>There are 2 things I love about the sports I do. One, is winning. The other, is getting my butt kicked so much I don’t even know why I bother. In the past few weeks I have had the chance to experience both.
First, the ass kicking explained: This summer I have found a spot in my heart for cycling. Maybe it was the buildup behind Lance’s “final” Tour. Maybe it was boredom from all the running miles in the spring. Maybe it was the new road bike I got myself for my birthday. Whatever the cause, I have ridden more miles in the past month than I did all of last summer before IM Louisville, times two. Yeah, that much.
And, it’s awesome.
I am truly enjoying learning the process of cycling. With a little bit of work, I have already come so far. But, that has come at a price. This is the first year where I have trusted myself to go out and ride with groups. I have always worried about getting dropped, but also about my own bike handling skills. Now I am comfortable on the bike, but still get dropped. Alot. By people who you would look at on the street and never know how fast they could ride a bike. No matter how good I get at this, there is always someone better. And someone a lot better. And someone a lot better than that person. Cycling is humbling, but it is also exciting and fun. It reminds me of the days when I’d do 2-a-days with the high school soccer team, going all out and feeling so tired and beat down that you can’t move. But you don’t want to stop either. Because getting your butt kicked every now and then is a neccessary evil for an athlete.
Now, for the winning part. Last weekend I ran the Rosaryville 50K. Being the 2nd year that this race was offered, I figured it would stay pretty low key, giving me a good shot to go for the W. I headed out to Rosaryville State Park that Sunday, set out a cooler of goodies on the loop (3 loops of 10ish miles) and headed to the start. I had to get through 1 loop on my own, then my awesome crew of Arjun, Jen and Cheese were coming out to run the others with me. And its a good thing too, because I started that first loop and certainly had my doubts about the day. My legs felt horrible going downhill which is never a good start. Plus, it was getting hot fast. I made it through though, and Cheese and Arjun jumped in for round 2. The first 5 miles with them to the aid station were good, I was still able to run comfortably. However, in this time I tried to take a GU and realized that it was just not going to happen. I had been drinking Perpetuem, so I was getting good calories that way, but I was still looking for a few extra. At the aid station I pounded mountain dew and like a gallon of water, and felt strong for a mile or two before my stomach really started to get upset. But, taking it slow and walking a bit, I got myself under control. Cheese and Arjun brought me in that lap to swap with Jen. At this point I started feeling really bad again. The next few miles were a huge struggle. Jen was great, just reminding me to keep sipping on water and saying I was doing well . We hit the midpoint aid station and I was just so thirsty again I couldn’t get enough water. I refilled the bottle though, packed my sports bra with ice (it really was hot….like, texas….or africa hot as Lance would say) and went out for the last section. I’m not sure if it was mentally knowing it was almost over, or I had finally found a balance of calories and liquids that worked in that heat, but I was able to run a good pace in to the finish. Coming in to the final aid station I was told I was the first place woman. I kind of laughed and told Jen that wasn’t right. I was thinking I was 2nd or 3rd, possibly even 4th. It was real confusing though because 2 other races had started behind us, so the women who passed me could have been running other distances. Sure enough, as I crossed the line in 5:16 they announced me as the first female! And, being only the second year and having beat last year’s woman’s winning time by 3 minutes, I know have the female Course Record too – pretty sweet. They did awards as people finished, so I collected my bling and headed to Wawa with the crew for some much needed food and bevs. A great day all around!