Or as I like to refer to it, the Perfect Racecation.
Once I signed up for Xterra Worlds, thanks to an underserved roll-down slot, I promptly put the event out of my mind. I sort of figured I could coast to the start line powered by residual fitness from 70.3 worlds and good will from the fitness gods.
As it turns out, you can’t just rock up to the start line of a world championships and expect much more than a “I’m just really happy to be here” kind of result with that kind of prep.
No matter! I got my ass kicked and I loved it. Truly.
Here’s how the race went down for me.
The day before:
Standard race: get your gear ready, eat, rest, blah blah blah.
Xterra worlds: a 5K trail run sounds like a great idea! I should note that I told myself that I’d go easy, enjoy the scenery, shake out my legs.
I came 2nd in my AG and did none of the things I said I’d do.
Standard: wake up at a time that borders on inhuman, choke down food, battle nerves and logistics till the gun goes off.
Xterra: wake up without an alarm. Enjoy coffee and breakfast on the lanai. Eventually, and leisurely, we make our way to the race venue.
Standard: stand at the start trying to quell the fear.
Xterra: stand at the start trying to quell the fear.
Truly. I mean, when we landed on Maui, the news was announcing that the Pe’ahi Challenge was on. The surf in the days leading up to the race was big, fun and scary. On race day, I stood on the start line legitimately concerned that I was going to be last out of the water (provided I managed to get past the break, that is).
The good news is that I wasn’t last. It was fun, hard, salty and people were spread all over the ocean. I got pummelled by waves. I had a big smile on my face when I emerged from the ocean.
Standard: I get out of the swim and work my way to the front of the pack.
Xterra: I very much noticed my lack of bike fitness pretty early on. My heart rate was sky high. I talked myself off the ledge almost right away, then I spent the rest of the ride passing folks and giggling (when I wasn’t riding uphill). I yelled “on your left!” and “rider!” and of course said “Sorry!” a whole lot, and passed a lot of people. It was awesome. Hard, uphill, and awesome.
My biggest area of improvement here would be my sock selection. I went with short ones due to the impossibility of pulling on proper fun ones. Hardly acceptable behaviour.
Standard: I tick along at a pretty consistent pace till I get to the finish line.
Xterra: I alternated my pace between crawl, jog, sprint, jump, whimper (is that even a pace?), slog, shuffle, run and walk. It was ugly. And yet? I still passed people and it was still fun.
I crossed the finish line totally depleted and pretty sure it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. But the good thing about doing races like that is that it makes you hungry for more.
We spent the remainder of the vacation recovering, rehashing and reliving. Within hours we were talking about which events we want to do next.
Pretty standard, I’d say.
Just the facts: