Going into the race, I was really just running for place, but I definitely had 9 minutes in the back head, knowing that Michael Vernau was going to be there.
2) Where you surprised how the race went out during the first lap?
I talked to Michael before the race and he said that he didn’t want to take it from the gun so I wasn’t too surprised that we went out a little bit slow. I knew we could make it up later in the race.
3) Michael Vernau took over pacing duties during the 2nd lap and three runners broke away from the main pack. Did you know who was behind you at that point?
When he took the lead, my goal was just to go with him and I wasn’t too concerned with who was behind me but I did hear that Luis (Grijalva) was right there.
4) As the race progressed, did you think about taking over at any point or did you want to wait until the last lap?
The only time I thought about leading was 200m into the race but after Michael took over, I just sat on him and let him do most of the hard work until the bell lap.
5) Heading into the last lap, you and Vernau were shoulder to shoulder. Did you glance at the clock to see what it would take for a sub 9 final time or were you focused on the victory?
Definitely, I saw we were around 7:55 and that was exactly where I was hoping to be. I looked over and my coach told me to hammer the last 400 and I was very confident sub 9 was within reach.
6) When did you make your move to the lead and at one point did you realize the race was yours?
I took the lead right around 400 meters to go and started to really push it and on the back stretch. I fell off the pace a little bit at that point and Michael caught up so that was when I really started to kick. I glanced back with about 50 meters to go and saw that I had it locked up.
7) Going back to your CA state XC victory over Jack Van Scoter, do you feel a race like that gives you more confidence at the end of races now?
That race definitely boosted my confident, but after what happened at Footlocker West I realized that I couldn’t just rely on my kick.
8) What have been some of the workouts that you have done leading to this race?
I haven’t really gotten into hard of workouts yet. I mostly have been doing longer workouts at slower paces such as 7x1000, rather than a lot of speed work.
9) What is the next big race in the calendar?
My next big race will be the 2 mile at Arcadia.
Thank you very much Cooper! AJC