I had seriously underestimated the difficulty of the XTerra Trail Running World Championship Race. Never had I encountered such steep terrain in a race of any distance, let alone a half marathon. Before any race, one of two things usually happens, sometimes both in the same race. 1) I have the feeling of total unpreparedness, and my biggest fear is coming in last place, or 2) I feel like maybe I have a chance of placing (and hopefully winning money) in the race, or at least placing in my age group. After looking at the times from last year, I seriously thought I might have a chance at placing. Only 15 women had finished in under 2 hours, and the first woman crossed the finish line in over an hour and a half. It was either a really non-competitive field or it was a really tough course. I should have known from the title of the race and the size of the prize purse that it would draw a competitive field, but I was in no way prepared for just how tough it would be.
If I do this race again (and I hope I do, some day), I will train by doing hill repeats up mountains at least once a week. Some parts of the race were so steep, just walking up was a challenge – my legs burning and breathing labored, I had to turn and walk sideways up some of those hills. The scenery was incredible, but I could hardly enjoy it, since I had to keep my eyes on the ground to avoid stumbling on a root or loose rock. I can’t wait to see the photos.
Dallas made the rest of us look bad by being the only one to finish in under 2 hours and crossing the finish line almost 20 minutes before anyone else on our team. Gerrit managed to pass me on one of the hills and beat me by almost 2 minutes. All six of us finished in under 3 hours, which may not be that impressive for any normal half marathon, but I am very proud of our team after conquering that course. The official results of the race can be found here: http://www.jtltiming.com/results/x-oahu-21k.html
Needless to say, our Skora’s got us through this tough race. I wish I could say we remain injury-free, but 3 of us ended up hurting after the race. However, all injuries were sustained prior to race day and while not wearing Skoras. Gerrit had stepped on a nail at work a few weeks earlier, and his foot was sore from where the nail had pierced his heel. Travis had injured his knee the day before while riding the strong surf on Oahu’s north shore. Upon returning to Portland and visiting his doctor, he found out that he had torn his meniscus and ACL (but will not need surgery). I injured my hip flexor the night before, just walking to dinner (wearing Vibrams). Miraculously, the pain disappeared the instant the cannon went off to initiate the start of the race, but it’s back stronger than ever, and I can barely walk now.
As much as Dallas and I wanted to stay in Hawaii, it was not possible for us to find a way for it to work for us out there in the short time we had. We both hope to be back some day (maybe for another Xterra race?). Now we are back in Portland, saving up for the next big adventure!
I’ve been feeling inspired to write lately, but haven’t had much time since I finally started working. Now, I would first like to say that I hope all of our followers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. I made a broccoli/carrot salad with bacon, cashews, red onion and dried cranberries, Dallas made cranberry sauce, and I made baklava and pumpkin bread to add to the delicious food that the rest of our roommate and guests shared with us.
I was never a fan of Thanksgiving meals because I never liked turkey and wasn’t too fond of vegetables as a kid – I also think that it can’t be a good thing, environmentally, that every American household has to have a turkey one that one day of the year. I’m sure lots of turkey ends up going to waste…and the poor (or lucky?) birds are forgotten about for the rest of the year. However, I do enjoy the time this holiday gives us to spend with family and friends. While this year I am unfortunately missing my family, I feel incredibly lucky to have good friends and an amazing boyfriend. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find love when I set out on my bicycle last year, but I couldn’t be happier with Dallas and am so thankful that I get to share my life with him!
Anyway, the biggest news in our lives since I last updated this site is that we now have a sponsor! It’s not specifically for our bike tour (although, maybe it could be one day), but it does fit our lifestyle perfectly in that they are a running shoe company. Skora is a new company based in Portland who came out with their first line of running shoes last year. Dallas, Gerrit and I came across their booth at the Portland Marathon expo in October, and all of us ended up buying shoes from them. After further communication with them, Skora agreed to sponsor six of us for the XTerra Trail Run World Championship that we plan to run in December this year. So last Tuesday, Dallas, Gerrit, Alyssa, Travis, Michaelangelo and I all met up with the guys at Skora, where they fitted each of us to a new pair of shoes and t-shirts. We’re all very excited to represent Skora at the race, which will be in Hawaii on December 2nd – we also look forward to extending our relationship with them into the future! They are great shoes – very light and minimalist, and we think they’d be perfect for taking with us on our bike tour.