Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

2 is Not a Trend…But I’ll Take It!

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Since it’s been a while since I’ve been able to race due to my Humpty Dumpty-like heroics of this past summer, I figured the best I could do whilst biding my time until my tri season begins would be to run a few 5K and 10K races to "stretch my race muscles" the best I could; to go thru the pre-race routine in some shape or form so that when I toe the line, my body is only 99% in shock instead of 100%.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve been able to race due to my Humpty Dumpty-like heroics of this past summer, I figured the best I could do whilst biding my time until my tri season begins would be to run a few 5K and 10K races to "stretch my race muscles" the best I could; to go thru the pre-race routine in some shape or form so that when I toe the line, my body is only 99% in shock instead of 100%.

I’d raced a few weeks back in a 5K and had deliberately sought out a small race where I’d most certainly know no one and where my nearest competitor would be 12. I succeeded on both counts, though I will say that she was a very fast 12 year old! So the win still counted!

This time, I stayed a little closer to home, and went just across the Charles River into Cambridge for the Cambridge Yulefest; a race with nearly 1000 runners.

The day started out like this. It was cold. I was cranky.

When the alarm sounded, I immediately moaned. The thermometer read 19. "Ugh, do I have to go?"

DaveyG looked at me and said, "I have a 2 hour run…..wanna trade?"

"Quit your whining," I snapped. "Um, hello? Pot??," he retorted.

Fair enough.

So I bundled up like Nanook of the North and headed out. I decided it was best to park near Harvard Stadium; I knew the parking situation there and knew I could park for about $3. Getting closer to Harvard Square would cost me ten-fold and add considerably to my already raging headache.

I pulled into my parking spot and glanced over at the track and did a double take to see someone actually ON IT, doing 200 and 400 meter repeats. He had a face mask on, and I immediately started to wonder….why do we live here?

I went about a warm up down near the track. The wind was howling, making the temperature, which now read 23 feel more like 3. My warm up was also entirely ineffective. "Warm" and "23 degrees" just don’t go hand in hand. It’d have to be good enough.

I reluctantly dropped a few layers at the car and finished my warm up by running the final stretch up to Harvard Square. Retrieved my number and scouted out a spot inside a restaurant that had graciously opened its doors to the freezing runners.

With about 15’ to go, I headed back out to try to warm up again. Not sure what made me think that the second time around would be any better, but for whatever reason, I felt like I had to try.

I lined up for the start next to the only person I could find who looked more miserable than me; a "runner dude" who couldn’t have weighed more than 130 pounds at 6 feet tall. He was wearing a thin long sleeve t-shirt and singlet and shorts. I’d elected to keep on all my layers; full tights, 2 long sleeve Saucony dry weave shirts and a Saucony jacket.

I nodded at my skinny corral neighbor, but we didn’t talk much. Both shivering too much.

As the gun fired, I set my goals high. "I hope to feel my feet by the end of the 2nd mile".

I did not meet my goal. But I’d gone thru the first mile and felt ….dare I say….good? Clicked thru mile 2 still feeling pretty sassy. By mile 3…..good lord. I am going to PR! But where is that dang finish line?

As I made my way across the finish, I looked at my watch: 19:17. How is that even possible? That’s what I ran 3 weeks ago, but this time, my mile splits were a lot (A LOT) better. I was too cold to stress out about it. It was, after all, a 5K and was just "an exercise".

I collected my award from Santa, and ran back to my car. When I downloaded the data, I found the course was, indeed, long. Sweet relief. At least my math skills weren’t deficient. My run stills still may well be, but at least my math skills are intact. Another friend concurred. Thank God for Garmin!



So another 5K and another win. While 2 is not a trend, I’ll take it. Best pace ever run for a 5K ever (sad, I know…but true….don’t mock the run challenged!), but robbed of a "true PR" because the course was long. And all on a day where my attitude was "questionable" at best, and one where Mother Nature reminded us that winter is upon us!

Kudos to the other runners. Festive spirits abound; there was the Gingerbread Man, who gets bonus points for practical costume selection on a freezing cold day.....



Then there’s the Grinch, who looked equally warm, but is going to have to have a serious facial to get that green gook off his face.....



And then my personal favorite......don’t even get me started on the 99%. Bah-humbug.



Merry Christmas!

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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