“Run & Walk” is part of the official name of the race, though being the person I am, I fully committed to the theme of the race. Not that my body and lack of conditioning gave me a whole lot of choice, but still, I like to think of myself as being a well-rounded participant.
The race: NYD 5k Run & Walk
The date: January 1, 2016 at 11am
The weather: 25 degrees, wind chill in the teens. Basically, BRRRRR.
The course: Lincoln Park paths, at least 2 miles of which were ice covered
My time: 40:11 (12:46m/m)
This is the first of 5 races that I registered for before 2016 even rolled around and part of the “Race Every Race” resolution I’ve made for the year. This one was easy to get up for — the late 11am start meant that I didn’t even have to set an alarm — and it was only the cold that made me slightly regretful of having signed up.
The race itself was about what I thought it would be — a bit of a slog that turned into something a little more difficult than that by the end. I’d like to say that I was held back by the cold and ice, but I don’t think it really impacted me all that much. It made for a much slower first mile than I would have otherwise had, but a faster start would have likely made for an even slower last mile.
I’d give my effort level about a 7 out of 10. I might have been able to run a little more than I did, but I also wasn’t looking to kill myself this first time out. As much as you’ll hear me talk about and complain about my split times, I’m well aware that the important thing for me is to simply keep getting out there and doing this. Consistency in training and racing will take care of bettering my outcomes, right?
The easiest part: not getting too cold. I got there early and sat in the relative warmth of my car, listening to podcasts until 5 minutes before race time. With my prime spot, I was in sight of the Start line and timed it so I spent very little time just standing around.
Best piece of luck: the nonchalant girl running next to me who saved me from certain doom by grabbing my flailing arm when I hit a big, sheer piece of ice. I stayed upright, bum and pride intact, thanks to her. I profusely thanked her and she just waved me off with an “eh, it was nothing”.
Most ironic moment: having the song “Walking on Sunshine” come through my headphones as I’m carefully picking my way across an especially hazardous icy part of the course.
One less thing to worry about: too-warm water at the water stops.
The part that made me sigh in happiness: running on the completely cleared off cement sidewalk with no ice to sidestep or slip on.
Most appropriate playlist song: Move Along by All-American Rejects
Moment that made me worry: around 2.5 miles in when I was struggling, I remembered that my next race is a 6.55 mile trail run at the end of February. Over twice as long, with actual elevation gains and hills and stuff, as good a chance as any of there being snow and ice and, you know, the whole trail part of it. Oh man, I have a lot of work to do between now and then.
Absolute best part: aside from finishing (which is always the best part)? The girl who was running close to me later in the race who was listening to loud music but also talking herself through the race out loud. A stream of “you’ve got this” and “keep going” and “almost there” motivated me as well as her and made me smile.
Weirdest moment: trying to take a selfie at the start line and the camera on my phone didn’t seem to want to take a picture. I finally figured out that my finger was too cold for it to register on the screen. Warmed my hand up and finally got that shot taken.
Most inspiring: seeing the volunteers out there freezing their tukus’ off. Running was cold but bearable, but I can’t imagine having to just stand out there. I thanked every one of them and wished them a Happy New Year.
And so, the first race of the year is in the books officially, with the publishing of this race report. I’ve got about 7 weeks until the next event and a lot of work to prepare. But I’m ready for the challenge — bring it on!