This is my fourth year participating in this event. However, this is the first time I decided to do the 15K instead of the 5K. Leading up to the event, I was checking the weather and I would get more and more nervous every time. I knew that it was going to be cold!
I didn’t sleep well on Saturday night. Apparently, I don’t trust my ability to set the alarm on my phone. I was staying at my cousin’s house and when we stay there, we sleep in the basement. It is pitch dark and it is really easy to lose all sense of time. I was up at least three times to check to make sure I hadn’t overslept. Then, at about 4:15, Jaden bolted up and started yell-whispering “mom, mom, mom!!” I sat up and asked him what was wrong. I thought maybe he’d had a nightmare or wet the bed or something. Instead, he looks at me and says “I love you.” Seriously! At 4:15 in the morning! I love you too, buddy. Go to sleep.
I finally got up at 5:30, showered and got ready. I had my typical pre-race breakfast of white rice with some cinnamon and sugar. I was meeting the neighbor guy at 6:30. He was also running the race and we were carpooling. I noticed that it had snowed a bit overnight and the road was a bit slippery on my walk over. We also noticed a couple cars in the ditch on our way to the race.
We got to De Pere in plenty of time for the 8:00 am start. We parked and headed inside. The staging area for the race is the commons area at West De Pere High School. It was already starting to fill with people, but we found a place to sit. I went to the bathroom once while we were waiting. I should have gone again before the race started. There were a lot of people talking about how cold it was. I was wearing my Tough Mudder shirt. It reminded me that Tough Mudders don’t whine. Instead, I repeatedly stated the fact that it was frickin’ freezing!
The 15K starts about 10 minutes before the 5K. I wasn’t really familiar with the 15K course, but I knew that it was basically an out and back. There were a couple little loops, but the course ended the same place it started. I was really familiar with the first part of the course, because it is the same as the 5K course I have run the last three years. (But I think they changed the 5K course this year, because when I made the 15K split, it wasn’t at the same spot it usually is.)
As soon as I started running, I wished I had made that second stop at the bathroom. Oh well, I knew there was a porta potty somewhere around mile 2. I tried to get into a rhythm, but the roads were a little slick in spots, so I had to stay aware of what was going on. I also had the problem of my Garmin deciding to not work properly. Instead of having all the data I’m used to, all I had was heart rate and total time. I kept an eye on my time every time I got to a mile marker. I started out just shy of 10 minute miles. Toward the middle, I slowed down a bit. As I neared the end, I sped up a bit.
Once I got going, I actually warmed up nicely. Other than my fingers, I wasn’t cold at all. I was wearing a pair of Under Armour tights that I had recently bought (when I realized that my other tights that I bought post-baby were too big). I had on a long-sleeved tech and a short-sleeved tech with my running jacket. I had a hat/neck warmer combo thingy.
It looked sorta like that. I had the bottom part pulled down so that it just covered my chin. Once I warmed up even more, I pushed it down so that my whole face was uncovered.
I got to the bathroom at mile 2 and there was a line of about 4 people. I didn’t feel like waiting, so I just kept going. I knew that I would circle back around to that same spot around mile 7. Passing the bathroom was a bad idea. My stomach was just ‘off’ the whole day. I felt nauseous. I wasn’t having much fun. But, I just kept running.
At one point, the course took a little trip on a grassy section, and through a ditch. There was a piece of wood across the bottom of the ditch and it was a little slippery. And, of course, that is where the photographer sat. I wonder how many pictures he has of people falling down that hill?
You can tell how cautiously I’m running down that hill. After that hill, the roads were pretty slippery. I know that my pace slowed a bit for the next couple miles. Even though I was running slowly, I never felt like I needed to stop and walk. I hadn’t run more than 6.5 miles since my marathon, but I wasn’t overly tired taking on 9.3. I think because my pace was so slow, I never really got too tired. My heart rate wasn’t too high. My breathing wasn’t too labored. I felt the like the epitome of the lazy runner. I just wasn’t working very hard. Mostly because I just felt like crap.
