Yesterday's Holiday Hustle presented itself as a prime opportunity. Not only was it a mere 15 minutes from my home, but it was one of those rare afternoon races which did not require me to get up at the crack of dawn on a weekend. I drove to Dexter and parked at the place where my RF501 group met for our midweek hill workouts during the summer. I wanted to run the mile to downtown as a warmup. The last time I was on those sidewalks was early October and the footing and climate were much more hospitable. A bitter wind beat against my face and my fingers quickly grew numb as I made my way-- carefully-- toward downtown. A minivan blocked the sidewalk as it waited in a driveway to turn. I went behind it, lost my footing on what turned out to be a solid sheet of ice, and went down hard on my right side. My hip and knee bore the brunt of the impact, and I heard something-- my sleeve? RoadID bracelet? gently skip off the car's bumper. (At least it wasn't my head, eh?) I got up slowly, knee aching, and brushed snow off my tights. The minivan's driver had rolled down her window and asked me if I was all right. I replied that I was, it wasn't that bad, and declined her offer of a ride the rest of the way. (Here's where I should insert one of those "you know you're a runner when..." statements; in this case, "...even after cracking your knee on some ice, you would rather finish your warmup run in sub-freezing temperatures than accept a ride to the start.")
I reached the start area with plenty of time to spare and promptly lost most of the warmth I had generated on my warmup. I saw some of my RF501 peeps (Lorenda, Ted, Lisa, Marie, Erika) and we stood around talking and trying to keep warm until it was time to go. The race wound through the residential side streets of Dexter on an out-and-back route. It started snowing fiercely not long after we started, and my face was peppered with dots of cold as the flakes hit it. Then the wind kicked up and made things even more unpleasant. I hit mile 1 in 7:28. I was going to have to pick it up if I wanted to beat my time from the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot (23:10). Around mile 2 I developed a very annoying and painful cramp in my torso; it felt like a band had tightened around my ribcage and was squeeeezing the air out of me. I chugged onward, trying to take deep belly breaths and expand my ribcage to shake off the cramp. It helped slightly. The final push to the finish was a nice gradual downhill and I increased my pace until I was huffing and puffing and I stopped Garmy at 23:20 when I crossed the line, which turned out to be my chip time as well. I was disappointed that I had not bested my Turkey Trot time nor shaved any more stubble off my 5K; it remained to be seen if I placed in my age group. After standing around in the fading late afternoon light and getting colder and colder the initial results were posted on the side of a nearby building. I muscled my way up to the front of the crowd and saw that I had placed fifth-- good enough for an award-- in my age group. Score! I got a dark red tree ornament for my efforts.
Holiday Hustle 5K Final Stats:
5/63 age group
Afterward I went to the home of my co-worker, whose house was right on the race route; we ran past it twice. I had some snacks and post-race rehydration (Pilsner Urquell) and then I had to go home and change because I was due in Ann Arbor for the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers Holiday Cookie Exchange Extravaganza. I came home with a huge container full of delicious treats. I spent the morning baking my own contributions (visible in lower right: container with dark and light brown cookies, and pecan snowballs in adjacent container).
I run so I can eat cookies and not feel guilty.
Edited to add: There seems to be some doubt about my claim that I, the consummate potty-mouth, somehow managed to not curse a blue streak when my knee and hip cruelly made acquaintance with the hard, cold ground. Such an occasion should have been the stage on which the most colorful phrases of my life would have made their début! However, as astounding as it seems, this was not the case. I was, sadly, capable only of the milquetoast utterance "Oh, dear. Ouch." Take that, doubting Glavens.