Saturday, May 20, 2017
Back to the Home Town. Much lower key this time around. Seems like most of the Superstars are injured, that leaves only the hard corers left, you know CT. She counts for two. Last year we entered with some swagger for sure, I even rocked the Orange Crush (this PR) shoes. Granted, they failed me a little bit causing me to run with untied shoes for eleven miles, but put down a great time. This year, CT didn't decide she would even run it to the day before.
Waiting at the start, find myself struggling with wanting to put on my "retired" favorites. They treated me so well two weeks ago, making it twenty miles before causing tender feet. Thirteen miles would be easy, I'll send them out on a high note! Decision made! No sooner did I decide, when I made eye contact with Mom's scornful eyes "you're not wearing those" without needing to say the words. When in the Home Town, have to follow Mom's rules. The new pair get laced up.
Year's past, worked on getting in the zone. Not really sure what today or even the running future holds lately. Granted it's a small race, but lined up right in the middle, no expectations today. What does unboxing sound like? Well that's the start gun. This course has like three turns in it, the first one is within eyesight at the start, after the first turn I was in third, so much for hanging back and feeling out.
The first two runners are running side by side and one of them happens to be Fuel. They weren't running too far out of my comfort zone, so stuck on their heels and eavesdropped for probably the first four miles. At this point their conversation must have ran it's course because the other guy bolted ahead. Still within eyesight, it's another eight miles before we find another turn. By about mile six, Fuel pulled right along side of him again. Spectating from behind, I really smiled at this, the one guy made his move and now that Fuel caught back up to him, had a feeling it probably broke his spirit. This will be interesting to watch what happens and how this plays out.
There are races when I get in foul moods. There are other races when I'm having a good time, and this happened to be one of them. Crossing a cross-street, couldn't resist yelling at the officer watching traffic if he'd radio ahead for the next officer to taz the two guys ahead of me. Think it really caught him off guard, because he was soon laughing and giving me a thumbs up.
Mile eight, finally started the "maybe this isn't fun" feelings. Honestly, can't believe I made it this far at this pace. The mental games switched to attempting to figure out my finish time, if I eased back into my normal pace. I did slow a little, but nowhere near normal pace and just kept logging miles. Even took a few seconds to shake a familiar face working the last water stop.
The final stretch, couldn't resist pretending I was on a phone call. The fact that I was still goofing off, obviously could have ran a little harder. Seeing the final time, maybe thirty seconds slower than last year, granted that was with shoe laces flopping the whole way and doing a number on my toe, but I was also much more trained than I was coming into today. Put this in the books for my best race this year by far.
CT's winning streak came to an end. She ended up with second today (that's overall). Normally, I'd be a bit worried to get back in the car with her, but she went from last year deciding she wouldn't do this race to let somebody else win, to not wanting to do it at all, to, finally wanting to try it. She wasn't disappointed at all. I'll even let you in on a little secret, I wouldn't be surprised if this was all for motivation for next year.....just a guess.
Oh, and even though I didn't see it play out, Fuel won overall!
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Standing at the starting line, honestly have no idea what to expect today. The major dilemma so far has been deciding which shoes to wear, crisis at six in the morning. Thoughts that maybe I should have trained a little harder during this season, hasn't even entered my brain, yet. Surely, they are coming, probably around mile sixteen, provided my feet aren't on fire. Today, is going to be painful regardless. First order of business, deciding how painful. Do I start with the old shoes, and run (pun) the risk of destroying my feet early? Or do I start with my newer shoes in an attempt to save my feet and switch to my old pair for the awful miles, when it doesn't matter anymore? Yes, this is seriously the internal conversation I'm having with myself, shoes at six in the morning. Last I checked, I'm a guy, but there are times I spend entirely too much time thinking about shoes, hey, don't judge.
Turns out, I got rushed into a decision, since Sis-in-Law, Downhill, needed to pickup my spare pair at house and not at the start of the race. Instead of struggling with my decision leading all the way up to race time, out the door and decision made. Old it is! Love these shoes, so many good runs in them, memories, PR's, maybe there's a chance they'll get me through the whole race and I can retire them the way they should be. They only have the one hole in the bottom (okay, there are four on the sides), nothing can go wrong.
