I’m sure they call it the Polar Bear 5k for a reason, but DANGGG I did NOT expect it to be that cold! That’s the funny thing about racing in Denver in the winter — you never really know what Mother Nature is going to hand you. You might run a 5k in 20 degree weather with overcast skies and feel like a polar bear yourself, OR you could luck out and run in 30-40 degree sunny weather and sweat yourself to death! It’s a toss-up, and this time I definitely ended up freezing.
However…the race was great! Had I not signed up for the Polar Bear 5k, I don’t think I would’ve gone outside for a run that day. And I probably wouldn’t have gone running at all since I despise the treadmill. But since I had paid for the race, I sucked it up and went. I had a couple of cuties there to support me – my boyfriend and my son – so there was no ducking out when my Southern voice told me that running in this weather was crazy.
Before the start of the 5k, there was a kids’ race of 200 meters. Since the race was free, I let Kaiden join in. He was one of the older kids there, but definitely not the fastest. But boyyyy, that kid ran! He ran harder and faster than he probably ever has before, and he finished third! I was one proud mama. He got a sticker and a little polar bear trinket, and got to take his picture with the polar bear character on site.
Then it was my turn. I got my music going and prepared my headphones. I wasn’t really expecting to have some spectacular running performance since this was my first run in all of January. My only goal was to finish, to run in the super cold weather, and to feel good about it. So that’s what I did.
The race looped around Washington Park (or Wash Park, to locals) about 1 and a half times. We ran around the trail, then passed the start line again for the last half mile or so of the race. The trail veers off toward the center of the park, which was where we finished. There were lots of vendors there, handing out nuts and water and pita chips and hummus…but all I cared about was two things: A Clif bar and Noosa. Ahhh noosa. Best yoghurt EVERRRR. I didn’t even pause to grab a spoon; I ate that junk with my finger.
I’m not sure of my official race time, but according to the clock at the finish, it was somewhere around 35 minutes. Not my best time by far. Although I’m not surprised…I had to stop and walk a couple of times during the race. The cold weather was just ROUGH, and not something I’m used to. I heard another runner talking about how she felt like this was a really difficult run, and she had difficulty breathing through the race. I agreed with her, and we commiserated a bit as we walked toward the parking lot.
I may not have set any PRs in this race, but I met the goals I had set for myself: I braved the cold, I finished, and I felt good for just getting out there and moving. My plan moving forward is to get outside, even in the cold, and get in the mileage. I may still have to walk at times due to the brisk, dry air, but it’s better than sitting on the couch. As long as I’m moving, that’s what counts.
This post was not sponsored by the Polar Bear 5k or the RunDenver Series, but is my own opinion because I love to run! Check out some of the upcoming races and go run with me!