By Will Geiken
There is a running joke amongst a few of the SLO-based Aggies that started on the drive up to SF for the Stowe Lake 5k earlier this spring. After we left late for the race, the ever-optimistic Sean Davidson spent much of the ride repeatedly and loudly stating, "we're not gonna make it." Being the nervous individual that I can be, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as he did. However, repetition can make any number of things funny, and by the end of the ride I was smiling with each pessimistic utterance. Even as we stood on the starting line, Sean, the sunshine-rainbow that he is, turned to me, grinned, and whispered, "we're not gonna make it."
Since that race, the much-repeated phrase has become a theme for the season as a whole. When we entered our times for Nationals, and waited for days to find out if they were going to fill the fields, "we're not gonna make it" took on a whole new meaning. Thankfully, we were wrong in that case as well.
And because some jokes never die, when we left for the Freedom Fest 5k in Morgan Hill, we left late and showed up only to be greeted by a runner’s nightmare: horrendously long lines at the bathrooms. Sean, Mark, and Carlos resigned themselves to waiting while Kevin and I jogged off to get in something resembling a warm up before the gun went off. At the starting line, I had about two-thirds of the running and drills I’d normally get in done, whereas Sean only had about one-sixth. Knowing that he and I were likely to lead the race, I took advantage of my slightly warmer legs, as well as a desire to find some redemption for my race at Nationals, and got out hard. The strategy, which also happens to be essentially the only way I've won a PA race to date, worked out again. After about a mile, I had a gap on the field, and from there I worked on driving forward and keeping the pressure on all the way through the finish.
On the team side of things, Sean, Scott, Bryan, Mark, Carlos, and Kevin cemented another solid win for the Aggies. After some celebratory breakfast burritos, we set out to enjoy the holiday in classic Aggie style. Happy Summer everyone!
This race also marks the end of the 2018 PA Short Course circuit, and due to high levels of participation, I ended up coming out on top. My focus for the spring was making some improvements on the track, so using the short course as a way to get in harder efforts without burning out chasing PR's ended up being doubly beneficial. I've already given a blanket thank you to my family, friends, and teammates for their support this track season, so I’ll throw in some Academy-style name dropping.
Thanks to Bonnie Broderick and Stacy Geiken for hosting the Aggies before many of the Bay Area races this spring. Thanks to Joe Rubio for naming dozens of 1980 Olympians while we run dozens of laps around the Poly track. Thanks to Phil Reid for coming out of track retirement and showing us how to run the 5k. Thanks to Sean Davidson for coming back from injury to show me what mental fortitude really looks like. Thanks to Wes Geiken for putting me up after Mt. SAC and sharing that sushi with me. Thanks to Sara Geiken for countless Gatorades and that ever-important lacrosse ball. Thanks to HOKA for providing us with new shoes to train and race in. Thanks to Mando and Socorro for being the world's most accommodating landlords. Thanks to everyone else whose name I didn't drop as well. It's only because I think this has stopped being entertaining and is running a bit long.