Reeeeeetirement goes the gun. I find it slightly humorous the less I train, the better the weather seems to be on race days. Lucky number seven and the first time the temps are actually in my favor. Even with that going for me, started off very conservative, figuring this nice weather is only a trick to burn out early! Not falling for that one again Kzoo!
First few miles, great to see the crowds, feel the energy, then The Turn. I call it "The Turn" because it's where the fun stops and the seriousness starts. The half marathon people get to go straight feeding off all the energy down town, the marathon people make "The Turn" and suddenly what started as a group run now becomes running by yourself isolation. This is where experience comes in, being the seventh time doing this, not only did I have my phone with me, I already had it playing my tunes silently, so within a couple clicks, boom, entertainment for the rest of this thing.
Fast forward to the tech section. This stretch always seems to prelude the downward spiral every year. Nothing like running by all the solar panels WMU has out generating energy, meanwhile the direct sunlight is doing nothing but draining the runners. At least this year, the temps kept this much less noticeable. In fact, may have even gained some energy leaving the tech campus, seeing some familiar faces, with some cheering.
Here's where this marathon story starts. Early conservation has helped, it's the point in the race where it's time to do something dumb (runner logic). I can feel the itch to push the pace, figuring the end is inevitable, time to see how many good miles I can get in before the end comes. No sooner did I start down this path, when I caught up to Water Bottle Girl (WBG).
I've seen WBG around, not exactly sure what pace group she's been in during training this winter (it would be embarrassing if she were in my group..please don't let her be in mine...proving how much slacking I've done as a pace leader this year). On the last twenty mile run, only one person, in my group, was going out long, figured man up and keep him company. Low and behold, WBG trots past us and next thing I know the two of them tricked me into doing twenty miles that day. I ended up having a horrible run, my socks are planted in a corn field as proof (so many blisters, left them to die or maybe next year there will be a giant sockstock growing) and tapped out at eighteen. I hobbled away from that run confident both of my runners that day would do fine in their up coming races, but felt horrible about my own chances.
Unsure of how much she wanted to "talk", asked the basic question of when she wanted to finish. 3:35, which even with runner's head, I knew exactly what that meant, she's aiming to qualify for Boston. Ambitious task on this awful course! The fact we could see the 3:30 pace group, she's even pushing the pace down hills. Here's my project. While there's no guarantee I've got 3:35 in my tank, I've got enough miles in me to help her out. First step, turn down my music with the comment "I won't torture you with this", her response "it kind of helps". Music back on. Soon after she ask's if my music is set to 180 beats per second. I've never really run with her. Oh WBG, the day I take the time to make a playlist designed to run perfect is the day, wait, I wouldn't take the time to even make a playlist! This could be a very bad mix of seriousness and playfulness. Maybe, I should just let her do her thing, this might be a bad combo. Further proof, the next song that comes on, one of my favorites because of HOW inappropriate it is. Worried, hoping she can't hear it, at least not well enough to hear any of the words. No way WBG knows this song, she can't really hear it over our breathing, our feet pounding, it's safe...right? No sooner did I talk myself into it would be okay, out of her mouth "Oh, I love Elle King". Well...so much for that idea! She has good taste, maybe this could work.
At or around the halfway point, we'd reach stretches where the wind would be blowing pretty good. Now, I really never verbalized what I was doing, but at times, when I could feel the wind, I'd move in front to block it and save her some energy. Each time I did this, not sure if she thought I was being an ass, attempting to leave her, or maybe she didn't want front row seats to looking at my back, but she'd drop further and further back, eliminating the drafting effect. I couldn't figure this out, but also didn't say anything, until I asked my next question, "how many marathons is this for you"? WBG, "Two". She tricked me again! Crushing that twenty miler, the fact she runs around with her own water bottle, knows/wants 180 beats per minute music, had me thinking this whole time she was much more experienced. Even though I was deep in runner stupid, this was my moment of clarity. I wouldn't say life flashed before my eyes, but in that moment it struck me as pretty funny that I may be running with a much (much) younger version of myself!
