Each year, I like to do something 'fun' for my birthday - usually a birthday challenge kind of thing (although not as extreme as Jack LaLanne's birthday challenges... may he rest in peace...that man was amazing!)
This year, following 3 months in physio for my shoulder, I knew that it wouldn't be a swim challenge so instead, I signed up for the Robbie Burns 8k in Burlington, ON, trying for a PB in a running race.
I woke up at 6am to -29 temperatures and windows that were covered in ice. Oh, goody!!!! I sat in bed, eating oatmeal and cuddling a warm cat, wondering what my coach would do: suck it up and run or bail...
I waited... no emails granting permission to stay under a warm duvet seemed to be forthcoming... drat!!
Just to be sure, I fired off a tentative email at 7 am, sort of a 'conversation opener', to see if my coach would then suggest that taking a pass would be okay... the response was something like, 'dress warm and have fun!'. Oh. Okay, then... so I got up and starting putting on my many layers of clothing for the fun event.
Several layers later (about 4 to be exact...) and 3-5 frustrating bathroom breaks later (when was the last time you had to pull down 4 separate layers and get dressed again... sweating and roasting inside your clothing... only to finally get it all back together and realize you have to go again because your bladder recognizes that it's cold outside...????) it was time for the race to begin.
By then, I admit, I was bouncing around like the Happy Pixie... dancing to my iPod tunes at the start line and generally doing whatever I could to get the blood moving... I didn't hear a start gun but apparently there was one - and we were off!
It was fun to see the runners wearing kilts (over tights) and tartan accessories all around me. It was horrifying to see one man who was wearing ultra-short nylon running shorts with bare legs! I have no idea how he survived that - it looked painful!!
It took less than 2k for my glasses to fog up and then freeze, so that I literally couldn't see 2 feet in front of my face... I tried peering underneath them but it was uncomfortable, so not relishing having to explain that I broke an ankle because I couldn't see the road conditions, I pushed them off to the top of my hat and ran without... experiencing for the first time the feeling of icicles on my eyelashes - that was interesting...
Each time I glanced at my run pace it hovered around 6:25-6:35/km... I was still kind of on track... but I couldn't run without breaks yesterday - it was too cold and my asthmatic lungs protested too much!!
I don't recall 8k feeling like such a long way before yesterday but by the time the route hit Lakeshore Drive I was comfortably numb (or at least my lungs were...).
Two Ventolin breaks plus 2 more just to catch my laboured breath, and I could see the finish line. Yay!!! I hit a 5:45/km pace as I dashed (your definition of 'dash' may differ) across the finish line and then spent a few minutes doubled over sucking wind through my frozen balaclava before going to find Eric - who missed seeing me crossing the finish line - and then getting a bowl of hot oatmeal to warm up.
The Burlington Runners put on several races each year and I've done their events 3 times now. My first ever 5k was the Good Friday Road Race and although it was the hardest thing I had EVER done at that time, the race organizers did a superb job and there was a ton of swag to give away at the end for door prizes. I won a book at my first race!
Yesterday didn't disappoint: I won another door prize !!! Yay!!!!! As I ran down the auditorium aisle to pick up my prize, the guy just ahead of me, after accepting his, turned around and BAM! The hard, sharp plastic of the casing of his prize hit and scraped me across my eyelid and upper cheek. This is the problem with being 4'11" tall!! 'Regular' sized people just don't look down and I can't remember the amount of times I've been walked into, struck in the face by random elbows, or just not SEEN... because I'm the size of an average 10 year old kid. OMG - that hurt! Luckily he missed the eyeball itself... so I guess I got TWO door prizes...
Once again, the Burlington Runners put on a lovely race with great swag and a good feast afterwards. Way to go!!
Oh yeah - my finish time... was not what I had hoped (52:00) but instead was 55:37. Not so bad considering I had to stop 4 times... and still a PB for me (I've never run an official race of any distance at a pace under 7:00/km) so that was kind of neat :)
And for those of you that know me... this was the THIRD race event where I DID NOT STOP TO PET DOGS; In addition, I did not get passed by most of the walkers in the event and I actually PASSED a few people (other runners!). All in all, it was a good day. I'm so glad I didn't bail!
Stay warm, everyone!! Spring is coming... one of these days ;)