My first race was a bit of a let down. I didn't get the amazing euphoria post race. I felt good having completed it, but I was overwhelmed by the number of runners. The number of slow walkers/runners that how somehow gotten themselves into the starting wave in front of me, the dodging of cars, cones, and well, frankly, right when I got my groove on, the race was over. I decided the race was too short.
So I came home and without thinking it thru decided to sign up for 5 miles on January 1 in central Wisconsin. Now, I'm a hardy gal. I've lived in some cold places. Snow doesn't much scare me. There is one thing that does scare me, however, and that would be what we woke up to here in Madison Wisconsin this mornning. ICE and not much of it. Ice isn't terrible when it is crunchy, broken up, or at least coated with some packed snow. But nope, we had "ice fog" yesterday and then, as I cheerfully waved the babysitter good bye and stepped out the front door - our driveway was an ice rink. Just getting to the car was dangerous.
How am I going to run in this?
I just submitted to the ice. Submitted to the 30 mph winds. Submitted to the snow squalls. Submitted to running the 5 miles with the other 465 crazy Wisconsin runners who showed up today. Hard core middle of the winter Wisconsin runners. There was only 1 stroller in this bunch. No walkers from what I could tell. This was a gnarly and fearless group. No worries about me being in the wrong starting wave. I carefully moved towards the middle/back of the starting pack.
Here's the group heading out. Everyone is in good spirits! The pace is good and the tailwinds are kind. That's me, chasing the "Lube" chicken. No worries about ice here - the racing company told us they put 6 bags of salt on the course... I'm pretty sure all 6 were used on the 1/4 mile in and out of the parking lot. If I had known what lay ahead, I wouldn't have been holding back here. I would have gotten up front - cause being towards the back when we hit that ice wasn't pretty.
And I've passed Erik and we're off. About a 1/4 mile further and the entire road was a sheet of ice. The runners that I could see in front - most - were slipping or heading for the grass at the side of the road. I followed those that looked stable. Even the guys with Yak Trax on were struggling. It wasn't pretty. Mile 1 on the books at 11:00 pace.
On the grass I got traction, but I also got in single file. This was a race that turned into elementary school "line leader". The single file line issue only got worse when we turned from the road to the city trail system.
The trail was at parts ok and at other terrible. About a 1.5 miles into the course, we opened back up into road - a dry road. I started booking it. I had to get out from behind the masses. 11 min miles were not going to have me jonzing to do this again. I started to lay it out - tried to be cautious when it looked like I could die.
Right around the 3 mile mark the pack opened up and the runners who didn't hold some in reserve fell back. I thanked the couple who had been my pacers and sped into another gear for the last 2 miles (9:30 pace). I was feeling all sorts of victorious when we turned towards the end with about 1 mile to go - oh no! Back on the city trail and this portion was worse than the rest. Darn ice! Being as cautious as I could, but desiring to just flat out sprint - I weaved back and forth from the pavement to the grass trying not to be the course fatality.
Turning off the city trail and back on the road I was itching to go! But - where did everyone go?! I was pretty much alone on the road and just racing myself. The crazy fasties were long done and I wasn't sure what happened to everyone else. I knew I wasn't last, but I was pretty much alone - in the middle. The smack dab middle!
Pushing to the end was very gratifying. I had some left in the tank - which is a bit frustrating - but given the surface conditions I am thrilled with my time. 49:24 for 5 miles. I was 27 out of 47 in my division (F 30-35). I was 234 out of 465 participants. But best of all, I beat the baby!
Oh, and as for goals. My only hope this race was to grab some negative splits. So, here they are: