Sometimes you just have one of those days where you set out to do something and the forces combine to eff up your ess so that you have the worst day imaginable as one thing after another goes wrong. Yesterday was one of those days for me.
For starters, I started feeling sick on Saturday night thanks to my two kids and their snotty little noses. So sick, that I finally hit the Nyquil. Like, a lot of it. So much, that I dozed off without setting my alarm. In my drug-induced Nyquil stupor, I awoke at 6:18. I threw back the covers and did the reasonable thing - I started screaming at Dennis: "Jesus effing Christ, why didn't you set a freaking alarm?! What the f%$ am I supposed to do now?? Get the fricking kids and get in the damn car!!"
Dennis, still half asleep (thank God, because he might not really remember this tirade), suggested that I just go without him and the kids, and they would meet me for the start of the one mile race hours later. So, I grabbed a Warrior Bar that tasted like a vitamin and smelled like cat pee (seriously, those things are God-awful), and ran to the car. Of course, my windows were freaking FROZEN because it was 20 degrees outside and dark as night, so I wasted another ten minutes scraping those.
I was pulling into the parking lot and checking my blood sugar at the same time, all the while focused on the line at packet pick up. I glanced down at my meter, and saw the following string of digits: 379. Fricking cold. Anytime I get even the slightest bit sick, my blood sugar goes through the roof. So, I give myself a couple units to come back down to earth...but, of course, I don't generally like to shoot up before I run. On the one hand, it's only a 5k. On the other hand, I don't really want to go low doing a 5k. So, I made the decision to take a late start time.
Late starts suck because it means running through a sea of slower people and throwing elbows all the way to the front so that I can get a good pace, taking out a couple moms with strollers so that I don't get stuck behind the race walkers. Still, I felt like this was the best that the universe had conspired to offer.
The bright note? I ran into my buddy, Danny, who just got a slot on the United Health Care Pro Cycling Team. He was leading out the races, and he positioned me nicely toward the front. (Thanks, Dan.) I still had a bunch of chicks in pink standing before me, but at least I wasn't behind the stroller women.
I stood there freezing for the next half an hour, until the start. I know, I know. I don't like people who bitch about the weather, either. Generally, I feel like worrying about Mother Nature making things difficult means you need to harden up. It’s not your tempo runs or your weekly mileage or your chia seeds or your stupid toe shoes (I was wearing mine, and yes, Miranda Fort, I love them) that will get you across the finish line. It’s your willingness to do whatever you gotta do. And, you know, it's three miles. Everyone has to deal with the weather on race day...but 20 degrees is frickin' cold.
Once I was running, I did warm up and I ended up having a great race despite all the ridiculousness of the morning. I managed a 8:12 pace, which was surprising because my first split was terrible - approaching nine minutes. (Probably because I wasn't willing to stab the pack of women jogging in one long, solid, horizontal line directly in front of me, making it impossible for me to pass.)
Running with kids is both a chore and an adventure. My son is like some kind of kamikaze ninja on a race course, so trying to keep up with him means yelling a lot of "I'm sorry's" to the unsuspecting people mowed down by my boy, and getting a lot of evil glances in return. My daughter really just wants to run a bit and look around at scenery and chat with other people...many of whom don't want to know about the time her brother decapitated her dolly and filled her belly with water and threw it at the neighbor boy riding his bike. Given that, running with the kids requires a "man-to-man defense" in our family. Even though Dennis has not been medically cleared to run, I told him he had no choice.
I ran with Henry who, true to form, was the third kid across the line. Once he was actually running, he forgot about the cold and was pleased to be faster than everyone else. Midori and Dennis finished a few minutes behind us. My daughter was all smiles as she crossed the line.
In all, it wasn't a bad day. Not the race I had planned, but good enough to earn a nice finish and, as promised, remind me that I am fast. Faster than I remember.