Marathon two, went out way too fast, high expectations, sounds familiar...and she likes inappropriate lyrics! This is where I realized should have asked WAY more questions earlier. Not sure it would have mattered with where I caught up with her, but should have been slowing her down in those middle miles. A few seconds after the clarity hit, then the reality hit, we have no chance to hit 3:35. Hey, I said this was a story, didn't say it had a happy Hollywood ending! Ugh, I know the feeling all too well of setting goals for a run and not getting them. My stomach flipped, feeling like I let WBG down. In teasing fashion, had to give her some crap about picking this marathon to Boston qualify with. She took it in good spirits, so part of me thinks she already realized this, because she countered with she'll take it as a success if she PR's. Well, THAT, I know we can do! My response to that, you find a sensible marathon, I'll pace you and we'll get your Boston Qualifier.
The final miles were brutal (at one point got an "F" bomb from her, yeah I like her), but definitely didn't seem as bad as past years. At one stretch we talked about it's all a learning experience, every marathon is. This whole training season something has been different. Could be a combination of things, stupid flu, some bad socks, maybe it's a simple as being burnt out from last year, but somewhere lost the love of running. The same point WBG was learning going out a bit too fast in the early stages isn't good for the later stages, I learned that almost all my of my enjoyment of running is helping others. The second the race stopped being about my shoes, worrying about pain, lack of training, generally thinking about my own performance and and the focus switched to somebody else, it completely changed and found the love of running again. Never really thought about that relationship before, it's seems so simple, so obvious, yet it took me a training season and half a marathon before it clicked. Learning, might be older, but can do it, still.
Crossing the line, it was great to see WBG's smile with a twenty-five minute PR! In true Superstar fashion, it was fun to plant the seed about trying a fall marathon while not even out of the finishing chute, only to have CT come over (knowing next to nothing about the story of this run) and attempt and even bigger sales-pitch into her doing a fall marathon. Watch out WBG, where I offer advice and stories, CT gets you committed to things!
Speaking of CT, she's the one who should really write a blog about today. She had more fun today than any other race, by far. On the drive home, as she's explaining to me their antics, she was laughing so hard she was crying. Can't say I've ever seen that or expected it, part of me wishes I could have watched her whole adventure play out, but CT did take 128 photos before her phone died. She may have found her love of running again too or maybe she lost some of her competitiveness and realized running can be fun....hmmm.
*Oh and the shoes made it to mile 20 before thought it best to swap them out. 2,813 miles. Hmm, do have a half in a few weeks...
Saturday, April 8, 2017
CT really is after the insurance money. I know it, my friends know it, it's no secret. How do I know? She keeps signing me up for marathons, but it's blatantly obvious how desperate she is when she signs me up for ultra-marathons. With as much ID TV she watches, she really should cover her tracks better. No insurance company out there is going to believe it's an "accident" that my heart exploded or my legs fell off.
The plan, she was going to kill me with another ultra. The problem, that plan got derailed (keep in mind this ultra takes place along an old railway path, so that's damn funny!) when I lost a good month plus to the stupid flu. She training suffered too, so combined it made sense that we both better team up and do the race together as a relay team instead of us both dying. No point in even having insurance, if we are both gone!
Anytime I've done a relay in this race, it's always been the second half, the sixteen mile section. CT was all set to do the first leg with a friend, even though it's a bit longer at eighteen miles, she's tougher anyway. Yeah, yeah, I know, she wears the pants. Last minute her friend got hurt, looking at the weather report, knew it was going to warm up. The fact by some miracle I've been putting in slightly more miles than her, it made sense to switch. I'd take the first leg, she'd do the second leg. Going into this thing, mentally my game plan is surviving, knowing neither of us have prepared very well for even doing the half we are doing. CT on the other hand, she's checking stats and thinks we have a good chance to win the M/F team relay award.
