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Sweetheart Races 10k 2014

Saturday, February 21, 2015

One of my goals for 2015 is to run a race in every month. I have races planned for most months and have either registered or will once funds are available. For February, I chose The Sweetheart Run, which is managed by FrontRunner and offered 5k, 10k, and 10 mile races. The event date? Saturday, February 14, 2015. (Side note: I refuse to call this date by its Hallmark name)

I knew I wouldn't be 10 mile ready because training in winter in Minnesota in the winter can be challenging due to weather (cold, snow, or both) and it gets dark so early. Who wants to run 8 miles on a treadmill? Personally, not I, so, I decided to stick with the 10k. That's 6.2 miles in case you don't know.

This winter has been strange; we've had little snow and stretches of bitter cold followed by thaws that typically didn't quite reach average temperatures. The thaws felt nice, even if they were still colder than typical. I figured a race on February 14 wouldn't be too awful.

I was wrong. The predicted high for the day was a measly 8 F. And wind. Now wind can be a pleasant thing, in, say July. In the winter, it has teeth. Cold, razor sharp teeth. The race started at 9:00 AM. The temperature that morning was -2 or -3 F and the wind chill made it feel like -15 F. Why do I do this? I later found out this was the coldest February 14 in 70 plus years!

I got up and put on long underwear, leggings, a t-shirt, an insulating shirt, and a jacket. And a hat, neck gaiter, thing gloves and heavier mittens. I am surprised I could move at all.

The reason I chose this race, other than the reasonable $30 entry fee, was the race company FrontRunner allows same day packet pickup. This is a nice perk for a couple reasons. First, most other races I've done has packet pickup the day before and I usually have to leave work early to make the cutoff. Second, most of FrontRunner's races are on the eastern side of the Twin Cities. It's nice not to have to drive the distance twice.

This particular race started and finished at Mahtomedi High School in, go figure, Mahtomedi, Minnesota. For those of you who don't know where it is, it's close to Oakdale, North Saint Paul, and Lake Elmo. I grew up in Oakdale and went to Tartan High School. I have fond memories of track meets at Mahtomedi High. It was fun to head back.

Once I arrived, I checked in on Facebook of course. And within moments, I had a comment from my cousin who lives near there and teaches biology there! He demanded (ha ha) to know why I was at his school but he figured it out. And then invited me over for a post race brew. I accepted, of course. More on that in a moment or two.

I got my shirt, race number, and timing chip. Now it was time to wait for the 9:00 AM start. And honestly, with the cold, the waiting and anticipation is almost worse than the actual cold. I chatted with fellow runners and checked the race map several times; I was afraid I get lost on an out and back which is highly unlikely, of course.

Finally, it was time to begin. The 10 milers and 10ks lined up; both courses were the same but the 10 mile turn around was a little further. Pre-race announcements occurred and it wasn't getting warmer. Then we were off. The wind was terrible at times and the roads had icy patches but you could pick your way around them as needed.

During the race, I felt physically good. But I encountered a problem regularly: my pants kept sliding down and my shirt slid up. Drat the long underwear! Normally, this wouldn't be a problem but it was quite cold with a wind and you need to limit exposed skin. So I kept have to walk to tug down and pull up clothing. Grrrr. Not fun. I finished in 1:14. Not my fastest time at all but I figure I probably lost around 5 minutes due to wardrobe malfunctions.

And when I finished, I was so cold. I felt like I would never warm up. I changed into sweat pants and a sweatshirt but it took awhile for me to stop shaking. It's amazing what adrenaline can get you through; it sucks when it goes away.

In spite of my sluggishly slow time, I did finish first again in the Athena division. Unfortunately, I was the only one in the division. The way I see it, I was the only one tough enough to brave the brutal winter conditions; with the wind chill, it felt like -20 F. In all, 115 total people ran the 3 races: 13 10 milers, 34 did the 10k and 68 partook of the 5k. Everyone of us is tougher than nails and earned some serious bragging rights.

Once the awards were done, I headed to my cousin's house. Summit's Saga always tastes good and the sandwiches were delightful. I finally got to meet their new addition, who is adorable! His big sister is definitely a Lane. It was so nice to catch up with them and see their new place. I am a tad jealous of their garden plot.
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