Monday, January 01, 2007

Slipping and sliding for resolutions

You know your priorities have changed when you are in bed by 10:30 PM on New Years Eve because you have a run scheduled the next morning! :)

I was actually glad to have a quiet evening in last night. The first significant snowstorm of the season hit the Twin Cities yesterday afternoon, turning the roads into skating rinks. My neighborhood got a couple inches or so, but some cities west of here got as much at 10!

The roads were still not great this morning, but I slowly made my way over to White Bear Lake, a beautiful community in the northeast part of the Twin Cities metro. Today I would be kicking off the New Year with a little 5k fun run.

A solitary ice fishing house on New Year’s Day in White Bear Lake

The Resolution Solution 5k is an annual event in its 5th year. It starts at the White Bear Lake marina and does a quick out and back along the west side of the lake.

I am terrible at estimating crowds, but I would say there were between 100-120 participants or so. There were a few hard-core runners there (including a couple local high-school track guys who ran shirtless with “Happy New Year” written on their chests...did I mention it was 20 degrees out?), but for a lot of folks this was a reason to get out and be active to start the New Year off on the right foot. Needless to say, the atmosphere was very relaxed.

I was mingling at the start and met a lady who was starting her own business as a “wellness consultant.” We got to chatting and she spoke about how so often people focus on food and nutrition, but wellness is also about so many other things (such as running, of course).

We both talked about how far each of us had come with our running (she started out running 2 minutes/walking 1 minute, and has since completed 2 marathons), and shared some of our personal thoughts and goals (she wanted to run Boston before she turned 40, and I would be doing my first 25k trail race in April). I told her I enjoyed the feeling of empowerment that running gives me, and she couldn’t have agreed more, saying that is one of the hardest things to try to explain to people.

Anyhow, the reason I tell this is because this is what I love about races; Runners can relate to each other. Complete strangers will have these deep conversations where they speak so openly about goals, ambitions, higher ideals, and making yourself better. Races create awesome and positive environments, and runners are inspiring people!

The race starts, and we are off like a herd of turtles. Truly! The picture below was taken near the starting line to illustrate the conditions of the streets.

The slippery starting line

As you can imagine, the layer of snow and ice, mixed with slush from where they had dropped the road salt, made for challenging running. Some spots were rigid and completely frozen. Others were sloppy and messy. And some areas were just downright slick!

I wore my old Nike trail running shoes that had some fairly sharp lugs on the soles, which helped a little bit. Even so, I was still slipping and sliding with every step. I did my best to try and run on parts of the street where the plows had missed, where there was still a layer of snow to offer some grip. It was slow going!

This race was not officially timed, as best as I could tell (this is just a fun run, after all!). According to my watch, I finished in 23:33, a time which I was not displeased with, given the conditions.

It was an adventurous morning run with some fellow Twin Cities runners, and now I am kicking up my feet a little bit, brewing a pot of chili on the stove, and watching a little college football. Not a bad way to start the New Year!

All the best in ‘07 and beyond!

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