i had a really tough time with this race. the cold was a bit too much for me and the course was somewhat of a challenge -- rolling hills the whole way. tough conditions and a tough course = all weaknesses exposed. i ran 7 miles before the race started to try and warm up and get used to the frigid air. i never really got warm, and my hands were numb the whole time.
first mile - gradual climb for a good portion of this mile. i passed two women just before the first mile marker and ran in second place until the last mile. [i thought i was hallucinating, but monkeymime confirmed that santa was directing a turn just before the halfway point.]
the roads were icy and slick in a few areas along the course, particularly on the turns just before the second mile marker. i was slowly catching up to the first woman and finally caught her just after two miles. i knew she was fast and i was giving everything i had to stay with her. we ran side by side for the last 400m or so. it was a race! i was really struggling at this point. i was freezing and wheezing and felt almost pass-outish. adding to the drama was my spewing nose and its contents subsequently freezing on my face or finding its way into my mouth. breathing through a mucous wall isn't very easy, especially when you are already starved for oxygen and the only kind available is the 7 degree kind.
i ended up losing the battle in the final few steps of the race. she had a strong kick and pulled away quite easily. 1st place was 20:11 and i was 20:12. it took me a few minutes to regain my composure. i was wheezing and coughing quite a bit. i am not sure i have felt that bad during or after a race before, so seeing the final time and the lack of return for the effort was a bit frustrating at first. however, it was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to engage in a true footrace to the finish line. all things considered, it was a good experience and was a great way to start the holiday.
that's the last 5k for me for awhile. now it's taper time. 10 more days of keeping a good grip on my motivation. it's getting slippery...