Sea Legs is an interesting race for me. Four times it's been either the first or second race since Ironman Lake Placid, including this year. And once upon a time, I won the race. Also, the race was one of the Force 5 Sports races before Dave died. So the race brings up a lot of different memories...
My calves having gotten shredded in LP, my strategy running this 10 miler just two weeks later was to be careful. That didn't stop me from starting on the starting line, nor from running a 5:50 opening mile despite that one short hill on the bridge. It's an interesting race, in that it is basically three courses- flat opening three miles, 4 miles of serious rollers, and three more flat miles (with that one hill about half a mile from the finish). You absolutely cannot lay down in the first mile because you'll be out of the race promptly.
I was surprised that I was running well.
The one real run I'd done, seven days after the ironman, had been 90 minutes of very painful running. You know how they talk about microtears in your muscles. On that run, I could feel them, and my legs hurt in a way that made me think I should stop, but I was running 7:50 miles so I'd stayed with it.
I was not surprised that Chris Chisholm, Jim Zoldy, and Chris Schulten passed me. I settled in and tried to limit the damage as I started slipping back in the numbers, and held pretty well through three miles.
Just before three miles, Frank Tiroletto and Shannon McHale went by me.
After watching the Tour, maybe my brain is a little warped. But I knew that Frank running with Shannon was bad, as Frank is in my age group and a guy I need to beat. So on the next hill I attacked, hoping to peel Frank off Shannon. Instead, I peeled Shannon off Frank and he went. I could have stayed with him in the short-term, but I wanted to run my own race, so I let him carry the pace and he separated. I explained to Shannon that I had nothing in my legs and if she wanted to run with someone, it should be FRank, not me. She wasted no time.
The next four plus miles were interesting, but not much to blog about. We went up hills. We went down hills. They added about 100-200 metres. After six miles, I got passed by Bill Thramann, who did his best to encourage me by telling me I was on 6:10 mile pace.
After seven miles, as the course basically flattened out again and I started picking up the effort. By eight miles, I was reeling people in again and I was told later by one of the people behind me that I really took off at eight miles.
I'm not exactly sure what I did where but I ran the last three miles in 17:42. And after giving up all that space because I was trying to be conservative and not hurt those calves, I closed to within about 2 seconds with 150 yards left.
Only to have someone yell 'Go, alan,'. That was what Frank needed. I was runny so hard I was practically wheezing and he didn't know I was there- until he got the heads up. Once he crossed the line I coasted in, so close...
Frank ran a great race, and I ran too conservatively. But I'll take a top-25 finish in a state championship, and a good 6:08 pace for 10 miles.
Oh well. Two weeks easy now, then time to get ready for the next big thing.