Pre-Race: As y'all know B.o.B rolled in to town late Thursday night and we had plans for a big Tour d' Mitten! She's going to cover that in depth since it was her vaca, (post HERE) but the short of it is we left Friday morning for Traverse City by way of Grand Rapids. When we arrived there wasn't any snow and the Winter WOW!fest was looking sorry at best. Womp, womp. Not to be deterred we explored all the fun little shops in the downtown area before finding a great little Mexican place to stuff our faces at because everyone carb loads for a 5k fun run right?
On the drive to our hotel after dinner B.o.B was excited to see that it was starting to flurry; perhaps there was hope for our little Winter WOW!fest yet? Not long before the alarm was to go off the next morning I heard the tell tale signs of snow; a truck was scraping the drive outside. I peeked out the window and sure enough everything was covered in about 5" of snow!!! My little Florida girl was super duper excited! We quickly bundled up and packed in to the car to head to the pancake breakfast before the race. Can you tell we were taking the race super serious? The pancakes were delish and before we knew it, it was time to head to the race start!
Start Corral: The Start/Finish area was located at the marina office and the course itself would be four loops around the immediate area on Tart Trail. It was an informal start with about fifty brave souls bundled up and impatiently waiting to get this thing started because it was effing cold!!! The race director pointed out the large clock on the table that would run the duration of the race so we could check our time as we lapped and informed us that although the trail had been cleared there was a continuing lake effect. B.o.B was really going to get one helluva first snow running experience! After a few more announcements, including one about the course being long, she yelled GO! and we were off...
The Race: As I mentioned above, it was a four loop course that started and finished at a marina. Let me assure you that a four loop 5k covered with snow and ice that is run next to a marina with lake effect winds is the most miserable 5k you will ever run in your life. I've taken the liberty to pull down the map of our run for you and added in some notes:
That blue section there to the right was the marina/bay and those creepy guys are simultaneously blowing horrid lake effect wind at you while also sucking your soul. We called this the "Hate Our Lives" section which we endured approximately four times. The city side was less painful as the feeling to our limbs and right nostrils would slowly return as we sorta warmed up, but I had to teach B.o.B the art of "stepping with authority," especially through the intersection called out, so she wouldn't slip and bust her @ss. We mostly stuck to the race plan, except we "truffle-shuffled" through the walking portions, not quite walking but not exactly jogging, more of a skidding over ice at an accelerated pace, because it was just too d@mn cold. After the first loop we could only laugh hysterically at how miserable this race was as she informed me repeatedly that this may have been the worst idea she had ever had.
Snapped while shuffling the "Hate Our Lives" section of the course.
The Finish: As we brought it in to the finish I went to stop my watch and the race director yelled for me to keep it running because their timing clock had frozen up. So I lapped instead and stood there for awhile announcing finish times while Spike photo-documented B.o.B playing in the snow. (Spike of course, had lapped us during the race and finished well ahead.)
Final Garmin Time: Drum roll please... 32:05 for 3.2k! This means that Joanna, with a guess of 31:45, is the giveaway winner!!! Joanna, please email me your mailing address!
Post Race: After the race we bee-lined for the car to grab our coats and then headed back down to the festival area to cash in the soup tasting tickets we had received with our race swag. There we unanimously agreed that all cold weather races should conclude with soup tasting. Mmm Mmm good!
Race Swag Stocking Cap
Just call me "Dumb Donald"
Post Race Thoughts: This was an untimed, unbibbed four loop family fun run during a winter festival in northern Michigan with a mix of runners, walkers, and four legged friends. I don't think I'd ever go out of my way to run this race again but if we were in the area I might because who doesn't like getting their soul sucked out of them on a
lovely miserable winter morning with their best friend and fiance?