Epic Race Weekend Report

I just completed an epic weekend of back-to-back racing. If racing twice in two days sounds like a foolish use of one’s weekend I would ask you to reconsider. I mean, just imagine how good it feels right now to put my legs up and NOT move. It is an exquisite feeling and my only regret about this weekend is that I can’t take tomorrow off to recover from it. Here’s a report on my back to back weekend extravaganza that included a 1/2 marathon on Saturday and 33 mile bike race on Sunday.

Weekend Portrait that describes it all:

Weekend of Muddy Exhausting Fun

Did you see the dirt in my teeth?

Here’s the recap:

I like to count Friday as part of my weekend. So we’ll start there. On Friday morning I actually got out of my bed when the alarm went off at 5:45. Victory! OK, maybe I pressed the snooze twice, but at least I did get up and out of bed. I don’t know about you, but this whole daylight savings time thing has ruined my morning routine. I dragged myself out of bed and got in my workout.  I did a 10 minute warm-up followed by 15 minutes of running drills (high knees, skipping, jumping. etc), followed by a 45 minute easy run. It was great pre-race workout and I felt almost jovial upon completion. I returned home, drank some coffee and got ready for work. Not a bad way to start a Friday in my book.

I went to work with Saturday’s race on my mind. I was scheduled to run the Wheatfield 1/2 marathon in The Dalles, Oregon. Originally my plan had been to give the 8K a go but I consulted with my coach (Coach Anne Linton, who is fantastic!) and she suggested the half.  You can see why I like Anne. Her thinking was inline with my own. Why do an 8k when you can do a half marathon? So, OK. Half Marathon it was.

Saturday: Wheatfield 1/2 Marathon:

I drove The Dalles on Friday night so I wouldn’t be stressed with an absurdly early morning drive in the morning.  I didn’t have much of an appetite but I knew I needed to get something in before the race. Breakfast was a combo: cup of coffee, half a bottle of Odwalla Super B fruit juice and a cookie. Not stellar but certainly all the major pre-race nutrients were there: carbs, carbs and some caffeine.  I was a bit skeptical of such a breakfast but it seemed to sit OK in my stomach. With breakfast in hand I motored out to the race start.

I knew that the Wheatfield 1/2 Marathon was going to be on the small side. I had only heard of the race from a local running blog and some friends. The race didn’t even have a website (!).  While the race was small it had attracted some very fast runners. I spotted Wendy Terris who qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2008. I also spotted and chatted with several ultra marathon acquaintances before the race.

The race really was an informal thing. The race director called us all over to the start line. It was raining a bit and I chatted with some girls next to me about The Garmin 410. The director said some more things which I couldn’t hear and then, just like that, we were off.

RACE:

The race was an out-and-back with a gradual up hill climb on the way out. I started out a bit too strong and then settled into a good pace. I spent the first four miles worrying too much about how fast I was going and whether or not I was going fast enough. It was a sad attitude. It took me awhile to realize that there was no reason to stress and no reason to be hard on myself. Why was I feeling regretful when the race wasn’t even over? Why was I worried – I should be enjoying the thing I love doing. With my attitude re-adjusted I made the turn around and headed back toward the finish line. There were three fierce ladies up ahead of me – I wasn’t sure I’d be able to catch any of them so instead I concentrated on running the best race I could.

The last 4 miles were difficult but I felt strong. Lately my training has focused on intervals and strength training. I feel like the work is starting to pay off. I was able to maintain a good strong form all the way to the finish. It was a great effort.

Finish Time: 1:36:10 1:35:51

Pace: 7:26 min/mile 7:18 min/mile

4th woman overall

2nd in my age group (20-29)

Race #1 of the weekend complete! I helped myself to a donut (so delicious!) and drove through Hood River and back to home base. It was almost 6pm when I got back and before I knew it was 10PM and I needed to ready my affairs for Sunday’s bike race.

Banana Belt Bike Race #3:

I haven’t blogged about it at all, but I’ve been flirting with bike racing. My first race was 4 weeks ago where I made my debut in the Cat 4’s  Banana Belt Race.  The Banana Belt Series is a favorite amongst local bike racers. It consists of 3 races that take place on consecutive weekends in March. Coach Anne suggested I give them a try. I signed up and completed the first two. My performances weren’t stellar in the first races. I dropped my chain in the first one and I was dropped in the second. Having never raced bikes before I was totally unprepared for how stressful bike races can be. Everyone is so bunched up and things happen so quickly. So different from running! Anyway, Sunday was Banana Belt #3. My goal was to go out and not have any mechanical errors or make any big mistakes.

The weather for today’s Banana Belt was not good. In fact it was terrible. It was rainy and cold and awful. I started the race and immediately felt exhausted. This might be a very very bad idea. I thought. Fortunately the group started slow and I found much needed gumption in those first few miles. During the first big climb I started to move up to the front and then just like that there was a break  and wham… I was in the break! So exciting!! I was able to follow the break and ended up in the lead group for much of the race. I was passed by many of the riders in the final sprint but I was so pleased with my performance.

Conclusions: The only thing that was missing from this weekend was more cookies.

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About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in cycling, race report, running, weather and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Epic Race Weekend Report

  1. Laura says:

    Congrats on an awesome weekend! Hope you get those cookies 🙂

  2. Neeraj says:

    Hi Heather,
    I used to enjoy your posts on running related matter.

    I hope you are still running just lazy with blogging. Do keep us posted about your whereabouts and running.

    Cheers,
    Neeraj

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