Well, that's all folks. With my last 5K of 2012 on Sunday, I bid a fond farewell to my race season of this year.
And let me just say, the Somerville Jingle Bell Run was an awesome way to end my season.
Although I'm not a fan of running in the cold, everyone was dressed in festive, holiday garb ... it's hard not to have fun when you're running next to folks dressed like six of Santa's eight reindeer. We all did the pre-race "I'm cold" tap dance together (you've seen it, the one where you kind of shuffle back and forth and jump up and down to stay warm), and chatted about who we were running with, and if we'd ever run it before.
I'm really pleased with how I ran. It was a marked improvement over my very first 5K. It took me 36.05 to run that first 5K and yesterday it took me 30:40! It's still not quite where I'd like to be, but I shaved 5.65 off of my 5K time since that first race. I'm pretty darn pumped about that, and it is an awesome way to wrap up race season if you ask me.
Despite having run a half marathon, this was only the second official 5K I've run, but I ran hard and I'm ultimately happy with how well my body did in the cold and up the hills (you all know how I feel about hills!).
This race proved to me that I am now fully ensconced in the running world ... Only people out of their minds who truly like to run sign up for a race on a day when the forecast calls for freezing rain and snow simply to run 3.1 miles "for fun." Somehow, I now truly love the sport even though I hated it when I first started. I know I've said that before, but it honestly shocks me that I enjoy this running thing now.
The other reason today was an awesome way to end my race season was because I was surrounded by friends -- most of whom are new friends I met through running and through this blog. My "work husband" ran the race with me Sunday, which is fitting because he and I ran my very first 5K ever together, and it meant so much to have him run my last race of the year "with" me (I put the term in quotes because he is a speed demon and would have to slow down considerably to actually run "with" me).
One of my other secret fitness gurus, Craig was also there: He's been a huge supporter of mine from the first word I wrote on this blog, and he's the one who convinced me to run yesterday as well. Maybe you saw him on the course: He was the one carrying a giant Santa sack that held a boombox on his back that was blaring holiday music. My #plankADay buddy was also there: pursuing her own personal record after I said I wanted to hit a PR myself.
And finally, a new friend (Hi, Dan!) was there to also run "with" me -- another speed demon! Because of Dan, I met more folks who love to run, and I'm already scheming about what races I'll do in 2013.
Today wasn't just about running at a good pace, it was about fully embracing the new me and hoping all of these amazing people will be running beside me in the new year. Although the act of running itself can be very solitary, I've found another "family" in my running buddies and through this blog, and that means more to me than any pace ever will.