I’m not a member of one of those super serious or even semi-serious invite only running clubs in the city. I’d like to think I have my own where we focus on finishing over pace, love over agony and fun over everything else and anyone can join! The reason I put that out there is this relatively small race attracts a bunch of runners with those sorts of shirts. So its kind of funny that the frostbite five miler is a race I’ve done every single year since I gave myself permission to participate in races just for the love of it since it attracts such a serious crowd. I love it for a few reasons one is the chill vibe among those fast kids and the great cause it fundraises for. It’s easy to get to, well organized and has ample parking and inside during winter warm-up space. Plus its really affordable and the medal is always super cute too. On a more practical note it’s roughly 3 months out from the big ol’ Bluenose so if you stay in good enough shape to not embarrass yourself here you’re basically tricking yourself into base building for May (June this year).
Singing up for this one, this year was an exercise in lying to myself. I was all “I’m not doing Frostbite this year since I’ll be volunteering at Bluenose.” But then, they announced that there was a medal redesign, say what!?! I still lied to myself and said I’d wait to see what the medal looked like first. If I was being honest with myself it didn’t really matter if it was the poop emoji (who am I kidding that would be a great medal) I would have just said “of course I’m doing frostbite again!” PS the medal is icicles, how cool is that?
Ya’ll are probably tired of hearing this but it’s only 1 week now! The address of this blog is changing to http://www.sweatsweetly.ca not now but REALLY soon. Follow me somewhere else so you don’t forget!
A bit about the race: The Frostbite 5 miler is held each year in February and collects food and donations for Beacon House a local food bank and all the proceeds go there too. It’s put on by the Lakeshore runners and run Nova Scotia and I believe it used to be called the baked bean run many moons ago. The run itself is around First Lake in Sackville and its a pretty residential route. Sackville can be a bit colder and snowier in the winter and one year it was put off due to high snowbanks but since then the city has added a divided paved sidewalk/bike paths so that shouldn’t happen again. It’s hosted at Sackville High School so you can wait there in a warm space to hang out before and after and any cheerers can hang out there too. There is a bit of an expo planned for in the school you can check out too. As always there are lots of snacks including hot soup and coffee to warm you up when you finish. The Harvard auto van is always there to take donations for Beacon House and the goal is to fill it people! Check out the facebook page the week before the race for the current list of most needed items. The race is $25 for a medal or a mug (in years past) or an extra $5 for both. That didn’t seem to be an option this year but they were debuting a new medal. This race has a really chill vibe but it attracts a serious running group. Maybe it’s just that the last two winters have been terrible weather on the day so only the fast kids showed up. I’m reliably in the top half of results but not at this one.
Parking and weather: There is ample parking at Sackville High School really close to the doors on Kingfisher way and officially at Sobey’s but I think last year I parked on the far side of the lot at Sackville Sports Stadium. Since it’s a February race in Nova Scotia you should be prepared for anything weather wise. Two years ago it was -22 degrees Celsius with the windchill so I basically wore all of my running clothes to the race in layers. Last year it was right about freezing and snowing with a stiff but not terrible breeze. Most of the snow had fallen in the morning which made the sidewalk portions pretty slick. So the first two years I did it I would say it was challenging+.
What would the weather hold this year, always a mystery in Canada? Would it be polar vortex aka damn cold winter or shorts weather, after all, it is February in Canada? Most people know that Canadians have crazy winters assuming it’s always cold but we don’t get that it’s because we literally never know what’s going to happen next that it’s crazy. Well as it turned out the weather was perfectly sunny, a light breeze and right around freezing. This was the frostbite 5 miler I’ve been waiting for!
Cheer squad: Not applicable, sad face :(. Honey does usually come with me to all my races and would never miss a big one. However, he’s never been to this one with me. Since like last year I had to work after the race I went alone. No trainees this time either. But I did chat with lots of people which was fun including Stacy over at sole sisters which is where I’m headed next!
Logistics and support: This race is really well organized since it’s got a long history and it’s hosted by a run club. There is a volunteer at every intersection and one water stop at the halfway point. Even though it’s around First Lake there really isn’t a whole lot of lake views. The course is pretty hilly but doesn’t cross into the territory of brutal (85m of elevation change). This year it was timed using the popsicle stick method. Other years it’s been ankle bracelets or even chip bibs. I did have a moment of panic at the start line thinking I was missing something but no one else has a chip band so I figured I was good too.
Race goals: Get the new super duper icicle medal and add 8 km to my monthly total and that’s pretty much it. Usually, this race is a great motivator to keep your mileage up during the dead of winter with an eye to Bluenose in the spring but I have no big goals there this year. However, at some point, I would like to do this one without crazy stupid weather which since it’s in February could take a number of years. I’m not really sure what my goals are for this season yet so unlike in year’s past, I’m not sure how this fits into the bigger picture yet. On the drive in 6:30 per km was stuck in my head for no reason at all and spoiler alert that’s exactly what happened.
Swag: In past years it’s been bib and medal or mug or both if you pay extra but this year there was so much stuff! I got a born to run license plate holder which honey said should go on my car so I’ll be installing that on the work truck in the morning… (evil smile). A phone screen protector applicator presser thingy (meh) but I didn’t have one of those before today, a pen (always need those) and a free class at Osprey athletics in Bedford which I have good intentions to check out. The big win for me is the license plate holder and even though I’m all environmental and stuff I do love some free bits and bobs. Irrational I know but it’s just the way I am! Also, the new medal is really, really cool!
Results: I feel like I was pretty consistent the entire run I just wanted to cover the distance. I didn’t want to tucker myself out too much since I had to work tutoring for a couple of hours later. I also remembered that there’s a lot of hills at the start so start off easy. Also keep in mind the last two km will be a strong headwind on First Lake Drive!
•Time: 51:53 (or 6:29 per km, guess I should have thought 6:15?)
•Shoes: Asics Gel Cumulus 19
Looking back: I love this race for what it is an established, charitable, well-organized race in February when the event calendar is looking pretty sparse. It’s the perfect way to kick start your spring training a bit early on your way to a bigger event at Bluenose which is also an early race. Next up for me the Tutu Challenge at Sole Sister’s in June with my mom unless I impulse register for something else in the meantime which could totally happen, you guys!