Monday, October 2, 2017

Horseshoes, Hand Grenades and Decaf Coffee

Sitting around the island in Alan Moore's Ada, Michigan kitchen Cathie his wife pointed out the pot of decaf coffee that three out of the four of us were quietly sipping letting the morning sink in. It suddenly dawned on us that the morning prior we had been drinking from the same bag of decaf.

Why this is funny . . . the day prior was the final XTERRA on my 2017 race roster (albeit for 2018 points). Furthering the hilarity, if you know me, I DON'T DRINK DECAF. "Kristen, maybe this is where your 10 seconds came from," said Cathy, highlighting the fact that I lost by 10 seconds to 2nd place Megan James clinching 3rd the day prior.

Do I actually believe that the difference between second and third came down to a cup of decaf coffee? No, but I do think seemingly innocuous actions can add time on the clock, like 10 seconds for example.

First, background. I cheated Megan James out of a first place overall two years ago at the Grand Rapids XTERRA held in Yankee Springs. So Saturday was Karma coming to get me or that's at least what Al believes. Albeit, I did not intentionally cheat, it was a series of unfortunate events beginning with my lack of listening skills. It was my first race back after recovering from a double stress fracture in my right foot so I was a little leery to run. We hit the trail and I felt strong. There were just a handful of women racers and I felt confident that I was in the lead. Heading out on the run I crossed paths with Al who was heading in, he yells to me, "the run is short." With this knowledge, I push on, suddenly Megan races past me. I increase my pace to match hers. We pop out of the trail and a volunteer points us on to the finish. It's a dead sprint to the end and I match her stride for stride, at the last minute I will myself faster and cross just before her, the crowd is cheering, the announcer is excited to have witnessed such a heated finish. I was pumped. Turns out I missed an entire loop of the course earning me the fastest run split of anyone . . . 5 min/mile and a big shameful DQ. So, again . . . KARMA.

Saturday's race goes down like this. Strong swim, not the fastest, but not the slowest. Sub 1 hour bike (11+ miles) earning me a QOM for the entire course on Strava, that's pretty dope! Quick transitions and what I felt was an evenly paced run for a 5k amounting to 7:30 miles. Here's where the horseshoes and hand grenades come into play. During T2 I left one glove on, by accident. I stopped at the fist aid station, drank some gatorade, water and left my glove with them. This totally could have been 5+ seconds wasted. I hit the trail and about 2 miles in Megan passes me on the left. I had NO IDEA she was there. I knew Mimi was ahead of me and I knew I had passed Megan on the bike about mile 10, obviously not enough buffer for the type of runner she is, and the type of runner she is is STRONG, she's a hunter and I was the unwitting prey. PS, Megan is a fantastic swimmer as well. Riding her down was no easy task. On the out and back I hear Chrissy urging me to "dig." Al tells me "she's right there." Chris tells me "you got her." A handful of others encourage me to run faster. I can taste the metal in the back of my throat. I'm redlining, I'm running as hard as I can. I mentioned the last 5 seconds, well the first five seconds I can probably find in the swim and in my first transition, gloves are son of bitch to get on. But again, close only counts in horseshoes in hand grenades, in triathlon is gets you 10 seconds behind 2nd. Congrats Megan James.

Or was it the decaf . . . ?

Special K