Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good Things Come in Threes

And since I consider 3 to be my lucky number, mainly because I was born on the 3rd day of the 3rd month, I thought that getting a bib number with 333 on it might just be a sign of good things to come.

I spent the latter half of this week kicking myself for registering for this race.  It was one week after I ran the T.O. Women's Half and I thought it might just be too much for me to handle.  Once again, the Specter of Self Doubt nagged at me all day Friday and Saturday.  My friend Linnea, who always manages to look at the positive side things said to me "Who cares, do what you can, go out burn some calories and get a tan."   Perfect advice.  

I had taken it relatively easy all week.  No weight workouts and just short intense runs (2 to be exact) a couple of short bike rides and a couple of swims.  All total I don't think I worked out more than a total of 4 hours.  Which for me is not a lot.  Normally I'm up around the 8 hour mark for a week.  But I figured my body needed the rest.  It didn't help that this week was also quite busy at work and that I either worked late or was out late every night this week.  For a creature of habit, this was not ideal.  But, there was nothing I could do about any of it.  I took it very easy on Saturday and kept off my feet for most of the afternoon. 

We got to the race site with 40 minutes to spare so I went out and did a short warm up run (8 minutes) and then waited in line for the loo.  I had a bit of time after to do another 2 minutes of pick ups.  My legs didn't feel great, but they didn't feel horrible either.   The temperature had risen to about 18 degrees at 7:30 am which meant that this was going to be a hot one.  Oh well, nothing I could do about that either. 

I said goodbye to Gary and wove my way up into the crowd to get as close to the start line as possible.  Which was a little challenging given that they narrowed it down with gates so it created a bit of a bottleneck.  Oh well.  As I stood there waiting, I felt a sense of calm wash over me.  This race didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.  It wasn't my A race.  It was a training race.  I wanted to see what I could do on tired legs.  Just how much I'd hurt and how I'd deal with that when that time came.

The gun went off and I shuffled my way through the starting gate.  There was a 5km that started at the same time as the 15km so it was a bit hairy for the first few km.  Of course, I flew out of the gate and started running 4:15 km's.  Ummm....yikes.  That hurt and I was gasping for air.  I finally managed to slow myself down and settle into some kind of rhythm by the 3km mark.  I felt crappy though.  Really really crappy.  I toyed with the idea of turning off at the 5km turn off but opted not to.  That would defeat the purpose of this race.


Just before 4km in I had my first bit of Roctane.  I had brought 2 with me and wasn't sure if I'd use both.  The way my legs were feeling at that point, I wish I had brought 3.  But alas.  I was going to have to make do with that I had.  Somewhere around the 7km mark, I actually started to feel good.  I had been trading spaces with another woman for about 2km.  I'd pass her a bit and then she'd surge ahead.  I'd catch her again and then she'd surge ahead again.  I wasn't going to play that game so I tucked in behind her as we climbed one of the many rollers on this course and stuck behind her until we hit the 8km mark.  I started to pick it up a bit here as I was feeling really good. 

It was at this point that I saw the first place woman heading back.  She had a HUGE lead.  I also thought this would be the perfect opportunity to see where I was in the pack.  Eventually I saw the second place woman.  Then the 3rd.  The 4th, 5th and 6th all ran by in a small pack and then I saw the 7th who was not too far ahead of me.  SWEET!  I was in 8th place.  I had no idea how close any of the other women were but I figured I'd catch a glimpse of them at the turnaround.  Sure enough, the woman I had dropped was there but she had fallen back a fair bit.  I noticed a few other ladies but no one really seemed to be gaining.  YEAH.

Until I hit the 10km mark and this little Asian woman passed me like I was standing still.  Holy smokes.  I'm not sure were she came from but I didn't have an answer for her.  At this point my legs were starting to scream at me.  I had slowed down a fair bit as well.  I had one Roctane left.  I decided to down the entire thing.  I figured worst case scenario I had 25 minutes left (if I slowed down to 5 minute kms).  I seriously thought about that.  I thought about stopping and walking.  I thought about giving up.  But...giving up is not my style.  I finish what I start.  I just had to suck it up and give 'er.

At 11km the course started to climb a bit and I struggled to keep going.  I shortened my stride a bit and pushed my shoulders back and lifted my head to look "up" the road.  This seemed to help somewhat.  I made it to 12km and grabbed some gatorade at the aid station.  Only 3 more km.  Less than 15 minutes.  Run through the pain.   Stay in the top 10.  Stay in the top 10.  That was my mantra. 

Just past 13km, the course goes uphill again.  I pushed hard going uphill.  I could feel that last big surge of adrenaline building in me.  If my legs had lungs, they would have been howling in pain.  They felt numb.  I was huffing and puffing.  I got to the top of that hill and turned the corner, knowing that I was on the road that went down to the finish line.  I could see the woman that passed me earlier up ahead.  I pushed a little harder.  I was spent.   I got close to her but ran out of real estate.   Oh well.  At least I was still in the top 10!

I found Gary and we wandered into the school to get some food, stretch and check the results.  I have a tough time guessing anyone's age just by looking at them but several of the women in the lead pack looked young.  The rest of them were probably around my age or older at least.   Turns out that only 3 of the women in the lead pack were younger than me.  The rest were my age or older.  Talk about a tough field.  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when Gary told me I was third in my age group!  333 race bib and a third place finish.  SWEET!  Gary went back and looked at the results again to see where the first, second and third overall women's finishers were and because one of them was in my age group, I got bumped up to second place as the race policy was that they didn't duplicate categories.  So since this woman got second overall, that took her out of first place in my age group and bumped the second place female up to first and me into second.  WOOOHOO!  My second podium of the season.  And on tired legs to boot.

Maybe there is something to all this racing after all.....

Me with my second place finisher's plaque.

Cute finisher's medal.


Stay tuned for next week's Woodstock Tri race report.  Or the Big Kennedy Showdown as I'm calling it.  Who will have the better run split?  Me or G?
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