Go Teeeeeeeam, goes the gun! What I'm expecting is a bolt of runners going past and there goes any thought of winning anything within the first couple minutes. Instead, I not only see both runners in front of me, granted they are going at a fast pace, but I can hang here for a bit. A couple miles in, I'm still waiting for somebody to pass me, but it's not happening. As the miles keep going by and it isn't happening, doubt is dwindling and confidence is building. At one point crossing a side street where CT was waiting and cheering me on, I yell out "we are winning this babe" confidently.
Mentally preparing all week for sixteen miles, I made it. The second I made it one step past that, my body began to ask questions. With how everything has gone this year, honestly, I was kind of surprised how well I did, for as long as I did. There is a positive here, but this last mile is going to be tough! So glad to see CT, but also knowing my day is done, I get to become the cheerleader.
We pass the baton. Really, there isn't one, but in this case it was kissing CT to which the crowd gave an "Awwwwww", to letting her run a few steps before I couldn't resist announcing "I don't even know her!". CT knows me well, probably too well (she is planning on killing me), but she had a HUGE donut waiting for me. Which I almost inhaled before she was even out of eye-sight.
As I sat there, recovering, by smashing that donut down my throat, proud of myself for the lead I built up for CT, my eyes focus in on a young kid standing there in a singlet, basically looking fast. Oh, he's on a relay team that is going to win, based on his body style, I'm sure he's part of a six man team that is going to throw down a seriously fast time. No sooner did I think that, this young girl comes in and tags him. Oh no, we are racing against THEM? Skin and bones, who hasn't been stuffing his face with a donut, is going to catch CT in only a few minutes. The BIG lead I gave CT (barely beating out his young female partner) isn't going to amount to jack squat, this isn't about winning anymore.
Figure at this point, I'll go find and spectate CT. Mainly to tell her at the very least, don't worry about pushing too hard, because we have no chance. As I found her, her comment was "I'm done". "You're done, what do you mean? There's fourteen more miles!" I didn't say that, but I sure thought it! As she went by, she said something like "you take over at the next crossing". Um, I just did eighteen, it about killed me, then I shoved a huge donut in, girl you crazy!
Next crossing, she's out, I'm in. The surprising part, there is no part of this story that involves donut being sprayed, spilled, wasted along any part of this trail. As I ran, I couldn't help but attempt to do math and figure out if she's out, how many miles do I have to do? How many are left? This is beyond bad. Before I got myself worked up too much, there she is at the next cross street, then she was back in. Not sure if it was surprise or praise, but thank you! Granted we are breaking the "rules" of this relay, but it's obvious to me we aren't going to win and now it's all about finishing with however unorthodoxed this race becomes for us. That pattern continues for the rest of the race, we switch places every cross street and it worked. We did it and we survived.
Everybody knows, CT is tougher. There isn't a second, since I've known her where I've ever thought different or wondered. It's simply fact. This is the course that cemented that for me a few years ago when I saw her do the whole thing, in horrible conditions, and look like she could still do more carrying me if she had to. Also the moment I thought to myself, don't ever fight this girl! On a day neither of us were really prepared, it felt good to step up and help out when she wasn't feeling it. 9 out of 10 times, make that 999 out of 1,000 times it will always be her, but today was my day to help the team of us.
Yeah and team youngsters crushed us, but we bonded more and appreciated what we accomplished more today.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
"Do you want a flu shot?" The doctor asks. Well, really it's a PA asking me that, can't afford real doctors. A PA? What is that, Practically Almost, Probably Assuming, Phony A-hole? Yeah, I'm going to take advice from somebody younger who is basically doing intern work.
Fast forward a couple weeks, one miserable week of feeling like complete garbage with the highlight story is waking up in a pool of sweat on the kitchen floor after passing out and crashing into the corner counter resulting in a nice size gash in my shoulder. As if the body aches weren't bad enough, add back pain to the symptoms. Oh, and lets not forget the bruise to the ego as CT is constantly reminding me that I could pass out at any time now. Like I'm some kind of walking hazard. Okay, the flu got me.
