Sunday I ran my first race of 2014, the Frosty 5k, a small 5k put on by the Medina Rec Center. I ran this race last year, and really enjoyed it, so I had been looking forward to running it again. The race start was at 9:00 so I got up at 7:15, tried to relax and tested out a new pre run breakfast, the Au-In Almond Picky Bar. It was really good, light and didn’t give me any stomach issues. I then headed over to the rec center around 8:30 to pick up my bib, get a prime parking spot and debate if I had on enough or too many layers.
The crowd was small, but considering it was about 12*F, I was glad that there were people still out there braving the elements. Luckily the roads were clear and there wasn’t much wind, conditions were good and I was fighting away nerves. I didn’t have a goal for this race, but really wanted to focus on pacing myself. My biggest mistake in 5k’s is going out way too fast. I usually run my first mile around 7:00 and then struggle the rest of the way. Knowing that I had 4 more miles to run after the race, I wanted to keep it easy and try to stay around a 9:00 pace.
We started off and one group quickly sprinted ahead. A few more started to follow and it was hard not to go with the rest of the group. I kept watching my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going too fast and was working on a 8:30 pace. Not bad, but I knew I had to slow down a little more. And that was hard. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be slow myself down in the first mile of the race while everyone was running full steam ahead.
The course was the same as last year, leaving the rec center, going through developments, running on Reagan Parkway, through more developments and heading back into the rec center. I didn’t focus much on the surroundings, but rather the street watching for ice and pot holes. However, within the first half mile it started to snow, and it was actually a little magical. It was slow and soft, and if I wasn’t running I would have enjoyed walking around in it.
The first mile was pretty easy, just finding my pace and making sure I wasn’t going too fast. Everyone was doing their own thing, so there wasn’t much passing happening. I hit the first mile in 9:06 and was feeling pretty good. I was slowly starting to catch up to the people in front of me and around a mile and a half in I passed two women. By this point the snow was starting to come down hard and it seemed to be coming from every direction. I continued on and found myself behind a tall gentleman. I drafted off of him for a bit and was grateful he was able to block the snow. I ended up passing him and continued on, right on pace, still feeling good.
I hit mile two at 18:xx and naturally started doing math in my head. Mile three was the hardest, not physically, but mentally. I had passed two more runners, but the snow was making it more difficult to run. When we started the race it was clear, so I didn’t have my YakTrax on. By the time we got to the third mile, the road was covered and you just expected to be the one to slip on ice. My legs wanted to go, but I kept holding them back, concerned my next step would put me flat on my back. I took advantage of the clear spots, but kept it safe in the snow covered areas. My pace was started to quicken and for once I wasn’t struggling to make it to the finish line.
I remember hitting 2.5 miles at 23:xx, I knew I was about a minute behind where I wanted to be, but considering the conditions, I wasn’t worried. I kept chugging along and passed another woman who had sprinted past me in the beginning. Now I was alone and just followed the signs to get me back home. I hit the 2.75 mile mark and was brought back to “Once a Runner” where Quenton focuses on the last lap of the mile. I imagined myself on the track, knowing it was too early to step it up (I’ve always been a 150m to the finish sprinter) and tried to open my stride. The course turned toward the rec center and had a slight uphill covered in snow, enough to keep me in check before it leveled out before the finish. The closer I got, the quicker I ran, and as Chariots of Fire came on my iPod, I finished my first 5k of 2014 feeling better than ever.
While the conditions got worse throughout the race, I wouldn’t say they caused too much damage in my run. I wasn’t running for a PR, but rather a controlled, comfortable pace. I didn’t want to end up struggling at the end of the race like I have so many times. I know I definitely could have pushed myself more, but I was timid because of the new snow on the roads. I’d rather focus on the pace than focus on a time and injure myself along the way.
I absolutely love this race. Even though there was a smaller turnout this year, I like how it’s so simple and doesn’t require all the bells and whistles. For $15, you can pre register to get a short sleeve shirt, food and the use of indoor bathrooms. While I’ve never seen a mile marker or much of a crowd, the local police do a great job of making sure that the roads are clear and that no cars will get in anyone’s way.
After the race, everyone comes inside for the awards ceremony. First place got a long sleeve shirt and water bottle, second place got a short sleeve shirt, and third place got a water bottle and lanyard. In addition, each AG winner got a $25 gift card to the rec center. I ended up with 1st in my age group, so that $15 was definitely worth it. As long as the rec center holds the 5k, I plan to be there every year.
Results (No official results have been posted)
Garmin Time: 28:11
Age Group 20-29: 1/4