Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bobby Doyle 5-Mile Race NE GP #3 2016

Race morning of the 3rd (Finally!) race in the USATF-NE had finally arrived when my alarm went off at 6am. My phone was lying on the bedside table to my right, so I reached across my body with my left arm to shut the phone off. As I brought my left arm back, OH MY GOD, just out of nowhere, I had tweaked my neck! One second it was fine, and then the next, I felt the sharp pain that I've become so accustomed to happening randomly for the last 14 years. I wore a terrible-fitting backpack on the PCT in 2002 for the first 500 miles that had me in literal tears from pain in my neck. I was fortunate to be close to Los Angeles at that point to buy a new backpack, but the damage had been done. Ever since then, I will move the wrong way or sleep wrong, and this neck pain suddenly appears. It usually lasts a few days then eases up. So I lied there for a second hoping the pain would dissipate, but nothing. I got up, and, man, this was probably the worst pain I had ever felt in it since 2002! Oh no! Of all times! Ugh! Maybe the paddle boarding is what started it and then it just took me moving the wrong way to finish it off. I don't know. What I did know was that I was in a lot of pain and could barely turn my head left and only just a little more to the right. It hurt so bad that I considered Ibuprofen, but as I've written before, I don't like taking that stuff often and definitely not before races unless I'm dire "need" (as I was here), so I opted out and decided to just deal with it. I didn't want to be a whiny sandbagger about it either and only told a few people about it.

It didn't take me long to get ready and pack my things. I talked to Scott as I was leaving to thank him for letting me stay and that I would see him down at the race. It was SO nice not having a long drive to the race. I really think it can make a difference in my race outcome if I've had to get up at 4am or earlier to drive 3.5-4 hours to a race. By the time I show up, I'm often tired and stiff, so just being able to show up rested with very little driving started me off on the right foot with Bobby Doyle. The weather was initially a blanket of heavy fog when I left Scott's. I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and a breakfast sandwich then drove down to Narragansett. The fog began to lift, and by the time I got to the race site, the sun was out in full force and humidity felt like 100%. This was going to be awful. I got there early to get a good parking space then picked up my bib and shirt. I was starting to feel really nervous about the whole thing.

I got back to my car and found that some of the CMS men had parked in front of me, so I talked to those guys for a bit then finally found my teammates, Regina Loiacano and Jenn Brooks. We talked about how awful this was going to be, then headed out for a 3-mile warm up. We ran the first 1.5 miles of the course, which would end up being good for me at the beginning of the race. I tired to play it off, but I'll be honest. My neck was in excruciating pain during the warm up. I wasn't worried about it during the race, though. I had a feeling any neck pain would be overshadowed by the race pain. Haha. Once we were done with the warm up, I finished up my usual pre-race readiness then went over to the shade by the starting line. It was SO HOT. And I mean HOT. It started with Boston "Omg, it was so hot!" VCM, "Omg, it was hotter than Boston!" Mt Washington, "Omg, the hottest ever!" See the trend... Haha. Each race just got worse and worse, with a few awesome weather races tucked in there. Run4Kerri was brutal, but nothing, and I mean nothing, could take the cake over Bobby Doyle. I grew up in the South and raced in the summer. This was comparable to that, but I never was racing to this degree then, even when I lived on Ft Bragg. As soon as we all lined up at the start, we were all just dripping in sweat. I've honestly never experienced anything like that and wasn't expecting much out of myself for this race. I purposely lined up way behind the other elite women. I didn't want to be able to see the top women ahead of me at the start since I had a plan to go out "smart". I also didn't want to be stuck all the way over on the right side since I had heard the women got pushed off the road on the first turn out of the school last year. I just made sure I could see Amy Bernard, Heather Mahoney and Christin Doneski since they are good to judge my pace off of. I was so ready to get out of the tight corral and, finally, we were off!

