Yesterday morning I ran the Chisago Lakes 5K in Center City. This is one of the many "local" races I consider a must-do. This race has a particularly Minnesota flavor - the race registration tent is on a frozen lake an the race course takes runners past the church used in the Grumpy Old Men movies. Yesterday was especially "Minnesotan" with balmy temps of -5 degrees at race time.
Given the temps and the hills (did I mention the race is pretty hilly?), I didn't ave any particular time goal. I was just looking forward to getting the first race of 2010 under my belt. At 10:00 the race started and we were off, with considerably less runners than previous warmer years. There is a huge hill in the first quarter mile of the race, so that kept me from going out too fast. I just kept chugging along at about an 8:30 pace, trying to convince myself that my lungs were not going to freeze.
By the end of the first mile I was warmed up. There is another serious hill in the second mile, followed by a section where you run on a skinny (snow & ice covered) trail. Right after the trail? You guess it, more hills. Finally we were on the final downhill stretch to the finish. I gave a big kick trying to pass two girls in front of me who I thought might be in my age group. And then Sophie somehow broke free of my mom and jumped out onto the race course. Now if I was going for a PR, I probably would have mowed her down. But since that was out of the picture, I stopped and grabbed her hand and we finished together. 26:24.
While this certainly wasn't my fastest 5K time, I am proud of my even splits (8:32, 8:33, 8:34) and my hill prowess. I passed lots of people on the hills and never saw them again.
Speaking of hill prowess, this afternoon my in-laws watched Sophie while I ran my long run in their neck of the woods (northwestern Wisconsin). Twelve miles of big time hills. Like go to an amusement park and run on the roller coaster for twelve miles hills. My legs are killing me, but it was a great run. I then spent the rest of the afternoon in front of their fireplace eating a delicious dinner that I did not have to cook. Perfect weekend!