Run with Eric + workout

20 years later

This summer is my 20-year high school reunion.

I went to Redlands High School in Redlands, CA about 65 miles east of Los Angeles. Unlike a certain Andrea Wachner, I actually enjoyed my high school years. I was active, did pretty well in school and had a great group of friends from sports, through my church youth group and from the other activities I participated in. But after high school, my teammates from the track and cross-country team all went our separate ways... off to various colleges around the country. For whatever reason, we didn't do a good job of keeping in touch after high school and many of us lost track of one another over the years.
Recently, via this really cool website called "Facebook" (you may have heard of it, ha ha), many of us have reconnected. And a teammate of mine and I decided that it would be cool if some of the guys from our cross-country team regrouped for our hometown 5K race, The Run Through Redlands. We didn't get everyone to show up, but the pic above is six of us from the 1987 RHS x-country team... five of us ran together in the '88 and '89 seasons as well. Our coach from those years, Dean Olsen, who has since retired, made the trek from Arizona to join us as well.

It wouldn't be a race if we didn't actually... well you know, race. My senior year, I was the number 1 guy on the cross-country team and my good friend, Eric Smith, was #2. We also were captains on the track team... he was a nationally-ranked 800m runner, I was a miler. Not anywhere near his level on the track, though I could take him at the longer distances. But, rest assured, we used to kill ourselves on the track trying to outdo one another in workouts.

We got to doing some trash talking in the weeks leading up the 5K. I've been doing some solid training in preparation for my triathlon season. He's since become a cross-country and track coach himself and put himself on a program to ensure he would show up fit and ready to run. My 5K PR is 17:40 and based on my track workouts lately, I figured I was in shape to go a little faster than that. Eric ran a 17:06 about three weeks prior to the Run Through Redlands... so it was going to be a race. Twenty years later, the competitive juices were still flowing.

Race morning, a group of us met up for some pics and high-fives, then it was off to the start. We lined up next to one another. The gun went off. Eric set the pace initially, I sat on his shoulder. After the first turn at about the 1/2 mile mark, I tried to move in front and set a faster pace... figuring I could nullify his faster leg speed by setting a hard pace early. Mile 1, 5:38... but despite my efforts, he responded easily to my move and once we were into the second mile he began to pull away. 10 meters. 20 meters. 30 meters. 50 meters. The gap was widening and at about 100 meters, I managed to hold the gap steady and match his pace. Mile 2, 5:56. The course took a series of turns before a long mile-long straight on Olive Drive. Once on Olive, I tried to close the gap... but he was too far gone.

A final left turn to the finish... and I crossed the tape in 18:04. 29 seconds slower than my teammate. 18th place overall, and 3rd place in my AG. Eric placed 12th, 2nd in the AG with a 17:35. At least we both made the podium. Our coach was particularly proud to see a couple of his "kids" still placing well.

After the race, the rest of the team finished and all gather for some more pics and chit-chat. It was great to see the old crew and how they all turned out.

Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the reunion.

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20 years later + workout