Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter warrior

We've discussed how I am not winter's biggest fan. Last weekend I thought I'd take it a step further and show winter who is boss by driving an hour north to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to take part in the first race of the Winter Warriors series. After driving an hour in blowing snow, winter was up 1-0.

Feeling confident/cold before the race.
Last week I discovered the website for the Winter Warriors Half Marathon series that has races in January, February and March. They hold a half, 10k and 5k each month. I thought it was perfect. It's hard to find winter races, and here are three affordable ones I can do. After last weekend's 10k, I will not be doing the other two. 

Waiting impatiently for the race to begin
I'm all about a smaller race with less pressure, but I'd still like a small race to be well organized. This race was a disaster from the moment we got out of the car. Packet pick-up was at Runner's Performance, a narrow store in a shopping plaza. There were multiple unidentified lines, and after waiting in the bathroom line for five minutes I realized there was no line at the pre-registration table. I picked up my bib and chip and headed outside into the cold.

The race got started a few minutes late, which isn't a huge deal (although it was becoming one as we were standing out in the snow). We took off and headed away from civilization. I'd love to say I ran Mount Pleasant but that would not be accurate. I ran on unpaved roads near farms in Union Charter Township. It turns out that place is a sh*thole. Literally. It reeked of animal waste. 

And we're off!
The snow and wind were pelting the side of my face leaving me to wonder why on earth I was doing this. (Winter was up 2-0.)  About 3ish miles in I came across a guy in a pick-up truck handing out eight ounce bottles of water by a sign that said "10k turnaround". I said "Oh this is the 10k turnaround?" and he affirmed. So I took my little bottle of water and turned around. The downside was that I had to carry a water bottle for the last three miles. I wasn't about to litter on someone's family farm.

I have never felt so unsafe in a race. The roads were not blocked off, and they were snowy. At one point I was running (with just a few other runners) on a paved back road, and cars were whizzing by. The directional signs were also white and snow-covered making it difficult to figure out the direction of the course.

Sprinting to the finish - the only time I've ever run in the opposite direction of Target.

Finishing strong.
Despite how sluggish I felt, I busted my previous 10k PR by 54 seconds. I think if the weather conditions had been better I could have really shaved off some time. The best part about this race was the medal with a cute snowman on it. I'm a sucker for medals. We also got a coupon that got me a free smoothie. I was also down with that.

Relieved to cross the finish line.
As my husband and I were leaving Mount Pleasant, we saw several lost runners who had completely missed the signs and were off course. Any chance of me coming back to do the other two races was completely gone at that point. I'd love to say I ran Mount Pleasant, but I didn't see any of the city. We drove the hour home in extremely windy and snowy conditions. Other than the PR, winter won this battle.

Striking a pose at Central Michigan University's football stadium

The medal was literally the best part


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