Congratulations to Souhegan’s Eli Moskowitz for placing 26th in the USA at Foot Locker Nationals this past weekend in San Diego, California. To his credit, Eli perfectly executed his race plan as detailed below. We thank Eli for taking the time to share his experience with all of us. The Granite State is proud of you!
Day 3 – RACE DAY
On Saturday I packed up my racing stuff and headed onto the bus. Like much of this season, I had somehow evaded the pre-race nerves. It was a perfect morning to race, sunny and low 60s. The course had been cleaned up and pretty well dried, so it wasn’t nearly as sloppy as I expected it would be. I watched a pretty exciting girls race, then warmed up with a few northeast guys. They introduced us one by one to the start line- being from the northeast was beneficial here because we went first and were given 10 minutes to do strides while the other regions are being introduced. At the start line, I was optimistic and confident, having a clear and simple strategy: go out in the back and move up.
The race started a bit slower than I expected, so even though
I was in last place for a good half mile, I was only about 15-20 meters back from the leader. The race stayed pretty well packed and I stayed pretty comfortable towards the back through a 4:40-high first mile. The hill at the mile was not too bad, and I began moving up on the downhill. From there, I steadily moved up in the opportunities that I had. The second time on the hill was tough, but I think it hurt the other guys around me as much as it did me. Coming off the downhill I could see a few South Region runners ahead of me, so I went after them over the last 400 meters, and had more left than I thought. I passed the South Region guys and went after one of the Northeast Region guys who I became good friends with, Jake Brophy. He held me off, but I later promised him we’d race again sometime.
At the finish, I was flooded with feelings: burn in my legs and lungs, happiness that I ran a strong race with a good kick, yet somewhat sad that my high school cross country career was over. By the time I recovered and found Coach Wilson in the crowd, I was all smiles. I cooled down a bit and took the bus back to the hotel. Everyone on the bus was much happier and more relaxed. No matter how well everyone raced, all of us were pumped to get back and enjoy our last day in San Diego without worrying about a race. The rest of the day and night was a fun time, hanging out and going to the awards ceremony. After that there was a surprisingly fun dance and a late night highlighted by a freezing late night swim at the beach. Come time for my flight in the morning, I had a solid 1.5 hours of sleep. Worth it.
Overall, Footlocker was an awesome experience and one of the most fun weekends of my life. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who supported me and helped me to get there. Good luck to anyone who is trying to qualify next year, there are definitely a few who can!
Thanks, Eli Moskowitz
Today started off by looking out the window at palm trees flailing in the wind and heavy downpours. We ate breakfast, then drove over to the course. It was quite sloppy with big puddles and slippery top soil. The rain continued on and off throughout the day, so I expect the course to still be pretty sloppy tomorrow despite a warm and sunny forecast. The course itself is basically two loops, and for anyone who’s watched videos of races there, the hill is actually bigger than it looks. I expect the second time around will hurt some people, but I think Derryfield has prepared me well. The steep downhill that comes soon after each run of the uphill is all slippery grass and has a right turn at the bottom. I expect some people might fall there.
After the course run, we came back to the hotel to shower and change into dry clothes. We then went to a theatre to see a pre- screening of McFarland USA which comes out in February and did a Q&A with the main character in the movie: Coach Jim White. The movie was pretty emotional and it was awesome to meet the guy who the film was based on! I definitely recommend it for anyone but especially runners and coaches. We had a few hours to hang out after that before dinner and the introduction ceremony.
At dinner I sat next to Diego Estrada and Abdi Abdirahman (both Olympians). There was time to ask the elites questions, and I learned a little bit about their training, college process, how they get through bad races, and of course one of the west kids asked for their best pickup lines. When that was over, I got Coach Wilson’s Running with the Buffaloes book signed by Adam Goucher and also got Meb’s newest book with his autograph. After a long, full, and awesome day, I went back to my room and put my bib number on my singlet, reminding myself that I have a huge race tomorrow! I can’t wait to get out there and represent New Hampshire tomorrow!
The picture of the panel on stage includes Deena Kastor, Meb, Alan Webb, Molly Huddle, and Kara Goucher (I couldn’t get a very clear picture).
Here is my first day (Thursday) in a nutshell:
I was up dark and early to fly out to San Diego by way of Atlanta. On the flight from Atlanta to San Diego, I sat next to Ryen Frazier, who is the South Region Girls Champion and a favorite to win Nationals. It was cool to meet her and talk some runner’s language with her.
When we landed in San Diego, we took a shuttle to the hotel, which is on Coronado Island. The hotel is incredible and right on the beach. The first thing I did was pick up my gear (Asics trainers, spikes, singlet, socks, jacket, pants, shorts, shirts and a backpack) and go up to my room. I’m rooming with a kid from Oklahoma. The boys of the northeast have quickly started to bond together and it’s a great feeling to have some new friends out here. When we went out for a run, we were joined by Meb and Ryan Hall. It was awesome to see these guys out running with me. I’ve only seen them on tv winning big marathons. After the run, we met up with our northeast friends again, got a little schedule check in and pump up talk by our regional coordinator. The regions are really treated like teams and there is definitely somewhat of a team feel coming together with these guys already.
We ate dinner with our region teams, then went to “design our own shirts.” Since one of the kids from New York, Benito, is dating Mary Cain, we made him a tee- shirt with a big heart saying “Benito+Mary.” After that, a lot of kids started to leave and I saw Alan Webb and Adam Goucher sitting at a table, so I took a quick selfie with Alan and talked to them both for a while. By then I realized how tired I was, so I went back to my room, thus concluding a full first day in San Diego.