Race Recap: Polar Dash 5K

It should be mentioned up front that despite signing up for the 10K, I bumped myself down to the 5K… and it was without a doubt a VERY smart decision.

1 Polar Dash 2 Polar Dash
The Race Shirt, Hat and my Bib

Part of the reason I signed up for this race is because Eric wanted to sign up… It was his Birthday after all. When we signed up, I convinced him to do the 10K instead of the 14 miler… which was a good thing in retrospect.

Earlier in the week the weather forecast called for rain Saturday morning. I made it clear to Eric that if there was any type of precipitation falling from the sky on Saturday morning when my alarm went off that I was bailing. The day before the race, it looked like there would be no precipitation at all. So I figured I was racing. I signed up for the 10K but in all reality, I just didn’t have the heart for a 10K. Plus, I am not at mileage for a 10K. I have been doing well on my little base building plan and I didn’t want to jeopardize that so I figured the 5K would be a better choice.

This also ended up being a good decision because Eric opted to NOT do gear check. It may have warmed up significantly from earlier in the week, but it is still January in Chicago. If I had done the 10K then Eric would have had to wait quite a while for me and he would have been freezing.

Anywho, since we had warmed up significantly and it rained pretty hard the day before, I knew the course was going to be slick. The race organizers advised people to bring an extra pair of socks. I considered bringing a pair of shoes to change into but then decided to screw it. After all, there was a chance there would be puddles to get to/from the bus and there really was no point in having two pairs of wet shoes and socks.

We got to the race with plenty of time to spare and luckily RIGHT before the 14 miler started… that was our goal knowing that the race course would need to be crossed if we didn’t get there before the 14 miler started. We chatted with one of Eric’s friends and fellow blogger. I wanted a picture with the Birthday boy too.

3 Polar DashHappy Birthday Eric!

After Eric went to line up, Natali and I continued to chat then went to line up for our 5K race. I wasn’t planning to run fast… and this was never a goal race. Plus I knew I would have some time to kill until Eric was done (not much but some). The announcer… odd fellow… all he did was talk about the weather in other cities… ummm… dude… I don’t care if it is 70 degrees in FL. We are not running in FL. We started and were off…

About a quarter mile into the race we were diverted off the path (read sidewalk) and onto the grass/snow because of a huge puddle. At this point, I wanted to avoid soaking wet feet so I diverted with the masses… and welcome to a Chicago mud run.

One thing I really dislike about team ortho races is that the course is ALWAYS the same… and they always use (what I think) is the worse sidewalk in all of Chicago. On a bright sunny day where its been a while since we have gotten rain, the sidewalk is difficult to maneuver. But with the melting snow and mass amount of rain we had gotten… it was even worse. It was virtually impossible to get around the slower runners… because heaven forbid people line up correctly. Admittedly, Natali and I did line up correctly either but we made that decision after seeing who decided to line up at the front… yea… no way in hell those people were “elite” or had an 8:00 pace. But anyway…

Get off the sidewalks and are going downhill… I was nervous about the hill knowing that black ice is always a possibility but luckily it wasn’t on the hill… still, I took it slow just in case. One thing I will give the race props for is using massive amounts of salt on the course to try to get rid of the ice.

There is a short stretch under a tunnel and all the volunteers were yelling out to be careful of the water up ahead. I was glad that they warned us but it was either go through the water or up into the snow… I opted for the later but still couldn’t completely avoid the puddles… so now I have a sort of wet left foot. But hey, at least I am finally warming up so I don’t feel it as much.

The path is now pretty narrow because of the snow banks and there are still tons of puddles. Its not too difficult to avoid these for the moment because the leaders haven’t reached the turn around to head back yet… However, once this happens it is difficult to avoid the puddles and going around people becomes mostly impossible. I had a steady pace but knew it wasn’t fast at all. Reach the turn around and start heading back

Reach an intersection and I go plowing into some military guys that seem confused by what is going on. I tried to yell out for them to move but they didn’t move fast enough… feel bad that I ran into them but with the massive amount of people heading directly towards me and the other people who DID stop to wait for us to pass there was no where for me to go except into the guy…

Now it is even more difficult to pass because the walkers are coming towards me on one side… and heaven forbid they go single file. But hey, at least I am drafting with the runners in front of me. I am taking a few walk breaks when the runners in front of me walk because really, there is little choice. My ankle hurts anyway so whatever. I don’t care about my time.

Get to that massive puddle again and I don’t even bother trying to avoid it this time… Its too crowded and I already have one wet foot… why not have two? I walk under the underpass knowing that a massive hill waits at the finish line and I book it up the hill… at a REALLY decent pace. While on the hill a guy comes flying by in underwear… he clearly ran the 14 miler but seriously dude? You cannot wear a pair of shorts?

I go to get my medal and decide to grab the 10K medal despite not running the 10K. Hey, I have on a 10K bib and besides… I like the blue 10K ribbon over the 5K white ribbon. I then get in line to get my water bottle, bagel and oh hey peppermint patties! Then I go get my bag from bag check. One of the volunteers saw me walking up and called out my number so I didn’t even have to get in line which was nice.

5 Polar Dash

I STILL do not understand why they force everyone to put their bags in plastic if all you do is put the bag you brought into the plastic bag without emptying it… but oh well… at least it kept my bag dry. I then head back towards the finish to wait for Eric but see him right away. Love the perfect timing.

I get hot chocolate and we head back to the bus. We are both tired and I need a nap before meeting co-workers for drinks and then Eric’s Birthday Dinner at Twin Anchors. YUM!

I don’t have an “official” time even though I wore my 10K chip (odd… I thought I would have a time) but according to my watch 38:08 for a 11:57 Pace.

This will definitely be my last team ortho race. There was also NO water on the 5K course… it was cold out so not a HUGE deal but I did want water while running…


6 thoughts on “Race Recap: Polar Dash 5K

  1. Congrats on the finish. Sounds like a wet and narrow course. Can’t believe there was no water. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race that did not have at least a small aid station! I think I will pass on Team Ortho races too!

    • Thanks!

      Yea – I haven’t run a race (until this one) that didn’t have water either. Although, I had a sneaking suspicion that would happen when I saw how bad the water stations were for the Monster dash 10K (also be team ortho) that I ran in October.

      So yea… done with team ortho now…

      • apparently they don’t think water stations are necessary during this time of year for a 5k…at least that’s what one of the organizers said when I asked her about it at the finish line

      • Wow! That’s just total BS. It may not be 100% NEEDED but I am sure I was not the only one who WANTED water on course. And it is very possible that there were people who DID need it (I was borderline near the end).

        It was great meeting you! Hope to see you at future races!

      • I guess I didn’t NEED it, but reaching the water station is usually what gives me the last boost I need to finish strong. Without it all I kept thinking about was how thirsty and miserable I was. By the time I finished though I chugged the whole water bottle they gave me because then I really did need it.

        Glad I got to finally meet you! I’m sure I’ll see you around 🙂

  2. Pingback: Training: January 6th – 12th | It Never Gets Easier - You Just Get Better

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