I’ve never done a Team Ortho event before today, even though I’ve driven the Team Ortho truck! While I was sitting around the house over winter break I decided I should do a 5k on New Years Day to celebrate the new year and to jump start my training. I’ve not been running much lately and a 5k is doable on little training. I did some research and Team Ortho’s Polar Dash came out ontop. They offered a 13.1, 10k, and a 5k. The 5k was going to be plenty far, especially with the projected temperatures.
Nadia and I went to the Team Ortho warehouse for packet pick-up and there were penguins everywhere! It took her a little while to warm up to the stuffed penguin and the penguin hat but she eventually did. I think Wayne got some better pics of her than mine, but they aren’t posted anywhere yet. Overall, packet pickup went smoothly and relatively quickly. Team Ortho was also letting you get your packet for the Get Lucky 7k in March and offering you a chance to sign up for their race series. No pushing anything though which was nice!
Race morning was a little weird since the 5k didn’t start until 11:13. The 10k and Half both started at 9am so when I arrived around 10:30 people were still finishing both races. I was able to get a few pictures of random finishers. The race village had a few warming tents, gear check, and a tent to buy gear. I stayed out in the cold (when I finished my race my phone updated to +4f), wandered around, and let my feet go numb!
When the time came to start the race I checked my bag and wandered up to the start area. There was a huge clump of people in the back and then in the front there was hardly anyone around – this was a little odd. Odder still that several people who started in front of me were walking within the first 100 yards. Given my lack of training and the cold, cold temps I had no expectations for today’s race. I knew the 22:06 I ran in November wasn’t in the cards!
I went out at what felt like a comfortable pace, passing a few people. It was interesting to see how others had dressed for the race. One guy was only wearing shorts, gloves, and arm warmers (no shirt) while I lined up next to a woman wearing snow pants (she actually did fairly well 27:22). And everything in between. I was pretty comfortable in my tights and warm-up pants on bottom and my nice Mizuno long sleeve shirt under a fleecy sweatshirt. I wore a baklava and hat and my Saucony running gloves. My biggest clothing complaint were my toes and fingers. I should have thrown the Smart Wool socks on over my compression socks and duct taped my shoes. I also probably should have worn some actual winter gloves. By the end of the race though everything was thawing out and felt ok. I’ve had some experiences with running in cold temps before (-21 degrees and actually a good post about cold weather attire and when I ran the Frozen Half at -11) and should have gone back to them. I’m the scary guy below in the gray baklava.
I felt fine until we hit one of the first sustained grades. As we kept going up I could feel that my body wasn’t exactly ready for any real work. I kept going and kept reminding myself to relax and not kill myself on the way out. Seeing 8:39 didn’t seem to be out of place for my effort and I felt fine with that. I didn’t think I’d be able to go much faster, but I knew there would be some downhills on the way back so the chance of an even split or negative split was in the realm of possibility!
After the Lake Street bridge we climbed up to the University of St Thomas. This hill is a little steeper and I was definitely feeling it. About half way up the hill is when I saw the leaders coming back down the out and back course. We crested the hill and stayed on the River Road heading down a little to the turn around point. I hit the turn around at 13:34 and started back toward home! I was definitely starting to feel the burn both in my lungs and legs – a combination of the cold and lack of fitness I’m sure. I came through the second mile at 17:22 (8:43).
I knew I had slowed down a little bit and wanted to at least even split the 1.55 mile segments but I didn’t really have anything in the tank. So I just held on! I wanted to fight and not let people pass me but I also didn’t want to do anything stupid and I had no other gear available. I came through the 3rd mile at 26:13 (8:51) and tried to do a little bit of a pickup at the end. I finished in 27:01 on my Garmin and 27:04 officially. 8:42 or 8:43 pace respectively. I truly can’t complain!
I finished! Got me some hot chocolate, my medal, chips, banana, water bottle and granola. I picked up my bag loitered around a bit and walked back to my car.
Did I mention that this race had some nice swag? A full-zip fleece jacket and penguin hat (which most people raced in), 2013 glasses, and a nice stained glass finishers medal.
Did you race into the new year? How’d it go?