For those of you who thought my athletic career would be over with the birth of my daughter, Charleigh, I am here to disappoint you. While I love Charleigh with everything I have, that doesn’t detract from my goals as an athlete. Including that now even a small part of my income is reliant upon my coaching and results as an athlete. But obviously, a newborn is going to have a large impact on my training and recovery, which is why my coach and I have planned out my season in an attempt to have the best of every world while still staying sane!
One of the obvious changes is that I need to race less frequently. I raced a ton in 2017, and it showed in the results of my priority races. Essentially, I was going from race to race without taking the time to recover properly to build appropriately for the following priority race. But here I am, having completed another race 8 days after the birth of my child. How do I justify this?
Let’s back it up a bit. A few weeks before Charleigh was born, my coach and I decided on implementing a block of aerobic training focusing on increasing volume. For the just over 3 weeks before Charleigh was born, I was averaging about 24 hours of training a week and pretty much nailing every workout feeling great. The day before Rebekah started entering into early labor, my achilles tendon decided to flare up on me as it has in the past. Luckily, a combo of the “rest” from running by being at the hospital and a few visits to the best Chiropractor and ART specialist I know in Dr. Charles Renick, that issue is already virtually gone! So now I am turning up the intensity as I prepare for a fun and fast time at Raleigh 70.3 in June.
So when Race Director Erin Roof messaged me about the 6.5-mile True to the Brew trail run, I was initially hesitant to deviate from my plan. Until I realized the “plan” called for a 7 mile run with 2×2 miles at 70.3 race pace. Close enough for me! So that’s how I ended up leaving my house with sleeping wife and child before 4am on a Saturday morning.
Of course before the run I had a 3-hour sufferfest of a bike ride to complete. I decided to park at the race site and ride from there. I apparently underestimated how cold it would be during the wee hours of the morning out in the country, and arm warmers were not quite enough to keep me warm. In the final hour of the ride, the cold and fatigue finally set in and I was struggling with shivering, numb hands, and dead legs as I got back to the race site. Upon getting in the van I learned that it had apparently been 37 degrees for the duration of the ride. I can only remember being that cold before in one circumstance which was in Alaska last year. I spent over 20 minutes with the minivan heat cranked but was still shaking as I picked up my bib and lined up for the run.
So here is where the “race report” truly begins. The first mile was intended to be “easy” but naturally came out still being quick. I was running with friend Derek Hutton who is quite a good runner and we spent much of the run socializing about the trail among other things. As I did my 2×2 mile segments at a relatively frisky 70.3 pace Derek was typically yoyoing between being next to me or trailing me by as much as 10-15 seconds. For much of the run, I was happy to be feeling smooth with the effort level pretty low for the paces I was putting out. It probably helped that the scenery of the trail was absolutely stunning (and that the weather did eventually warm up).
As we approached the final stretches of the run, Derek began pulling away as I was feeling all of the prior efforts of the morning. Rather than going with him and forcing the sprint finish, I simply held a solid pace and finished out a solid day of training. Part of this kills me knowing that I didn’t push myself to the limit to come out with my best time on the day. And while I’ve certainly regulated my effort in a race before to going less than all out, this is the first time it has cost me the win. But I know that I will have my chance to truly push myself to my limits later this year, and I don’t want any excuses for not being 100% prepared for those days. So I think this run is exactly what I needed right now. A chance to enjoy a picturesque day on a portion of the gorgeous Palmetto Trail with friends and a perfect atmosphere. I would have no reservation recommending this event to anyone who is looking for a great time with even greater people.
Congrats to Derek Hutton on the win, Drew Williams on the 3rd Overall, and everyone else out on the trails today. Including Alex McDonald, Tracy and Julie McKinnon, Roy Shelley, Steve and Jennifer Conrick, Marion Hinson, Ethan Washam, Jeff and Stefanie Cain, Jennifer Clyburn, Tracy Williams, Hang Kim La, Ed McCall, Ken Lowden, Pamela Griffin, Crystal Zimmer, Rhea Spratt, and all others not mentioned! And hats off to Erin and Joe Roof on putting on a fantastic event and all the sponsors present that helped make it happen. Especially Brian Curran for getting the GoPro footage while being the lead biker and other bikers O’Maira and Ilia!
Be prepared for many more baby and training pics in the weeks to come!