I decided to sign-up for this series a few months ago when I saw the distances of the short races.  St. Louis is surprisingly a pretty big running town.  There are actually 2 winter running series to run in:  the Frostbite Series and the Snowball Series.  While the Snowball Series offers 5 different locations to run (Frostbite is all run at Forest Park), I really enjoyed the choice of long distance or short distance races.  Plus, the short distance in the Frostbite Series were MUCH shorter than the Snowball Series.  I know, that sounds kind of goofy, but I much prefer running less than 3 miles if that’s an option!  Plus, new distances mean NEW PRs!

The first race of the series is a 3K for the short course participants.  I was kind of excited about being able to run something less than a 5K, but it also means having to figure out a brand new racing strategy.  When you are SO used to running 3.1 miles, running something less takes a lot more GUTS than anything.  I ended up really not having much of a strategy going in, just to run as fast as I could, with a goal of running less than 12 minutes.

One of the things I am really excited about with this series is that it is SUPER competitive.  While I probably would have a decent shot of winning the Snowball Series in the long run, Frostbite has A LOT more competitors and A LOT more FAST people.  Walking up to the starting line, you see lots of team race jerseys and tons of high school athletes who look like they probably ran the state course last month – and did well on it.  I actually saw a girl who I coach against – who is an 8th grader – and got to talk to her afterward.  Her sister won the state meet this year – and she DOMINATED my BOYS during track season last year.  She is super fast so I was excited to see how I compared to her.  (SPOILER ALERT:  She’s SUPER fast…)

I was warned ahead of time the Frostbite has a lot of sharp curves (especially at the end) and the starting line is really crowded.  Boy, they weren’t lying about that.  When the gun went off, I was more worried about being tripped on the slick roads than I was about getting out toward the front.  It definitely was not my best start, but at least I can fix that for the next race!  It didn’t help that there was an immediate right turn after the start too.  Oh, and the roads were open during the race, which is not my favorite…

The course was pretty much an out and back course in Forest Park and fairly flat.  Right at the turn around, I started looking ahead to see where the front girls were, but I was so cold, that I just couldn’t focus – and honestly, I knew that I wasn’t going to win this race.  I was happy to see my split for the first mile at a 6:21 though!  And I felt every step of that 6:21 too!

I appreciate out and back courses just because I know pretty much exactly where I am and the second half goes by a lot faster usually.  The only bad thing about this course was that instead of finishing where you started, you turn on the trails to go behind the Forest Park Visitor Center, so – just as I was warned – lots of sharp turns.  Before the last turn, I saw the finish line and was about ready to just give up.  I had 2 girls right in front of me that I would normally make every effort to pass them right at the end, but I had a side stitch and just didn’t feel like I had anything left to give.  I couldn’t even get a final kick in before the finish line.  But, I was happy to see a number 11 on the clock at the finish line!

Mile 1 – 6:21
Mile 0.89 – 5:38

Overall Time – 11:59
Average Pace – 6:21/mile

9th Overall Female
1st in Age Group (30-34)

Definitely more competitive, but I know that’s going to help me push out of my comfort zone a little bit.  I don’t want to be stuck running close to 20-minute 5Ks.  I WANT that sub-20 5K again and another PR – and I know having FASTER competition is one way to get me there!  Oh, and the 8th grade girl who I coach against?  Yeah, she got SECOND overall, running 11:19.  Geez… I have my work cut out for me…

Well, at least I’m the fastest of the “old folks”, right?!  (Oh, and I go off my watch – since it’s a gun time, not a chip timed race.)  Awards are given per age group, so at least I know I can win my age group in the series!  But, it’s nice to have some young kiddos to push me a little harder!