How the cuss is everyone (all 11 readers)? It's been wildly busy in the wilds of VT and I'm not sure where to even start?! Do I explain that my training is, well, just going? Do I explain that I'm training on anxious levels that are through the roof and training to one-up any and all competition? There's really nothing to explain other than I have been training within the confines of organized chaos, and I'm responding well to it. Or so I think with the limited scope and sequence.
After the 50k I had my eyes set on racking up miles and introducing quality workouts. This was a cuss of an idea but never really happened. Instead I have been dropping some awesome runs, some great longs runs and supplementing workouts when I feel like it. The main goal was the first race on the mtn series, Sleepy Hollow followed by the Vermont City Marathon, then anything and everything. I really wanted to win this race, badly, and not only win but demoralize and really start the season like a kingpin boss. But the training left me insure of how the race would go.
The training leading up to this has been great, excluding the week of, and I was highly optimistic, excluding the week of, and felt very confident, excluding the week of...
So, I ventured to the northwest corner if VT to Kasie Enman's house for the 10k trail/Mtn hybrid. It was going to be a gathering of a lot of friends (so I call them) and a lot of other great (and not so great) people, ha. The first people I saw upon my arrival were Jim Johnson and Kevin Tilton, they were also the two people I was most hoping to see, bc, like I said, I think we are friends. Voltron was in full effect as Greg came with me to spectate the show I had planned. We all decided to warm up together and it was great to shoot the breeze and catch up a bit. We all felt like cussing cuss. Kevin Tilton had a great thought as to why. He thinks that our bodies subconsciously sabotage our week when we know we have a race, in order for our bodies to HAVE to rest. This is genius and made a cuss load of sense. I immediatly felt better.
The race field seemed to be jacked as well. This is where most of my anxiousness was coming from. There were a ton of great runners in the field. I wanted to win in the worst way, and really had to leave it all out there, as it would be a vital ingredient to my confidence stew I'm brewing that will lead me into VCM. Everything was going to have to go right in order to win, let alone be competitive with the stellar field. I also love killing and winning, so the balance of anxiousness to race and anxiousness of who was there was fairly even.
Before the race I chatted with Greg and asked what he felt the race strategy should be. He felt that I should run hard where my strengths were. Well, seeing that it was a mud fest, on trails, with hills? It would be a tough task to do what I envisioned doing.
The course is essentially 3 loops with each loop a mile up then a mile down. The conditions were ideal for me. Wet, tough, somewhat cold and a course where you need to change gears a lot. My race plan was to go out in the front and press the pace to feel who was going to respond and attack, attack and attack. I was going to attack the hills, attack the down hills and attack in between and force the pace or effort to be very uncomfortable and I was hoping that that would be enough to make it so I was competitive and had the finish I was looking for.
About 5 min before the start I really felt that I was zoned in and could have killed someone I was so cussing fired up to race. It was a bit scary as I was in full on killer mode and so much that I felt awkward. Thankfully the race started and I was able to inflict my emotions. The first thing I did was get to the front and start the slow grinding press. It was evident the first 100m that no one was going to challenge me for the lead. Any chance I could the first mile I surged.
I envisioned that I was 3 different runners, one for each of the elements (up, flats, down) and I told myself that I had to be the best at each discipline. I attacked the first climb and when reaching the top, I didn't recover yet I pressed as hard as I could, crested the hill and surged down the other side. This was incredibly painful as I had lactic acid screaming though me. But, I had to get away and break away from the field so much that there would be no way in Hades fiery hell that they could imagine catching me. I wanted to end the race right then and there. And I did. I climbed like a fire breathing dragon, sprinted down the hills and rolled hard on the flats.
By 1.25 miles I had a nice lead and it was only getting larger. It felt great, I felt great and I was determined to keep the pain high and ride it out. The second climb was insanely soupy and tough and I was brought back into view of the field at times, this was short lived as when cresting the second hill I sprinted the downhill to really get out of sight and stay out of site. At 4 miles my lead was 90 sec. The last 2 miles is a ton of fun as the climb isn't that bad, it's on single track and then there is a long gradual down hill that feels like you're on a conveyer belt. It felt so great to feel like I was running wicked fast, so great.
I had an anti-Murphy's Law day, anything and everything that could have gone right, did! Sleepy Hollow went very well and I'm extremely fortunate to have run well enough to win. It was great seeing a slew of mtn friends and this race did what it needed to do: validate my confidence (uh oh)!!!
I've included the Level Renner interview. Some people might not like my honesty or obvious confidence level, but cuss'm. You don't like it, come on out and race... I have the utmost respect for my competition and if you don't want to know: don't ask...