Sunday, February 10, 2013

My First Medal

Saturday morning I awoke to about 6 inches of snow. My husband plowed while I shoveled what he couldn’t plow.  By noon I was tired and hungry. I had just enough time for a quick lunch, then get ready for the race which had been moved to 2:00 due to the snow. My running attire included two running shirts, my very heavy hoodie sweatshirt, and my Cupid’s Chase “Unavailable” shirt over everything. On the bottom half I had my heavyweight tights, red wind pants, and two pairs of socks. I packed a winter hat, an ear warmer, a balaclava face mask and gloves. Ready to run.

When I got to the park where the race was being held, there were only a few people. I parked and got out of my car and was greeted by a blast of bitter cold wind. This park can be very windy. I decided to go with the balaclava facemask and tightened up the hoodie. I jogged over to the registration tent and found all the runners. They were trying to stay warm in the tent. There were too many people in the tent for me so I stayed warm by running around in the freezing cold. Finally it was race time.

I estimated there were about 80 brave runners. I took my spot just behind the front runners. I usually run a fast first mile, then slow down and find a comfortable pace for the rest of the race. On your mark, get set, go!

I'm number 146 in the red pants with four layers
of shirts on. It was cold!
The main roads and trails had been cleared before the race, but the brutal wind was blowing snow back across the trail. (I later found out it was only 13 degrees with a wind chill of 3.) I ran the first mile in 8:21. That’s about average for me. Mile two was on the trail which runs along the Susquehanna River. Mile two was very blowy and snowy and there were spots where the trail was only wide enough for one person. This made passing very risky. The purple-shoe girl in front on me was running at a pretty good pace so I just matched her stride and enjoyed the race. Mile three was mostly clear except for a few spots where there was some deep snow and it was almost impossible to run. The pace alert on my GPS watch went off several times. I have it set to go off if I slow down to a 10 minute mile pace. Then finally the finish was in sight and the race clock said 27:20. I was still running just behind the purple-shoe girl and normally I would have switched into high gear and given the race everything I had left, but something in my head said not to push it. The trail was clear and I had room, but I stayed where I was and finished a few seconds behind purple-shoe. My time was 28:06. Not bad considering the course.

Someone handed me a bottle of water and I started walking back to the tent for the awards ceremony. As I looked back at the finish, I saw lots of runners still coming in. I mean lots. Was I really that far ahead of everyone?

The run had made me hot and sweaty, but within a few minutes, I was cold. Inside the tent there were heaters, coffee and hot chocolate and the usual yogurt and bagels. I stood near a heater and waited for the last runners to finish. The tent started to get fuller and fuller. Not a fan of big crowds, I made sure I had an escape plan should something catch on fire or should I just need to get out in a hurry. Finally it was awards time.

My first running medal!
The winner ran the race in 19:40something. He’s a really nice guy named Ryan. I’ve met him before at races. The overall male and female got a trophy and a bottle of wine. There were medals for the first place runners in each age category. Purple-shoe girl won for her age category and I thought to myself, “Hmmmm, if she was first for her age, I should be first for mine.” Guess what? I was! My name was announced for females age 45-49. Woohoo! My first medal. After the awards, there were raffles. I usually don’t care about raffles because it’s usually stuff I don’t want, but my name was called for a raffle too. More stuff! And it turned out to be good stuff. Gift certificates for an oil change, car repair, and pizza. Stuff I can actually use. The gift certificates made up for the $35 entry fee. I congratulated Ryan on his win and then left the crowded tent.

It was a good race. The spectators for this race were fantastic. There were lots of them standing in the bitter cold and they were all cheering and holding signs of encouragement. One had a sign that said, “Don’t Fall Down!” Excellent advice.

It was a cold race, very cold, but I was bundled up and I’m glad I ran it. The snow on the course added a nice challenge to the run. Sometimes you need a challenge to make you appreciate the easier things in life.

A few hours later the results were on-line. I scanned the list and totally missed my name the first time. Then I went back up the list and there I was at number 32. 32 out of 107 runners. I really was that far ahead of everyone. I now wish I had pushed myself at the end, but my head often knows more than I do. Would I have slipped and fallen? Don’t Fall Down!Would I have twisted a knee or an ankle trying to pass purple-shoe? Don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. I did good and I have a medal to prove it.

3.1 miles, 28:06 minutes, 8:58 pace

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