Eppies Great Race 2011
|Didn't win the race, but I got the Blue Ribbon!|
I ditched all the "stuff" (well, everything but the Merrell Pace Gloves) so that I could truly enjoy this race. My intention was to "Run Smiley" the whole way which I did. Sorta. Well, that is until that bitch passed me on the bike leg for the third time. I looked up and she was in front of me. Again! Damn her! Ok. So that part wasn't so "Run Smiley", but a little competition never hurt anyone, right? Except that I really couldn't compete at my potential for this race. Only about four miles into the run I could feel my knee acting up. I was running my fastest race that I've done so far in minimal shoes. I felt strong and steady. Except for my knee. So I backed off to save it. I wasn't sure how this would render itself on the bike. I finished the 5.82 mile run in 55:49:1.
|Wha? Copping a feel?|
Once on the bike, things were good. Transition was relatively fast except for a bit of a balloon entanglement, but I didn't have shoes to worry about. I didn't use clipless pedals. My husband set me up with BMX pedals so that my minimal shoes would grip and it worked like a champ. I started off strong. I felt like I had gotten past my nemesis knee and all was good. That is until about halfway into the ride when I started to push myself. Then it started. Something was crawling up and down my calves. What the hell was that? Then it started to lock up a little. Ow. I'm thinking, "Ok. That would be a cramp." I wondered if people behind me could actually see it running up and down my calf like some sort of alien pressing its face through my skin. That's how I pictured it. So I started talking to it. Really. I was muttering all sorts of shit to myself. Mostly, "You will NOT defeat me you mother fucker!" Yeah. I laugh at myself now. I wondered if that bitch in front of me heard that. Yeah. And her too. She will not defeat me! Except I think she did. So, I settled into a higher cadence so I could keep the cramping under control. This wasn't how I envisioned my "smiley" race to be at all.
Shortly after that I had the realization that I had only three sips of my Nuun during the first half of my run and a couple squirts of my homemade iskiate (the recipe of which my friend Kate Kift gave me. I must tell you now... it was the bomb!). I figured I was low on potassium. I immediately swigged my Nuun hoping that would take care of the cramping issue. It did. Eventually. But by the time everything felt good I was getting close to the kayak transition point. Damn. I had missed yet another opportunity to push myself. I had to remind myself that it was all about the joy of the race, not about my personal best or record. Yeah. I had to remind myself. I was getting frustrated. I completed the 12.5 mile bike portion of the race in 44:32:5.
|Kayak put in. This is just the right side of the bridge.|
I felt much better after finding my kayak and putting in. There's something about the water that grounds me and allows my mind to be present. I was so happy to be in my kayak and on the river. The river was flowing fast, but I had some time before I got to the rapids. I knew my upper body was in good shape to push myself so I dug in. I was much stronger this year since doing all my weight training and it was apparent with the way I felt. I had much more command through the rough spots this year.
I managed to get through the rapids smoothly this year without the traffic jam of tipped kayakers. There were a few who were dumped before I got there, but I was able to get around them without issue this year. Last year I ended up T-boning a guy who had tipped and was "waiting in line" to pull his kayak out. Yeah. There was a line of about four kayakers who were all pulling out of the water at the same time. T-boning was inevitable. I was glad to have avoided that this year.
|Beginning the kayak leg.|
After the rapids I was prepared to paddle my heart out. So that's what I did. I dug in and pushed myself at a pace that would teeter me on the brink of muscle failure. The fact of the matter, though, is that you are only as good as your kayak. Similar to the bike, if you don't have the right equipment, you probably don't stand much of a chance. I'm OK with that. Its not a seriously competitive race anyway. The majority of people on the water are in simple rec kayaks and only a handful have the long, sleek $15,000 versions. I don't have the money to spare for a kayak like that. I'm not sure I'd want to throw that much cash into something that gets as much abuse as my kayak gets throughout the year. I love my kayak. Its put up with a lot of crap from me and it still floats. There's a lot to be said for that. I completed the 6.35 mile kayak portion in 1:01:12.5.
|Into the finish line!|
|TEAM M.I.L.L.F finishes strong!|
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This post is part of the Run:) collective.