Yep, that’s a long title for a long race! New Year’s Day, Stacy and I headed to St. Paul to run the polar dash. This was our second year, and what a difference a year makes! This year, the temperature was above zero! Actually it was at least 20 degrees warmer than last year.
We started the morning with a 15 mile race. We lined up and before we had a chance to get cold we were off. We agreed to start out easy and increase pace as we went on. We were about to mile 3 and a man ran in between the two of us. He started talking to us and did a really good job of carrying the conversation. Our pace was a bit faster than I thought I could keep for the next 12 miles, but I was content listening to him talk. He is an 8 time Ironman Finisher and a soldier that is being deployed again soon – this is his only race this year because of that. He talked all about doing a Disney Challenge (Goofy) and how fun it was. He continued to talk and I ran with them until about mile 9, then I told Stacy that I was going to walk the next water stop. She was concerned about me, but I assured her I would be good and I’d meet her at the finish. I was relieved that she had somebody to run with, and relieved that I was running my own race. I was just behind them until mile 11, which was the final turnaround. I watched them get a little further ahead, but I was good. I lost sight of them, but I was enjoying my race. I walked through 3 or 4 water stops and ran the rest of the time. When my watch clicked at the last mile, I was relieved again. I pressed on and made sure to finish with a smile and some gas left in the tank because I still had the next 2 races of the Yeti Challenge left. I finished in 2:18:58 for 15 miles…not to bad! Ok, honestly, I was really happy with that! One year earlier, we finished the 14 mile race in 2:17:34, so I was less than 2 minutes slower and ran a whole extra mile! That’s a huge improvement!
I found Stacy where she waited for me and we collected our medals and went to find dry warm gloves before our next race started – we had 10 minutes! We swapped gloves and headed back to the start line. This race was 1500 meters, so about 1.25 miles. There were lots of families running, so lots of congestion, but we still averaged around 10 minutes per mile. The official time is not listed online, but it’s all good, we survived the 2nd race of the challenge and raced together for this one. There was time for some hot chocolate and bananas before the final race. That is both good and bad – good because yum, bad because waiting around equals stiff knees and feet!
We got back in the start chute for the final race of the challenge the 5k. There were a lot of people for this event. We struggled to find a place to run and we seemed to be stuck behind all of the walkers. We weaved and weaved and weaved some more. Once my legs warmed back up, I honestly didn’t feel too bad. We ended up finishing about 32:23. Not the best, but considering the congestion and the fact that we had already run 16.2 miles, I’ll take it!