Fast forward a couple more weeks. That flu, it's gone, but yet it's still here and it's not CT reminding me I could pass out at any time. Prior, provided I am running my normal pace, it's not much effort to keep going and going. The only real limits were running out fuel or hitting the boredom wall. After this battle with the flu, things have completely changed. It honestly feels like real effort simply doing six miles at my normal pace. Getting to double digits, I'm completely spent. It's an awful feeling, don't understand, and what's worse it hasn't seemed to get any better.
Training has basically come to a complete stop. The goal was to do that Ultra race again in about a month and a half. There's no way. That race about killed me last year and I put in a ridiculous amount of miles preparing for it. One battle with the flu and it's derailed that goal.
Today, I stand at the starting line of the race that is built for me, the Winter Blast and the race I PR'd last year. No glimmers of hope of pulling off last year's performance today. In fact, I'm honestly worried about the distance. The way I've been feeling at or around miles eight lately, knowing thirteen is what's needed, seems daunting.
Take it easy, run it slow, that's all that's running through my mind. As I try to mentally prepare for what's coming. As I look over, I see a woman taking a picture of a runner and it kind of clicks that "hey, I know her, but from where?". Normally, I'm a bit runner stupid late in run, but today it's already to that point before the race has even started. Damn, flu! Few more seconds, it dawns on me, she's the wife the neighborhood kid. Sure enough, look over and there's my kid neighbor standing right next to me (okay, he's grown up some). I'm going to call him Fuel.
Memmmmmories, goes the gun.Fuel and I exchange pleasantries during the initial surge of runners. He's really improved over the past few years. It started with the hometown 5K, he always told me his goal was to keep me in sight as long as he could. Every year, he's got closer and closer. Fuel has caught a bit of the runner bug (far different than the flu). His goal is to run a Half Marathon every month for the year and he happened to pick Winter Blast as his February race. Didn't expect to catch up with him (in conversation) much before he dusted is old neighbor, but we ended up doing the whole race side by side.
How did I come up with the name Fuel for him? One of my earliest memories of him was the scare he put into the whole neighborhood when as a baby he drank pretty much all the kerosene from a lamp. Luckily, I wasn't babysitting at the time, but I remember the stories that his diapers reeked of kerosene for weeks afterward. Personally, can imagine it tasted good, but that didn't stop him. The fact it didn't kill him, already that proves he'll make for a good runner.
On a day CT was out sick herself, my training and confidence seemed wavering, Fuel is exactly what I needed to help me get through this race. Speaking of history, I may have to retire my shoes early.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
All motivation has been lost. Didn't do any of the run camps this summer and found it hard to get out there and do it. Before I knew it, it was time again, Marathon time. Out of curiosity, checked how many miles of training I dedicated to the past few years previously training for this Marathon, the result almost three hundred less miles! Ugh.
Marathons always have a certain level of nervousness associated with them. Today, is a whole new level. I'm sure most would expect the distance to be the biggest concern, but the head game is hoping not to have my worst Marathon time.
Crack goes the gun, will my untrained legs be next? Going out a my normal pace would lead to certain disaster, knew I had to dial back. Four miles in, the temp was in my favor, figures the year I don't train. I was trailing the pace group that I would normally start either with or slightly in front of. That alone was a moral victory, that they were still within eyesight.
By mile ten, sped up enough to be in the pace group. Up until this point, didn't even need any water because of how cool it was, but also knew it wouldn't last for much longer because it was warming up.
Mile sixteen started the dreaded stretch. It's a pretty trail, but feels more like a death march. Entering it, always brings back bad memories and at this point, the feelings of lack of training really started. Is this what it feels like taking out a loan you know you can't repay back? Borrowed time. Mile eighteen as much as I resisted, the end was approaching. Made it to mile twenty before the walk of shame started. That's when I really shut it down. Bye pace group.
The remaining six miles were a mix of walking, trotting, soul searching, cursing the lack of training. Crossing the line resulted in a bit of surprise too. For as bad as I expected it could have been, it honestly wasn't THAT bad. Squeaked in under 3:40:00, which I've trained and done worse than that!
