This morning I raced the Newton 10k. In the afternoon, I raced the Lincoln Steeplechase. It would make for a long day. With less than 4 hours recovery between the two races, I had to get refueled and rehydrated. I ate a bit. I drank a lot of Cytomax. I dozed off watching the Dauphiné and woke up stiff and sore.
The Great Lincoln Steeplechase is a 6.7 mile trail race through the conservation lands around St. Anne-in-the-Fields. It’s a club race for CSU Nordic so I felt duty-bound to show up, even though I was pretty hammered from the morning race. In the warm-up, my legs felt pretty good. Not too sore. They loosened up as we picked up the pace. But it was a big shift to go from pavement to rocky and rooted trails. It seemed like only a matter of time until a twisted ankle or a tumble.
In the church parking lot, I lined up close to the front of the start. The race went off and turned directly into the woods and single track. I wanted a good position so I suffered some elbows and bit of jostling before the group stretched out. My plan was to race as much of it as I could, then run steady to the finish. I followed a similar approach to the morning race: go out steady and work my way up to a good race pace. I felt better and better as we ran across the fields, into the woods, and over the wooden bridge. I wasn’t going fast, but I was holding my own and picking off runners a little at a time.
My heart rate was steady. I was holding in the low 170’s before the hilly terrain kicked up in the latter half of the race. My Salomon’s were handling the terrain well: rocks, roots, mud, pine needles. Then I started to feel the morning’s efforts on the first steep hill by the deCordova museum. I ascended it super slow so I wouldn’t put myself in a hole, but as the race progressed, I had more and more trouble getting my heart rate up and holding it.
It was starting to feel like a long day. My quads burned on the steep descents. I didn’t have the confidence to run it free and I kept checking my speed. I was going into survival mode, running closer to a brisk interval pace than a race pace, having bad flashbacks of Craftsbury. But then I cleared the woods and hit the final rise with about 1 mile to go. I overtook the runner in front of me and we battled it out to the finish. Each time he surged, I though I was done. Then he would fade, I’d recover and have another go. Then I’d fade, he’d counter. And so on. In the end, I was able to kick clear, get my heart rate up to 183 bpm and be relieved to cross the finish line.
I ran a respectable 46:00 (4 1/2 minutes slower than last year!). I had powered through the twilight period and had something left at the end. I was plenty sore, tired and hungry after the race. My kinesio taping job worked reasonably well for my plantar woes, but my feet were sore and my toes bruised.
For the day, I had 1 hour 23 minutes of race time, plus additional warm-up and cool-down time. All told, I burned over 2,000 calories between the two events.
Next year, I’m hoping both races don’t line up on the same day.