RR #12: Freezer Fives 5K

Turns out, February is similar to January in terms of trying to find races … they’re relatively few and far between.  And since my planned race was cancelled, there was a bit of a scramble hoping to find something that worked.  Fortunately, the Taconic Road Runners have two (count ‘em!) options – a 5K and a 5-miler that they use to kick off their season and call the Freezer Fives.  The races are held two weeks apart in FDR State Park in New York … I chose the 5K on 2/2.

So … this hasn’t exactly been the strongest lead-up to a race I’ve ever had.  This winter running thing, frankly, is kicking my ass and I’m starting to get frustrated about it.  But, given that January was such a slow month, I decided that my race strategy this time was to not really have a strategy – just go have a good time with it.


A couple of things about this race were different than recent races and also the last month in general.  First, because I guess they are worried about the weather, the race didn’t start until 10am.  And second, the high on Sunday was in the upper 40s and sunshiney.  Seriously perfect weather for a 5K.  And these two things led directly to something else unique about this one – my wife and son got to come with me, for the first time since my very first race last March.  Having a cheering section is … awesome.

The start line was down the road a bit from the finish line, and that wasn’t all that clearly communicated – after I got my number and shirt I just kind of followed the herd and got there.  There were no formalities at all – no national anthem, no “5-4-3-2-1”, nothing.  One minute we were standing there, and the next thing I knew all the people in front of me were running.  And so off we went.

The only picture of me taken during the race...
The only picture of me taken during the race…

I decided to go ahead and run it hard – no expectations for a PR, but given the conditions it felt good.  The course was another loop with an out-and-back spur, and because it was within the state park we had the whole road with no traffic anywhere … making for a quite pleasant run.  The little out-and-back spur started within the first mile, and featured a big hill.  Up and over, get to the bottom, turn around, and then up and over again.  Yay.  I met the leaders on their way back just about the time I topped out and started back down, which was a harbinger of things to come.

So, after that up-down-up-down, there was a short straight stretch into another decent hill that looped around to yet another decent hill … and then past the start line with half a mile or so to go.  My winter training struggles bit me on the ass on that last hill, and (spoiler alert!) kept me from a PR … but I’m not broken up about it.  Overall, this course certainly lived up to its billing as “challenging”.

Freezer Fives 5K Course Map
Freezer Fives 5K Course Map

My official finish time was 31:31, which is only 16 seconds off of my PR.  I’m thrilled with that time given all of the apparent weaknesses coming into this race.  One of these days I want to progress to being in the top half of finishers, but this one was only good enough for 218 / 284.  I’ll absolutely take it.


– After all of that polar vortex crap last week, we seriously got a perfect day – warm and clear and perfect.  And then got a foot of snow overnight that night, and two days later another 6 inches plus sleet and freezing rain.  Winter training is killing me, and I’m officially fielding job offers for warmer climates.

–  Having the family there makes it better, officially.  Because this was just a big park, my son was way distracted … and apparently wasn’t too happy about his Mommy making him stop long enough to cheer as I ran by.  But it was great, all the same.  Hopefully they’ll get to come to a few more of these this year than they did last year.

– This is my first Taconic Road Runners race, which is something I’ve been looking forward to.  To the extent that there is a running club around here that would be my local club, the TRRC is it.  And I was overall impressed – everybody was friendly, bib pickup seemed efficient, and it really was a very good small race.  No chip timing, which is fine, but in general a very well run race.

– Speaking of timing, an interesting thing happened in terms of my official time.  When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 31:28, and my watch said 31:12 … so I thought I actually had a shot at the PR depending on how much time they gave me to get across the start line.  I’m not sure how it works that they added 3 seconds to the time I saw … but whatever.  I’m certainly not bitching, just find this curious.

– Another thing about the TRR – they keep costs way down.  $18 for me, a non-member, and I think the member cost was $12.  Of course, for that you don’t really get swag – just the t-shirt.  It is, however, a nice long-sleeved cotton shirt with a neat graphic and no sponsor logos, so pretty cool.  Also, the bibs are TRR bibs – they say Taconic Road Runners and have the orange and green color scheme.  Bibs like that are just so dramatically better than the generic RoadID ones.

– So, that was February’s race, which brings the streak to 12 months.  Last March I ran my first ever 5K.  Since then, I’ve run an official event each month for a full year.  I find that almost hard to believe.  And I’m registered for March, April, May, and June races … plus the Ragnar in October.

– Next race:  Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon, Washington, DC, March 15th

Author: woodymw

I live my life in a constant state of hunger...

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