I stopped into the running store last night and picked up my race packet. I registered as soon as registration opened, so I was hoping for a low number. But apparently they give the numbers out alphabetically. So I ended up as #65. Aww…thats okay I guess.
I tried to go to bed early last night, but only managed a little bit early. I tossed and turned all night running the race in my sleep. I ran more miles in my sleep last night than I did in the actual race.
The race started at 9am. I still needed to pick up my timing chip. I had the alarm set for 6am, but got up at 5:45. My stuff was all together already. I got out of the house at 7am, and got to the race site before 7:30. I got my timing chip, and then waited. I talked to some of the other racers, and looked at some thier bikes. There were some cyclocross bikes, but most people had mountain bikes. Some had skinnier tires, and aerobars. Hmmm… I will have to look into that! I also met a few friends that showed up to race, or volunteer.
I planned on trying my metronome watch, but when I pulled it, the screen was blank. Hmmmm… Maybe a button got bumped and it killed the battery. Oh well. I put it away.
After the race instructions, they had us line up. I lined up toward the front thinking that I would pace the faster runners (not the fastest).
At 9am, the race started, and I took off. I was moving a good pace. I was breathing heavily. I ran up the hills, where last year I walked up the hills. I took a 20 second walk break at the 1 mile mark, then started running again. The trail wasn’t muddy this year, but still had a lot of up and down. Actually there is only one section that is flattish, and it zig zags back and forth. In the last stretch, I was running a slight downhill, and according to my Garmin 305 I was running at 5 minute something pace. Wow!
Since I had arrived early, I got a prime spot for my bike, and made the transition in 21 seconds. I ran in put my helmet on, walked my bike to the road, and mounted. I got onto the trail which is crushed gravel. That stuff just sucks energy. I had people on cyclocross bikes passing me, or even on other mountain bikes. I was watching my bike computer for my speed and how much distance I have covered. Then I realized that when I pulled it off my other bike last night, and stuck it on this bike, I hadn’t recalibrated it for the slightly smaller wheels. So the speed/distance would be exagerated. Oh well. Soon I was off the main path, and going around this small pond. Last year it was a total mud pit. This year it wasn’t. It was dry, but it was still tough going. When I exited here, I crossed the road, and was onto a singletrack trail. Every little bump on this trail shook the bike. It is tough to pass people on the trail. Last year I passed some people, but this year, I passed no one. In fact I let some people by. After a while I was back on the gravel trail headed into a head wind. Despite the head wind, I managed to get the bike moving faster than I had on the earlier part of the course. I guess my legs were recovering from the run, or I found my groove or something. In the last couple miles we turned off the gravel trail on a road. It was a slight uphill where I passed a couple people. Then there was a downhill where I tucked on got some speed up. At the bottom the road turned to gravel with a sharp left turn. I started wide right cut across the inside of the corner without braking, and passed two more guys. I had some good speed going and passed a couple more people. It was all downhill back to the transition. I drank some Gatorade from my bottle. We are required to dismount the bike on the road, and walk into transition area. I shoved my bike into the stand and took off running. According to the stats sheet from the race, this transition on took 19 seconds!
It was tough to run. My legs just seemed so fatigued. I walked up the first steep hill that I ran earlier. I started running with the incline lessened. It was about this time when I realized I was still wearing my bike helmet. I took it off and handed it to a volunteer and told him I would get it on the way back. I forced myself to keep going. I walked up the short steep sections. I passed some people during this part. As I passed the volunteer, I got my helmet back and ran to the finish line.
According to the preliminary results I finished in 1:07:49. I ran the first 2 miles at a 7:04 minute/mile pace. I rode the bike section at 16.7 miles per hour. I ran the 2 mile section again at 8:02 pace. I finished 40th overall, and 5th in my age group. This was much better than I expected. I was suprised to see that only one woman finished ahead of me (by 25 seconds). I seem to remember being passed by various women. Apparently I passed them back.
By comparison, I finished last year in 1:22:28. The course was muddier last year, but I was much faster and stronger going into this years race.
I would have had to cut about 6 minutes off my time to make the top 3 in my age group. Next year I will be 45 and in a new age group. Looking at the results, I would have had to cut about 8 minutes off my time to make the top three in the 45-49 age group. Ouch!
They had various food for us. I ate part of a banana, and a bunch or pizza then headed home.