Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Xterra Enduro 21K World Championships

Here we are, the mob squad, after completing a very memorable run in the valley and hills (lots of them!) of Kualoa Ranch. Each one of us had a different plan and expectation of ourselves going into the race. Linsey, ran it as part of her last training run for the Honolulu marathon. Not sure if that was such a smart idea, as it was no walk in the park kind of course. But hey, she's young and can handle anything. She's so good, she finished 3rd. in her age group, and the girls ahead of her were in the top five! I wanted to finish in top 7 so I can make some spending money. I met that goal, despite my quads cramping at mile TWO, and finished 6th. (more on that later) Rachel, from San Francisco, purposely did not taper for the race, so she would have no excuses for how well, or bad she ran. And she fell on her knee a week ago, and it still hurt. Despite her non-excuse attitude, she ran great! Rosie, had a smile on her face the entire run. She started running a year ago, and looks forward to improving and getting faster. She also ran strong completing this grueling course in under 2 and a half hours.

Linsey and I with plenty of time for photo ops before the race. No, Linsey had not been drinking.

This is part of the course as we come out of the mountains

Posted by PicasaWe arrived very early.

We arrive at the event venue and anticipate what the day has to offer.

Did I mention that the course meanders roughly a total of 3000ft. elevation gain through the mountains in the background?

Posted by PicasaThis is the finish line.

Candid photo of our photographer

More views of the venue as the mountains give a spectacular backdrop.

Posted by PicasaAwards presentation

Now this is what Xterra is all about - Party time!

Free Beer for all podium finishers.

Overall Male and Female winners. Overall winners made some serious cash of $2000! Nice. Although I was dissapointed with the race director, as he or she double dipped the overall winners in their age group.

Linsey on the podium! More free beer!!

Posted by PicasaWinners in Male and Female 40-44. Fun Stuff. The guy on the far left, he is from Brazil, and he was singing christmas songs as we were climbing and climbing, and passing people who were walking with their heads down. It was unbelieveable. We ran together for a bit, and then he got a way from me, but on the final 5K loop (which was the same as the first 5K loop) I caught back up with him, and passed him. This course was amazing. As the winner from Oregon said to the press, "There were a lot of hills, then a little flat, but mostly it was hilly."
My race summary: I normally start longer races with a very conservative pace, and plan on catching people at the end. I did not want to risk having to make up a lot of ground by using that strategy, so I decided to start out harder than usual, and get my heart rate up and hold it. There wasn't a problem holding a high heart rate, because the course immediately started upwards over a series of climbs in the first mile. The trails were wide open, because they are used for tourist bus rides, since Kualoa ranch is a popular filming location for movies such as Jurrasic Park, 100 first dates and Lost.
Up and around the pack goes, then it thins out before the first aid station at mile 1.7, and we descend down a long and steep grassy/dirt section. Just before descending a young gal wizzed past me, and got in the way of my line (plus I took a water handup which didn't help), so I felt like I was breaking my stride, and half way down, my quads seized up. OMG - I have over 10 miles left, and I don't know what to expect, or how I am going to hold anykind of pace. I limp off the hill, and get on the flat, and deal with the tighness, until we started climbing again, and they feel fine. I'd say the most intense climbing was about half way into the race, and we went up switchback, and it just went on forever. Then off the jeep trail into the thick jungle, cool!
It's super muddy, and it looked like a single track ski slope. Fun, except the quads started to seize again. Wow! That's painful. I rubbed them, and thank goodness that section was short, and we got onto some other single track, that was SO much fun, and the pain went away. I did carry Ultra fuel with me, and I did drink some gatorade at the aid station, plus I aid a gel. So now my legs feel great, but we have to do that 5K loop again. No worries, just keep going. Some guy told me I was 30 seconds behind the 5th. place girl. I could see her on the last loop, but she was running strong, and probably the same pace as I because I could not get any closer. And still fininshed 30 sec. behind her. It was such a fantastic run! Thank you Xterra. $10 of the proceeds from all the race applications went to Children's Diabetes research.