Seeing as how my last post was about ways to prep for a worrisome race – it only make sense that this post should be about the worrisome race. In spite of myself, I made it to the Chuckanut 50k race start, and subsequently made it successfully to the finish. Proof of that can be found in the results, but those omit most of the problems found in the middle (like most results).
I had the happy problem of having to figure out how to deal with a race which was going better than expected. The start, which I expected to have to hold back on, went at a reasonable pace – awesome! I ran with a few runners of similar strength to me, and when the hills started, I found myself feeling strong and pulling away. Soon enough, I was alone, and realized that I was in 4th in what’s usually a pretty competitive race.
That’s usually enough to pump me up, get me running faster, and then die three-quarters of the way through the race (a problem common to half-marathons, too), but fortunately I’d been listening to the Eagles on the way down to Bellingham, and had “Take It Easy” stuck in my head for two hours. I took it easy. Sometimes the hardest part of a long race is slowing down the start and middle enough so that there’s enough juice left for the end. I kept catching myself trying to speed up a bit, but wanted to make sure I didn’t slow down enough. There is a tough climb before the last 10km, so I wanted to make sure that didn’t kill me…
It didn’t, but sure enough – the end was pretty rough. This race finishes with 10km of more or less flat, with one descent and climb in the middle. The last big climb was fine, I hit the last 10km with almost nothing left in my legs, and had to figure out how to make it to the finish line. It didn’t help to have a couple of guys come running past with much more energy than I had. Still, I made it, and ended up happier than I expected. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a good (injury-free, as well!) season.