The forecast the morning of March 11, 2017
Of all the days available from December 21 to actually feel like winter, Mother Nature decided to select March 11, 2017 as the day to bring it in full force. And as I look out my window at the snow and freezing rain combination just six days shy of spring, I can see that she is truly a procrastinator this time around, waiting until the last minute like, “Oh yeah, it IS winter. Here ya go!”
Now, I wouldn’t have been as bothered with her dropping cold weather upon us if I didn’t have to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time – on March 11 specifically. This date has been marked on my calendar since last year as my third half marathon with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series and my fourth half marathon overall. Training weather during January and February was always shaky in the past, but this year it was perfect due to a rather mild winter. However, on the day that I needed this same type of weather (I would have even settled for 40-45 degrees), Mother Nature declared a high of 36 and a low of 24 degrees – wind chill not included. So basically, the entire race was ran in below freezing temperatures 😦
The start time for the half marathon was moved to 8:30am this year, so luckily the sun was already up and out that morning. It didn’t help immediately as my toes were frozen during the first two miles. By mile three, I was finally able to hit my groove a little until the dreaded mile six hill that ALL runners can sum up in one word – BRUTAL! By far, those last three miles were the hardest as leg cramps and tight calf muscles set in (Note to self: Invest in calf compression sleeves). At that point, all I wanted to do was finish. As the finish line was finally in view, an older African-American woman tapped me on my shoulder and said, “I just want you to know that I’ve followed you this whole time. I just kept looking up and said follow those legs, we got this.” Then we high-fived and congratulated each other as at last, we saw the end of a challenge that we were able to overcome.
I wasn’t completely happy with my time since it was 30 minutes slower than what I’ve done before, however, I had to give myself a pat on the back for even being out there in those conditions. For much of the race I was asking myself, “Yo, WHY am I out here?”, “Who DOES this?”, “Why is it sooooo cold?”, “Why didn’t I just opt to do the 5K instead?” But no, I am glad that I decided to be out there and go through this experience with other runners who were clearly thinking the same thing. Much of the conversations I overheard were runners admitting that it was brutal but the goal was to simply FINISH.
Congratulations to all the runners — whether veterans or first timers — for pushing through. We EARNED that medal! However, Mother Nature, would you mind leaving March 17, 2018 alone? I think you proved your point this year. Challenge Accepted. Challenge Overcame.
Welp, my 2017 #ChasingMedals adventure continues! One down, NINE to go! Next race: The Loudoun 8K on Saturday, April 22 followed by the OhioHealth Capital City Quarter Marathon on Saturday, April 29.