I have officially figured out the best way to improve one’s speed during a 5K – begin running in the (cold) rain, and have it start snowing around halfway through!
Yesterday morning was the Hatboro Skeleton Skurry, a cute 5K through the streets of Hatboro, starting and ending at Pennypack Elementary School. Its a pretty hilly run, I didn’t realize that we’d be spending the majority of the run climbing and falling, but it was a good, challenging run – especially when you account for the weather. You see, I was looking for another 5K to join when a friend at work mentioned that she and her husband were running the Skurry. I signed up, looking forward to having friends to run with, and continued along my merry way of training via the C25K plan.
As it got closer to the race, we started hearing about the weird Nor’Easter that was headed our way – 35 degree temps and … what’s that??? SNOW?!?! You betcha! A predicted 4-6″ out-of-season inches were headed our way. To say that I hate snow is the understatement of the year. I can’t see one good thing about the white, wet, cold stuff. So you can imagine that having it show up in October was exactly the opposite of motivating. I woke up yesterday morning to a slightly wet outside, but no snow. I changed into my running clothes, got Will and Liam ready (we were spending the day at my parents’, who live close to Hatboro), and we headed out. It was cold, it was windy, and it was wet, wet, wet. As we were driving into Hatboro, my friend text messaged me with “How brave are you today?” I said that we were driving through the town, trying to decide if I was prepared to run in the weather – she said she was in the gym of the school, and she was running, and I was NOT going to be outdone. I sent Will and Liam to a local bakery for breakfast, and I headed to the starting line.
I should note here that my friends Emily and Gaby are two of the most athletic people I’ve ever met. They’re both stunningly in shape and I’m frequently amazed at their endurance. In fact, they just completed a full marathon two weeks prior (Emily with a stress fracture), and here they were – signing up for the 5K. I got in and was surprised to see that while Emily was dressed and ready to go, Gaby admitted that he was wimping out on this one – can’t say that I blame him. We made fun of him, and then dragged ourselves out of the toasty warm gym for the race.
It was raining, and I was wearing my FiveFingers, which have little-to-no sole. I was absorbing so much cold water that I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my numb little toes to move at all, let alone at a quick pace! The starting gun shot, and off we went! It took a good 10 minutes for me to really feel my feet, and by 11:41, I was at the 1 mile marker! I couldn’t believe it – I knew that I had shot off a little quickly, but I was maintaining the speed somewhat well, and I wasn’t in pain. About a mile and a half in, the rain changed completely to snow – wet, heavy snow. I swear we all noticed at the same time, and you heard about 100 people in my vicinity exclaim in unison, “Oh HELL NO!”
I think everyone picked up the pace just a little bit and moved toward the finish line as quickly as they could – I ended up crossing at 37:30-ish according to the clock. My chip time will be a little better than that, as it took us a little while to get across the starting line. If you recall, the Going the Distance for Gabby race I finished at about a 13:22/mile pace. Based on my time from yesterday, I was looking at a less than 13:00/mile pace. I don’t think that in all of the races I’ve run that I’ve ever finished a race with that pace!
In all, I had a blast. Its always fun to see the costumes pass by, and it was really nice to be able to run with people. Its great that Will and Liam often wait for me at the finish, but there’s just something fun about seeing your friends who finished before you cheering you on, and then doubling back afterwards to cheer on those that finish behind you – the camaraderie of runners.
Turns out that all four of us that ran ended up with a personal record – apparently, the best way to motivate yourself to finish quickly is to be freezing your ass off in the process!! Hypothermia is quite the motivator! Would I do it again? Most definitely. That was probably the most fun I’ve had at a race in a long time – its fun being crazy as a loon. Its even more fun when you’re in good looney company!