Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stanford Invite Day #2= Llano runs 28:51.69 for 10K…What a night!

Early in the Stanford Invitatioanl 10K, Llano is at the front.

The pack dwindled by the midway point with Llano still pushing.

At the finish Llano crossed with the 7th fastest time in the NCAA.

Matt Llano hours before his 28:51.69 effort in the 10K at Stanford...
Shown here with Alcatraz Island in the background.

When we went to bed last night it was raining and cold. Not what we flew across the country to face. I was not too concerned since the local weather forecast called for clearing overnight. Still, you do not want to fly across the nation to face adverse conditions when the goal and purpose for the trip is to run fast. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the 10K and 5K races on the track are different animals than any other track event. To run a fast one you have to find the right race and weather. The only place in the US that you can find both on a consistent basis is this meet (Stanford Invitational) and Mt. SAC Relays in the suburbs of Los Angeles three weeks from now. Again, the key is consistent weather. When you find a place with consistently ideal weather…the athletes to make the race will follow.

I was woken this morning to the sound of a roaring car engine and bright sunlight coming through the window. Our hotel is very nice, but it’s next door to a car garage and today must have been “hot rod” Friday. For some reason the car engine they were working on needed to be tested by accelerating the engine to near RPM capacity and quickly letting off the gas pedal causing it to rumble like a locomotive while backfiring through the engine. It really wasn’t a concern for me but I was concerned that Matt had to listen to the roar. He informed me later that he never heard it….which is a good thing.

Fisherman's Warf in San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island and Prison.

Matt’s race wasn’t scheduled to start until 9:36PM (PST) so he had the entire day to either sit around the hotel thinking about the race or to go sightseeing. I recommended the later so he and his parents had breakfast and then went into San Francisco to Fisherman’s Warf to walk around. It was a great escape for a few hours and a nice way to take his mind off the race for just a little while.

Lombard Street...America's crookedest street.

The sea lions at Fisherman's Warf in downtown San Francisco.

At 7:15PM we headed to the track. The sunny day lost its way into evening. Once the sun dropped below the horizon the temperatures cooled into the 50’s and the winds disappeared all together. We arrived and Matt checked in with the clerk while the 3rd section of the women’s 5K was on the track. The night was electric. You could feel this night would be the night.

As Matt continued stretching his former teammate and 2009 Richmond graduate, Dan Petty arrived. He flew in from Denver where he works as a journalist for the Denver Post to watch matt race. The intensity in the air continued to grow. The fastest section of the women’s 10K was on the track and the announcer seemed to know that the night was about to see something the NCAA had never seen before. Iowa State’s, Lisa Koll took the lead from the gun and continued on her mission for the following 25 laps. With 8 laps to go the announcer started telling the crowd that she had a shot at the NCAA Record of 31:25 set by former Texas Tech runner Sally Kipyego in 2008. Koll continued her assault and set the tone as she crushed the NCAA record by running 31:18.07.

Matt before the race...called to the start line.

When the announcer called the men’s 10K race to the line, he called out the entry list. It was a great field with most of the NCAA’s top 10K runners on the line. The race started and Matt settled into his race plan of running 69 seconds per 400M lap. The Stanford athletes had drums and metal trash cans they began to beat in rhythm...The cadence was perfect for sub 29:00 pace...By 1400M into the race he moved into 3rd place on the shoulder of Jesse Cherry (HPU) and stayed there as they passed 1600M in 4:37.5. He continued… and passed the 3200M in 9:15.1, 3 miles in 13:51.8 and the 5K, or halfway point, in 14:25. By 5K he moved into 2nd place. From the 5K point to the finish every distance he passed he did so at a new personal best. He hit 4 miles in 18:27.9 and 5 miles in 23:04.8. Just before 5 miles the pace quickened as the lead pack started throwing in 68.0 second laps. Matt continued to race and fight running 69.2, 70.0, 70.2 and 70.2 for the next four laps as he passed 6 miles in 27:45.6 with 1 lap to go. He kicked it in covering the final lap in 65.2 to finish in 28:51.69. His finish time was a personal best and currently ranks him #7 in the NCAA National Rankings and #1 within the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Matt Llano Quote: “I felt good. Running 69’s felt easy but as soon as we started dropping 68’s I felt it. I’m pleased with a new PR (personal best) and look forward to late season races.”

Everything about this meet was perfect, especially the weather. It is not possible to find better conditions anywhere in the world than we had here tonight. The athletes know they are here to run fast and they get on the track and don’t mess around. They put the hammer down from the start and run their guts out. Matt did exactly that…He ran his guts out and moved to another level here tonight. He ran against the very best in the Nation and for the longest time was in 2nd pushing the pace. He’s not afraid of anyone and makes people beat him. That might seem simple but it’s a huge concept that some athletes never grasp. If someone is going to beat him they have to earn it...the hard way. I’m really proud of and happy for him. This race has taken him years of training and sacrifice to achieve. Most people are just not willing to make the sacrifices Matt has to achieve their goals. Now he can concentrate on the Championship meets coming at the end of the season.

Matt Llano’s 10K splits for the 2010 Stanford Invitational: 70.0/69.3/69.5/68.7=4:37.5 @1600m

/68.9/69.7/69.1/69.3=9:15.1 @3200m

/68.4/69.1/69.1/69.1=13.51.8 @3miles/14:25@5K

/69.1/67.3/68.7/69.1=18:27.9@4 miles

/69.6/68.1/69.2/69.7=23:04.8@5 miles

/69.2/70.0/70.2/70.2=27:45.6@6 miles /65.2=28:51.69@10K

The results...Llano is 8th over-all and 7th in the NCAA.

LINK TO RACE VIDEO from Flotrack:

Matt Llano and me after the race.

After the race was over we stood there talking with Matt’s parents and Daniel Petty. Dan graduated last spring and as I mentioned earlier, took a job as a journalist for the Denver Post. As we talked Dan told us that he "scooped" the Associated Press story for Lisa Koll’s NCAA 10K record. He came to watch his former roommate run the 10K and while waiting on Matt’s race he realized what he was witnessing as Koll smashed the NCAA record in the 10K by running 31:18.07. She eclipsed the previous record of 31:25.45, held by former Texas Tech runner Sally Kipyego, set on May 4, 2008. Dan’s photos of Lisa Koll’s post race celebration are on the Associated Press wire going around the globe (see link: ).

(AP Photo/Daniel Petty)

So, when you see an Associated Press photo in a newspaper or online of Lisa Koll celebrating after her race you will know it was taken by Richmond Track & Field graduate Daniel Petty.

I think it’s awesome. What a night!

The perfect palm tree??...The consensus is "yes" it is.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! I am so proud of you, Matt. It was so exciting to watch the video, so I know it must have been amazing to be there. So happy your Mom and Dad and Dan P. got to share it with you. You're going to have a great track season. Gail B.