Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!! Team Ortho 14 miler

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

What a year it was!! I made a comeback into running, completing 10 races, and enjoyed running 100 miles in November! Those were the highs! I did not reach my 100 miles in December -- I hardly made a dent in it -- and I have no real excuse!!!

Coming off of November's high, I was very confident that I would be able to reach the goal of running 100 miles in December, and completing the Runner's World Holiday Run Streak. Neither of those goals did I reach. The weather here got too cold for my liking, and somehow December just disappeared!!

I did not, however, miss any training runs -- which I am proud to say!!

And now here it is!! The 2nd day of 2014!!! I have to say, I am very excited about this year!!

Yesterday, I ran the hardest race of my life!!! I am so proud of myself for starting this race, and even prouder to say I finished!!

I ran Team Ortho's Polar Dash 14 miler!! That is the most miles I have ever run at one time! And I have to say that extra 0.90 was a killer!!!

The whole race experience started on New Year's Eve for me. I drove up to Minneapolis to go to packet pick-up -- which was very well organized -- and I was able to not only pick up my Polar Dash packet, but also my Get Lucky packet and my Monster Dash jacket!! It felt a little bit like christmas!!

I stopped by a few of my favorite running stores on the way to pick up some food for the evening. I picked up a couple of pairs of Feetures merino wool socks -- so amazing!! I got a slice of my favorite pizza (arugula and prosciutto!). I seriously could live on this stuff!! Yum! I also picked up some lasagna for that evening's dinner!

I stayed at my sister's apartment, which is slowly becoming race headquarters! We ate a little and then went out shopping for a couple of hours. I knew I wanted to stay off of my feet for the majority of the night, so we headed home early, and put on our pajamas.

We were "real" party animals, considering it was New Year's Eve! I think we both had our jimjams on at around 6:30pm!!

We made out last minute race preparations, setting out our race clothes, checking that we had enough warm clothes for during and after the race, and we sucked down a couple of glasses of Nuun!

Picking out a race outfit was a HUGE challenge for this race!!! It has been extremely cold here in Minnesota for the last 2 weeks, and we knew at the start of the race it would be below zero!!

I decided on -->

1. a Columbia Omni Heat base layer
2. a Smart Wool mid layer
3. a Salomon wind proof jacket
4. a neck gator (ended up with 2)
5. a Smatwool headband
6. a Under Armour Infrared hat
7. fleece leggings
8. Sugio Sub-Zero tights
9. Feetures Merino Wool socks (knee-length)
10. Brooks wind-proof mittens

That is a lot of gear!!!

After preparing as much as we could for the inevitable cold we would be facing, we headed to bed. It was around 9:30 and there was no way my body was going to let me stay up any longer!!

I fell asleep fast, and slept really hard until around 2am, and from then on I tossed and turned about the race. I have to admit that I was very worried about freezing, not being able to finish, or coming in last!!

We woke up at around 6am, and started getting ready. While the race did not start until 9am, we have decided that being early to a race, and having time to relax is much better than arriving late, or not arriving at all!! Plus these Team Ortho races are crazy huge and parking can sometimes be an issue. So, better safe than sorry!!!

We slowly put on our gear, while listening to the t.v. weatherman tell us that it was -9 degrees with a 5mph wind. I was less than thrilled!!!

At about 7am we left the apartment and headed to the race site. It took us about 30 minutes to get to the parking lot, and we were able to get a great spot!! We hung out in the warmth of the car until about 15 minutes after 8 and then headed to the "limos". School busses take runners from the parking lot to the race start and runner's village.

Upon reaching the runner's village, my sister checked her bag of warm clothing to wear after she completed the race, and while she waited for me (she is MUCH faster than I am!!), and I made my last potty stop (Brrrrrrrrrr!!!!!).

We were able to keep slightly warm in the "warming tent" Team Ortho had set up. It was barely warm, and my feet were freezing before I even got to the starting line. It was COLD!!!!!!

We didn't have to wait too long until we were asked to line up and right on time we were off on our 14 mile adventure!!!!

The course was an out-and-back style. There was a 10k race taking place at the same time as the 14 miler, and a 5k starting on the same course 2 hours later.

