That Bitter Sweet Feeling: Final Race Week of 2013

It seems like the 2013 race season came and went in a flash. It feels like just last week I was at the track in the 30 degree February weather running mile repeats with Court. And the endless hours on the trainer gearing up for Lake Placid seems like yesterday. Mile by mile, I made it to this week – the final race week of 2013! But this final week of racing is somewhat of an encore race week – I added the Arena Club Monster Dash 5K on Saturday (October 5th) to the Half Full (October 6th) and my final race will be the Baltimore Half (October 12th)

In all honesty, I can’t wait for Baltimore to be over. My body is battered, beaten, and in desperate need of recovery. My mind and body isn’t in race mode and training has been more of “going through the motions”. Regardless, race week always get me somewhat excited and those butterflies came back this week. I always wonder what odd rituals other people have before they race. My ritual begins the week before race day. I usually get a haircut the Sunday before race day – 1 on the sides, 2 on top. It keeps my head cool and looks good for the cameras. Monday starts my hydration process – 1 bottle of water and heed each evening to start capping off my electrolytes and hydration throughout the day. I usually do a week of swim/bike/run each day, but short efforts. Today, I did a mile swim, a 30 minute bike, a 15 minute run. It felt pretty good and I’ll decrease this each day until race day. I went and picked up some race wheels from Brian (not as nice as the Zipps I had for Placid, but still better than the training wheels I have now). Travel arrangements have been finalized and I’m excited to be racing with some awesome athletes this weekend at the Half Full – Leslie form the Arena Club, Matt from Harford Multi Sport, and my buddy Rajit from my fraternity. Damn Proud.

To say I’m ready for the Half Full is anything but the truth. I know I can make the distance, but I’m not use to “just making the distance”. I’m usually in it to win it. I feel fine with my swim and run, but the bike is a toss up. I looked at the course profile today – approximately 3,000 feet of climbing over 56 miles of the bike according to ridewithgps.com. It’s a good thing the course is scenic, because I’ll probably be out there for a while.  And like I said previously, the Half Full and the Ulman Cancer Fund is such a great cause, I’d feel bad for missing out.  As far as the 5K goes, I’m looking at it as a warmup for the Half Full. I just want to get my legs moving at a fast cadence and get my heart rate up. Hopefully I’ll get some type of podium, whether overall or age group. It’s nice to represent the place that I work and train at. In addition, all proceeds go towards the Wounded Warrior Project.

Speaking of the Wounded Warrior Project, my fundraising site has opened and can be found . For those who do not know, I will be racing and raising money for the organization throughout the 2014 race season!

After the Half Full, I’ll just taper it out and ease up on mileage until the Baltimore Half. Baltimore is a love-hate relationship with me. I love the course for many reasons. It’s challenging, it’s a hometown race, and I ran my personal best there last year. Despite this, I don’t think the course is that attractive, I’m pretty sure Lake Montebello gets larger every year, and I want to vomit on every hill (fun fact: i’ve vomited at the lake every year I’ve ran in the Baltimore Running Festival 🙂 ). I don’t expect much out of myself this year, but my times in training at the track show that I should be around a 1:22 – hopefully faster. One nice thing about Baltimore is that there is always a great crowd and a great group of runners. The Arena Club will be well represented this year with Courtney, Brian, and Shana all joining me in the half marathon. One of my buddies, Tyler, will be tackling his first full marathon after a phenomenal string of races leading up to the BRF. And of course one of my favorites, Lindsay, will be tackling another half marathon. She dominated Baltimore last year, as well as the NYC half marathon. She’s a beast.

"What hills don't kill you make you stronger".  This is one hell of a course! Hello hills :)

“What hills don’t kill you make you stronger”. This is one hell of a course! Hello hills 🙂

So one week, three races, and one very exhausted athlete.  Despite the results of these three races, I’ve accomplished EVERY. SINGLE. GOAL I set for myself this year.  (Check back for a full 2013 season analysis in the near future).  Yes, I am very excited for the season to be over, but I will miss that competitive drive during the winter offseason of no races.

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