Monday, September 1, 2008

They Keep Pulling Me Back In

Well, looks like I'm racing back to back weekends with Folsom this coming weekend and Pacific Grove the following weekend; both are olympic distance races. All the guys from Team Zoom pretty much made it impossible for me to say no to racing at Folsom so $139 later, I'm signed up to race. For whatever reason, this season is marked by a lot of anxiety around racing, that's why I haven't done so much of it. If I had to give one reason as to the cause of such anxiety, I'm thinking fear of disappointment or not racing at my best and losing to people I've defeated in the past. But recently, thoughts of my friend Scott, who died over a month ago, have crept in. And each time I think of him, I get excited to go out and race and really give it to myself and just make it hurt. This is what Scott and I did together when we trained, we would just go out and punish each other. So when I think about Scott, I actually get pretty excited to race and in some strange way, I equate the hurt in racing with spending time with Scott. In preparation, I awoke Saturday morning fully knowing that I was going to make the bike ride hard. I did the three bear climb in 21 minutes and followed it up with the Wildcat climb in 10:40, both times equalling my personal best, and both came in one single ride. I pushed some pretty damn big gears up Wildcat with the last half in the big ring [once again, none of this means much to you but this is my training log as well so I gots to document]. Then it was a 45 minute run holding 7 min or faster pace and then some weights. I wanted to do a good long tempo run the next day and to insure that I would go fast, I decided to combine my long run with a 4 mile race put on by a local running club. I got to the race early to put in 3 miles before the race and I planned to run 2-3 miles after the race for a total of 9-10 miles. This was one of those low key races where it cost $5 to enter, about 100 plus or so runners, and no closed roads. I pretty much felt like crap during the three mile warm-up, totally dead and heavy legs. I decided to wear my iPod for some motivation and as the announcer was giving out directions for the course, I didn't bother listening because there was no way I would be leading the race with the way my legs felt. I just focused on the beats playing and next thing I knew, the race started. About 1 minute into the race, I heard the horn of a Cal Train, signaling it's arrival, which happens to be on our run course. I was about 25 meters behind the lead back at this time and I hear one of the guys shout to the group to sprint to cross the tracks ahead of the train. The lead pack made it across the tracks before the train and I was right there and I could have risked it but...I immediately thought of that video "Faces of Death" back in the 80's where it depicted gruesome scenes like accidents, shootings, war, etc... and well, I didn't really want a cameo in such a video. After the train passed, I bolted and surprisingly caught the lead pack within 400 meters, they really dropped off the pace. After another 800 meters, I found myself inching up on the first place guy and thought, oh crap, I don't know the course. So I tucked myself in behind him and just planned on following him the rest of the race. That plan lasted about 200 meters as the guy totally died on me. So I took the lead and at every turn, I looked back and the guy would point me in the proper direction, poor guy. Eventually, the guy died so much that when I looked back, he was nowhere to be found and so I guessed the course and did well until I missed the last turn to the finish and ended up running an extra 3/4 mile or so. Lesson learned.

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