After running all over the city on Friday evening to pick up various race packets and to run one additional errand, I settled in at home for some pizza and movie watching. Both packet pick-ups were pain free and I learned that downgrading from the 10K to the 5K would be as easy as simply lining up with the 5K Racers instead of the 10K come Saturday morning. Easy enough.
Woke up Saturday about 30 minutes before the alarm went off (I love being a morning person on weekends… note sarcasm). Given that I really hadn’t slept well the night before, I was not exactly thrilled and I felt exhausted. A quick look outside my window showed me that the snow that was predicted for Friday night through Saturday did not disappoint.
I geared up and choose to wore my (mostly) retired Brooks Trance knowing that they would likely get wet and not wanting to ruin my every day Asics. I have plenty of miles left on the Brooks but I just prefer the Asics… so the Brooks are now my inclement weather running shoes.
I slipped and slid my way to the Peggy Notebaert Nature museum and was thankful that I was able to hide out inside while I waited for the race start. I already knew now to expect any plowing along the course… it was a course through the park and not the streets/sidewalks of LP. And to add to that… very little of LP was shoveled or plowed by that time anyway.
Despite loving snow and thinking that everything looked beautiful, I typically choose to not run while its snowing or on freshly fallen snow. But after my quick snowy run the previous Sunday I thought that this might not be so bad.
Spoiler Alert… I was wrong…
I found a place to hangout and avoiding getting bumped into dozens of times and snapped a really pretty picture of LP from inside the Museum.
A few minutes before the race started, I headed outside to line up with the 5K. I was really glad I decided to do the 5K instead of the 10K… The wind coming from the east was not exactly pleasant and it was whipping snow into my face/eyes.
It was a no frills Start… and I really do mean no frills since I heard zero announcements but we suddenly started moving. I passed Mr. & Mrs. Claus before crossing the start line and we were running in a winter wonderland.
To say it was slippery might be a bit of an understatement. I saw several people fall near the start and I knew it was going to be slow going.
I was slipping and sliding plenty and it felt like I was essentially running in Slippery sand… which I am really not conditioned for to say the least. But at least I managed to stay upright then entire race.
The course headed north to the end of Diversey Harbor before turning east to go over the small overpass right next to LSD. I couldn’t help but wonder if all the drivers were looking at us thinking we were crazy… and admit that I was likely to agree with them. I walked the little hill to get to the overpass… I was already feeling the slippery sand in the legs and knowing I had a race the following day, decided it might be smart to not overwork the legs. I also walked the downhill… which I rarely do… but it was REALLY slippery and I just did not want to deal with a sprained/twisted ankle. I saw several people just slid down the very small hill so figured I made a smart decision…
We ran along the east side of the harbor, which made me kind of nervous since one bad slip in the wrong direction and there was a chance you would end up IN the harbor… and the water, with a thin layer of ice over it, did NOT look inviting. So I hung out as far away from the edge as I could.
By this point, I am running and walking a lot. Ok fine, I am mostly walking. My ankle is starting to bother me. We hit the mile marker and someone behind me goes “there is no way we are only at one mile”, I looked at my trusty Garmin and saw that we were at exactly one mile so I told her that the mile marker was correct. To which she then sort of sneered at me… Ok fine… sorry for correcting you…
We get to the infamous Fullerton underpass… a steep hill down followed by just as steep of a hill up… I loathe this section of just about all races that choose to use it. I really REALLY hate that hill… and add a few inches on top of it and I am really not going to like it anymore. Obviously, I walked up it.
There were a couple of very cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers near the hill giving everyone high fives and encouraging words. Very much appreciated all the volunteers standing outside in the cold snow so that a bunch of crazy people could run an organized event.
By this point my ankle was really bothering me so I was trying to run only the sections that were packed down snow and/or not as deep. Which helped a lot but there were very few sections of packed down snow… and really… Just so not physically prepared for a sort of sand run.
We reached the turn around and I grabbed a cup of water, which to my delight was not frozen. However, I was shocked to see no trash cans near the water tables so after I finished my water, I put the empty cup in my pocket… clear cup plus white snow do not mix well… I knew the cup would get lost in the snow until the spring thaw.
We hit the mile two marker and I saw the clock time but it didn’t really register with me until after the race. I just didn’t care. The ankle was really bothering and I was just ready to be done with the race.
Back to the Fullerton underpass and the hills… At least under the underpass it was salted and there was no slipping and sliding. After that we headed back north and past the finish line to loop back around. I really tried to run the rest once I saw the 6 mile marker for the 10K course and knew I only had .20 to go… but the snow wasn’t packed down much and it was REALLY difficult for me. I managed to tough it out though…
I saw the 5K clock as I was crossing the finish line and had a brief moment where I thought there was no way that was accurate but after thinking about it for a minute, I realized it probably was…. And a check of the watch confirmed it.
I found a trash can to toss the cup that was still in my pocket into and headed home. Advantage of a race a couple blocks from home… I didn’t need gear check.
I snapped a few pics of the pretty neighborhood before I reached home… to which I realized just how much of a beating my ankle took…
I iced and rested the ankle before hopping in the shower, but I quickly figured out that my now very tender ankle wasn’t going to appreciate standing and it certainly wasn’t going to appreciate heading back out to slip and slide around. So I bailed on the holiday party and rested the ankle… I then proceeded to completely conk out for a solid two hours.
When I woke, I realized the ankle pain was actually the Achilles Tendonitis flaring again… Grrrrr. I have no doubt that resting it was the right thing. I iced it a couple more times before meeting Courtney for dinner and Zoo lights. Luckily everything was plowed/shoveled by then so there was no slipping and sliding our way through.
And as for my official time… By far my worse 5K time ever…
Outside of the pain, it was kind of fun running in the snow… and holy moly did it look pretty. But in reality, you really need to prep your body for that kind of running and I just wasn’t there… which I paid for afterwards.