The start was tight, but I definitely lined up in a good spot. It didn't take long to get around people and catch up to Amy, but it was just enough to keep me at the pace I wanted for the first mile. The first part of the race is downhill, so I worried about going too fast, but I felt in tune with my pace. As soon as we hit the flat, I didn't lose my pace. I felt good! What was this about? I started passing people which could have been a bad sign, but I just decided to go with it. Just before the 1-mile mark (5:59), Ginger Reiner caught up to me. I was shocked to see her in a Craft uniform so we spoke a few words about that; good for her to get on that team. They're amazing. Just as Ginger passed me, she said something about being surprised to see me out on the road there since there wasn't a mountain. I don't know if Ginger realized it, but that comment actually motivated me to pick up my pace a bit to stay with her. She didn't say anything wrong, but it was a reminder to me how people are always "shocked" to see me road racing since I'm known for the mountain and trail running. I was a roadie from day 1 and have always been a roadie. I LOVE the trails and mountains, but I also LOVE the speed of the road; I think I've gone into detail about this before. So as if I had something to prove now, I passed Ginger back and continued this trend. I would only get passed by one other person the entire race. I set my sights on catching up to Heather Mahoney who looked like she was taking it easy still. Around 1.5 miles, we passed Scott Mason. I was still feeling good and gave him a smile.

I finally caught up to Heather around mile 2, which I hit in 6:16. That was good. There was a decent uphill in mile 2, so this split was fine with me I wanted to comment on her dad bod and tramp stamp, but instead only had the breath to ask how she was feeling. As suspected, she was still holding back and running a smart race. I knew not to pass her but to just try to hang on until she pulled away on the back half. She mentioned that mile 4 was tough, which ended up helping me out because it certainly was. We caught up to Jeff Walker and said, "I'm behind you again, Jeff!" He laughed and said something about this not being a good race for him today. Heather and I ended up passing Jeff as the course headed down to the part by the water. Heather started to her move around mile 3 (6:06) and proceeded to leave me in her dust.

Although I felt like I was entering the pain cave, I still felt good as we passed the 5K mark. It was well over 19 minutes, so I knew my original goal of a sub-31 was out the window. I didn't care about the time at this point anyway. It was going to come down to place. In that heat, time was irrelevant. After the 5k mark, I found myself side-by-side with Christin Doneski. She had been a good distance ahead but had obviously slowed. We would end up running the last 2 miles side by side. Having her there really made my race. It kept me going on the 4-mile uphill when I know I would have backed off otherwise. Neither of us had much breath left to talk, but we were able to utter a few words on occasion. We hit mile 4 in 6:22. There's only a short reprieve at the end of mile 4 before the course turns uphill again for almost the entire last mile. I was hurting, but I still felt good and strong. Christin and I just stayed together until we reached the turn to the finish line. I knew she would beat me in the end. I have absolutely no kick...ever. And it didn't bother me at all that she was going to beat me. I had just run a pretty decent race in the worst conditions I had ever run in. I was dying at this point, but pushed hard through the finish with my last split a 6:23. I came through the finish in 31:15 (gun time) and 39:11(chip time)... almost my 5-mile PR! I wasn't expecting this at all! And not only that, I was 14th woman and 3rd master!!
My face of pain, but I love it. I gave 100% and everything went right for me today. Scott captured it all here.
I couldn't breathe or talk right after I finished, but I went right to the shade to recover. Regina had finished 1st master, so I knew with Linda Spooner probably not too far behind me, CMS would have the women's masters team title. I was so psyched!! And to take 3rd in my first GP race as a master. Honestly, I was just soooo happy! My neck didn't bother me during the race at all, as suspected, so that was also good.
Regina and me. 1st and 3rd masters women

It's a joke at how I look like a giant whenever I take photos with Jenn and Regina, so I was being funny and bent way down to be shorter than them for once. Scott got a photo of it.

Mike Giberti interviewed Regina and me for Level Renner. The video was completely ruined by photobomber, Eric Narcisi, who was shoving a donut in his face. :) Interview with Regina and me

The awards took forever, but I hung around never getting in a cool down nor changing out of my sweaty nasty clothes. I picked up my award and our team awards, with the prize money to be mailed later. I managed another $100 and the team got $300. Sweet. This would be the 3rd week in a row I would win $100. Definitely psyched about that.
Team and individual Bobby Doyle pint glasses

I finally changed clothes then followed Scott over to the post-race drinking spot at Pancho O'Malley's. The beer selection wasn't awesome, but they had a decent IPA and free food! I didn't stay long since I had to drive to Marshfield to pick up John.

Mike Daniels and Scott Mason at the bar

Rick and Amy Bernard and Charlie Bemis
My child-free week was almost over and I was ready for it. It was so nice to have John back, and he was really excited to be back. Even offered to take the dogs out when we got home! Wow! A chore I didn't have to do! If he only knew how big of a help that was. Haha. The rest of the night was low key since I was beat and John was getting over his video game withdrawl after a week without it. Haha.

He's back!!

The bottle is sweating due to the insane humidity.

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