Saturday, January 9, 2010

For die-hards only ....

I decided to run a 10K this morning. Although many don't, I happen to like the 10K race distance. It makes a nice tempo run and I think it's great speed training for half marathons. It also is a decent substitute for my regular Saturday morning run - a 5K just doesn't seem long enough. The proceeds for this particular 5K/10K race was going to FLIPANY, an organization that promotes good nutrition and exercise for youth. The race was going to be held along Hollywood beach, our normal Sunday long-run stomping ground. All good reasons to do the run, right? There was just one little thing -- the weather was forecast to be COLD and rainy.

As I arrived at the North beach park around 6 am, it was 52 degrees and drizzling rain. Since I hadn't pre-registered, I had every opportunity to turn the car around, drive back home, and go back to bed like any sane person. But, I thought of my friends at Disney at that very moment, facing 32 degrees and sleet, and decided I couldn't be a wimp. So, I queued up with a few other shivering but undaunted runners to register and wait for the race start.

I huddled in my car until shortly before the 5K start, then sought refuge in the park restroom until the 10K start, 15 minutes later. You know it's a small race, when there is no line for the restroom facilities!! Around 55 crazy, er, dedicated runners ducked outside for the 10K start (warming up was fruitless) and were off! For the first time ever, I didn't bother to start my watch. I didn't know what my time was, and frankly, I didn't care. I figured I'd start when they said go, and keep running until they said I could stop. Time wasn't important - survival was.

Once I got going, it wasn't so bad. I got warmed up after about a mile and found my stride. The rain stayed relatively light, although there was a wicked north headwind on part of the course. I was running on familiar ground and knew every turn and dip. I had absolutely no idea of pace, I just kept running. I just knew if I ran faster, I'd get done sooner ..... The really dedicated folks were the volunteers that manned the course and the water stops who helped us and cheered us on. At least we could run to keep warm. I tried to make a point to thank them; we wouldn't have races without those volunteers!

Finally, the finish line was in view and I kicked it on in. I finished in 55:51, less than 10 seconds off of my PR and good enough for first in my age group! (And yes, there was more than one person in my age group!!) The post-race area had hot coffee and at that moment, getting my hands wrapped around a steaming hot beverage was the best thing ever. The race officials didn't make us wait around for a long drawn-out awards affair either, they started handing out the medals pretty much as people came in. Less than 15 minutes after I finished, I had my age group medal in hand and was headed for the car. By that time it was 44 degrees, still raining, and the temperature still dropping. Then I went home to a long hot shower and THAT was the best thing ever!

Ah yes, another day, another running adventure ..... but it was fun! :-)

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