This stage has never been my favourite. It's another time trial, where the slowest runners get to start first, and each runner starts 1 minute apart. This time around it's a 10km road run, with a net downhill, and fairly flat. Sounds easy, right? Especially after all we've run throughout the week. On paper, yes, it's the easiest run of the week. Certainly the shortest, and the least hilly. But coming off running the Alpine run, having to push a bit harder on this stage is difficult.
That oh so familiar throbbing in my legs was back. As I tried to get out of bed, my legs protested oh so much, and I groaned oh so loudly. No big deal; everyone was groaning this morning. I actually hit snooze 3 times and ended up getting up later than any of the other stages. Stumbling around, trying to get my stuff together, was quite comical. Eventually I made it out, and drove over to the race director's house, which doubled as the finish line.
The race is a point to point race, from Elmira to the finish which is right in front of Lloyd's house. So we runners were shuttled by the volunteers to the start line. It was actually kinda fun to be crammed into a car with 4 other runners, all nervous and chatty about the race.
I think my turn was around 14th or so, I can't remember. I remember it being pretty soon after we started. With an "on your mark, get set, GO!" I was off and running. My plan was to just take it easy; run my regular pace, and see how it went. Hopefully I'd make it to the first water station before having to walk. Alas, it was not to be. At the 2km mark there was a small hill, and as I started up it, my right knee started to hurt. The pain was right underneath the front of my kneecap. Great, a new ache and pain. I walked for a minute or two, then ran again until the first water station at 3km. Some of the faster runners that started behind me were now catching up. Susan in particular, caught me real early on. She is running great this week, despite coming back from injury and only having 4 weeks of solid training. I told her I needed to walk a bit because of my knee, and that I would try and catch her.
The next 4km were mostly running, with a couple of walk stops, mainly to kind of assess what was going on with my knee. My legs, stiff and creaky as they were at the beginning of the run, started to loosen up and they felt alright. I still didn't have much strength in them, but at least they weren't killing me like before. At 7km was the 2nd and last water station. I grabbed some Gatorade and water, drank them down, then walked for about 2 minutes, to the corner. Once I turned, I started up again. The plan was to run it through to the finish.
My knee bothered me enough that at 8.5km, I decided on a quick walk break. Still not painful, but uncomfortable for sure, and I didn't want to hurt something before the marathon on Sunday. I started running again, a bit faster than before, and finished in 00:59:40, a hair under 1 hour. Since my goal was 1 hour or better, it was right on.
Another advantage of the time trials is that the slow people finish first, so we get first dibs on the food and massage tables! I grabbed a cup of coffee and some food, and headed over there to get a massage. My calves were super-tight, and I wanted some work done on them before tomorrow.
So that's it. 6 stages done, one to go. The longest one was on tap; the marathon (42.2km). This one was going to hurt for sure. Still don't really know what my game plan is; maybe just tag along with everyone else and hang on as long as I can. We'll see. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. This year, I'm taking the early start time, which means I need to be up at 4am, and the race starts off at 6am. Wish me luck!
My Strava stats are here: http://www.strava.com/activities/180962079