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Polar Bear Series 2014: 5K

Polar Bear Series 2014: 5K

 On New Year’s Day I ran the first race in a local series through the YMCA called, The Polar Bear Series. I ran all the races in the series last year; you can read my recaps of each race either in Race Results or the Polar Bear category. This year there are three 5K’s, a 10K and then a half marathon. It was during the half marathon last year that I suffered two injuries, so I really feel a need to redeem myself this year!

The races for this series don’t start until 1pm, which is kind of nice, especially on New Year’s Day! My husband and I both signed up to run the whole series. We arrived at registration about 30 minutes prior to the race starting and picked up our bibs and race shirts; really nice dri fit long sleeved shirts, same as last year, but a different color.

The course for this race is relatively flat, but does have a few turns. It had been snowing fairly hard for the past day or two and the course was not plowed! I debated if I should put my Yaktrax on my shoes, but in the end I forgot so ran without them. It was a fairly windy and chilly day, about 18°F at the start of the race.

Polar Bear Series 2014: 5K

I was really happy to see that Score This is going to be timing all the races this year. Last year there were issues with timing and this is very frustrating for someone like me who loves numbers!

We waited outside for about 10 minutes before the race started. I talked with some people I knew and tried to stay warm by bouncing around a bit. Have you ever watched runners before a race? It’s pretty amusing.

Soon it was time go and the gun went off! I started off fairly fast in order to pass a bunch of people. I hadn’t really been paying attention and ended up towards the back of the pack. I weaved around a ton of people and finally it thinned out a bit after the first turn. There was lots of snow on the ground, making it difficult to get a good pace going.

Even though it was cold, I didn’t have any issues with breathing during the race. Afterwards however I coughed the rest of the day. I’m not a big fan of this course. It weaves around St. Bonaventure campus and then onto the main road and then doubles back so that the last half mile or so is the same as the first half mile. What’s nice is I know the mile landmarks and when I need to pick it up to finish.

I kept a steady 8:30 minutes per mile for the duration of the race. I was happy with that considering the cold and snowy conditions. My official time was 26:55 minutes, which was good enough for 2nd in my age group. Not too bad I guess, my time was slightly faster than last year as well.

The next race in the series is on January 12th and is also a 5K. It’s on the course that I set my PR last year so I am hoping for a good time!

Do you race during the winter months? Is it cold where you live?

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Emma January 9, 2014, 4:33 pm

    Sounds like fun- polar bears were my favourite animal when I was younger ;)
    I’m just getting going running again after a very long break due to a stress fracture which made me scared of running. I’m looking to do a few short races to motivate my training.
    Emma recently posted…Simple Celeriac SoupMy Profile

    • Anna January 9, 2014, 8:54 pm

      Being injured can definitely make one feel leery about running again. I’m glad you’re getting back out there though! Running is so cathartic for me.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts January 9, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Here in Australia, winter (well, autumn through spring) is the main racing season, because summer is too hot (and the triathlon series kicks off). I was thinking I’d struggle to run a race at 1pm instead of in the morning, but then I realised I have no concept of what cold weather is like in your part of the world, and revised my thinking! This sounds like a great concept to keep people active over winter :)
    Kari @ bite-sized thoughts recently posted…New York city #4 – our final US day, including the Empire State Building, Tenement Museum, Moby’s vegan restaurant, and the bottom tip of ManhattanMy Profile

    • Anna January 9, 2014, 8:53 pm

      Yes, that’s the idea behind the Polar Bear series, keeping people active during the winter!

      I don’t really prefer 1pm races, I’d much rather do them in the mornings!

  • kimmythevegan January 11, 2014, 11:55 am

    Nice time Anna! Wow – my average is 30 minutes per 5km and that’s when the weather is in good condition haha ;p
    Ah winter training. I used to run in the winter… well, I still do, but since moving from Ontario to California, it’s not the same. It’s not cold here and I can’t say I miss running in the snow.

    • Anna January 11, 2014, 6:03 pm

      Thanks Kimmy. I can’t imagine a winter without the cold or snow!

  • Rushfit January 18, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Brrrrrrrrrrrrr…… I don’t think I’d do well in the Polar Bear 5K race! For the snow and cold running 8:30 per mile is actually pretty good. I normally don’t run outside when it gets below 20 degrees. Yeah I know, I’m a wimp, but I like running in the rain and in other weather conditions, just not when it gets do cold you sweat freezes (LOL). But all in all, I’m impressed! Great post!
    Rushfit recently posted…RUSHFIT What Is It?My Profile

    • Anna January 18, 2014, 5:57 pm

      Thank you so much! I think my favorite running weather is warm and rainy!

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