Monday, July 5, 2010
With no clear information ahead of time, this race was even more of a mystery than most. If I knew the area, as some may have, I would have known what to expect. I expected a fairly flat and fast course, since the only description was a mix of trail and road. Also, since the 5K and 10K courses shared a common route for part of the race, I figured that it would be flat. Nope. There was some significant singletrack climbing on the 10K only loop, but since the website had no course profile I didn’t know what to expect. It was a great course, a fair amount of singletrack, one good climb that required a walk at the top, and lots of rocks! I didn’t feel particularly fast, since I was back in the pack, unable to really pass anyone. I ended up running with the same group for most of the race, trading the lead occasionally. I was definitely out of gas at the end, and while I held off some of the people I passed, I got passed by a couple of people who came from nowhere. Unfortunately, I ran off course twice for a few meters (nothing major). Once was THEIR fault, two different arrows, different colors, different directions. The second time was my fault, I was following another runner on a descent and she missed a turn and I didn’t notice. The race had a tough finish that I did not expect, which was on sand! Apparently it was not just a race TO the beach but also ON the beach! Ouch, that hurt.
Overall, I ran under 54 minutes, which is significantly faster than Burton Creek, making me wonder if the courses were both really 10K. I also wore my new heart rate monitor to see what intensity I was racing at. I uploaded the data into the computer to graph heart rate and found an average of 175, which is a hair under my usual LT of 180. I can feel the difference though, between 175 BPM, where I can recover, to 180 BPM where I feel pinned, and the few times I was up to 182-184 BPM, I was hurting. And so wraps up my first racing/training vacation of the summer: three races on three consecutive beautiful weekends in fantastic Lake Tahoe! Now it’s time to go back to work, make some money to keep up this habit, and tweak the training a bit to get faster.
Next Up for Racing:
Three consecutive Friday night beginner class mountain bike races to improve handling skills.
Find an Olympic distance road triathlon to try a different sort of race
Next Up for Training:
Next Up for Tahoe Vacation:
Gotta check the calendars for that...
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Wow, what a tough but fun race. What went right? Only that it was a lot of fun, especially the bike course. The bike course went through all kinds of singletrack through Sierra meadows, windy, twisty and fun. There some climbs, but nothing too major or demanding, except for the altitude, not like Del Valle with its long granny gear fire roads. What was difficult about this course was the false flats, where it didn’t look like you were climbing, but it sure felt like you were. As one guy in transition remarked, it felt like your were going backwards. So that was the fun part, and since in an XTERRA most of your time is spent on the bike, it helps to have a fun bike course. Everything else was very tough.
Where did the tough begin? At registration, when they gave me a swim cap, but no race numbers. Tahoe City being rather cramped, it was confusing to locate transition, registration and the start finish, since they were all in different locations. Usually there all in the same place to simplify matters. So hiked around a lot, parking, registering, setting up transition etc. Despite being one of the first on the scene, I still was just in time for the start, along with the other late guy, Ricardo. From there, it just got harder. The swim was a disaster. I felt confident since the swim at Del Valle went so well. I thought that even though I hadn’t been swimming much that I would be fine. No. The combination of cold water and high altitude put the zap on my breathing and I really struggled. I couldn’t establish a comfortable breathing rhythm until the end of the first 750M lap. I watched despondently as the whole field just swam away from me. I finally gave up on swimming and decided to completely ignore what my arms and legs were doing and concentrate only on breathing which helped a lot. But I was slow. Even Ricardo had a tough swim, although he did better than I did, even though we swam together at Del Valle.
It was a long jog on pavement to transition where I set out on the long bike ride. It started with a long climb on the road that helped to spread people out before heading into the state park for the trails. I definitely could feel the altitude, not that I was suffering more, just that I was so slow. I was working hard, enjoying the ride and the course, but just not moving fast. So much for spending a couple of weeks at altitude to grow some more red blood cells!