What has two feet, a runny nose, a shiny new medal, and just won first place in a 5k for her age category?
So here's how it all went down:
Yesterday was FREEZING. Okay, not technically, but it was DARN cold. I had two hours of class on Friday, a full day scheduled (including a wedding performance) on Saturday, and a bunch of shops to do on Sunday, so it was a full weekend and when I woke up at 6 and let the dog out, the blast of cold air that smashed into my face made me reconsider this race I hadn't yet signed up for and probably could live without.
The whole point was to get Little Bear to run, but since the Kids Dash had an attached adult 5k, I had added it to my to-do list. However, I hadn't managed to get any decent running practice in for the last three weeks, so I was afraid I was going to be too rusty. Would I even be able to finish? Plus, I didn't have any decent cold-weather running clothes except a jogging suit that was probably going to be too hot. It would just be easier to skip it...
Mom was having none of it. "You know you want to," she told me when I called. "And you ALWAYS get like this. You try to talk yourself out of it before you do it, but when you do it you have fun." (Boy, she's got me pegged!)
A couple of hours later, we're both shivering at the starting line. There are 64 people standing around looking frozen, all in various varieties of layered clothing. Someone was wearing the short-sleeved race t-shirt over a long-sleeved one. I thought this was a good idea and abandoned my sweatsuit jacket to do the same thing. It worked well, keeping my chest nice and warm but not too hot. My fingers, however, were ice. Note to self: WEAR GLOVES to these things!
(I actually did one smart thing and that was wear the ear warmer/headband thing my husband had bought me twenty years ago. It kept the sweat out of my eyes and my ears nice and toasty!)
The race began and I started too hard, too fast. I was panting when we reached the first hill, about .1 miles into it. What I found out later was that the ENTIRE course was hills. Up hills. Both ways. How is that even possible????
At some point I felt a twinge in my right knee and I tried to walk it out. I think I was still recovering from whatever muscle got pulled in my hip during the half marathon, and that threw my alignment off. The knee pain prevented me from running as fast as I wanted to. (I'm still approaching this sport conservatively. I really really don't want to injure myself.)
Finally the last hill was in the distance, and I could see the finish line. I didn't even try to sprint -- I just crossed it, happy to be able to walk and go eat something. I was really hoping for hot chocolate. No such luck. Mom took my picture, and I saw Daddy Bear and Little Bear waiting to start their race. Mom said "I think you did it in 30 minutes," and I looked down at my watch, which I had forgotten to start. I didn't really care about the time. I just wanted to get inside from the cold.
Little Bear had ZERO interest in running his dash, and I had to drag him part of the way. He was tired and cold, and I sympathized. I picked him up and carried him halfway, then he ran the last few feet himself. They gave him his bucket of candy, which he gave to grandma, and we went in to feast and see if they'd posted the times yet.
The food spread was amazing. Not your usual bananas and granola, they'd gone all out. There were mini Subway sandwiches, fruit and veggie trays, cookies, snack mix, SUSHI (????) cheese and crackers, bagels, and pumpkin shaped pretzels. Little Bear went to the bouncy house and played until they announced the winners.
Was I surprised to find out I'd WON? Well, slightly! When they announced third, I was sad because I thought I might have had a shot, but the time seemed pretty slow. The second-place time was only a minute slower than me, and I was doing the math in my head thinking, "I'm pretty sure I was faster than that, but maybe not." I was SHOCKED to hear I'd won for my age group, and I walked up to get my medal in a state of "Wait, really? There has to be some mistake here!"
It was a fun morning, and Mom looked over at me and said, "Now aren't you glad you came!?" Um, YES!!!
Next weekend was another hill race -- a trail race in Kentucky, but I think I'm really going to skip that one, since I have another one a week later. I want to make sure this knee is okay. And I would love to be able to sleep in just ONE Saturday!!