On Thursday and Friday New Smyrna Beach actually had warm air temperatures, swell in the water and light offshore winds. I was able to hit it Thursday evening after work with Norton, Blythe and Jeremy. I'm super excited that the water seems to be warming up. It's still cold and I still doubled up on wetsuits, but the end is in sight for this coldest winter of my memory!
Since we all had been watching the forecast all week and waiting for it to actually hold true, there was a lot of excitement upon arriving at the beach and actually finding good surf. The paddle out was a sprint and a good way to warm up. The waves were coming in long period sets of 5 to 6 and they were a comfortable chest to head high size range. I recently watched a surf video on Holly Beck's blog here, that got me super pumped up to surf and decided to bring my Go Pro Surf Hero camera along with the intend on getting some barrels, but the waves just weren't pitching out enough. I did get some good video and maybe I'll find the time to edit up a little video sometime in the future, but what really is worth mentioning is the final 15 minutes of the session.
The sets were rolling in pretty consistently and we were having a blast. After about a half hour I looked out on the horizon and saw a huge set coming. "Outside," someone yelled and we all started paddling out. Brian and I made it over the first wave, but Blythe was sitting a little inside and had to take the wave on the head. An even larger wave followed. Norton took the fourth wave and rode it through the impact zone and into the slew. I continued paddling out trying to decide which of the last few waves of the set to take. I could hear a few choice curse words behind me as Blythe continued to take bigger and bigger waves on the head. I dropped in on the 6th or 7th wave and cutback to the right. It was at least a foot or two over my head and I could see it setting up for a huge section (probably a closeout) about 30 feet in front of me. I generated a LOT of speed and totally launched myself and 9'0" Walden Magic off the lip. I got so much air that I kicked away from the board and back flopped behind the wave. It actually hurt!
The next event was the event of the session. Remember Norton took a way all the way to the slew? Well, at the point Blythe had given up trying to get back on her longboard and was treading water and swimming under each massive wave with the leash keeping the board within 10 feet or so behind her. Norton spots something floating in the water next to him and turns out it's the front half of Blythe's board, which is actually Norton's longboard, also a Walden Magic. He collects the broken board and yells Blythe's name. When she finally hears him she turns around to see him holding up the board half and saying "look at this!" Then she realizes her board is broken. That's about the time I hear her calling my name instead of the curse words. By now I'm taking wave after wave on the head too, but I'm in position to turtle roll a few waves and be in the clear. I look back and see Blythe saying, "look at this," and holding up the bottom half of her board! She turns and rides what's left of the board in body board style. I see Brian inside and decide she's OK and head back out. The freak thing is after that the waves calmed down and went back to how they were. Freak set came, broke board and left! Here's a picture from my Go Pro after the session...
This weekend was my first experience running two races in one day. It worked out perfectly because the morning race was a 10k trail race (6.2 miles) and the afternoon race was a 5k (3.1 miles) or 10k. I opted for the 5k making my entire mileage for the day 9.3 miles, which fit into my Seattle RnR Marathon training schedule perfectly! Both races were up in Gainesville and so much fun!I had everything for two races laid out the night before!
The morning race was the Trail of Payne 10k put on by Lloyd Clark Sports (a killer running store) that included admission into Payne's Prairie State Park (see photo from the My Tracks app on my phone). We were told it would be muddy so we came prepared with old running shoes and ready to get dirty. It was a little colder than expected (49-degrees) at the start and I couldn't make up my mind to keep the long sleeve shirt on or take it off. Finally, about a minute before the race start Jenny and I both took off our long sleeve shirts and hid them in the woods. Overall, the race was well organized, featured a sweet tech race t-shirt and had us running a grab bag of trail, road and pathways (even a short boardwalk bridge). We ran around lakes, through pine forest and oak forest, up and down small hills and out onto the Payne's Prairie where Bison (yes, Bison in Florida) actually roam wild. I started in the middle of the pack near Jenny and several of her friends. Soon Jenny was a few feet ahead of me and I could see her for at least the first half of the race. I took it slow to begin with and let a lot of people pass me. I haven't run a 10k since winter of 2008 so I'm still learning how to pace myself. The two sections of mud were not too bad. I was able to avoid complete shoe submersion by running the edge of the trail (I was told later runners had no choice but to plow through the middle as the trail got tromped more and more). Around Mile 4 I was feeling pretty confident so I increased my pace. It also took me a long time to warm up (I hate cold!). The last two miles of the race I was able to pass about a dozen runners and nobody passed me. That's always the best feeling! I crossed the finish line at 50:33 for an 8:09 average pace. This beat my only other 10k race and PR by more than 4 minutes (54:50 - Ed Root 10k 2008). Although I really REALLY want to finish a 10k under 50 minutes, I was stoked about this time! It felt really good and I'm sure if it was on a flat road course I would have killed and totally owned 50 minutes! Next time!
The afternoon race was the Run for Haven 5k/10k at the Tioga Town Center out to the northwest of Gainesville. It didn't start until 4:30 so Jenny and I consumed a large brunch, took an hour nap and waited for Harrison to show up. It was Harrison's first 5k race so we wanted to show him a great time. This was a big social event and many of Jenny's friends were out to race and support the event. I have to admit I was a little intimidated by running two races in one day. Thinking back, it was an irrational intimidation as I've done many things in one day that burns just as many calories, for example, surfing 5 or 6 hours in one day. Nevertheless, in good spirit, or should I say spirits, I decided to amp myself up it was a good idea to drink a good mixture of Gatorade, Red Bull and vodka about 15 minutes before the gun. This left me buzzed as a spring breaker and again I found myself in the middle of the pack when the race started. I looked around for Harrison, but we had managed to lose him so I ran with Jenny and one of her friends for probably the first mile (the one thumbs down I have for this race was no mile markers on the course) until the course split. The 10k continued on through some woods and that made me envious because the 5k looped back through residential neighborhood and nothing but pavement. I waved good by to Jenny and cranked the Rise Against in my iPod. This, combined with a drunken buzz, some 'get-there-idis' and boredom, caused me only to run faster. At some point I saw some dude in front of me a ways that looked like Harrison. As I got closer I realized it was Harrison! He had started closer to the start line and was ahead of me. No wonder I couldn't spot him behind me! We chatted a bit, but as we approached an aid station I opted to not drink (I merely splashed the water in my face) and blasted through and next thing I know he's behind me. I figured he doesn't want me distracting him so I continue on increasing my pace. It would have been nice to have mile markers because I remember worrying about running out of gas at my current pace, which I really have no idea of what I'm doing.... but I'm feeling good so I keep going and end up passing people again just like the morning race. This is a new experience for me (usually, I'm the one getting passed) and I have to say I like it! Soon I see the finish line and in all my buzzed/drunken self I sprint it out until reaching the chute. My time is 23:47 for an average 7:40 pace. Can you say HOLY CRAP! Yeah, that's what I said when I logged it into the computer. It's not a PR, but it's a lot faster than I thought I was going. A volunteer hands me a t-shirt and I walk back to the end of the course to see Harrison finish not far behind. I wave the t-shirt in the air and tell him to kick it out! Again everyone finishes unscathed and a few of the friends win their age group or place overall. The after party makes the lackluster course totally worth it as there's plenty of beer and food to go around.
Two races in one day?
I'll leave you all with this picture I took of the road way going through the state park. Who wouldn't want to run down this road?!?