The Polar Cap 4 miles put on by The Adirondack Runners was my first race of the year and the first of twelve races I have planned for 2014. This was also my first run with a friend, Alison. She suggested this race about a month ago and because I couldn’t find a more appealing one locally, I made the drive up to Lake George. No race really looked appealing because of the frigid temperatures we’ve been having the past week or so. That and I hadn’t really trained at all.
But I had registered and a goal is a goal!
I was happy when I saw that the race started at ten o’clock; it gave the day a couple of hours to warm up. We all got lucky with the temperatures, too. The sky was blue, it was almost thirty-five degrees and there was no wind. My kind of day to be running in the winter!
I got there about forty minutes early to pick up my bib and assess my outfit. Because I hadn’t ran outside since New Year’s Day, I was really unsure of what to layer on. I decided on my warm pair of UnderArmor tights, a long-sleeved Lululemon shirt, my warm-up jacket from college volleyball and a baseball cap. And really, I would have been fine with my light vest instead of the jacket. I was surprised to see such a great turnout, but then again, I couldn’t blame them because of the weather conditions. Before I knew it, it was time to line up at the start.
The start is a slight up-hill and the crowd sprinted up at the sound of the gun. Alison and I had mutually agreed that this would be a fun run because neither of us felt prepared. We fell into groove and the first mile was at 9:05! I saw this and knew I could hold it however, what I hadn’t taken into account were the remaining hills that I hadn’t anticipated.
The first hill sucked and I wanted to walk but there was a great recovery after so I convinced myself to keep running. The course was easy to follow and there were volunteers at every turn. Before I knew it, we were down by the lake and taking in the views. This was also the point where you could see the top finishers zoom pass.
Now let me fill you in on a little pet-peeve of mine. If you sprint by me but then I pass you when you walk up a hill, I sure as hell don’t want to see you sprint past me once the road evens out. I take note of those people very early on in a race. There was a gentleman who did this maybe FOUR times throughout the race. I’d chug right along, and bam! He’d be in front of me again. Red coat, orange and grey hat. Note taken.
The last half mile of this race was uphill. If you were running on a treadmill, it would be approximately a 3.7% incline. I hate hills but for some reason, run harder and faster. Happens every time. I started up strong and in a zone. I then remembered that I was running with someone and slowed down to let Alison catch up; I didn’t want to cross the finish line before her. (Another pet peeve of mine: running the race with someone and then sprinting away during the last leg to only finish first.) When I turned to see her, she said “go ahead” but my response was “I WANT TO CATCH THAT MAN IN THE RED COAT!” A passing running dude in a grey hoodie and sunglasses said, “you want to catch that man in the red? Let’s go get him!” I looked back at Alison, she gave me the-go and I took off! That man in grey was much faster than me but I tried my hardest to catch him. I didn’t but let me tell you, I passed that man in the red coat!
The race photographs aren’t very flattering but hilarious. You can see my tense face as I’m struggling for air as I was running up that hill. You can see me look back to check his distance. You can see my smile and then relief as we approached the finish line chute. Oh man, Alison got to see my competitive side come out full-blown within the last few seconds of the race.
After a couple of sips of water, she and I ran another mile because we were participating in a virtual 8k for the Winter Miles Challenge. It was much slower but comfortable and just what I needed to shake-out my legs.
Overall, it was a great morning and I loved seeing some new faces. And the long drive home wasn’t so bad after I made a quick stop for fries. Mission accomplished!