Sep 132011

By Valerie Abradi

For some reason, I had it in my head I was 57 seconds from breaking two hours in the Bruiser last year.  Maybe that was my time.  I just looked at the official time, 2:01:07.  OK, I was close.  It was close enough that I was pretty sure I could pull off something that started with a 1, even if it was 1:59:59.

Now, I’d done nothing like speed work all year.  In fact, I guess most of my training might be considered LSD.  But I hadn’t done any last year either and was psyched to have turned in PRs in the Breaker and Bruiser.  I had also felt quite speedy at Jim’s Beast Run.  Of course, feeling fast doesn’t equal being fast.  Still I had nurtured the idea of the sub two hour Bruiser for a year.

Mindy’s 40 for 40 was eight days before the race.  I did right about 34 miles.  That was more than I was probably really trained for, but not by much.  I’d run most of Mindy’s long runs with her, but had never backed them up with a longish run like I would have had I been training to do a 50k or 50 miler.  I ran fine the following week, except that I found myself with mildly tired hip-flexors.  Maybe running with Dora and Mindy at Pinelands the day before the race (when I really noticed them) wasn’t the best idea for the Bruiser, but it was a good one for a fun run.

I went back and forth on whether to really race the race or just run it.  I decided to race it.  I could always decide I didn’t have it and switch gears.  I was careful in lining myself up at the start, more important in the Bruiser than the other two Bradbury races; the single track comes much earlier.  I had less traffic problems than at the start of the other years.  I was able to pass several people on the Island Trail.  I felt fine.  I kept pushing the pace.  Somewhere on Ragan I twisted my ankle pretty good and stepped aside for the little group I was leading to go by.  After the initial shock and pain, I realized I could run just fine.  I was back to pace fairly quickly, pretty sure that wouldn’t cost me the sub-two.

The Ginn went well.  I seemed to have picked up a few more people to pull along.  I guess I was setting the right pace.  Surprisingly, I saw Blaine just ahead of me on Ginn East.  One of my group yelled out for me to real him in.  I said, “That’s Blaine!”  Translation – “What!  Are you crazy?!”  Of course, for Blaine to even be near me on this race, something must have been wrong.  He said something like, given his twisted ankle that’s won’t be too hard.  Still he managed to stay ahead.

Somewhere on the Bat Cave loop, my hip flexors decided they were done.  It wasn’t at the very beginning, but early where there’s a climb.  I stepped aside.  Oh, Dr. Jamie was one of those right with me.  Of course, he asked if I was OK and said I was being such a great pacer.  Sorry.  I really was sorry.  I felt sort of done.  Once I had nobody with me, I started back.  Time to just run.  Not pushing, the hip flexors started cooperating again.  I passed Blaine : (

When I felt like I could start racing again, my intestines told me otherwise.  They weren’t happy with my supper choice at the wedding the night before.  I needed to get off trail – way off.  From my position, I could see the runners go by, but since they weren’t looking at anything but trail, I went unseen.  At least six people went by.  Two I recognized and looked up their times; both turned in sub-twos.  When I plodded back to the trail, I continued to plod on the course.  My intestines were better, but still not happy.  As I ran up the snowmobile trail, I thought back to last year’s race; I had felt so strong running up, knowing my favorite part of the race was coming.  At the aid station, I told Erik I didn’t have it today.  He said something to the effect of regroup or recover.  I don’t know if it was his simple advice, the GU I’d taken before the aid station, or the thought of the next fun single track, but I did recover and regroup.

I really do love that stretch of Ginn and Fox West.  Is it the fact that it’s overall downhill?  I don’t know, but I started pushing again.  I was racing!  It wasn’t till Knight’s woods that I even felt tired again and that was mroe the damned hip-flexors.  Four passed me on the hill.  Go Four!

On to the O, I decided to force the issue.  I think I ran it harder than last year, but it’s hard to know.  Last year, Yana joined me right at the start.  Her energy and enthusiasm carried me along.  We ran pretty fast, still chatting.  This time I had people on my heals using my knowledge of the trail.  I was nervous about the constant sound of near stumbles from behind.  I did not want to be taken out.  I can’t believe that I found the O straighter than I ever had; when did the straight, fast stretches get put in?  The person two people back pissed me off complaining about how hard it was.  Finally, when he said, “doesn’t it feel like we have army boots on?”, I let him know that was not good race talk; in fact, it was the opposite.  Even though I was really sucking wind and my hip flexors were yelling, there was no way I was going to give up with them behind me.

At the end of the O, I tried to sprint to the end.  Fortunately, I didn’t hurl, though it sure felt like I was gonna.  2:06:31.  No apologies, no excuses.  I ran as hard as I could that day.

Congratulations to all the TMs who had amazing races.  Thanks to Ian, Ryan, and all the volunteers for putting on a killer race.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>