It was supposed to be a really nasty morning of 40 degrees, rain and 20 mph winds, but I got lucky. The rain stopped!
My town hosted a new race that benefitted the local Code Blue charity, which is an emergency homeless shelter in the winter. As I stood shivering both before and after the race, I remembered that it was nothing compared to what the homeless have to deal with.
We’ve had enough warm-ish temps this past week to dissolve most of our snow and ice, and I’ve been able to get in some good outdoor easy runs. There were several treacherous spots in my usual park where the sun hasn’t penetrated the trees, but I was still able to make a decent path, only having to double back a couple times.
Yesterday I went to check out a run/walk paved trail that I’d never been on before that would be part of the race today. As of mid afternoon, there was one slightly icy patch under a bridge and another big, icy, sludgy mess right around the 7k mark. But I saw two volunteers from the race clearing out the bridge ice and again when I headed back towards the sludge. I don’t know how they did it, but they cleared out the sludge. Huzzah! I’m a wimp about squishy feet when I run — I don’t mind the rain, just when my shoes are soaked through to the insoles. I was ready to suck it up for the last bit of the race, but the race organizers saved me from my wimpiness.
My goal for today was to run by feel (put my sleeve over the Garmin) and at a moderately hard effort. I haven’t had a day off from running in awhile, so this was a tired legs run. It was pretty windy, especially through the last half mile, but I tend to push into the wind and run faster. It’s not on purpose and I’m sure would destroy me if I tried to do it throughout a half marathon or longer.
350 people lined up this morning despite the dire weather reports. The race only had a timing mat at the finish, but I didn’t line up near the front anyway. The road was pretty wide for the first several miles, so dodging around slower runners wasn’t an issue. It was basically single file on the trail portion, which was a little awkward because you didn’t want to run into the front runners coming back on the out and back. I had to do a little fancy footwork to pass a dude breathing like he was about to die. Good for him for working himself that hard; I think I’ve forgotten how to push myself like that in races. Still, his death rattle was really annoying and I wanted to put it out of my range of hearing. Sorry, dude.
To keep an eye on my pace, I picked a couple just ahead of me to keep in sight. There was also a woman in Newton Running shoes right behind them, and I ran behind her. I felt a little bad because my windbreaker is kind of noisy, but she had earbuds in and probably couldn’t hear me. I tried to chat with her a bit when I pulled next to her for a stretch, but she ignored me, so I’m hoping that it was because of her music. Or maybe she took a dislike of me and my vociferous Brooks jacket.
I guess I did ok because not only did I crush my previous 5 mile PR by 1:25 and negative split, but I came in 1st in my age group. I beat the next woman in my AG by one second — the one I’d trailed for the entire race until the last kick. I turned to her to say, “good race!” but she didn’t even give me a spare glance. Me and my Brooks jacket weren’t making any friends today.
The race was extremely well run and organized for an inaugural event and I definitely want to do it again next year. I’m excited because the speed work I’ve been doing the last several months seems to be working. At the end of 2014 when I ran races by feel at the same effort level, it was 20 seconds per mile slower than what I ran today. Fingers crossed that this is real progress.