This race was over two weeks ago. Yep, I suck.
This race is part of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, a three-part race series that lasts through the winter, with each race increasing in length a bit. It is also part of the Run 502 series and I totally signed up for this because I need all three races to get the big Fleur de Lis hanger medal. Not just bling, completist bling.
Back sometime this summer or early fall, there was an email that the deadline was approaching to register for the series and get the extra swag. I asked Spouse if he wanted to do this series with me. Arguments for: 1) in our neighborhood park (literally a 15 minute walk from our front door) 2) nothing longer that 4 miles 3) extra swag Arguments against: 1) running
Spouse is not a runner. He does but does not enjoy cardio. He far prefers lifting weights while understands cardio is necessary a few times a week. So he does cardio a few times a week and hates every minute. For whatever weird reason, he said “sure!” when I asked him if he wanted to do this series with me. The morning of the race I asked him if he was drunk when he agreed to this, because he looked so regretful.
At least the swag was good! The race shirt was a long-sleeved grey tech shirt, men’s and women’s styles, with a small logo. I have so many ass-ugly race shirts—loud colors, huge and hideous pictures—so this was welcome. A bunch of my shirts I have turned into tank tops, with varying degrees of success. Long sleeves are fine, but regular t-shirts tend to not get worn. Any runner who signed up for the three-race series got a zip-up tech jacket, which is pretty decent quality and, again, not ugly. And any runner who signed up by the cut off got a red and white stocking cap. I don’t really wear stocking caps, but they’re nice to have around for cold-weather dog walks.
Our biggest discussion pre-race was whether to drive or walk and when to leave. I prefer to be early. It lowers my general anxiety level about parking and random snafus when I know I will be leaving with lots of time to spare. I don’t mind just sitting in my car for a bit before a race. I also tend to get a good parking spot, which makes getting out easier. Spouse is typically a very On Time person, but he did a 5K downtown with me in February and was not a fan of the waiting around for the race to start. I didn’t blame him—it was cold as fuck that morning and that particular race had a DJ playing loud pop music, which neither of us enjoy.
When we got there, I chatted with people from my running group, but I missed the group photo because I waited too long to make a decision about getting in line for the portapot.
The race start and end is at the top of a hill. The first at least quarter mile is downhill and we didn’t do any walking intervals, so that mile was pretty speedy. Then I became aware of my poor clothing choices.
I had gotten a Lu Lu Lemon gift card for my birthday back in April, and I had just used it to buy a fancy new warm jacket for cold-weather running. My North Face jacket is past its prime and I figured I should replace it before it died all the way. I had a few doubts about how warm the new jacket was, so I figured this 30ish degree morning would be a good test. Again, don’t ignore the wisdom of “nothing new on race day”. I need to either wear fewer layers under it or straight up save it for actual cold. I started overheating shortly after the first mile and had to do intervals the rest of the race.
Spouse on the other hand was doing fine. He powered up the first big hill, where I was cursing and paranoid about my wonky hamstring. Apparently not skipping leg day paid off for him. I was mostly fine though until the last hill. It was rough. So rough. Spouse was ahead of me and I told him not to wait, but he said he wanted us to cross the finish line together.
I managed to not die and finally the end was in sight. There was a woman just ahead of me, and she and I had been passing each other most of the last half mile. I wanted to finish ahead of her. I’m apparently a petty, competitive bitch. So I sprinted at the end, but didn’t tell him to keep up with me. So I finished a second ahead of him. After he specifically told me he wanted to cross the finish line together. He was irritated with me. I felt bad.
I can’t remember our finish time; the pace was around 10 minute mile I think. A bit skeptical because on Garmin, Strava, and Map My Run, the distance was longer than 2.4 miles. Yes, I use three gps trackers. I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3 that seems the least accurate in the park, where I mostly run, but it’s fine everywhere else and it gives me cues for intervals, as well as other features I appreciate. I started using the Map My Run app years ago and I’m not even sure why I still turn it on, as I don’t really look at the data all that much any more. I guess I like the audio announcement of mileage, total time, and split pace. I’ve used the Strava app for a while now and find it accurate, and I get what I need from the free version.
After the race we were offered fruit snacks and rock-hard granola bars. We stuck around a bit for awards then went home. It was a fun race with good organization and free race photos. My wonky hamstring didn’t bother me as much as my recent lack of running hills regularly. I need to let it heal, but I also don’t want to lose the training and fitness I’ve managed to claw back in the last few weeks.