The course is very pretty, taking runners right along the Mississippi River.

We would run just over 3 miles out, turn and run back to the start (mile 6), turn again and run out to mile 11 and then turn one last time and run to the start/finish!

I have never run this type of race before, and I really thought it was going to SUCK!! I am not one for out-and-back races, or even training runs!! I like loops or place-to-place runs!! But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!! The first 10 miles seem to fly by, and while I was cold, and my eyelashes were covered with ice, I was having a really good time!!! In fact, I reached mile 11 in record time!! At mile 11, runners make their final turn around, and that is when it hit me that while I only had 3 miles to go, I had to run the course again!!! I also was FREEZING at this point, and nothing was helping. My body was just shutting down. I was done, I was beyond done. I actually thought about stopping, but how could I with just 3 miles to go?!? I just had to get through it.

I couldn't feel my butt or my thighs, so that made running really hard, my feet felt like ice blocks, and trying to pick them up was almost impossible!! It was brutal.

I tried to reevaluate the situation, I tried to think about other things, I tried to stay positive, but my body was really shutting down. I was wet from sweat, I was freezing cold and I just needed to find a way to get to the finish line.

It was those 3 miles that really cost me. While I did not go into this race to get a specific time or for a PR (although I did get a PR because I have never run this distance before!!), I just wanted to finish, and I didn't want to get frostbite!!!

The last 3 miles took me over 45 minutes to "run". Who am I kidding? I pretty much walked/crawled them. One volunteer actually asked me if I was okay, I looked that bad!!

At the 1.6 mile mark, I ran into the lead 5k runner. That picked me up for awhile! And after what felt like forever, I crossed the finish line and received my 14 in 14 medal!!!

I think I will covet this medal above all others for a very long time!!

I was so proud, but completely frozen!!

My sister was a speed demon!! She ran the 14 miles 2 minutes faster than her last 1/2 marathon!!! WOW!! That is freaking impressive!!!! But also a little sad, because I hate having her wait for my slow ass all of the time.

We got back to the parking lot and in the warm car as quick as we could! It took over 2 hours for me to stop completely shaking, and start actually feeling warm!!! I had black spots all over my thighs when I showered, which freaked me out!! But they went away once I got warm!! Yikes!!!

Overall, this was the most challenging race of my life, it tested my abilities in so many ways!!

I am glad I ran it, and can actually say that up until mile 11, I was having a great time! It was -6 at the end of the race, and they say it was a "feels like" temp of -20 because of the wind!!!!

I feel like a beast having completed this run!!! Great way to start the New Year!!!

Now I am looking forward to running during the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Weekend in California!! The  race start temps look like they are going to be in the 40's!!!!!! That is going to feel amazing!! :)

8 comments:

Joanna said...

As I sat in my warm house Wednesday morning, I was thinking about all you brave (and crazy) people! That is seriously impressive dedication. I didn't realize the course was structured like that?!? I kind of hate out and backs, so I can't imagine hating to keep doing repeats, but glad you were able to enjoy the course! Brrr, though, I'm shivering thinking about it again!

We Run Disney said...

Congrats on getting through a long race in difficult conditions. Later this month it will probably be hot for the Tink half! LOL

katielookingforward.com said...

Nice work!!! And where is that pizza from!?!? My friends asked me to do the 14 miler, but I just couldn't. My body needed a break from running. But now I'm ready for clear roads so I can get back into it!

Kristine Barnes said...

@Katielookingforward.com

The pizza is from Broders on 50th. Delish!!

Thank you for all the support! It was a tough race both physically and mentally!

Jessica said...

Tink is going to seem toasty after this! I got cold for you just reading it. You are tough!

April S said...

Brrrr! And I'm whining about having to run in 39 degree weather tomorrow morning! Awesome job finishing in those conditions.

Karen Orozco said...

You are a complete beast! You took that cold and stomped it in the ground! My hero! Amazing, and what a great way to start the new year!

Meg Pudzianowski said...

Holy Shit! How did I miss this post! I cannot believe how much you wore for that race but I am so jealous of the medal! Congratulations on a great start to the year!