Sunday, January 8, 2012

Louis - Boney Mountain Trail Race: Stepping out of the comfort zone

Because of my hiking background, I always tend to be on the safe side.  I carried that with me to running/triathlon and it has been working.  This help me with my run and Ironman because when I play it safe, I can go longer.  With back to back 30mi + weekend under my belt and being very comfortable at the Boney Mountain Training Run a few weeks prior, I know I can PR this race for sure.

The run

Wanting to push for a better time and to step out my comfort zone, I decided to run fast on the first big descend.  I ran this course a total of 4 times and I took it easy on the first descend every time... and for good reason.  The first steep descend is over a mile long on pavement.  Running fast put a lot of stress of my legs.  Coach Jimmy told everyone to take it easy and I listened.  But I want to push it a little.  I wanted to know if my body can take the stress.  After all, I have been running trails and I haven't really have any problems on the descend (on trail).  I descend on stuff that was 3000-5000ft high and I was fine with it. This one is only several hundreds feet, I should be able to manage.  I figured I will probably get tired out and then I just need to spend some time recover.

VitaPandas haven't done the same event for a while

It was a pleasantly surprise to see my Ironman Coach Jason and a few Ironman teammates to be out there running. My AC 100 pacer Erin M is also out there to cheer.  I should of take a pictures with all my pacers (Kevin, Erin C, and Erin M). It was the first time that all 3 of them are in the same place after they accepted my invitation to be my pacer =) 

I did my warm up, I felt good, and I took off.

I was surprised to feel very good on the flat leading to the downhill, I was going at a good pace and I wasn't tired.  The descent was fine too.  I pushed with a good pace that's faster than I normally would go but manageable.  I focused more on my heart rate and breathing because I want to make sure I can maintain a good pace for the single trail that follow.   After the downhill Coyote Christian passed me before the single track (we did a 50k and he finished just right ahead of me) and I tried to follow him.  But after a while something is not right.  My shin stared hurt a lot and that never happened. Next thing I know I have to walk.  As a matter of fact I have a hard time moving my leg.  It's official! I trashed my legs mile 2 of the race.  It hurt so much quitting sound like a very good idea but that isn't an option.  I then focused the next 2 miles on recovering.  By this time Coach Kiley, Kate Robot and Erin aka my AC 100 pacer passed me.  Kiley and I were running for a while but he eventually pulled away.  Finally, finally, after 2 long miles my leg started to come back a little and I was able to run at a decent pace on the flat.  Not at my normal decent speed but I was happy that I was making progress.  I passed a few people during the descend leading to the fire road and I actually caught up and passed Kiley.

By mile 6 I know I won't recover the way I was hoping for.  Kiley retook the lead.  I decided to give it my best anyway just to see how my body react.  I power hiked the uphill and run a section here and there. At mile 9 I helped another racer by giving him water and salt tab.  When I started the big descent on mile 10.5 I knew I was done.  My legs were shocked that I can't go fast on the downhill.  I was probably going 65-70% of what I am capable of...  I did see Kiley and was about 1-2 minutes in front of me, but I just cannot catch him.  I just want to finish the race and be done with it.  It was nice to see speed racers Natalie and Sim cheering for me at the last uphill.  I sucked it up like a buttercup and run as 'fast' (but slow *_*) as I can. at 2:52 something, I crossed the finished line.  I was maybe like 15 seconds slower than my last year time.  I blame it on the guy that had cramp!  I gave everyone a high five, told Coach Jimmy and Coach Kate what I did, and we went to have lunch.

As much as it hurt this proved to be a very good experience.  As one of my favorite quote, we don't learn from happy time but we learn from struggle.  I struggled, and I learned.  I am glad to try to step out of my comfort zone on a course that I ran a few times prior.  This helps me train for my 100 miler races. I know pacing is important, but I did not know doing something stupid for only a few minutes can destroy my leg.  I am glad everything happened happened today.  Sometime we can't change the outcome, but we have the power to paint our outlook.  As long as I learn something out of it, that's what it matters.

I am running Carlsbad half marathon in two weeks and I am looking forward to try something new again (probably not as dramatic as this one).

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