The call it the Fanny Freezer. For the first track club race of the year, it's an appropriate name as it's pretty much guaranteed that your backside will be on the chilly side during February in Indiana.
And, I'm glad (??) to report, that the race did live up to it's name. I had a frozen fanny ... and my fastest 5K in three years and I placed third in my age group. Official finish time (gun start, chip finish): 26:58.
Three "runs": Being the multitasker I am ... and having a running partner training for the L.A. Marathon, we opted to turn the race into a long run with some faster miles in between. We ran the course backward to warm up, did the race and did a long cool down of nearly 4 miles. In addition, I wanted the 5K to be at tempo pace so that I could cross that off the calendar as well.
Three things about the course: It was two loops at a local park with a decent-for-Indiana hill to start and a downhill at the end. • This year, the track club got sassy and reversed the course, which I thought was much better. • The first part of the course, with the uphill, is a road and as such was fairly slushy. The middle section was snowy but passable, and I found it the easiest to hold a difficult pace. I thought I'd be able to open up on the downhill but it was a layer of ice with snow on top and was quite slick.
Three things about my race: My compatriots and I had a delicious warmup on the course, and we agreed that the 10-minute miles just felt good. So good, in fact, that I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to kick it up to tempo pace - especially with the conditions. • I was very thankful that despite feeling like I was moving at light speed yet not going anywhere (because that makes sense), I was hitting the goal. • The first loop was manageable but, when greeted with an incline for the second time, it became much more challenging. I really had to dig to keep the pace under 9 minutes. I had to dig more when I knew I'd be close to a sub-27 finish.
Three randoms from the race: During the second loop, when I felt like crap, a tween boy told me, "Nice job." He was so sweet, and I very much needed to hear it at that moment. And then I passed him. • I tried to keep picking it up as I saw a curly pony tail ahead, and I thought it was a speedier girl who aged up into my group. I was right about who it was but I didn't managed to catch her. She ended up winning 30-34, 19 seconds ahead of me. • I felt like this race was the first time where I really belonged. I am an official member of the track club, there were lots of familiar faces and I just felt invested in the community.
Big, showy races are great but there's something about being able to smack someone's butt as you pass and feel good doing it.