The Polar Dash 2017 Race Recap – #PDMN

Team Ortho Polar Dash Medals 2017 #PDMN

I could not have been less thrilled to run this event. The sore Achilles tendons, my rotten mood, the holiday blues…what other excuse could I possibly come up with? The crazy thing is, it was my husband who pressured me to forge ahead with the event.

“Walk up until the race. You’ll be fine! You can always drop out if you don’t think you can make it.”

Words a runner does NOT want to utter. Drop out…DNF…did not finish.

But, he was right. I had nothing to lose. The weather was looking spectacular as compared to previous Polar Dashes. If anything, it would be a great morning for a little jaunt.

By late last week, I committed to volunteer at the Team Ortho packet pickup on New Year’s Eve. It was the least I could do. I had very little orders coming through at Charmed Running in the midst of the holiday season. And I had to admit, it would be great to get out of the house. I haven’t been able to do much volunteering. Owning your own business sure does eat up free time…not to mention not so free time.

I awoke Saturday determined to get an hour in on the treadmill…walking, of course. I had to do a few morning errands that ended up putting me in a bit of a rush. I survived, though, and made it to Harriet Island on time.

Upon arriving, I immediately spotted some great runner friends. I felt my heart rate pick up a little. And I couldn’t help but smile. Yeah…I miss this. I miss this a lot! It didn’t look particularly busy, so I figured it would be a great opportunity to socialize. Plus, I was able to pick up my race bib and jacket. It was GREAT to be among the living again!

I survived the afternoon pretty well. I taped up my Achilles for the hours of standing I knew I had ahead of me. (I learned such techniques from the best in the business here in Lakeville at Upright Health Muscle and Joint Care). And I was grateful that it really did help.

After my shift ended, I headed home with the intention of making a final clothing decision and getting everything laid out for the run. I signed up for the Yeti Challenge again. This includes the 10K run, the 5K run and the 1700m run. All in all, just about 10 miles, with a few breaks between each event. I felt good enough that evening to challenge my choice of events. Maybe I could handle the half marathon? Well, maybe. But this was probably the best scenario. I’d stick with it.

It wasn’t a particularly early event. Our start time was 9:30am so this meant I could sleep until 7:00am. That is a bonus! I certainly got enough sleep, thanks to a sip of Nature CDB mixed in a bit of water…more on that later.

I dressed half way and made it to the kitchen to re tape my Achilles. Then I made the decision to keep it at one layer from the waist down, although I did decide to do some calf compression sleeves. I’m happy I did. Somehow, I think they did some good.

I made my coffee, prepped my water bottle, opened my hand warmers so they’d get warm, and grabbed some clothes to change into should I end up soaked in sweat and cold by race end. I decided last minute to stick a pair of toe warmers into my sneakers after remembering the pain I suffered after the Reindeer Run a few weeks earlier. That would come back to bite me in the butt later…bad mistake…but live and learn, right? We were out the door a little later than I anticipated thanks to a forgotten coat by my husband, but since there wasn’t another soul on the road at 8:15am on New Year’s Day morning, we were good to go.

We found a super convenient place to park, and we sat in the car a bit while I got my shit together. Soon after, my friend Timi let me know she had arrived, so we headed out to the start area. I knew there would be some shelter at the building so my husband would be AOK to wait for me there. It was cold, but not brutal. I wrapped a blanket around my legs anyway. I had my human coat rack with me to hand it off to at the start line. I ran into Timi in the building and made the decision to wait on line for the indoor heated restroom. Glad I did. The lines moved along, and the cold air wasn’t helping the bladder retention.

Me and Timi...pre race!

Me and Timi…pre race!

We made it to the start with loads of time to spare. Too much, in fact. I was getting cold waiting around. The starting area was slender, so I suppose it was a good thing there weren’t as many racers as previous years. I cued up a podcast, and waited impatiently for the countdown.

Off and running…and I took it deliberately slow. Thank heavens there weren’t a lot of speedsters at the start. It made for a nice and relaxed take off. This is the worst part of the new route for the Polar Dash. It is a rather narrow sidewalk until it opens up into a street, but there is a net uphill gain through this first mile. I swear it takes forever. But for some reason this year, it went by fairly quickly. Maybe it was because I started out so slow. I had my runmeter running, but I didn’t have it set to read me any updates. I decided I didn’t need the pressure. Today’s run was about finishing…period.

It was chilly where there was no sun. And the slightest of breezes made it worse. But it was tolerable. More than tolerable. I began to think I overdressed. Of course, there wasn’t much I could do about it at this point.

