Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hell? Nope, just cross country

So I'm ridiculously sore, mostly as a result of this weekend, but also maybe because this has been my highest mileage week EVER, coming in at 48.2. If I hadn't taken Wednesday off I would have made it to 50 easily and that just amazes me. I feel like what's made the difference this year is that my short runs are longer because I just feel lazy if I go less than 5 miles, and once I go 5 I figure I might as well go 7...and on it goes. I've been kicking September's ass though...136 miles already and there's still another week to go. ROCK ON. I was laughing at the race on Saturday because I was wearing my conference shirt from senior year that says 255 miles and counting because that was how far we ran the entire season...and now I'm going to be at like 180 in a month. Talk about badass....sometimes I just love being a runner.

Anyway, on to the race...well, I can't decide whether I'm happy or not. I ran faster than last year but didn't quite break 22 which was what I was hoping to do, not to mention I felt like absolute death doing it. But I feel like this race has given me a LOT of motivation to train my ass off the next 3 weeks so that by the time I'm running at Ripon and LaX I'm dropping time like crazy. So first of all, it was HOT. Most normal people probably woke up on Saturday and were like sweet, its going to be 80 and sunny, this is gorgeous, I can't wait to go outside! Yeah that's great..if you don't have to race a 5K. Seriously, it was not my kind of racing weather at all, especially since heat seems to affect me worse than other people sometimes. And as if that isn't enough, we're racing at Parkside...aka, the first 800 is completely uphill, and from 1.5 miles onward is these rolling small hills that make your legs feel like they're going to collapse from under you...and since hills are basically my least favorite things about running, Parkside doesn't rank real high on my list of favorite XC courses. Buuuuuuut whatever, I did enough whining about all of this at the race haha.

So because we aren't a real college team, we got this ridiculous box on the far right side of the start...we had to cut SO far to the left to even get onto the course, otherwise we would run into a 4-wheeler and some spectators and all sorts of awesome stuff. Well, the gun went off, and being my idiotic self as usual, I completely let the adrenaline get the best of me and absolutely sprinted off the line. The only people from our team ahead of me up the first hill were Tali and Katie, and I would say about 4 other people belonged in front of me, except oh wait, I'm going to be a kamikaze. Anyway, by the time we got up the first massive hill, I was already spent and starting to get concerned that disaster was probably not too far away. I went through the first mile in 6:45 which is ABSURD considering how much of it is uphill...then Claire passed me at her standard 10 seconds after the mile mark (I seriously think this has happened in every single race we've ever run together haha) followed by Laura soon after, and then Taylor a little later. A LOT of people passed me after the top of the hill, and it was not enjoyable. I hate getting passed, especially when I know I can't go with the people passing me, and since I was already dying by like 1.5 miles, things were not looking good. Then to make matters worse, I hear Nicole come up behind I love Nicole but I've been running longer than her and I honestly told the BF the night before the race that the worst thing that could happen to me would be for her to beat me. I passed the second mile in 13:57, so I really hadn't dropped off too much, though I had a bit. It was actually slightly funny looking back, because Nicole loves running up hills and they are pretty much my idea of hell, so every time we would go up a hill I would hear her come up on me, and then as soon as we got to the top I would try and shoot down the other side and lose her, which was usually successful haha. Seriously though, I can't remember feeling much worse than I did the last mile of that race in any other cross race, besides maybe Loyola my sophomore year. I was dying and there was nothing I could do besides try to hang on and turn in a decent this point I assumed I was going to run a horrible time. So I finally passed the 3 mile mark and turned into the big open field where the race ends...and I hate that stupid field, because that's where time stops. Your legs aren't moving, your arms are flailing, you want to throw up, and the finish is so close but you don't seem to be moving anywhere, and you're trying to kick but the signals just don't seem to be reaching your legs. I could see the clock with the seconds ticking past 21:45 as I got towards the line and I tried to reach down and pull out one last burst of energy, and I can't say that I didn't give it absolutely everything I had, but I have to say its frustrating to miss what you wanted to run by 4 seconds - I ended up at 22:03. Still, its 8 seconds faster than I ran at this meet last year, on a day when a lot of people were running worse, especially with the heat, and its definitely a good place to start. Our freshmen/sophomores did AMAZING - Katie and Tali were at like 20:30 and Laura was at 20:45. Then came Claire and Taylor around 21:48, that's the pack I want to try and hang with the next time we race, because I really think I can if I figure out my pacing. Jade and Nicole were both about 20 seconds behind me. Overall, a pretty solid showing for our team! I'm kind of sad to have to go 3 weeks without racing now, but like I said, now's the time when I can put in the work, and no one will be ready for me when I reappear on the racing scene. ;)

Anyway, my legs were pretty much trashed after the race. My calves KILLED! They still do actually, but I'm sure that the 10.5 mile run on an insanely hilly trail in Kettle Moraine state park today didn't help. A bunch of the club went camping after the meet, and it was so much fun just hanging out and goofing around...and of course going on a long run on Sunday morning. Its stuff like this weekend that makes me want to stay in Madison for PT school...I'll miss cross country so much. Not even track so much any more...there's something about XC that you just can't explain. Its such a love-hate relationship, but its so much more love than hate.

50+ mile weeks on the horizon? I think so....its business time.

UW Parkside Midwest Collegiate Invitational - Kenosha, WI
5K Cross Country
22:03 (7:06 pace)

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