Monday, May 11, 2009

The Hurricane Dua

I have a new name for the SGTRI...for St George in Sunny St George. Since the race actually takes place in Hurricane, UT and the wind speeds tend to be greater than that of a tropical storm (I'd say about a category 3 by the looks of the white capped waves). A much more descriptive name would be the HUDUA...for Hurricane in Windy City Hurricane! And yes, let's not kid ourselves about trying to hold three events here. Not even the kayakers dared to get in the water. And this is two years in a row now! But to give the race director some credit, it was handled better this year with the run-bike-run setup, but that's still a dua - not a tri.
Sounds like a lot of complaining so far, but as it turns out this was a positive and memorable race for me. It was dissapointing to have the swim cancelled, but it was fun to start with the 5K, ride the 40k, and finish with a 5K. Minutes after the "elites" began, me and my brothers line up on the front row of the starting line. I hear my brother almost laughing in confusion, "what are you doing?" as I sprinted ahead at the gunshot. I was eventually passed by few a runners, but was able to keep the lead on my brothers. And although beating other athletes is always good and placing in the top three is nice - my sole goal here was to somehow beat Mike and Greg...something that didn't happen in the last race.
Feeling good after the first 5K I transition to the bike and head for the first steep hill ahead. Not even 2 miles in, not even over the first hill, Greg humiliatingly pats me on the head as he takes the lead from me, convincingly might I add. I realized this could be a very long 24.855 miles. Every hill he gets more and more out of my reach. I eventually lose track, lose hope, and wonder what went wrong. As I finish the bike portion I knew I was too far behind to make up such a distance in a short 5K run.
As I start my second lap on the run, I near a group of spectators on a stretch of the run. My father quickly comes over and points to a turn that is maybe 100 yards away and informs, "Greg is just at that corner - you can catch him!" Almost immediately the adrenalin kicks in and somehow I think it's possible to catch him. I never did identify where he was exactly until about at the half-way point when we crossed paths at a turn-about. He has about a 50 foot lead; I pick up the pace again. I get to the 180 degree turn-around with a little too much excitement and speed for a sandy trap . . . and I slip and fall on my hands. Burning way to much energy to get up and going again, another athlete helps me up in my frustration. I feel like I just blew my chance to catch him and start to really doubt if it's possible. During the last mile I can see the gap closing, but not fast enough. I was just praying now for it to come down to a sprint to the finish. But knowing how fast Greg is at sprinting at the end I didn't give myself much of a chance, but it's all I could do.
I can hardly believe it - I actually catch up to him with just a 40 yard dash ahead of us, I hesitate to let him know I'm there, but feel obligated to do it. I raise my arm and tap him on the head - then as scared as jeepers creepers I close my eyes, clinch my teeth with the pain, and sprint harder than I ever have in my life. I fumbled through the finish line until I could find something to hold on to till I could catch my breath. I didn't even know if I beat him till I saw his disappointed face after the race, but I still had to ask him to know for sure. That was the most epic finish to any race I've ever run in my life!
And what of Mike you ask? Well, he was actually handicapped a bit with a knee problem he'd been dealing with for a few months now. But the main moral of that story goes back to Rocky IV. Mike was the Russian with all the scientists and fancy equipment with his VOmax and ecsentric training and what not. Everyone knows that the best way to train is to grow a beard, chop wood, and run to the top of mountains in the snow (i.e. get laid off, do a lot of yard work, and ride up Millcreek a few times a week).