I had convinced myself that I was going to stop at that porta potty when I came back around at mile 7. I thought that maybe if I could throw up or something, I would feel better. And, I really had to pee! But, once I got close, I could see that there was a line. I wasn’t going to wait in line. I would just keep running. Ironically, it was around mile 7 that I started feeling better. I picked up my pace a tad. I still had to pee, but I just focused on the fact that I only had a couple miles left and then I could use a real bathroom in a heated building.
I had horrible problems with my ear buds. They usually work fine when I run. The problem always happens when it gets cold and I have to wear something to cover my ears. They kept slipping out of my ears and I had to try to put them back in with my gloves on and then pull my hat back down. When I pulled my hat back down they would slip out again. It was infuriating. Does anyone have any suggestions for new ear buds that won’t fall out? Maybe I could ask Santa to bring me some.
I tried to push a bit as the finish line neared, but I just didn’t have it in me to work that hard. I hate my finish line photo! I have a TON of finish line photos where I am turning off my Garmin. You’d think I would learn my lesson…especially since the darn thing wasn’t even working properly!
I finished in 1:32:55. I just stuck in under a 10:00/mile pace. When I signed up for this race, I was hoping to run about a 9:30 pace. The weather and my GI discomfort changed that plan in a hurry. The interesting thing is that I wasn’t even that bummed about it. I just decided that I would enjoy a nice training run (in the cold) and realize that I was making it really easy to PR at my next 15K. Incidentally, since this was my first ever 15K, I did get a PR this time!
After finishing, I made my way inside and found a bathroom! Yippee!! Then I got in line for food. This race always has a good spread because Noodles and Company is the biggest sponsors of the event. They have mac and cheese, chicken noodle soup, cookies and the best rice crispies treats ever. They also have some bagels and peanut butter and jelly and hot chocolate. By the time I got there, the only thing left was the bagels and the mac and cheese. I totally missed out on the rice crispie treats. I love those things. I guess that is what I get for running the 15K instead of the 5K.
*Nice shirt. Long sleeve tech tee. They have done tech tees for the last two years and I much prefer it to cotton. I just wish they would do different colors. I have so many white shirts.
*The course was nice and flat. There was only one small hill at about mile 4 (and 7, on the way back). Otherwise it was super flat. Totally a course that you could PR on with the right conditions.
*Well organized. Midwest Sports Events always does a good job. They do so many events that they have this down to a science. The course is well marked with signs at each mile. They have great volunteers (although I think there could have been more cheering—the volunteers were probably freezing).
*Awards. They always do trophies for the top three in each age group. And it is 5 year age groups, so there are a lot of trophies. I even won one last year. I was no where close this year! They did have all the results posted online very quickly.
*De Pere High School. We were talking before the race, that if we had to wait outside for this event to start, we wouldn’t be running it. It is so great to have a place to sit and wait before the race and to congregate for refreshments and awards afterwards. They even had a little ‘expo’ this year. A local store had some merchandise set up for sale.
*Weather. While it was overcast and cold, once I got moving, it really wasn’t that bad.
*Free noodles. Part of the race swag is a certificate for a free meal at Noodles and Company. Love that!
*Limited refreshments. Maybe I’m just bitter, but I’m still bummed I didn’t get a rice crispie treat after the race. I don’t know if they brought less food than most years, of if the 5K runners just took more than their share. But, the mac and cheese was good.
*My unrelenting GI issues. It seems that every couple of races, I have one where I just feel awful. That happened here. It’s a bummer too. I would have liked to have done better.
*The roads. After the little bit of snow the night before, the roads were slick. Not on the entire course, but there were more than a couple spots where I changed my gait to make sure that I had solid footing. Two years ago, I slipped on some ice and fell during this event. As I got toward the end of the course, the ice had mostly melted, but then I was kicking up slush and the backs of my ankles got cold and wet.
*Not a whole lot of crowd support. Although, I may have mentioned that it was pretty cold. I probably would have stayed inside with my coffee, too!
Really, the only thing keeping this from being an A event was my lack of a rice crispie treat! (I know, I could just make them, but it is one of the interesting things about this event and I had really built it up in my mind.) Regardless, I will definitely be back next year. This is an event I look forward to every year.
One other note…since my fingers got so cold, I really need to look into getting some better running gloves. The $1.00 stretchy cotton pair from Walmart just doesn’t cut it. Anyone have any suggestions?