Back in late 2009 in decided 2010 was going to be a year of variety as far as competing in multi-sport. My first challenge was to "Tackle the Tower". I trained for about 2 months a couple times a week climbing as many stairs I could find including the 19 flights at Rhodes Tower at CSU. I even had two opportunities to practice run the "Tower" race. After the two practice runs I had an idea how to pace myself and what kind of time I could shoot for. My goal was to run sub 5 minutes to the top. The 38 flights of stairs at the Tower at Erieview was in early February. On race day I was amazed how many people showed up and how well the race went off considering we had a staggered start where each person was let off every 10 seconds. I made it to the top in 4:34 for 7th placed overall. It was a lung buster. I remember having the taste of blood in the back of my throat. Even though it's a fast lung busting race I think I'll do that race again in the future.
Next was my attempt of an Ultra-marathon 50K race set at the end of March. The race was on the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the Peninsula area. I didn't train specifically for this race by knocking off countless miles but rather I depended on my aerobic fitness and my previous experience as a pacer for a friend who runs the 100 mile Burning River Run. I've run with him for the past couple years during the night completing 35 to 40 miles. I also figured I've completed two Half Ironman Triathlons this past 2 years in a time of 5:07 and 6:30 and that I should be able to keep moving for that long during the ultra marathon. My goal was to complete it in five to five and a half hours. On the morning of the race the weather was cool with some cloud cover. The rains were expected to come late morning. I completed the first loop in around 2:40 but then the rains came. At times it poured and the trails were thick with mud. The conditions slowed me way down. I finished in 6 hours and 4 minutes. I enjoyed this kind of long running and would do it again but next time spend more time on the trails.
I wasn't about to give up the trails just yet so I entered the Xterra Trail Running Race Series. I signed up for 4 out of the 5 races. The races were in April, May, June, and August at various places in Ohio. At the end of the series the 4 best results of an individual determined who the Regional Champion was in each age group. I also signed up for the 331 NEO Power Mountain Bike Race Series. This also was 4 best out of 5 races to determine champions. The races were one in July, two in September, and one in October. In between trail running races and mountain bike racing I entered a Kayak Triathlon and 2 Sprint Triathlons. After triathlon season I signed up for the Ohio Outside Trail Running Series. Finally, I ran the Reindeer 5K in Lakewood to get an idea what kind of road race shape I'd be in after all the trail racing I did this year.
The results from the series and triathlons were spectacular. But I did pay a price. I twisted my left ankle very badly during my second Xterra race. It happened about a mile into a 4 mile race. I must have hit a hidden root just right and I heard a popping sound and knew I did some damage. I continued run-limping along to win my age group. I completed the Xterra series and won first place in the 50-54 age group regional. I qualified for Nationals in Bend, Oregon but did not go for it.
The mountain bike racing was so much fun. No serious mishaps while racing but during training I did have a couple spills that caused my right ankle and left shoulder some pain. I finished 3rd place in my age group for the overall series. Not bad for my first year mountain bike racing. Next year I will have a mountain bike that fits me and with front shocks that work. I should be faster, I hope.
The Kayak Triathlon was my first kayak racing. The park provided the kayak's for those of us who didn't own one. During the race it was pouring rain. I got out of the kayak 5th and managed to inch my way up in the bike and run to win the overall race. What a surprise. I won a pair of kayak paddles, now I need a boat to go with it.
The Ohio Outside Trail Series races were at Munroe Falls Park. The first one was October followed by November and December. I managed to win my age group for all 3 races. Even the first race I started dead last after everyone was off and running 5 minutes into the race. I was out on a potty pit-stop and didn't have a watch on me. I had fun coming up from the rear blasting by people. Some knew I started late and wished me good luck.
The last time I ran a 5K road race was the summer of 2008. My expectation was to win my age group and not worry about the time. I took first in my age with a time of 18:23. Not bad for no speed training or track intervals.
Life is good and I'm thankful for a great 2010.
And I have to say, oh what fun it was to run, ride, and tri in a variety way.