Last weekend, I ran my first race of the year: a valentines 5k. I’ve been working really hard on HIIT the last few months, but haven’t been doing a ton of running outside. I wasn’t really sure where my training was at, but I was hoping to be near a PR.
As the race approached, the weather conditions looked worse and worse. We had freezing rain, and then a lot of snow, and then were being hit with below-zero cold. Race morning was expected to be 12 below temperatures, and I was a little surprised they didn’t cancel due to the conditions. But, I do live in Minnesota and it’s a February race!
I almost liked that it was as cold as it was, because there was no option other than to bundle up. I had 2 pairs of pants, 2 tops, a fleece, a jacket, and a vest, a neck warmer that could pull over my face, and heavy mittens with hand warmers. I struggle with how many layers to wear when it’s cold, since your body warms up as you run, but you also don’t want to freeze to death as you wait for the race to start. With it being so cold, I knew just to wear all of the layers!
I wasn’t sure what shoe to wear either. I’ve mostly been running in my Nike Structure 21’s which are a pretty heavy stability shoe that I would normally use for outside in the winter, but they are so heavy and not fast. I got a new pair of Nike Pegasus Turbos that I was hoping to wear, but they run small and I didn’t know if I could wear thick socks in them. I also planned to bring my Due North spikes for over the shoes, but wanted to wait to see the road conditions. I’ve never raced in them and didn’t want to end up running in dry pavement in them.
Race morning, I got ready and headed out to my car. I realized right away that my toes were cold, and ran back inside and grabbed a second pair of socks. I have thin wool blend lululemon socks that I thought would be okay, but I grabbed a second pair and just hoped it wouldn’t give me blisters wearing 2 pairs. I also put on my spikes, but as I drove up, the roads looked dry, so I planned to take them off and leave them in the car.
As I got out of the car, I actually ended up forgetting to take my spikes off, but thought I could just pop them off when I got to the start line and keep them in my pocket. As I got to the start line, I realized the road actually was icy and was happy I had them on! The race had little fire pits to stay warm, and then there was a little walk to the start line, which was nice to jog in order to get warmed up.
The beginning of the race was frustrating, because a lot of slower people lined up at the front of the group. I think because we had to walk to the start, people just got to the front area and stopped, instead of lining up according to pace. I’ve actually never seen a race so bad in the beginning and lost some time and energy weaving around people for the first ¼ mile. Everyone is welcome to run the pace they want, but it’s just polite to make sure you aren’t really in the way of other people.
Once I got past the slower people, it was fine. The cold wasn’t super fun, but didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I find it difficult to breathe through a mask, so I ended up pulling it off my face. I noticed I had a lot better traction that the runners that weren’t wearing spikes, and started passing lots of people. My double layer socks didn’t bother my feet, but my spikes did start to pinch my toes a little. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hold the pace I was going, but noticed I was running a 7:16 mile, which was slower than I wanted to be. I didn’t think I would PR the race with the conditions, but I secretly hoped to still run sub-7 minute miles.
The next 2 miles were fine. It wasn’t fun but it also wasn’t super painful. I tried to keep pace with some people around me, but was able to slowly keep passing people. I ran mile 2 in 7:09, and mile 3 in 7:05. By the end I was struggling a little, but I could tell this guy kept trying to pass me and that’s always good motivation to not let someone get ahead. I was able to sprint the last .12 and saw the clock was over 22 minutes, but I was still pretty proud of my effort.
I ended up with a time of 22:12, and a 7:09 pace. I finished 28th out of 1115 people, which I am so proud of! I finished 7th out of 696 females, and 3rd out of 107 in my age group. I always doubt myself so much, so seeing where I stack up makes me really proud of how hard I work. I didn’t beat my goal time, but looking at everyone else’s times, it was a slow day overall. There will always be another 5k, and hopefully one above freezing next time!
The race metal was super cute, and we got a sprinkle cookie which is really the highlight of the entire race. Up next is a 10 mile race in March, which I’m hoping is slightly warmer..