Saturday, May 7, 2016

LEATHERWOOD MOUNTAIN 10 MILER




Leatherwood Mountain 10 Mile! Another great mountain race, but not quite as tough as some of my prior races, thankfully! I used to live and train near this gorgeous place and I haven't been there in years so it was really nice to go back. I became a triathlete training on those mountain roads, so going back was nice and refreshing.  On the drive there, I could remember cycling on those roads and never once thinking how hilly it was...even though it's very hilly. I could remember the happiness I felt in becoming a triathlete on those hills. It's a really gorgeous place. It was exciting thinking I was about to tackle the actual mountain itself.

I wasn't sure that I should do this race because I have been haunted by achilles tendinitis since Table Rock and wasn't sure this was something I should do now that I am planning on Ironman. Don't want to take a chance to further injure this Achilles. However, I thought if nothing else, I will take it easy if the pain is too intense. Luckily, I didn't have very much trouble on race day.

The weather was pretty much perfect. The sun was out and temps were very comfy. I pulled of my jacket and chatted to a few people. Loads of people came from all over the place to race this one. I met the female winner of the 10 mile just before the start and she came all the way from Austin for this race. She was super nice and super fast.

At 9am , it was go time. We started off doing paved road for quite a while. I am not a fan of the paved roads with my trail shoes on, but it wasn't too bad. I am quickly learning to control myself in the start of these races now, so held back. I also wasn't sure just how hard to go with the tendinitis because I did want to actually run this thing. We soon hit the trail and it was so refreshing.  I loved it. Some one the women that had passed me on the road, I quickly caught up to on the trail and made my way around. Road running and trail running are so different. I am much better on trails than on road that's for sure. I think learning how to maneuver on rocky tough terrain is important and the more you expose yourself to it, the better. I kept moving with a pretty even steady pace. Nothing too crazy because the hills were coming.

I was happy with my pace and I felt really strong even though I had absolutely zero rest before this race. I had just started Ironman training again and had cycled 115 miles, ran 30 & swam 6 in the six days leading up to this race, so was pleased with my energy level out there. I am no spring chicken, so rest is crucial for me, but I am still rather fresh since I've just started adding the long stuff again, thankfully.

I was feeling good halfway so I kept trucking. We hit the river crossing around mile 5 and that was really fun. I crossed really quickly and came out to feet that probably weighed about 5 pounds more than when I started. The water quickly came out of my Hoka Challengers tho. I really love those shoes. No blisters, no discomfort. There were several more water crossings along the way, but none like the river. Lots of steep climbs on the last half of the race, and not going to lie...they hurt.



Pretty soon, I was making my way back home and to the finish and still felt really good. My shoe which had been double knotted came untied though on the last mile. It was so full of wet sand that it must have somehow worked it's way loose from that, so I actually had to stop and tie my shoe in the last mile ha. That's a first! Anyway, I pushed along to the finish and ended up with a 1:51. I had hoped to go 2 hours for this race, so was really pleased with my result. Around 2,500 feet elevation gain over the course.

I was 7th overall female and 1st in my AG for this race. There was some pretty stiff competition this time, so was really pleased with my result. I am not the best of runners, but I am getting stronger and this race result really made me happy. The atmosphere there was fun and laid back as always. Everyone is super friendly at these events. Not quite as much as ego in the trail run community as the tri world, but I do obviously love the tri world too. I think I have to have a bit of both worlds now-- I like being laid back, but I also need the competitiveness of the tri scene to thrive. I have found my great mix of both to keep me nice and balanced.

I am supposed to be racing Quest for the Crest Vertical 10k next weekend, but the achilles is still haunting me and not only that, I now have been told by Doctor Nick that I also have Piriformis Syndrome. I have been having that haunt me as well since December, but with no relief I had to find out what was up. It sure is a pain in the ass...literally! Trail running sure does make you strong for sure, but it also takes a toll on the body. In the several years of triathlon, only little niggles here and there. 6 months of trail and mountain races...my body has revolted. I was not doing enough cross training with all the running, so that really took a toll. Thankfully now that I am back into Ironman training, I have that balance back and doing a little less running now. With these two nuisances,  I can manage and deal though. I just have to play it smart. We just have to take things as they come and deal with them the best way we can. So, with that being said...I am 50/50 on the fence about pushing myself up that vertical 10k next weekend. It may not happen. Ironman training is more important to me and this is what I have to think about. We shall see...

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