It was a hot day in Columbus for the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship. It was 88 degrees with a 5 mph breeze. At the conclusion of the D2 events, I made my way onto the track to do a few laps to warm up my legs. I felt good and smooth going into the day, but I imagined it would be a tough double, racing the 1600m and 3200m.
I began to warm up my with my usual 1.5 miles and I came back to do stretches, drills and strides in the shade along the outskirts of the track. I tried to isolate myself from 'the hype' within the stadium and remain focused. I definitely had to have my mind right to take on such a loaded 1600m field. I then entered the track where I received my numbers and shortly after that, the field was escorted 100m away from the start line to walk up the track. My adrenaline was pumping hard, but I was very prepared and confident in myself.
We stepped up to the line and the gun went off. I got out well in this race, as I wasn't challenged for position in my lane. I was in lane 8 so I had no problem cutting in and leading the race from the start. I was 28 seconds through 200m and I felt smooth. Coming through 400m, the field was at 59 seconds, right where I wanted to be. I ended up creating a little gap over the next few laps, something that I was used to with the 1600m at the Indoor State Championship. It's the way I like to run and it's usually a fairly productive strategy. The next lap was at 2:04, for a 1:03 lap. Still a very relaxed split for the second lap (something that I'll be practicing). I knew the field was gaining on me already, so the third lap was about maintaining a solid pace but not compromising my kick. I ended up running another 1:03 and I felt pretty good as the bell sounded for the last lap. I heard someone yell on the track that the field was moving up quickly on me. Concerned but not swayed, I continued on picking up the pace myself. With 150m to go, I saw Arjun Jha on my side, making a pass. Arjun has arguably one of the best kicks in the state, so seeing him go around me was not a shock; however, I never doubted my abilities to pass him back. To the roar of the crowd, I passed Arjun back with 50m to go and came through the line strong for the win.
Dustin Horter held off a strong field of runners to claim the D1 1600m race win.
I was thankful that the race went well, but I was planning on doing the double so there was no time to celebrate. I received my medal on the podium and I hustled back to camp where I began to warm up for the 3200m. I was dehydrated after my race and I wasn't feeling too great. Rather than risk my health and compete not feeling 100%, I decided to scratch the 3200m and begin my preparation for Brooks PR. I was glad to see that the 3200m race went well for all who ran it! I am thankful to God for the win in the 1600m and thankful to my family, friends and the East Hawks community for all of the support that they have given me. It has been a truly blessed year! Thank you to Milesplit Ohio for the opportunity to share my thoughts with the running community. It has been fun! One more track race for 2017 - it should be an awesome experience at Brooks PR on Saturday, June 17!