Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stumptown Race Report (Okay, 1/3 of a race report)

First a rant and then maybe I'll actually have some content.

I spent a whole day at a race named Stumptown longing for Stumptown coffee only to discover that they just used the name, and that race had nothing to do with the coffee company, except of course the name, location and expectation of perfect balance...

I love coffee.  It's a huge motivator to me.  I spent two weeks drinking McDonald's Coffee in August just because it was free.  I probably would have even sung a song in the drive through just to get the free, notso good coffee (okay, I'm a snob and can't quite say it was good, but I guess since I'm mostly honest with you readers, I liked it). 

So to go to a race anticipating the mating of two of life great things, triathlon and coffee and to not get coffee, well, it left me as close to a funk as I get.  They did have a very small coffee truck that couldn't brew coffee or run their equipment without breaker problems but that left me even more disapointed.  I expect much better from Portland.

So now to the race report (1/3).  I was asked by my friends Larry and Jaysun to be their runner.  As far as I know, I was the second choice but I could possibly have been the third.  I just pretended to be the first choice kind of like I did when playing group sports as a kid.  We signed up the morning of the race for the "Long Course" which is a bit deceiving given it is a 70.3 distance but it still qualifies as a long course because one of the volunteers said "wow that's a long ways" when I told her I had to run 13.1 miles. 

Jaysun swam and did an amazing job.  It was a really long transition but he finished his leg in 29:08 which was the 10th fastest overall and 8th fastest male.  He handed off to Larry who made his way out of his University of Washington purple folding chair with plenty of time to race.

Larry put in a great ride with a 2:34:39 (27th fastest of the day) ride including a ridiculously long transition.  While he biked his three laps, I got to hang out with some great local athletes who were recovering from IM Canada.  Since I'm doing that race next year, I decided to focus on me rather than Larry.  I should have been documenting and making videos of his speed and agility on the bike but instead I was trying to get all the advice from the elite guys and the coach the providence stuck me with on this coffeeless day.

The wind started to come up while I waited for Larry to finish up the bike.  I thought he would pull of a 2:20 - 2:30 ride and I think he could have nailed a 2:20 without the wind and 1/4 mile transition.  It was a bit painful to see him get off the bike, a mere dot on the horizon struggling his way to transition.  The nice people that were waiting for their teams were wowed by his ride but seemed to understand why he wasn't running for our team.

So the hand off took place and I started to run.  I had warmed up by running around transition and had hydrated a bunch and so I thought I was pretty ready to go.  I wanted to run a 1:30 and thought that I could.  The run was great until I turned onto Marine Drive and met my nemesis, the wind.  The I met my other shadow, stench blowing in the wind from rotting compost.  I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to the effortless down wind leg and then I met my third rival, stuffy heat with a tinge of oppression and rot.  I kept going and had a pretty good first lap. 

The second lap wasn't the negative split that I hoped for and I really had a painful drop around mile 10.  I lost some of my motivation and fire and picked up some wus and whine.  I picked things up again but too late and ended with a 1:43:09 which was a 7:52 pace.  Not my best run but not too bad either.

I felt bad on the run because I didn't have the right to feel pain because hadn't put in the time or pain that others had.  They were so nice as ran told me how fresh I looked and stuff like that and I wanted to apologize the whole time but instead I said thanks and did my best to believe them.  The other strange thing is that I haven't spent much time in the front part of a race.  There were some huge gaps in the front of the field and I ran alone for much of the race.  I made a few passes but was pretty lonely and pacing was hard.  I ran the 18th fastest run of the day overall and 16th for men but would have been disappointed if I hadn't because I was cheating by only running.  

After the race, we hung out, ate and tried to win stuff.  We won the relay division (1 of 3 teams) and I got my hardware.  I felt proud and like a cheat at the same time. 

Glad I got to race on a good team with good people and glad to learn more about myself.  Now, if only they had served Stumptown Coffee.

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