It's been quite a week. In the past seven days I have run about 30 miles (not a lot yet but feels amazing anyway), sold my road bike, purchased a new triathlon bike, started some exciting rearranging in my practice-including a new office in January-and got to spend the weekend with my amazing, fun, and super-runner bestie Rebecca! Before you read, please forgive the somewhat-random nature of this post, it's been a busy week...
We'll start with the latter...I received an after-work surprise text from Becca early last week announcing she was coming to Texas for the Texas Trails Endurance 50k. Yes, 50k-beast! It took some convincing, but I decided to let her come stay with me around the race (haha)!
After a fun Friday spent in The Woodlands it was time to make the 30-minute trip to Huntsville State Park. These trails have a special place in my heart because it was here where I feel I really became a runner while attending graduate school at Sam Houston State University just up the road. It was kind of neat to show this place to my out-of-state friend. Too bad the weather was beyond cruel for an ultramarathon. Sorry B-I wish it could have been better!
I have run a handful of trail races in my day and was quickly reminded upon arrival to the race site how laid back and relaxed the atmosphere was. After packet pickup and a quick introduction and picture with Peruvian Olympic legend Roger Soler (the incredibly friendly race director of the event) it was time for me to go into Sherpa mode for Becca. I had her pegged in the top 3 in the event. The only way to describe the way she runs is badass. She doesn't quit. Period. She's perhaps one of the toughest people I know.
The course consisted of three loops with the first being about 6 miles where we agreed I'd run with her for a little while. Me not being in ultramarathon shape-I committed to a 30-minute 4 mileish out and back. I have to say it was double-barrelled coolness being able to run (and fall and do my famous roll-bounce) on those trails again and be a small part of a friend's race. Can you tell I'm a fan?! I was just glad I could keep up! If you want more details on the race, you'll have to read Rebecca's blog as I don't want to take anything away here.
After turning back I made it a point to encourage everyone I could amidst the " you're going the wrong way" I'd get every quarter mile or so. It felt almost freeing to dodge and weave through the rolling dirt steps and tree roots of the Sam Houston National Forest in my Brooks Pure Grits. Nice to know I haven't lost all my trail running skills, even though they were a bit rusty.
Long story short, Becca finished the top 3 in the event. Just as I predicted! Pow.
My group and I all agreed over a post race lunch that the best part of racing, regardless of what the day brings is the bonds that are formed before, during, and after the run. I can't find anything that I can attest to helping build my relationships, career, and who I am besides running. It's a hard thing to pin down, but the table full of runners all seemed to 'get it'.
Now to totally change the subject!...
A few days before weekend I finally pulled the trigger on the bank account and purchased my first tri bike! The guys at Bike Lane in The Woodlands set me up with a Quintana Roo Chiquilo that I named Charlie-the female version, in case you were wondering. It was a tad bittersweet, however, as I sold Tessa, my beloved blue Scott roadie in order to upgrade. I did some research before buying, and it appears that QR typically offers the most bang for your buck for pieces of equipment that is often quite pricey.
So far I've taken her on a trainer spin and a 32-miler. To me difference between a road bike and a tri bike is undeniable. I hate to say it, but it really helped break the attachment to Tessa in a hurry. Even though the model is considered entry-level-this is where I go tri geek for a moment, just a warning-it comes with pretty impressive components. The Shimano Dura Ace shifters and Ultegra derailer flick through the gears like nothing. I didn't realize how much work it was to shift on the roadie. There also is a significant difference in geometry of the riding position, which makes accelerating and just pedaling in general much more comfortable and efficient. In short, the thing's just fast. And it looks pretty awesome as well! There will be some big races in the future, and I trust this rig will help me continue to improve.
It's not every week I get to feel like it's Christmas come early x 2. Back to the race, from a spectator's perspective, it looks like a well-organized and laid back event. If it's not 78 degrees at the start, I may consider running one of the distances (20k-50 mile) one of these days. But for now, congrats, Becca!
Whether on a trail in the heat or on a bike on the road, stay the course!