Maybe I should have gone to FP last week so that I could reinforce the belief that I'm becoming a stronger runner. However, that did not happen and I thought that it would happen today. It did not. My FP went SPLAT this raw and wet December morning.

I was so hopeful, especially after having such a good practice on Thursday, in spite feeling 60-70% (a drastic improvement from Tuesday night, being run over by the proverbial 18-wheeler, steam-roller and locomotive and kaboshed on the head with a steel pipe for hours on end). I kept telling myself to nail the workout but not to leave my race on the track that night. And I didn't think I did. Friday, I felt fine for most of the day; I started feeling a bit worn out directly after I left work at 5. My shakeout was run a bit late in the evening (but I had gotten away with that before). I took a relaxing shower, ate and used my new compact (and ridged) foam roller (that HURT!!!) to break up any tight spots. I even shook my head to check if I still had that cannonball sitting in place of my head (yes, it was still there, but only partially). No big deal. People can run well in races even if they have headaches.

I slept fitfully. I don't know why. Was I worried that being not 100% was going to jeopardize my race? I don't know. But I slept fitfully for whatever reason and clearly those became factors that ruined my race.

I got up in the morning and dreaded the thought of trudging to FP in this rawness. I told myself that I was going to be racing in this weather someday, somewhere and if I didn't do it today, I was always going to make excuses to skip out in the face of icky weather. I think there's even a quote that says something like "Those who wait for perfect conditions do nothing." I didn't want to be one of the "Those."

My stomach was in knots, again. The same way it had been 2 weeks ago. I didn't think anything of it - I thought I could get over that icky feeling.

That icky feeling was nothing compared to the cold. But something in my brain shut off all logic and thought only of how I heat up quickly during harder runs, especially in my upper body and I did not wear the thin rain shell that I brought with me just in case. I thought I'd be fine in my capri tights, short-sleeved technical shirt and gloves. I never seemed to warm up during the race.

Or, maybe it was the fact that I was wearing shoes that I had just broken-in with ~10 niles on Thursday night. I don't know what went wrong.

I started off following the pack and unfortunately, there was no Gesa today. She helped A LOT last time. So, I followed Mike, the guy in the bright blue technical shirt. His was long-sleeved. Mike was the guy who finished his 5 miler in 37 and change (I found this out after). I had a feeling that Mike wasn't going slower than the pace I had set last time and planned to keep in within my line of sight. I succeeded for 1.5 miles. Near the golf course, right before the dog swimming pool. After that, the only person I was racing was myself. It's hard to race yourself if you haven't practiced that.

I think I'm still at the stage where I need to have someone in front of me to follow.

It was hard to hear my 2 mile split: 17:08. YUCK!

WTF was going on???? I was in partial disbelief when I heard that.

I mustered...or tried to muster (there is no Yoda moment here) all my strength and tried to ignore the dismay that I felt while going up the inclined path.

I finished in 20:52. 17 seconds slower than my last FP. WTF was going on????? This was the only thought in my head the whole day.

While I foam rolled after the race.

At Whole Foods while I ate soup. While I shopped.

On the train, while returning home (people must have thought I was crazy, because I kept shaking my head, not in disbelief, but to see if I still had a headache. I did. And I felt exhausted, like I was falling asleep on the train).

At home.

And still, while writing this post.

Speaking of post-race thoughts, while I was schlepping to WFM, Diane caught up to me and told me that I had made the paper...much to my dismay. And, this time I really did find it distressing. But oh well, I guess!

So, I guess my friends who check the paper on Sundays to see who raced will see my name. But, now you know why my time was what it was. I can pinpoint a lot of little things that went wrong which probably culminated in the bigger picture.

I know what to do differently, but the one thing I'm stuck on is when the weather report says it's 40 F, it means it's really 50 F (at least) for us who are racing, so I should have been WARMED UP! Totally confused. Maybe the rain had something to do with negating the heat wave we runners feel while we're running.

Onward to the next week...and the next...