This weekend was all about racing hard, training hard, and living better. I had a bad week motivation wise for training, so I was looking forward to having an awesome weekend. And I did.
Update: A couple of people have asked me who came closest to guessing. Appears it was Alexander Mervak who hit the time exactly. I’ll be making a double donation to the DREAM Foundation.
Friday night I headed over to Sis and Bru’s apartment for a dinner party with their friends. We ate dinner, and despite have numerous drinks offered, I limited my intake to a reasonable amount. Packed my bags, got my bike ready, and went to bed at the reasonable hour of 3ish. Woke up after a nightmare about coaching baseball and having an umpire yell at me. Bizarre, right?
Saturday – The Bike
I drove down to the Cape leaving at 6:30. This put me at my starting point early enough in the day that I’d hopefully avoid traffic, get done with my ride, and be able to recover for Falmouth on Sunday. A local speed demon, Jon Chesto, set me up with a good 60ish mile route that should cover my 3 hour workout perfectly. And it did.
Oops. See, there’s not supposed to be a single 7 minute interval over 225W, and no 40 minute interval over 210W. But since I didn’t know the area, I had my Garmin set to course mode most of the time so I couldn’t see what kind of watts I was putting out, only that I was above or below the window for a given interval. Me being me, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t below. So I didn’t. And instead, I wrecked my legs.
Afterwards, I stayed with some friends and went to pick up numbers for Falmouth, get some lunch, and take naps. I let one try out my Normatecs and she was psyched about it. Ended up crashing pretty badly Saturday night (my legs felt like lead and the insomnia of last week had left me exhausted and cranky) and ended up having my own plans (and perhaps throwing the plans of others out of whack). Potential violation of rule #1? Oops. Mistakes aren’t new to me, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy making them.
Falmouth Road Race Day
Up early, I watched a bit of the men’s Olympic marathon, starting shortly after Ryan Hall dropped out; his hamstring was tight. I’m curious whether he’s talked with his coach to rethink his training plan (I kid, I feel bad about him not being able to run… but I still think that his coaching strategy is a bit whacky) I was hoping it wasn’t a bad omen. I accidentally left my watch on the counter. Was this not my day?
We headed to the start in a cold rain. Shit. I don’t mind rain. But a cold rain when I have to wait an hour and a half? Sucks. We met up with my archfrienemesis/tallest gingerminion Matt Corr. We found a provisions store and stood inside out of the rain for a long time. 30 minutes before the start, I sat on the curb and just rested. 10 minutes before the start, I moved up to the third or fourth row in the corral. I figured that nobody would be such an asshole as to jog from that position. I figured wrong.
From the gun, I made it my goal to catch up to Matt as quickly as responsible/without blowing up (he was starting in the first corral; same start time, but a mass of people in front of corral 2, my corral). The start of Falmouth has rolling hills and I was able to keep Matt in sight and draw closer. My legs, despite the amount of work I put in the day before, felt like they had a bit of pop in them. I caught Matt between mile 1 and 2. Since he’s normally a lot faster than I am, I was worried that I had gone out way too fast; it turns out his achilles and soleus were really tight.
Coming out of the rolling section (around mile 3), Joan Benoit Samuelson caught up to me. We ran together for a while and I told her that I was pretending that everyone cheering for her was cheering for me too. I was struggling (this flat section was the same area I struggled in last year) and she eventually passed me (and beat me by 6 seconds… which holy shit I didn’t realize until just now). The next few miles are a blur of passing water station after water station trying to cool off and not shit my pants (what can I say? Running at the limit makes me feel like I need to). Every fiber in my body was yelling at me to slow down, but every neuron of desire and fear made me want to keep pushing. Is that a violation of rule 7? Maybe. But perhaps neurons are fibers too, so not every fiber was telling me no? The last hill was the hardest to overcome; I couldn’t stop, but I wanted to, badly. But I also wanted to beat last year’s time, and without my watch, I had no idea how close it would be at the end. Now, as it turns out, I would end up beating last year by 1:11 finishing with a 43:50. At the finish, I congratulated Joan on a great race, and she said “You made me run faster”. All I could think was that comment just made my year.
In the finishers area, I puked up some gatorade. First time I’ve ever puked during/after a race (I realize for some people that may not be a point of pride, but usually things are coming out the other way, so hooray for puking!). Then I went over to the waiting area on the hill, laid down, and proceeded to get sunburned on the exposed half of my body (oops). A number of people, upon seeing me lying down, would nudge me or ask others around me if I was ok. I was, but was just exhausted. And I still am: my body is exhausted, my mind is exhausted, and everything hurts. It’s bed time, or at least time to stare at the ceiling. Either way, an adventure of a weekend.
One final small success? I taught a young dog a trick I saw out in Portland: the nose bump (hold out your fist about waist high, say nose bump, and watch the dog bump your fist with its nose). It didn’t work 100%, but it was pretty cool when it did.