Some of you saw this video clip a few days ago. Let’s get on with the real race recap, shall we?
I’m not quite sure why I keep subjecting myself to these insanely cold winter races, but I do. New Year’s Day 2011, I ran the Hopeful 5K in an ice storm, -11 degrees, and 25 mph winds. I PR’d by over 2 minutes, and it was the race that made me realize I don’t need no stinkin music blasting in my ears to run. If I said that one felt good, I’d be lying. Nobody likes having icicles hanging off their eyelashes.
Anyways…enough about last year, let’s talk about 2012, eh? New Year’s Eve proved to be a bit tricky as we officially got our first “snow storm” of the year. The good Lord bestowed upon us the crappiest weather thus far all winter on the night when the world wants to be out celebrating. Go figure. Fortunately the hubs and I spend every NYE in our home, doing fondue and playing Scrabble; all while hanging out with Dick Clark. But my good buddy, L-Jo, and I spent most of the night texting back and forth about our tentative race plans for the following morning and the weather. The poor girl was stuck working security at our hospital that night and dealing with drunks missing limbs and claiming mayorship over the streets of downtown. Her texts to me lended themselves to a few fits of laughter that brought tears from my eyes.
After watching NBC (or whatever station that broadcasted Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve) totally go to a BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH right as the ball “dropped” at midnight, I was promptly in bed and under the covers at 12:03AM. 5 AM sure came fast. I woke up, got ready to go and forced a whole wheat bagel with pb down my throat. The plan was for me to get on the road and call L-Jo if the roads were too horrendous for us to get there.
They weren’t. In fact, major props goes out to MNDOT for being on top of things. The freeway drive to pick her up was like nothing had even happened. So impressed. The race route would prove to be a different scenario, however.
I picked up my buddy from a local mall parking lot and we realized I’d jumped the gun a bit on time and went over to McD’s for some coffee and a little bit more to eat. Yes, I had a couple sips of coffee. I was filled in on all the work drama from the night before and shed a few more tears of laughter. This girl has some massively good stories. I thought I had some good ones from work. Nope. Not even close.
The 2012 Polar Dash was put on by Team Ortho (the same race organization that put on my Monster Dash 10-miler) and the proceeds went to help funds for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital here in Minny.
We got to the parking lot and proceeded to be amazed by all the people flipping and flopping around and almost falling on their butts due to the layer of black ice on the ground. Our worries about breaking our necks or some sort of limb turned into nervous laughter, as you can see by watching the video link I posted above.
After slowly tip-toeing our way to the “limo” *cough*yellowschoolbusshuttle*cough*, we were shipped over to the race site a couple of miles away. Upon arriving to the race site, we met up with L-Jo’s friend, Ashley, and also my good twitter buddy, Bill and his wife, Becky!!! I was so thrilled to meet them. Bill and I were at the TC 10K together but didn’t even know it in October. In fact, our race times were within 1 SECOND of each other! Bill came in at 56:39 and I came in at 56:40! How bizarre is that? Bill and Becky drove all the way from the Green Bay area just for race weekend with their family. They, like many of us, could not resist the lure of the 1/2 zip polar fleece race swag! Please excuse our satanic red eyes.
Bill was the crazy one running the 1/2 marathon that morning. Becky was the sane one running the 5K with us! After wishing Bill the best, he headed out to take on the course in temps in the teens, black ice, snow, and 30+ mph winds. Like I said. “Crazy.”
After a few more minutes of gabbing in the warming area, Becky, L-Jo, Ashley and I headed to the start line for the 5K. No real plan other than just to get through it. At the start of the race, we all managed to stay together for at least the 1st mile. It was mildly frustrating to break out of the crowd because we only got half the street and several hills to run up as the 10K and 1/2ers had the other side to come back on. We ended up getting separated at some point and I just tried to survive at that point. The course was an out and back and the whole front end was a steady incline. That’s not so fun when you’re running into people, trying not to slip on black ice, and you can’t feel your feet. I knew coming back I’d have an advantage with the downhill, but I was already running 1:30+ slower pace than I normally do on average training runs.
The whole race was kinda a blur because I’m pretty sure we were all just trying to survive. The wind wasn’t so bad going out, but coming back, I literally felt like the wind gusts were pushing me backwards at times. I pushed through to the very end and crossed the finish line in 29:47. Blech. It was officially my worst 5K time since April of 2011. A solid 2:28 slower than my current PR time. But you know what? Wind, ice, snow, and extreme temps just might have played a role in that.
Whatever. I was pissed at first, but then reality sorta set in. See? Numbers. They mess with your brain. It’s ridiculous.
After crossing the finish line, we all got our medals. Yep. We got medals for the 5K. And you had better believe we deserved it for running in those conditions. Medal #2 to go on the wall.
Becky and I attempted to go see Bill at the halfway point for the 1/2 marathon but weren’t able to catch him. Rather than freeze our butts off any more, we headed back to the warming tent to wait out a bit to see him at the end.
Bill ended up coming in a little over 2 hours and the 3 of us, while cold, had a blast cheering in all the 1/2 marathoners as they crossed the finish line. I don’t think I’ve screamed that hard or that loud in a long time. I almost didn’t have a voice left by the end of our time there. The volunteers weren’t screaming (the people in the penguin suits seemed a little “over it” by that point in the freezing temps and wind), so L-Jo and I made up for their lack of enthusiasm. We got a bit choked up over the people who just emptied the tank right at the end and gave every single ounce of their frozen being to get across strong. Massive props go out to you all who ran the 1/2. Heck there was no way I was even doing the 10K in those conditions. I just about died with 3.1 miles.
Here’s Bill after downing some hot chocolate as we rode on the shuttle back to the parking lot. He got a fab medal too…and he REALLY earned it. Way to go, my friend!
Even though the conditions were less than ideal for a race, we all managed to have a wonderful time and a great day celebrating the new year. I’m so thankful we were able to meet up with Bill and Becky and I look forward to many more races with them in the future. They’ve got a few in the works here in Minny this year! Always so nice to make new friends!
I got my first 3.1 miles in for the year and I’m happy to report that I didn’t die! Will I be back for another New Year’s run next year? Yep.
Official Garmin time (no chip time): 29:47