We were wine tasting a few weeks ago in Elgin/Sonoita, AZ after a training camp weekend at Patagonia and saw a flyer for an upcoming race. It would be the 5th running of the race, an hour from home, in wine country, and during a rest and test week. That made our entry quite simple!
This past weekend was the final week of Base 2 heading into IRONMAN Arizona. It culminated with a quality 4K Swim, 18mile Treadmill Run, and 4hour quality ride. Monday was off and the rest of the week was low volume. The water weight came from the excess sugar during a big weekend led my body and legs feeling very heavy.
Thursday I did a 1K swim test in 15:25, 9 seconds slower than 4 weeks ago. Friday I did an FTP Test for 20min holding 318 watts, well below the 344 I held 4 weeks ago and it really pissed me off! And this run race would come in at a pace well above what I want to be doing in a marathon in just 6 weeks time. Historically rest week hasn’t exactly been a “Form” week. We are going to add more volume to these rest weeks so that we train everyday; this just isn’t working.
We woke at 6AM, had a banana, sugarfree redbull, and ate a full pack of shot bloks during the 1 hour drive up to 4,700′. We checked in, had announcements, and toed the line. At the gun, 4-6 people jumped out ahead and I was surprised. Turn right, up a short rock/dirt incline and I thought there were 6-7 people in front of me as I ran the first mile in 6:59. Fiona was running next to me and I knew I wasn’t having the speed on this day in the 85-90F heat and legs feeling the way they did. I saw a younger kid up front walking by the 2mile and figured I’d catch him. 2mile 7:30 into some head wind and slight undulations. The other guy ahead took off his shirt and I thought I would catch him too. At the 2.5 mile we reared left onto dirt paths around a vineyard. I looked over and saw those beautiful purple grapes hanging from the wines and knew that in 2020, we must do IRONMAN Santa Rosa in the California wine region. (Next year is IM Australia, IM Ireland, and then hopefully Kona, God willing). Fiona and I were side by side, 2 meters back from those 2 guys. We past them at the aid station, Fiona missed water, and I gave her half my cup. The 2nd place girl was just behind and I told Fiona; she later said she got quite negative then when I thought it would give her motivation. I passed another guy with his shirt off and came upon an Army athlete where i could read the back of his shirt. He was listening to music and as soon as I was within a meter, he surged. This happened 3 times over the final miles 7:31, 7:00, 6:56, on the decline into the finish, 6:51 and I just couldn’t bridge the Gap. I also thought there were at least 5-6 people ahead of us. (Unofficially the 3rd place guy’s timing chip did not register).
I looked back, saw the 1st place girl which had been pushing on Fiona since I dropped her at mile 3.5. With 200meters to go, I though nah, hell nah! “I don’t run 6miles to get passed by a girl in the final 200meters!”. So I kicked it on the up hill to 4:56-5:59/mile in full sprint and held her at the line.
At the awards while wine tasting, the guy ahead of me took 3rd by 5 seconds. I didn’t believe this result because I know there were more than 3 ahead of me. But if it was for real, and I knew he was 3rd, I should have gone for it! That’s mental weakness; he said he was ready to puke, while Fiona and I did a 1.5mile cool down.
Every race teaches you something. For this race, it’s that you have to push all the way till the end because you just don’t know and won’t know where you truly are until those results come out. I learned that our Rest weeks in our Periodization training plan needs more volume. I also enjoyed running alongside my wifey in wine country!
This race was in honor of a man who lost his life to cancer but loved to run and loved wine. My words of advice to all are to be respectful. The RD was speaking and a bunch of jerks kept talking loudly while he was talking of the final time he saw the Red Beard Man. Give some respect damn it!
Lastly, Team Hoyt of Arizona was there. Where kids with Cerebral Palsy and other impairments are pushed by runners in runner tri-bikes. It’s always an inspiring thing to see and be part of.
Thank you to the volunteers, the race directors, the vineyards, and congratulations to all the walkers and runners!
Final Analysis: 3rd fastest 400m, 1km, 1m, 5km of 2018 and 2nd fastest 5mile run all after the 1:27 half marathon in February, Las Vegas. The 19:35 5K I won in April predicted me at a 40:35 10K today. I was well off of that. Today’s run predicts me at a 3:22 marathon. Well, I clearly had a bad day. Of my 30+ Marathons, my average time is around a 3:20…
Stay tuned. Mountainmain Half ironman in Flagstaff, AZ in 2 weeks time.