Monday, January 31, 2011

Overdo it weekend - again

I really enjoy going to races. I love the trip there. I love camping. I love the people. I love the competition. I love everything about race.

I don’t like when I suck eggs in the race.

Whatever though. That doesn’t happen very much… and not this time!

This weekend I did two races again and I experienced joy and pleasure to levels that I don’t even think are allowed.

Is there a limit?

Saturday morning I woke up early to head over to the Tavares Nature Park for round 3 of the Winter Trail Running series. I really am enjoying running these races. I set time goals and I go out on the course with the intent of running hard for 20-ish minutes and seeing what the clock looks like in the end. No pressure just a workout with a few other people around to keep me honest.

18:24 for an off road 5k seems about right. Likely should be faster. This time is deceptive though. The course was a little short. Truth is I’m really struggling to get back my speed for these 5k’s. I should run well under 18 minutes. The time I bet would have been in the 19 minute race. Oh well. A good workout was had.

Then it was off to Santos for some mountain bike riding. I rode a lot harder then I wanted to but again, whatever. It was a workout. The flat tire at the end didn’t please me. I guess those things happen. A 10 minute ride in on the roads with a flat back tire and I was at my car.

No harm, no foul.

Now I could have driven home then headed to the morning’s race early. I really didn’t enjoy the prospects of the 4am wake up call. What the hell. I’ll drive to the race and camp.

The ideal, perfect work plan was to find a quite dirt road with a long dead end fire road or something. I’d park my car and lay out my sleeping bag for a night under the stars.

Crap. Couldn’t find anything like that. I did find a pull-out on a road with massive trucks driving 70 miles per hour and the sound of dogs in the distance. Sleeping in the car became a grand sounding idea.

I “slept” from 9pm till 7:15am. I did a bit of tossing and turning but truth be told I slept all right.
No, you are NEVER too old to sleep in your car the night before a race!

Now on to the race at Alafia State Park. Trail Half Marathon. Rock and roll, baby; my kind of party.
I pull up to the race course and get out of the car.

Holy crap my legs are tired…and I was sore from head to toe. Lol. Not the ideal feeling before a 13.1 miles race. Whatever.

Pay my fee, pin on my number…set and go.

Settled into a decent rhythm with a group of guys. We weren’t going super fast but that was the idea and the plan. Really steady so that I didn’t have to suffer and do the death march the last 5 miles.

After about 4 miles the fellas started to bore me.

I elbowed my way to the front and went hunting. I passed a few runners and found myself around top 10 last. 

I was running a good clip (about 7min per mile) and I felt good about my day. I wasn’t having a banner day but I was moving forward. THAT was goal number one.

The last 3 miles were stupid hard. 75% of it was on EXPERT mountain bike trails. Fantastic! I managed to reel a guy in late and slide into 9th place. 3 guys were right in front of me at the end.
Just didn’t have the stones to bring them back.

In the end I ran 1:32:06 for 9th place. Sounds like a results to me.

Even better is that I found 85 geocaches on the way home. NOW that is my kind of party!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Race

I was a junior on the Indoor Track team at the University of Massachusetts. I was having a really good season as the team’s top miler. I won most of the meets and ran some great times. Training was great and I was excited for the championship races.

Round one was the Eastern Conference meet. This was a race that I should have one. I did everything right leading up to the race. It was my race to lose. I was confident and ready.

The gun went off for the eight laps of the one mile race and I settled into the position that I should have been. I did everything right and I ran my race. As the laps went on everything was going to plan. I was going to be the champion. I was excited and ready to do what I needed to do.

With two laps to go I made my move. I moved from third to second to…wait, the leader held me off.

With a lap and half to go I had plenty of time. I was still confident and OK with the way things were going. I wasn’t going to be denied my spot as champion of the race. It was meant to me. I knew I was going to be the champion.

With three turns to go I again made my move for the front. Again the leader held me off. This wasn’t supposed to happen; he was doing the wrong thing. This was my race. This was my race to be crowned champion.

Plenty of time. Plenty of time. Plenty of time.

There was just one lap, just 200 meters and just 2 turns left. I made a stronger move this time. I still didn’t get by. Before the last turn I gave everything that I had to get by.

Still nothing. Second place still. I had one more shot. One more shot to win the race. For the first time doubt 
crept in.

Was it possible to lose this race?

Had I not prepared?

I didn’t know who this person was. I should have found out who this person was. With 30 meters left I realized that my plan had been wrong. My race was the wrong race. I was going to lose the race that I should have won. I was going to lose this important race because I messed up.

I can’t give up. I can never give up. I needed a miracle. There was still the sprint for the line. 30 meters…
20 meters. 15 meters. 10 meters….there is the line….

With one last despite attempt I dove head first for the finish line…….