Running the Polar Dash or Look at me trying to be sporty again.

If you remember in my last sporty dad post, I wrote about the Spartan Race that I ran and did not finish. After that day I said to myself that I will train harder, go back and complete the race. I decided that I am going to chronicle this return to Spartan and share with all of you my process in getting ready for that day.  So here begins my #RoadBackToSpartan

I knew that if I was going to be ready for the Spartan Race in June I would have to begin training early. So I decided to do a run with my cousin’s husband, but we were not only going to do a simple 5k. We were going to do the Yeti Challenge at the Polar Dash.

Pre-run picture with my signature bandana. 

The Polar Dash is a race that is run in early January that consists of a 1600M, a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.  The race also consists of two challenges: The Yeti and the Super Yeti challenge. The Yeti Challenge is running the 1600m, the 5K and the 10K. while the Super Yeti is running the 1600M, 5k and Half marathon. 
As I mentioned above, we decided to do the Yeti Challenge and I was excited and nervous about this run.  Now, I have not really ran since the Spartan race. I have had the fear that my legs would cramp up again and I would not be able to finish, but the only way to get over that fear is to go out and do it. 
Crossing the finish line for the 10K…I think. 
I ran with my cousin’s husband the week before the run and ran about 3 miles and I felt good about it. I mean, my legs were in a little pain the few days after it, but it felt good to go running again. The day of the event we made it just in time to warm up a little.
I adjusted my signature bandana over my mouth that I wear in all of my runs and made sure my shoes were tied tight. I usually wear my Smarty Pants jersey when I run, but my once white jersey is now brown due to all the mud runs that I have worn it in.  We waited at the starting line and off we ran as the starter’s pistol went off. 
I felt I ran at a good pace. I was not trying to marathon it because I knew we still had two more races to run, but I ran it at a good steady pace.  We had a plan to try to stick to an 11-12 minute a mile and speed up our pace for the 5K and the 1600M.  Everything was going well, but little by little I felt myself getting slower.  Not to hold back my running partner, I told him to go on and I’ll catch up or meet him at the finish line. 
I admit I walked a few times, but it was more of a speed walk as opposed to a walk-walk.  I kept telling myself that I could do this and I would slowly start picking up my pace and try to run the race instead of walking it. 
I completed the 10k in a little under an hour, which was my goal, then it was on to rest a few minutes before the next race: the 5K.  For this race, I did not have that much trouble. I ran at a slower pace than what I wanted to run, but I did not want to push myself and end up getting hurt. After this race, I still had the 1600M to do, and I was looking forward to getting that one done and go home to relax. 
It was not until the final race that I starting feeling some cramping in my calves.  The cramps started hitting me at the beginning of the run and I just slowed down and after about a minute or two they were gone and I continued to run my one mile.  Crossing that finish line was a great feeling and I was so happy when I got my final medal. 
As selfish as it sounds, I said to myself that this year I will run for medals.  I have enough t-shirts from previous runs that I want to run for something more than just a shirt. By doing the Yeti Challenge, we were awarded four medals. Four medals to start the year. Four medals to add to the few more that I will earn this year. Four medals that I can show and share with my children when I get home. 
Although the medals were great to get at the end of my run, it felt even better getting a congratulatory hug from my daughter when I came home. Every run I do I have them in my mind and I always want them to see that anything is possible.  I still can not wait for the day that they join me on one of these runs. 
There it is, the beginning of my #RoadBackToSpartan and I already have a few runs on my list of running this year. First up is the Shamrock Shuffle that I have run the past two years and after that is the Soldier Field 10 Mile that I have also run for the past few years.  
Next month I will continue to share with you how I am getting ready for my next races and will show you how I am going to make my own sandbag for training at home. 
Thanks for reading. 

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