The Polar Dash, revisited.

What a hell of a day! If you would have told me I’d PR on a sub-zero day, I’d have spit milk in your general direction. Well, maybe not milk, since I don’t drink it. Coffee, maybe?

I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m so on and off for sleep the night before these runs. Sometimes they don’t affect me and I sleep like a baby, or sometimes I get a night like last night where it seemed like I didn’t sleep hardly an hour. All I can do is thank goodness that I have slept so well the last three nights. That probably saved me.

I got up at 6:30am for a 9am race. I needed the extra time to go to the bathroom and maybe shove some food down my throat. My husband suggested we leave between 7:15am and 7:30am. I’m glad we did because we were able to get a primo parking spot right near the start/finish line.

I have to admit, I was getting nervous when the temperature refused to get above 0° while we made our way north to the cities. But at least it did rise. It was -12° when we left the house and rose 11 degrees along our journey. I waited until the last minute to dress completely before stepping outside the car. When I did, I was amazingly comfortable. I knew I had dressed well. I had on a pair of compression capri’s and compression knee socks under 2 pairs of long pants, one pair was my UnderArmour Base 2 pants. On top, I had three shirts, including my Base 2, and then my Polar Dash Fleece jacket. I also had my Turtle Fur Totally Tubular on as a neck wrap, and my ski mask which allows my breath to aim downward instead of upward, consequently fogging my glasses. I had glove liners, and my heavy ski mittens on as well.

We arrived at the starting area about 30 minutes ahead of time because I had to pee. Trust me, you haven’t truly lived until you have peed at 0° in a porta potty. The only bright side is that it didn’t smell, because everything froze on contact. But it did make for an icy toilet seat.

Then my husband managed to help me crawl under a tent flap so that I could stay warm pre-race with the other unfortunate cold souls who decided to undertake this rite of passage for Minnesota runners. The crazy ones, mind you. In there I managed to get my iPhone situated since I didn’t have my tech-gloves. The only part of my body I noticed getting increasingly uncomfortable were my toes. Somehow, I had forgotten all about my toes. I never had a problem with them before, but then again, I’m not lollygagging around for 30 minutes before I run.

Eight minutes pre-start time, we headed to the starting line. My husband went off to position himself as the videographer, while I looked for my pacer. I decided to go with the 7:38 pacer, thinking that was my best bet to at least get me a good start. I failed to realize, however, that he continued on with the half-marathon folks. I was basically on my own for the second half of the 10k.

The start was delayed about 7 minutes. This was not good for my toes. They were far from happy. The concrete below my feet was so bloody cold, I could feel it through the soles of my sneakers. I glanced over at a gentlemen who had actually duct-taped the toes of his shoes, to keep the heat in! Why the hell did I not think of that? The newest running sneakers are so light, that they are more mesh than sneaker. And I was paying the price. All I could do was hope the run would bring the feeling back to that extremity, and fast!

It did come back, but it wasn’t fast. And it was probably the worst pain ever as it did come back. It is safe to say there were completely numb. It felt like I was stepping on a rope everytime I took a step. At mile 3, the pain finally subsided in my left foot and the feeling came back. It took the right foot an extra mile. I had a strong urge to quit between miles 3 and 4 because of this. I can’t tell you how much it hurt. But I’m glad I didn’t because once I got the feeling back, the race was pretty much history. I was able to keep pace. I did have to remove my sunglasses because they had fogged over and then froze. The face mask really doesn’t do the job when you are huffing and puffing. And I had to keep lifting and lowering it along the route.

When I heard my Runmeter gal say “4 miles in 30:28 minutes”, I knew I had a fighting chance at a PR. I just had to keep the pace up. The final 2 miles were a good combination of uphills and downhills, and I know I made up a lot of time on the downhills. At mile 6, I sprinted, at the best of my ability, to cross the finish line. I looked for my husband on the right, but did not see him, and after I gathered my Polar Dash Commemorative award and my cup of hot chocolate, I called to find out where he was. It ends up we just crossed paths, and he didn’t expect me to cross as early as I did. How early? I wondered. Because although I hit STOP on my Runmeter, I never looked at the time. When I did at this particular time, I saw it read 47:07. Wow! That itself is a PR. And I knew I had hit the start button prematurely at the starting line because I had to get my glove liner and mitten back on before the horn.

It wasn’t until later that I discovered my actual time was 46:04. Amazing! Stellar! SO DAMN PROUD!

I learned today that I have become a true Minnesotan. As much as I hate to admit it…

And I’m so grateful to my husband who acted as my Chauffeur and my cheerleader. He didn’t have to…but he did. And I love him for that!

Yep! What a hell of a day. And what a start to the new year!

2 Responses to The Polar Dash, revisited.

  1. Amanda says:

    Way to go lady! That’s totally insane, I’d never survive running in weather like that. I get irritated at 65 degrees, HA!

  2. TPP says:

    Awesome, Theresa! Now let’s own the Grandma’s Marathon!

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