Sunday morning, I awoke feeling like I should stay in bed for a few more hours. I have a hard time doing this though. I wish I could, but when I'm up, I'm up. I planned on running the Polar Bear Run around Lake Warmaug and wasn't feeling motivated about it. Lisa and the kids were coming up to Lake Warmaug with me to visit Anita, the kids sitter who lives close by to the Lake. Before getting out of Monroe, I get a call from Baker who was planning on running as well. He was in the same boat as me in that he wasn't to keen on racing. I could tell that Baker was just waiting for me to give him the OK sign to bail, but Baker is solid - he would never bail on his own. After hanging up, I said to Lisa "Man, I don't feel like driving all the way up to Lake Warmaug to run an 8 mile race at 11am when I could run from here and be done by 11am." She said "Then why are you going?" I was ready to turn the car around but I always am preaching to my kids that you follow through on things.
After registering, I did an easy warm-up jog which didn't feel easy. I knew it was going to be a tough run. Just before the start, I was trying to decide on going with a singlet or a long sleeve jersey; 95% of the time in a race, I'd go with the "less" scenario, however, for some strange reason I decided on the long sleeves thankfully. As we waited for a bunch of bozo's to tie their shoes right in front of the race start, it begins to rain. It's a cold, freezing rain that's quickly drenching us. Since my hypothermia from Ralph's 1/2 IM in 2006, I have little tolerance to these conditions. By mile two I was shivering. At this point, the hammerheads out of the gate were starting to come back, and the rain was changing to a dense snow. This big guy runs up on me and for the next 4.5 miles, we run side by side. The conditions were so bizarre and by mile six, it was a white out and the road was covered. I was still freezing - i just couldn't warm up, but i was still running:) I felt very stiff and my gate didn't feel fluid, yet I could hear the big guy next to me and his breathing was beginning to sound more labored. I dropped him and went after fifth place who had been about 100 meters in front of us the whole race. I caught him with 1/2 mile to go and then kicked it in.
I didn't hang around to long after the race - in fact, I jogged back towards the campground area at the Lake where I saw Lisa and the kids parked, changed into some dry clothes, and headed out. It took me the rest of the day to warm-up, but you know what, I'm glad I went. Smaller races - there are many times where I think "why bother, just get in your training here early", but the bottom line is that it was great to be in the race atmosphere again - to toe the line. And I may not have run as fast as I would have liked but I still ran close to 8 miles at a sub 6 min pace, something I would not have done if I stayed home and trained. It was also very cool to be in the race scenario with 5th, 6th and 7th at the 6 mile mark. This made it exciting and it really tests what you are made of. So it's all good and re-enforces why it's important to get out there and enter some races, even when you don't feel like it.