I had a great week prior to racing. I did a lot of good quality work. Week before the race on Saturday, I was able to go to the park and do two nice laps on the race course, after that we changed to the running shoes and ran one hilly at times Amelia bike path for 6.5 miles.
I had a great mountain biking ride and on the second lap I decided to ride really fast, it was exhausting but so rewarding. It felt even better knowing that my two riding partners (guys) had a really tough time keeping up. At some point one of them said “You are killing me!” with a smile in his voice, but at the same time he would not give up and stayed on my wheel. That made me ride even faster, which meant more torture for him… :)
When we went to the new section in the park filled with 4 long boards which are elevated and surrounded by mud, I told myself I can overcome the fear of falling and battle the skinny wood. And seven out of eight tries it worked and I started to feel pretty confident on this section. Sad part was that later on I did find out that this part was not going to be in the main race, but only one of the boards will be on the Individual time trail prior to the main event. I went home totally drained this day and disappeared for 3.5 days at work.
Finally Wednesday come about and instead of heading home which I missed so much already we aimed for international hall of fame swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale with a car full of gear. The pool is gorgeous with a beautiful setting right across the street from the beach. There was a small 25 meter pool and an Olympic one 50 meter long that I was interested in. We got in and it didn’t look all that big bad and mighty until I did submerge in it. Oh wow, I started swimming and my line kept on going forever and dividing lines on the sides just kept disappearing in front of me somewhere very far away. OK now I have respect for this place. I did few warm up laps and our friend and teammate Jennifer Moos (The famous Mooser) showed up. With our competitive nature almost instantly we went to the 1k timed swim head to head to find out a raw estimate for the future Xterra Miami.
It was a very long swim on those very long laps, I think I went to hard and started suffering in the mid of the swim. My chest got tight and I got little concerned and slowed down a little and tried to relax. The Mooser kept on going and she was some 35-40 meters ahead of me. When we finished we both admitted that the swim was not easy on either of us. There is much more work that needs to be done in the swimming department. We did some additional laps that added up for me to 2k for that day. Not bad and I’m looking forward coming back to challenge myself again. I love to swim, always did since I was a kid and feel like a little fish in the water, I just need to become a little faster fish that I am now… :)
After the swim was done we wasted no time and changed to the running clothes. When I was dressed just like I’m going to the beach, Jen had her adventure racing outfit on, carried a back pack and a pair of hiking sticks. I even shoveled my water bottle and camera to her bag and we went for the run. She is a very tough girl. The lines we picked were the most gruesome and ran through the most soft sugary sand that was out there. I didn’t expect much mileage to happen in such an environment, but we kept on going. We went a mile and a half one way, took a tiny break and took few pictures and than started running again. It started getting late and the sun was slowly going away, wind and sound from the ocean made the whole experience more pleasant. Small steps and moving forward, small steps and moving forward, we logged in mile after mile. Tons of people were sitting around the beach and walking famous A1A while we were the only ones that were not there just for the fun of it. We got few weird looks and few whistles here and there and finally we were done. We ran 5 miles in this moving cruel sand and I could feel every single muscle in my legs. It was a good day filled with some good exercise. We ended a day with some Spanish meal with our biking team and some very long quality talk.