(This is a long post, I attempted to edit it, but decided I’d rather tell a full story than just give race highlights, so please enjoy!)
Yesterday was the Securian Winter Run. It offers a 5k, 10k, and half marathon (there are people crazier than me). I selected the 10k because I thought I’d be a good way to start off Marathon Training (I thought my program started February 1, but actually starts February 17). I’m happy to say I finished, and I beat one of my time goals! I like to have multiple goals when going into a race. The #1 goal is always to finish, as long as I finish I’m happy with any other results. So far I’ve finished every race I’ve started, although I know that may not always be the case.
Goal #2 was to finish in 1 hour 15 minutes, which would be a 12 minute mile pace. Given the temperature was about 5 degrees I figured I’d be close to that. However I made Goal #3 to finish in 1 hour 10 minutes (and 11 minute mile pace). Because its always good to push yourself.
I bundled up and hung out in the Securian lobby with the other
crazies runners. I always have some issues getting to races, mainly when they give an address or location for the race start, but don’t give clear directions for parking. I typed the address into my gps, and once I got close used the directions they had on the website for parking and had zero issues!
I plan on doing a separate post this week on how I layer my clothes for a successful winter run, but I will say that the neck warmer from Lululemon is amazing! It kept me warm without freezing, and it was stretchy enough that I was able to put my gloves in it when my hands started to overheat.
Prior to the start I chatted with a girl who was also running the 10k and is training for the Fargo Marathon. Since her race is a month before Grandma’s she’s already into her training program, and I am impressed! I would not be able to start a program when we are still in the middle of winter. Once I was lined up for the start another woman and I chatted about how today wasn’t a day to break records, as long as we held a steady pace and didn’t burn out at the end we would be happy!
When the race started my feet felt like blocks of ice. I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to run, and also knew that I didn’t want to walk 6 miles or drop out. So I kept going. One of my secrets to staying positive during a race is to have a completely new playlist to keep me entertained. I usually make them a day or two before the race and always have my ipod on shuffle, so I won’t know whats next. The other thing that helps is to smile and encourage other runners.
We ran through the downtown to Rice Park and did a loop around the ice sculptures. Its a shame that the race is at 9 in the morning because the park was dead, and didn’t look exciting enough for me to go back to.
There were quite a few hills on this course, and I haven’t been on hilly terrain in a few months, so the first few really took it out of me. Also, I need to work on how to properly go down a hill, I tend to dig my heels in, which I’m guessing is not the recommended way for runners.
I’m not sure where I was in mileage when I realized I tied my shoes too tight and was getting blisters on my insoles. But I thought back on Nicole’s Marathon and realized there was no point in stopping to try and fix the situation. In reality I didn’t have half as bad of a situation, and I took a picture after the race to show off the blister, but I’ll save you from seeing that.
There weren’t any mile markers until we got to the river and I saw a sign that said “5k Turn around” And later saw a sign for the “10 k 4 mile” the guy running behind me said “huh, i thought we were much farther than that” And I commiserated with him. I was ready to be done, and was starting to realize that my legs had gone from warmed up to frozen. After the long out and back stretch along the river we had to go back uphill to get to the finish. The guy I had been running with for the second half of the race was ahead of me and really picked up speed for the hill. The women around me were mostly keeping their pace or walking up the hill. I decided to follow the guys lead and picked up my pace. It burned my lungs, and didn’t feel pretty but also gave me a little adrenaline boost. Once I rounded the corner I saw a car creeping down the road toward me, I realize somehow he and gone around the cones and was attempting to get somewhere. I just ran around him, but hoped the runners behind me were paying attention!
The start/finish line wasn’t very decorated and there were no spectators so I didn’t realize I was nearing the finish line until it was half a block away, but I dug in and was able to finish with 1 hour 12 minutes! I stretched a bit and went inside to get my goody bag and treats! (The best part of races are the post-race treats.) Today’s race I saw something for the first time, and it was delicious!
Captain Ken’s Chilli! Yes it was about 10 am, but was the best thing possible to warm my body. I considered going back to get some more, but decided a real breakfast was probably a better option.
Overall: This is a race for dedicated runners, I would not recommend it for a first time runner. The course was very boring, had no crowd support, and was too early in the morning considering the weather. The race may have started at 9 am, but would have been much more enjoyable if it was at 11 am or noon. Although for people who want to test their limits, this would be a good option!