This past weekend is one I have been hyping for a while now. Between the US Olympic Trials on Saturday and the LA Marathon on Sunday I knew there’d be no shortage of inspiration between the elites and dozens of friends racing. Fortunate for me, through my association with the LA Tri Club, I was one of 24 riders who were privileged to ride the course on Saturday offering support for media and race management. My job was 3rd/4th differential for the women, the deciding spot for the 3rd and final ticket to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This meant I had to pace 3rd place women until media support requested a time difference at which point I would split my watch, wait till 4th woman, and then sprint back up to 3rd place. I began with Kellyn Taylor, then picked up Kara Goucher briefly before pacing Desiree Linden for most of the race. The support for Desiree from the crowd was so strong that it was almost impossible to hear my radio most of the stretch up Figueroa by Staples. The whole experience between shooting around on my bike on a closed off Downtown course and following some of the best and most renowned runners was a once in a lifetime.
I wasn’t expecting to run Sunday but was fortunate again to have a friend ask me to do a charity relay with her. I was looking forward to spectating but in hind sight this was the best possible opportunity because it allowed me to start the race, bumping into most friends participating to wish them good luck, and then make it to the finish to cheer on the same athletes I was running shoulder-to-shoulder with. I never intended to race the half but rather use it as a training opportunity and fitness gauge for 2016 considering I’ve been hesitant to do any sort of running tests after last year’s calf strain that sidelined me for basically the entire year.
Execution was fairly perfect. I joined a fellow T26er, pro triathlete and all around stud Carly Johann to run the first half mile at an easy and relaxed 7:00 minute pace, before settling into 6:20’s and finishing 6 to sub 6 strong for the last 3. Here’s the result next to my 2014 LA marathon where I ran a 2:51 –
What does this information mean?? I don’t know. What does it matter? I’m not sure, probably nothing. The point with this blog is that I’m attempting to care again, and put significance on my efforts regardless of the outcome. In 2014 I started my season with a 1:15 open half (PR), followed by a 2:51 full (PR) and went on to run two 1:21 13.1’s off the bike in both 70.3’s including a fastest run split of the day. In 2015 after a debilitating calf strain I didn’t have a result to be proud of, and as a result felt like I had nothing to write. Sunday I didn’t run that fast, in consideration to previous results, but I was out there running comfortably, which is a huge improvement to where I was same time last year.
The last few years have been a tremendous learning experience for me concerning why it is we do what we do, which is particular to the individual, be it to go fast, or enjoy the act of racing, look/feel good etc. The easiest way to find out what you really miss is to get hurt, this past year being my first experience with injury. I’ve started back on the same track I began in 2015, with a different perspective from learned experiences, knowing my next event could be a PR/DQ or anything inbetween, but I’m happy to be part of the ride again.
Next stop, Desert Tri in 3 weeks…