Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Polar Dash 2014

Love the duct tape shoes?
Well as usual, here I am saying "Oh it's been a long time since I've posted anything…."  Today I did the 5k at the Team Ortho Polar Dash in Minneapolis, MN.  I went so far out of my own comfort zone, I don't think I can ever go back to the person I was yesterday.  She is forever gone and a part of my past. And that is a good thing.

I was no nervous last night, and learned so much today, that I wanted to write it all down right away so that I don't forget and that I learn from my mistakes and triumphs.  The first thing I need to remember is to settle down the night before.  I got myself so worked up worrying about the weather, not being with Rico (he had to work), the parking, what to wear, catching the bus and everything that was so unknown, that I made myself sick.  I was literally SICK this morning and for awhile thought that I might not even be able to leave the house.  But, now that I know vaguely how this works, it will be better next time.  

The drive was good, the roads were good, but I arrived too early.  I arrived at the parking lots about 1 hour and 15 minutes before the race because I thought there was a "warming house". Warming house implies that something is warm.  Nope.  It was an underground garage, and while there were a few patio heaters around, there was nothing warm about it.  I learned that I hate winter.  Oh wait, I already knew that.  When I did my first 5k back in October of 2013, I thought it was cold that day.  I really truly did.  Man, was I dumb.  It was about 40 degrees that day.  Today?  Actual temps were around -5 with the wind making it feel about -10.  And I was miserable.  

I had a hard time deciding what to wear since this was my first actual cold weather race, so I scoured the Polar Dash Facebook page looking for veteran advice and found lots.  (Runners really are the nicest most helpful people in the world I think!   Honestly, out of 5,000 some odd people today, I cannot recall one rude one!)  What I decided on:

Top: sports bra, wicking tank, Under Armour cold gear turtleneck, stride long sleeve long shirt, and Polar Dash fleece jacket.  This was a PERFECT combination.  Not too hot, not too cold.  I wore a big old parka until right before the race too and then left it at bag check.  Bag check is AWESOME.  It was very well organized with extremely nice volunteers.

My amazing friends!!
Bottom:  wind gear tights and another pair of running tights.  This was NOT enough.  I should have worn another pair of pants.  I had worn just the wind gear tights at the Gobble Wobble in November, and was too cool, so thought that one extra pair would work well without being too much.  I was wrong.  During the race, my muscles in my thighs were cold and cramping and by the end, waiting for the buses, I was outright miserable because my thighs were so cold.  Lesson learned!

Feet:  compression socks and smart wool socks.  I also wore plastic BAGGIES over my socks, and then wore my older running shoes, and put duct tape over the outside of the toes.  Before the race, I was pretty miserable, and my feet were too cold.  I had wanted to wear another pair of thick wool socks, but there just was not enough room in my shoes.  If I did this race again in these temps, (which I will) I think I will get a larger pair of shoes and go with the three pairs of socks.  The first mile or the race, my feet started to warm up and it was ok, but before and after the race, it was pretty awful and I would have been happier with warmer feet.  But, the duct tape was a nice tip that I think helped keep things warmer.  

Frozen Finger!  
Hands:  epic fail.  I wore a pair of thin rubber gloves under my regular workout gloves, and a pair of wool mittens over that.  And I had disposable hand warmers.  Again, I arrived too soon, and there was no where to stay warm and I have problems with my right index finger getting number and cold when it's below 60 anyway.  So it went from bad to awful pretty quick.  I need better warmer mittens!  When the race started, I was already feeling pain in my right hand.  As the race went on, it got better, and I warmed up fine.  However after, I got cold VERY quickly, and then waiting in line for the buses, and this is what my hand looked like by the time I got to the car.  My entire index finger was yellow, I could not move it at all, and I honestly thought about going to a hospital, but I didn't know how to find one, and I just wanted to go home.  I ended up body heat warming it under my arm.  Fun driving, let me tell you.  LOL!  It took about an hour, but my fingers finally went back to normal.  It was really scary for a bit though.  They didn't just feel cold, it was like dead.  I felt NOTHING.  Hurt like a bitch as it warmed up too.  Yikes.  I think I may have a little problem called Renaud's, but that's for another day.

Head:  baclava and Polar Dash hat.  Perfect combination.  The baclava I just adjusted as I ran and uncovered my face or not, and it was just right.  I did end up having to take off my sunglasses though because they fogged up.  It was cloudy out though, so it was ok.  

All in all, not too bad for my first Polar Dash on the clothing choices.  A few minor adjustments, and I'm good.  

Overall, the race was WONDERFUL!  Being cold sucked, being there in a strange place with so many strangers (not my cup of tea) was very rough, BUT, I did it.  I did have to walk for a little tiny bit, but I think it was because I had my face mask off for too long, and the air was just too tricking cold that it gave me a horrible stitch in my side.  There were the usual wonderful people along the sides ringing cowbells and cheering.  I wish I could communicate to those lovely people how very wonderful and helpful that is for me.  They have NO idea!  My eyelashes and face did frost up, which was very odd - I've honestly never had that happen before.  I wasn't able to get a picture of it because it was so cold that my phone kept shutting off.  LOL!