Lesson here, didn't enjoy being un-trained. The fact that I somehow pulled it off doesn't change that I told myself, won't be doing this again!
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The Bug (aka my niece) has a goal of running a 5K every month the rest of the year, maybe her life, anyway some duration. She's also been dying to get a medal. While it's unusual, it's not out of the question for 5K's to hand out finisher medals. As if it were a sign, she found a 5K that not only had a medal, but also happened to have penguins on it, so of course we had to do it.
This race just so happens to be in the one place nobody really wants to go, Detroit. When I think of vacation, the cesspool of Detroit ranks about dead last. Even our car doesn't like D-Town, the last time returning with a broken window and a damaged door after getting broken into. Ugh, the things I do for the women in my life. Well, if you are going to make the commitment, might as well attempt to make the best of it. Let me get my mace ready, and by that I mean stopping taking showers.
Being in the area, might as well check the sport situation in an attempt to make things better. Sure enough, my favorite sports team is playing football. Downhill's favorite baseball team is playing, even though we are in the cesspool, the water is at least only murky. Because we don't go often, CT cleared me to get "good" tickets for the games. With that bonus, thought finding a cheap hotel would be good, until I read the first review complaining about bedbugs. Yeah, what was I thinking? The cesspool, a cheap hotel, bedbugs were probably the least of the worries! Executive decision time, time to upgrade the hotel as a surprise.
The Big House was awesome! It wasn't as if they were playing a good team, but that certainly helped get the seats that we got. 109, 295 people and we were in the second row. Probably, will never get seats like that again. Also helped that an acquaintance threw a tailgate party beforehand to sweeten the deal.
The surprise was staying on top of the cesspool. Forty two floors up, should be much too high for bedbugs, right? After a toast of Kzoo wine, it was off to the Tiger's game. In true Tiger fashion, one pitch, one swing, they were down one nothing. My Dad would be so proud. It didn't get much better the rest of the night with the Tigers stinking up the field. At least, we had a great time in our section. One of the highlights was the kid telling the bullpen pitchers for the other team they stunk. Two minutes later, a home run ball lands in the bullpen (not the Tiger's either) and that same kid asking them for the ball, only to hear the one pitcher actually calling him out "hey, weren't you just the kid who was trash talking us?" There's a lesson there kid.
CT and I should be doing more miles for the race we have coming up next month. It's been a challenge to be motivated, so when I signed us up for the 5K, noticed they also had a 10K and if you did both they also had awards for combined times. Strolling up to the start, just going to assume we look like seasoned runners (as opposed to the guy in a full Captain America costume, with matching car, and entirely way too tight shorts) to get asked by a woman our strategy for doing both races. Part of me wanted to say, "run them as fast as we can", simple as that. She seemed most concerned with the down time between the two races asking if she should keep running between them to stay loose. Seemed like too much over thinking too me, cross the line, rest, line up again, do it again. CT and I did discuss prior that it's probably not best to go all out in the 5K and leave some in the tank to avoid burning out for the 10K.
What sound does a penguin make? Well, do that for the starting sound. First mile, if anything I'm consistent. Every 5K this summer, the first mile has been 6:17. While it should be faster, won't complain much considering there hasn't been much training. By the time mile two clicked, could feel the choice of either fighting to push hard or relax, went with the latter. It pains me to let people pass, but in the final mile a handful went by. Seeing the final results, it was apparent that relaxing did cost a spot to finish third in my age group. Still, that's respectable, but outside getting an award because this race only gave awards two deep.
The thought to keep moving never crossed my mind after finishing. Instead, I went right to the ice bucket the volunteers were handing drinks from and grabbed ice to cool down. They said there would be a charge for that, which I replied with something like "my wife will be crossing the line soon, she'll play, she always has my money anyway", which they all seemed to enjoy. Sure enough CT crossed with a second place finish for herself.
