Celebration of the Lakes 5k – 2014

On Saturday, January 25th, I ran the Celebration of the Lakes 5k in Lindstrom, MN. This year marks the third year I’ve run this race, though not consecutively, as I took last year off to get married. It is also the first 5k I ever ran, so I try to keep this one on the rotation as a celebration of my running anniversary.

Anyone who has been watching the weather forecasts lately knows that most of the US has been under a deep freeze the past few weeks. The temperature at race time was -1* with 12 mph winds and -12* windchills. Plus, the start/finish line was next to a frozen lake. So very Minnesotan.

I dressed in more layers than I have ever worn for running before – fleece lined leggings, running pants, wool running socks, a base layer shirt, a thick fleece, a wind breaker, neck gaiter, two pairs of gloves, a running beanie and my running shoes. That doesn’t even include the gadgets!

Parking was on the road in a residential area next to the lake. It’s a small town, so there was no need to get there too early. I arrived about 15 minutes before start time, which was plenty of time to walk a block or so to pick up my bib, go back to my car to put on said bib and warm my fingers, walk back down to the start line to use the restroom, visit with a running friend (hi, Katy!) AND line up. The field of runners was VERY small, so that definitely helped with the logistics. For such a small race, it’s impressive that it’s chip-timed.

Anyway, the race started promptly at 10am with an announcement from the race director. The course was different from the both of the previous two years I ran and we started uphill from the lake, then took a right after a few blocks and headed up a busy thoroughfare toward the high school. Since it was an out-and-back, the turnaround was at the school. Having started uphill, the finish was downhill, which is always nice.

Due to the previous night’s snow and recent cold temperatures, the footing was a bit slick, but it was the biting wind that made things the most difficult. My lungs just didn’t want to keep up, but this is my fault since I haven’t been doing any running outside this winter. I’m really glad I had my neck gaiter to breathe into when needed. The crazy thing was that my upper body was overheated from dressing too warm! My legs were just about perfect and I stripped one of my two pairs of gloves about halfway through.

My finishing time was 37:22 according to my GPS watch, which is slow, but not unreasonable considering the conditions and my lack of winter training. I did not go to the start tent for refreshments afterward, so I’m not sure what they offered for goodies after the race.

Final thoughts: the area surrounding Lindstrom is full of lakes and rather than run around/near one of them, this year’s course was in the middle of town, which was a bit disappointing. Overall, though, it’s a well-run race with a cute long-sleeve t-shirt. Personally, I love that it’s only a 15 minute drive from my house and parking is easy! Plus, I only paid $15 for this race thanks to a Black Friday special through the race organizer, FrontRunner, which can’t be beat. I’m hoping they choose a prettier course next year, but either way I’ll probably be back.

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