Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Arkansas Experience

The XTERRA South Central Cup was a real learning experience for me. I discovered how to NOT race in the heat. I learned the hard way what NOT to do then the water is 88 degrees and the outside air temp is pushing 104!

As we hopped into the bath water filled swimming area, I had a game plan for the swim. Start easy and stick on Erin's feet. As the gun went off, I set my plan into action and it seemed to be working splendidly until about 3/4 of the way through the swim, when I overheated and had to completely shut things down, so that I would be able to finish.

Pulling my muffin top out of the suit, I hopped on the bike and began to hammer. I knew Brian Smith was just ahead and I really wanted to ride with him. BIG MISTAKE! I went to hard, to soon in the race and had not let my body cool off from the swim (that's weird... usually I have to warm up from the swim). I immediately started to feel the affects of the heat.

As I started to fade, bad turned to worse. Finishing the first lap of the bike course, I began to see spots, my ears were ringing, and my head was pounding! I hit a little descent and BAM! Crash number one. Nothing to major, but it shook me up a bit. Jumping back on the bike I told myself 'Come on! Just keep riding!" Then BAM! Crash number two. Not one to be defeated easily, I hopped back on the bike and kept pushing. Attempting to really rail through the next corner, I burped both tires and lost most of the air in the front, and had very little in the rear.

That's when I decided to shut it down. That was the end of my race for the day. I was now just concerned with finishing. I hobbled my way to T2, sitting up along the final road section so that Erin could catch me. I figured if I wasn't going to have that great of a race, I'd still try to have some fun with it and help someone out if I could.

So out of T2, Erin and I ran side by side showing off the camaraderie of Team Timex. I carried a water bottle for us to douse ourselves with to help keep cool. Every aid station we passed it was a whirlwind of hands and cups flying everywhere trying to get as much liquid as possible.

Knowing that I would race again the next weekend (XTERRA Race at the Rez), I was content to head out for a fun run. I really liked running with Erin and helping to push her. Its so much more fun to run with someone than by yourself.

We crossed the finish line together, her coming in 6th for pro women, me 9th for pro men. It was a total eye opener, that the heat can totally destroy even the strongest of athletes. All of the top pros for the day said it was a real struggle out there, and going 100% just wasn't possible. Wish I had know that before hand! Live and learn...

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