Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gettin' Dirty at the Muddy Buddy in San Jose

This would certainly be a test of my endurance. I had ran a marathon the day previous and wasn't too sure how my legs would hold up. The 13.1 miles downhill left my left quad in a knot at mile 24 and the only thing that I could think of when that happened was, "How will this affect me tomorrow? Will I even be able to run it?" I couldn't help but feel as though I would let my brother down if I wasn't able to run. As it turned out, it was only a scare as the race went off with nary a hitch.

Muddy Buddy - 1:12:25 (12:04 pace; 589/965)

I woke up and was exhausted. I had stayed up late the night before celebrating my friend's 30th birthday at the Oakland Athletics game. First thing I noticed was that I wasn't sore! What the?!?! I ran a marathon in the hills. I ran my second fastest marathon ever. Um, and I'm not sore? I would have never guessed this.

I drove over to my brother's house and picked him up without eating anything. I figured it would only be an hour race so no need to eat anything, right? Well this was only partly true. When we took the exit 20 minutes later with another 15-20 to go through the winding hills I suddenly blurted out, "You bring your helmet?" Rules of the race state that both team members must have helmets or you are disqualified. Uh-oh. We had to turn around. We suddenly went from showing up with plenty of time to pick up packets and prepare early, to rushing to get back not even sure if we would be able to start on time.

Last year we showed up with an hour to go before the race and waited around, eventually finding ourselves in the middle of our wave. This slowed us a lot because we were stuck behind a ton of people in a very congested beginning up a steep hill. We had hoped to avoid this this year, but how could we now? We showed up 20 minutes before the race and were in the back of the front parking lot. We had to check in, walk back to the car, put on our three bib numbers, then turn around and get back to the race.

Would you believe it if I told you that after all that we ended up starting at the front of our wave and were in a better position than last year? Yep, that's what happened. Everything went wrong in the beginning, and yet we were in a better position to start the race.

We decided to switch legs this year. Last year we had my brother start the first leg of the race on the bike and take on the very steep but short hill in the beginning because we figured there was more running for me that way. There were four obstacle courses and at each one we were to switch, having the runner now bike and the biker now run.

Since I am the stronger biker we figured I would be able to bike the steep hill that starts in less than a tenth of a mile from the start. On a normal day I wouldn't have hesitated, but I had ran a gruelling marathon the day before with long ups and downs that burned my quads.

So the race started and I took it slow but steady. I wasn't gonna try and break speed records, which I would have tried to do on fresh legs, but not this day. I noticed immediately that my legs were slower and couldn't bike as well. None the less, I almost made it the whole .6 miles to the top, having only stopped once for a brief walk at the top. It was hot and I was already dripping sweat down my face and in my eyes, and we weren't even a minute into the race. Wow, this would be tough.

Eventually the run started after I free climbed up a wall and then climbed down a cargo net on the other side. My legs were heavy but still felt good. I trudged on and just as I was coming in to the second obstacle course my brother passed me, which was good timing for me to start the next leg of biking after I did an over, under, over climb of bars. The problem, though, was that now I was going to pass Mike up right at the aid station, which meant I would be standing and waiting at a future aid station. Believe me, that I wouldn't mind.

At this point I took it easy because I knew I was ahead of my brother. I knew that it really didn't matter what speed I was going because I knew that I would wait at the next aid station anyway, so I took it easy. The third obstacle course was a big climb up a cargo net and then a slide down the other side. At this point I didn't have to wait though, because I finished the bike leg and was leaving the bike for Mike, so I took off running.

Well not really. Maybe a meander, or a shuffle, or a jog. My legs were slow and heavy, and I was feeling the lack of sleep and the tired muscles from the marathon. This was also where I wished I would have eaten that banana for breakfast, or a piece of toast. Anything, really, becauwse I was running out of energy after depleting so much of it the day before. The fourth obstacle was a blessing. It was a catwalk across a bar. The blessing? I could now stand and rest. My legs were tired. Endurance wise, I was fine. My breathing was great, I felt good, but my legs were tired. So I took advantage of the five minute wait.

I took the bike and took my time, knowing that this was the last leg and I was on bike and even if my brother was sprinting the last mile I knew I would beat him there. So took it easy I did, young padawan.

The crowning moment of the race is a dive into and military crawl through a long mud pit to the finish line. Disgusting, yes, especially that first moment that you lift the net up and see thick mud dripping down, then your hand sinks in. You race across just to get it over with. All in all, it was a very fun race. I love doing this race with my brother. We ended up doing it slower by about 3 1/2 minutes.

After an unsure beginning, a tough uphill start (not only for myself but my brother had to run up that hill, then there was another hill after that that he biked and I ran), being baked in hot temperatures on open fire roads, to being drenched in thick, oozing mud, to finally showering off with garden hoses with cold water and a hundred other people in the open air, this was another race to remember.


Bill Carter said...

Hi Brian

Sounds like a lot of fun. I was picturing you going through the mud pit and actually starting laughing. We don't have any really cool races like that in Michigan so i will live vicariously through you.
Congrats on your great negative split marathon. You are getting awful good despite your killer schedule.

Baldwyn said...

Hey Brian,

I'm tagging you for a 5 question running survey that's going around!