My cross-country season is coming to an end and with it I anticipate that the doubling up of race re-caps will also be on hold, until next year at least. I capped off my 2015 XC roster this past Sunday at the USATF PA XC Regional Championships. I got 39th place. Hell yeah beetches. All joking aside, this was by far my best XC race and I had a lot of fun. I was especially pumped about my performance because I am coming off of a couple of really hard weeks of TNF training, including a beast of a 30K on Mt. Tam last weekend. I got 3rd and beat my goal time of 3 hours by 10 minutes. So two races in 2 weeks = double race report.
USATF PA XC Regional Cross-Country Championships
Boy is that a mouthful. Good thing they didn’t try to put that on a shirt.. oh wait.. they did. The good thing about short races (the regional and national XC course is 6K), is that there is a lot less time for things to go wrong, and a lot less to report on. The downside of short races, is that you know pretty quickly whether or not everything is going to go to hell in a hand basket or if you are going to be able to pull of some semblance of a decent race. Unlike the first XC race of my season, also at GG park, this time I felt pretty good. I tried not to go out too fast and based this off of how far behind my team mate I wanted to be. Solid logic I had learned from my other 2 XC races this season.Or so I thought. Little did I realize that this being the regional championships and all, the ladies go out balls to the wall. Despite my desire to run an even 6:15 the whole way, my first mile was 5:44. Oops. Something about this course not being 2 loops did wonders for my mental game though and I avoided freaking out over my way too fast first mile. I passed some ladies and controlled my breathing and ignored the growing discomfort in my legs. The final 1000m or so is on the polo fields dirt track which is an awesome way to finish. However, I got into track mode and started my finishing kick a little too early. I passed some ladies, then got passed right before the end by one I just passed. Overall, I was totally spent by the end, felt I had given it my all on the day and came away with a 30 sec/mile PR over my other results this season. The I got to party with lots of other fine speedsters and drink beer in Golden gate Park. I call that a win!
Inside Trail Racing Mt. Tam 30K
This race was selected as a perfect tuneup for TNF 50k in early December. Buttloads of climbing, even bigger buttloads of descending on technical trails, and time on parts of the TNF course I am less familiar with. I was also looking forward to possibly winning, since I have been feeling good and these local races are my jamb. Sadly, for my chances of winning, but awesome for our racing team, I found out a week or so before the race, a fellow Baybird and badass extraordinaire, Yiou Wang was also running the 30K as a tuneup for TNF 50 miler! I decided to try to use her as a pacing guide only to be left in her dust within the firs mile. That’ll teach me! I did get to work with another very inspirational team mate, Emily, to get up the first hill. She led for a bit and then I jumped ahead and tried to pull us up for a bit. She was running the 50K, so just goes to show her level of badassery.
Overall I felt pretty good. I tried to keep my heart rate in control up the first long climb, but the single track can cause un-desired distractions. Emily and I were perfectly matched on the uphill single track so running together was really nice. But there was another girl who kept trying to pass us only to have us pass her again on a flat or a downhill. That kind of shit can get really frustrating if you let it. And i did. in the end I hauled ass up the end of the hill to get away from her cause it was pissing me off so much. I kept up the pace on the beautiful and breathtaking descent into Muir Woods which I would pay for later. I could feel my legs start to go kind of jello like around mile 9.. which is concerning when there are still 9 more miles and several thousand feet of climbing left. I suffered up Coastal Trail to Heather cut-off which I had never done before and honestly thought was never going to end. I was rewarded with a lovely fast downhill 3 miles to the finish. One thing I can do no matter how tired is let it rip down a hill.
I think the biggest issue at this race was the lack of nutrition. I was out there for only about 25 minutes less than I would have been for a road marathon and yet I took in barely 200 calories (one packet of tailwind). Not cool. Especially when there are over 4,500 feet of climbing. I need to sort this out big time for TNF. I finished the race starving, somewhat nauseous and very weak feeling.
I am heading into a 2 week taper period in which i will sleep a lot, drink water by the bucket full and eat all the carbs. I am reducing volume less than in previous taper periods but am certainly reducing intensity. The final week will still be a bit of a taper tantrum but at this point I am just super excited!