Sunday, February 1, 2015

Muddling Through the Winter Classic

I went into Saturday's race planning on a tune up for next week's USATF masters championships, to run solid but not to burn out. I think that objective was accomplished although the race didn't quite play out as I'd planned. One thing for sure, I still feel oxygen limited and wonder if that's going to change over the next few months or if it's something that I just have to get used to.

The women started soon after I arrived and took off in a solid pack. By half way through the first lap former Fairbanks runner Maggie Callahan was clearly in 2nd, on the heels of two-time USATF XC champion Laura Thweatt. So it was fun cheering them on.

Thweatt put the hammer down on the 2nd lap, dropping some 40 seconds. That was fun to watch. But Maggie hung tough the entire race and didn't let up. So it was my BTC new teammates in 1st (Thweatt) and 3rd (Wendy Thomas) and Maggie in 2nd for the day. Nice job ladies!

I lined up a couple rows back so as not to go out too fast. I really lack fast starting speed-acceleration anymore, with the exception of downhills. I was probably about 30th place through most of the first lap. The lead group of 6 or 7 were gone pretty quickly, and there was a procession of 20 or so, and I was at the tail end of that. I couldn't hear anyone behind me. I felt not too bad on that first lap, the only struggle was with my #*(&% Garmin, which had been warning me that the data was filling up, decided not to work. So I messed with that for a few minutes while trying to keep in contact with that pack. I really eased up the only substantial climb and fell back some, but accelerated on the down so by the end of the first lap I was in contact with 3-4 other guys including my friend Andrew.

Andrew and I ran together through most of lap 2. I felt that this was the most race-like and the one that I pushed the hardest on this day. But actually it was 6 seconds slower than lap 1, and the slowest of the three. Go figure. By the end of the lap I set my sights on the guy ahead, about 10 seconds up, and tried to pick up the pace. However, I'm at a point where any kind of acceleration or push quickly leads to oxygen debt.

I gained a few seconds here and there, but again up the hill backed off a bit. That's where my quarry picked it up. I gained some of that back but stayed 10 seconds off.

Although I had hopped that some of my age group competitors would be in the mix (I call them "The Dans" because the three who've finished ahead of my in my now five races since returning to Colorado are named Dan), they were no shows. So 1st 50+ and 5th masters. Probably my best effort since moving back in October. I'm still not where I'd like to be on the hills and with holding a sustained pace.

Up front there was a great race, with USATF XC champ Joe Gray battling it out with BTCs Sean Quigley, fresh off a 2:13 marathon last December. I got glimpses of them. They were moving!

photo by Lee Troop


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