Monday, April 27, 2015

The James Joyce Ramble 10k...I forgot how to race

I'll admit it, I've been anxious about racing. It's been a while since I've toed a start line and with all the health and life issues and my being more fluffy than normal, I've had no desire to get back to it. But racing is something I love and I've wanted to get back to it.

Enter my friend Lisa and her Zoom Multisport Racing Team. Before I knew it I was talked into racing and on the hook to hang with the team on race day. The fact that one team member's house was maybe a 500m walk to the start line was a bonus! So, I got there early (duh, of course) and spent some time chatting and getting introduced to some of the team.
What an awesome group of folks!
We all headed over to the start and I realized I didn't want to be anywhere near the front of this race field. This is a big race and there were plenty of gazelles loping around the start warming up. So I seeded my self about 2/3 of the way back in the field. That would make me start slow and give me people to run down...or if I blew up and died, less embarrassment when the field passed me (yes, real thoughts in my head). I had heard the course was challenging but I didn't look up the profile. I mean, ignorance is bliss right?! Chatting with Andy, owner of said awesomely placed house, he said the course wasn't bad, just the climb from 3-4 miles. Ok, well nothing to do now but race.

Mile 1 - 7:15
So the gun goes off (not that I heard it, the race is so big that the herd of people moving me forward let me know we'd started) and rather to stick to the plan of just "seeing how it goes", I start darting between runners moving up in the field. A quick glance of the watch let me see I was going WAY too fast. The start was downhill and that helped too. Then I thought to myself "we run back this way so the finish is uphill?!" Oh crap. Ok, well nothing to do but settle in.

Mile 2 - 7:25
Race done, phew!
There's a climb to mile 2, it wasn't enjoyable but doable and I'm thinking well maybe that was the hill everyone was taking about. That wasn't bad maybe this race won't be so bad.

Mile 3 - 7:31
Oh crap! Here was that hill climb everyone was talking about. I know it wasn't a mountain of a climb but for a guy that doesn't train on hills and hasn't raced in sure as hell felt like one! I just kept focusing past the top of the hill as my target. But the one good thing is no HR spike! Don't get me wrong, I was dying...just from the effort not from a heart attack. my heart. LOL
 Mile 4 - 7:55, Mile 5 - 7:40, Mile 6 - 7:45
I was dying by the time I hit Mile 4! All I could think was "keep breathing, focus on form and foot turnover and you're almost there". What weird weather! At some points it was windy and others it was calm and warm. I was hoping it was downhill to the finish (literally) but instead I was greeted with a series of little kicker hills to the finish. I pride myself on having a strong finishing kick...but not today friends and that last mile pace proves it. I could just feel the speed drain out of my legs. I was feeling the effects of not racing for so long...and that this was the longest I've run I've done in like 9 months (yes, I know) so it was all about getting to the finish.

I think beer might make everything better 
I crossed the finish line in 47:49. Not great, not terrible. Yes it's an unrealistic expectation to think that with the layoff, the health issues, the life issues, that course and everything else that I should or would be anywhere near my PR pace...but when had that ever entered in my thinking before?! Bwahahahaha

After the race I hung out with the Zoom folks some more. We chatted about the race, race gear, shoes, supplements...oh ya and drank beer! I'm trying to do different stuff and I never drink beers post race but I haven't to admit, those IPAs went down pretty smooth and quick!

All in all, not a bad foray back into racing. Decent race and great new peeps to hang out to get to the track and work on some speed drills.