2014 Club XC Nationals for me ended up being all I could hope/dream for. For how terrible my body handled the transition from Portland to Phoenix, where just recently a good 3 weeks of my running was toilet bowl quality, I ROCKED it! No I didn’t win, or come in top 25, but I did compete to the best of my current ability, walking away with a solid 39th with a personal best for 6K xc (3rd runner for our BTC team which gave us a 5th pace overall finish despite missing 2 of our top runners).
Women’s Open results here – (top 10 listed below; plus my team)
1 Laura Thweatt 25 Boulder Track Club 19:15 5:10
2 Tara Erdmann 25 Nike 19:25 5:13
3 Angela Bizzarri 26 19:34 5:15
4 Alisha Williams 32 Boulder Running Comp/adidas A 19:35 5:15
5 Brianne Nelson 34 Boulder Running Comp/adidas A 19:35 5:16 👶👶
6 Sarah Pagano 23 Boston Athleic Assoc. A 19:41 5:17
7 Rochelle Kanuho 24 Boulder Running Comp/adidas A 19:42 5:17
8 Frances Koons 28 The Georgetown Running Company A 19:42 5:17
9 Juliet Bottorff 23 Boston Athleic Assoc. A 19:43 5:18
10 Elaina Balouris 22 Boston Athleic Assoc. A 19:47 5:19
27 Carrie Dimoff 31 Bowerman Track Club 20:30 5:30 👶👶
32 Lindsey Drake 25 Bowerman Track Club 20:34 5:31
39 Julia Webb 31 Bowerman Track Club 20:47 5:35 👶
55 Olivia Mickle 23 Bowerman Track Club 21:08 5:40
85 Anna Connor 28 Bowerman Track Club 21:35 5:48
Total = 343 finishers; 38 complete teams
👶 = moms who beat me (2 that I know of; each 2 kids)
I touched ground in Philly with 18 hours to spare before the gun went off, giving me a much greater cushion than the Bowerman Track Club’s 5th man German Fernandez, who arrived after numerous cancellations/delays into NYC on a redeye only 6 hours to race time (in which he ended up 3rd= different league – he’s BTC pro runner, never the less amazing how he pulled that off). My 5 other teammates gave me the 4-11 on the course preview as I missed my original flight due to my failure to heed to my alarm.
Somehow I magically awoke 90 minutes later, and only fell 10 minutes short to getting into the gate for take off on original flight. Thankfully I was rebooked 3 hours later on the next direct flight, giving me just enough time to head back to the shuttle to parking, find my car (to keep my backpack), and go for a run in my airport attire. Thankfully I never dress for fashion when I travel. I was wearing mostly run-friendly apparel as I headed for my 3 mile trek around the airport to catch some beautiful views of downtown Phoenix area and some much needed fresh air after my frustrating error. I could have opted for my actual race day uniform I had packed in my carry-on, but decided it might be nice to smell great come Saturday.
Thankfully sport bras for me feel no different than regular bra…(sad confession of someone with typical runner chick body) and the breathable hoody and ability to convert it into a crop top while running helped minimize my excessive sweating. A shirt change and ditching hoody and my presentation was decent for flight status (see photo of “dork” airport stretching). The only important news I was hoping for – the extra rest turned out to be a good thing- I felt AMAZING and confident my running was in a MUCH better place than a few weeks ago.
Arriving at the hotel 9pm, I was mostly bummed I missed a solid 4 hours of chill time WITH humans I already knew, and missing the run with my team. I live for this kind of stuff. Instead of a nice relaxing dinner at a restaurant, I relied on Alan’s Yelp search skills to phone in some Thai take out. By 10, I was wiped and didn’t get to sleep til after midnight. Either way I made it and my awesome mom was back in Phoenix with Joanie to cover while Alan was at Footlocker Nationals.
The BTC Ladies were complete with 5 scoring members and the pressure was on to represent after last year our women’s count dropped from 8 down to 4 on race day. We were all ready to muscle our way into “Playing with the real players” This meant top 50. My goal – be realistic, work with the fitness I currently had and run MY race.. bottom line, get to the finish as fast as possible and don’t run the first 400 like an idiot. I knew I was coming around but I had no chance against someone like Tara Erdmann or any women who were under 20 min for the day. (I know from experience attempting to keep up on easy days with Tara- they aren’t easy for me as I experienced this morning!) I also know she’s likely sleeping at 10,000 feet, and I can only spend about 30 minutes in that before I get light headed. “She’s good.”
A few blogs ago I mentioned my “life goal” would be to make a XC world team, trust me, I know that was a HUGE statement not to be taken lightly, and by December 1st, I knew that would NOT be a possibility this year (and may never be.. but its on a lofty goal list like someone saying “Climb Mt Everest”). My excitement for competing didn’t wane, and I was just as hungry to improve upon my 53rd spot from last fall. I ain’t ashamed, I put a statement in and ended up 60 seconds off the top 10. Yes a minute is a long time, but this is still a better result than when I got dusted by over 2 minutes by Kimber Mattox in a 3.2 mile race at Warrior Dash World Champs in October. And that race I won enough to pay off my student loans. Here there wouldn’t be any individual prize money but a true test of where you stand against some of the best Club runners in the nation (professional and non).
