Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Altitude, Arse Kickings & Cough Syrup...or..."Why I ran in somebody else's shoes."



The Cliff Notes: Got sick. Still ran. Got "lost" before run. Ran in demo shoes. Got whooped. Gave shoes back. Still sick.
The story: Here I am all excited because I'm signed up for four races ahead of time. Those that know me know this is rare. Because I've been so injury prone for the last few years, I generally don't sign up for any races ahead of time. It's caused me to miss a few that fill up, but on the other hand, I've also been burned by signing up far ahead of time and never making the start. So...as of last week I was signed up for the Burton Creek 10*k, The Run to Squaw next week, The (Truckee) Firecracker Mile on 7/4, and Blood, Sweat, & Beers a couple weeks later. I guess I was just excited to be racing into summer that I may have gotten carried away.
My last two races, both short and fast (as well as paved and at sea level) were probably my two best of the year. I knew hills (specifically climbing) were not my strength going into last week's Burton Creek Trail Run, but given my recent fitness and the fact that only one person was within 4 minutes at this race last year (even with Kirk & I's 900m detour), I thought I had a chance at defending. Then I got the black lung (ala Derek "freak gasoline fighting accident" Zoolander). I'd had a head cold and sore throat before Fitch Mountain, but got a repreive a couple days before the race, and felt great. But come Tuesday, the sore throat was replaced with the black lung. As of Friday, I was on what I'm assuming is the world's best cough syrup (since it cost $22.75 for a tiny arse bottle with insurance) and as of today, a fast acting antibiotic in case it's bronchitis or some other lung infection.
Anyway, I didn't have a lot of mojo going into the race, but like last year, all of TLD (Turi, Dave, Amber & myself) were signed up, and there's no way I'm backing out of a race if there's even a glimmer of hope I'll run well. We carpooled up plenty early with a cooler full of food & beer for after. Salomon was the sponsor this year (last year Turi ran in a pair of Merrell demos). I'd packed my New Balance MT101's to race in, but was intrigued by the look of the Salomon FellCross, an agressively lugged cross country runner.
They were lighter than any other Salomon I've ever worn, though almost 2 ounces heavier than my New Balance, but the tread was unparraleled. They skipped over rocks and trees, and through the mud, with quite a bit of agility. So, I warmed-up in a pair. Because the female contingent of TLD insists on "before and after" race pics of the team, I skipped my planned loop warm-up for an out and back. The problem was, I need a mulligan on the "back" portion of said warm-up. I took a wrong turn (shocking I know) at an unknown fork, and ended up hitting road about 10 minutes til 9:00. Not the road the race site was on. Not the road that hits that road, or the one that hits that road. After going the direction I thought would get me back to the race before it started (not so much) I waved down a passing car and shared my...um...dilema. 3 minutes til go time. Frick! Anyway, they were nice enough to give me a quick lift, but also didn't know quite where in the hell we were going. Eventually (9:02 on my watch) they dropped me at the 7-11 I knew lead to the race, so I ran it in the rest of the way, throwing my heavier gear at Turi's car as I passed, yelling at the Salomon guys "heycanIwearyourshoesintheracethanks" and getting to the line at 9:07! I figured I was spotting everyone a few minutes, was still planning on running hard anyway, but to my surprise there were still people milling around the start. Apparently the marathoners & halfers took off at 9:00, with the short-coursers going 12-13 minutes later. NEVER have I been so happy for a late start. Others weren't so happy, since the races were all advertised to go off together like last year, so some people had warmed up and stood around for 10-15 minutes. Not me, but I wouldn't have missed the stress from thinking I missed the start.
The race itself was pretty uneventful. The 5k (3.8 miles) & the 10k (7.6, two loops) took off together. One rather tall gentleman (pictured below after his victory) took off like it was a flat 5k, with myself and one other guy not-quite-chasing him down. We broke away from the pack pretty quick, and after the first climb the lead stabilized. Until the big climb that is. The other two (the eventual 5k & 10k winners), who were even by now, pretty much dropped me for good on the first major climb. It basically wrecked me for the day because it happened so easily and my body had no response. I ran in no man's land in second. Nobody in sight in front or behind for most of the first loop and none of the second, save for the marathoners we caught and 5kers we lapped. It was hard to push past the edge of pain, being alone (and mentally broke). I hit lap one just under 25 minutes, and lap two just over, for a 50:27...three minutes off first, and eight minutes ahead of second, with a whole bunch of runners finishing between 58-61 minutes. Last year's splits were 25 (a shorter loop but with an off-course detour of 3 1/2-4 minutes) and a 23.
Amber ended up 3rd in her AG in the 7.6 miler, with Turi (2nd/6th) & Dave running the 14.6 mile half-marathon. We enjoyed our picknick lunch, but I beleive I was in bed just after the kids at 8-8:30, and I'll be repeating that again tonight. The most frustrating part is that my legs don't even feel taxed today. For a race that hilly, they should be trashed, but my lungs just didn't let me go hard enough to really pound (though I sure felt like I was going hard at the time). I'll get another chance on a paved course at Squaw this week, but as of today, I'm still hacking and losing my voice. Hopefully, the antibiotic is better than the cough syrup :) So far 34 sucks...sick on my Bday and Father's Day??? C'mon man...

5 comments:

slowrunner77 said...

the funny thing? I could have been 7 minutes late and still finished in the same dang spot!!

wife said...

Too bad....I hope that Squaw is better for you this weekend. And you get to enjoy the super secret plan.....

Turi said...

I'm just glad the half marathon took off earlier, so I didn't have to stand around and worry about whether you were going to make the start or not -

SnowLeopard said...

Yes. You still kick-arse even when you get lost. And I AM sorry you got lost in your pre-race warm-up. That part's not my fault though. ;) Hey, did you see the race photos? You're on the first page! Good one too. That guy I almost ran over at the end got a couple nice shots of us together as well (my bib # is 606). Thanks for running me in- I shaved off prolly an extra minute with your help. :)

wife said...

good point Turi. Glad I wasn't there or I would have been TOTALLY stressing out.