The goal this week was to improve over last week. I decided that my whole day would be about getting ready to race.
I got out of bed and hopped into the shower. I took the razor to my legs and got them looking sweet. I got out of the shower and jumped on the scale and it read 196.8 pounds. Why is weight loss so damn slow?? Anyway, that put me at exactly 40 pounds lost to date. Not too shabby.
I had some kind of healthy tasteless cereal for breakfast and a glass of water. I then packed up the kit and bike and headed off to work. I limited it to 1 cup of coffee in the morning and then switched to water. I had some kind of bar snack thing at around 10 and some Goldfish at noon. More water. I wanted to have my lunch about 3 hours before I started warming up, so I ate the bowl of pasta/tomatoes/broccoli that I packed at around 2:15. More water.
I got to the track around 5:15 and pinned my number on just as Mrs. T Nelson
illustrated so well in her April 21st post. Perfect. I put my shirt on and went to register. “What is your number?" the dude asked. “191," I said. “Bro, you have that thing pinned on upside down.” FUCK! So I went back to the car and took off my shirt, undid all 8 pins, and pinned it on right side up. Dumb ass.
The Cat 3/4 race just began as I started to warm up, so I knew I had 45 minutes until my race. I headed up the road at an easy pace and returned at an easy pace about 10 minutes later. It was in the 80s, so it was hot enough to get a little sweat flowing. I headed to the car to slug down 1/3 of my Cytomax (which I am convinced is Tang). I headed down the road again this time at a faster pace doing a hard acceleration for 90 seconds. On the way back I did a few short standing intervals. I was back at the car with 25 minutes left until my race. I slugged another 1/3 of my Cytomax. I headed back up the road just to keep loose and to keep the sweat flowing. I was back at my car just as the Cat 3/4 race was ending. I slammed down the rest of the Cytomax and hit the track for a warm up lap. I wanted to time it so that when I was rolling through the start/finish line people would be lining up. I timed it perfectly and got a spot in the front row. Everything was going according to plan so far.
The field was a little smaller than last week. I would say maybe 27 to 30 were lined up in total. The Cat 5, 35+ Cat 4/5 and the Cat 4 women all race at the same time. I was signed up for Cat 5. After role call, we were ready to race. I heard music in my head from earlier in the day.
“Whiskey bottles and brand new cars;
oak tree you're in my way.
There's too much coke and too much smoke
Look what's going on inside you……”
The race got started and I didn’t accelerate as hard as some others from the line and ended up in the top 1/3 of the pack after about ½ lap. The race was starting out faster than I had hoped. After 1 lap I was still in the top 1/3 and my HR was climbing fast. After about 5 laps I noticed a problem. I was not advancing while other people were. This put me farther back than mid pack. I said to myself, “Come on dude. You gotta move the fuck up!” (I tend to swear at myself a lot during these self talks) I stayed on the accelerations coming out of the corners just a bit longer than the rest of the pack and was able to advance in the next 3 laps putting me back into the top 1/3 of the pack. At this point I was really starting to hurt. It was hot, my heart rate was almost maxed and we still had not seen the 5 laps to go card yet. I said to myself, “Dude, it is supposed to fucking hurt. DO NOT FUCKING SIT UP.” I looked around and was fairly certain that everyone else was suffering too. We were starting to lap people. We came through the start/finish line again and there was the card for 5 laps to go. The pace started to pick up on the next lap. We were coming around the corner by registration when all of a sudden, people ahead grabbed their brakes for a reason I never determined. One dude behind us couldn’t get stopped and headed off into the infield and I heard a THUD behind me. It was soft in there from the rain the previous day and he was fine luckily. We came around with 4 laps to go and I was starting to feel a bit better. I was still in the top 1/3 of the pack. 3 to go. 2 to go. Last lap. I said to myself, “Ok dude, time to put it all out there.” The pace was fast for about 2/3 of the last lap and then it was just all out. I think there were 2 guys about 10 meters out front and then the rest of the pack which got thinned out coming around the corner before the start/finish. The sprint to the start/finish is probably 100 meters. In the sprint I passed one person, but didn’t pass anyone else. They only posted the top 3 Cat.5s in the results. I think I was about 5th or 6th. I know that some of the people that finished ahead of me were 35+. So, a huge improvement over last week. I went from getting dropped with 5 laps to go to making the sprint. My average speed went from 22.5 mph last week to 25.1 mph this week (because I didn’t get dropped). My average HR was a screaming 93.7% of my measured max. Despite all the suffering, I had a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line. That feeling is what it is all about.