The course was about as tame of a cross country course you could ask for. For every uphill section there was a nice relaxing downhill that followed. The “mud” covered a 10 foot section in which I took about 3 steps. The ground was firm, footing was great, no snow, the conditions were pretty calm, and the cold wasn’t nearly as miserable as it could have been. (37 and partly sunny). I told myself if I didn’t PR today, I never will. My PR was set 9 years ago at the 2005 Regional XC Champs in 21:04. It had been that long since I had run on a PR friendly course such as this. The great part, near the mile in this race I was side by side for a good 400m running against my former competitor in that ’05 race – the now known by all running nerds – Elizabeth Herndon (yeah, the girl who just won the Beer Mile Championships-see link; she came closer to beating me today than ’05 race-20:47/ 21:00 vs 21:04/21:34).
My race plan unfolded as so ……I used my old lady race tactics by not getting passed by a single runner.. only got semi- dropped after pulling up to Delilah Dicrescezno and Maggie Callahan in the last K. That is the best way to run. It always feels amazing to be moving up. Especially having something to give after feeling like I had NOTHING in my legs at my last race.
I ended up going from 60’s in the first 400 to about 39th with a 1.5 K to go , holding my spot getting that sub 21 PR of 20:47. I read the course may have been short, but if so I believe my old PR could have been on a short course, and besides … its CROSS COUNTRY! No one actually cares what the times were. My pipe dream goal for the day was top 30- and ran well enough to keep our top runners in my sight. YES I did brag to Alan about placing 6th in my age group. In the over 30 crew (including 40 year old Olympian Jen Rhines – who beat me) – only 5 were ahead of me. That AND only 2 moms beat me (if my sources were accurate). So yes more bragging in which I will stop right now. Thank you Alan for your support, because that’s the only way moms really can get it done. With a great husband. All this means that most over 30 years (minus professionals) actually have a life outside of running. I still get most of my thrills from this sport so I am not quite ready to give it up.
Post race, if you happened to be a witness, it was clear: I don’t get out much…. I went hard… a little too hard which resulted in a fever/exhaustion from 2am Saturday night until I woke up Monday AM.
Here is the timeline post race that led to this:
- 7 mile post race cool down with various friends (to get in a solid 14 mile day)
Why so long? it was A) outside (if you follow me on Instagram you know I spend way too much time on treadmills in perfectly awesome running weather B) for once I didn’t have to rush back to retrieve Joanie C) my old club team – Ragged Mountain Running decided to go a full loop, even this being my 3rd round of cool down, I of course didn’t care
- A rushed shower to enjoy ONE beer and a massive plate of nachos w/ the NATIONAL CHAMPS (BTC Master’s guys) then headed straight for the post race banquet
- Excessive running of my mouth. I engaged in way too much talking and likely not enough listening with all the Portland peeps and others I hadn’t seen since last year’s race or longer ago
- My dancing. Anyone who ever attended Wisconsin Camp of Champs between the years 2001-2009 knows what I’m talking about.
- A half cup of free beer (most of it was foam) The rest of the time I was dancing I was eating fruit snacks. I swear ask Ryan McGrath… until I had
- Another SINGLE beer (to challenge the Beer Mile World Record holder in chugging since she is the pro and I’ve never practiced since college. (Total drink count in 6 hours – 2.5; not enough for hang over)
- Final great decision at the Sheetz Gas station ended up with numerous people suggest, “Milk was a bad choice” with their foresight correct. This in combo with post race stomach, too many jalapenos, some beer, a massively large salad overloaded w/ insoluble fiber to try to make up for my lack of vegetables pre-race and the tipping point- random gas station “rice bowl” which looked more like a soupy sauce bowl..
- Spending more time by the toilet than in bed that night and being a complete waste of space traveling home the next day. Alan claimed I was just hung over… Really? 2 beers?! Maybe a socialization hang over. No regrets, I came for 2 reasons- to run and to hang w/ runners! I wasn’t backing off of either. Thank you teammate Kristen Rohde for being great travel companion while I almost threw up.
My next athletic endeavor includes conquering a rope climb. I’m so excited my coach is on par with my goals to get fit and serious about some OCR business. To save you a google search -OCR = Obstacle Course Racing. It’s to the point I have been seeking out a large climbing rope, and may have to either enroll Joanie in her first gymnastics class if that means they’ll let me have at it OR purchase one and hang from nearby tree. (Seriously up to this point I had to use google, “How to train to climb a rope if you don’t have access to one) and my enthusiasm is so great I woke up very happy the other morning in a dream ending with me successfully climbing the rope.
My current regiment is getting some quality “threshold lowering” workouts in, building up my base from my wishy washy fall, while seeking to get my upper body as sore and fatigued as possible so I won’t just fall pathetically into the mud pits. I want to actually be competitive enough to hang with the obstacle experts…. So racing plan in correct order: outrun obstacle chicks, then try not too blow my lead too much by bombing the rope climb or have to do excessive penalty burpees. Or if Kimber Mattox happens to be in my race….I’m toast.
Next blog…. sharing more about how I’m a changed woman! No more hiding behind my “C- diet” and thanks to InsideTracker for motivating me to get with the picture and get the most from the endless food sources I have access to. (And of course thank you coach Jon Marcus for consistently pointing this out as well). This means…. WAY MORE vegetables, smoothies, nuts, crazy vegan type stuff ….LESS crap. My choice in packing my Baby Bullet (baby food blender) has been a wise one. I now can drink my greens, hydrate and consume a whole container of berries without even chewing!!