Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No Apologies for a Great Summer

Recently I came to an Al-Anon style realization: there are at least two things I don't have to apologize for: being happy/excited, and being myself.  So I'm not going to apologize for having done some great races over the summer and I'm not going to apologize for being excited about the big Superior 100 mile race I'm running in a week and a half.  Not interested?  Don't read on!

Yoda & Buddha are friends.

I was afraid of showing off, bragging, or making a big deal out of some of the stuff I have done, but I'm over that for the moment so:
  • In May I ran the Spring Superior 50k.  Although my finishing time/place weren't all that great I had a wonderful time.  I met some new friends, enjoyed the big lake and the beautiful Sawtooth Mountains, and had a great night out in Grand Marais.  I haven't enjoyed myself so much for years!
  • In July I raced in the inaugural Iowa Games Gravel Road Race.  To my surprise I won!  It was a tough fought race on an extremely hot and dusty day, but I gave it everything I had and eventually came out on top.  
  • I did a couple of XC mountain bike races (one at Banner and one at Seven Oaks).  I didn't win or even come close (2nd to last at Banner), but I did learn a lot.  Going fast is hard and the limiting factor for me is cornering.  That spurred me on to practice and ask for tips and I feel that I've come a long way since then.  I can't say that I'm great shakes at it, but I think that the next time I do a 24 hour race I'll get a couple extra laps in because of it.  
  • I did my first triathlon two weeks ago.  Well, sort of.  I just did the bike portion as part of a relay team.  It was my first extended ride on an aerobar equipped bike and that was an experience.  I get why triathletes spill food and drink on their bikes and have crap bike handling.  Those bikes are not meant for turning!  The unfamiliar position caused me to have some sore muscles toward the end of my 56 mile TT, but our team managed a 3rd place finish in our division (Male Team).  Everyone was much friendlier than I had expected at a big time triathlon.  I might have to do an individual one next year.  
The TT bike.
  • Last weekend's race was a team event too.  I did a leapfrog duathlon (bike and run) in Dallas Center with one of the drivers who delivers to work.  He's a pretty good runner so I had my work cut out for me trying to not to let him down.  We managed 2nd overall and 1st in our age group (we were beat by some old guys).  It was a great little low key event for a very reasonable price.  
 So yeah, I've had a pretty good summer and I don't mind telling you.  Sure I "won" some races as an age grouper, but that's not what it's about.  It's about getting out there, doing my best, and enjoying myself doing it.

I am making a big deal out of the Superior 100.  Last year I thought I had it in the bag and didn't give the race the respect it deserves.  This year I have been training for it officially since June 1st and unofficially since I finished Trans Iowa.  If I have worked on something nearly every day for three months then I would say it's a big deal.  I'm going to give this race my very best and I'm not dropping out until the sweeps catch me.

Some new hardware (L to R: Iowa Games, Leapfrog, Pigman)