"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quivering Quads 2010

This past Sunday despite missing out on several training runs I ran the Quivering Quads halfathon at Cuivre River State Park.  The weather forecast was calling for rain, rain, and more rain luckily good old Dave Murray was a little off on his prediction and there was no rain during the race but it was threatening the whole time, it was pretty cold, and the creeks had plenty of water which helped to wash the mud off of shoes but left feet cold and wet.  The rains didn't come on race day but it had been pretty rainy leading up to it, so the mud was thick and deep.  The conditions were deplorable the only thing that could have made it worse would have been rain.
I was on double duty as a representative of both Team Godzilla, and Red 9 Runners.  The Zilla's were out in force with 13 members competing the who's who can be found on the Metro Tri Club website.  Red 9 Runners were well represented by 2 runners myself and Miriam Bell.  Everyone on both teams did very well but Miriam was the stand out by far.  She didn't have the fastest time but, she had never run on trails before, bought a pair of trail shoes the night before, and despite the horrible conditions finished in a respectable time of  2:34:06.  Great job Miriam! You should come running out at SIUE some time when the weather is nicer.  When asked how the race was Miriam replied that it "was the hardest thing she has ever done." and if you know her then you know that is saying a lot.

I finished in 2:20:18 which I am happy with.  My knee which has been giving me trouble was surprisingly quiet for the first half of the race.  I was certain that it would give me problems because of the hills and mud but I was really enjoying the pain free running while it lasted.  Once it started I just put my head down and kept moving forward.  I couldn't help but think about how it would affect my other races coming up.
I really enjoyed the course, it was well marked, and the conditions took it to another level not just something to complete but instead something to be endured.  It put me in mind of the 2008 Lewis and Clark Marathon.  If you were there you know what I'm saying, and if you weren't there you should have been because you would have a good story to tell.
The start was interesting because it was the first time I have ever been in a wave start.  The waves were based off of road halfathon times and each consisted of 25 runners.  Miriam and my friend, and fellow 'Zilla Jim Cedor were all in the same wave.  It was funny because Miriam was wondering how I ended up in her wave since I am faster than she is, and I was wondering how Jim was in my wave since he is faster than me, and has blown me away in every race we have run together.  The course started with a 1.8 mile out and back on a fire road on the "back" portion about 10 deer ran across our path I took it a good sign, of what I don't know but it seemed like a good sign.  Maybe that is what held off the rain.  Yeah that's it when a large-ish sized group of deer crosses you path single file then there will be no rain for at least a 3 hour period.  I think I read that somewhere in a book of Native American lore.  When I turned onto the single track I slowed my pace some and settled in for the long haul.  Running through all of the mud was fun...at first, toward the end it really wasn't fun at all.
The race was fun. The race was long. I passed some people, and some people passed me.  I was tired, wet cold, muddy, and miserable.  Like I said before the race was fun.
The food after the race was great.  I must have eaten 2 dozen of these little cookies they had in a bowl, as well as a bag of chips a half banana, and 4 cinnamon chip rolls from Great Harvest Bread Company.  Yeah I ate a lot of food, but that's what happens when you forget to bring any gels, or other nutritional items on a run over 2 hours long.  Normally I don't pig out like that at races but I really needed to fill my belly with something.
Beth, Miriam, and I couldn't stick around long after Miriam finished because while I thought I was being smart by leaving my dry clothes in the car so they would stay dry if it did rain (how was I supposed to know that a deer omen was going to occur) it actually turned out to be a mistake.  The actual smart people (Miriam included) changed in the changing tents while I froze in my wet clothes.  We got on the shuttle that took us back to the parking area and I changed in the visitors center bathroom.  I feel bad about the mess I made getting mud from my shoes on the floor, but I would have cleaned it had there been paper towels, and not just an air dryer.  I also felt bad about leaving before many of my friends in the Tri Club finished but I had to get out of the wet clothes, and we were all very tired.  We hopped in the car and hit the road.  It was all I could do to stay awake to navigate for Beth.  I made it to I270 to tell Beth which way to go, and that was the last thing I remember until we exited at SIUE.  We dropped Miriam off at her car and I drove home while beth slept in the passengers seat.
It was a great day and a great race.  What a way to kick off the 2010 Racing season.
Up next for me the Tracks and Treads Biathlon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Is It Like?

Today I took a step back from racing and stepped into the roll of team photographer for the Red 9 Runners at the AOH 5k.  It was a great experience because we all had fun and also because I got to experience what my races are like for Beth.
The first place finisher had a considerable gap on the guy in second, and it made me wonder, what is it like to be able to win a race and not have to push as hard as you can.  I usually race against my PR and people in my age group but since it is not always obvious who is in my age group I have to give it everything I have.
Now I am not saying that the winner wasn't trying but unless he was looking for a PR he could have kicked it down a notch and still won.  Maybe I am way off base here.  Maybe you should always give 100%.  But just maybe when you are out front 98% is okay as long as 98% keeps you there.
Fortunately for me I don't have to deal with these complex philosophical issues.  I'll keep running against myself, and all the other 35-39year olds, giving it all I have.