FROZEN PENGUIN 5K — MARCH 12, 2017
Official Time: 26.28
Average Pace: 8:32/MILE
My editor is going to be so mad at me if I can’t type by the end of this.
This was the first thought that flashed through my mind as I ran out of a tunnel in Riverside Park and onto a straight, picturesque stretch of pavement along the Hudson River. I was a little over a mile into the NYC Runs’ Frozen Penguin 5K, and the race was living up to its adorable (and regrettably accurate) name.
It was just after nine a.m. on a crystal clear Sunday morning, and about 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Because I enjoy tormenting myself, I also looked up the “real feel” temperature before the race. 19 degrees.
While running, I like to check in with my body every once in awhile to make sure nothing’s feeling off. That’s when I realized I couldn’t feel the middle and ring fingers on my left hand. Being right handed and far from ambidextrous, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern — save the pesky frostbite risk — but given that I’m an author with a fast-approaching deadline it was cause for concern.
My editor, Marla Daniels, is incredibly supportive and understanding, however the idea of emailing her Monday morning to report that I had two non-functional digits which I rely upon to type those novels she’s contracted for me was a little unsettling.
Hope you had a great weekend! Something funny happened yesterday. Really, you’re going to laugh. Probably.
I was doing this race and my fingers froze. Like froze froze. I can’t feel a couple of them. As you can guess, that’s kind of a problem.
Soooo…I’m trying the old “hunt and peck” method of typing right now. I’ll let you know how it goes when I turn in this book in three weeks! Hopefully. Probably. Wish me luck!
PS Please send deadline pie.
Yeah, that wasn’t going to fly.
I started wiggling my fingers to get the blood circulating again, trying to remain philosophical about the whole thing. Maybe frostbite could come in handy for future book research. You’d be surprised how many real life events work their way into plots — twisted and changed enough to protect the guilty parties, of course.
As I rounded the top of the esplanade where a helpful NYC Runs volunteer bundled up as tightly as an arctic explorer waved me on, my legs started to feel…weird. It took me a moment to realize it was because I was sweating, and when that sweat hit the sub-freezing temperatures it was making my skin prick and tingle.
I was left with a choice:
A) Run slower, sweat less, and finish the race slower, thus resigning myself to more time stuck outdoors in New York-turned-Siberia.
B) Run faster, sweat more, and finish the race faster, therefore getting myself out of the cold ASAP.
I opted for the latter.
The NYC Runs course looped me around a series of paths with gentle hills, passed something called Dinosaur Playground (I was sorely disappointed not to spot any dinosaurs, but maybe I missed them while trying to remember how to breath), and down a mostly flat straight to the finish line. I crossed at a respectable 26:28 with an 8:32/mile average pace.
To be truthful, I’m a little disappointed my time wasn’t faster. Granted this was the coldest weather I’ve ever run in, so that probably effected my time, but I’ve been working on speed drills and trying to get my legs turning over faster. I suppose those things take time to sink into your muscles. I also kicked into high gear in the second mile (8:15?! I haven’t run an 8:15 mile since high school, you guys), but dropped off at the end. Guess I’m going to work on those negative splits running coaches always talk about…
Once I crossed the finish line, a kind volunteer shoved a cup of hot chocolate in my hands. Sipping what tasted like warm elixir from the gods but was probably just massive batches of Swiss Miss, I found my friend, Nicole, and together we waited for the third member of our merry band of runners to finish his first 5K. Nigel and I had been talking about new year’s resolutions a few days after the start of 2017, and he mentioned that he wanted to run a 5K. Being the helpful/pestering friend I am, I found him this one, and we signed up.
Getting to watch someone not just complete one of their resolutions but do it while smiling despite the less-than-desirable conditions was without question the best part of the race.
Big things, little things, I believe in celebrating all achievements so, hot chocolate in hand, we trooped out of the park for brunch.
And don’t worry, Marla, my fingers came back to life about a half hour later while wrapped around a hot cup of coffee.