I figure the best way to get back to where I want to be...is to race myself into shape. Luckily there was a 5k close to the house that I've done before so it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. I know the course pretty well. The route is challenging...a series of rolling hills with a good hill climb after the second mile that tops out just in time for a kicker hill into the end.
Was I nervous? Of course! I always am. Even when I'm off my game I still have the expectation to do well and end up high in the overall an/or age group rankings. I did try to seed myself in the front third of the pack at the start to hopefully keep me in check for the start.
Mile 1: 6:41
The first mile is flat to downhill so I was all about working on an even pace and utilizing the flat before the hills came.I hopped on the shoulder of a guy that "looked" like a speed demon, hoping to drag some speed off him, but I realized I was running faster than him! Well, looks can be deceiving. A quick glance at the watch shows me running on a 6:40ish pace...not bad...ok, deep breath and lets keep moving.
Mile 2: 6:39
The rolling hills and turns gave me a chance to get into a good rythm and start runing people down. All I could do was tell myself "execute the pass" and keep moving. I picked the pace up a bit to get some steam heading into the upcoming hill.
Mile 3: 6:47
On the other side of the 2 mile marker was the "hill". You know, the kind you can't see the top from the bottom. Man, I hate those kinds of hills! Nothing to do but lean into it, get those arms pumping and and get over it. I kept looking at that telephone pole on the other side of the hill's crest to give myself a place to push to. I know that would be the place to catch my breath for the final push to the finish.I wasn't close to run anyone down in front of me so I focused on turnover and trying to chew up time to the finish. The kicker to the finish put lead in my legs but I just kept pushing to the right hand turn where I could finally see the finish and gave whatever I had left to cross the line in 20:54.
While that was not a great time for me, nor was it a PR for that course (almost 50secs slower than my last time on the course), I was happy to have a race where I "felt good", didn't blow up and had a good rhythm from beginning to end. It was good enough to give me 7th overall (the winner only ran a 19 plus, that course was indeed challenging) and 1st in my age group. While I'm still off my level of fitness at this time of year, that wasn't a bad performance. Not to mention, I take GREAT PRIDE that the 6 people in front of me...were 10 years or more...younger than me. Ya, the old, fluffy, broken guy getting it done. LOL. Now to build on this and move forward.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
|Duathlon transitions are so easy|
Fair warning, this is gonna be a long post. I have to admit that I went into this Duathlon with LOADS of anxiety. The 5k debacle a couple weeks ago, the “forced” rest, the trying to focus on not being stressed out, the trying to sleep…etcetera etcetera…and I didn’t feel prepared or ready to race the event at all. However, I had a great race last year and the MRA Multisport folks peer pressured me (I was willing of course) into signing up for it 2 months ago at the Multi-Sport Expo so there was no way I was going to be a DNS.
Normally this would be my first real “A” race on the season (last year at this race I finished top ten, won my age group and qualified for Duathlon national championships) and be the 'kick off" of my killer 2014 multisport season...but because of all the aforementioned, I resigned myself to a “let’s see how this goes” approach. Just writing that killed a part of my soul.
|At least I finished strong|
1.5 mile run - 9:35 (6:20 pace)
Getting to the start I just focused on trying to go out easy and see what I had for the rest of the race. Imagine my surprise as we get into the first half mile and I glance down to see a sub-6min pace. Whoa! Ok...ok, maybe I'm not that far off my fitness after all. Let's just try to keep a good pace and see how the rest of the race goes. I literally ran into T1 not believing my pace and that I was in the 6th or 7th place. I totally blanked on what I needed to do and stumbled through getting my gear on and get out on the bike.
T1: 58 secs
14 mi bike - 47:18 mins (17.8mph pace)
Getting out on the bike was a brave new world. Because of the terrible winter we've had in MA all my bike time has been spent indoors. While its great training, it does not replicate real roads and I felt it. The first hill literally took my breath away. The course had to be modified from last year's because of road conditions, so it was two laps of 7 miles. Of course the loops would have to be of the hilliest part of the course!!! I was bearing down on the first set of hills, giving max effort...and I got passed. I was crushed. I was burying the needle on the bike and I got passed. Then it dawned on me that I was giving it my all but I had no more power to give because of the last few months. My "max effort" now was not the max effort of me last season. Ok, well the best thing to do is regroup...and prepare to do those hills again as part of the second loop. I hit the hills the second time around much better but they still kicked my butt. I finally caught my breath as I headed into transition to go out on the run.
T2: 58 secs
2 mi run - 14:20 (7:10 pace)
My joy quickly disappeared...when I remembered it was uphill for a mile to the turn and then back down to the finish. Honestly, can I just move back to Savannah where everything is flat?! Damn! I just tried to push as hard as I could to the turn knowing I'd get the downhill on the return trip. I thought maybe I would be able to catch one or two people on the road but no luck. Running hard I never made up ground on anyone in front of me. I didnt know where I was in the standings but I figured I should push as hard as I could to at least try to make up time.
As I crossed the finish, I saw the race clock was at 1:12, not bad. Of course the first thing I did was figure out how I did (so much for no expectations and "seeing what happens"). As the results went up I saw that I was 13th overall and 2nd in my age group. Not a bad day at all! I know every race is supposed to be a learning lesson and this one surely was. I may not be at the level of fitness I want, but I'm not that far off and I still have the ability to empty the tank. Now to build on that for the rest of the season. Fingers crossed...