Sunday, June 19, 2016
I have never slept late on a race day before, not once. We drove up to the race, met up with Jeff and checked in. We got our numbers, found a spot for the bike on the rack, and saved the spot while Harry went and warmed up. It was the same scene as last year. There were a lot of athletes funneling in with gear and meeting up with friends. I saw a bunch of people, most parents at my school, and Jeff did as well. When Harry got back from warming up, Jeff got ready and I went with him down to the water. As he entered the water to warm up around 6:30ish, I headed back to hang out with Harry and wait. Jeff's swim, as excruciating as it is, would last about 13 minutes and Harry would be out on his 17 mile course for around 48 minutes.
Jeff came up from the beach about 13 minutes after the start. He was the 2nd relay swimmer out of the water. It's pretty sadistic really. After swimming as fast as you can for a half mile, you have to get out of the water and run a couple hundred yards to the transition area. F. Harry grabbed the chip and strapped it to his ankle and ran to his bike and was off.
It was about 20 minutes into the bike portion when I decided to start to jog and get loose. I went to take off the sweats that I wore and realized what I had done. I slept in my race shirt and shorts the night before with the idea that I would simply slide on the sweats and long sleeve tee shirt before heading out. However, in my flustered state of waking up late, I had ripped of my race shorts and then put on my sweats. I had no shorts! I immediately thought I was about to look like the biggest idiot on the course running in sweats. Luckily, I came to my senses and went over to Jeff who was now coherent again. He was about to change into shorts that he was now nice enough to lend me.
Wow, a race day with 2 awesome rookie level mistakes. I never have these things happen. I'm really methodical about race day and always do the same things to get ready. It's not this drawn out process, but I know what I'm doing and I do it.
Now that that ordeal was fixed, I went about warming up. I ran for about 10 minutes to loosen up and did a couple strides. The tough part is that you aren't exactly sure when you are going to head out. The first bike came in, a relay rider, followed by a couple of the elite men that were doing the course solo. Those dudes are machines. Harry was the 2nd relay bike back and Jeff grabbed the chip and put it on my ankle and I was off.
The course is a hilly 5 miles. It rolls the whole time and has 2 stronger hills in mile 4. One of the hills is about .15 miles long just at the beginning of mile 4 and the second, longer hill of about a quarter mile, is at about the 3.5 mile mark. My run started strong, but I had an early cramp. I ran mile 1 in about 6:05. It was a strong start, but a little over zealous. I had wanted to be more like 6:15 in the first. As mile 2 built my right side got a little tighter and remained so. I ended this mile in a decent, but harder working 6:21. Mile 3 was the game changer. I slipped to 6:45 for the mile and was working way to hard that early in the race. I had 2 miles left and a couple significant hills and I was not happy about it. Mile 4 is where my time fell out the window. I dealt with the cramp and the significant hills the best I could and ended the mile with a 7:00/mile pace. I had the benefit of flat and downhill mostly on mile 5 and was able to finish with about a 6:27 final mile. It hurt and I didn't have the kick I normally do.
I also forgot to mention, not really, that 2 relay teams passed me during the race and we ended up in
4th place, just off the podium. I take the blame for that. I ended up with a 32:18 for my run, a single second off my time from last year. However, there were some speedy dudes this year and I was 7th runner based on time. That's not acceptable.
I have the fitness to run better. I'm not sure where this cramp came from, but I am moving on. I can take away that my speed could have been there as I was able to run the same time as last year, when I didn't have any cramp then, I was just less fit.
As it is 364ish days away, I cannot tell you if next year will materialize or not. However, I definitely want it to. I have even more unfinished business to take care of. I may need to start running the course on a consistent basis.