Monday, November 26, 2007

last race of 2007: DE XC champs @ brandywine

laf called saturday afternoon.
- how did the race go?
- fine.
- did you win?
- nnnnnn-oh - two syllables.
- no? really?? how does that FEEL, finn?

he's being a smart-ass because last week i did a 10k turkey trot, won, loitered in front of E's house for a cooldown and when nobody came out to invite me to a lumberjack's breakfast jogged back to the starting line and won the 5K 30min later. you, my fans, are spoiled.

- who beat you?
- an ex-olympian...
- vicki?
- jah. a pro duathlete from new zealand...
- fiona?
- jah. and some chick i've never seen before.
- DOH! are you okay?
- sort of. i've been crying a lot, and i just polished off a bag of reese's peanut butter cups. i'm watching High Tension right now and after that i should be okay.
- right. how was the hammie?
- except for a tweak on maintenance hill, absolutely fine. i got a looooong warmup though.

my explanation of my “looooong” warmup necessitated the confession that 15min before my race started i was hopelessly lost in brandywine creek state park. for a warmup, i'd dropped off the XC course to run flat along the river, out and back, but when i doubled-back with tool's Days on the nano, i passed right from familiar territory into unfamiliar, with the trail that would take me back up the hill to the race start gone. vamoosed. Not In Evidence.

i double-doubled back and ran in nervous circles until i broke down and asked a birdwatching couple i'd now passed 5 times if they knew which trail might take me back to the parking lot. since none of us knew WHICH of the multiple parking lots i meant – "the lot next to the place where my race is starting in 20min" not being much help to anyone – they pointed me toward a trail which went straight up the hill. it wasn't MY trail, though – in fact, it wasn't a people trail at all. it was a deer trail that got narrower and pricklier and then dwindled to nothing.

i backed out of that trail considerably bloodier than i entered it and found another trail that, despite its “closed” sign looked well-used. i trucked down it until i encountered a dog and three children walking with a man who looked trustworthy, that is to say not bleeding nor on the verge of tears. i threw myself at his mercy and he suggested i take the red trail. so i sallied forth 10 steps along the red trail until it forked without clue into 2 divergent directions. i suspected i should go right but consulted the oracle behind me. 'i suspect you go left' - he advised, so i went left and after leapfrogging 3 more walking parties popped out of the same woods the XC course dives into after the open start.

i had enough time to dash to the car, shuck my extra clothes and change my shoes – quite possibly my most flawless transition EVAR – and careened toward the start line while pinning on my number. i heard rudy's voice and ran over to give him a hug but he pushed me away.
- they're starting you. what happened? did you get lost?
- har har har - i chuckled then jostled myself into place on the startline beside his wife. she gave me a Look.
- i got LOST. in the WOODS - i blurted.
- you have twigs. in your hair. and you're bleeding – she responded archly.
- sorry - i said contritely. when racing with ex-olympians one should look one's best and i was picking sticks and leaves out of my ponytail when the startgun sounded.

after that life got a lot simpler. the weathergirl nearly tripped me a couple times zigging in front of me, but after a half-mile she was gone, and mel was breathing on my shoulder up the rocky incline toward maintenance hill but when we crested the climb she too was gone and in front of me were fiona, a chick with long blonde hair and vicki. i could follow every line vicki took, but i sure couldn't run as light and easy as she does.

from the peanut gallery 25yds back i watched vicki gain on the blonde, patience and experience hunting down callow youth. the two of them were abreast after the false flat on the rt 92 segment and i really thought vicki had her, but youth prevailed and had 4sec on experience at the finish.

witness the loot below: a mint New Balance LS shirt, a pair of gloves, 75USD for 3rd place (vicki was scored with the masters women) and a gift certificate for a 30min massage from denise that i won in the post-race raffle. all this for my $18 day-of-race entry fee.

- you know what's funny? - i proposed to laf.
- what.
- well, when I did this race last year F and i ran the course once a week a month before the race, and i did hill intervals on maintenance hill. this year i didn't train for it at all, i've gained 10lbs since worlds, and still i was only 10sec slower this year.
- yeah funny how that works. when i was getting ready for chicago, i was utterly regimented: i ran with a marathon training group, did yasso repeats, and was fanatic about what i ate. i ended up running a half hour off my PR. sometimes it's better to just get out there and run, and not think.

i can assure you that for the next month there won't be much thinking, running, riding or swimming. there'll be a lot of lazing around like a kitty cat, there'll be a week in st. john and there'll be christmas vacation. with the new year will come the realities of an april qualifier for short course du worlds, and Eagleman in june, but give us this month of volunteer slothfulness, forgive us our excesses & forgive them that excess along with us, and lord lead us into temptation.


fatmammycat said...

Lost and a panicky lost, not good, running fleet of foot and enjoying it all, plus prize money-class. Well done.

finn said...

ta v much. twas a beaut fall day -- and the race crew had taken a leaf blower to the rooty downhill section of the course - so at least you can see what you're tripping over - said my friend dick who today's undergoing minor surgery on his heart to correct its sometimes-misfiring. be careful who you marry - he told me, as though this could happen to you if you married a person like the one he just divorced.

what i meant to say is that the leaves werent treacherous.

Brown Suga' said...

Wow. Just wowwowwowwow. You rock, gal.

finn said...

y thank u suga. nice to c u.