After relaxing and watching Downhill and Buggy finish, CT and I wandered to the starting line with about ten minutes to spare only to find out they moved the start time back a half hour. Waiting that extra time, my legs did feel heavier. My closing comment to CT was "not sure how this is going to go". Certainly didn't have any higher expectations of doing any better than a training 10K.
Penguin noise start times two. Even though it was later and it did feel like the sun was beating down at the end of the 5K, it actually felt more comfortable to run. Every mile that went by, expected to see the wheels coming off based on the mile times, but they never did. Ran a very consistent and in my opinion, better run than my 5K. Somehow it felt much easier than the 5K.
The results of the weekend, CT got 2nd, 1st, and overall 1st in the combined. Myself, ended up 3rd, 1st, and 2nd overall in the combined, for a total of seven medals between the two of us. Throw in a couple games, a nice hotel and fun the family, it was a very full weekend. Oh, and the Bug got her penguin medal.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
It's time, time for the race I love to hate. This year, has extra incentive because the timing conflicts with my hometown race. Even though part of my says go defend your title, the torture that this race inflicts on me wins out. To the woods we go.
This race was going to be all about redemption this year. Last year's finish still leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and I don't like it. Waiting for the start, found myself getting very irritated at myself for having redemption as my primary goal, by not putting anywhere close to the effort needing to ensure that would happen. Something happened this summer and I lost almost all motivation to work. The weather has been awful and that's my primary excuse, but really it just comes down to probably doing too much earlier in the year, which has only burnt me out. The more I thought about it, the more mad I got at myself. How old am I again?
As I'm having my little tempter tantrum, found out that based on my bib, somehow I got placed in the second wave. My simple tantrum went full on nuclear. Knowing that I didn't put forth the training to ensure a better finish is now compounded by the fact of being in the second wave. On a road race, this wouldn't make any difference at all because it's all about the chip time, which is the same here as well, but this being a tail passing is at the mercy of the terrain and the person in front. All I can envision is being stuck behind people and having to spend tons of extra energy getting around them that I now had no chance to earn my redemption.
By the time it was time to start the second wave, picture my head, bright red, opening up to release steam "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!" like a teapot! There was 15 minutes between starts. Didn't count anybody that started in my wave, but at about the two mile mark, I began catching and passing people from the other wave. Two, four, five, seven, nine. Some were curious and heard the Anger Train coming and moved out of the way. Most didn't. Then it became tactical calculating when to spend energy to dodge by blazing a new path, slowing down to wait for a wider section, or fighting the urge to push them down.
I do love running and there is something about this trail run that I especially enjoy. Physically, I know I was under-trained, but the anger provided some much needed fuel. Fifteen, twenty, thirty. Sometime after thirty people passed, I stopped counting. By this point enough people were passed that I was capable of catching. Mile wise, it was probably about mile Ten in the most difficult section of the rolling hills. Honestly, there was a bit of surprise that I made it this far with my lack of training. Either the anger evaporated, or maybe the anger fuel was on empty, but I could feel myself getting tired with a surge of don't care anymore. Proof of that mentality, first time ever peeing during a race. Oh and I don't mean stopping and taking care of business. Yes, you the reader are going to get treated to all the details! Choosing an incline made the most sense, so next big hill, shorts pulled to the side and away she goes. Now, for my first attempt at something like this, I think I pulled it off like a pro. For the most part very accurate, nicely timed, and only slight over spray on one leg. Top of the hill, finished, slide the shorts back and back in the game without hardly even a pace change. You the reader, curious about which leg? What I did after? Did I tell any of my team they were riding with somebody who peed on their leg? Maybe someday.
Did I pass my Anger Management class? Hard to say. Crossing the line, it wasn't much, but I did improve on last year's time. Winning does solve almost all problems. Being in wave two, figured there was zero chance I'd be able place, yet somehow ended up first in my age group. Ultimately, still wanted a much better time, but being forced to stress over something that was completely out of my control and fighting through it, I'll take as a successful lesson. When in doubt, take a run in the woods sometime, that's my high dollar therapy solution. Might not fix all the problems, but it will tire you out to not care as much.