Monday, April 26, 2010
Xterra Vegas race report
My first official race back on the Xterra circuit has come and gone. After a 22 month abscence from racing I was super excited get back but since I have been dealing with injuries for the past three weeks I was really unsure of what would happen and how I would feel.
I woke up feeling positive. I was honestly just so happy to be part of an Xterra event again. The people, the whole Xterra crew, the atmosphere are all things I missed tremendously while I was injured last year. Truthfully, simply starting that race was a small victory for me, which is why I think I was so positive all day. I remember thinking to myself constantly (even when it hurt) how great it was to be back. The Xterra crew was so welcoming and supportive too and I really felt like part of the "family."
As for the actual race...
I feel like I am swimming better then ever before but you wouldn't really know this based on my swim yesterday. I feel like I am struggling a bit in the open water despite my swim times being solid in the pool. I think this will just take a little more time to come around and I think in the coming weeks I will develop some good swim fitness to take into the next few races. So, swim was mediocre but I was still in the mix heading out onto the bike.
It took me about the entire first lap to get my legs firing. I rode my second lap faster and cleaner for sure. The tough thing was I wasn't able to stay on the wheel of some of the top guys as they went by. First Cody went by, and then Nico, and Brian. It would have been nice to latch onto these guys but my fitness just isn't there yet. I tried but I just couldn't do it. Typical Xterra I felt like I was in no man's land since I couldn't ride with the faster guys so I just focused on staying positive and doing my own race. Coming into transition I was told I was in 9th. Honestly, I was kind of shocked.
I went out onto the run unsure of a lot of things...how would my left leg feel, how would I cope with running after pretty much 3 weeks off, would I run out of gas. I remembered Lesley telling me how tough the run is so I was curious to see how it would pan out. I usually race one way and that's as hard as I can go from start to finish but yesterday there were so many things up in the air. So, in all honesty I ran very controlled for just about all of it. I just kept a high turnover on the hills and let gravity help me on the downhills. When I finished I felt like I could have certainly run way harder but, like I said, there was a lot of uncertainty in my mind so I kept it controlled. Turns out I ran okay despite 3 weeks of no running, an injury, and a very conservative effort. Racing conservatively in any sense of the word is not really racing in my mind. I am the type of person that believes in full gas racing with no excuses so it kind of bugs me that I played it conservatively but I think at this stage it was the right thing to do given the injury I have been dealing with. The most important thing to me right now is that I get my leg healthy so I can prepare well for races in June.
Overall, I am happy with my performance. Was it blazing fast and flawless? No, but it is promising in my mind and I think if I can stay healthy and put in some good, hard training in the coming months I can be where I want to be. I left the weekend feeling positive and feeling like I had a lot of small victories.
It was so great having my family there too. I am glad they were there to experience my return to the sport that I love so much. Seeing there excitement made me even more pumped up to race and to enjoy the experience. I learned a lot last year and perhaps the most important thing I learned is to appreciate the WHOLE experience...I can honestly say I did this.
I really owe a lot to Jess too. She stuck with me through all the rough patches last year when I was just a pain to deal with b/c I couldn't train or even exercise. She was there screaming for me during the race and she was right there at the finish line to give me a big hug and a smile when I crossed the line. I needed her last year more then I think she knows so to have here there with me this weekend for my best Xterra performance ever really made it special. She encouraged me to stick it out and get back to racing during times when I wasn't sure I could do it. Thanks for everything Jess!
So, looking forward I am excited about Texas, Alabama and Richmond. I think my best performances are certainly to come. I look forward to banking some consistent and hard training in the coming weeks so I can work toward achieving my goals. Jim Vance has been invaluable from both a physical and mental coaching perspective. I can't lie, the past few weeks of dealing with yet another injury was really tough but Jim really coached me through it and got me to the start line excited and ready to race...thanks Jim! In my opinion, a coach that can get you from completely down in the dumps and unexcited to fired up and ready to race in a short 30 min conversation is a very good coach!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned as I gear up for my next races! Got some exciting adventures on tap!