Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost Dutchman Race Report

35:25 - 2nd in Age Group - 25th Overall

This weekend was huge. Friday was spent on the slopes of northern Arizona and Sunday I was lining up for the Lost Dutchman race in Apache Junction, AZ just east of Tempe. My legs were feeling pretty good despite having been skiing for the first time since I was a kid; I was definitely sore. I've never thought of myself as a distance runner and didn't have any expectations for the race on Sunday except to push hard and have a good time. I used this strategy last year in the Chickasaw Trail Run and turned it into a 2nd place AG finish. I see a pattern here....

The Race:
It was a gun start without chip timing and we were late so I was at the back of large pack of racers. It was cold. As soon as the gun went off I started sprinting through the crowd trying to get out in front before the course went off-road and we hit the singletrack. I was feeling strong, despite having a hard time with the cold air on my lungs. At mile 1 my pace was 7:35 and I was surprised at how easy it felt to be on that pace.

I decided to push a little harder and stay focused on my breathing so I didn't blow up later in the race. At mile 2 I was thinking how nice it was to only have to run and how rarely I ever get to feel this fresh during a race. The pack had thinned out at this point and I was picking people off one by one. At mile 2.5 I hit the turn-around and had to deal with some oncoming race traffic on a narrow section of trail. Slowing down here made it hard to pick up the pace again when the trails separated at mile 3. Miles 4 and 5 felt long and I wanted to push a little harder, but felt like I was running a fine edge between having a solid race and losing the whole thing from pushing too hard.

I crossed the line in 35:25 on my watch and couple seconds later on the official "gun" time. 7:05 minute miles off-road on a crowded course. I'll take it! All the off-season 1/2 marathon training is paying huge rewards. It is still early in the season and I'm feeling stronger and fitter than almost any point last year. This weekend got me fired up for more races and showed me the kind of progress I've made as an endurance athlete. Seeing that kind of measurable progress is a powerful motivator.

I was so focused on eating protein pancakes at US Egg I said I didn't want to stick around for awards. Stupid. Now I totally wish I stuck around for the podium and plaque. I never wind up there and the one time I do I skip out. Lame.

Post race smiles
Sunrise driving in
breakfast of champions
Training update:
Friday - all day skiing
Saturday - rest
Sunday - 8k trail race, 20min trainer ride, core
Monday - lift chest / 1,100 swim (200, 16x50 25 free + 25 (back, breast, fly, free), 100 cool down

1 comment:

Zippy said...

Strong work on the race. Interesting how success feeds motivation.