two, two races in one [week]
last week was one of those weeks that goes down in the archives as something NOT to repeat. well, i guess a capitol NOT isn’t necessary, since aside from being exhausted and sore, things turned out pretty well.
a friend that runs a race management company started a trail race series this summer and i wanted to get out and join in the fun, so i signed up for the second in the series; a 5 mile challenging route through one of the local wilderness parks [peter's canyon]. i did this, knowing that i had an oly on saturday to compete in, and i had every intention of taking it easy during the trail race.
until i stood at the starting line, that is.
as i chatted with other folks from the oc trail runners [eric and wendy], i noticed a guy from one wearing a jersey from one of the local tri clubs [not oc tri club, the OTHER one]. this guy was bouncing up and down, exhaling loudly and generally looking like he was one bad mo fo [but he's from that OTHER tri club, can ya dig it?]. when the horn sounded and we headed out, this guy took off but wasn’t running too far ahead, so i kept an eye on him. anyone who acts all cocky like that at the start, i like to take note of how they do out on the course. my attention paid off, too. i caught up to the guy at the first of the hills and as i passed him, he tried to go with me up the incline. my desire to beat this guy was increased when i realized that every exhale he made was…um…unique.
he was growling.
yes. growling. every exhale as we went up the climb was a deep, guttural growl. this annoyed me. so, i turned on the billy goat legs and hammered up the climb, leaving the growler in the dust. when i hit the top of all the hills, a friend of mine, brian, the coach of the vanguard xc/track team, was up there cheering. he shouted good job and told me that i was in 10th place.
10th place? woah!
something clicked inside and i decided i wanted to finish well. so, i looked up the course, saw a couple runners a few hundred meters up the trail and became determined to move up a couple spots. i turned on the speed on the downhill and slowly began to reel one of the guys in. slowly but surely i caught one of them and by mile four i was safely past him and into the number nine spot. i tried hard to catch the next guy, but we were too evenly matched and he kept his lead on me.
when i crossed the finish line, brian was there again and told me that one of the guys out front was a bandit, so i actually crossed the line in 8th place. woohoo! i was ecstatic to have turned in such a solid performance on a tough course. final time was 35:33. i was very happy with my time. i spent the rest of the evening hanging out with smsmh and tc and chowing at the bbq at the finish.
when i woke early on saturday, i knew i was going to regret the effort on thursday’s trail race. my quads and calves were like lead and as tight as could be. well, i didn’t mind too much, since thursday’s race had been such an enjoyable event. i headed down to camp pendleton, got checked in and set up in the transition area and made a couple race day friends. today would be my first race w/ aero bars on the bike and my first race with an ocean swim. i was really looking forward to it and decided i would swim and bike hard and just relax on the run.
when the horn sounded and i started the swim, i knew it was going to be a good day. the swim was a water start and my wave was stretched out over a 100y front. no crowding. none. i think someone grabbed my ankle at one point, but aside from that there was no jostling. you can’t beat that! i swallowed very little salt water and ended up having a great swim. it’s hard to tell, but i think i exited the water about nine minutes faster than my oly last summer. the transition to the bike included about a .5 mile run back from the beach, so rather than run in the wetsuit, i stripped it at the beach and just jogged back with it over my shoulder.
on the bike, i was feeling really good, so i spun hard and attacked the many rises on the course. i felt great passing up the guys on the fast bikes on each climb…although i’d get caught and passed on the flats and down hills. i just can’t seem to match their speed. climbing seems to be my forte. anyway, the aero bars were fantastic and by the time i finished the bike, my back felt great and the legs weren’t too fatigued. i exited the bike feeling pretty fresh, all things considered, and sporting about a 10 minute lead on my previous year’s time.
the run was what i expected…sorta. the marine layer had burnt off and it was getting warm. the run route was pretty flat, but along the water, which reflected the sun. i was getting a little cooked and the legs were feeling the week’s effort, so i just took it easy and didn’t try to turn myself inside out. i finished predictably slower than what i know i’m capable of, but my overall time for the whole race was an 11 minute pr, and that included the long transition run. my transitions were near flawless this time around and i knocked considerable time off there.
now, though, i’m fried. the legs are worked and feeling all the effort. but, despite the pain and fatigue, i wouldn’t change a thing. it was a great two-fer week and i’m feeling alive again!
two, two races in one [week]