The human body is capable of amazing physical deeds. If we could just free ourselves from our perceived limitations and tap into our internal fire, the possibilities are endless. – Dean Karnazes
Today’s stage is the 10km time trial. Unlike the rest of the ENDURrun stages, this one is very flat, and a net downhill race. It starts in the town of Elmira, and runs along country roads back to the race director’s house. Piece of cake, right?
Not so fast. You still have to contend with having, in my case, 25km of very hilly and demanding trail and mountain running on my legs. Running the day after such a race is very difficult. The ENDURrun Ultimate competitors have been running all week, so they are in the same boat, but I would venture that it is easier for them. They are tired, no doubt, but their legs have gotten used to the repeated racing, and have gotten stronger as the week has progressed.
I could feel that my legs were still trashed after yesterday’s stage. It hurt to do any kind of sit-to-stand or stand-to-sit motion, and both calves were super-tight. It was going to be a killer run, no doubt.
This race is also called a “time trial” in that the competitors are seeded in reverse order from the previous race, and they start in 1 minute intervals. So the last start first, and the first start last. The object is to try and catch the person in front.
After being shuttled out to the start, I assumed my position in the starting order. I lined up at the start, and with the click of the stopwatch, I was off. The weather was hot; the sun beat down in a cloudless sky. I made the mistake of picking black racing gear to wear; not the smartest choice for a day like today. As always there are numerous water stops on the way, approx. every 2km, and I was going to make sure to use each and every one. I am always super-paranoid about being well hydrated. I normally don’t sweat much, even in extreme temperatures like this one, so I always err on the side of caution and make sure to drink Gatorade and water at almost every stop.
At about the 3km mark into the race, my legs basically gave up the ghost. Even my hamstring got in on the action by going completely numb; I had to slap my leg to see if it was still alive. The roads on the course are very straight, which makes for the sensation of running but not getting anywhere. The combination of heat and tired legs made for a miserable experience, and I quickly deteriorated to a walk.
For most of the last 5km I alternated between running and walking; probably more walking than running. I knew that I’d finish, but I also knew it wouldn’t be my best effort. Last year I was injured, and ran this stage very slow. This year, I’d be hard pressed to beat that time.
Finally, I could see the finish line! It was a great feeling to round the corner and come through with the other ENDURrunners cheering you on. I think all I thought about the last km was how awesome it would be to dive straight into the race director’s pool after the run!
Time was 1:13:11, probably my slowest 10km ever. No matter, it was done! Only the marathon was left, and that was after soccer play-offs and a wedding to attend. It’ll be an interesting one for sure! Stay tuned for that report!