December has been a good month for our family. It started with the most amazing experience ever at Lambeau Field, then Jeremy killed his first deer – a five-point buck. Then yesterday, I ran my 15th race.
First of all, I scarcely trained. I do not recommend not training for a race and today I have the sore knees to affirm it. I have a strong base of running four or five miles a few times a week, but in the last couple of months, I only did two long runs (if you count eight miles as a long run). We were busy, plus East Tennessee was covered in smoke from all the November wildfires. Race training was an afterthought.
And yet, I knew I could run it. Muscle memory is a real thing.
An hour before crossing the start line, it was 26 degrees. I seriously considered wearing the complimentary Santa beard to keep my face warm. I didn’t wear it, but I considered it.
The course was mostly flat, save a few long and steady hills. Lots of runners dressed up in holiday costumes, like snowmen, reindeer, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I stayed with my usual attire because, like a baseball player, I’m superstitious about changing it up.
I crossed the finish line in my usual time, grabbed a couple of bananas, and went to the car to go home. I remember when race weekends used to be full events with hotels and big dinners the night before. But now it’s old hat. I’ve done it 15 times, and while getting that medal is still a huge emotional and physical reward, the race experience has lessened from a group event to a singular one. I go, I run, I leave. And as long as my body allows it, I’ll keep doing it.
I spent yesterday laying in bed reading, watching football, and icing my knees. Guess who joined me?