August 6, 2009

Media Challenge Race #4

Suddenly summer, huh?

Our evening race was somewhere around 80 degrees, and plenty humid. I discovered how hard 3.5 miles can be when you've got real competition. The big races I run as a free agent let me pretty much run against my own standards. Last night I was trying to crush the competition.

Short courses start to dig into systems that I'm still just developing. The start for this race is on a downhill, and by the time I get to the bottom my mouth is dry as dirt. A little farther there waits a terrible smell which is either my breath or the accumulated horse shit of countless tourist carriage rides. Then there's a long stretch of pain and despair. Then you come to the start line again to begin the whole thing one more time. I do not find any of this motivating.

Teammate B. had recently been advising me on my finishing kick. He had definitively outkicked me at the last Media race, and I was eager to learn from the master. As I rounded the bend on that final stretch, my legs full of lactate, I had been following two guys in blue singlets. One of them started to fall back, but I couldn't catch the other one. I started to look for the point B. told me to start my last sprint. I couldn't find it. Finally I saw the finish line coming up, so I just prayed and sped up. I was going fast, but as we passed the finish line I couldn't quite catch up to Blue Singlet.

Except that wasn't the finish line. It was one more crosswalk away. I was already at a sprint, and there was no point in slowing down. Blue couldn't seem to speed up. Accidentally, then, I snatched sixth place.

This would be inconsequential, and in fact was witnessed by no one, but our team won by just one point. So there's my race strategy for Media Race #4 - total disorientation.

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