Thursday, June 01, 2006

Race Report: Intermezzo & Act III

Intermezzo: T-2

It isn’t that hot through the bike portion of the race. In fact, it is overcast and there is occasional drizzle to keep the temperature (if not the humidity) somewhat moderate. I dared to think that perhaps heat would not be a big factor on the run . . .

. . . until I hit T-2. The clouds disappeared, and I discovered that our run course would have the same micro-climate as Equatorial Guinea. Literally, I hit the dismount line for the bike and the clouds were GONE. NADA. GONZO. The mercury spiked and my brain melted.
Luckily, I don’t need my brain to run. (After all, it was my brain that got me into trouble in the first two disciplines). I wibble-wobble back the 100+ yards from “Bike In” to my rack, don my shoes and hat, and limp/jog 100 more yards to “Run Out” T-2: 3:31.1

Act III: The Run

Does anyone remember that movie “A Christmas Story” in which the main character and narrator pines for a Red-Ryder-carbine-action-BB-gun-with-a-compass-in-the-stock. Of course, every time he expresses his heart’s deepest desire, he hears the same refrain:

“You’ll shoot your eye out.”

I keep hearing a similar, negative refrain as the heat waves shimmer over the run course. “You’ll blow up on the run. You’ll blow up on the run. You’ll blow up on the run. You’ll blow up on the run.”

I glance down at my watch as I cross the timing pad onto the course proper and do not like what I see. I am barely jogging, and I have been barely jogging for only about 100 yards, and yet my heart rate looks like I’m in the middle of a tempo run. Each little increase in grade causes my heart rate to mimic an interval workout, while my ego complains, “If you go any slower, you’ll be going backwards.”

I am not going to blow up on the run. I am going to run this course, manage my effort, and finish with enough in the tank to keep going if necessary.

. . . except there are no mile markers. The only reference points are the irregularly placed aid stations on the two loop course. Fine. I will run from station to station, take a good drink, put ice in my hat, and keep going. I will focus on making good strides, and I will do this until Tuesday morning if necessary. One station at a time. It is me, my footfalls, my breathing, and my mind, alone on a crowded course. Before I know it, I am 800 yards from the finish with much left in the tank. I run into the handshakes of teammates.

It was not a spectacular run, and there were gastro issues, but consider this, gentle reader. My 10k time in the heat at the end of my first triathlon was less than 10 seconds per mile slower than I ran an open race under ideal conditions last year. 55:41.7 Pace: 8:58. Avg. HR: 151.

Times have changed. If only you knew how much.

I finsh. I finish what I started 18 months ago with my first, failed swim workout. I finish what I started five years ago when I quit running after my first, miserable half-marathon.

I finish what I failed to complete 25 years ago when I was only 15 . . .

To be continued . . .

9 comments:

Iron Pol said...

And in the end, finishing is what it's all about.

Well, unless you want to consider the elite athlete thing. And I couldn't swim, bike, or run as fast as they do for even a short time. Okay, maybe I could on the bike.

Finishing a run on a brutally hot day is an accomplishment in and of itself. And heat after rain says enough about what the humidity might have been.

Congratulations. Now, it's three final weeks of training to get ready for the next big event.

Jessi said...

Wow, sounds like an awesome, and awesomely hard, run. That's a great pace for a 10k after swim/bike and also a pretty low heartrate considering how hard you said you were pushing! (in my world, anyway!:)

Flatman said...

Awesome, bud!

TriBoomer said...

Greyhound,

I hope you never loose those feelings of accomplishment.

Make inventory of the good, honorable, and noble things you have done despite the difficult circumstances. List the people that surround you; who care, admire, and look to you. Turn to the horizon of your future and breathe deeply in the ocean-sized scent of opportunity. Pungent, thick, and cleansing. Feel the breeze raise the hair on your arms and the sun warm your face. Capture the pleasure of the present and the great things you will do tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

TriSaraTops said...

GREAT job!!! :)

Dan said...

It was darn hot out there. Great job!

Noddie said...

Wow. Spectacular. Congratulations. Your expression of your experience was a wonderful read and very inspirational!

Comm's said...

This race report is becoming a novella. Good lord man you remembered alot in your first olympic. God Bless you. I wish I had your ability to put three hours of racing into so many well written posts. Hats off...

BTW, sorry I have been gone. I'm back.

Spence said...

Great run!!! Funny that in the same week, we both made references to "A Christmas Story." Awesome movie. Just like your race!