Eric and I ran the Winter Classic 5K a week ago. It might have the coldest race that I’ve ever ran. I’ve run a few cold races in my day – the New England High School XC championship in 1991 was run in a cold rain, and a turkey trot back in 05 was pretty chilly – but the problem here was threefold: the temps were low 30s all morning long, the shadows thrown by the tall Cambridge buildings kept the starting line in shadow, and we had nobody to take our warm up gear at the starting line, forcing us to wear just our race gear all morning long. You can see the effect of the cold and the crowd in the pace picture at the starting line where it took a while to get moving. Eric will testify – it was a hard race to warm up for; it was very hard to get the muscles loosened in that cold. What was amazing was the outfits of some of the other runners – there were a number of “sexy elves” wearing shirt skirts, and the dude in front of us stripped down to a bikini brief that he really shouldn’t have been wearing. The image of the potbellied thong got me moving, but I did have to weave pretty aggressively between people in order to get up to speed. Once we turned on to Mass Avenue I hit a pretty good groove—there was a good competition so that I could focus my efforts at steadily passing people; it was a much different environment than my last race.
To be honest with you, most of the race went by in a haze. I was playing music in the hopes to keep my energy level up, but I had problems with not only my selection but also the levels of the songs that were playing. I had to tear off my hat and gloves pretty quickly, and ended up losing a glove during the race (I was able to find it afterwards thank goodness). But I did have my phone reporting my pace every half-mile, and that kept me focused enough to finish in 19:38.4, giving me a 6:16 pace per mile. I was hoping to finish a tad faster, but I’m still really happy with the effort. This will be my last 5K for a while; now it's time to stretch out the mileage for the Burlington Marathon next May!