The winter is the season least exciting for runners. As an outdoor sport, running is affected by the fear of frost-bites, picking the wrong gear for the weather conditions, and falling in slippery roads. Less people outside means less running fitness, which leads to less interest on races. Those who don’t fear the winter, like me, struggle to find races close by. The ones that actually take place have smaller fields and cover shorter distances, like 5, 8, and 10k. Shorter distances are not my thing, but this year I decided to try Re-Fridgee Eighter in Waterloo, Ontario.
My family and I registered just a week earlier to make it a winter outside activity. We were expecting sub-zero temperatures, but for our surprise, it was 6 degrees and sunny! It felt like a spring event. We started running and after a few minutes on the course, I noticed I was already warm and overdressed for the weather. That would be OK in a flat course, but not in one with several elevations. When going up, the heart beats faster, heating the body and stimulating sweating. That makes the run tougher.
But that was a shorter race after all. I knew my breaking point was far beyond that distance, so I went for an aggressive pace to match my fastest 10k pace. Pretty ambitious goal after running 16k and having a couple of beers with friends the day before.
The uphills really held me back, and despite running my fastest pace in almost three years, it wasn’t still enough to beat my best one. I blame the lower volume of training during the winter, but specially my pre-race lack of discipline. The only thing I can’t complain is the race organization. They were impeccable! Run Waterloo does a great job organizing races, attracting people from all over the province. The race started on time, the course was well marked, volunteers everywhere, precise distance measurement and timekeeping, gorgeous medal, and delicious and abundant food waiting after the finish line.