Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jingling the Majority of the Way

This would have been my view of the finish line had I finished 205 places higher.
This morning I raced the Jingle All the Way 8k, my last race of the season.  I've spent the two weeks since Ironman Cozumel with a stew of exhaustion, injury, and Mexican Death Plague, so I consider turning out for this race to be a victory in of itself.  I told my friends who were racing that I'd be happy with a pace of 7 minutes or better, and that's pretty much exactly what I did: 34:34, or 6:58/mile.

The first couple of miles were a little faster than target pace, maybe 6:40 or so.  It shouldn't have been hard -- I ran a 10k at 6:10/mile a month ago -- but I was sucking wind something fierce, and struggling to remember how it was that I was actually in shape relatively recently.  I had to stop twice in mile four because I was doubling over in coughing spasms.  Somehow I still finished close to the top 10% of my age group, which makes me a little sad for America.  I also set a PR at the distance, which says a lot about how often I race 8ks.

This mediocre performance is perfectly fine; it's my Month of Miscellaneous Mayhem.  No run training to speak of, no time on the trainer, and only swimming when I feel like it.  Instead, I'm doing all of the random fitness-related things that I just don't have time for in the regular season, such as rock climbing and whatever classes at the gym catch my fancy.  This past Friday I dropped in for Body Pump, i.e., Making Ironmen Cry.  What a diabolical class.  I'm no stranger to strength training -- I was very much the gym rat before triathlon days, with a bench max of 285 at one point long ago -- but I can't imagine a more mortifying way to learn exactly how far I've slipped on that front.  The women half my size were dusting the floor with me, and there is probably a word in German for the peculiar type of suffering induced by doing barbell tricep extensions for 4 minutes in a row to a Rhianna song.  I clearly need to learn it, because it's going to be a regular part of my vocabulary for a little while.  I'm still plotting my attack on the Zumba world.

After the race, I met up with a couple of buddies to kick around our long-term plans for endurance cycling.  This coming summer will involve a couple of very challenging 200ks (Mountains of Misery and the Diabolical Double), plus a 300k and a 12-hour time trial.  After IM Mont Tremblant, my year will culminate by racing the Tejas 500 at the end of September, which is a 500-mile bike ride that one must complete in 48 hours in order to qualify for Race Across America.  I don't think I'll do it solo, at least not for a very long time, but we're talking seriously about racing it as a team in 2013 or 2014.  To infinity and beyond!