Monday, September 24, 2007

Reach the Beach: Race Report Legs 1&2&4

Steve T.

Leg1 [6.6 miles at 6:21 pace]

I felt a little pressure starting the team race but I tapped into my 25 years of racing experience to keep calm, “everything will work out fine”. I was interested in were I would place among the other 8 teams starting with us. I started in the back of the pack to watch the race unfold. It was clear after the first mile that I was going to finish in the top group and Olympic marathoner John Tuttle was going to kick everyone’s butt. It took me about 3 miles to catch the guy which was in 2nd place. I noticed that I gained on him on the flats and uphills but he cruised and pulled away on the downhill sections. With about 1 mile to go, I was hoping for another uphill and I got it. I passed him and moved into 2nd place and held it until the last 50 meters. There was a long downhill to the first transition and he came roaring by me. It didn’t really bother me, I was saving my quads for the later stages and I gave my captain his first roadkill. “If I see that guy again on hilly leg 25, I’ll bury him on the hills”.

Michael Wade

Leg #2 –3:12pm – 9.5 miles – 1:02:45 overall time – 6:37 pace

Leg description: elongated skate ramp – 3m down, 3m flat, then 3m back up.

After all the time I spent building, coordinating and preparing our team for the 2007 RTB, I was anxious to get on with it already and start my first leg. My goal was to run this 9.5 mile leg at 6:30/mile pace. I ran a few frantic warm-up laps around the Flume Gorge parking lot while we waited for our opening leg runner (Steve T.) to come through. Finally, someone yelled “here he comes” and I hurried to the starting line. I saw Steve running strong to the finish with some “yahoo” sprinting past him at the line. Steve calmly handed me the baton (bracelet) and I was on my way. I quickly picked off the “yahoo’s” teammate as we headed out of the parking lot. As I rolled down Rt. 3 I started to wish I had toyed with him a bit more and not passed him right away. Now I was on my own with no one else in sight. Ah, the joys of the early RTB legs! The first few miles passed quickly. Going downhill I had no clue what my pace was. I guessed probably around 6 min per mile. The road started to flatten out as I turned and headed toward town. Ok, we’re rolling now. Through town I saw a few Van #2’s having a pre-run snack. Then I saw our team’s Van #2. Steve W. was filming and said something about being “2 minutes behind”. 2 minutes behind what? My expected pace, or the guy in front? Neither prospect seemed particularly appealing. Brian made some half-hearted attempt to cheer me on & Steve D. snapped a picture. I heard “Oooh, I got a good one. Look at this…” his voice trailed off as I ran up the road. Sheesh, with teammates like this. Just past town the road started to slope up now. I must be 6 miles in, or so. Just past Loon Mountain (7m) the pace was starting to feel slow and labored. Later on, during a particularly rough patch, I saw Damian Rowe driving Van #1 for the GCS – Old Farts. He slowed down just enough to shout, “Great job Mike! Our guy is 200 yards behind you!” What!?!? NFW, I thought. I refused to turn and look, and struggled to maintain my pace. It felt so much harder, by comparison, to those early downhill miles. As I neared a turn, to what I assumed to be the finish, I glanced back down the road and saw no one for at least a half mile. F’in Damian! Now, for some reason, the course headed down a trail and into the forest. Great. Just what I need. After a 1/4 mile or so of messing around in the woods, over a bridge and around a closed gate, I handed the bracelet off to Mark and stumbled over to the van. Someone let me know I had just run 6:45 pace. Well that sucks. And so began my RTB 2007.

[leg 4] 4.8 crashing down
Leg is marked as approx 1 mile up, followed by a crashing 4 mile down. Sadly for Mark, the course was mismarked and he got to run my 1 mile up, and I got all the down. I move to the start of my leg - I can see Mark coming for about 3/4 of a mile and I can see him closing on the Rochester runner he is racing. It doesn't look like he's going to have enough time, and the Rochester runner toeing the line with me looks me over and says "Sh*t" That's right, buddy, prepare to be chicked. It's hard to not run fast when Mark hands off to you, and I start off my leg 1 of RTB to the encouraging calls of my teammates "Your ass is hanging out of your shorts!!!" I pass the Rochester runner right after the summit, and then I run as hard as I can downhill for 4 something miles. This run is FUN, it's just like a roller-coaster ride. Next time I would recommend training with a few downhills if you get this leg - because the after-effects were painful. During though - no issues, and I finished in 25 minutes (later turning out to be a 5:26 pace when Wolfe recalcuted the true distances of all legs, but for a brief period of time I will always remember -- I ran a 5:13 pace).


Steve W said...

Ok, so your very kind and supportive van 2 running mates take time out of their busy day to cheer your lonely slow ass on and all you can do is criticize us?? WTF indeed.
Next time when someone says '2 min behind', remember it is in reference to the next runner ahead of you NOT in reference to whatever your slow ass pace is in your 1st leg at a random stop that we picked because we liked the food not because it meant anything to you.
Feel the love.

Michael said...

Boy, are you grouchy.