I try not to put myself too much on this blog, as I feel that most of the notable accomplishments are done by the athletes that I am lucky enough to coach. However, ever since Coach Whitenack challenged me to compete in the Warrior Dash this summer, I have been training quite regularly. (You can check out my training at runkeeper.com if you are really bored.) My wife Beth got me a sweet Garmin GPS watch, I jog to my daughter Chloe's daycare and jog home with her twice a week, and I have been trying to nordic ski every weekend as much as I can. That, plus whatever else I can fit into the busy schedule I keep, has brought me to this weekend, the Devil's Thumb Ranch annual Devil's Chase, a 17 km cross county ski race.
I was going to compete in the 30 km race, but realized that 30 km of racing was just too much for the level of training I have been doing. So, I set my goals of top ten and under an hour in the 17 km race. It turned out to be a pretty windy and snowy day, but Beth and Chloe and my brother Adam and I set out Saturday morning to Devil's Thumb Ranch for a day of racing. Below are some pictures Beth took, along my cheesy captions.
First feed, at about 6 km. I needed that Gatorade badly!
Yelling at my brother for the water bottle.
The finishing straight, totally into the wind.
Coming into the finish area, showing some pretty good V-2 technique.
I dittched the hat, it was roasting my skull. I do need a haircut, don't I? My brother said my 'fro slowed me down.
At this point, I had been suffering for about 5 km. It was brutal.
The lunge for the line. Hopefully that classic old school New Hampshire racing suit saved me some seconds.
Support crew Beth and Chloe. They hiked 5 miles on snowshoes to watch the race.
Support crew Adam, the gatorade man.
I was pleased with the outcome. I got ninth place overall, with a time of 1:12:56. It was a brutally tough race. Much harder than the Warrior Dash, for sure. There were many points where I was just trying to get one leg in front of the other, and hope for a second (or third, fourth or fifth) wind to come to me. Soft snow and windy conditions made it tough, but it made it tough for everyone. I attempted a cool-down, but my legs had no gas let in them, so I got about a kilometer out and had to turn back. All afternoon I have been laid out from exhaustion and an incredibly painful back. (Dr. Jonas, where are you??) I am proud of the fact I left everything out there, and I am eager to attack this race next year.
So, what does this have to do with HS track? Nothing really, except I know what suffering is. I know how you feel, and I appreciate your effort. Racing and training at a super high level is really tough, and I applaud all of you who do it day in and day out.