We rounded the corner to the park road just after mile 1. There was a photographer there, kind of on a weird corner. I couldn’t imagine how he was getting any decent shots. But I smiled and waved, anyway. I wasn’t feeling too bad at this point. I settled in after mile 2. Now, there were some half marathoners making their way back in the opposite direction. I realized we must all have the same turnaround point. That meant that the half marathoners would be making a second round of the path the 10K-ers were about to forge. I’m not one for out and backs, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. It seemed before I knew it we were at the turn around. This was a little after mile 4. The trip out would actually be longer than the trip back, since we took that initial mile and a half loop before we even hit the park entrance. It was here I began to have serious issues with my left toe warmer. It had slid into the forefront of my sneaker and my middle toes were starting to hurt. I kept flinging my foot, trying to force the pad back to the top of my sneaker, but it wasn’t working. I considered stopping at least a half dozen times to take off my sneaker and dump the pack, but I never did it. Instead, at the end of the run I paid the price with what looks like a badly bruised toe nail that will more than likely fall off in the following weeks. Not that it much matters anymore. My feet look like crap all the time, now.

It made the last few miles intolerable…and to add insult to injury, for some reason my podcast stopped, and some music started…and they were the slowest melodies anyone would ever want to run to. Then, the music would shut down…and restart…and shut down. I’ll tell ya that the latest iOS update is the pits! I didn’t know if I still had battery power or what. But I did have my Garmin on, so I had some record of the run.

As I approached the finish, I spotted my husband with his phone taking some video, so I smiled and waved. I crossed the finish, stopped my Garmin and immediately began to walk it off. My toe was throbbing! I had to get somewhere to pull off that shoe and get rid of that toe warmer.

10K Finish Line Video

(I have to laugh, because my husband did a little commentary with the video…and he acted as though he was the announcer who couldn’t pronounce my last name. It was rather comical, actually. He is pretty witty!)

My husband caught up with me and we continued to walk it off. I then remembered my runmeter and my phone and was surprised to see it was still running. I shut it down just as my husband asked, “Are you happy with your time?”

“I”m happy with ANY time,” I responded. “I don’t even know how I finished.”

“About 52 minutes…” he said.

Well, probably my slowest 10K ever…but I wasn’t here for any records today, anyway.

10K complete!

10K complete!

We took some pictures, and then made our way to the tent so I could get out of my sneakers. They were already handing out food, so I grabbed some for my husband. There was nothing for me to eat there. And as I sat on the bench removing my shoes, my lightheadedness made me wish I had brought a Quest bar along. My husband offered to run back to the car for me, but I declined it graciously. Seriously, I could wait.

I pulled out the shoe warmers and already realized that the damage had been done. I just hoped I could finish my runs this morning. The rest of the day didn’t matter.

We sat there for a long while, and I found my friend Timi again as we headed out to the start line for the 1700m run.

1700m done!

1700m done!

I can tell you that little happened differently for this run and the 5K. The weather brightened up a little, and it got just slightly warmer. But I was pretty soaked with sweat so it chilled me worse. I just wanted to run these last two events and get home. I felt pretty good for them. The toe issue resolved itself, and it was just a matter of getting the runs done. I didn’t listen to anything for these last two events. My phone’s battery was draining quickly and I wanted to reserve power for some photos at the end.

Finishing the 5K.

Finishing the 5K.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite make it that far. It made it to the end of the 5k, then it shut down. I couldn’t take my photos with it, or use it to find Timi, so after we collected my Yeti metal, my husband used his phone for the parting shots and we were off.

4 medals and a Yeti hat!

4 medals and a Yeti hat!

It was a quiet ride home. My husband asked how I was feeling, and I smiled for his benefit. “I’m okay,” I said. “I’m okay.”

It wasn’t until a few hours later that I even thought about checking the results.

screenshot-2017-01-01-15-43-12 screenshot-2017-01-01-15-43-30 screenshot-2017-01-01-15-43-46 screenshot-2017-01-01-15-44-14

Pfffffft. You are kidding, right? First in my age group for each event, and for the Yeti Challenge. I suppose in the end it was a good thing I showed up and ran at all.

My husband thought this was incredible. “Despite your injury,” he said. “You pulled it off! Way to go, honey.”

Yeah. I pulled it off. Another year, another Polar Dash.

Bring on 2017.

Did you run a New Years Day event? Which one and how did you do?

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