Sunday, December 16, 2007

XTERRA Crystal Cove 15K

XTERRA Crystal Cove 15K, December 16, 2007: Link
Place: 69 (out of 214)
Bib: # 345
Distance: 9.3 miles / 15 km
Net Time: 1:25:33
Average Pace: 9:12 minutes/mile
Elevation Gain: about 1200 feet

Start line

Dmitri, Lambert, Martin

Finish line

Lambert and Martin

Martin and Dmitri

I set a new distance PR today – I ran the shortest race in my life - 15K. My first race ever was Saddleback Half-Marathon in 2006 and I never did anything shorter than that. As I have never been exceptionally fast I did not even plan to do any of those 5K or 10K races.

XTERRA seemed to be cool though but when I heard about it, it was already sold out. And then all of a sudden I saw that Pete Vara’s post at our club’s web site about the unique once-in-a-lifetime XTERRA free entry opportunity.

The only thing is that I had to run there as Pete Vara. As Pete is faster than I we agreed I will disguise myself as “Pete Vara with broken ankle” so that no one would notice a forgery as I cross the finish line an hour after Pete would cross it if he were not out of town this weekend.

I went to pick up my bib on Saturday at Fleet Feet in Laguna Niguel. They did not find Pete on the list for some reason, told me that I do not look like him at all, and that they would need to break my ankle for real if I keep bugging them.

I went home with a relief as I did not feel well and did not run at all since Tuesday. Oh, did I mention I got a terrible cold that got worse after inhumane Ridgecrest weather? Still I sent a quick note to the real Pete after I came back – just in case. To my surprise Pete managed to settle the things up, and I got my bib the following morning.

I met Lambert and Martin at the drop bag area, and then later at the start line another OCTR member Kiko and two mudslingers – Ryan and Diego.

At the start line we were reminded that earbuds are not allowed during this race as they are “anti-social”. Well I already had my iPod on me and headphones with big ear cups. They had absolutely nothing to do with the forbidden earbuds and I put them on – partially in order not to hear Lambert who was desperately trying to convince me they are illegal.

As the race started the temperature went up abruptly and I started to feel overdressed. Or probably it was not really the temperature but the fat big incline on El Moro Ridge (aka BFI). This was brutal. I kept running for the first mile, and had to walk most of the second one – which was a quite embarrassing thing to do taking into consideration that it was just the 2nd mile of a short 9-mile trail run. I was so worn out by the BFI, that by mile 4 I saw a vision of Sue running in the opposite direction :)

After I passed the mile 4 I started to feel I am enjoying the race. Not sure whether it was cause my PowerGel dissolved in my stomach, or cause at last I got warmed up, or cause the BFI was eventually over, or as I was listening to one of my favorite Apocalyptica songs at the moment, or all of the above :)))

Bommer Ridge and Pacific Ridge consist of a lot of small ups and downs, and I was anticipating the big downhill on the last 2-3 miles of the course. The downhill turned out to be less steep and not without some unexpected uphill sections that did not make it to the elevation profile graph. Still it was enjoyable anyways. It is the first race when I got disappointed and almost discouraged when someone shouted that finish is just around the corner. I sprinted the very last downhill section to the finish line at around 6:30 min/mile to pass by another runner I had been chasing for quite a while.

My final time was 1:25:33. Not as fast as I expected. But good enough for the first place in the category of “Athletes with broken ankles” :)

1 comment:

Pete Vara said...

Awesome Job-broken ankle or not very impressive. And thank you taking my place, I will keep that in mind for future 100mile races :)