Wow what a day! Thinking back to my race I know I have to improve on my swimming. Today's morning workout: open water swim. It's been raining for 5 days straight so lakes and ponds have cooled quite a bit, which didn't cross my mind when the alarm went off at 5 am. A little fuel then I pack myself in the lower half of my wetsuit and I'm out the door to a local swim hole. Quick fact I am the biggest baby when it comes to cold water, I take forever to get in and sometimes I don't get in at all. I make it such a huge process. I've been told a million times just jump in! I can't. So kinda half asleep I still don't think of how cold the water is. I wrestle into the top half of my wetsuit, after about 5 minutes of shaping it to my body. I step into the pond up to my calves, I have no idea what the temp is, but it's so cold I start to feel nauseous. There's no way I will succumb the rest of my body to this. I'm out! Plan B: the Royalty Health Club. Now my training swim time has been shortened so I make the most of it. I get 50 laps in, 5 each for warm up and cool down. 10 laps at 80% then sprint 5, repeat 3 times. 35 laps here is 1/2 mile making 70 a full mile. I'm out and headed back home, shower, eat a real breakfast then the long commute to work about 25 steps (I live at a cottage 30 feet from work).
Today is the last day of the Salomon Spring Trail Running Series here at Great Glen Trails. I have already missed two races so I have to run to be entered into the raffle. Not just any raffle, I could win a $140 pair of Salomon trail running shoes! The course is 3.2 miles. Toady is also the first day of the Red Jersey Cyclery Summer Mtn Bike Series-course: just over 9 miles. I can't miss either one. I'm out running the course by 3:40 at about 70-80%, have to save some for Red Jersey. I finish in 27 and change, my fastest is 25:39. Quick cool shower, some food, load my bike and sponsor board and I'm leaving the parking lot at 4:50, perfect! It's about a 20-25 min drive.
The first thing I do when arriving at a race-check out the competition. Now it's our nature to have a little judgdement of others by their clothing- Guilty. When I see a cyclist or mtn biker decked out in full spandex, wearing a bike kit (matching shirt and bike tights) I just assume they are good! Same thing, if they are wearing a cotton t-shirt, no spandex, aren't riding clipped in (like ski boots click into bindings, bike shoes clip into pedals-so your feet don't slip off) I just assume, well you know. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous to have your feet attached to your bike as you ride over rocks, roots, and through the woods at high speeds, but after a few falls you get used to it. Then it becomes second nature. Ok back to my judging, not a good idea, you never know what their athletic ablility is. I remember my very first mtn bike race. I'm at the line with the cotton t shirt, I look to my right and this girl is so decked out she even matches the color of her bike! Whoa, I wish I was as good as her! She takes off. I finished 4 minutes ahead of her.
There was a mix between spandexed racers and sporty ones, I never take my guard down. I'll just give my all and see what happens.
I register in the Expert category - 4 laps at 2.3 miles long. I didn't have enough time to pre-ride the entire course so 5 mins out and back will have to do.
It's a mass start mixed with Novice, Sport and Expert categories both male and female, so I have no idea who my competition is. Brief race course description by Carl and we are all off. Double track for the first 5 minutes then singletrack climb, exactly where I turned around when I warmed up, so glad I went that far. Pushed it to get in front of the little pack I was in before the big cluster. I settle in as first female. Course is pretty easy, not technical at all, but some steady climbs. I always have a hard time keeping track of laps and second guess myself towards the end, I lobby for lap signs! Remember I said I grabbed some food, yeah one bar, 1/2 of banana and 2 cookies was not enough. Honesly forgot to check how long the race was, that fuel doesn't cut it for 9 miles especially after running 3. I threw 3 clif shot blocks (high energy gummy squares) and half a bar in my pocket. I had the hunger growls the whole race, surprisingly though I never got near the bonk zone. It's a bad bad place, I don't suggest you ever visit.
I save one block per lap and have bite of bar with it and of course sip water the whole time. Still wasn't enough, but I kept my pace and ignored the growls.
There are two ways to hydrate; wear a small back pack with a bladder holding water equipped with a hose for hands free drinking, most commonly know brand: CamelBak. The second, a water bottle that sits in a cage on the frame of the bike. For longer rides I use the CamelBak, when I am racing it sloshes around too much, so I use the latter- good ole' H2O bottle. Using a bottle when racing makes you think a little, you've got to time taking a drink right. Stay with me here... the end is funny. The process is simple; remove one hand from the handle bar, either look down at the bottle or when you're good, just grab and pull from cage-ride one handed-drink-fit bottle back into cage-place hand back on handle bar and it's like you never missed a pedal stroke. You've covered about 10-15 feet depending on how much water you take. Now the timing, complete this process on easy terrain and you'll be fine.
So here I am cruising though the woods, mind is wandering. It's time for a drink. I remove my hand from the handle bar, reach down and feel the bottle, I take a quick glance down. Just as I'm bringing the bottle to my mouth I see it! The biggest root ever! I've got no time to correct, I hit that sucker so hard my life flashed before me. Speed was my friend I rolled up and over, bounced like 6 inches off my seat-another reason to be clipped in to the bike-and kept hold of my only water source. Holy $@*% I yell, my heart is in my throat and now I can't drink. So lesson learned, make sure the coast is very clear when hydrating or just suck it up and wear a hydration pack.
I am the first female over the line and probably the hungriest. With the rush of leaving after my run I have nothing to eat. I make the drive back home. The last night of the running series means potluck so I know I won't have to cook. Everyone will be gone when I get there, but I've got a key and I know where the fridge is! I'm met by a few employees, we chat a little about my race and I'm informed about my raffle winnings- YUP I won the shoes!
Dinner- macaroni salad with pineapple and a sausage, not the ideal meal, but it sure tasted good!
Now it's way past my bedtime but I had to share my day. No morning workout so I get to sleep in until 6:30 well 7:00 after I hit the snooze a few times.