Yesterday, I ran my final race of the year, the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. My training had been slightly off due to the upcoming time change. I found it increasingly difficult to get up in the mornings and run. (I'm a morning runner, and I have a really hard time running at night, so this meant I missed a lot of runs.) The weather was getting cold. Rather than get my last long run in, I cut it short by two miles.
But I sure wasn't going to sleep through the alarm when it went off. (Especially when we realized that we got an extra hour of sleep thanks to the time change that FINALLY came.)
We got up, bundled up, took our usual pre-race photo for posterity and lined up. I made us a light breakfast (scrambled egg on a bagel) to give us energy. We were ready.
Unfortunately, due to my slower-than-P.I.C. pace, I had to line up apart from him and wait. And wait. And wait. Seriously, I waited for over an hour before I even started WALKING to the start line. By the time I started running, I couldn't feel my toes, my teeth were chattering, and I had an impossible cramp in the front of my right shin. Even worse? I had to pee. Sigh. This was adding up to be my worst race ever.
Then something weird happened. I warmed up. I felt my toes, and the cramp in my shin went away. The 5K split off from the 15K and I was feeling GREAT. Then I got hot. I had to stop to walk and take off my top layer. Then I made a quick pit stop to pee. I probably lost a good 5-6 minutes getting adjusted. It was totally worth it though. Despite my necessary walk break, it was the ONLY walk break I took. When we got to the 9 mile mark, I kicked it up a notch. Seeing the walkers at this point, I knew this is where my training, although not as diligent as for my earlier races, kicked in. I was fast.
This was my best race of the year (distance-wise). I had my best pace. I finished strong. I was smiling when I crossed the finish line. (Granted, I always smile when I cross. It's why I do it!)
Bring on 2013! I'm already signed up for two races, so let's keep active this winter, yes?
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