Monday, December 9, 2013

Everyday I'm Hustlin'

Santa and Elf Gear
Before I became a runner I often thought that runners were crazy.  By often, I mean always.  Running whether inside or out, just didn't make sense to me.  Whenever I saw a runner out in the blistering heat or drowning in a torrential downpour, my mind always went to insanity.  There was simply no other explanation for why a person would CHOSE to do that to themselves.  On the lone occasion that I passed a runner during the winter, trudging through the snow, I assumed they must have gotten lost because no one would actually spend time outside at all, much less exercising, in subzero temps unless they had to.  Right? There's a lot of truth in that.  Runners aren't forced to, but they still have to get out there and run.

This weekend I realized that I am officially one of those crazy people.  I dragged myself out of bed in single digit weather to run.  I didn't just run, I paid to run, and on a Saturday morning no less. Believe it or not, I actually kind of enjoyed it.  I suppose I was a bit spoiled with last years weather because trotting out in that freezing cold wind was a nightmare. As soon as I stepped outside I had one of those "I immediately regret this" moments.  I'm not sure that any level of base layers could have kept me warm that morning. You reach a moment though when it doesn't matter anymore.  You hit that infamous runner's high and it seems like nothing can bring you down, not even the dropping temperature.

Cold, Struggle, Crowd, Reindeer
It's been a few weeks since my injury so I thought it would be safe to put some pressure on my foot again.  I made it to about mile one before the pain started to build through the numbness.  As soon as I felt that first twinge of discomfort I decided to stop and walk the rest of the race.  The only thing that kept me going was the joy of a cookie or cup of candy as I reached each new station.  I struggled from a run, to a walk, to a hobble until I finally crossed the finish line. I was convinced that despite my efforts, this was my worst race ever.  After checking the race results I realized that even with a bum foot I was faster than my slowest 5k time.  As discouraged as I was, I just had to keep reminding myself that a slow finish is better than a did not finish.

Bad weather or not, I still love the Santa Hustle.  It's a fun race, and the perks are pretty great for a 5k run.  In case you've never heard of it, you get a Santa shirt, hat, beard and there are cookies and candy along the course.  If you volunteer to help at packet pickup you also get an elf shirt and hat.  Once you get back to the festivities they have reindeer and all other manner of holiday treats.

Ironically, this made everyone stop running...

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