This past week has been an interesting transition in my life. I left my position at a digital marketing company in Boone, NC on Tuesday to pursue my American Dream.
Wednesday I started my day with an easy run with Cassie at Moses Cone. Then, instead of heading to work like I normally do, I attempted to complete a task that I have been working on for sometime now. Selling our Honda CR-V. It has been a money pit and we bought a Nissan Frontier for a great deal, so it is time for the CR-V to go!
Unfortunately, didn’t get the CR-V sold on Wednesday and that task continues into this week, hoping to get that done soon! I fixed a few things on our daily driver, the $300 Saturn (Veronica) I bought from our assistant coach Ryan Warrenburg, and did some weedeating around the house.
Thursday, Tyler and I started the trip down to the Peachtree Road Race in Veronica. I was a little nervous about her making the trip, but she got the job done. We picked up our new teammate and Furman alum, Sinead Haughey, in Greenville, SC and continued on our way to Atlanta.
We got to Atlanta and settled in to the hotel. Sinead and I went for a short shake out run, and then I hit up the AJC Peachtree Hospitality room for some pizza and pasta. Tyler and I talked with Scott Overall, a British Olympic marathoner, and shared some light-hearted Revolutionary War trash talking, with the race being on the 4th of July.
The next day Tyler, Sinead, Pete and I met for our morning run. We finished the run and got rain soaked on our pre-race strides. That night we had a great race dinner at the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton.
Sinead, Tyler and I after pre-race strides.
Race morning we got up really early. We had some breakfast and headed to the elite athlete warm-up area across the street. It was raining a little. We did our warm-up in the typical big road race fashion, loops around a 400-600 meter closed off section of road.
At the start line, I was feeling dog tired! I did some strides in my trainers and felt very heavy and lethargic. I took off the trainers and laced up the racing flats… still DEAD! I have never dropped out of a race once I have toed the line. I have no problem deciding not to race before the race starts if I am injured or feeling dead. Although, I could never bring myself to drop out of a race I have already started, barring the risk of severely injuring myself. There is something about quitting after already setting your mind to something that is like a cancer in my mind. I’ve heard of and seen it become a terrible habit of some runners. I never want to lose that edge. However, I don’t see anything wrong with knowing you are not ready to compete with the best on a given day, and calling it before you have decided to toe the line. I was feeling exhausted after every stride and I was wrestling with the idea of having to tell Pete today was not the day for me to toe the line. However, eventually I told myself that I would get used to the race about midway through if I could just stay with the leaders for the first couple of miles. Because of the rain, I had a feeling it wouldn’t go out that fast and I could hang long enough til I started feeling better. I prayed for strength, safety and courage, and toed the line in front of the biggest road race I’ve been a part of (around 70,000 runners).
Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
To my relief the race went out relatively slow. There was a pack of about 8 of us and by 2.5 miles I was feeling a little better and was finally able to find a rhythm. Pete had me pick out a point to make my move the day before and it was coming up around 3.4 miles. After the first hill our pack dwindled to 4, and my mark (the Chipotle on the corner) was coming up. I hit the Chipotle and took the lead up the second hill. I pressed for as long as I could, but quickly ran out of gas. I lead for about 600-800 meters and then Scott Overall and Ben Payne took over. I was spent after my move and feeling like I had on the strides before the race. However, we were still on the hill and I knew if I could try to latch on the Scott and Ben I might be able to hang. We got to the only turn on the course with about 1,000 meters to go. I was really hurting now and slowing down. It seemed that the downhill we were racing down couldn’t even carry me faster. I made one more push with about 400 to go and that was all I had. I finished 3rd, about 8 seconds back from Scott and Ben who had a photo finish.
I was frustrated with the race, because I thought I could win it and run a lot faster. I did learn a lot during the race though, and was glad that I was able to somewhat salvage a day that could have been a lot worse! Peachtree was my last race of the season and kind of concluded my first year at ZAP. I have learned a lot this past year in running and life. I have improved significantly and have been very blessed! However, I am ready to take the next step in my running career and make the jump from good to one of the best! With this job transition, I am looking forward to taking the important steps to get there! The fire is burning to represent my family, home, ZAPFitness/Reebok, all of our sponsors and donors, and (hopefully in the near future) the United States of America. My passion is higher than ever to use this gift God has given me to glorify Him!
Congrats as well to Sinead, who placed 3rd as well in the open race, and Tyler who had an awesome race getting 2nd in the Peachtree Cup race. Tyler beat some of the best runners in the world on Saturday, and I am looking forward to be training with him for the trials!
Cassie also raced this past weekend and placed second in a competitive 5k in Kernersville, NC. She didn’t have the race she was looking for either, but came away with a nice pay-day and still some amazing fitness in the tank for the rest of her summer of racing! I will try to get her to share some words on here soon… when I can break her away from her busy schedule of working, training and racing! She has the world-famous Crazy-8s 8k next on her schedule.
I am in a transitional rest cycle for the next few weeks, before this fall’s build-up to the Twin Cities Marathon and ultimately the Olympic Trials! Cassie and I will be going to St. Thomas in 10 days! We will try to take lots of pictures to share on the website!
At this point in every year I like to reflect and thank everyone who gives me so much support. Thanks to all my friends, family, teammates, coaches and sponsors. I want to especially thank Cassie for all the support she gives me every day! I also thank God for blessing my birth and life in this amazing nation we like to call AMERICA!
Check out more from Griff on his new website here!