USATF Club Cross Country Championships

Slept in ’till 8:30am and then headed out for to get some food at the grocery store since the free breakfast at the hotel consisted of pastries and sugar cereal (inadequate race day fuel.)

Went to the course around 11:30 am just as the Masters Men’s race began.  Cheered for our RRB team and chatted with other friends floating around including two BYU alumni friends, Rena Chesser and Emily Raymond (AKA Mars).  Mars was easy to spot with her sweet nubby hairstyle just as she has always done for Cross Country races.  Rena also stood out as I noticed her BYU jacket.  It was nice to see them and catch up on each other’s lives.

Walking around with my RRB girls, we said hi to the McMillan girls and a few others and then headed out for our warm up.  Sara S., Sara V., and Renee were content with 20 minutes but Colleen and I (marathon legs) needed a few more.  The highly wooded terrain negated the need for porta potties on our warm-up.  About 15 minutes before the start, Coach D gave us our bibs and chips, we changed into our spikes and got bib checked at the starting line.  Four or five strides and some good stretching, and I was READY.  The gun went off right on time and the race went out fast.

I kept myself within the top 8-12 women (perfect view of the front).  Renee was right up in front either setting the pace or just staying equal with another woman.

I knew before the race began that Renee and Desiree Davilla would be the most likely contenders for the win and I wanted to be right in that mix.  I wasn’t sure if I had the fitness to hang on with them the entire way and I had no idea what kind of pace they’d run but I had the drive to take the risk.  I was pretty zoned in and didn’t actually get any of my splits on my watch but after asking Renee afterwards what her splits were, I can guess pretty closely what my own splits were.  My first mile was about 5:25 with Renee and five or six others in front of me.  There was a short, steep uphill followed by a short, steep downhill after the first mile where I felt pretty strong on the way up and out of control on the way down, but at least it helped break up the pack a little.

The pack slowly started to dwindle and by mile two it was down to Renee, Desi, some NY runners, and Me.

Second mile was about 5:20.  I was feeling smooth and strong and felt confident I could keep that pace for another 1.72 miles.  I don’t remember much about the middle part of the race other than just keeping contact with Renee and Desi and staying confident.  At one point just before mile 3, Desi threw in a surge and almost ditched Renee and me.  In a desperate attempt to help Renee and myself avoid being left in the dust I said “Good job Renee, lets go” and we both lifted our our eyes and stay glued together.   Renee responded to Desi’s every move and I fastened my seatbelt.  Mile 3 was 5:17 and Desi threw in another surge shortly after which felt like we were doing sub 5:00 pace for a bit.  Renee and I stayed on her heels and didn’t let her get away.  The second time up the steep hill was where my wheels started to fall off.  Renee and Desi surged up the hill and gained a few strides on me.  I charged back down the hill and almost caught Desi at the bottom but Renee charged even harder and already had a good 5 strides on both of us by the time we got to the bottom of the hill.  400 meters to go and I gave it everything I had but Renee and Desi had more.  Renee pulled out 3 seconds ahead of Desi who got 2 seconds on me.

We finished and patted each other on the back for a race well fought.  Wow what a rush!!  Those short races are such a super intense shot of adrenaline and the next thing you know, its over.  Twenty minutes just FLIES by.  As soon as I could stand up straight again I walked back to watch for the purple uni’s (Sara S., Colleen, and Sara V.)  I realized right away that the hordes of women coming in meant a much more deep and competitive field than we anticipated.  With favorable conditions and many elite teams coming out for the race it turned out to be a very fast and fun event!  When all was said and done we ended up fourth place as a team just behind some very respectable women (McMillan, Boulder Running Company, and Hanson’s-Brooks.)

Here is some pics of my teamies:

Renee capturing the WIN

Sara Slatt’s game face is ON

Colleen concentrating down the hill


I REALLY enjoyed the race and was very pleased with the outcome.  I got to chat with my BYU buds, Mars and Rena some more on our cool down and then my teammates were kind enough to take my stuff back to the hotel so I could run the two miles from the course to the hotel and complete my day at 12 miles (does that count as a long run, Coach?)

We got Sara S. to the airport just in the nick-o-time to make her flight back to Denver and Renee, Sara V. and I turned in the rental car and hung out in the airport for a few hours together before our flight finally took off.  No shower after the race but at least I had some clean clothes to change into.   Some fun conversation and yummy food made for a nice evening despite having to wait an extra hour for our delayed plane.


Friday, Aaron came down with some food poisoning and was flat on his back when I called him that night.  Over the phone, I walked Abe through getting Aaron a water bottle of EFS electrolyte drink and some cola syrup.  I also asked Abe to help Bre brush her teeth and tuck her in (Ali had already tucked herself in earlier).  Saturday morning Aaron was feeling well enough to take the kids to the “breakfast with Santa” event at the Church but felt tired afterwards so he put a movie on for the kids so he could sleep some more.  After using the restroom and then going back to his movie, Abe started hearing a dripping sound from the ceiling and went in to tell Aaron that something was wrong.  Aaron awoke to an overflowing upstairs toilet with gallons of water seeping into the girls room, down the hall, and through the ceiling into the basement.  He quickly threw towels on the pooling water in the upstairs and sopped up the additional swimming pool in the basement hall and furnace room.  Then he went out for a run since the babysitter was all arranged anyway and he called one of his contractors to come clean up the mess.  By the time I got home Saturday night at 11pm the house was completely cleaned up (other than three or four loads of towels going through the laundry).  Another testament to Aaron’s amazingness!!  Thanks, hon for taking such good care of the kids (and letting them take care of you) and for getting the house back in good order before I returned!

Thank you, Michael Scott and my teammate Laura Bruess for the pics!!


  1. Anna Hughes

    Nan – you are amazing. I love reading up on your races. You are such an inspiration to me and one fast mama!

  2. Julia Rocque

    Great job Nan! It is amazing to me how much speed you have been able to maintain, even with all your distance. Amazing! I think I recognize Sarah Slatt from Southwest in high school, but I can’t remember her maiden name. And I love your “back at the ranch” recaps. It seems like if things can they wrong, they will. 🙂

  3. Haha, thanks Julia. Sara Slattery is formerly Sara Gorton. Yes, we raced her together actually on our 4X800 relay team (Go Team Utah!) I think she had already won the 3200M earlier that day.

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