We ran a time trial on the opening XC course for this year. This is my first cross race since 2004, and the difference between road or track racing surprised me. In high school I used to lump racing of any kind into all the same category, but cross is completely different. Imagine that.
The course record is 10:01, set by a kid who went on to run 9:10 for 3200m that spring. The 2nd fastest time was 10:36, run by another kid who ran a 4:14 1600m later that spring. So the course is fairly slow, running through deep grass, sand, uneven ground, sharp turns, and a couple of hills.
We got out fairly fast, a pack of 5 or 6. I had hoped to do my job of pushing them, but they got out fast enough that I found myself in 3rd or 4th through the first quarter, 73 seconds. I continued to sit there, letting them push the pace through about 3/4 mile, passing 1/2 in 2:28. Approaching the mile, guys started falling off one by one till just me and Anthony were left. Anthony is only a sophomore, and he's going to be an incredible runner. I mean, he has super-star potential, it just remains to be seen just how much talent he has. He ran a 4:23, 9:31 1600m/3200m double as a freshman. Yeah.
Anyway, I sat behind him, trying to pull up even with him, but he worked hard to keep me just a step or two behind. We went through the mile in 4:58, then slowed in the 3rd half, running through the majority of sand and sharp turns here. 1.5 was reached in 7:45 and I was still a step behind. At this point, I made a move to pull even, but he moved at just the same time and I remained 2 steps behind.
Shortly after, I pulled even and continued to push the pace, but he matched me stride for stride. He cut me off around a corner, and I fell behind 2 steps again. Excellent move on his part, and I never regained the ground. We dashed up the final hill, and the steep downhill slingshot us into the final stretch. I came down the hill with awesome momentum, almost pulled even, but he began to kick hard. I maintained my momentum and sprinted but could not gain ground, and remained 2 steps behind through the finish. 10:09 to 10:10.
The next 5 were not far behind. This team is going to be really good this season, things are coming together well. Anthony is the strong #1 now, but there are 3 others who can push him, and the top 5 scorers should be a fairly tight pack.
I was happy with my run, considering my current mileage, but was surprised to be beat by Anthony. It's good to train with these guys, they're good enough to push me to some faster times.