August 29, 2008

XTERRA - The Run

At last, part three of the seemingly never ending XTERRA saga. I have to milk it because it will be my one and only triathlon this year. I was going to do the Ogden Valley Tri in September but the stars are not aligning with my wallet. As in, I don't want to drop the money since I'll be riding the 24 Hours of Moab in October and the entry fee for that is staggering enough, and none of these race promoters offer any sort of lubrication when sodomizing you for race entry fees.

I digress...

T2 was much faster than T1. I was in and out in about a minute and a half. Let me tell you about this run. It sucks ass. Yep. Sucks round cottage-cheesy old man ass. Think Michael Douglas' ass when he's givin' what's her name the ol' Rated R in Basic Instinct and that about covers it. The run is exposed, steep and just not a very nice way to transition from the bike as the hills start immediately.

But I was feeling much better than last year at this point as I was able to forgo the last hell climb on the bike and was actually running. Then, out of nowhere, someone throws a body check into me from behind. A blond lady then goes streaking past and I am just about ready to launch into a tirade about how much goddamn trail she needs to run on because we're like, on the frigging ROAD with PLENTY of room to pass without nearly knocking my shit to the ground.

It was Melanie McQuaid, three-time XTERRA World Champion. And she was winning.

So I let her slide. I figured that she had some money to gain if she won. Plus she's purty. So I told her to kill it. Which she did. I doubt she heard me because she might have been out of earshot by the time I could fill my lungs with enough oxygen to speak. I approached her about the incident after the race, which was fun and we had a couple of laughs. She was very apologetic. I assured her that it was cool and I understand that her job is to win races and told her that my job is to give people a hard time.

I'm really not an "oooooohhhh, wow that person is famous" type. No autographs, thank you, I don't want any. We're all people, some of us are just famous. I have to admit that Melanie has always impressed me with her athleticism, but she was also a very nice, approachable person.

Not long after McQuaid beat me down, I was passed by another woman pro, Shonny Vanlandingham. Shonny is a successful ex mountain bike pro that made the jump to XTERRA full-time this year and has done well. This wasn't the first time Shonny has passed me by. She did once several years ago about 4 am at the 24 Hours of Moab.

So the run is an uphill slog. Then there are about two minutes in the trees that is mostly flat. Then back up two hills. On the last hill I saw ex-fellow blogger Iron Benny pushing to the top. Yep, this is the same guy whose lats I was wishing I could hold onto and have him carry me around the swim course. He's got to be at least 6' 5" and his legs are as long as I am tall. I got within about 10 seconds of him on the hill and then he was gooooonnnnnnne on the downhill. My little stumps could not keep up with his strides.

And then it was all over.

Total run time: 24:42
Total race time: 2:08:46
Position: 10th ((I think) 30-34 age group

I'm pleased. Looking back, my times were okay, except the swim which was abysmal (no pun intended). But my goal this year was just to survive the swim. The bike felt good but the time was slow due mainly to my position coming out of T1. My run was hurt a little by the work on the bike. But I think it was the constant surging that wore me out. If I could have had a nice, consistent ride, both the bike and the run would have been better.

I have next year to look forward to now. I will definitely work on my swimming. It isn't so much strength at this point as much as it is technique. I need to get on my bike at least once more a week. My run is evolving. I am still transitioning from a heel striker to having a more efficient mid foot strike. It takes time, I do not want injuries.

Next year I may do the full distance again. Or I may just do the sport and try and beat two hours. As I progress in my sporting life, I am finding I like shorter events better than longer, more endurance-focused events. I like the explosiveness and intensity more than the feeling I am just plodding along, saving my strength for the next hours. I think an Iron-distance race is in me, just to say I've done it and fill the desire. But I think shorter events are for me.

Which brings me to cyclocross season. It starts around the end of September. 45 minutes of VO2 max pleasure. Yes, a hypoxic journey over dirt on skinny tires. Can't wait.

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