At the beginning of the year I set a goal to run a race each month. I stayed true to this goal all year but had some trouble finding a race in December that worked into my schedule. The Jingle Bell for Arthritis 5k popped up and it looked perfect since it started in Market Square (great location) AND my best running pal was doing it also.
Brittney and I really did jinx ourselves by talking about hopes of no rain so much. Sure enough race day held true to the forecast and it was in the 30’s and the sky was relentlessly pouring rain. I’ll be honest and say that if Brittney and Cameron weren’t doing this race then I would have just went back to bed and not even have shown up. On the way to the race we saw my Momma and a few other Biggest Winner team members out on Neyland Drive getting in their miles for the morning training run. We honked like crazy and TJ slowed the car down enough for me to obnoxiously yell out the window.
We met in a parking garage after picking up our race packets and tried to keep warm until we had to go to the start. The race shirts this year were awesome! Luckily there was a huge cover that we attempted to huddle under to stay out of the rain for as long as possible.
My Momma ended up making an appearance and wishing us luck before we set off. We lined up at the start line and the rain literally seemed to come down even harder. At this point we were just content and ready to be running. I looked at my Garmin and saw it had shut off and frantically tried to get it back on before the gun went off. It finally completely loaded satellites just in time for us to cross the starting mats. Good timing, Garmin.
None of us had really talked race strategy or even said we were going to stay together. Cameron took off in front of us (with his hands in his pockets) and Brittney and I sort of stayed together. Luckily they closed the entire road so there was lots of room for runners to go which eliminated a lot of bobbing and weaving. I didn’t look down at my Garmin very much and tried not to worry about our pace since my main goal was to try to run the whole time even though I never actually spoke of it. There were obviously tons of huge puddles and some places forced us up onto the sidewalk because the entire road was flooded. That was fun. I told Brittney a little while into the run that the rain was actually helpful because it was a distraction from the cold and it gave me something to focus on. She slightly agreed.
Brittney put it right when she said it was gently rolling. There weren’t any steep hills but there were a few slight grades that sucked going up but was nice to be able to go a little faster on the way down. At one point I had told Brittney I was going to take a walk break and she said she would stay with me but I encouraged her to go on since I didn’t want to ruin her race. My internal plan was to walk a little past the turn around but we ran through it and didn’t stop. There was a lot of mental dialogue going on with me convincing myself not to stop. I heard my Garmin beep at each mile but I never looked down because I didn’t want the mental knowledge of knowing how fast or slow I was going.
Once we got back into the downtown area I think we all picked it up a little bit since our third mile was our fastest. I did glance at my watch and see I would come close to a PR for the year but at that point I was just proud of running three miles with no walk breaks. That is a big deal for me. We rounded the corner and we were all in stride headed to the finish line like sweet little ducks in a row. It was great to all finish together. Not to mention my handsome fella was there standing in the rain to capture it for us.
The results show us all in order of finishing. Cameron and I have the exact same time and Brittney’s chip time was one second faster! Brittney and I finished 14th and 15th out of 37 women in the 19-29 age group. Top half, woot woot!! My official time was 33:03 which was a year PR for me since my fastest race of 2013 was 33:05 at Fireball 5k. Hey, I’ll take it.
After the race we changed our clothes which were literally dripping. We had planned to eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe but decided to save some money and the hour wait and drive over to Texas Roadhouse for rolls and a nice steak. Let me just say it was the perfect meal after a race. I’m so glad that Brittney and her husband did this race and that we got to finish the year together. I’m also thankful for my sweet boyfriend who stood outside the entire time with no umbrella just to take pictures for us. What a trooper.
Although I didn’t even come close to hitting any of my time goals for 2013, I still met my goal of one race each month and I enjoyed that. 2013 wasn’t really *my* year for running but that doesn’t mean I can’t be proud of what I did accomplish. I’m already making my racing schedule for 2014 and hoping to step out of my comfort zone and shoot for big things that are also reasonable.