Saturday, October 2, 2010

Double Header

Let me preface this by saying "kids, don't try this at home.."

The day started before dawn, getting Jayden to the sitter and then over to the Frogtown 10 mile trail run. Frogtown is definintely my favorite running event because it includes obstacles such as ditch crossings, log crossings, a cargo net, creek running, ropes up embankments as well as a lot of off-trail running. What makes it different from weekend-warrior friendly races like the Warrior Dash and Muddy Buddy is the fact that the obstacles are spaced out and you need a decent level of fitness to complete the ten mile course in a respectable time. Last year I finished in 1:40, which sounds terrible for a 10.3 mile race, but I was in the top 20 overall finishers with that time. My goal for this year was somewhere in the 1:35 range.

The starts were staggered this year, but you had to self-assort yourself. "If you think you're fast, then start in the first group." Being confident I was in better shape than last year, I stepped on up. I looked around at my group to see what other women considered themselves fast...always interesting to see who's willing to toe the line with the big dogs. I recognized a lot of fast guys in my group, so I braced myself for a quick start.

When we were finally off, the start was actually more mellow than I expected. I was in the top 5 through the first ditches. I stayed pretty close to the leaders through the first mile, so figured I was pushing a faster pace than last year. No other women around either so that was comforting. Two guys passed me when we hit the first huge, straight-up hill, but then I didn't see anyone for a while. I felt like I was running well, and no one was catching me from behind, so that was also a good sign. I hit the creek run section earlier than I expected and managed to pass two guys that were faster runners than me, but just weren't as nimble on the technical creek bed. As the creek narrowed, it got deeper and I managed to find a huge hole to step...well, actually fall in that resulted in a 3/4 body submersion. Ughhhhh..COOOLLLLDDD!

I hit the seven mile mark right at one hour. Now I was pretty confident I could finish in 1:35 or less. The big climbs hurt but I could always push it once the ground flattened out near the top. By this time last year I was running on fumes. This year I was looking for my next victim. The final 3.3 miles are very hilly and seem to go on forever, especially if you are feeling tired. This year I knew what to expect, so the big climbs at the end didn't seem as bad. I hit the flats coming into the finish at 1:26. Holy $hit!! I took off, looked over my shoulder for anyone else with boobs or a ponytail, breathed a sigh of relief when I didn't see any, and crossed the finish line in 1:29. I was VERY happy with this result, as it is a huge improvement over last year and I'm pretty sure it landed me in the top 10 overall or pretty close to it. The next female was at least 4-5 minutes back so I definitely got the job done today.

Elated from my victory, and not feeling too run down or sore, I figured "Hey, lets go to the cross race too!" Ok, please stop me before I ever do that again... My legs felt ok and I had a good start and was swapping the lead for the first 1.5 laps, but then I dropped my chain and couldn't get the damn thing back on. I have this nifty gadget called a "chain keeper". It is supposed to keep the chain ON. It did not do its job today for some reason, and while it supposedly keeps the chain from falling off the bike, it also prevents a tired, frazzled racer from being able to put it back on very quickly. When I did get it on, I got my gloves caught between the chainrings and chain...Argh! How freaking stressful! The leaders got away and after about a minute of me fighting with my bike, the rest of the pack started coming by. I'm actively cussing at my bike at this point and about two seconds from stomping on the ground and kicking the damn thing. I FINALLY get the chain back on and am rolling again, but have lost nearly two minutes and am now somewhere mid-pack.

After some initial grumpiness and thoughts of wanting to just quit, I got back into the groove and figured I should see what kind of damage control I could do. I had to work a bit to bridge back up to Elizabeth, and once I caught and passed her, I figured I'd see if I could catch Becca. I knew Kim and Loretta were long gone and there was no way I'd be able to catch them with my tired legs. I managed to bridge up to Becca, but my legs had pretty much used up all their glycogen and I could feel myself starting to implode. I passed her and just kept on at the same pace until she eventually disappeared. Chris said she got lapped, but I didn't think the guys were that close behind us. I had to go out for a fifth lap, which was pure torture as I started to feel twinges of cramps coming on, so I slowed considerably and was just in self-preservation mode. I hit a hidden hole in the grass about 100 yards from the finish and nearly crashed...hand flew off the handlebar, crotch landed on the toptube, foot out of the I stayed upright I don't know... The sudden impact caused my leg to cramp up, so I softpedaled through the finish, thankful to be able to get off my bike. Who knew riding a bike through grass could be so damn hard!

In the end, I managed to work back up to third place, which I was happy with given the circumstances. Now I need to do some serious rolling on my legs to get all lactic acid out so I can actually survive a MTB ride tomorrow morning. At least next weekend I have work obligations on Friday-Saturday, so I should hopefully come into the next cross race a lot more rested. Maybe then it won't hurt so's to hoping : )

1 comment:

Ross said...

Bummed, was hoping you and the family could make the trip.. We've got a great course.. Becca crashed in a MTB race last weekend and had bruised ribs, then hit the same hole you did with her chest getting slammed on the handlebars.. OUCH..

Great ride, I couldn't imagine running and hour and a half and then jumping in a cross race.. OUCH!