It’s good to be back in Ann Arbor! We’ve been home for a little over a week now, and although the freezing cold temperatures have been a hard adjustment, we are enjoying our short time here before we hop on a plane for seven weeks in New Zealand. In addition to Nick and myself, this year we’ll be accompanied by four of Nick’s training partners: Lee Emanuel, Brandon Bethke, Will Jurkowski, and Will Leer. The guys plan get in some warm weather training as well as race at a few different meets Down Under. I’m looking forward to the warm weather too, but I’m a little more excited to see family! It feels like it’s been forever since we were there last. I’m looking forward to numerous cups of tea and many fun evenings in the Willis house.
It looks like Nick’s off to a good start for his indoor/Down Under racing season. He ran a 3.58.92 mile yesterday at the college meet on the Michigan Indoor Track. I don’t think he was planning on running that fast, but things just seemed to click when he was out there on the track. I think having family and lots of friends screaming at him from the bleachers helped a little bit too. Once the crowd realized he was on track to run sub-four, they started getting loud. He confessed later that he was thinking of just coasting it in for the last 400 meters, but when he realized the crowd was hoping for a sub-four-minute mile, he gave it a little something extra to ensure he got it. He was close to getting the record for the fastest time ever run on that track—it was 3.58.07—but he missed it by .8 of a second or so. At this time of year, with the heavy training that he and his training partners are doing, races tend to be a hit or miss. Nick was fortunate that things clicked for him Saturday.
In addition to Nick’s race yesterday, we also spent the evening celebrating at Ron Warhurst’s retirement party. Ron is Nick’s coach but he recently retired from his position as head cross country coach at The University of Michigan. It was a great night filled with countless stories about Ron in his 37 years coaching at Michigan. He’s impacted so many lives and it was great to see just how much respect and admiration that his athletes have for him as a coach but also as a man. There’s a reason he’s coached so many athletes to international and Olympic success. Although this was a retirement party for Ron, he’s still busy coaching professional and semi-professional athletes but has just retired from college coaching.
In two weeks we’ll head out to Boston for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix (formerly the Reebok Boston Indoor Games) on February 5th which will be Nick’s first professional race this season. The race is usually televised and if I find out the time and date (sometimes it is aired the next day) I’ll post it as soon as I can. After Boston we’ll fly directly to Sydney, Australia for a few days and then from there on to New Zealand.
I realized that I never posted my final picture of my arms when we left Albuquerque. These were taken our last day there (I promise!) and I think I can finally see some improvement! I’m now addicted to lifting weights so I’m going to continue doing it. Maybe I’ll occasionally post a picture if it’s exceptionally impressive. My number of pushups improved from two to 56 over my five week lifting regime so I was quite happy with that. I’m glad I stuck with it.