Last week was a huge training week for me, and one that was capped off by a satisfying performance at the Horse Butte 10-miler race on Sunday. Particularly in light of my training volume in the days leading up to the race.
I typically like to taper for any race longer than a 10k so my legs and body feel fresh and rested. But this week my coach thought it would be good for me to race under fatigue to see how I would respond after a solid build week including a 75-mile ride the day before the race. Because I wasn’t trying to break any records or PR at this race, I thought this plan would be a great way to gauge my fitness under fatigue. I mean, I am going to have to run a marathon after a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike, so I might as well as get used to this.
The race started at 9am on a picture perfect day. Typically the weather can be pretty ugly this time of year, so all the runners really lucked out. I arrived at the Horse Butte parking area with enough time to park, do a quick warm-up, use the porta potty, and line up in position. Before I knew it the horn ripped through the air and we were off!
Aside from the first quarter mile, the entire run is on singletrack trail. This means you have to line up very strategically and be smart about where you position yourself in the line of other runners. For the most part I settled in well and only had to venture off trail a few times to pass people.
My husband came out with Axel to cheer me on at the halfway point – also the location of the only aid station. We just bought a fancy new camera and are still figuring out how to use it, so this was the only picture he captured that wasn’t blurry or out of focus. At least you can see the mountains and scenery. It was so gorgeous out there. It’s actually probably a good thing you can’t see my face because I was in pain this point (the first half of the run is primarily uphill) and there wasn’t a lot of smiling taking place. I barely even acknowledged Justin and Axel as I ran by them, but I knew they were there and certainly appreciated their support.
I finished the race in a time of 1:18:25 with a 7:52 average pace. I was pleased with the result given the difficulty of the course, single-track terrain, and fatigue I was operating under. Instead of medals they gave all the finishers a mini growler to fill from the keg of beer (or water). You know you’re in Bend when…
Leading up to the race I had a pretty terrific week of training. On Tuesday I swam 3500m which was my longest swim EVER, followed by a track session that included eight 1-minute intervals at VO2 max.
On Wednesday the weather was perfect for a ride outside so I tested out my new SOAS team kit and did a 2-hour ride on my tri bike. It was a glorious day.
Thursday was even nicer and temperatures were easily in the low 70s. After my morning swim I went out to the trails and did hill repeats on an old forest service road. I felt really strong and committed throughout the run, soaking up as much sunshine and blue sky as I could in the process. As I posted on Instagram, I felt pretty excited about finishing my hill repeats.
On Friday, Justin, Axel, and I went out to the little town of Sisters (about 30 minutes from Bend) so I could demo some road bikes. I’ve had my Trek Madone for a few years now and am finally ready to upgrade to a more advanced bike, especially if I’m going to do a few road races like my coach wants me to. I tested out two different Specialized bikes – the Tarmac and Roubaix – while Justin and Axel cruised around in the Bob.
My goal is to purchase a new bike within the next month before I potentially – GASP – do my first bike race. I really want electronic shifting and disc brakes, which seems to be where road bike technology is headed, so we’ll see what I end up with.
After testing out bikes we enjoyed the sunshine and took Axel to the park before heading back home.
On Saturday, the day before my race, my coach invited me on a group ride with a few other guys. I always try to take advantage of these opportunities because group rides generally push me to work harder (especially when I feel like I have something to prove to five other guys), make the time go by faster, and allow me to converse with and learn from other athletes. Group rides are the way to go when doing longer distance rides. We ended up doing 75-miles with some tough climbing near the end. Nothing like finishing with a nice climb! The experience was great, even if my legs were completely fried before the race as a result.
All in all, I’d say things are going well on the training front. I have another race this weekend – the Salmon Run 10k – on top of another busy training week. My next big “A” race is in three weeks at the Eugene Half Marathon, where I’m hoping for a PR!
Have you ever raced without tapering or while completely fatigued?
Have you ever received something other than a medal for finishing a race?
Be sure to enter to win one of two SOAS sports bras I am giving away!