Monday, January 2, 2012

first race of 2012

Waiting for the start of the Polar Dash 5k. See the banner
snapping in the wind? Gusts of about 40 mph made for a brisk run yesterday!
Yesterday the husband and I almost missed the first race of the year.  Once again, we signed up for the Polar Dash 5k.  We had our choice of 5k, 10k and Half Marathon, but Minnesota winters being unpredictable as they are, we KNOW we can pound out a 5k in most conditions, but a 10k or Half Marathon if the weather is truly awful?  I know my we went with the 5k.

We've done this race for the last couple of years.  It's a great way to kick off the New Year and doesn't start at an impossibly early hour after a night of fun.  We did our usual New Year's Eve pre-race prep: fondue (steak, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and had two pots going - the husband is a traditionalist and likes to cook his fondue in oil; I prefer my concoction of beef broth, red wine, dried mushrooms, herbs and garlic), I made two yummy dipping sauces: chipotle mayo and creamy horseradish; we also had baked potatoes, cheese fondue with bread and apples, and for dessert we had some Don Julio 1942 and decadent chocolates.  Who wouldn't be able to run a kick-ass race with that kind of fuel in the tank?

I assumed the race start time was the same this year as it has been for the last two years (11:00), and you know what happens when you assume.  Because of the rain/snow/ice we got hit with on New Year's Eve, I decided to look at the website as I was getting ready yesterday morning to see if there were any warnings or changes due to the weather.  That was when I noticed the asterisk:

Polar Dash 5K Highlights

  • *NEW 10:15 a.m. Start Time (10K & Half start at 10:00 a.m.)
  • Hot Chocolate at the Finish Line
  • Unisex Polar Dash fleece
  • Stained-glass medal
  • Bib/gear mailing option during online registration only -- until December 16, 2011
  • Bag Drop/Pick-up
  • Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis is the beneficiary for this race.  It does fabulous orthopaedic work for children all over the U.S.

Doh!  So instead of 45 minutes to get ready and head out the door, we now had about 5 minutes.  How we both missed that little detail I have no idea.  I would have been so pissed if we'd gotten all the way over there and then found out we missed the race!!  It's all about planning and preparation, people!

The right shoes for the job.
Anywhoo, we got dressed and were on our way.  Found a place to park and headed for the start line.  It turned out just fine, and as a bonus we didn't have to stand around for too long since the race was starting in just 15 minutes.  Although it was warm out (26 degrees or so) it was WINDY! Gusts up to 40 mph, with a headwind after the turnaround. That made the second half feel pretty tough.  

Because of the crappy road conditions, I wore my sassy trail shoes.  They were awesome on the snow and ice! Last year we had about 2 feet of snow so I wore my YakTrax.  They were good on the snowy portions but sucked where the pavement was clear. The trail shoes handled the transitions much better and you gotta love the way they look!

So, back to the race.  It's a "fun run" which means no chip timing this year.  (Also a change from last year.)  Lots of walkers and first-timers.  Although it can be frustrating to weave through the slow traffic, it's super fun to see them crossing the finish line of their first 5k looking SO excited and you just know they are feeling that awesome sense of accomplishment!  

The race went quick!  I lost the husband after the first mile - I thought he was right behind me heading up the big hill but when I turned around, I didn't see him in the mass of runners. Heartless wife that I am, I just went ahead and ran my race, figuring I'd find him at the finish. And I did.  Garmin Electra kept pace for me and didn't pull any stunts.  It's so nice when she cooperates.

Avg Pace
5k finishers!
Check it out: last year's time on the exact same course was 35:25.  I was instructed to go slow last year because I was nursing an injury, but I don't think I would have been much faster even if I pushed it.  This year, even with the ice and nasty headwind, my time was 30:13.  And I wasn't pushing it at all, I was just having a nice easy run.  I'd say that's an improvement!  (Of course now I wish I had pushed it because I could have started the year off with a PR, albeit unofficial.  Dammit!  Oh well.) And maybe if we had fueled the machine a little better the night before I could have run a little faster....nah, that's just me talking crazy.

So anyway, for day one of my challenges: move for 30 minutes - check.  Run at least a mile - check.
Clean eating?  Ummmm, not so much.  But let's not talk about that now.  

How did your first day of New Year challenges go?  


  1. Look how freaking speedy you are getting!! I am so excited to see you again in June :)

  2. Hey Bobbi! Can't wait to see you again too! We'll have to do another meet-up for sure.


Hey, don't be shy, leave a comment!! I'd love to hear from you!!