Monday, March 16, 2009

competing near and far

Friday night, I went for an easy swim, just about 1800 meters and felt great! I knew I had a test before me on Saturday and I was a little worried about it.

A guy that I swim masters with asked me to participate in a "Catch Me Run" at the regional airport. Just 5 miles on flat ground with a $5 donation entry for Downs Syndrome. Basically, we sent the director our predicted time and had a staggered 'handicap' start based on that so that we would have a mass finish rather than a mass start. (Could there be a more perfect run for someone like me who can't resist picking off people running ahead?!?) This group of people all know each other from various running groups so I knew the stakes would be pretty high. Lots of people were going to be runnig several miles before and/or after the fun run. I opted for both.

Saturday morning, I awoke with that awful pre-race nervousness and headed to the airport with sweats over my shorts. Local news said it was 39 degrees while my car read 34. After a 4 mile warm-up that was feeling a little too quick for my lethargic legs, the race was on. It's strange starting a race alone. It really tests your ability to pace yourself. I crossed the first mile at 6:43. My pace was supposed to be 7:00, but i felt good, so I didn't intentionally slow. Mile 2 was exactly 7. At mile 4, I was a little surprised by how relaxed and focused and in control I felt, so I poured it on. I finished with a 6:52 pace, which was good enough for second fastest female time of the day. I finished the morning with another easy five miles with the designated run "Sandbagger". Total confidence booster kinda run for me.

Went home, had some coffee and jumped on the trainer for two hours before heading to Wheelie Fun to have the bike checked out because the chain is dropping in low gears. The whole thing was jacked, but they fixed her right up for me while I chatted with te crew. LOVE the guys at Wheelie Fun!! They're fun and do a good job.

Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent cleaning and packing up Paully's place for his move. It's great when you find someone with whom you can have fun while cleaning. Went for an easy mile swim, which included 10x100 pull on 1:40, in the pool on Sunday. I thought that was going to be it for me for the day since I suspected my legs would be a bit achy from Saturday's adventure...

BUT, Paul had picked me up some compression tights and socks and hung out in them Saturday evening and slept in the tights that night and I awoke to fresh legs on Sunday!! Triathlete's new best friend is recovery compression gear.

After a birthday lunch for his uncle, I got back home and suddenly felt very sad that taking Paul to the airport today would be the last time i see him til Cali. I decided to go for a run to clear my head. It was one of those runs that are completely effortless, the kind where you find release from care boredom and worry, the kind that grant comfort and confidence that you're doing just what you're supposed to.

Monday morning came all too soon, but i hit up the gym for one of my last weight sessions before the race in less than 3 weeks. And at noon, I left work to go take Paully to the airport and send him on his way to South Africa, where he'll be coaching and competing for the USLA team. He's not raced open water in over a year and i think he's got that same mix of fear and excitement of the unknown we all get when we know we've worked really hard, but we're not sure it was hard enough.

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