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Well, if you've come to this page, I hope you like to read and have some time. This is a rather lengthy summary of my running career thus far.
BACKGROUND: I grew up a navy brat and lived on both coasts at one time or another. I started running at the age of 14 in 1984. At the time I was a freshman at Orange Park H.S. in Orange Park, FL. Bob Hans, my H.S. coach, kept me at fairly low mileage, between 25 and 30 miles a week. Being undertrained, although it didn't make me a H.S. superstar, did benefit my career down the road. I did show potential in H.S., running 4:27 for the mile, 9:35 for the 2 mile and being named High School All-American for 3 miles
I graduated from H.S. in 1987. When it came time to choose a college, I had been accepted to and considered both Univ. of Florida and Florida State Univ., but finally settled on going out of state to Brevard College in N.C. There, I felt I could make an immediate impact at an excellent 2 year school, and still have the option to go on to another small school or continue on to a Div. I program if I chose. I was very much aware of Brevard's reputation as an excellent running program because I had spent my summers there at the Florida Distance Runner's Camp.
At Brevard College, under Coach Dave Rinker, I continued to develop as a runner and also make the immediate impact I was looking for. As a freshman, I ran fifth man for the cross country team which won the Junior College National Championships, was named All-American, and qualified as an alternate to the World Junior Cross Country team. As a sophomore, I placed sixth at the Cross Country Nationals, again being named All-American and posted a 8:26 3000m. Although I've had some distinction as a steeplechaser lately, my initial attempts at the event were disatrous. My best posting as a sophomore was 9:28. Brevard was very developmental in building my strength. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Majority of my training was done on mountain trails in Pisgah National Forest.
After graduating from Brevard, I made the decision to stay in North Carolina and go to NC State University. I had always planned on going back to the University of Florida, but I had ill feelings about the coach there at the time. At NC State, Rollie Geiger was my coach. My career at State was ok, but nothing spectacular. I never really felt like I had the special relationship with the program that I had had at Brevard. I also had, as many collegiate athletes do, a lack of focus. I, for the most part, simply ran okay, but never ran up to the potential that would later be evident. I managed to run a 14:25 5000m and 3:53 for 1500m my junior year. I also ran a 9:18 3000m S/C in a duel meet, but had pretty much given up on the idea of being a steeplechaser, except at duel meets. The following year, I had a little more success in the fall, making All-Conference in XC. However, the real and only break through at NC State came in the spring of my senior year, almost by surprise. After being sidelined for all of the indoor season with Tendonitis in my foot, I surprised even myself with a 9:01 S/C at a duel meet with UNC. I had been suckered into doing it for points. Now, what I had thought would be a once a year event run for points, was suddenly my specialty. In the next three times I ran the event I continued to progress running times of 9:00, 8:57 (3rd in the ACC) and finally a big PR of 8:49 at a last chance meet. Now all of a sudden I was living up to my potential . For a year after graduating from State, I continued to train under and work with the NC State program as a Graduate Assistant. I dropped my 10,000m time from 31 minutes to 30:27 in January of '92, and then to 29:36 in February of '92. I missed most of the outdoor season in '92 after contracting food poisoning while on the World Ekiden Championships Team in Portuagal. That left me sick and weak for 8 weeks.
In November of '92 I switched coaches. I felt I needed more attention then I was getting and was ready to try something new. Jim Cooper, a former national class steepler (8:19) agreed to take on the job, and almost immediately I begin to see results. The spring of '93 I won a few fairly large road races, and PR'd in every event from 800m to 10 miles. I also ran 8:40 to qualify to compete at the USATF Nationals in the 3000 S/C, and went on to compete on the U.S. Emerging Elite Team in Europe, and in the U.S. Olympic Festival. Prior to '93, I had never qualified for a national championship, including college.
Throughtout my career I've been lucky enough to have been realtively injury free. The problems I have had have been soft tissue inflammation. I've suffered from I.T. Band syndrome, Perineal Tendonitis, Plantar Facitis, and Patellar Tendonitis. All have been cured or managed for the most part by working on flexibility and strength thru weights. The longest I've been out was most recently. For much of '94 I was plagued with Patellar Tendonitis which eventually led to a 3 month layoff from running after USATF Nationals, and 8 months without racing. I was able to start back in Octoper of '94, and in my first race in February of 95, came back to run a 29:30 road 10k to place 2nd in a deep American field.
I now have two coaches. Jim Cooper, and now, Bill Taylor as well. Bill was a notable cross country runner during his career, having been on 3 World Cross Country Teams. He also wasn't to shabby on the track, placing 6th at the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 5000m. He retired after '92 because of nagging achilles problems. I live and train in Charlotte, NC. Although a large percent of my running is on the roads, I am able to do longer runs and intervals on grass as McAlpine Greenway Park. This is the sight of one of the Kinney Regional meets every year, and I'm able to get in the volume I need on 15 miles of well kept gravel and pine trails. Charlotte has a good mix of flat and hilly areas as well. There are now 3 good tracks in Charlotte. The University of NC at Charlotte now has a 4 million dollar facility which is probably one of the best in the south. Two local private schools, Charlotte Country Day School and Charlotte Latin, also have rubber surfaces and have been very supportive of my training there.
Through late '94 and early '95, I was in a slump. I would have decent performances, but wasn't making the improvements I was hoping for. I rarely PR'd. It was only after a bout with a chronic respitory infection, (which was misdiaqnosed, but that's another story) did I come out of this slump. I had basically written off the season, and decided to jump in a last chance meet at UNC-Chapel Hill. I was hoping of just going under 14:20. Much to my surprise, I PR'd by 10 seconds, winning in 14:03. Two weeks later, I decided to go up to Boston, MA for one of the last chance meets. Once again I PR'd, running 13:54. I've come to the realization that I'm not one who needs a lot of really fast stuff to be ready to race. Since I was out of track races, I turned to the roads that summer, and did quite well. That short season catapulted me into the Olympic Trials year in which I dropped my 5000m PR by another 12 seconds to 13:42.6. That's over 30 seconds improvement in just a years time.
In 1997 I had a fairly successful year, winning the Antarctica Marathon in a continental record of 2:23.10. I also ran well on the track, placing 6th at the USATF National Championships in Indianapolis, and also winning several road races in the fall.
Most of 1998, I was recovering from an inbalance in my hips which was manifesting itself as pain in my left knee. I went 4 months without much running, and 7 without racing. I am now back training and pointing toward the 2000 Olympic Trials.