Monday, December 12, 2011

"You pass trees all the time. It's only fair that a tree passes you!"

The running Christmas Tree told me as I lamented that I would need to tell people that I was beaten by a tree during the latter stages of the Christmas Present 5k this weekend at Independence Oaks County Park.

Running Gear (the store) put on a free 5k race open to all to thank their customers as, well, a Christmas present. I hadn't really planned to run any more races this year but, as my running opportunities have waned in the past couple months, I thought it would be a good way to make sure I got out and ran.

This was certainly the coldest run I have done this year with temps in the lower 20s. I arrived early, picked up my number and tag, and returned to my car for warmth. I managed to coax myself out for about a five minute warmup before the race started. The cold breezes off the lake, if they were much stronger, would have been horrible, but the gentle breezes served mainly to lightly sting exposed skin.

The race started and we headed down the trail covered by about a half inch of snow. The paved areas were a bit slippery, so I tried to run on the area next to the trail. While I felt pretty good, I didn't feel like I was in race ready mode, so I went a bit easy. As the race progressed, the cold air started to hurt my face and numbed my gloved hands, but I and the other runners persisted. I found a runner that was going about my pace and decided to follow him as closely as I could.

I didn't look at my watch until it beeped after hitting 2.5 miles. I was a bit surprised that it read 22-something at the time, but I probably shouldn't have been. I was going a bit easy and, because of the snow, it was probably harder to push off the ground and generate good forward motion.

It was just a minute later when I was passed by "The Tree". To be fair, he probably would have passed me much earlier without the costume, but still, it was A TREE! (I never did see the guy running in nothing but his shorts. I'm guessing he ran quite a bit faster and was well motivated to do so).

My finish time was 28:29, about 4 minutes slower than my best time this year. Between the conditions and my recent lack of running, I was OK with that. I finished 3rd in my age group and got a five buck gift certificate for the effort.

While my running has been down, I am trying to keep doing something. I have been going to the gym once or twice a week in addition to my once or twice a week of running. I want to run at the gym, but I dislike the treadmill and am not a huge fan of the short track located upstairs. I start with a bike warmup and usually move to the treadmill for as long as I can stand it (never made it more than a couple miles without being bored). Then, I usually head to the elliptical or cross country ski machines, followed by a cool down on the track. Last weekend, I dared to use the weight machines and did a couple sets on about 8 or 9 different machines, mostly upper body stuff. My arms and shoulders were sore for a couple days afterwards, but I hope I can mix the machines in with the other stuff. Maybe I can actually build some muscle.... naw.

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