Monday, August 24, 2015

I've Been Doubled

Start of the San Jose Double Race
(Ujena Fit Club photo)
The Double Race series sounds like a neat idea. It's a series of races consisting of a 10k race and then a "half-time" before an 5k race, which starts an hour and forty-five minutes after the 10k start. This half-time sounds like a nice break, but it's basically a way to rest up so you can really punish your body over the last 5k in a way that can't be duplicated with a simple 15k.

At least that was my take on things last Saturday in the San Jose Double Race held last Saturday. I've down this event before, in early 2014 when I was in a lot better shape than I am now. The first time around, I thought I held back a little too much over the initial 10k to rest up for the 5k, and cost some time pacing myself that way. This time around, I decided to push the 10k about as fast as I could go, rest up, and gut out the 5k. So in the 10k with the field spreading out quickly and running mostly by myself the whole way, I came through in 39:30 feeling pretty spent.

Trudging off to the porta-potties after the 10k, a race official took one look at my weary face and cheered, "You're two-thirds of the way done!".

"Yeah, right," I groaned.

As for my secret recovery plan to show up for the 5k fresh as a daisy, I didn't have one. Trying to do a little cool down in the parking lot fifteen minutes after crossing the finish line, I could barely lift my knees. After some stretching and working my legs over with a foam roller, I got to the point where could amble around the parking somewhat resembling a run. With twenty minutes to go, I figured I was just going to go on guts and hopefully the rush of the race would provide energy from somewhere. Sometimes in running when you have no idea where you'll find to the necessary strength, you simply need to have faith you'll find it in the moment. Besides, if I didn't feel so good at this point, probably everyone else felt the same way.

Yours truly hanging on for dear life
(Ujena Fit Club photo)
The gun goes off for the 5k and I just go, breathing like a steam locomotive and just trying to hang on with with the pack ahead of me which is steadily leaving me behind. Any hope of finding a rhythm was quickly abandoned. Struggling up the hilly middle section of the 5k course, hearing the sound of heavy breathing behind me indicated I was in danger of losing a valuable place. Somehow, I found another gear on the downhill to pull away and just plowed my way to the finish with very little in the tank, crossing the line in 19:44. Not as fast as I was hoping for, but I ran hard.

Every race is a learning experience. I learned the Double Race is really tiring. I also learned that while my fitness was lacking from where I wanted it to be, I felt pretty good about my effort. Forgive the cliche' but as long as you keep giving a consistently hard effort, good things eventually happen. Next race up is the Folsom Blue Breakout Half-Marathon on October 18th. It's time to go to work to prepare for it, but looks like I'll be up to the task.

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