With the year being as it has been, unpredictable schedule wise to actually plan to race specific races, I actually had an advance notice that I was free Saturday morning of the 4th to possibly get a race in. I entered the Charlotte 4 miler which is right here in our hood since it would offer me a chance to blow out the pipes, rev the engine at 170+bpm boom, and gauge run level fitness with the predominant triathlon training I have been doing.  I also scheduled to get my annual physical done on the 1st from Dr. Keith Anderson at Novant Health. Gotta get everything squared away outside AND inside physically. Each year you have a new body, a new system, and new software to update. Virus scanning.
No need for any taper, but with the Doc appointment I couldn’t amp anything up and thus made for a conservative few days before the race. Everything was all good and legit. Solid even. All blood work panels diesel. The only thing I wasn’t expecting was the Tetanus booster that I was due for this year. HOLY SHOT. The residual numbness and soreness – not pain – was big time. My range of motion was limited for a few days in my left shoulder too. Overall though, Doc said all was good with the MC-hine.
Gina and I got to spend most of Friday together doing some training, then capping any errands we had prior to the weekend. And thanks to a new brand ambassadorship with Rita’s Ice, we hydrated well with a big Blood Orange Gelati in the afternoon. Plan to spread the word with a longtime piece in the MC nutritional arsenal with Rita’s yo! We nailed all of our chores and settled in with a nice glass of Devaste wine with dinner.

I went to bed the night before the race trying to reinstall charges the system needed to FOCUS. Though we had to get up early on a holiday, the fact that the race was a mile away made things easier to prep for in the morning. I wore my Carb-BOOM gear which felt nice and silky cool. We walked over, said hello to a good number of people we knew BUT haven’t seen in a while, and soaked up the race scene. It was a humid day again in the 70′s already and 90% humidity. I’ll take it. For a triathlon best. But this was a run. The body felt good and the mind was priming itself for some speed. And hurt. Times like these I miss the swim-bike “warmup”.

I get to the start line and see Adrian who is a great runner and my neighbor. Been helping him with his training nutrition a bit at the VShoppe, but he’s one of those runners you can always have fun with and lighten the seriousness of a race mind. Once the national anthem was sung, I lowered the shades. Set the Polar to tap the inside. And take the 3 deep breaths.

The horn blew and the feeling of going 0-11mph in 6 seconds immediately registered my nervous system to fast twitch. My quads were the last to get the message, but a few minutes in and the shift to automatic firing made way for the mind to take control of operations. Yeah, I was missing this kind of stuff and enjoyed the feeling again. The route was a mix of long stretches alternating with hilly sections and some sharp declines. The first mile: 5:51. Check arms, breathing rough with the air, but I knew I should sustain this pace. I am good. Then I hit mile two in 5:48. WTF? Ok, I’ll go with it, but knew I couldn’t hold anything faster for another 2 miles without some sort of reboot, this ain’t no 5K. The lead woman was in front of me, so I tried simply to maintain contact there and not get passed. There wasn’t much happening up front, just a few other dudes within 15 seconds of me to wrap a rope on but only to be pulled not try and string in. The hilly mile 3 section timed a 6:10. Hang on. I’m all good. The long final stretch gave a view of the finish line turn so all I did was pump my arms in order to not force a spaz up. As I crossed the line my goal of 24:00 was attained right on! I finished 14th overall and 2nd Masters! Lots of 4′s on the 4th. BOOM!

I fist pumped a few guys ahead of me and a few that finished behind me, like 60 year old speed man Jerry Clark. I walked over to Gina and gave her a big hug and 4 kisses. “Welcome back!” She said and she was right – was fun to get back in the game and bust one out. And before it really started to hurt, I walked around a lot just gathering some goodies and congratulating Adrian and others I met before the race. The band played some good music and it was becoming the true holiday celebration day. The awards stood out because all age groupers received a homemade pie from the Charlotte Pie Company and a cutting pie knife with the race logo engraved. Win your prize and eat it too!!! That was a nice touch. By 9:30 we walked home and as I jumped in the pool for 30 minutes of laps to cool down, Gina made some serious French Toast with the Greater Harvest Bread we bought. Some java to hydrate and we started to salute the holiday. It was not even 11 am. With our big flag waving off the back patio, a little thanks for a freedom salute.

Now in the heat humid month of July, I plan to focus more on 2 nice races lined up. The Statesville YMCA Sprint on July 25th which Gina and I did together for her first tri. Statesville is a great area and we plan to do some things up there after the race. Now, I’ll try and race it in prep for the Riverhead Olympic Triathlon on August 9th back home on LI as part of my work for Polar. So it’s sweat and sweat some more but you just deal with it and soak as much back in as you can – down some Rita’s Gelati/Misto’s, a good dose of Royal Oats Granola in your yogurt, Carb-BOOM gels, and yeah those non-oven real food meals (does PB-fluff sandwiches count?)

Sweat yourself yo.

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