Aaah… the first horrible attempt at true speed. Not tempo, not a short spurt on the spin bike…an actual RACE of 2.3 mile trail run / 15 mile hilly bike / 2.3 mile trail run. After a pretty difficult week after a month of spiraling allergies causing me to swell up so much that even the “fat clothes” are tight, I’m not super confident going into it. Rested, sure, but not confident. Not exactly ready to RACE.
It helped to finally eliminate the allergy culprit, but after about a month of problems, two days doesn’t leave me 100% and I feel heavy and a little less motivated than I’d hoped I would be when race day rolls around. It helped to watch the Tour of California and see Levi Leipheimer KILL his TT to retain and extend his lead. It also helped to pump my workout music into my ears on the drive over to Greensboro.
We arrive to a sunny, warming day with blue skies and only a little wind. GREAT conditions. I warm up on the bike and feel OK. I run a 2.3 mile loop of the run course to warm up and don’t feel any snap or spring in my legs, although this was as expected considering I’m barely moving out of base building into a little intensity here and there. This race was to be a painful threshold exercise to blow the rust out and kick start those physiological changes that will allow me to find my real speed when the season really starts to roll.
If I was looking for pain, I wasn’t disappointed. After the first awesome mostly downhill mile of the run, I noticed a sincere desire to slow down. I did slow, because I figured why kill myself when it’s so early in the race. We ran on the Hagan Stone Park cross country course, which is awesome. I loved the hopping over logs, slogging through mud with twists and turns through the forest. It was actually fun. Painful, but fun.
I ambled into T1 in first position for the ladies by about 10 seconds to Stacey R., which she promptly took back with a faster transition. When I got going on the bike, I realized it felt pretty decent. I mean, I couldn’t drill it quite as intensely as I will be able to in a month or so, but it didn’t suck. I ended up splitting 50 seconds faster than last year on the same course, which kind of made up for the 30 seconds slower run #1. I had gapped Stacey earlier, as she hadn’t been training on her bike as much as I have, so I rolled into T2 with a fairly good cushion.
Run #2 was a suffer fest and it was slow, which only prolonged the suffering. With no one close enough in front of me to key off of, it was a constant mental battle to keep my effort up. Honestly, I really wanted to stop, it was so miserable. But I didn’t and hung on for first place, although the gap shrunk during my valiant battle with my psyche that second time around the run course.
It was a nice race and we won these neat blankets. Mine will become a fixture in my tri truck box because you never know when those spur of the moment blanket necessary moments might crop up. Thanks to Off N Running Sports for putting on such a nice, low key event at such a pretty location.
Not ones to slack off, Stacey & I met up around the Graham area to ride the rest of the way back. I ended up with 68 miles and about 3:45 of riding plus over an hours worth of running (1 loop w/u, 2 loops in the race, 1 loop w/d). Quite a training day!