Allow me to assure you, it was plenty cold this morning. Like, really, really cold. Especially around 5:30 a.m., when I dragged out of bed before the sun was in the sky on a Saturday morning, just to appease the running appetite of my relentlessly motivating friend, Cassie.
Trick is, we knew it was going to be cold. The weather man was accurate in his predictions, so it’s not like it was a surprise. The most shocking part, I think, was how saturated the nearly-frozen air was with water. Every breath that each runner expelled from their lungs was clearly visible as a cloud of moisture being pushed out of their bodies. If I hadn’t been so distracted, listening to Cassie tell me fantastic tales of nursing school and The Adventures of Being Single, I would have been very disheartened by the inevitable dehydration that surely faced us as a result of our persistent moisture-clouds. Alas, I was distracted. Both by Cassie and her stories and by the fact that I was having a hard time using my fingers because of their altered status of matter. They were frozen. It was really cold.
So I had a really long week, right? Seems like every day this week I came home and just crashed after work, going to bed as early as 8:00 p.m. because I was totally out of energy. When Cassie talked me into doing the 10k with her (Wednesday) we decided to run 4 miles on Thursday so that we’d be ready for the 6.2 on Saturday. I haven’t been talking about it on my blog a lot, but I’ve been running. I’ve been going to the gym about 3 times a week, usually in the morning, and running about 3 miles whenever I go. I was nervous to run this race though, because I hadn’t been running outside. I’d been running inside on the treadmill and OMG. Running on the treadmill is kind of terrible. So I hadn’t run outside, nor had I run more than 3 miles, since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. And that was a long time ago. I was scared.
After running Thursday’s 4 miles with Cassie (followed shortly by a collapse into bed), I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to run outside than it is to run on the treadmill. Even when you consider the hills, the wind and the cold, it’s still easier to run outside. I had forgotten that. Today, though, I was only positive that I could run 4 miles. I had only proven to myself to be able to still run 4 miles. When we hit the 4 mile mark in the race today, I felt myself hit a mental wall. I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, I have no idea if I can do this, I’m not sure if I can do this.” Cassie, at that point, was just getting warmed up. She looked at me after we climbed two hills in a row and asked, “Hey do you want to step it up a little bit?” I answered plainly, “No.” She was like, “Come on! You can do it!” And I was all, “GIRL, THIS IS ALL I’VE GOT.” Relentless, she asked, “Well, what do you think about stepping it up for the last 1/2 a mile?” I agreed, just so that I could go back to trying to breathe. Breathing and talking at the same time is much harder than just breathing. And believe you me, breathing was plenty hard at that point.
When we crossed the 5.5 mile mark, Cassie was like, “COME ON, LET’S GO!” She might as well have been wearing a Richard Simmon’s costume, she was that damn encouraging. I stepped up our pace (a teeny bit), all the while thinking to myself, “Hey. I’m no fool. She said she wanted to step up the last 1/2 a mile, and this is a 10k race! I still have .20 miles left before I have to start running faster! She’s totally cheating me!” But I guess she’d clued into my competitive spirit, and she knew I wouldn’t let her get too far ahead before I tried to chase her down. She beat me across the finishline by 20 seconds. Immediately after we finished, we both stood in the middle of the crowd and counted our own heart rates, as medical nerds are wont to do. She may have beat me across the line, my friends, but I totally kicked her ass in the heart rate race. I body slammed her to the ground, counting a full 45 b.p.m. higher at the finish line. Booyah. It’s so awesome to be a winner*.
(*Um, to whoever of you is about to tell me that the person with the lower bpm is actually the winner: shut up. Just let me have this one, okay?)