Celtic Solstice is another one of my favorite events, and definitely my favorite end-of-season wintertime race. Normally I can't stand racing in the cold, but this race is worth it. First, it's grown by leaps and bounds in its nearly 10 years of life. There were 2800 registered competitors for yesterday's edition, and even though only 1800 were officially timed (some people forget to pick up the chip, etc), that's still a ton for a late December 5 miler.
More importantly, Jim Adams does a great job with the race premium. No "free" t-shirt, just an optional premium for $35. In years past we've received Brooks technical shirts, then a pretty cool half-zip long sleeve thing, then last year it was a really sweet jacket. This year I think is the best so far, being an awesome and totally comfortable fleece. There are a ton of people who only sign up for the race to get this premium.
The first two years I ran the race, in 2005 and 2006, I magically ended up with the same time and place. Last year I raced it, feeling pretty good for some reason heading into December. This year I wasn't sure what to expect. I feel like a 30min 5 miler has got to be pretty standard for me now, assuming I'm running, but to go much faster than 29 at this point was going to take a lot of effort, seeing as I've run about 100 miles in the last two months, with most of that coming in the last couple of weeks.
I toed the line next to the squad of Justin, Dr. J, Scotty and MGP, and as the gun went off, the race went tearing up the first hill. It's about a quarter of a mile up before taking a right hand turn, and I felt like I was sprinting. My HR skyrocketed before finally settling in. I was keeping most of my friends in sight, but just couldn't bridge up. I hit the first mile in a surprisingly slow 6:03. Either it was long, I thought, or man am I out of shape!
The 2nd mile last year I remembered as being short, so I think things may have been adjusted this year, as I came through in 5:55. At least I was heading in a better direction. The cold was taking its toll and I was really not feeling comfortable. Another thing I love about this race is the number of people that shout me out during it, since it's got an out and back at one point. It's always fun to spot your friends and it helps pump you up. I hit mile 3 in 5:54, so at least I was consistent. I headed down around the lake and was caught in the middle, just running by myself. Someone behind me was making a terrible sound, like they were dying. I then caught up to Weems McFadden of HoCo (interestingly enough he possessed the number ahead of me) and we came through mile 4 in 5:58.
I was still quite uncomfortable but knew the race was almost done, if I could just get around the Moorish Tower and back onto the road I'd have a nice downhill. I get to that point and deja vu prevailed - Eric, Will and Pete are standing there alerting me that if I don't run faster I'm going to get "girled" (act of getting beat by a girl). The same thing happened last year. So I made sure I sprinted in, and put it out there with a 5:35 last mile, crossing the line at 29:28.
At first glance, this is 22 seconds slower than I ran last year, but I had also been running for a while last year and had somewhat of a base underneath me. I had already done the NCR Trail Half and then run 16 miles in the Metric Marathon (not to mention the little xc meet) - so I was definitely more race ready than I was yesterday.
Dave kept his stranglehold on the race, winning for the third straight year in a most excellent time of 25:08, while Kyle was 2nd in 25:18. Collin Anderson had a great race, crossing in 27:55, and then it was Justin, Mike and Tom Stott (28:10, 28:15, 28:46).
And now for the weekly wrap up.
This week was even less by volume than last, but I'm okay with it. Just under 8 hours I think, but I haven't taken any days off.
Swim: 9,000 meters
Bike: 0 miles
Run: 41 miles
I was really tired this week, and the current work situation is getting more and more stressful with the state of the automotive union, so it was a pretty rough couple of days.
However, I had a great swim on Friday night, rolling 2000m straight in 34:05. By 500 I went 8:45, 8:38, 8:30, 8:10. I felt pretty good, and was pleased with the effort.
I had a "good" week running, going over 40 miles for the first time in two months. Monday was real warm and we got after it on the run. Wednesday was a little more chill, and then I ran with Kip on Thursday in Mt. Washington for some slow hills. Saturday I raced, and then today I did our Wednesday Night Run in one of the slowest times I've ever done it, which was good.
This week is a bigger week, thanks to a few days off from work. I need to see if I can get my bike fixed up on Tuesday before I head home, and then knock out 5 days of rides. I won't get to swim much, so running and riding will be the staple workouts for the week.