It has been years since I have broken down the walls an established personal record. On Wednesday, July 24, I had the opportunity to do just that in a 4x400 relay -- part of the Carolina Godiva Summer Track Series. I have about five or six 400s under my belt, with :58 marking my fastest. Conditions: 1) relay environment; 2) collegiate track; 3) full of adrenaline from the baton in my hand; 4) lane two placement; leading out my team; and 5) the strength of God inside me. I took off from the starting blocks with one goal -- to run as fast as possible for the entire 400m. After a brief questioning of my speed at the 150m mark, I put my head down and maintained. Nearly running through my buddy at the exchange, I managed to leg out a 57 second quarter, chipping a second off my a time that has sat stagnant for 11 years. Next record to address? The mile. Run well...
Overcast, cool, and breezy = perfect conditions for racing, especially on trails! The Philosopher’s Way 7K was a first time event for me and I was extremely excited to race on trails after years of road work. The 20 minute warm-up allowed me to reminisce of my days in Pennsylvania training daily on the AT. There is something organic and inspiring about running single track in close proximity to abundant foliage and hundred year old trees. The trail was in great shape with an occasional wet, muddy spot to keep you honest.
At 8:20 sharp the 7K was gathered and ready for departure. A few hundred meters of wide trail allowed the pack to get out together before quickly forming a line and entering the heart of forest. After the bottleneck, I found myself in the fifth spot of the lead pack of five. Monk was in third and a Fleet Feet Runner, Cole, was in fourth. This formation remained for the first 12-13 minutes of the race. At the first fire road, Monk moved up to second and all others remained the same. Knowing that there has to be another fire road crossing, I remained tight to the pack waiting for an opportunity to move up a spot. As the second crossing neared, Cole and I moved up two positions and Monk took over the lead. At this point, the pack started to split and the fourth and fifth place runners began to fade. 26 minutes in, Cole made his move to first and I tried to follow. I was nipping at his heels until 25 meters from the finish when we both made a wrong turn. Monk, who knew the trail a little better than us, turned towards the finish, but graciously let us fight it out for first and second. I finished a split second off the lead.
What an event! To have such a tight pack and jockeying for position throughout the race on this trail was a phenomenal experience. It was awesome to race with Monk and work together throughout the race. Congrats to Kim for a strong performance in the 7K and Duncan for second place in the 15K!
This has been a busy spring to say the least. Regardless, I have maintained consistent training and currently have three races under my belt: 1) Get Your Rear in Gear 5K, 2) Shamrock Shakedown 5K, and 3) the Duke Invitational 5000m. My goal was to build a solid base with an added layer of speed going into these races, giving myself a solid shot at 15:59. The first 5K was a rolling course and a chilly morning, where I crossed the line in 16:45, giving me a first place finish. The next race was a hometown run, allowing me the opportunity to catch up with my best friend and his lovely wife. Despite calm conditions during our warm-up, snow started falling a few minutes before the start. This was a flat, cold course which resulted in another 16:45 and a first place finish. I had two subpar weeks of training going into the Duke Invitational 5000m and it showed on race day. Mother Nature traded in the cold days for 75 and sunny, which was a slight shock to the system. I was on point for the first 1600m, but faded ever-so-slightly over the final eight laps, crossing the mark in 16:41. The last four weeks I have hit the reset button, and with the encouragement of a good friend and fellow runner signed up for the Philosopher's Way 7k trail race on May 7. More to come...
On January 1st, mostly everyone is reflecting upon their goals and/or resolutions for the year. I developed my top 10 on today's rainy, six miler. Only one of my goals included running, which is the way I feel it should be for all runners, with the exception of those lacing up as a profession. The majority of mine included family, friends, education, faith, and my profession. I'll save those for another blog. The one running goal I have is quite simple in explanation - a 15:59 5K. Breaking the sixteen minute barrier has been an elusive goal over the past couple of years for a variety of factors, but this year I will attempt to put the proper pieces in place. I am officially on week four of my training program, with a plan to peak in late March. Run well, and good luck with your 2013 goals! More to come...
After 18 months of operation, Bull City Coaching has made a slight adjustment to the pricing structure for programs. The traditional sliding scale that ranged from $20 to $100 per package has decreased to $0! That's right, all services are now free of charge! I feel the running talents I was blessed with should be used to help as many people as possible reach their goals. I do not want finances to interfere with people's desires to take their fitness to the next level. Instead, I have listed three charities/organizations that are close to me. Donations would be greatly appreciated, if you feel led to do so! I look forward to even more collaboration over the next 18 months! Run well...
Bryan Brander, Ed.D.
Runner, coach, leader, mentor, consultant, husband, father, believer.