So after all this time on the road with my recent "ironman test run training" I was really excited to just get back in the dirt. I was already signed up for one of the Big Rock triathlons but could not make it out on that date so I was stoked when they let me move over my race entry to last weekend for the Off-Road triathlon version. The course basically followed the same trails and climbs that the old Xterra West Championship race course did when it was hosted in Temecula. FUN!
I had put in my biggest volume all year (post Xterra Worlds) because of the IM type training so I was more excited to see how I would feel going into a sprint triathon. Could LSD training make me faster even in a short race? I sure was not fully recovered from it all but the race was short enough that I did not have to worry about the fatigue as much.
In the 26 days ending 2009-11-21:
As we started the race I decided not to hold back at all. It was going to be a sprint and if I blew up then I would deal with it but I figured it would be a good lesson on where that point in blowing up was at... I was about 5th or 8th out of the water. It was cold and fast.
Once on the bike we made our way up "hell hill" and rolled over to the back of Vail Lake to climb the famous "damn climb". My legs were feeling pretty good and I soon passed up Mike Collins to take the lead.
Did the extra volume help? In the end I found that I was faster.... it just did not "feel" hard. Pushing on the bike and then onto the run I just felt like I could hold my steady or upper, upper steady pace for a longer time. I guess just keeping it at threshold felt much easier and the short downhills felt like enough recovery to nail the climbs again. Confirmation that my race fuel, racing strategy (gallons of Vitargo) and knowing what works for me in training is getting dialed in more and more. I rode the rest of the bike course out in the lead alone.
I was really looking forward to the run. After working so hard on this "limiter" or weakness and not getting to see how I would feel at Worlds it was great to have a solid run off the bike in a race. I purposely hammered the bike a bit harder to get more of a lead and see what I would feel like running.
It was a pleasant surprise. I think I may be holding back too much in fear that was just never challenged before. I was stoked to pull in the fastest run split and hold on to the lead to take 1st place overall. Stoked!
After the race we decided meet up with Mike and hit up some of the fruits of wine country and check out some vineyards. Too bad Luke was in the OC riding trails when we were at Wiens!
The next day we headed out for a trail run at the Santa Rosa park with a fun crew. The chicks and the dudes split up and I felt like we were in an adventure race just trucking along.... Running with Paul, Luke and Mike was the highlight of my weekend. I love these times on the trail!!
In my classic Slater move i ended up loosing my key out of my pocket (AGAIN!!) and cost us all a ton of time and hunger while we tried to find it and get back to some food. I do keep things interesting and although it is a bad habit (getting lost and loosing my keys) it just makes it more adventurous....like all things...when it is in the dirt.