I may (or may not) have the name of this race wrong. Okay, I just checked. I was only slightly off. The official title is MADD 5k Red Ribbon Run. I'm not overly concerned about it.
I mentioned yesterday that I was hoping to run between 24-27 minutes. Mission accomplished, I'm glad to say! And thanks to all of you who wished me luck. I know it helped :)
I've spent the past two weeks (or so) with my parents, who live in the Washington, D.C. area. I signed up for this 5k a while ago, knowing that my mom was also planning on making it her first ever 5k (CONGRATULATIONS, MOM!). The weather down here has been, generally, pretty mild. Certainly nothing to compare with the conditions Rachel has been facing in the frozen tundra (in my mind, anyway) of Minnesota. To make things interesting, though, we had winds come out of nowhere yesterday, gusting up to 40 mph. In my opinion, one of the best parts of running in this kind of weather is the fact that you could, at any moment, become airborne. Or, you know, get smacked in the head with some flying debris, knocked unconscious, and left for dead. Good times. Anyway, high winds. The temperature was around the mid-thirties, but since it was a late afternoon race, we were dealing with the disappearance of the sun and the subsequent lowering of the temperature. I have low blood pressure, poor circulation, and a body temperature that tends to drop and stay down so I was not particularly excited about these things. Lucky for us, though, this was the cushiest 5k in the world. The starting line was right outside the Concert Hall on the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, VA, so we all waited inside until about five minutes before gun time. Yay for not having to hop around from one leg to another while freezing your buns off outside! Score one for MADD. I should also note that the race volunteers and even a lot of the other runners were super nice. Always a plus. Oh, and speaking of pluses, getting to wait inside the concert hall was also awesome because it meant we all had access to nice, clean restrooms (with toilet paper!). This was good since my stomach is defective and generally causes me no end of problems pretty much all the time. Sorry, TMI. It's just that I know there are some of you out there who understand things like this in the sort of way only runners can.
The race started promptly at four, and as we all began running, some dude just fell! It was weird. I don't know if he tripped, or what. But being the insensitive asshole that I am, I continued on my merry way and figured someone else would deal with him. Things like that make me a little bit nervous, to be honest. My lungs (did I mention that I am suffering from some sort of 19th-century throwback case of consumption? No, I mean, not really, and I shouldn't make light of people who do still have to deal with tuberculosis. My point is my lungs are congested with this nasty cough that won't go away and running has been sort of difficult because of it) tightened up as though someone had them in either a clenched fist (ew!) or a vise (more ew!). I wanted to find a pace that was challenging but that would ensure I could finish the race without hacking up a lung. Or collapsing one. You know, one of the two.
The wind was brutal the entire time, and between my defective stomach and my defective respiratory system (I swear, can I get a refund? Because this is not working for me and I feel a little bit ripped off) I felt a little more beaten down by it than I normally would have. But I soldiered on! And I managed to pull a 26:02! Now, no, this is not the 23:xx that Chris suggested, but that is certainly on the horizon. I mean, we are almost there. Plus I got to feel superior when some little kid (there were waaaaay too many little kids running this race. I am sorry if that offends anyone who likes to have their kids run races with them--this also makes me nervous because I am always scared that I won't see them and I will trip on them. Plus they don't really have a sense of race etiquette and tend to just stop in the middle of the course if they poop out, without going over to the side of the road first. Of course, adults do that too. At least kids have the excuse of being young and, you know, kids) announced to his mother that he ran a 26:07. HA HA, munchkin! Pwned!!!!!1!! Just kidding.
I just want to also say how proud I am of my mom for running this race. It is not easy to run a course you are unfamiliar with when it is really cold and extremely windy, and my mom was a real trooper. I hope this is one of many races for her.
If any of you fair readers find yourselves in the Washington, D.C. area around New Year's in years to come, I recommend this race. The course is pleasant, and the race overall is extremely well-organized with really, really nice volunteers. A good time was undoubtedly had by all. Except that guy who fell. I hope you're alright, buddy. Sorry I didn't stop to make sure.
I hope you all had a very happy and healthy New Year! Now get ready to fight for treadmills at your local gym :) And it made me so happy to read all your comments. I missed you guys!