If the energy of December, both mentally and physically could have been a predictor for the way my first race of 2012 would go , then with an appropriate amount of modesty I would say, I won the race before it even started.
I have spent the last months of 2011 making needed corrections and directions to my training and perspective from the mediocre and somewhat disappointing 2011 season. Feeling revived, passionate one again, and yes-even fit, I choose to enter my first Xterra event in early January as the culmination to my month long training stint in Arizona.
I entered the 20K running race, as a test of fitness and a motivating factor for my early season, and frankly…just as something fun and different to do. But as with all things, I set my mind to I always give a 100% effort.
Being my first Xterra event , the 20K course, climbing over 1500 feet in the first six miles, proved to be aggressive, challenging, and a barometer of strength. The plan was simple, go out hard, and see what happens.
A bit different from the elite, pro-roadie, triathlon scene –all categories and divisions started together, informally and within the first mile, found myself at the top of the race, in about the top ten male slots. There was a bit of shape-shifting in the next several miles, as I settled in to a more reasonable pace, climbing the grueling elevation gain, letting a few men pass me, keeping all women in check.
The descent of the course was every bit as excruciating at the climb, as I backed off even more in order to not wipeout and preserve the skin on my knees.
The last several miles, were difficult, as I tried to regain some of the time I had forfeited on the way down, but felt confident to maintain my lead of the race.
I crossed the finish line knowing that I had put in a hard effort and knowing that this was simply the beginning of what is to be an amazing 2012 season. The overall win did come unexpected, but as a teammate once told me “a win is always a win”.
I gladly look forward to a smashing 2012 season. As far as more Xterra racing…we’ll see what the card deal out.