Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crystal Springs Trail Half Marathon

Oh running races, how I try to avoid  LOVE you so!  I didn't grow up a runner, although I "ran" in high school and college, I also smoked more cigarettes per day than I ran miles.  So as you can imagine, when I first started in triathlon, I was doing AWESOME until the run, where I would promptly get passed by all of the gazelles.  And while I may not be Miranda Carfrae just yet, my running has definitely progressed.  Last year though I thought that it was the year to BUST through that 3:30 barrier in my ironman marathon...having some oh so close with multiple 3:33's...this should be a no brainer, right?!! I did my treadmill sessions, long runs...all indicators pointing to having that 3:30 fall by the wayside and 3:2x appearing.  Well, I may have broken 10 hours in Kona in October, but I was unable to break 3:30 on the marathon.  So coaches order he may have mentioned running races last year was to start to do run races every weekend possible.  Last Saturday was my first opportunity and I decided on a great local trail run half marathon.

After swimming, I headed to Peet's collected my pre-race coffee, ate a Tram bar (have you found these yet?  I picked some up during my Kona build and have been digging them ever since!) and then registered for my race.  You could pick me out of the "runner" crowd right away...I was severely over dressed!  The real runners were in shorts, tank tops and gloves.  People, it is only 45* out!  I was in capris, a short sleeve top with a long sleeve over it, Muscle Milk Visor, and some sunnies...I think I forgot that the entire race was under a canopy of trees! needless to say, they may have been in the correct attire and by mile 3 i was trying to run and strip at the same time! I didn't want to start RIGHT at the front, as if you will reference the paragraph above, I am not a runner by nature.  We get started and this race happens to go up one of the best bike climbs in the area...a bike climbs that takes me 34-45 minutes depending on the day...so it was 6 miles up, then another 1.2 miles up and across and THEN we would get to FLY down the mountain home to the finish line.

I started to pass a few gals a few miles in and told myself on the uphills to just keep moving and try not to keel over from such a high HR and I would do like I do in any race, be the tortoise and make it to the line ahead of some folks.  I had ZERO intention of winning, but the night before, Mark had told me I need to go out there and try to win...um...love you husband but have you seen my running pedigree?  A few friends were out on the race course and at the turn around told me that the first place gal was only about 30 seconds up...and when I saw her after the turn, I was able to start thinking...ohhh, maybe, JUST maybe if I work REALLY hard, I can catch her.  The pace down the mountain was high and it's single track so I was trying to race, not fall over and trip and fuel all at the same time.  I made the pass of a few guys and was finally at mile 9 hot on the heels of #1 gal.  I decided it was now or never, only 3 miles to go...time to pass and go for broke.  Immediately I thought to myself, ohhhhh this may have been too early- this hurts- what if I can't hold the pace?!!  We ran closely for the next mile until the terrain flattened out a bit and had a few rollers.  I could hear her breathing was more labored than mine and just thought, keep pushing the pace and she will hopefully crack, she's having to work harder than you are...at this point, my legs almost buckled beneath me as the ground tilted slightly uphill.  Silly trail running, you actually have to pay attention to what you're doing with your feet ;) Thankfully, I was starting to open a gap, and with two miles to go, I was on my own and had heard that I was the first gal.

1st Run Race Hardware
WOOO HOOO!  Really, I just crossed the finish line as the overall female winner?  And did you say I set a new course record by over a minute?  There wasn't much time to spare, as less than a minute later, 3 women rolled in together.  We congratulated each other, and the gal who was ahead of me most of the morning told me "well played"...I told her that I was worried I went too early!  The awards were almost immediately after we crossed the finish line...this is SO much more efficient than a triathlon! I took home a beautiful coaster and headed home.

I know that racing is harder than training, I get that...but because of all of the uphill an then 6 miles of downhill running, my legs were honestly more sore than any ironman I've done...It took me until Monday to stop lowering myself onto the couch with arm assistance!  Mark of course says this is "exactly what we wanted to happen" and that we "need to do it again soon"...my quads may not feel so passionately about the next running race or love him at the moment!




Next up is the coast ride...375 blissful bike miles with friends!

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