Saturday, January 24, 2015

35 for my 35th: No. 1

I turned 35 on Jan. 1, 2015. In honor of my 35 years on Earth, I decided to give myself a little challenge: within the year 2015, I will complete 35 official races. The races can be of any kind: running, biking, stair climbs, triathlons, mud runs, obstacles courses, etc. But they all must be official races, with entry fees and bibs numbers and the like.

In case you’re doing the math very slowly, 35 races equates to about 3 races per month. So, it’s not exactly an easy challenge. I mean, how many races can you do in January?

So far, one.

I completed the Polar Dash (5K) in Chicago on Jan. 10. It was 16 degrees outside at the time, and I attended my company’s holiday party the night before. And by “attended,” I mean, the libations were flowing, there may have been some G n R karaoke and head-banging on my part, and I got home after 2 am. But the next day, ran I did—nursing a moderate hangover.

Surprisingly, despite the chilly temps and bitter winds off the lake, I managed to overdress. I wore two pairs of pants, three long-sleeve shirts, two pairs of gloves and a knit hat. Most of me was sweating. The only part that got cold was my nose, which lost some feeling part way through the race. But otherwise, it was a great run. I had a blast, and although my time wasn’t great, sweating out the previous night’s vodka was a win in my book.

Race Summary:
Race name: Polar Dash
2015 Challenge Race No.: 1
Location: Grant Park, Chicago, IL
Organizers/Sponsor: Team Ortho
Cost: $50
Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)
Best parts of the race:
- The swag—a cozy zip-up fleece and an adorable penguin hat
- Time of year and location—proved to myself that an outdoor run in January in Chicago isn't just doable, but better than I expected and fun

Worst parts:
- Crowded start—Everyone lined up by their expected minute-per-mile, but once the starting bell went off, everyone just started moving forward, slowly. Although I lined up at a pace that required running, the race didn't clear out enough to do much actual "running" until about a mile into the race. Staggered start times, even by 45-90 second each, would have been much better.
- Frozen water at the water stations—I had to pick up a few cups before finding one that had actual liquid water inside. But I guess that’s one of those January outdoor race hazards.

As for races No. 2 and beyond, here’s my plan for the next few weeks, although I may add more if I can:
  • Next race: Step Up for Kids (80-story stair climb) @ Aon Center, Chicago, IL – Jan. 25 (tomorrow)
  • February: Possibly Cupid’s Undies @ John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL – Feb. 7 (Trying to find a way to do this one with Chris, while securing a few hours of babysitting for the kiddos, in between Jane's swim lessons in the morning and Maya's gymnastics in the afternoon. So we'll see.)
  • March:

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