Racing Back to Fitness
By: Paul Terranova
So after my full serving of humble pie last month, it was time to get back to business. And what better way to kick-start the process than penciling in a 10k road race and a 30k trail race a mere 6 days apart!? For me, I find an INCREDIBLE amount of physical and physiological benefit of these shorter (relatively) and faster efforts at race speed and race intensity. Nothing like pinning on a bib number to get things going! The added benefit of going into them a bit fatigued from a week’s worth of training is by design and really forces me to dig deep on tired legs. Try it, you just might like it!
Act I: The plan for the IBM Uptown Classic 10k on Sunday October 6 was to get in a steady 10 miles on the roads Saturday morning followed by another 90 minutes out on the trails. Then, get in a good couple mile warm-up before the 10k and a couple mile cool-down after it. Austin treated us to a BEAUTIFUL Sunday morning (after an evening of rain) with one of the first days of relatively cooler weather, what a treat. After the gun, I eased into my race pace pretty quickly and then tucked in behind my Rogue Running teammate “TALL” Lee Toowey as we weaved our way through the Domain mall parking lots. Once his breathing became a bit labored (almost like the “Buffalo” Todd Gerlach), I came around him and stretched out a bit coming down the MoPac frontage road. Hit the 10k mark in 18:28 and stayed on the gas until the end, despite having two other Rogue teammates Wes Johnson (winner of the 2013 AFM Distance Challenge) and Mark Heerensperger run me down with about 1 mile to go! My second 10k was 18:18, so both of them ran an even more negative split race, huge props to them. Felt great to get in a couple mile cool-down and then a quick drive to meet Meredith and friends for breakfast!
IBM Uptown Classic 10k, photo by www.TexasRunningPost.com
Act II: The plan for the inaugural Paleface 30k, having not run out at Pace Bend Park in about a decade (since my adventure racing days), was to go hard from the gun on the first loop with the 15km runners (the 30k was two loops) and then keep pushing on the second loop. Friend Justin and I got to the park in great time for the 7am morning start and were treated to mouth and earfuls of gnats before the sun came up. Thanks to the central Texas drought, Lake Travis is very low so the acreage of Pace Bend Park has grown exponentially. I started with a handheld light and really only needed it for about 10 minutes as official sunrise was about 7:30am. Fortunately, I had another runner in front of me, Joshua “Pain Train” Pauley, a senior XC and long-course track and field specialist at Dallas Baptist University, to help lead the way. Josh hit the first loop like he was running the 15k, which I later learned he wasn’t, so I smartly decided to let him go about 10k into the 15k loop. (code for: he dropped me like a bag of rocks). Somewhat surprisingly, Josh only had a 36 second lead on me (1:07:34 vs. 1:08:10) at the halfway point, where I swapped out for a fresh bottle with 2 more gels. No gnats out on course, but PLENTY of humidity and it was thick, my singlet and Patagonia Nine Trails shorts were totally soaked just 60 minutes in! The course out at Pace Bend park is practically TAILOR-MADE for HOKAs (Bondi-Bs in my case), lots of limestone rocks to navigate over/around with hard packed dirt in between. Great local training ground for Bandera. Josh took off on loop 2 and I finally caught sight of him through the wooded switchbacks before the midway aid station at approx. mile 14. Patience paid off, and I came around him as he stopped briefly to stretch. Slammin’ Sammy Voltaggio topped off my bottle at the aid station, and I pressed forward to extend my gap. Hit the tape in 2:17:02 which meant a 1:08:52 second loop, only a 42 second positive split! Solid effort on some tough trails. Will definitely be back, Mark and Dawn Lindsay did an AWESOME job on this first-year race with the always professional support of Joe and Joyce Prusaitis (and many others) at Tejas Trails!
Act III: Just this past weekend weekend was a small speaking engagement for the Mrs. and me out at another inaugural event, the Hill Country Marathon (half and 10k too) in Marble Falls! We are super-excited to have been asked to share some words with other runners. Didn’t hurt either that the pre-race dinner was at the Double Horn Brewing Co!!!
I’m amazingly thankful for the running and triathlon “gift” that God has allowed me to explore. Huge thanks as always to Hoka One One, Rogue Running, Jack & Adam’s Bicycles and High Five Events, Pure Austin Gym, DryMax Socks, Bonk Breaker Energy Bars, Soleus Watches, Advanced Rehab, thinksport, RunSmart, and Eating & Living Healthy for enabling me to train and race at my potential.
Thanks for reading y’all!