Greetings from Minnesota. It was -15 when I got up this morning and about -10 when the start gun fired at the “frozen” 5-K I had arrived for.
I got up this morning and just decided that yes, I was going to race. Sure it was cold, but the wind was light and it wasn’t snowing. Sounds good enough to me. I asked my husband if he wanted to go with, and I tried enticing him by describing the sausage, eggs, and French toast spread that would be served after.
Didn’t work. I think he may have mentioned I was nuts ( in a loving way 🙂 ) before he told me to have fun and to try not to break anything. (that was my goal as well!)
About 100 other runners showed up in varying degrees of winter attire. Most common was the look I was sporting: a pair of tights with a layer of pants over them, 2-3 layers on top, and hat, neck/face warmer and gloves or mittens.
Some people were hardcore enough to literally just be wearing a single pair of tights and what looked like a t-shirt and light windbreaker. That really is nuts. I had 4 thin layers on top and was happy to be quite comfortable.
The course was nice… but treacherous. It was a pretty, slightly hilly out and back by a lake, but the roads were not free of snow and ice. The organizers had done their best to scrape off the roads and apply sand, but icy patches were lurking with every step.
I barely had my gloves on when the starting gun went off, and I hurried to get out of a crowded starting pack. Luckily I’ve been doing a fair amount of outdoor running this winter, but I’ve never done a race on snowy roads. I know I added some extra distance by swerving up from side to side on the road to find the dryest patches to run on, but obviously everyone else had the same conditions to deal with.
Coming up the last hill I totally thought I may just slide right back down if I didn’t keep up enough momentum. (I’m sure it wouldn’t have actually happened, but in my mind I could envision myself tumbling backward.) Luckily I don’t think anyone fell, so either we’re all seasoned outdoor runners or everyone was racing was a little extra caution.
I gave the last 1/4 mile everything I had left as my lungs were burning in the freezing -10 temperatures. I crossed the line and saw 26:xx, and felt pretty okay. My PR is 25:42, and I’d made a little deal with myself at about the halfway point that if I could at least run mid-27:xx the race wouldn’t be a total failure.
I posed for a quick picture once I finished so I could show my husband (and my fabulous readers) my killer eyelash icicles. It wasn’t just me that looked like this, most people were sporting some pretty frosty faces at the finish.
If I hadn’t done this race, I would have run 7-8 today, so I decided I should try to put in a few more miles. Once I caught my breath I headed down the opposite direction and managed another 2 miles. That doesn’t quite equal 7, but I think a 5K race counts for extra today. 😉
Final time was 26:37 (8:34 pace). I’m definitely satisfied given that it’s only about 45 seconds off my PR, but I think every runner will admit they always feel like they should have been able to go “just a little bit faster.”
I was 14th of 42 women, and a nice little surprise was I took 1st in the 20-29 age group. The 30-39 and 40-49 age groups kicked our butts, and I hope to be doing that someday once I hit those groups!
So my family might think I’m a little crazy, but I got the racing bug satisfied for a few more months until spring races. My upper left leg is still hurting after I run (Grr..), so now I’m trying to decide what my running plan of action is.
I’ve got a busy weekend at the farm a head, and I have a calf-related blog post in the works. It may take a few days to put together, so be expecting something entitled “Ten and Twenty” in a day or two. Enjoy the weekend!
Share your best caption for my race picture… I’m expecting some creativity here 🙂