I cannot believe that today I ran my final road race of 2011. It seems like just yesterday I was approved to start running again and I started signing up for all of these runs. In total, I ran 15 road races in 2011, 14 of those occurring after June 1 (when I was allowed to run). Today's run had extra meaning. I found this race through my sorority's (Alpha Omicron Pi) alumnae group. My sorority's charity is juvenile arthritis. Today's Jingle Bell 5k raised money for the Arthritis Foundation so I was told about this run by the alum group. I thought it was a great cause so an easy run to sign up for.
The race was in a new location. It was near the Nature Museum here in Chicago. I was happy to be out of the Montrose Harbor area. Not that I don't love those courses, but I needed a change of pace.
When I woke up this morning and saw the snow, I was actually excited. I haven't run in the snow in ages and was ready for the challenge. I also thought it really set the scene for the race.
Thankfully we were able to hide out inside the Museum until the race started!
I learned my lesson from the Santa Hustle 5k on December 3 and started much closer to the startling line than I usually do ... and it paid off!!
I have been battling some left knee pain recently so I really wasn't sure how the race would go, especially with the morning snow fall.
I started out great. I was happy that I hit Mile One at about 8:22, which was a whole minute faster than Mile One at the Santa Hustle 5k.
There was a lot of slipping and sliding on the snow, which reminded me that I really need to buy some spikes to put on my shoes for my F^3 Lake Half Marathon training in the next six weeks.
My knee was feeling fine until I was about 2.5 miles in. Ugh, you have to be kidding me. But, I powered through. I was on a good pace and wanted to finish the last race of 2011 strong. I wasn't going to give up with about 0.5 a mile left.
I officially crossed the line at 26:05.5 (8:24 min/mile) ... I finished 133rd out of 1,075 overall, 10 out of 120 in my division (females 25-29) and 39 out of 659 females.
I wanted to beat my PR (25:34), but it wasn't in the cards. I think overcoming the knee and the snow makes up for not getting a PR. I am proud of myself for getting up and out to the course - even though it was snowing.
I loved the size of the run. I did not get elbowed, shoved or almost tripped at any time in the race. Everyone was enjoying themselves and taking in the great surroundings.
I thank my wife for getting up and going to the race as my cheerleader/photographer. :)
I thank you all for the support you have given me through the year. I am so proud of what I have accomplished this year. I think back often to my first 5k (March 2005) where I finished in 38:21. That really puts my 26:06 today into perspective. <<patting myself on the back>> ;)
I am kicking off the 2012 racing season immediately ... New Year's Day 5k is in sight.