Yesterday, Kevin and I kicked off our half marathon training* season at the Frigid Five Miler in North Park. It was pretty chilly with temperatures hovering right around freezing. But after the days below freezing last week, we can’t complain. Dressed in a three layers on top (short sleeve shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, light running jacket), some “Stay Warm” running pants, knee socks, hat, and gloves, I was chilly at the start, but warm once I got moving.
It rained on our drive up to North Park and on the walk up a steep, winding road that’s also the end of the race. We were a little bit wet, but not too bad. We warmed up and dried off in the lodge with our Team Challenge friends and by race time it had pretty much stopped raining. Kevin took off ahead of me immediately and I ran with two friends for the first few minutes of the race, but my asthma quickly got the better of me. I hadn’t gone half a mile before I was walking and puffing on the inhaler. But after a few minutes of walking and letting the albuterol do it’s thing, I was on track for a decent race.
The course was hilly and completely different from our usual run in North Park. I didn’t take pictures, I was too focused on running. I turned on my favorite running playlist and just did my best to keep going. The course was all paved and clear of snow and ice. It was a little slippery on the edge of the road, but in the middle it was pretty dry and no ice to be seen. There was salt out in a few places. This isn’t a race to try if you’re not feeling well. It was damp out, plus the cold, combine that with the hills and you’ll be miserable if you have the slightest case of the sniffles.
The best part was the downhill stretches where I could easily pick up some speed. The prettiest part was the first stretch of hills in the woods. The toughest part was the final hill. A lot of people who finished near me walked up the whole hill. It’s about half a mile long stretch of road with sections of really steep and not so steep hill, but no flat parts. I tried to run a bit of it, but my lungs were pretty well done by this point and I walked a lot of it, too. I finished last out of my group of friends, but there were still about 40 people behind me overall.
Afterward, we had some pancakes and hot chocolate in the lodge, then headed home to have chicken soup for lunch and hangout with our sick friend who wisely decided to stay home.
I’d definitely do this race again, though I might try to get in some more hill practice beforehand. We might also use this as a training course for the Pittsburgh Half.