Monday is Labor Day, the de-facto end of summer. Usually I am a little bit melancholy over the transition from summer to fall, but to be completely honest, this summer has been absolutely brutal.
On August 28th we set a new record with our 77th calendar day this year above 100 degrees. We also tied the record for the highest temperature recorded of 112 degrees. It seems like every week has been hotter than the last, record temperature after record temperature.
The pundits are predicting a slight shift in the weather pattern this week with temperatures dropping into the high 90′s and “gasp” actually a chance of rain this weekend. Don’t even get me started on the drought and our water restrictions that went into effect on September 1st.
But this weekend we are celebrating Landry’s 1st birthday on Saturday with friends and family coming into town for the big event and on Monday we race.
Earlier this spring two of my friends here in Austin, Jay and Ed asked me to team up with them as part of a relay entry in Monday’s Austin Olympic Distance Triathlon. Jay who is a tremendous swimmer has been encouraging me ever since I took my first swim lesson this spring. Ed is a very talented cyclist, who I have relied on for countless tips and training advice when it comes to that part of the triathlon.
Me? I’m just a runner on Monday, nothing more, nothing less.
After Jay throws down his opening 1,500 Meter swim, we will quickly switch the timing chip onto Ed’s leg and he will power through a 40 Kilometer (24.8 mile) bike ride. When Ed hits the dismount line, Jay will transfer the timing chip and race number belt from Ed to me and I will be off to make two loops of the run course covering 10 Kilometers (6.2 miles) – hoping to bring the run in under 39 minutes.
As much as I would like to set my sights on my 10K PR of 38:06 set last October at the IBM Uptown classic I know that the course, the weather and the much later run time will conspire against me being able to hit that pace. Not to mention that I am now in the middle of marathon training and my legs do not have the usual snap, crackle and pop that they would have had I tapered properly for this race over the past two weeks.
Nonetheless, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us on Monday. You can never control who is going to show up on race day. Racing against the clock is all that you can do. But should we all bring our “A” game on Monday, we have a great chance at a podium finish (Top 3).
My expectations for this event are pretty straightforward, I am going to lock in around 6:15 pace and see how that feels over the opening mile. The Olympic distance run course is basically two 5 Kilometer loops.
I am not normally a fan of “loop courses” which require you to retrace your steps a second time. They can be challenging mentally as each mile that you travel the second time feels so much longer and more difficult than it did the first time. It can be very tough mentally as well as physically.
But for this event it will allow me to pass by my teammates at the half-way point and have them encourage me on to drop the hammer a bit and hopefully run a second half of the race faster than the first or negative split. That kind of racing takes a lot of discipline, making sure that you do not go out too quickly and expend too much energy over the opening mile or two.
It will be great practice not only for the IBM Uptown Classic in October, but also the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in Denver a week later and of course the NYC Marathon in November. I am a believer that practice makes perfect, the more you race the better you become at racing. Pure and simple.
Monday morning – boom goes the dynamite.