Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

No matter how much we think we know about endurance training, it's still a bit of a mystery as to why our bodies are just on when we least expect it. Both the back and the sciatic are still tight, but somehow I managed to have two solid back-to-back days of training.   Yesterday was a 50+ mile hilly bike ride, followed by a 6 mile run brick.  Then it was off to the pool for a 4000 yard swim. Though the sciatic was tight the entire day, it was a dull pain that didn't bother me too much and I don't think I'm risking injury by training.  I kept it steady but strong all day long, making sure not to push too hard.  Today, my plan was to take some students to do the Bay to Breakers and use the race as a training run. Since my plan was just to start the race as though I was doing my normal Sunday run, I felt no need to warm-up.  Thus, I just stood around for 30 minutes waiting for the race to start.  I was just behind the seeded runners by about 100 meters so I didn't have to fight too much of a crowd when the gun went off.  My plan was just to start at like a 6:45 mile pace and then just bring it down each successive mile until mile 5 and then warm down for miles 6-7...yeah right.  My first mile was a 5:54, my fastest mile to date this season. I decided to just go with the flow and if I got tired, I would just back off.  The only problem is that every time I decided to back off, there was some reason for me to keep racing. At mile two, I came upon 4 pink clad chics with some brazen words written on their backs; I believe it said "You just got PWND by a chic". Normally, I don't really care if I get chicked in a race but reading these words sparked me on.  I made my move and soundly passed them all and added to my lead heading up Hayes Street Hill.  After cresting the hill, I found myself backing off and once again, totally indecisive if I should just back off now or keep racing. As I passed this guy, I accidentally bumped him with my elbow and he made somewhat of a scene.  I sarcastically responded by telling him that I don't think he's that fragile, considering that he had about 8 inches of height  and 30 or so pounds on me. Any thoughts of backing off immediately left me now that I had this confrontation.  I put the hurt down and surged away from him.  On the next downhill, he came back on me and I gave him some words like "good job".  This broke the ice between us and we found ourselves working together to catch the group ahead of us.  I hit the four mile mark and my practical side told me to start planning my warm down.  As I began to do so, I saw a lot of pink come up on my side and it was two of the pink chics passing me.  Not wanting to be PWND? I got right back into the race.  By the end, I did get PWND by one of them and I managed to hold off the other [update:  for the record, I didn't get PWND, turns out my time was faster because I wasn't in the seeded race and left after them]. It's been probably over 5 years that I've done a stand alone 10K let alone a 12K. This type of racing really toughens you up because you are forced to stay in the hurt the entire race, and use tactics like surges, if you want to do well. I found myself drifting in and out of hurt but am proud that I stayed in the hurt for as much as I did, more so given what I did the day prior and that mentally, I really had no goals.  I thought I would go 47 minutes but ended up running 45:03 and averaging 6:03 miles...a pleasant surprise.  The picture is of all the key players mentioned in this story.

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