3/9/09

Albany Race Weekend


Here's a pic to sum up the weekend

We got into Albany around 8pm on Friday. It was an easy 3:15 drive and we went right to the Hilton to pick up my race packet for the half marathon. We checked into the Days Inn which was .5 miles down the road and we were asleep by 10pm. I didn't sleep that well but I was able to sleep in until 5:45. I made coffee and had a small bowl of oatmeal w/ a little bit of banana and some raisins. I was out the door at 6:40 to walk/jog to the race start. The weather was cool, around 50 degrees but the fog was unbelievable. You couldn't even see infront of you.
I wasn't sure what to expect from my body this morning. I knew the course had a few ups and downs but nothing too difficult. However, my body was tired from a full week of training without any type of rest day. My 45 mile ride on thursday was a good-warm-up for me but my swim on Fri. was all about sprinting. Before the swim on Friday I did a 3 mile warm-up for the race w/ a few 90 sec. race pace intervals but I still couldn't get over our sprinting day in the pool.
The best part of the race (besides finishing) was seeing all the athletes at the race start. I saw a ton of M-dot, Ironman hats, bright running shoes and happy people. It just makes me feel good to surround myself with people who enjoy running (or triathlons) as much as I do.
When the race started at 7am I knew my body wasn't forgetting the hard training this past week. I thought I was going fast but at an 8 min/mile for the first 2 miles, I had a feeling this was going to be more like a training run. I hate using the word "training run" for a race because I can't really justify paying $50 for a training run. I wanted to be sure I didn't leave anything on the course and I wanted to atleast push harder than a normal sunday morning long run.
My leg gave me trouble around mile 6 and I thought I was in big trouble for the rest of the run. I walked 10 sec. through an aid station and it seemed as though that did the trick. I wanted to quit at mile 6 and 7 but that is normal for me. There has never been a running race that I didn't want to quit. 100%, everytime..I want to quit. But, I have only quit one race in my life (due to a heel problem at mile 21 of a marathon in 2007) so I think my need to quit is just in my head.
With lots of enthusiastic Albany spectators on the course, I had great encouragement along the way. The course is really beautiful and we run through a lot of nice neighborhoods and I loved looking at the houses...throught the fog.
I ended up walking at aid stations 6, 9 and 12 but just to get some sport drink in me. I didn't want to take a chance of running too long with my weird right leg problems (feels like a tendon is giving out in the front of my thigh when I run, but then the weirdness disappears when I walk and then run again..weird) so I took it easy for about 5-10 sec.
Luckily, I started feeling good at mile 10. Those crazy slow twitch fibers in me. Whereas most people get the endorphin rush at mile 1 or 2, I get it at mile 10. Uggghh.
Well, luckily I did get those endorphins because I was able to pick up the pace for the last few miles. At first I thought I was going to go 1:50 as I predicted my pace for the first few miles. But, I was amazed when I ran through over the finish line in 1:43. Not too shabby for a "training run" but believe me..my body felt it! Whereas a 1:43 might not leave me very sore if I had tapered and just ran comfortably, but a 1:43 after a week of training left me incredibly sore all day long. Sore and exhausted.
After the race I started walking back to the hotel and saw Karel on a side street warming up on his trainer. I told him that I placed 2nd in my age group and 19th overall. He was happy and I was looking forward to watching karel for the rest of the weekend.
After getting cleaned up, Campy and I headed to watch Karel in his 3.6K time trial. This course is crazy with a 180-degree turn in the middle of the TT with a downhill before the turn and then a big climb back up. Karel didn't get last in the TT but since that is not his strength we are always happy with a not-last place finish :)
Jeff ended up getting 4th and he missed 3rd place by 1 second! Bummer.
Karel rested in the afternoon as I did work on the computer.
The race in the evening was a one hour crit on the same course as the TT. The course was great for spectators because we had many opportunities to see the races. HOwever, Campy didn't want to stop and watch so we walked all around the course taking pictures.
The Lidner Capital guys did awesome and they really worked hard to break up the pace of the race. I knew Karel was feeling strong but I wasn't sure how he would do for this crit. Well, he ended up sprinting for the line and placed 5th!! Great job Karel!!
I'm just so proud of him. Two years ago he was hoping to just finish the Pro 1,2 races and now he is a category 1 rider sprinting for the podium. I know that podium finish will come soon I just can't wait to see when it happens. I really have no idea how he can sprint after they average 27mph for an hour but perhaps I am just jealous that he is able to do it. Jealous, but supportive :)
We checked out of the hotel on sunday and headed 15 miles down the road to Leesburg for the road race. The pro 1,2 guys did a 140K (90 mile race) on a lollipop course. So, after I watched the guys start, campy and I drove a few miles down the road to the loop part of the course. We hung out at the feed zone even though Karel and the guys didn't need me to feed them (aka. hand them water bottles). Since each loop was around 26-27 miles, it took the guys around an hour and 10 min. to make a loop (they averaged around 25-26mph). Campy and I killed some time by taking long walks and on the 2nd loop, campy took a nap and I studied.
Around noon we headed back to the finish after enjoying the sunshine for about 3 hours. I was excited to see them finish because in a road race, if you don't get dropped it is all about the sprint to the finish.
The last 1K to the finish line was an uphill and then flat so it is a big burner on the legs. There was a one man break and then another guy. The field was sprinting for 3rd place and when I saw Karel on the outside, I knew this was going to be close. I don't know how he did it but he ended up 5th again. Sprinting after 90 miles is something I don't understand and will never be able to do but Karel always amazes me.
The weekend was great for the Lidner Capital guys and they earned a lot of money. In total it was over $400 (among 4 guys) that they earned for top finishes and omnium results. Most of all, the guys worked well together and really showed passion for what they love to do.
Here are a few pics from the weekend: