Medal Monday: The Coldest Race of My Life
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Medal Monday post, so I wanted to apologize for my inconsistent posting schedule lately. I’ve been pretty busy since graduating college last month. I moved back to Florida permanently, bought my first car (2013 VW Beetle light blue!), had a couple mental breakdowns during my never ending job search, and questioned things like my life choices and entire existence. Just normal post-grad things!
One thing that centers me aside from running is writing. Hence why this blog is called The Running Writer. If you couldn’t tell yet, one of my hidden talents is pointing out things that are already painfully obvious!
So for my own sanity I wanted to get back in the swing of writing a new Medal Monday for you every week. These posts are reminders of why I started running and why I’ll continue running as long as my little legs allow me to. Which is hopefully for many many more years.
My last Monday Medal post was the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, FL. Today we’re going to fast forward six months from that first finish line to the second one aka the coldest race I’ve ever ran in my entire life, but that’s just a minor detail.
All of my medals are special to me, but this one in particular marks the beginning of an era of crossing many finish lines with one of my closest friends.
Enter: Caitlyn! Please get familiar with her, because she’s going to be in quite a few future Medal Mondays.
Along with crossing those finish lines together came many pre-race rituals, which looks a bit like this:
- Carb loading the night before.
- An intense dance party, but not too intense, we have to run 13.1 miles in the morning for crying out loud!
- Sleeping in our race outfits in Caitlyn’s twin sized bed.
- Waking up at way-too-early o’clock after going through 12 of Caitlyn’s alarms.
- Singing our lungs out on the way to the race (lately, to Hamilton).
- Kicking butt out there on the course!
I can’t remember exactly how, but over that summer I managed to convince her to start training for Morristown’s Halloween Half Marathon with me.
Like any second time half marathoner, I actually had confidence in my ability to run 13.1 miles and not die or give up and become a laughing stock to all my family and friends. When I was training for my first half marathon I was almost positive I would complete my training and cross the finish line, but I wasn’t sure that I would ever do it again.
That being said, I of course didn’t set a time goal. I was still impressed that after growing up with almost a grudge towards anything athletic related, that I was going to train and complete a SECOND half marathon.
Training was a breeze, although I missed quite a few long runs. I was so confident in my ability to cross the finish line that I didn’t stick to my training. I seriously want to cringe thinking about how THAT was my attitude.
Don’t be cocky like 23-year-old Kerry. Just don’t.
Remember how I said earlier that this was the coldest race of my life? Let’s talk about that, yeah?
Race day was in the middle of October, which in New Jersey is full on fall time. The week leading up to our race was unusually warm for the time of year it was. Caitlyn and I had our fingers crossed that the weather would hold out for us.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t. Overnight, it turned to winter and the high for race day was 38 degrees. While we were running the temperature MIGHT have reached 35 degrees.
I know people run in much more frigid temperatures and for sure don’t complain about it nearly as much as I do but for those of you that don’t know me that well, I don’t do well in the cold which is one of the many reasons why I love Florida. From October to around April when I lived in New Jersey I avoided the outdoors and I moaned and groaned anytime I did have to go outside. I wasn’t the most pleasant company to say the least.
Caitlyn and I wore long sleeve shirts, giant sweatshirts, gloves AND those ear warmer headband things that I’ve never know the name for. We stood around for nearly 45 minutes before the race started and we wore everything long past the finish line.
The second we stopped running I had the longest coughing fit from the cold air in my lungs. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life, but I don’t remember not smiling at any point.
Looking back and sharing all the little details makes me look at how far I’ve come as a runner. I’m really grateful that it’s something I’ve stuck with and improved at because it really has changed my life.
I guess that’s what the medals are for right? Marking milestones in our never ending running stories.