Today was the second race of the season for me with the Valentine’s Day 5K, put on by Twin Cities in Motion (same people who do the Twin Cities Marathon). This is one of the older winter races in Minnesota, and today proved why even a 5K can be considered a challenge up here in the North.
The race start was a very late 10am, but this meant that the sun would be high and the morning chill would be a bit better. At least that’s the theory. The air temp this morning as we left for the race was -3 degrees (F), but even worse was the wind. Overnight the wind picked up and there was actually a wind chill advisory this morning because of wind gusts around 35 mph. These are the kind of conditions that make being outside… challenging.
We arrived at the starting area and picked up our bibs and shirts. We then went into the nearby portable toilets (which were actually much warmer than outside) and added our race shirts to what we were wearing. Because of the weather my wife and I were both wearing 2-4 layers on different parts of our bodies. As people are apt to say, “It’s not the temperature that’s the problem it’s the wind.” That was very true today, as we huddled around some gas fire pits that had been set up to keep people warm. Although the pits were nice, the key was to keep your back to the wind, as it was still gusting quite high even as the race was starting.
Even though it was cold, people were friendly and everyone seemed to be in good spirits about the situation. People were making fun jokes about the weather, or about the fact that because of all the facemasks you had no idea if you knew anyone at the race! Minnesota race people are good folk.
The actual race itself wasn’t too bad, at least for the portions when we were going with the wind at our backs. After about a half a mile we were nice and warmed up and I could feel my toes again. As we circled Lake Harriet things worsened for a period of time. As we ran along the southern side of the lake, the effects of the windblown snow had taken it’s toll on the road with multi-inch drifts at certain points, and slick icy spots hidden under the blowing snow. As we rounded the southwest corner and started heading north, the road conditions improved tremendously, but once again we were heading into the wind. Thankfully, mile 3 was our fastest mile.
Because this was a Valentines Day race we decided to run together, even though my wife and I run at very different paces. So I didn’t break any records for speed today, but with the weather conditions I’m not sure I would have set any PR’s anyway.
The next race up for us is a 10 mile race at the beginning of March. Here’s hoping it’s a much nicer day than today was!