Preface by Jeff Arnold
As some of you may know I screwed up in preparing the story of the Rock Canyon Half Marathon in several ways. I named the second place finisher in the womens 60-64 division, Andrea Hatch, as the winner, who was actually Sally Kennett. I missed Richard Kennett, also of Salida, as the winner of the 70 and over division. Worst of all I made several errors about Adam Rich. I decided that his story deserved a much fuller treatment. Luckily he wrote it himself in response to some email questions I sent him. This is it.
My Story So Far
I actually did not run in high school until my senior year. I ran by myself starting in the 6th grade. I would get in trouble with my parents, and my mom would tell me to go take the dog and run until I was no longer angry. After some time, I just took the dog and ran. I did this for 5 to 6 years. In that time period, I had no interest in running for a team of any sort, and was more interested in playing basketball. I finally ran for Wasson High School starting in 1998. I ended up being the number one runner on that team and had a best 5k cross country time of 16:50. Keep in mind that before this time period I never ran a single race. I also ran track, running 4:43 for the mile, and 2:00 for the 800. You can say that I left a lot on the table by not running more in high school, but I believe running all four years would have taken the joy away from my running.
After track, I was recruited by Western State in the spring of 1999. Coach Vandenbusche went out on a limb in trying to get me to run for his team. I feel that at that time, I was not ready at all to run at the college level. I had only run half a year of cross country, and half a year of track. Western State had Aish and many other top notch runners back then, and I most likely would have not been successful. I actually quit running in the summer of 1999. I decided that I liked to play basketball more and gave running up. I think I ran one road race from 1999-2001, and took something like 6th or 7th. That was my only road racing experience.
Fast forward to 2002. I was working at Best Buy in the Springs, and had become good friends with another local runner you may know, Andy Rinne. Rinne decided to challenge me to train for the Boulder Bolder, and at first I didn’t want to run. With some convincing, I started training on a regular basis. After the Boulder Bolder, we got hooked on road races. In 2002, I think we ran something like 30 races, traveling all over the state to run.
From 2002-2005, I basically just racked up miles and raced almost every weekend. I give a lot of credit to Andy Rinne, David Minter, Lyle and Dee Budden, Gary and Linda Staines, Justin Chaston, John ONeill, Cody Hill, my wife and very supportive parents as well as many other important people in our running community that helped me out along the way. Cody Hill and my wife Leslie were the vital links in my decision to finally attend college and run. Cody, like many other people, thought that I had already attended college. I think many local college coaches also believed this, so they had no idea who I was, or what I was doing. Cody was the one who suggested calling Coach Vandenbusche. I finally contacted both Coach Vandenbusche and also Coach Martin at Adams State. I love both schools, and would have gone to either one. At the same time of looking at schools, I was in the process of getting ready to get married. My wife has been supportive of my running, and even moved to Gunnison so I could go to school and run. We got married, went to Avon, CO for a week, and moved right when we got back.
Western State was a good school, and also was a great place to run. The team was excellent, and had so many different people that could make the top seven. The season was not too bad. I went in with the mindset of just making the top 10, and had no real idea I would end up running on the top seven. By conference, I was the 5th runner on the team, and with my performance at Conference was named freshman of the year for the RMAC, and was also named to the All-RMAC Team for finishing in the top 10 at conference. At Regionals, I finished 12th, and was named to the North-Central All Region team. As many people already know, the team went on to win the national championship, and had 6 All Americans on the team. I was one of them.
Track was pretty good as well. I hit the provisional qualifying time in the 10k for outdoors at the Adams State meet. I also ran a much faster time at the Outdoor Conference meet, running 32:08 at 7808 feet in elevation in Gunnison which is equal to a 30:11 at sea level. The 5k was not as good (15:45) but helped the team score some points. With the 32:08, I qualified for nationals in Emporia Kansas. I ran ok, finishing 13th overall, (31:40) but faltered in the hot and humid conditions.
Western State was great to me, and I have no bad feelings about going there. The reason for the transfer to Univ of CO – Colo Springs (UCCS) was to make both myself and my wife happy. Gunnison is a hard place to live. The cold temps in the winter are downright depressing. The travel back and fourth to Colorado Springs was extremely bad in the winter. My wife gave up her teaching job at Coronado, and I felt that letting her get back to the Springs and continue her teaching was the most important thing I could do. I think we both were also ready to buy a house and settle down, which we did in April.
My wife and I have known each other since kindergarten, so we are very close. She is very supportive of my running. The marriage really hasn’t changed my running. We are expecting our first child next July, so we will see what happens.
I think overall, the transition from road racing to college went very well. I exceeded all of my expectations, and ran very well. I still love road racing though.
I think next year is really up in the air. I have no idea what is going to happen. I have 3 full years of eligibility left. Goal wise, I would like to run under 30:00 for the 10,000, and under 14:30 for the 5000. I have run 14:41 on the roads, so I think it is definitely possible. Because I cannot compete for the team, I will be running a lot of road races starting in January. I will also be a teacher after college. I am pursuing a physical education degree, and will also be looking to coach a cross country team.
For the young runners out there, I would say just enjoy the ability to run. We live in a great state, and have so many top notch races all the time. Running has to be enjoyable. The day it becomes a chore is the day you stop doing it. If you have the chance to run in high school, by all means do it. I sometimes look back and wonder what if. To all the runners out there, have fun racing, and enjoy the holiday season.