The US 20k Championships were held on Labor Day in New Haven, CT. Matt Tegenkamp (1:00:10) and Meghan Peyton (1:09:57) were the big winners on the day. As is becoming the norm, Tim Ritchie and Katie DiCamillo each put up another top ten finish. It’s hard to not expect to see their names near the top of the results now, which shows just how good they’ve become.
We sent off some questions to Tim for a quick follow up Q&A:
Now that you are a seasoned pro at these bigger races, has the approach changed?
Every race always has similarities and differences, for the local 5k, the national championship and everything in between. I always just do what my Coach tells me. I always look to improve on something in my arsenal each race, learn something new and gain valuable racing experience. In that, each approach is different – a varied race plan, a new goal, etc. But every race for me is also consistently the best way to do what I love to do – run hard. There lies the similarities with each approach.
I go into them all grateful to have made it to the start line, hungry to leave my best on the course and blessed to be a runner. The more I run these bigger races the more I get to know my competitors, the level of competition, how to handle travel and how to not panic on a national caliber race. I still would not call myself a seasoned pro yet though… not without a W.
What was your first mile split? How about the last two miles? Along those lines, did the race go according to plan?
First mile at the 20k was around 444 and the last two averaged around 505 a piece. Those splits look like night and day, but were pretty much on par with the race plan. This race always goes out hard and last year for me was too hard. [Note: Last year Tim ran a faster time (1:01:47) but only finished in 14th place.] The race plan this time around was to sit in the back as the leaders pulled away (happened around 2.5-3 miles in) and wait to go and get them later. The humidity was very high, so there was some expected carnage. I sat in a pack around 15-20th through 10k and then began to inch up to the guys falling back. The whole race was pretty slow for everyone. I was just trying to be less slow over the last 10k. The goal was to sneak into the top 10 and I was 8th, so the patient plan paid off this time.
What do you think you can improve on for the next one?
The goal of top 10 was set because I had been having a very busy few weeks of work/life with a lot of travel and less sleep/consistency etc. Coach was well aware of this and when I told him I also had to work the Sunday before the race and wouldn’t get down to New Haven until 8pm he said half seriously, “…top 20.” He knows I like to race aggressively and that I would not be fresh enough to carry that aggression for 20k. I think for the next one, I would not chance much for the race itself. I just need to get back on schedule now that the school year has begun – with running, working, eating, sleeping, etc. I know my fitness is around here somewhere, I just gotta dig it out from underneath the haze I have been in.
What is the next race for you?
Next race for me is the CVS 5k in Providence RI on 9/22. I’ve run this race a few years now and always get my butt kicked. This year I want to be in the hunt, cover moves and be with the leaders for the final 400m.
Do you think you’ll be going to XC Nationals again?
As of now (spoiler alert!) I have no plans to race XC Nationals. Captain Harvey can be very convincing though. I know the BAA Unicorns have a stellar team this year and could see the podium again. It would be fun to help them get there.
Will Captain Harvey be ready for XC Nationals himself? Brian’s running the Via of Lehigh Valley Marathon this weekend (and not defending his WMDP XC Festival race crown). No pressure, Brian.
We also sent some questions to Katie DiCamillo and she got right back to us with some insight on her race:
Each race has been so different, so my approach has changed depending on the course and the weather. Going into the 20k, I knew the splits were going to be a bit slower than normal due to the humidity. I think it was almost 100% at the start! I was breathing fairly heavy on my warm up, so I knew I had to be very relaxed and conservative for this first few miles.
This first mile went out in about 5:20. In the first 10k of the race, we ran 5:30 to 5:35 pretty consistently. The race went according to plan for the most part. My main goal was to see where Im at in my traing for the NYC marathon.
I like what you did here, Tim. Make everyone think you aren’t running XC Club Nats and then we’ll catch everyone off guard when you show up at the last minute. Good stuff.