Early Saturday morning was MUCH colder than I expected it to be.  The weather forecast was for 40ish degrees at the 9:00 start and in the 50’s by the time I finished.  I was expecting to leave the house in capris and possibly a short sleeved shirt.  When the thermometer read 25 degrees at 6:00 I was second guessing myself.  Instead I dressed in a thin pair of tights and a loose fitting wicking long sleeved shirt.  I probably should have gone with my first choice since I got a little warm, but overall it wasn’t too bad since the trails were heavily shaded and the pretty thick brush held in the coolness from the morning.

The hubby and I arrived at Lake Houston Wilderness Park around 7:45 to pick up my packet.  The parking area was probably half a mile from the packet pick up/start line.  It was SO cold.  At nearly 8:00 the temps still hadn’t risen above freezing.  I figured there was no way it would warm up as much as they had forecasted.  I was feeling pretty good about what I wore, even though I was shivering uncontrollably on the trek to the start line.  Once I found a spot by the campfire they had all was well.

The national anthem was sung a capella by the runners.  It was the most moving race start I’ve ever witnessed.  The runner next to me was a voice coach by trade and boy could she sing!

And we’re off!  I’m in white between the lady in the pink jacket and the one in the leopard head band.  I was feeling good about the course because it was said to be much drier than last year.  I ran the 5K last year and most of it was ankle deep mud.  It was slow going for sure.

We started off on the trails and it wasn’t too bad.  We hit the 1 mile marker and my Garmin was reading 0.80 miles.  The runner in front of me said the same thing about hers.  They had told us that the 10 mile course was actually 10.2 miles but I figured it would be anyone’s guess at the end.  My Garmin reliably showed me 0.2 – 0.3 miles short at each mile marker.

Miles 3 – 6 were logging roads.  Flat, shaded and clear of roots and debris.  I paced myself off a lady just in front of me who seemed to be averaging 10:25.  That’s spot on with what the McMillan pace calculator shows for my 10 mile pace.  It felt good so I stuck with it.  The lady fell… TWICE.  I helped her up both times.  She was just fine and finished shortly after I did.

Not too long after the 6 mile marker we ran through a field and come down a steep 15ish foot slope.  I knew in my heart that the going would be rough from there on.  I was right.  We were back on the trails in the woods and it was lots of ups and downs and twisting turns.  I had passed a couple of guys around mile 4 and I knew they were pretty close behind me.  I was faster when the trail leveled out but they were faster on the rougher terrain.  I made it my life’s mission to beat them.

Coming around the very last turn and out of the woods (FINALLY).

You can see the two guys that had been barely trailing me for the past 6 miles.  I beat them!

My clock time was 1:55 and come change.  The chip times aren’t posted yet but I can’t wait to see what it was officially.  They offer post race beer and BBQ but I my stomach just wasn’t feeling it.  I grabbed a Gatorade and the hubby and I headed home.

Later that day I spent 5 1/2 hours in the kitchen with my daughters making cookies for their Valentine’s at school.  They turned out great!  I love the anti-pink and red colors that they chose.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone!