Update from the USA, Brian Flanagan: Sorry it’s been a while, here’s an update on my indoor season. The year got off to a bad start. While our for a Sunday long run on New Years on a Texas backroad One morning I rolled my foot and inflicted some ligiment damage and put me in the pool cross training for three weeks.
January was pretty painful getting back into shape but I managed to post an 8:40:93 for 3000m two weeks ago in Birmingham AL.
The Southland Conference championships began this last Tuesday and Wednesday, again in the CrossPlex – a multi million dollar facility in Birmingham Alabama – a whopping 9hr bus journey.
I was entered in the 5000m and the 3000m. On Tuesday morning I toed the line for my third ever indoor race. It was a blood bath. The first mile was extremely messy having gotten shoved spiked and tripped multiple times, but then again that’s to be expected when you put 33 very competitive men on a compact 200m banked indoor track in a championship race. I finished 10th in 15:12:19 (PR). Far from what I was capable of I left the facility feeling down. An agonizing 4 seconds off scoring.
Back at the hotel that afternoon I did two lots of homework. I analyzed every aspect of the race from the live stream. Figured out what I did wrong, made a new plan and began the recovery process for the 3000m the next day. I then spend the next 5hrs doing statistics homework and an economics paper – this is the part of NCAA competition that nobody ever sees or hears about.
The next day I was placed in heat 2 of 3. Only having one race under my belt previously meant I couldn’t get into the fastest heat. However I was told by coach that didn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t score. They delegate the scoring points a out to the fastest runners in all heats. Meaning if I ran fast enough, I could still put points on the board for the team. I was going for it. The race went out reasonably fast for a championship race – 2:47 first km. But I stuck to my plan and held back. At the one mile make I was in second last and began to make my move. Every lap up until the the final 600m I took on of two men out. With 3 laps to go I hit the front, no one had the energy to respond and I finished 1st in the heat in 8:37:83 (PB) and 7th overall in the Conference meaning mission accomplished. In the next heat (the faster one) most of the athletes ran slower and I got the points. A small victory, but I’ve always been one to celebrate the small victories.
So that brings a conclusion to my freshman eligibility in the NCAA. I ticked a major box on my collegiate bucket list. Scoring at every conference (XC, indoors and outdoors) as a freshman. Now, with the best of our squad at home having only outdoor seasons left, we head into outdoor season with a very realistic chance on winning the outdoor conference in May. Now it’s fine for me to prepare to do the same outdoors and put as many points on the board outdoors too. As I type this email, we are driving over the Mississippi through the night to arrive back to campus at about 3am, only to wake up to sit an exam at 10am – again another thing people never see when they think about NCAA competition.
Until next time all the best,