Monday, November 29, 2010

The Frozen 5K

This is what I would've called the post I wrote after the "Fast Before The Feast" on Thanksgiving morning had I not chickened out

The weather forecasters were calling for "the coldest Thanksgiving Day in a decade" in White Bear Lake, Minnesota that day.  The  HIGH was supposed to be 12 degrees - and yes, that's Farenheit! Seriously? In Charlottesville I start running indoors when it gets below 40! At first I was I was determined to not let a little cold get me down. The chill in the air when we stepped off the airplane, however, quickly reminded me that even though in my heart I will always be a Minnesota Girl, the rest of  my body is not quite as convinced.  

I met my friends at a bar the night before the race completely convinced that it was too cold to run and figured they'd be on board.  Guess what?  They actually thought it would be FUN!  I should've known better than to think Jess, my long-time buddy Chris's adorable, size zero, runner girlfriend and my tiny, super woman, marathoner BFF Jenny would wimp out.  But Chris?  He's a professional golfer who dislikes the cold almost as much as I do. I thought for sure I could talk him into bloody mary's in the warm confines of a local bar.  But even he was on the "freezing your ass off bandwagon".  What was I going to do?  

After an evening of taking a lot of grief for being a wimp (and several other unrelated inadequacies) I was actually starting to believe I could do it.  Jess gave me a guilt-ridden speech about how she signed up for the race to support me and my journey (yes, I almost cried) and my friend Beth's husband had me writing victory blog posts in my head and visualizing myself coming across the finish line wearing a Charlottesville T-shirt with frozen tears of pride dripping down my face (though in my mind I kept seeing snot icicles instead).  

I went back to my parents house that night and changed directly into every layer of running clothes I had packed - shoes included (why didn't I invest in those SmartWool socks???).  It was nearly 1:30am and I had gone out that night thinking I wasn't going to do this race so I hadn't exactly prepped properly (my pre-race meal does not usually include bloody mary's). I figured I'd need to be ultra-prepared and even threw on my shoes. I set the alarm for 6:30am (a mere 5 hours away!) and settled into bed with visions of frostbite dancing in my head.

When alarm went off the next morning I wearily rose from the bed, walked straight out the back door onto my parents deck, took one slow, frozen breath in, and returned promptly to my warm, cozy, down comforter-covered bed with every intention of getting back up in "just a few minutes".  

And that was the end of my Frozen 5 K dreams.  I awoke a few hours later feeling refreshed and completely guilt ridden.  Chris, Jess, and Jenny (with her two sons!) all completed the race with great times and minimal effects from the hypothermia.  Jess managed to come in 40th overall out of 380 (yes, there are that many crazy people out there!) - and 6th for females with a time of 23:43!  And my buddy Chris (who, though a star hockey goalie in his youth had never run more than 1.5 miles prior to this race) followed not too far behind her at 28:27. Jen and the boys all averaged about an 8 minute mile, too.  I was clearly out of my league! 

While I left Minnesota on Sunday sans souvenir race tee and my pride, I did come away from  with a few valuable lessons learned.  1) I do not like the cold.  2) My friends are really awesome runners,  3)  I should not commit to something I cannot complete, and 4) Some traditions - like the one where we spend Thanksgiving at the condo in Hilton Head - are really good ones!  Join me there in 2011 for the The Hilton Head Bridge Run - where temperature will not be an excuse!


  1. That is extremely cold! I think I might have joined you with the bloody's idea! I rant the Turkey Trot in jersey and as I crossed the finish it started to snow! I finished in 23 mins and I swear it was because I was sprinting to get it over with and was in total shock! Hilton Head gets my vote, lol!

  2. I'm not sure I even have enough layers to go out in that kind of cold. I am imagining trying it and my lungs freezing on the first inhale.