December 7 & 8 was a busy busy weekend in Melissa world - Christmas decorating at the parents' house, candlelighting at the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, pouring rain, snow, and... oh and 2 races. Here's how they went:
Race #1 - the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis (Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013)
Costumes were encouraged for this race (like I need any encouragement...) so as soon as I registered I started thinking of what I could do. Found a pretty awesome pair of nutcracker socks, and knew that's what I had to be (Santas and elves are so overdone ;-) ) I bought the socks, I had the blue sparkle skirt, I had a red shirt... All I needed was some embellishments and I was set.
As I sewed my stars & stripes onto the shirt, I was a little nervous. The shirt is very warm and can only be worn to run on really cold days or I get overheated. Early December weather can be anything around here, so it was a toss up on what we were going to get. But I only have the one red shirt and with Christmas coming my budget is allotted to other things (presents galore!!) and buying a new one wasn't in the cards. So I sewed it all on and hoped for the best.
Turns out it being too warm wasn't something I needed to worry about. After pouring the rain all day on Friday, race day arrived with a temperature of 30, with a "feels like" of 24. (Luckily it dried up fairly well overnight, so there wasn't a lot of ice to worry about). I was one chilly nutcracker waiting for the start.
Originally, I had a time goal for this race, but once again I was highly optimistic when I set it and with the training I had gotten in, I knew I wasn't going to be able to meet it. So I set it aside and just ran easy, walking every so often, and just planned on reaching the finish line.
Even though I had ditched my goal, I still hoped to finish in a "decent" time (which for me right now is under 32 minutes. I'm a speed demon, I know ;-) ) But with the easy pace and the walking, I was slower than I wanted to be. The time on my watch was a bit of a disappointment, so I decided that for my next race, I was gonna do better, I was gonna be faster.
Jingle Bell Run 5k, 12/7/13
Finish time: 33:46 (garmin); 33:57 (official)
Pace: 10:49mpm (garmin); 10:56 (official)
Place: 133 out of 285 overall, 68 out of 194 women, 17 out of 50 age group
Race #2 - The Winter Series 5k (Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013)
The weather reports throughout the weekend mentioned that there was a possibility for snow during the night on Saturday. I don't remember any mention of any accumulation, so I didn't get concerned. But Sunday morning I woke up a bit earlier than I had originally intended and looked out the window to a world of white. Snow covered the lawn, snow covered the street. An almost pristine blanket of white (marred only by some doggy footprints). A 4-5 inch think blanket of white. While it was beautiful, it had the potential for making the drive to the race an interesting proposition.
So after clearing off my car and shoveling the driveway, I spent the rest of the morning with one eye on the Weather Channel (forecast called for some freezing rain) and one eye on the race director's Twitter feed to see if the race was still on. It was - the temperature had warmed up just enough that the rain was just plain rain. The roads were still a bit covered but not too horrible. (They were just right for the yearly "let's put the xterra in 4WD to see if still works OK" test. (for the record - it works just fine. got me out the neighborhood))
It rained on the drive in to town, it rained on me as I went in to sign in for the race, it rained on me as I went back to the car to hang out until race time, it rained on me as I headed back inside to turn in my toy donation and wait some more. I was convinced it was going to be a cold, wet race. However, it slowed to a fine mist by start time. And I had on my too warm running jacket (thinking it was going to be as cold as the day before; it wasn't) and I was hot, so it ended up being a not so cold damp race.
After the day before's disappointment, I had changed my goal for this race to simply be "better and faster than yesterday." I was going to run every step and I was going to finish faster and stronger. And I did. I admit there were points where my brain told me I needed to walk. But running is a mental game and I convinced myself to keep running by telling myself I could walk when I got to point x and then constantly moving point x further and further along the course until I got to the point where I might as well just run to finish.
As I rounded the last corner I saw a woman who beat me the day before running not too far ahead. I saw her up there said "she's not gonna beat me again." So i tried and tried to catch her. Unfortunately for me, I didn't and she beat me again (not by much, but I never did catch her).
But I was ok with that, because I knew I had tried my best and I had done what I could with what I had at the time. And I had run every step and finished faster and stronger than I had the day before.
Winter Series 5k, 12/8/13
Finish time: 32:26 (garmin); 32:46(official)
Pace: 10:39mpm (garmin);
Place: 298 out of 401overall