Polar Cap Race Report


Feb. 3, 2018 – 10 am – Lake George, NY

You all know how much I love Lake George (at least in the summertime).  Well, this race gets me up to the lake in the winter.  Ex-blogger AJH (now runner friend) and I have run this race together many times.

Polar Cap - 2nd place in AG

Here we are winning AG awards in 2011

I was injured in 2012 and couldn’t run but AJH did snag another award.

AJH got 2nd place...we won a lunch bag which matches the race shirt

AG awards again in 2013

I ran with her in 2014 but only she got an award.

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AJH’s award in 2014

Then in 2015, we both got awards and for the first time, I beat her.

2nd

another hat for AJH but my first.

I was away in 2016 but we ran it together last year.  AJH did not get an award (but she is such a great sport) and I won my AG and surprisingly got a PR!!!

AJH was running it, of course, again this year and I was looking forward to seeing her.  We hadn’t seen each other since August at the Race the Train race.

The thing with this race, you never know where it’s going to start and what the course will be (besides hilly.)  Last year, they changed the course for the third time.

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during the snowy 2014 race

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during the cold 2015 race

getting my PR last year

I have not been doing any speed work at all or running on any hills. (Um …do I ever? lol) My runs on the weekend have been longish. So as usual I went into this race with no expectations other than to have a good time.

But it was so COLD!!! In the single digits. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

So I bundled up in my usual running layers (2 shirts, jacket, skirt, tights, gaiter, beanie, mittens with hand warmers) and drove the hour ride up to Lake George.

not today but the same outfit

Well, obviously my age is rearing its ugly head. In other words, I’m having more senior moments. Because I went to bed very late (mah jongg hostessing), I was tired the next morning and rushed out the door without my Apple Watch and my Garmin. Ugh! I could have gone back to get it but I didn’t want to be late for the race.

As I drove north, I watched the car thermometer drop from 8 to 2 degrees.

I arrived around 8ish and got a great parking spot but was surprised that no one had yet arrived.

Why?

Because the race started at 10 am. Duh! I was 2 hours early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And yes, I could have returned home to get my watch!!!)

Packet pick-up was again at the parish hall of the church in Lake George.  This newer location was warm and had restrooms which is always a plus.

my friend Sue and speedy Kim, now in my AG

Eventually runners did arrive and I chatted with some whom I knew until AJH arrived. (She is hard core – drove over 2 hours from VT. and is injured so had to walk the whole race.)

We waited until the last minute to go out into the cold. We had to walk quite a ways as the race started in town by the lake. (Since the race repeated its course, I will re-post some of my pics from last year.)

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There was no real starting line and the race was not chip timed. Even though I ran the race last year, I didn’t really remember what the course was like so here is a map that I found online.

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I am directionally challenged anyway so it wouldn’t have meant much to me even if I looked at the map before the race.

waiting to begin (pic from D. Olden)

Luckily we didn’t have to wait long in the cold before the race started. There seemed to be only a little over 100 runners which is much fewer than usual (probably because of the cold temps.) I knew that this race would be interesting without a watch.  Not because I was going for a PR but because I sometimes glance down at my watch to see if I am running too fast at the beginning or have slowed down too much at the end.  Nothing I could do about it now so I just decided to try not to freeze to death and enjoy the pretty scenery.

A lot of the course was a blur, as usual, but here’s what I remember.

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pic from FB – cute markers at each mile

The first mile started with a slight uphill and then it flattened out. I was cold (at least my face and lips were from the wind) and my legs felt very stiff since I hadn’t warmed up. I was ok with that because I wanted to start out slow.  I also found my stomach growling since the race started at 10 am and I had eaten 3 1/2 hours ago.

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Mile two started where the race used to start and than meant a steepish hill.  I told myself to be smart since I had a half marathon in 6 weeks and I never run on hills.  However this time, I pushed myself to run slowly and not walk.  It was practically a crawl and I did it. At this point, I was actually thawing out.  In fact, I felt warm.

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The longest and biggest was at mile 3 and although it was only 1/2 mile, it seemed to go on forever.  This time I walked/ran it. Afterward we were rewarded with a nice downhill. I am always hesitant to go all out on the downhills so many runners passed me by but that was better than getting DOMS. Believe it or not, I was so warm that I unzipped my jacket and took off my mittens.

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Finally for mile 4, we ran along the lake and back into town.  At this point, I wanted to be done and picked up the pace. Luckily the hills were finally over. I didn’t care about a PR but I secretly want to win an AG award.  But I had no idea where the other runners in my AG were in at this time in the course.

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I saw that the clock ahead read 38:xx.  I sprinted as fast as I could and crossed at 38:48.

Initially I was disappointed.  My time was slower than last year and even slower than 3 years ago. It’s tough when you run without a watch because you have no idea what your pace is.  Could I have finished faster if I had known?  Definitely!!  I’m pretty competitive. I would have pushed myself more. But it’s not the end of the world.  There will be other races.

AJH was walking so I decided to wait for her.  But it was too cold to stand still so I headed back onto the course and ran it in reverse until I met up with her.

A soon  as she finished, we walked back to the church together.

There was chicken noodle soup, bread, chocolate milk, fruit and baked goods – I am a sucker for home-made stuff and ate quite a few cookies and brownies. I also had the soup.

We waited around for the age group awards. surprisingly, I did win one – second.

won a headband/gaiter/cap thingie

After AJH left, I was debating on changing my clothes and leaving or running more.

With 8 miles on my “training” schedule for the day, I decided to stick around and try to find somewhere to run. I had already run about 2 miles while waiting for AJH so I ran around the lake a bit and then to the Winter Carnival in town to get 2 more miles in.

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This was the first day of the event which is held every weekend in February.

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they had a chili cook-off. I just donated my money because the line was too long and I was freezing!

I visited with friends who were volunteering and took some pics.

Eventually it seemed to be getting colder so I headed back to my car (that I had left at the church).

freezing my butt off (literally)

As usual, I loved doing the race (even if it was cold). Small local races are the best and running one with friends is just icing on the cake.


I’m also linking this post with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner.

Happy Running! Have you raced yet this year?

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29 thoughts on “Polar Cap Race Report

  1. I love that you and AJH have such a tradition with doing this race – and very cool that you won an AG award again! I am seriously cold just looking at the picture of you sitting on that ice bench.

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  2. I’ve been lucky that my watch has never died — yet, anyway. And that’s the beauty of wearing it 24/7 — you usually don’t forget it, although I do take it off showers.

    Maybe you would have run faster with it. Maybe you wouldn’t. You got to see friends and win an AG award so that’s pretty sweet.

    And of course there were fewer runners because of the cold. We’re not all nuts. 🙂

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      • But you’ve also run races where it died and you said some of them were the best races. I personally haven’t done that (yet), but I do suspect it would slow me down — my body likes to run slowly (unlike yours).

        Yes, your Garmin isn’t made for everyday wear like mine, but your Applewatch is?

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  3. Oh my gosh, what an adventure! Congrats!! And I’m sorry, but this winter is dragging ON isn’t it?? These cold temps and we just got pummeled with snow again. I’m over it. Summer, where are you??

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  4. What a fun tradition, but damn! Those were some cold temps this year. Congrats on your AG award – even without a watch! I’ve forgotten a watch before for a race and let it completely derail me. 😦

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