Like I shared last week, I was heading home to New Hampshire to participate in the Wildman Biathlon with my Uncle Denis. I was happy to get Friday off from work and was able to head home Thursday night. It was a last minute shift change, so I set out my outfits quickly, packed up, and hit the road after getting dinner with a friend!
On Friday evening my mom and I went to pick up the race packets, and she found out where she would be volunteering the next day. While we did that my uncle drove the bike course to “feel the hills” for the next morning. We had a not-so-typical pre-race meal of pizza, because whenever he comes home he has to have it. It hit the spot, but I was a bit nervous about not having pasta the night before a race.
I was up at 5:45 the next morning for a breakfast of a banana, a slice of cold pizza (a must), and a Red Bull (I was hardly awake). We were told to be at the race for 7:30, and got there around 7:20. It was a small race this year, with only 50 individual athletes and 13 teams (14, but 1 DNF’d) so the start area was pretty calm. I definitely waited a little too long to go to the port-a-pot and was really rushed at the start!
Let me start with going into the 10K, I knew I would come in close to last, if not last, especially when I saw how small the field was. The Wildman is a competitive race and I know that I’m not a “fast” runner. I knew that all I could do was my best, and hopefully there would be someone slower than me in the field…When I took off on the out-and-back course, I waved goodbye to my family, knowing that I would have to fight alone for 6.2 miles.
The course was relatively flat with a few short, steep hills. There were no spectators after the start aside from the 4 water stations. Very quickly I found myself alone with two older men, one ahead of me and one behind me. I don’t know when, but at some point the one behind me must have dropped out. I ran straight through the first 4 miles, then really focused on trying to catch the person ahead of me. Around mile 4 I started doing 4:1 intervals, hoping I would be able to gain some speed with some little walking breaks. I did speed up a little in the last mile, but not enough.
I fought to pass the man ahead of me, but he ended up winning the battle. He was 80 years old and I give him major props for doing the race as a solo entrant. I wish I can be in that kind of shape when I’m 80! So yes, I came in last for the 10k portion, however, this was my second fastest 10K time, and the fastest in a year. It was only about 20 seconds off my fastest time. There’s not many races where you can run a 10:08 avg. pace and still come in last. It stunk, but it didn’t hurt my spirits. It couldn’t – I had another leg to run!
Right as I crossed the timing mat, my uncle took off on his 22.3 mile bike. My grandma and I hopped in the car and passed him on his first loop of the course. I had just enough time to go home and change and have some solid food (goldfish!). Just as my grandma and I were heading out to the mountain, my uncle passed by at the end of my street (about mile 15) as he was reaching his 45 minute mark. He was killing it! Once we got to the mountain we just had to wait for him. He finished in 1:26 and then I was off on my journey up the mountain!
Since this is getting long, I’ll be back tomorrow with my trek up the mountain and our final results!
Have you ever come in last in a race? Someone has to be the one…and it was me.