Niles, MI – November 26, 2015

1st – 33:31

(written on 1-22-21)

This was my first official race as a “solo runner”, after previously being a student-athlete and apart of a team for virtually all of my running life. I was not in school. I had just left Valpo University in the spring after having a toxic relationship end, becoming ineligible, losing my scholarship, and living a very unhealthy, misguided, lazy life, in my opinion (although, I was able to run a “unattached” 4:06 for 1500m at the Crusader Open, while only being able to run about 15mi per week on average). I spent the summer of 2015 getting my mind and body right. I road-biked. And I ran a little more each week.

In the process, I read Born to Run (recommended to me by my father) and fell in love with minimalist running. I was having dreams of running long distances on trails in inspiring places. I had no team or training partners. I was living at my family’s house and had just started working for New Prairie United School Corporation as an “after school” program coordinator. I still had some leg speed in me, somewhat. I had all my running goals ahead of me still. I didn’t know where my life path would lead. However, I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to train hard, compete, and keep improving on all surfaces and distances. I wanted to turn my life around and re-focus my passionate energy on running!

During Fall training, I ran many tempo sessions on the treadmill in the NP weight room. Most were somewhere between 5:25 – 5:35/mi. My mileage wasn’t high, but I was consistent, and also hit some key track workouts. One workout I remember doing around Halloween was called the “2×7”. The goal was to “spike-up” and run seven minutes at my goal 5K pace, take a 5min easy jog for recovery, then run seven more minutes at goal 5K pace. Tough! I performed this session at Olive Elementary track. I ran 4:48/mi for the first segment and then 4:47/mi for the second 7min segment. This was BIG for me. I was pumped.

When race day arrived on Thanksgiving, I don’t remember what my mindset was exactly, but I knew I wanted to win. Niles Thanksgiving Day Run is a historic family-style, fun event that the Arndt and Thompson families have been apart of for many years. However, there usually are a few competitive local runners who show up. So, I wanted to run as fast as I could.

I led from the start, being followed somewhat closely by another runner (Nick Whise, from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI). I never relinquished the lead, but Nick did pull within a few seconds of me around 8 or 9K. I ended up winning by 16sec, running a 33:31 (5:24/mi).

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