The Polar Dash 2014

2014 Polar Dash Finishers Medal

Someone tell me WHY I ran this run again this year? I swear, I’m such a glutton for punishment. Or else I just figure since I don’t drink much anymore and I can’t make it past 11:30pm anyway, I may as well make use of my morning on New Year’s Day.

It was cold when we went to bed. And it was cold in the morning. But I slept well and got up with my alarm which has been no easy feat this week. Everything at home went as scheduled. No surprises, except my husband decided NOT to take my car…so I had to take everything out of mine and put it in his. In the process, I forgot my water bottle…but he had plenty of half-drank spares lying around and I just needed enough to get my Energybits down.

It was a quiet drive, and a much less anxious one than last year because I knew this year what I was getting myself into. I had rehearsed with my many layers, and had run 2+ miles in the spiked sneakers. That was my only worry. But in the end, I’m glad I ran in them. It gave me enough confidence to pour it on and do some fancy maneuvering when necessary.

We had a little scurry over the parking, but found a decent spot near a footbridge the crossed the freeway. It was about a 10 minute walk or so, and I brought my un-spiked sneakers just in case. I handed them to my human coat rack before race time.

Temperature as we step out of the car: -5° F. Conditions: Cloudy. Mind Set: Meh.

Pre Race Warming Tent

Pre Race Mock Warming Tent – It was not warm.

My husband was wise enough to get some photos of me before the race. He kept calling me a ham cause I smile way too excitingly. But I think that comes from years of television work. It is just what you do when there is a camera in your face!

I didn’t pee before hand. I was too cold to pull down my three layers of spandex. I’d just have to muster through.

Start Line

Start Line

Start Line

Start Line


I started at the front of the line…before all the pacers. But that was OK. I like the less-crowded running conditions even if I don’t finish up front.

My feet were slightly better off this year. I had on two extra pairs of toe caps over my Injinji mid-weight toe socks. And my hand warmers were already creating a bit of heat inside my mittens. There was NO wind (Godsend) and after the first mile or so, I was pulling my balaclava away from my nose and mouth.

Mile 1: I started off way too fast again. Had to control myself and slow down.
Mile 2: Found a young couple to pace with. Stayed with them until I passed them at mile 4. But at the hill at mile 5, they passed me.
Mile 2.5: My wireless headphones die, I think. Come to find out later it was my phone. I neglected to turn on my extended battery, or I accidentally turned it off.
Mile 3: Crazy, naked guy passes me. What the hell? OMG. CRAZY!

Crazy Naked Guy at Finish

Crazy Naked Guy at Finish

Mile 3.1: Turn around…just gotta repeat what I just did. Oh, dear God…can I do this?
Mile 4: Getting really whooped. Legs feeling heavy. Too many layers slowing me down. The spiked sneakers were still working for me. Just felt really draggy. I tried to convince myself that I had just taken my bits and gotten started. Mind games. In negative temperatures you play mind games. At this time I’m running sans runmeter. I feel my Garmin vibrate at the mile. I’m afraid to look at it. I just decide to wipe the time out of my mind.
Mile 5: Uphill. Chest heaving and hurting. Couldn’t yell back to the spectators. I wasn’t uttering a sound. I spotted a woman who looked my age ahead of me…I was determined to catch up. My Garmin buzzes again.
Mile 5.5: Downhill! Wheeeeeee! That woman got way too far ahead. Dang it. Oh well, she deserves the win.
Mile 6: I hear the volunteers yell for the 10k-ers to stay straight. Damn straight I’m gonna stay straight! I see a camera! I try to smile…try. I hear the finish line announcer. I feel my Garmin buzz and I…look…down. 44 something…I’ll be really happy if I PR this course. OK, push it Varga. (Funny how when things get really down and dirty, I call myself by my maiden name.)

Almost there!

Almost there!

Finish: AHHHH! I think I see my husband out of my peripheral vision. I cross. I hear my name. He pronounces it correctly.

Ahhhh! Done!

Ahhhh! Done!

I’m handed a medal. I walk further, then turn around and walk back. I don’t know why…I turn again and realize I didn’t hit stop on my Garmin. I pull out my phone…it is dead. I look for my husband…and the hot chocolate. He’s talking, I’m trying to talk back. Too tired…too cold. Let’s blow this Popsicle stand. Literally.

My Garmin says 47:something but I’m sure I finished in 45:something. That is what my husband thought too. He snaps another photo, and we get moving back to the car. I grab a banana for the road.

Polar Dash #2 in the books!

Polar Dash #2 in the books!

We stop for coffee…eggs…sausage. Dear God, that was good. Another year, another Polar Dash. I thank my husband for his support and his willingness to come along. His answer

“It beats being hungover.”

It sure does.

But, it took a few hours for my poor toes to defrost.


Raynauds Be Damned

Will I do it next year.


..ok, maybe.

MTEC Results are still being formulated. It looks like I finished 30 out of about 1100 or so. And I think first in my age group!

7 Responses to The Polar Dash 2014

  1. petitepacer says:

    Congrats! Just keep pulling in those PR’s girl!

  2. Emerging Runner says:

    Congratulations on your age group win under what sounds like brutal conditions. Great write up!

  3. Nice work! I agree with your hubby. It DOES beat being hungover…I am currently dealing with that and I have forgotten just how crappy it is. 😀

  4. Kristy says:

    Woo hoo, way to go! I can’t believe that crazy guy was in his skivvies!!

    I hope you PRed!

  5. Sweet monkey sundae! No way, no how! It was 69 degrees in my house today and I put the heat on! You are amazing! Happy New Year!

  6. Congrats!!! It’s a great accomplishment running in crazy conditions, especially the naked dude! haha!

  7. I just had a baby so healing time has taken my running fun away for now. Seeing this has me planning for next year–I would definitely be up for a run, but maybe 5K to start! I can’t believe you did such a long race in this weather, I’m in St. Paul near Oakdale so I know how cold you’re talking! Congrats!

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