Friday, July 10, 2009

Races and more races!

The last few weeks have been great in terms of weather in CO - it's been hot or it's been in the 70s - no real middle ground, but that's great for training if you can line it up so your hard workouts are during the cooler weather and your longer workouts are during the hotter weather.

After KS 70.3 I took some time to recover and absorb the race - my run legs came around quick, and my swimming has maintained but the bike legs have been a bit of a mystery. I can ride at threshold (240w) without breaking a sweat, but I can't get my legs to go faster - weird. Two weeks after KS I raced the Cheyenne Sprint in WY - the objective for this race was to 'blow myself up' - yeah - you read that correctly. :) My coach, Danny Suter, asked me a week before the race: "Have you ever blown up in a race?" My reply: "Nope, not really." Danny's reply was, "Well we need to find your limits!" Ugh, ok. Well I will give it my best! Danny told me to go so hard during the race that I want to go to sleep when the race ended. I think that's how I felt at mile 1 of the run, but I digress. The sprint was 600 swim, 12m bike, 5k run. I took the swim out hard, actually very hard, and maintained this effort until I stood up. I could barely run to T1. Oops, might have overdone it already! Cheyenne is located at 6200 feet - maybe not a big deal for most non-mortals coming from Boulder, but for me it might as well been 9500 feet. So, I staggered into T1, got my wettie off, and proceeded to crush myself on the bike. I stayed aero, kept the chain in the big ring, and went as hard as I possibly could. I didn't look at the clock, watts or anything else. I just went hard. I got passed by one guy- the guy who won the race - he started behind me and I thought I was having a great bike split until I had to look at the avg power in the final mile of the bike: 238 watts. WTF! It felt like 275. I was at a higher altitude so maybe that was a factor? I think so. :) Off the bike I go and onto the run - I am running hard, as hard as I can. First mile feels fast - 6:25 fast - maybe 6:20. I look at my watch 6:50! WTF again. Next mile I have a guy on my heels, he sounds fast, he's light - he wants to pass. I don't let him. I keep him at bay until 2.5 miles. Once he passes I push to keep him in sight. I do. I hit the 3 mile mark and he's still just ahead of me - but he's too far out of reach and he beats me to the tape and nabs 3rd overall (he started behind me too). So, my bike and run stunk - I was probably still tired, but I definitely went as hard as I could. I ended up 8th overall, and won my AG by 4-5 minutes. It was a small race. Don't get me wrong, it feels good anytime you win your AG, but when you don't perform up to your own standards, it's not easy to swallow.

Fast forward to July 4th in Crested Butte (CB). CO. I am on my way up to the town of Gothic (elevation of 9500 feet) on a school bus with 50 other runners - there are about 6 buses in all and we are all going to run the Gothic to CB 8.7m mini-marathon. I get to the start and see some friends from Boulder who are also running - they are all studs, having biked for hours on their mountian bikes. One of my friends, Cathy, even ran UP to the race start - 5 miles uphill! She is training for IMC and I'm sure she'll kill it this year.

The race course rolls for about 3 miles, plummets down for a bit, has a few rollers and then finishes on a slight uphill for the last mile. it starts at 9600 feet and ends at 8500 feet. I ran this race once before back in 2002 - I had biked 7 days across CO that year - and I was pretty trashed but still managed a top 10 overall. We'll see what this race brings today. The gun goes off and I slide over to the left where there is a huge gap and I go. I am running fast and I ignore my Garmin, my HR, and other runners. I take the hills super easy, work the downhill and flat sections and maintain effort, not wanting to spike my HR. Once we hit the downhill I am just going flat out as fast I can can. I go through 4 miles in 29:00, right on 7:15 pace. 'Not bad' I think and I keep it rolling. After mile 4 we hit the bike path which is a biatch and there is no other way to say it. It's all cement, it's steep, it's down, it's back up, it's twisty and it's anything but easy. At about 7 miles, I get passed by two females, one of who I had passed in the beginning of the race. They go by me pretty strong, but I decide to hang on, and just push the effort up a notch. We hit the 8 mile mark and now we are back in town on the streets - thankfully. Solid, straight ground. I push hard to stay with the two women and as we turn the last corner about 200m from the finish, I pass one of the girls and work hard to catch the 2nd girl. I am pushing to my absolute max, but just couldn't get her. She beats me by about 4 secs. Ugh. Overall, I end up 20th and my time is 1:01:47 - 7:02 pace. Once I get home, I look up my 2002 time - oy - 58:40 and 6:40 pace. Looks like I have some work to do! After the race I am sore for days and days. I swim, bike and I run very easy to loosen up. Finally a good whirlpool and massage make me feel normal again. So...

On the 9th of July, I jump into the Boulder Stroke and Stride race - 750m swim / 5k run. My only objective is to correct my swim navigation problems that plagued me at the KS and WY races. I do a short swim warm up since I won't be running hard tonight - my plan is to cap the HR at 140. The gun goes off and I start out fast, pull up next to a guy, get on his hip and then he falls off pace. I push on, sighting, pulling, staying on course and working my way through the wave of swimmers in front of me. Finally I break free of the crowd at the 2nd turn buoy and head back to shore - except - except I cant' see anything! The run has pretty much made everything one big bright glare frosted donut - ugh. I swim in the general vicinity of the finish and eventually I can make out an orange flag on the beach. Phew I am on course. :) I stand up and look at my watch - 12:31 WTF? - I figure I am top 10 out of the water -I walk up to transition - and take off my wettie and put on my shoes and Garmin - it turns out I am in about 3rd or 4th place. I start the run easy - my HRM says my HR is 154, so I back it off. I run easy to the top of the hill and then focus on keeping the HR down, under 140. I can tell 140 isn't going to happen so my goal is 150 - that's 10-12 beats below LT and keep it there. This takes discipline, especially as people pass me on the run. Ugh. I go through mile 1 at 7:22 and half way in 11:27. I keep the HR in check and end up running 23:19 overall - avg HR 152 (right on the money!) and I end up 8th overall. I did a 2 mile cool down with Melissa, ate some pizza and went home. Good day of training.

Up NEXT: Boulder Peak Triathlon - July 12th

After that: 5430LC and then some time to get back on the Power Cranks and more running.

Thanks to all my supporters:
Craig at Max Muscle Boulder, Danny Suter at BPN, and Infinit Nutrition!

Until next time,