The Hot Cider Hustle 5K was scheduled for October 22, 2016. I knew that a race at the end of October could be cold, because I've lived in Minnesota for most of my life. But, my neighbor wanted to sign up for it and asked me if I would run it with her. I actually signed up for the race on August 9, which was probably the most advanced notice I'd had for a race all summer.
Between the time I signed up and the date of the race, I ran three other races, two of them virtual. You can read about those races here.
Knowing I had the Hustle coming up at the end of October forced me to continue training. I was coming off of a personal best time with the Panther 5K, and I was really hoping to beat that at the Hustle. In the five weeks between the Panther 5K and the Hustle, I got outside to run a total of eight times. Could've been worse, I guess.
The morning of the race came and it was definitely chilly. It was colder than any temperature I'd run in since my first race in May. I did my best to wear appropriate gear, and my neighbor and I drove to the race location.
When the race started it was right around 40ºF. We were shivering while we waited for the race to start, but thankfully, we didn't have to wait around for too long since parking the car took a fair amount of time. I was hoping to run with my neighbor, but we got separated early on. The race course was largely comprised of a bike path around a lake, and the path was hilly and narrow, especially at the start. The corrals were not super organized, and there were people starting the race in front of us that were walking. One even had a walking boot (cast) on her foot! Clearly those participants didn't understand race etiquette. It's incredibly disrespectful to walk side-by-side on a narrow, uphill race start. I weaved between and around people, finding myself in the grass at times. The weaving was what caused me to lose my neighbor, but she was still nursing her injury from the Panther 5K, and I wasn't going to cause even more congestion by slowing down.
I think the congestion at the start of the race cost me a PR. I finished just twenty seconds shy of my personal record Panther 5K time. I was frustrated to say the least, because I'd felt like I really could have hit that coveted sub 30:00 mark.
The biggest perk to the Hot Cider Hustle is the finisher's mug and hot cider at the end. We also got a caramel apple. Yum! My neighbor and I sat near the finish line enjoying our goodies while we waited for my sister to finish. Yup, that's right. When my sister heard about the Hustle, she decided to participate, too. However, she signed up to walk it. She was in good company at least, because there were many people walking the race–no doubt they were just there for the cider and mug.
After the race, I pretty much expected that I would be mostly done with running until spring came around. It was getting cold and I lacked proper gear to run in the winter and snow. I also lacked enough money to really purchase any of the said gear, because cold weather running gear can be prohibitively expensive. I just figured I would spend my winter sitting on my butt, per my usual, or maybe playing Wii Fit or Dance Party once in awhile.
I did get out and run a few more times before the end of the year, mostly because we didn't get much snow. But, I still had no intention of seriously running again until the warm weather came around. I was envious of my friends who posted pictures of themselves running throughout the winter. I missed running on a regular basis. Not to mention that I had worked really hard to get my 5K time down, and it was disheartening to know in the back of my mind that it could take awhile to get back to that point once spring did arrive.
When my family and I were down in Illinois between Christmas and New Year's, I came across a challenge called Run The Year. I had heard of it before but I dismissed it because it sounded insane. For some reason though, this time I researched it and learned that I could participate in the challenge by counting all of my daily miles toward the goal of 2,017 miles by year's end. I knew I would never be able to run an average of 5.5 miles a day, especially given that I didn't have a treadmill. But, I also knew that even hitting 5.5 miles a day would be difficult, because I knew how I have previously been mostly sedentary in the winter months. I bit the bullet and signed up for the challenge on December 31, and I am already thinking of signing up for the challenge next year.
In future posts, I will blog about the challenge along with writing about races I've done in 2017. I have a few virtual races I've already run this year, so I guess you can learn about those next time.