early afternoon we had our course preview. It was a great looking course and no snow!

One difference between this year and years past was the pre-meet dinner. Instead of going to a restaurant where we would invariably be out for a couple hours, we had dinner catered to a convention room in our hotel. Dinner was fabulous, and there was plenty of food for runners who needed to feed their high-metabolism appetites with seconds and thirds. It was very relaxing and a good team bonding exercise, during which everyone introduced themselves.

I was really proud of the way everyone ran their heart out on Saturday. It was great to see a team-complete for the men's super seniors and women's seniors. We had some outstanding performances, including an age group championship for Patti Gray Bellan in the women's 55-59 age group; Jaime Halpern finishing 9th place in the Masters while just two years shy of being a senior; and our open men's and women's teams finishing 5th and 7th against the best runners in the country.

As to my own race, I felt like I competed and ran hard on the 6.46 mile course. There were a lot of tough runners in the field but I could hold my head high knowing I raced hard. I must say thank you to the wonderful Aggie cheering section. Whenever I heard my teammates along the course, I tried to give them something to cheer about by summoning the strength to move up a place or two.

It was a wonderful experience and I hope to see more of my Aggie brothers and sisters toe the line next year at Club Nationals. Huge kudos to HOKA ONE ONE for all the support, and to Kevin and Noreen Searls for their tireless and relentless dedication to making sure all the runners are well taken care of as set about competing.

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Reid on 2018 Club Nats

Reid on 2018 Club Nats

By Phillip Reid

My 12th year at the USATF Club XC Nationals ranks among one of my best overall experiences. The travel day was smooth. The bulk of the Open Men’s team departed from SLO Airport, stopping at SFO before finally landing in Spokane, Washington. We had assembled a solid group this year with several new faces mixed in with some seasoned vets. Upon arrival in Spokane, we were greeted with temps in the low 20 degrees (F) range and plenty of salt on the roads--something foreign to us California kids. We jumped in the rental cars and drove to the hotel where we crashed for the night.

The next day, my roommate Will Geiken and I went to breakfast where we found many of our fellow teammates. After breakfast, we were surprised with a full spread of brand new HOKA ONE ONE gear being distributed in the lobby! Huge shout out to Joe Rubio, Kevin Searls, and HOKA ONE ONE for making this happen.

Following gear acquisition, the team went to Plante's Ferry Park, site of the race and located about 20 minutes away from our hotel. The course profile was grass loops over rolling hills with some tight turns and a couple of long straightaways. I've always liked these kinds of courses, with some challenging features to even the playing field without being too technical. Completing my strides and drills near the start line, I had a flashback to the 2012 edition of Club Nats in Lexignton, KY. At that race, my good friend Brandon Shirk uttered, "I'm going out HARD," seconds prior to the gun. He wasn't joking and he accelerated 30 meters ahead of the entire field taking me and many others with him in an all-out first 800m uphill and into the wind. Lesson learned.

We returned to the hotel after our team practice and hung out until dinner, which was held in our very own hotel ballroom. As with any Aggie affair, you must introduce yourself, listing your name, team (e.g., open/masters) high school, and college. Dinner was delicious and the company was even better.

Race day started with a standard routine of light breakfast, gear organization, and a hip hop mega mix. With temps in the mid-30s, no precipitation, and only a light wind, conditions seemed favorable. I was feeling good as we progressed through our warm up. We reported to the start line along with 450 other competitors, elbows pressed together and trying to get a couple extra inches of space.

The gun went off and I maneuvered into the top 50 during the first lap. There were plenty of Aggies on the course cheering and offering encouragement which helped out a lot. I started feeling pretty good in the middle laps and moved up steadily. I found my way in no man's land in the latter stages of the race but kept trying to pass as many people as I could. In the final 200 meters, I summoned every last bit of speed left in my old body to out-lean Luke Puskedra right at the finish line. I finished 28th overall, leading the team to a 7th place finish.

On the surface, this may have seemed like just another Club Nats experience. However, fostering connections with my new teammates and strengthening my friendships with people I've known for years made this one of the best trips yet. Big thanks to HOKA ONE ONE for the support, and for the tireless efforts of Kevin and Noreen Searls!

Club Nats Results

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