Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shiver By The River

Shiver By the River, Reading, PA - 10K - Sunday, February 4, 2007

A month after the 5K (around December 2006), I wrote down my half-marathon plan. I got myself a pair of good running shoes from a local running store. I realized a marathon was out of my reach at that time, but a half-marathon was definitely doable.

My plan was to run 4 days a week (3 days a week was a big accomplishment for me upto that point) and slowly increase my mileage to 25 miles a week. And compete in a 10K race in Feb 2007. There were 2 problems: I had not been consistent with my training; and New Jersey did not have any 10K races during the coldest month of the year.

So, I decided to participate in the 'Shiver by the River' 10K race, hosted by the Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club in Reading, PA. The race is local to Reading and as you can guess, is run in freezing temperatures. I gathered that a number of participants were like me - participating in the 10K as a warm-up to a half marathon a few months down the line.

On the day of the race, I woke up feeling lethargic. The wind chill brought the temperature to below zero. I called the organizers, with a glimmer of hope that the race had been canceled. I was informed that the race would take place, rain or shine or snow! I groaned as I stepped into several layers of running clothes. I then woke my husband who stumbled out of bed and dressed in his sleep. My one-man cheering squad was not very cheerful this morning! I rode the 2 hours to Reading in silence, not too excited about the prospect of running in sub-zero temperature.

Once I got there though, my spirits rose. Though a little local race, atleast 300 people had showed up, and were stretching, chitchatting, buying race T-shirts or warming themselves up by the blazing fire that welcomed us. I warmed myself by the fire, then went out for a warm-up jog, but of course, the longer I was out in the cold, the more frozen I got!

My sweet hubby was there at the start, cheering me on as the race started. No fancy timing chips at this race. Novice that I was, I stood among the leaders of the pack, hoping to get into a good pace. But when a number of people started overtaking me, I tried to pick up speed and was soon out of breath. To make matters worse, the first 3 miles were an uphill run. I gasped and panted like a fish out of water and the water stops did nothing to revive me.

Besides, the 10K was a double loop, so when I completed the 5K, I was tempted to stop. Every part pf my body screamed at me to put an end to the misery. As the jubilant 5K finishers made their way to the finish, throwing up their hands in the air, I was crawling back for my second loop! However, my 5K timing worked wonders to revive me. I didn't realize that I had run much faster than usual at the start, so though I slowed down considerably later, I was still ahead of my projected 5K timing. I slowed myself a little more and actually enjoyed the second loop.

I completed in 54:24. My husband was at the finish, a big smile on his face...pointing at the digital display clock. My gloved hands were still frozen at the end of the run and we headed for the fire to warm our hands. Hot chicken noodle soup, bagels and fruit awaited us...oh, how good they tasted!

As we drove back home, I thought about how close I had come to stopping at 5K and how glad I was that I had not! My half mary loomed in front of my eyes. I was determined to practice harder and plan my race strategy. By running too fast at the start, I had risked not finishing. The next time around, I would be realistic about my race pace...and would most of all, enjoy myself.

Shiver By the River, Reading, PA - 10K - Sunday, February 4, 2007
Bib 682

No comments: