I decided to sandwich a trail run in between two ski days.
Friday Dec. 27th= Ski day #1
|Lor and me on the chairlift.|
Saturday Dec. 28th= Trail run sandwich
|Beautiful Bluebird day|
Sunday Dec. 29th= Ski day #2
|5 Mile Run|
|Landon, Randy, Aaron, and me.|
For our last run of the day, Aaron suggested that I follow him into a gully and ride some more technical terrain that was alongside a popular run on the mountain. I said no, but he insisted that I was up for it due to my progression over two days. I followed him, crashed 3 times, and buggered up my right thigh/quad/femur pretty good. I also whacked my noggin on the ground taking a header into the snow. Scrambled eggs, anyone? Thank goodness for snow helmets.
2 days before my first XC trail race of the year.
I rested the 30th and 31st, and just barely signed up for the trail race series at 6pm on the 31st, calling in after the Peninsula Runners had closed. A gentleman there was gracious enough to take my registration. $45 for 4 races in the series is the best deal around for some competitive trail races.
I managed to have a great final week of December: virtually no vegetables in my diet, replaced with beer and other crap, I stopped drinking water for tea and coffee, and fell off my wagon completely.
New Years Eve was a mess of a steak, salad, garlic break, scallops and bacon, chips, and 5 beer, with a 1:30 am bedtime. The perfect set up for Resolution Run.
I rose at 8am and slowly made my way around the house to get ready. The usual breakfast done, and off to Crescent Park I went. I showed up to see Mike Murphy, Corinne and Brad Issel, Darren Walton, and Spencer Bass lining up. Also, Graham Laurie was there too. I have not seen him in about 9 months since the last trail race series. The guy is quick--I wish he would race more.
I took a 4k warm-up on the course and tried to loosen up the legs from the days of skiing. The leg felt fine after the warm-up, but my chest was tight and I did not feel like pushing a hard effort on New Years Day. I met Mike at the start line as he was doing some pre-race strides, so I tagged along with him. I toed the line beside Mike and Graham. With those two beside me, I had hoped to stay with Graham, and I knew that Mike had the race in the bag. With a 10 second countdown, we were off, and I was sandwiched between Mike and Graham as we ran across the meadow in a line of three.
Into the trees, Mike took the lead, and I followed Graham. The three of us put a bit of distance on the race. At 1k, I passed Graham thinking that he would be hot on my heels.
|Just before I make the pass on Graham. Shari Mallinson Photo Credit.|
I never saw him again. I expected to hear his footsteps right behind me up the first hill. All I heard was my own breath. This was just wonderful. First, I take the worst preparation of all time for a race. Second, I find myself in no-man's land between Mike Murphy and the rest of the race. I gathered myself, and attempted to keep a steady pace. This was where the positive self talk came in. I kept telling myself to not worry about Mike, but rather keep a keen eye on the chasers, and push, push, push. In fact, early on I decided to ease off and let the group catch me going into the second lap. The mental battle was the hardest part of this race for me.
|Crescent Park Resolution Run Elevation Profile.|
|Heading into lap 2, the gloves came off. Shari Mallinson Photo.|
5k: Not caught.
6k: Still in second.
2k to go: I look behind and see Darren Walton (no Graham Laurie), and another gentleman running with Darren. I knew that into the last 2k, I had wet grass to cross, a slight uphill meadow into a downhill run-out to the finish. In the downhill, I kicked out the jam just a little more knowing that the tall guy was following me at about 7 seconds. I tried to push him just a little more to dust him off.
It worked! I came sprinting down the hill, into the finish chute. I let up my sprint for the line knowing that I had locked up second. Crossing the line, I gave a slight double fist pump, then knelt on the ground in a heap, relieved of the stress my body was just put through. Darren Walton came in right after me, at about 10 seconds (so I thought--he actually gained a bit more ground on me as I let up my sprint, only 4 seconds back), passing tall dude-Ryan Cansey for third place.
Had I just faked my way through an XC 8k to finish 2nd overall?
|Forevermore, I will go by the name "Joshia".|
|5.0 TE on Jan 1!|
In the condition that I have been in over the last week since the start of Christmas break, there is no way that I should have run like I did today. I was shocked to pass Graham, and have him not respond. I was surprised to run in front of the group and have them not catch me.
|Here is the one of the reasons I was feeling so crumby. Flatline.|
This result is a personal course record for me. Prior results have me finishing as follows:
2014--31:14, 2nd Place Overall
2013--No race. Snow Cabin Vacation
2012--35:27, 26th Place
2011--34:12, 29th Place
I am super excited to finish 2nd to Mike, a runner and person that I respect and admire. Granted, many of the faster runners did not show up to this race. The gap between first and the rest of the race indicates that. This event proves to me that it is going to take a lot more of my mental reserve to get faster. My base fitness, even when I (somewhat) abuse my health, is such that I can consistently run sub 4 minute kms. Now I have to work on the speed endurance. January will be the month for that, building on what I have already done from my fall XC training/ races.
This race was a killer. I felt sluggish for the rest of the day and had muscle fatigue straining my legs. Some of that is residual from skiing, some of it is from not flushing out the toxic crap that I have ingested over the last 10 days, and most of it is from taxing myself something fierce. Nonetheless, this race activated a switch that I turned on in the midst of some terrible form.
|Ryan Cansey and Darren Walton, before Darren passed him in the final 500m. Shari Mallinson photo.|
Also, my rival and all around great guy Darren Walton turned out a heck of a run to finish 3rd. He was closer to me than I knew, only 4 seconds back. Way to go Darren!
Throwing caution to the wind and taking a flyer off the top of the race will (sometimes) make for a good result.
Results are here.
New Balance MT110--my go to race shoe: fast and light.
Sugoi Wallaroo sleeveless base layer
Salomon MYM50 longsleeve
Salomon Trail Short (Long)
Sole thin running socks
Suunto T6C w/footpod