I normally don't like you very much. Going way back, to winters in Nebraska that required me to wear big, thick boots before pants were made skinny enough in the legs to stay tucked in, and to the torment that was ninth grade, when I was mocked for wearing practical puffy boots that screamed "nerd alert", I have disliked you.
Today, however, I am kind of digging you. I ran my 12th half marathon, F3, on a sunny day in the mid-teens, temperature-wise, and ran my fastest half ever at 2:04 and change. That was a nearly three-minute PR. There is just something about cold-weather running -- no sweating profusely, no nausea, and man, it is easier to just run my tail off.
(By the way, F3 is a wonderful race. It's my second year of running it and it is fantastic. Entry is capped off at 1,800, I think, which is awesome.)
I will complain about you again, but today, I am feeling affectionate in an endorphin-y kind of way.
It was just a good day. I was rested. I had only run once the whole week, which is unusual. We had had our coldest temps this week that Chicago had had in two years, so I opted for cross-training -- yoga, spinning and even some weights, which I never do. So my legs were just ready to go.
I ran with my good running buddies, which is always awesome. I knew I could eek out under 2:15 and even probably under 2:10, but I didn't have a specific goal, nor was I trying to beat my PR of 2:07:xx. Some of us agreed, let's just shoot for 2:10, whatever.
But once I started running, I was doing 9:30s, 9:40s, I guess (forgot my watch, but I'm surrounded by Garmin-wearing runners). And I didn't want to slow down, I just felt good and figured I'd go with it as long as I could.
By mile 9, I was still plugging along, kind of tired but not bad. Then one of my running friends said hey, we're at 1:25... and I did the mental math and realized I could run a 2:05, which would be a PR. Oh, Margaret... you just had to say something!
Well of course, I was all business and ran steady and a little harder. At the 13-mile mark, with just the 0.1 mile to go, I pulled out my iPhone, where I had started the stopwatch function at the start line. It said 2:03 and change. Holy moly! I booked it and made it under my 2:05 goal. I credit windless, cold weather as part of the reason I was able to run so well today, including a negative split, which I'm happy about.
I'm super thrilled my friend Vern, who wound up ahead of me, had a superb, HUGE PR, as did another friend of mine. It was just a good racing day!
I'm kind of giddy. My goal is to actually do some speedwork and get under two hours by the time I run a half in Des Moines this spring. I think it's really doable this time.