Just 5 days after my half marathon PR (which I recovered from very quick, btw), I busted out the longest run I have ever ran - 15 miles. Personal Distance Record. Let marathon training begin! I know a boatload of people running CIM from all over the country, but I totally lucked out with having a training partner right here in Seattle to do some long runs with. Katherine and I ran along Lake Washington Saturday morning, keeping a comfortable pace of just under 9:00. I couldn't believe how fast the miles ticked by. We did stop a couple times to fill water bottles, take Gu's and stretch, but other than that it was smooth sailing.
I know I have to run ELEVEN more miles in the marathon, but getting past the 13.1 distance confirmed in my head that I CAN train for a marathon. It's was the mental hump that I needed to clear to calm my long-run nerves. Don't get me wrong, I'm freakin' out about 20 and 22 milers!
The next day (yes, the day after a long run) I raced my first cyclocross race. I'm not sure if I mentioned that I have started getting interested in cyclocross, but I've been going to a few clinics since July and after a very short amount of time off road with my bike and thanks to some really encouraging people, I signed up for my first race, which happened to be the season kick off race for MFG Cyclocross.
I've never raced just a bike race (only raced as part of triathlon), so this brought on an entire new level of nerves the day before and the morning of the race. I've never gone back and forth between wanting and not wanting to race so much before. I finally listened to Meghan, "ripped the bandaid off" and showed up to race.
I've never even spectated at a CX race, so I wasn't sure how they were ran, logistics, set up, parking, blah blah blah, so I showed up with plenty of time to scope stuff out and watch other races that took place before mine. My race was at 12:10, I got there at 9:00. Parked, registered, and thank goodness, ran into a few people I knew. Nerves settled as I shot a bagillion questions at them.
I had time before the first race so I hopped on my bike for a warmup lap. Have you ever rode your bike while you're nervous as all hell? Yeah, me either... until that lap. My legs were shaking and my heart rate was so high. I told myself to stop freaking out. No one cares how fast/slow I go, or what I look like. Just ride my bike. I love my bike. I love riding my bike. I'm surrounded by people that are like me. Fun!...
I made my way back to the start line to watch the first race and as I rode by, the announcer said "Who here is racing their first race? We're going to cheer for you!" and I yelled ME! Knowing that beginners are welcome was comforting.
Then I waited 3 hours until my race. I watched other races, took another warmup lap, and then lined up for my race. There were a few races that started at 12:10: beginner men, beginner women, and youth. They staggered our starts by about 30 seconds, so it wasn't a mad rush out of the gate.
|I'm on the far end in the blue jersey|
There were 4 of us that got around the crash and we were together for half of the first lap. We reached a straight away to a climb on pavement and once we started to climb, I easily snuck by the other ladies, and went on my way. Road bike fitness? Luck? Adrenaline? I don't know what it was, but I was feeling great.
|Over the bridge, up the hill|
The beginner's race goes for 30 minutes, which equaled 3 laps. On the second lap, my friend posted up in the bridge/crazy section and yelled out I was in 1st. WTF?! Are you for realz? Then I got to think about it... I did pass those other girls...no one had passed me... oh dang, I could be in first! That pumped me up and I pushed it harder. Because the course switchbacks a lot I could see how far back the others were. They were far enough back in the second lap that I knew I had it unless I fell. Keeping it safe, but also pushing it enough to see what I can actually do and feel like in a race environment, I was able to finish the race, no falls, and get first in the women beginner's race.
That was, hands down, the hardest 30 minute bike ride I've ever done. In cyclocross, there is no rest. You are ON for the entire race. My lungs burned so bad. How people do these races for more than 3 laps boggles me. They must be super human.
I stayed for the rest of the races and cheered on people. Cyclocross spectators love cowbells, by the way. I need to own one.
I'm so happy that (wo)man'd up and raced. Can't wait to race again. I've been bitten by the CX bug.