Best hot chocolate ever!
This wasn't an official timed race, and I started my Runkeeper too soon and forgot to turn it off, but I think I had a similar time to what I had at the Mankato Marathon 5k.  The only problem, per se, was I wish walkers would have stayed to one side.  They all just sort of plopped right down the middle with no awareness of people around them, and I felt like I did a lot of "Frogger" style moves trying to get around people.  I am not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I did want to run, and it was difficult just due to the sheer number of people there.  Had the walkers stayed off to one side, it would have been easier I think.  

At the end, when the very sweet volunteer handed me my medal, I started to cry.  She was cold and standing there and could have looked miserable but she smiled at me and said, "first one?"  I couldn't even answer her.  I know it's just a little piece of metal, but to me, it symbolizes everything I've worked for the last six months and everywhere I want to go with the rest of my life.  2014 started out with me healthier than ever.  I've lost almost 70 pounds, and feel amazing.  My depression I used to battle with is no longer an issue.  Turns out losing 70 pounds, getting closer with your husband via a shared hobby, and the awesomeness of running just trump the shit out of depression.  ;)

So, next stop, The Get Lucky 7k in March.  Rico will be running that race with me, so already it's a better situation from the get go.  My wonderful girlfriends will be there with me too.  It's going to be warmer too.  I just know it.  :)

That white stuff on my scarf
and arms is FROST from my breath,
and it's hard to tell in the pic,
but my eyelashes were all icy. SO WEIRD!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Stink at Blogging....

Well, despite all my good intentions, I just never seem to have time to keep up with blogging.  I've been working a crazy lot lately, and I've been working out with any leftover free time.

The 5k was nothing short of amazing.  I cannot begin to tell you the emotions that were running through me as I crossed that finish line.  In a word, addictive :)  It was my first race, but no way will it ever be my last.  I already have 5 on my calendar for 2014, and that's just for starters!  I told my husband I want the Monster Series for Christmas!  Great way to keep me motivated all year long.

Running has been a wonderful addition to my family, and a wonderful subtraction on the scale.  At the time of this article, I am down 57 pounds!  WOOHOO!  My husband is down about 20 and he's still running too.  My foot issues (plantar fasciitis) have kept me from pounding the pavement, but I have been biking.  Put on about 80 miles on the old pink bucket this week.

It's starting to get pretty cold here, so I've been trying to adjust ways to make it so that I can keep biking, and I can honestly hear my mother chuckling from heaven.  When we were kids, we were SUPER dirt poor.  Couldn't afford fancy moon boots (the equivalent of Uggs in the late 70's) and instead, I was that dorky kit that had to go around with Wonder bread wrappers on my feet.  Well, after having to call my husband to come get me on Thursday because my toes were frostbit, I bucked up and put plastic baggies in between my two pairs of socks and inside my mittens.  Perfect cheap fix!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Exercise Update

I've been so busy hitting the road that I just haven't had time to sit and write on my blog!  But, I thought it would be a good idea to update and let you know what I have been up to these days.

Still training for my 5k.  So well trained, in fact, that I ran three of them this week, and then biked 17 miles the next day!  I am pretty sure that I am ready for this.  Our race is just 2 weeks away.  I am as prepared as I will ever be.

I've learned many things these last few weeks as a new runner that I would like to share in the hopes that they will be helpful to someone else out there that is contemplating running.

1.  I am much stronger than I ever thought possible.  I have never been much of an exerciser.  I have always given up when I felt uncomfortable, or sore, or was breathing hard.  One little stitch in my side, and I was out!  I learned to push past that!

2.  I have learned that when you are exercising, if you can push past that uncomfortable phase, you are capable of great things.  I feel uncomfortable right away, but it doesn't last.  Well, yes it does, but, more importantly, it really doesn't get much worse.  I have found that I just have to concentrate on my end game, and everything else just fades away.

3.  By end game, I mean future.  I don't mean this ends on my first race day.  Oh heck no, that's only the beginning.  As I am running, mundane things like housework, bills, stress, worries, etc, all fade away.  All I think about when I run is continuing to run, or things that have to do with running.  Like I dream about crossing the finish line at my first race.  My husband and daughter and several friends that are much like family will be running with me.  Some of them are faster than me, and I will be counting on them to go ahead, not wait for me, and cross the finish line, then turn around, cheer for me and be waiting for me with open arms!  Then I will do the same for my friends that I am faster than, and as a team we will all cheer each other on and finish the race!

4.  I have learned that running has replaced other bad habits in my life, like eating junk food and being lazy!  LOL!  I plan for exercise, and I enjoy it very much.

5.  I have learned that spandex is a wonderful thing.  Exercise clothes are with out a doubt the most comfortable thing on the planet.  I used to love pajamas, this is socially acceptable pajamas you can wear in public.

6.  I have learned that there are WAY more races out there than I ever imagined, and even though I haven't yet run my first race, I have so many more that I want to do.  I am imagining a future filled with races and finish lines, and a wall full of medals and a drawer full of race t shirts.

A few short weeks ago, I never thought I'd make it this far.  Running for just a minute seemed impossible.  Running a 5 k seemed unattainable.  I haven't run a timed race yet, but I ran 3 different 5k's on my own this this week.  I can do this.  I am already entertaining thoughts of a 10 k next year...  Look out Monster Series here I come....  Just waiting for the 2014 registration to open!!!