Monday, January 24, 2011

Polar Bear Run 5K (Race Recap)

Sunday, January 23
Denver, CO
Weather - Chilly, Slight Breeze, Sunny

I had been eyeballing the Polar Bear Run 5K for a few weeks. I didn't sign up early, because weather here in Colorado is very unpredictable. I won't run if it's in the single digits, if it's really windy, if it has snowed a lot, etc etc. I'm picky like that. The race has a nice 10:00 start time, so I woke set my alarm for 8:15 am and figured I'd decide in the morning if I was going to race. The weather looked good, so I called my Dad to see if he would be willing to watch A while I raced. We agreed he would come pick me up around 9:00 and we would drive down to the start at Washington Park.

A and H
Me and A before the race
I hadn't remembered, but where we parked is the same place where I watched L run her awesome marathon back in October. We could see the tents from where we parked and I found the race day registration with no problems. There WAS a slight problem. Apparently the port-o-potty order was messed up and they weren't delivered until literally about ten minutes before the race started. Once I have it in my head that I have to go, I have to go... so I got in line anyway. My dad took A (and my niece H) to the playground while the race was starting. There were maybe 20 people in line, and luckily I was able to get in and out and literally walk up to the start line as they were counting down for the gun to go off.

The first five minutes of the race? Pure chaos. Another race where there is no timing mat at the start so EVERYONE wants to be as close as possible to the front, whether they are running or walking. I find that REALLY annoying. I obviously am not a contender for a prize, but I'd like to be able to run at a comfortable pace without having to slow down dramatically or frogger around people. The start was also the most narrow part of the course, so I had a hard time getting my groove.

I've never run at Washington Park, and by the looks of it I'm the only person with a hundred miles that doesn't. There were TONS of people running, walking (with dogs, strollers), cycling, even a dude using the ski poles. The course was "sorta" closed. Meaning they had orange cones out. But a lot of people seemed to ignore that, so there was some dodging of pedestrians, including a man in a wheelchair who was coming towards all the runners walking two dogs (one of which tried to jump on people as they ran by).

I'll admit. I hadn't really planned for this race. With the bathroom scenario I didn't really stretch or mentally prepare or anything. By a mile in I was pretty tired. By a mile and half in I was cursing to myself and reminding myself that the 5K is the most terrible distance to race ever. There was a water station on the course just before the 2 mile marker, and yes, I walked through it. The break was just what I needed and for the last mile I was able to settle into a more reasonable pace. I was PSYCHED when I saw the finish line ahead. I saw my Dad and A on the sidelines, and I loved that! I hardly ever race locally, so there isn't usually anyone cheering for me. I sprinted (well, sorta) to the finish, with an official time of 27:23 (since I started farther back, my watch said 27:10, which is only about 18 seconds off a PR).

My Dad got this shot of my heading toward the finish line
Official Time - 27:23
Official Pace - 8:50
Overall Place - 102/410
Division Place - 15/92
Gender Place - 38/247
Garmin Distance - 3.16 miles
Garmin Time - 27:10
Garmin Pace - 8:36
Mile 1 - 8:08 (way too fast for me)
Mile 2 - 8:47
Mile 3 - 8:54
Mile 3.1 - 8:38

There was REALLY good stuff at the finish line! I've been at races where you're lucky to get a half a banana and a cup of water. This was NOT the case here. I bet I can't even remember everything that was there, but I know I got granola bars, bags of chips, Sport Beans, Cereal sample boxes, Girls Scout cookies, coffee, chocolate fondue and fruit from the Melting Pot, bagels, bottled water and Powerade, etc. Also in the goodie bag was a GU packet, a sample of deodorant, some of those recovery ointments, and more that I can't even think of.

We had about 40 minutes until the start of the Kid's Fun Run. Most of that time was spent trying to gather all our freebies and having free coffee and hot chocolate. I had a few women approach me and tell me how awesome my skirt was. No kidding :D I should get commission for the number of folks I refer to the runningskirts! With about 5 minutes until the start both kids decided they had to use the bathroom, so we had a short run to the port-o-potties.

Ready to run!!
If you haven't ever watched a Kid's run, you really should. The kids that do this are the happiest and most energetic kids you have ever seen. The kids were lined up at the start line, they were walked through a short set of stretching exercises.

A is in between tall boy in red shirt and hat and girl in pink jacket

They were instructed where to run, and then they just sprint. It's the most adorable thing in the world. A and H were some of the smaller kids running. At the turn-around, A stopped and waited for H and then they ran back to the finish where they got a certificate, a ribbon, and silly bandz.

Kid's Run - A is in there somewhere...

A good race! Too bad I loathe the 5K distance too much. This race is part of a series though, and the next one is Super Bowl Sunday... maybe I'll wear my yellow/green and head out. Go Packers!


  1. Girl Scout cookies at the finish line? That sounds like the best race EVER.

  2. Good job! I'm not a fan of the 5k distance either: by the time I figure out how fast to go, the race is almost over. But I'm determined to learn to love them!

    Thanks again for a great blog! You're so inspiring, fashion-wise and running-wise!

  3. Congrats on a great race! :) I think it's so cute that A is so excited about running! :)

  4. Congrats on an awesome race. And the post race set-up = awesomeness!!

    LOVE the kids run pics. There isn't much cuter than kids running!

  5. First off - I love your outfit .... it looks just like mine 2 races ago when I won my only award ever!

    The fact that you don't like 5K races makes me wonder what I'll think of half marathons. Will I enjoy them even more than I do a 5K? I think I did so many 5Ks last year that I started to feel a lot more confident and my pace picked up A LOT, for me. So now I feel optimistic about the half. Thanks!!

    I love that you scored on all that free stuff at the end. I have so much free stuff that I've never used, but I just can't NOT take it!

  6. Man, you are the runningest girl. Every time I check out your blog, you've got another great race recap. Your babies look adorable running too - I love kid races. Wish mine were still that age ... I liked them a lot better then!ha Great job!

  7. kids race pics so cute! I love them!
    My boys also love to participate in them
    yesterday my 4 yrs old announced "next I am doing a maTathon!"


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