Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin
Welp. I can cross off running a snow storm off my bucket list. Towards the end of last week the big talk of the town: the snow that was headed our way. I was pretty excited for some snow, I feel it’s not Christmas if it isn’t white (sorry to you all who have never experienced it!). Further being from North of Syracuse we know ALL about the snow. It’s been the snowiest place in the continental US for the last couple years.
I signed up for It’s a Wonderful Run 5k, in Seneca Falls a couple months ago hoping it could be a nice fast 5k before RnR Arizona next month. Especially after I was in NO mood to race (or enjoying) the turkey trot last month. Now with the snow on the way I was unsure of the benefits of racing Saturday too.
Well the snow came, we got over half a foot in Ithaca (which is a lot for this town!). People were off the roads left and right. It was quite nerve wracking, should I make the trek or just settle for a nice little quality session in Barton Hall. I even questioned the foolish decision halfway through the drive. However, we went and made it in one piece. I calmed down a little once we got there, found parking and got our bibs. Oh, did I mention that Seneca Falls had a winter storm warning in effect? That the roads were completely covered in slushy brown snow? That I made have slipped a billion times walking to get my bib? It’s AMAZING to me that somehow I wrapped my head around to get it in a positive mindset [AMEN, THANK GOD, THANK YOU ALEX & ARTIE and all the other crazy race-goers!].
After sitting in the car, talking about race plans and changes to my normal warm up [which is normally beginning 60-50 minutes before race start], it was now beginning at 4:10 with the race starting at 4:40 PM. I tried not to worry about it too much, this was mostly so I was warm at the starting line and because I wasn’t planning on ditching any clothes [again, it was a snow storm with a temp of 14 without the wind chill].
The big problem I had at our Turkey Trot was being competitive and dealing with the adverse conditions, so the race plan was to get out and really compete but mostly to HAVE FUN. More or less this racs was to help mimic how I would feel the last few miles of my half marathon next month and to deal with the ‘pain’ so to speak. We weren’t expecting any crazy times and weren’t really sure what to expect at all.
4:10 Pm rolled around and it was time to leave to warm car and go warm up. I was bundled in my Oiselle Flyer jacket, Flyte Long sleeve (one of my favs!) and another base layer on top, and my FAVORITE Lesley Tights on the bottom combined with some heavy duty winter accessories to keep my head, neck, hands and ankles warm! Needless to say, it was the PERFECT combo of lightweight but keeping me warm! I was also wearing my new Pearl Izumi N2 shoes. I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ll wear for Ironman etc etc. The 20 minute warm up flew by fast and my YakTrax helped a lot with the footing despite still slipping all over the place.
Before I knew it, it was time to head to the starting line. The cool thing, they started the race on a bridge! It was pretty neat. Plus there was close to 3000 still participating in the race. I just had to smile at myself. I tried to get some drills in but only managed leg swings (hanging on to the railing) and a couple slippery strides. I hung out on the left side of the bridge to make sure I could get out and be on the outside for the first short right turn. Next thing I knew was my friend Alex was standing in front of me! It was a little relief to me before the race start, I was trying not to be anxious but of course I was. We wished each other well and I knew when I was done I’d run back to find her 🙂 (hopefully she remembered it too).
The next thing I knew, the starter was saying the popular line from the movie and at ‘wings’ we were allowed to head out! I got out well, only had to sneak through a couple people. I was chatting with this woman right before the start and made a mental note about her. Well, she got out well and enabled me to head out with her. I made another note to thank her after the race. Somewhere after a half a mile I decided I should start moving forward (we were 2nd and 3rd Females at that point too, and I believe she finished third). I was moving pretty well, trying to stay as relaxed as possible considering the roads were still slippery AND the snow and wind picked up. I just kept fighting. I’m not sure if it was because my eyelashes were frozen or what but the first mile seemed to take FOREVER! When I finally saw the sign I just bucked down and kept moving, only about 14 minutes left. I started my watch but didn’t want to check the splits and get discouraged, this race was about pushing it and being competitive. So then I started chasing the men in front of me. I was moving up pretty well. Then this guy just wouldn’t let me pass, I was slightly getting annoyed, as he would slow down, I’d try to go around and he’d speed up (later I learned it was Mike Bersani! Hey Mike if you’re reading, thanks for pushing me to go harder!). After the battle with Mike and the water station, the 2 mile marker came up pretty quick and I could see the first woman.
“You only live once,” “you want it to hurt” and “fight” all came to mind after the second mile marker and I went for it, I just kept my momentum from Mike and went right on by. She must have been just running behind this guy to block the wind because as soon as I went right on by she ducked behind me. I was just trying to keep everything moving in the right direction and pull away. But in competitive spirit she came up next to me and we ran like that for about a half a mile. Then she started to pull away. I tried to go with her but my lower legs were starting to tighten up and my shins (anterior tin muscle) started to get crampy as we headed onto main street and were only about 400m from the finish. Does anyone else get crampy shins? Mine always cramp in the slippery snow covered roads.
Before I knew it we were headed downhill to the finish. I was 2nd Female, 19th overall and 20:07 (gun time) in slushy, snowy, slippery conditions. I was pretty happy. It was 50 seconds faster than the turkey trot and the conditions were absolutely worse. The first female also won last year in 17:4X so I was content that I was that close. The men were also over a minute and a half slower. Of course as soon as Artie and John finished we ran back to find Alex 🙂 She was bundled and looked like she was having fun (I think?). After we all went into the gym for some goodies and to wait for the award ceremony ($50, a bottle of wine and a fun chalice-Thank you!).
After thinking more I am really happy with how this race went. It wasn’t ideal by any standard but hearing from EVERYONE that the times were on avg 1:30-2 minutes slower than last year makes me so happy. The best part, was that I actually had a blast, I was positive, competitive and just had fun. I’m getting more excited about the ‘goal’ race next month as well as getting some faster stuff in Barton this week (yay I still get a workout inside!). By the way, I LOVED the shoes I wore. I’m totally going to wear them for IMLP. They were so comfy and I didn’t even think about them during the race (or the new race belt, this one didn’t slide once! It was great!).
The trek back to Ithaca wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, but the walk into Wegmans for dinner was probably quite entertaining for anyone watching (I was SO SORE). The night concluded with CHRISTMAS COOKIE MAKING! Booyah!
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!