Thursday, May 19, 2011

Xterra Pacific Champs--Santa Cruz

The week after Ironman was filled with mega easy workouts and sitting on my butt. The first couple of days were pretty rough b/c the pounding my quads took on the St George run was beyond anything they have ever experienced. Walking was a chore for sure but my legs/body seemed to get better everyday. I followed all the usual recovery protocal...ez exercise, massage, ice, lots of antioxidents, vitamin C, iron, etc. and I think it worked well for me.
By Thursday when I prerode the Xterra Santa Cruz course my legs were feeling much better. Not snappy or fresh but the soreness had pretty much cleared up. I swam everyday and I was actually feeling pretty good in the water...amazing how much better I felt after some easy time in the pool. I ended up riding the course again friday and took it really easy again but, like I said, the legs were feeling better everyday and I felt like I could actually put some pressure on the pedals. My first run after IM didn't come until Saturday...just 15 min ez minutes after a 45 min ride. My legs felt a bit sluggish on the first run back but no soreness, which I was happy about.
--One of many coffees...this one especially good in Monterey!

Sunday came up pretty quickly but, honestly, we had such a good crew staying at my grandmothers house that prior to late Saturday night I didn't even really think about the race. Lesley, Jessica and Dan kept the mood light, we watched a lot of movies, cooked up some good grub, and just had an overall great time. So, when race morning came it was obviously time to shift gears a little bit to get the game face on but the pouring rain had me a bit bummed out. I was already questioning how my body would hold up and then when I saw the weather my first reaction was "am I really going to do this in this horrible weather...I just raced an ironman last weekend."
We rolled up to Santa Cruz and the weather actually cleared up a bit and the rain held off for the whole race. I got in an ez warmup spin and then jumped into the FREEZING cold ocean (52-53 degrees). I took maybe 50 strokes and realized the water was too cold to stay in for very long. So, I went back to shore and got in a warmup out of the water. Of course, once the gun went off the water temp wasn't an issue and I had a fairly good swim for me. Then once on the bike I tucked in behind Josiah for as long as the body would allow. Eventually he left me behind and I ended up catching Craig. Craig and I ended up riding the second half of the course together and I had a great time racing with him. Up until the run my body felt great. I really had no thoughts of Ironman and the fatigue I was carrying. However, the run was a different story...the Ironman effort creeped into the body after the first 10 steps. Honestly, it felt like a tempo run. I tried to run hard initially but I had no punch and the legs were a bit heavy. So, I settled in and just hoped the legs would come around. I was hurting but it wasn't from the speed I was running...for the first time I just felt spent. I was tired and I really couldn't wait for it to be over...the run felt like it went on forever!
I did manage to hold on for 6th, which is my best Xterra pro finish to date. This result moved me into 5th in the National Series. Not going to lie, this was a big surprise. Ironman is no joke and the St. George course is punishing (plus the 92 degree temps). So, I thought there would be no way that I could recover in time for Santa Cruz. I am certainly still recovering from the effort in Utah but the body has come around much sooner then I expected.
--Some celebrating (for a lot of reasons) was certainly done!

Right now I am in Alabama for the 4th stop on the Xterra Tour. I love this course out here...the trails are awesome!  Honestly, I still have some questions in my mind as to how I will perform. I have good days and bad days. I am still on the "easy train" doing only short accelerations throughout mellows sessions to try and get back some of the "snap" but there is still some heaviness in the legs. The last few weeks have been hyper focused on resting and racing so I am actually really excited to get back to actual structured training! One more hit out on Sunday and then I will go home for a couple weeks to try and build back up for the 5th stop on the Tour in Richmond.
--Perfect way to wrap up the travel day to on Oak Mtn trails at sunset
-Swim venue...guess what, the water isn't HOT for once!

Got in some good recon on  the course today, tomorrow is a mellow, relaxing day, Saturday is the usual race prep workouts, and the race is Sunday. Looking forward to another hard race with the Xterra crew on what is arguably the best set of trails we race on all year!

1 comment:

melissa said...

I have really enjoyed following your adventures. I am amazed that I know someone who actually does these amazing races. So happy for you.