I had forgotten that N--- had her final HOT race that morning, so there was some initial confusion and crossness over my not being there to provide support, but all of that was alleviated once I actually check the start time for the Human Race: 6:30 PM. Yes, PM. In the evening. You know, when it's <expletive> hot in Texas. Even that didn't serve as much of a deterrent, as N--- signed up for the Human Race, and I, in turn, decided to sign up for the HOT Championship. We would both do the two races, roughly 12 hours apart. After all, we had survived TIR this past March -- which, too, seemed like a good idea at the time.
Heart of Texas Championship | 7:00 AM
Yesterday morning started out like so many other Sundays this past summer: Rise at 4:30, load up N---'s bike & gear, head to Fort Sam, watch her race, track her splits, finish at Starbucks. The last day and race of August was almost no exception but for the closing of the most convenient entrance gate, due to construction. One detour later, we were on post, at transition, and set up, ready to race. A smaller field than normal was certainly deceptive, as the men's field in particular was rather loaded: There were some seriously fast people there. The women's field was a bit smaller, but some rather quick ladies were present, as well. Here's how the race went:
- Swim: 10:34. Had to start waaaaay in the back (#59 out of ~62 competitors), which didn't do much for me, mentally. I just reminded myself that it was a training day, regardless of how competitive I wanted to be.
- Bike: 41:10. Altered course due to the aforementioned construction on post. It seems like every conceivable place a person can run or ride is undergoing renovations of some sort. That said, it was a great, hilly course. The heaviness of the Sciroccos was a hindrance, seen in my less than quick bike split and slow, 21.5 average speed. Still, I felt good and cornered well. Regardless of the sexiness of the newer Felt frames (and to say nothing about other options, like Aargon's E-114 or Fuji's D6), I still am quite keen on my B2.
- Run: 22:40. On the return trip from packet pickup yesterday, N--- & I stopped by the outlets in San Marcos, including the Nike outlet. I went in for a couple of pairs of shorts (which I got, and, as a side note, thanks, Lance, for making longer, baggier shorts the style) and maybe a technical tee or two (got one, too). Stupid me went to check out the shoes. Naturally, there was quite the selection, including the Free Everyday, a shoe I had been keen in trying out (did; didn't like it). Next to the Free was the Victory+. I tried this one, too, and liked it so much I bought a pair, despite mental concern over the high support in the back, reminding me of Zoot's running shoes. That mental concern manifested itself in pain, much pain on the run yesterday morning, rubbing both of my Achilles raw -- the right one so much it bled...through the sock...onto the shoe. So much for returns.
Hotter'n HOT: The Nike Human Race | 6:30 PM
The announcer said some 15,000 people were to be crowding Congress last night, and N--- & I were right in the middle of it all. When the horns sounded, we were more than ready to run and get this stinkin' thing over and done with. True, we (well, more me) were intrigued by the concept, the execution was less than ideal: Starting at the hottest part of the day at one of the hottest times of the year was less than brilliant thinking but to make runners wear their silk-screened race numbers on a short sleeve (re: not sleeveless), low quality (re: heavy) technical t-shirt was just south of idiotic. Impressive of a site as it was to see mile after mile of red-clad runners, many passed out from heat exhaustion, while others stripped themselves of the tee. As I am without the runner's body to get away with running shirtless, I suffered through it all, fully clothed, including the Sport Kilt, and including heavily bandaged feet to protect my raw Achilles area. No blood this time, though, and I will say that the Victory+ is a rather comfortable shoe, despite its fugly colour scheme. Should I decide to run in these for CdA, I will definitely build a pair via Nike iD.
The Next Event
After the run, N--- & I collected our consolation prize (some sort of goofy bracelet; at least the packaging was cool) and headed back to our parking spot at the offices of The Statesman. It was just after sunset when we made it to the car, so we watched the bats take flight and then took flight ourselves, also in search of food. Much to our dismay, Red Robin in San Marcos was shut down, so it was off to IHOP for our second choice, but that place was too <expletive> cold to even make it past the entrance, let alone inside -- what are these restaurants thinking, keeping it so cold? Finally, we settled on McDonald's takeout (yeah, perfect recovery food), ate, showered, and crashed. Sleep seldom feels so good as after a long, hard day of racing.
So, here it is, Labor Day, and I am laboring at keyboard, cat in my lap. Literally, I am bruised, bloodied, and sore, but life is good. N--- & I might try to hit Sea World, if I can get my grading finished, so I'm off to tend to that. Hope the holiday is/was good to you, with the same thoughts for the final four months of 2008. It's been a great run, but I simply cannot wait to see what 2009 is going to be like.
Thanks for reading.