I have to admit that morale for this race was not what it should be. After doing research on Achilles pain and reading horror stories of snapped Achilles tendons and surgery I was thinking about sitting out this tough 5 mile course with 1,000 feet of total elevation gain. The problem was I had already paid for the race. It didn't help my morale either that I left the office late and had to hurry home to change and hopefully get to the race before the gun went off. Now my morale was low and I was frustrated. A big thanks to my supportive wife for helping me get my running gear together and making my recovery drink. We did get to the race on time and I started without much of a warm up. The course was being run clockwise this time which I think is the easier way. Running this direction you don't face steep climbs until 2.5 miles in, however you do run the first two miles gradually uphill. My goal was to race within myself concentrate on my running form and see how my Achilles responded. As I get more comfortable with running I'm trying to work on a posture that doesn't waste energy. Miraculously my Achilles did not bother me during the race and I finished in 42:59, 17 seconds slower than last months result but maybe the course is slower this direction!?
So what does this have to do with Ironman? Entering a race is a great form of training and a great motivational tool. This race replaces my weekly track workout at the local high school where my competition is my watch. It's much more fun to be drafting behind two runners the final mile of a race thru a beatutiful wilderness park while each of you pushes the pace just a little harder hoping to beat the others, versus avoiding walkers taking the inside lane at the local track while you carefully calculate did you meet your goals for that mile without knocking any walkers in to the infield. Training for an Ironman can be menotenous and boring. Do a race, any race once in awhile to have fun, push yourself and gauge your fitness. What started out as a low morale training day ended up being a fun race as a pushed myself against two other runners to see who would finish in 105th place! BTW - My amazing wife ran a 37:51 finishing 5th in her division!