Monday, January 7

New Year's Day Commitment Day Race, St. Louis

I started 2013 out with a bang: my first race on the first day of the year! I signed up for the Commitment Day race in St. Louis, Missouri back in November. Why St. Louis? Well, I learned about the Commitment Day race via Twitter and was psyched about the idea, but the closest races to me were in Cleveland, Columbus, or D.C. I've been to those places before... And when the NYC Marathon was cancelled, I suddenly had an airline ticket I needed to use pronto. So after discussing possibilities and flight prices with my boyfriend, we decided that St. Louis would be a great place to visit--neither of us had been there before, there were many things to do and see (both indoor and outdoor), and there was a Commitment Day race there on 1/1/13!

The flight on the way there was awful, to be frank. I misjudged the right day to try to travel for New Year's... 12/30 is not the day, at least not for a 6 a.m. flight.After we arrived, we rested and in the evening we went to the St. Louis Zoo's "Wild Lights" event to see light displays of animals you'd normally see at the zoo! The indoor portions of the zoo were open to the public (but were crowded since they were warm), but this included PENGUINS! Despite the fishy aroma, we took our time watching the penguins. So adorable.

The next day we learned why not to travel to a city where you don't know anyone else for a holiday: nothing is open. We had a number of things we wanted to do, but they were all closed. I expected some places to close, but I hadn't really anticipated mass exodus. We made do with what was open and stuck with our dinner reservations at a fancy steakhouse. We ate whatever we wanted! (The bill was more than my car payment!) But we never do that kind of thing and it was really an epicurean experience.

The race was Tuesday, 1/1/13 at 10 a.m., and it was FREEZING outside. I hadn't ever run in such cold conditions. Usually when it's below 40, I go to the treadmill because of my asthma. I've been trying to ease myself into cold weather with the training group I'm in, but this was by and large the coldest experience yet! It was about 20 degrees. Oww. The race wasn't huge, but the crowd that was there huddled together and shook for warmth.

Running was exactly what I needed to do that morning. I was ready to warm up. The 5k route was mostly flat (what I expected for Midwest), with a few rolling hills (a la Pennsylvania). The volunteers on the course were so sweet, cheering for us and holding cups of mostly frozen water... I slowed down and took one to drink even though it was so cold I choked on it a little.

I was able to stay focused for the duration. I focused on my form and my breathing to keep my asthma in check, and I was successful. This was also my first race wearing my facemask. (I plan to write a review soon!)

I finished in 34:04. I'm proud of that time for a few reasons. 1) I did not have an asthma attack, 2) I slowed down to catch my breath to make sure I wouldn't have to stop altogether, 3) I've never run when it's this cold, so I'm grateful to know I can do it, and 4) this is a better time than I did for a 5k midsummer (in humidity).

We spent the rest of our time in St. Louis exploring various restaurants and museums. If you're looking for a relatively inexpensive place to visit in the near future, consider St. Louis. We enjoyed our time there. (And if you want recommendations, I'm happy to tell you a few places to try! Just drop me a line!)

2013 is off to a great start! Let's keep it up!

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