Back in Tahoe for some XTERRA action and advencha!!! I did this race two years ago and it felt good to be back to such an enchanting place. The XTERRA is the same weekend as the Western States and there are usually a good group of runners doing that race in town soaking up the pasta. It’s a small world…maybe we will be in Tahoe for that race one year? It’s a small world….Last time I did this race I got beat by a fast guy who is now making his return back multisport. Go Luke!
My season and XTERRA series is going much better than I thought to be honest. I had a goal of qualifying for the XTERRA Nationals and now I have even qualified for Worlds…. Not sure what to do about that yet. Monique decided to jump into some XTERRA racing this year too and at first she was just worried about being able to go the distance. This race would mark her 3rd event in the series and a 5th place finish or better should get her enough points to qualify for Nationals too. I am sure she didn’t even know what Nationals was a few months ago.
The swim was my best swim of the year so far. I am trying to stick to the Ironman philosophy of “Swim smart, bike hard, run strong” or at least the swim part ;-) Racing is really my swim training and I am so stoked at my progress in being able constantly draft. Water is 1,000 times thicker than water…Why would you not want to find the slipstream? My paddling must also be providing a big help for the swim. I have only logged about 6 miles swimming (outside of races) in the last month but I am feeling stronger than ever in the later portions of the swim (muscular endurance) and I am able to keep a better pace. That clear water, visibility and cool temps coupled with a good draft left me feeling refreshed as we ran about a half mile up to the first transition.
transition with a view
I was ready to lay it down on the bike but had a surprise heading out of T1….My legs felt blown! This was the wrong course to have my legs feel like this with 22 miles of rolling hills! I rode up the first hill with Julian from Austria and then watched him ride away into the trail ahead. I just started doing some hill repeats on the bike and I think my last session was a bit too close to the race. Maybe it was because I didn’t do a warmup? Lesson learned! I felt like it was project meltdown all over again… not as bad because I cold get to a threshold power but I just could not sustain it for most of the first lap. My last few races I have had zero people pass me on the bike but I must have had 4-5 people pass me on the first lap this time. I was in a position to do much about it and was so lucky that they were not in my age group. My legs started coming around on the second lap and I resolved to have a solid run and enjoy the amazing views of Tahoe. I really had some fun on that last lap.
Riding back into the transition I made a goal for myself on the run. .. No looking over the shoulder and running scared…I was going to race myself with forward progress on the mind. I thought my legs would feel better on the run and after a mile or so they did. The only hiccup on the run was a little puke. Not that I was pushing that hard but just some bad timing. I put down a GU right before an aid station (holding it in my mouth) and was about to wash it down with some H20 when my body made getting in oxygen a priority. I sucked the GU into the wrong pipe and before I knew it I was throwing it right back up. Ha! Quite a surprise and I had a burning in my throat and nostrils for the rest of the run.
The good news was I felt solid on the run and put down a pace that I was stoked with…I didn’t look over my shoulder until the final 200 meters and enjoyed the run through the finish. I held on to 1st place for my age group but was more proud that I am getting over the feeling of being “run down” and pleased with the run this time around. I dropped about 23 minutes off of my time from 2007 down to 2:55. Stoked!
Watching Monique cross the finish line was a highlight for me. She was charging for over 4 hours and still looked so strong down to the last step. She finished 4th place and I am sure she is all set with qualifying for Nationals with the series points she collected.
I am so stoked that both of us are going to Nationals now. After the race the real adventures began….more on that in the next post. We cleaned up our gear and finished this day enjoying the Tahoe sunset.