This morning I ran my 3rd race (again, it was a 5K). Like I said in my last post, I’ve been battling through some IT band pain, and it definitely played a role in today’s race.

When I woke up this morning, I checked the temperature, and found out that it was 13 degrees. I don’t know what it was with windchill, but 13 is cold either way. The coldest I’ve run in (I think) is the mid 30’s, so I didn’t know how my breathing pattern and lungs (or feet for that matter) would hold up in the race. I dressed warmly, with 4 layers on top, and stayed toasty while running (minus my feet and neck).  For a 5k, this was perfect. For even a 10k, however, I probably would’ve had to shed a layer.

I layered starting in the bottom right and working counter-clockwise. The pink shirt, closest to my body, is a wicking shirt. The top layer is a running jacket, which I am in love with. It covers half of my hand and has thumb holes. LOVE.

Arriving at the race, I was given my race Bib and shirt.

I guess the race organizers decided that, to be festive, we would all run with bells on our shoes.

See, bells on my shoes. I tried to tie it on to my laces tightly so the bells didn’t bounce.

We lined up at the start line, and were off! It snowed yesterday morning, but most of it melted by yesterday evening. However, along the race course there were a number of patches of ice, which isn’t great for running. That automatically slowed me down a bit, as I shuffled across the ice instead of running. Like I said, during the race it went between 13 and 15 degrees; SUPER cold but at least there wasn’t much wind and it was sunny. I dressed well, and my arms, legs, ears, hands, and core were fine (the shirts I have a picture of above, and I wore running tights, a headband over my ears, and cheap little gloves from Target). However, my feet were FREEZING and no amount of running warmed them up. In fact, by mile 2 I could hardly feel them. It was definitely a weird sensation to run without being able to feel your feet. The third thing that went wrong was the cold affecting my breathing/swallowing. While the rest of me was warm, my neck was not so warm. My throat felt like it was frozen a little bit, and I had a hard time swallowing. That, along with my lungs feeling like they were burning from the cold, made breathing pretty difficult.

Because of all these things (but especially the last 1), i took a few short walk breaks, which was incredibly frustrating. I crossed the finish line at 32:30, disappointed that I was 1:45 slower then my last race, which is my 5K PR. Given the conditions, though, I was feeling ok about the time.

When I got home, I stretched, foam rolled, and took my first ice bath. Oh my- that’s a story for a different post. But let’s just say I don’t think I’ve ever shook so violently from the cold before. Pure misery.

When I pulled up my GPS stats from the race at home, it says that the race length was actually 3.24 miles. That’s an extra .14 miles, which would take me about 1 minute, 40 seconds to run. And of course, seeing I was within 5-10 seconds of PRing in the race, I would’ve pushed myself much harder. But I can’t go back and change that. I think, had the race been an actual 3.1, I would’ve PR’d, even given the conditions. But I’m not sure. So I can’t really count this as a PR, but I also know that my official 3.1 mile time was faster then 32:30.

So, in summary:

  • it was fun to hear all the bells on the runners’ feet during the race. Not so fun to have them on my shoes though.
  • I wish there had been no ice
  • Cold weather= VERY difficult to breathe. Or swallow apparently.
  • I need to train in the cold weather. Since I started actually running this summer, it’s mostly been warm weather that I’ve done my runs in.
  • 32:30 was my official 3.24 mi time. I wonder what my 3.1 time was. Either way, I can’t count this as a PR, because I don’t know.
  • I wish I could say that I PR’d. I guess it’s back to training.
  • Finally: Ice Baths= worse then any punishment I got for misbehaving while growing up.

Now it’s your turn! Are you planning on running a “jingle bell jog” race this Christmas season? What are your tips for cold weather running? 

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