Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Races in Two Days


For some unknown reason about two weeks ago, I decided it would be a great idea to do two races in two days.  Namely Grand Prix race #7, the Run For Your Cause 4 Miler, and the Stumpy Creek Sprint Triathlon.  The 4 miler was Saturday morning.  Stumpy Creek hosts an international distance triathlon on Saturday and a sprint distance on Sunday morning.  Initially, this seemed like a great way to sneak in another triathlon, gain more experience, and possibly sneak in an age group award.  The International tri on Saturday is a double points race in a statewide triathlon series, so all the big guns were going to be participating in that event.  I figured most wouldn't double and the ones that did would be tired.  Naturally, this ignored the fact that I had a race the day before and would be tired as well.  Danielle wisely offered to cheer and take pictures instead of doubling. 

Run For Your Cause 4 Miler

Saturday morning dawned a cool 65 degrees with 80% humidity.  This was downright pleasant considering the 75/90% combo we've been dealing with for a solid month now.  I hoped my legs were ready to run fast, because the weather was about as good as possible and I wanted to take advantage.  

The course has a lot of turns and is considered pretty difficult.  The first mile is primarily uphill.  The second is primarily downhill.  The third mile is rolling, and the final mile features one steep uphill before a long downhill to the finish.  The goal going into the race was to break 22:00 or at least PR by breaking 22:20.  I hit the mile marker in an abysmal 5:40.  If Billy and Richard hadn't been right behind me I would have gone into a full blown panic.  As it was, I was very concerned about the time, but tried to stay calm, knowing that my usual racing partners were with me, so perhaps we were executing some great strategy. 

During the second mile I started to find my groove heading down East Blvd and began passing some people.  To no great surprise, Billy and Richard were right with me.  I hit the second mile in 5:23, putting me close to my goal race pace of 5:30.  The race was on.

By this point I was in about 6th place and getting some confidence. But the 4 mile race is a tough distance and I think I was preserving just a bit for Richard's kick after getting dominated in a the last mile of Summer Breeze. Third mile in 5:29 and nearly on goal pace. 
Modeling the visor I got
for my 5th place finish
After the third mile marker, Richard attacked, as expected.  I tried to make him work to pass me which he finally did just before the last hill on Lyndhurst.  But after making him work to get by me the hill came at a good place and I made a move there and re-took the lead.  From the top of the hill, I was running scared/downhill the whole way to the finish.  I was able to pick off one guy in front of me for 5th overall.  I closed in 5:05 and a HUGE(:38 sec) 4 mile PR in 21:42.

I was extremely happy with my time, but noticed on the cool down that my legs were not very happy with me.  For some reason, they didn't appreciate running a 5:05 mile down a long hill.  My quads were feeling awfully trashed.  We got a bit lost of the cool down and ended up running 11.5 miles on the day.  

After some errands, Dee & I hit booty loop for a quick and easy spin and then to the pool to loosen up our legs.  We went out to one of favorite casual restaurants for dinner and ate way too much food and way too rich of a dessert.  By the time I went to bed just before midnight, I was tired and still nursing some sore legs.  But I had paid for the race, so race I would.  

Stumpy Creek Sprint Triathlon

The alarm rang at 4:01 am.  After one round of snoozing, Dee hopped out of bed and started the coffee and getting ready process.  In a sign that we truly ate too much last night, neither of us were hungry and decided to forego eating before the race.  This turned out to be a very poor decision for me. 

We previewed the first and third mile of the run course during the warm-up and all I saw was hill.  My legs were sore, tired, and not interested in going very fast.  I decided to just try and relax and have fun.  The swim went very well.  I was third out of the water in my wave of Men under 40.  Although my time doesn't look that impressive, the course was long yesterday and people seemed to think it was a bit long again today.  Regardless, third out of the water in my wave means I did a good job.

I headed off on the bike ready to bike strong and keep myself in position for an age group award.  By about mile 2, I knew I was in serious trouble.  My quads were screaming.  I was feeling terrible.  The decision not to eat came back to haunt me, as I had no energy.  I grabbed my water bottle for some calories, but dropped it.  Not being 100% sure of the rule regarding dropping things on the bike, I immediately turned around, stopped, got off my bike and picked up the water bottle.  I thought there was a 2 minute penalty for leaving things on the course and figured my turn around cost me a minute, which was better than two. 

During this break, several guys passed me on the bike.  The rest of the bike was miserable.  I felt like I was bonking, but didn't want to get any more water for fear of dropping the bottle again.  There was one last big hill at mile 14 and it felt as though I was never going to reach the top.  I was spinning, but going no where. 

Finally, I made it to my sneakers and was off on the run.  Too bad I had nothing left.   I felt slow and sore and I passed all of two people.  Granted, there were not many people in front of me at this point, but still, I'm used to passing lots of people on the run, so this was demoralizing.

One of the faster parts of
my Stumpy Creek Sprint Tri
I ended up 4th in my age group by just under a minute.  The same minute I lost while stopping to pick up my water bottle.  I broke my streak of having the fastest run time of the day by a couple of seconds.  So all in all, it would seem like I had a terrible race, but that's not entirely true.  My swim was very strong.  My transitions were much better than the last two races, even accounting for the smaller size.  I learned the importance of eating something for breakfast, even if you're not hungry and the race isn't that long.   Our friends Kristen and William were up from Lexington, SC to celebrate their anniversary with some triathloning, so we spent time with them after the race talking and eating. 
Dee and I went home, ate lunch, then enjoyed a 2 hour nap with Max.  Max really likes that part of triathlons.  Plus, we had to rest and recover to prepare for the 36 mile bike/4 mile run brick that awaited us in the afternoon!

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