Valentine's Day 5K

Saturday, February 13, 2016

This winter has been very mild and we have been really lucky. But of course my running curse is alive and well. The last two weekends were in the 40s. Next weekend is supposed to be in the 40s but of course today was -2 degrees. Seriously?

We are getting smarter when it comes to these cold weather races. We got the race just as the national anthem was being sung which means we didn’t have to stand around in the cold weather. This race was at Lake Harriet. We have run many races at Lake Harriet. All of them go counterclockwise around the lake except this one. I hate running clockwise around this lake because the only hills happen near the end of second mile. When you run the counterclockwise way, you get the hills out the way in the first mile so the last two you can cruise. If this race went the other way, I would have had a much better time. I’ll get to the reason later.

The event was sold at 2,000 people only 1,476 showed up.  That is only 74%!  That means 26% of the registered racers wimped out. If you live in Minnesota, you must  embrace the cold. Yes it was cold but you  know what I wore too many layers and was roasting! Yes it was -2 but I was HOT! The first mile went well. I got my pace under 12 again which makes me happy. I’d like to get back under 11s again but I’m working on it. Nothing too exciting with the first mile other than warming up too quick and wanting to strip layers. But I pressed one.

Mile two brought us to the south side of the lake. Last year this was where the 16 mph winds blasted us off the lake. This year there was no wind. That was a blessing! I was happy that I was able to run most of the first two miles. The only reason I actually walked was a women pushed me to the outside of the road where there was ice. I wasn’t about to fall so I walked gingerly over the ice and blasted past her. I was very annoyed with here. Near the end of mile two were the two sort of long, steep hills. I was running up the first hill and was doing great. But half way up I hit a road block of people who were walking. I couldn’t get around them and once you stop running up a hill it is so hard to start again. I got to the top and sprinted down the hill and started up the next hill where again I ran into a road block. If we ran this race the other way, most of these people would probably be running these hills and I wouldn’t have hit the road block. By running the other way, all the people who haven’t trained properly are tired when they get to the hills and walk.  Oh well. My pace before the hills for this lap was under 11 but with the walking my pace jumped to 12:22. Darn!

I tried my best to run most of the last mile. I finally got too hot and took off my stocking cap. My head was soaked!  The band shell was in my sights so I knew that the finish was around the bend. I was weaving around walkers at this point. I saw the finish line and thought I had a chance to break into the 36s again so I sprinted the last quarter of mile, topping out at an 8:00 pace to the finish…my time was 37:00.07. Damn, I was so close!

I stood in a long line for water and chips and hot chocolate. We didn’t hang around as I was starting to get cold. Like I said before my hair was soaking wet and the cold was starting to affect me. As we walked to the car, we walked up some steps there were not shoveled and of course I fell and spilled my hot HOT chocolate all over my hands, bib and sweatshirt. I didn’t hurt myself except for the hand I caught myself with. Eric took all the stuff from my hands so I could get my gloves back on. I was so glad to get back the car and warm up again.

I made a critical cold weather running mistake. I dressed too warm, got too sweaty and eventually the sweat froze and I was freezing.

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