Sunday, January 26, 2014

World's latest/worst race recap

(I started writing this in November, added a little in December, and finally finished it in January. It's really not very good, so for anyone that wants to give up 5 minutes of their life reading it, here you go.)

Results: 3rd female (see previous post)

I want to start by saying that we did not go to Hawaii simply to run. Actually, it originally started as a family vacation, and the XTERRA Trail World Champs race happened to be the same weekend. Eventually, nearly everyone on the trip (with the exception of my sister's husband and the kids) ended up running one of the race distances, from the 5k to the half-marathon. Since I had planned all year to run a fall marathon, I originally toyed with the idea of running the 10K with my Dad. However, after Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, my legs seemed to come back pretty quickly, and I figured I could still keep the race honest, and give it a good effort even with only being three weeks removed from the marathon.

I did exactly one workout and one long run (over 13) to prepare for this race. This was intentional so that I could be as fresh and recovered as possible. By the time Sunday arrived I was ready for the effort (so I though) and, ready to get the race out of the way so I could enjoy the rest of the vacation.

The Race
I felt no stress the night before, and in an entire year with over 15 races, I finally slept through the night with no trouble at all. Because Houston and I were both running, that morning we both had to warm-up and watch Maddy until my family arrived at the site. Therefore, I had a terrible race warm-up, but being that it was nearly 75 degrees at start time, I didn't worry to much about it. I figured I would use the opening miles to get into the grove.

Unlike previous trail races there was no wave start, so when the gun went off it was a little bit chaotic. I recognized Lucy Smith right away and followed her lead. Not only was she last year's winner, but she only finished a few seconds in front of me at National Cross last fall. I was confident I could stay with her.

(((Anyone reading this that saw pictures or results will probably notice that Houston finished one second behind me. Yes, we ran the race together, something that couples sometimes do. He didn't pace me or coach me through it, instead he simply wanted to run with me having never ran a trail race. He registered for the race just like everyone else.)))
What we really went to Hawaii for? Vacation! Me and my little pumpkin walking near the North shore of Oahu

The race felt slow after the first kilometer, and before I knew it, I was leading. For a few miles I thought I had it, my legs felt fabulous and the hills were no match for them. I could hear Houston breathing down my neck, and thought for a few seconds, "maybe this is too fast and I should slow down." Eventually, we hit about the 5k mark and I realized, I did in fact go out to hard. I started to feel the marathon in my legs and my breathing labored. It was about to be a very long day.

I was passed by the girl that would eventually win the race at about 6k. I was devastated but I knew I had to slow down if I wanted to stay within the top three. This was about to be the longest (and hottest) trail race I had ever ran, and I wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible. By 11k the winner had already put 45 seconds on me. I was fading fast and my attitude was horrible. Just before 11k Houston and I were running up hill on a wide ATV path, my legs were aching badly and I was having a pity party. I barked out, "this sucks!" Houston said nothing and continued to run beside me. Finally we hit the single track trail and my mood improved. I realized that we were over half way there.

The big climb
At about 9ish miles there is a mile long climb that we were warned about. Having ran Mt. Cranmore I really wasn't worried about it, but I (once again) misjudged the fatigue in my legs and I hiked a good portion of it, much more than I had really wanted to. I cursed most of the way up, and was passed once again, this time by Lucy. There was no stopping her, she put about 2 minutes on me in the last 3 miles. I was now running scared in third.
We played on the beach every morning for an entire week. 

10+ to the finish
I was angry with myself for going out too fast and getting past by two ladies along the way. This was a novice move and one I haven't made since early this Spring. I knew that if I wanted to finish third I was going to have to dig deep. The lady in fourth was coming off a strong year on the track and if she could tell I was slowing down it would be all over. I started to really turn it over on the downhill, dropping Houston a few times. Every time we came to an uphill section I would still slow to the speed of snail, but my downhills were excellent. I was giving it my all on the downs.

From 10 miles until 13.1 miles I raced as hard as I could, I didn't feel confident I would finish third until the last 200m. I crossed the line happy and relieved. This crazy year of running and racing was finally over.

We spend the next few hours talking with some of the American folks we met at World Mountain Champs that had also flew to Hawaii for the race. We waited around for awards and then called it a morning. 

We spent the rest of the day playing on the beach in front of our beach house in Kailua, eventually taking a break for an ice cream cone at the convenient store about a mile from our rental. We stuffed ourselves with fresh fruit, got plenty sun burn, and eventually forgot about or running adventures that morning at Kualoa ranch.

It was, the picture perfect vacation. Sun, beach, sand, and end to my 2013 running season, one without a single PR, but with a mountain of awesome running experiences - a few medals stuffed in a drawer, a singlet with my countries name on's to exciting new changes in 2014.