Last year, my sister ran her first 5k, Chill at the Mills in Rochester, Michigan. It was mild winter conditions for January and foggy. This year we returned and it felt very similar. Temperatures were above freezing and slightly foggy (it’s really foggy now, hours later). More importantly, it didn’t feel bitterly cold. I wore leggings and layered with a t-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, and my running jacket. This turned out to be the right choice. (I didn’t get cold until after I finished while I cheered runners.) I also made sure my sister had the appropriate layers so she didn’t have to run in her goose-down coat like last time!

We arrived with just over an hour until the start of the race. Plenty of time and parking available. We grabbed our race shirts and bibs then headed back to the car to keep warm.

Eventually, we ventured back out to meet up with my sister’s friend who was also running the race! We hung around in one of the tents they had set up from the Fire and Ice Festival. When we went to line up at the start it seemed everyone was milling about far from the front so I led us all closer.

The race started on time and maybe it was great position placement but it surprisingly didn’t feel congested. They did change the start/finish areas of the course from last year. I don’t really remember the run last year as being as hilly as it was this year but it probably was. There were some good mini ups/downs, that’s for sure! Still, nothing compared to the hills during the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. The pavement was wet but all the snow and ice was cleared (except one snowy portion for about 50 feet). I didn’t have to worry at all but I was cautious near a couple slushy-looking puddles.

Because they changed the course, it was literally a downhill finish for a little boost.

I didn’t have any race goals or expectations for this run. I only looked at my watch once just after the first mile- I was surprised; I’ve been running about 16 miles a week. The majority of my December and January runs have been on the treadmill. I mean- sometimes I play with speed or incline for a little variety but I don’t run very fast while I’m watch Parks and Recreation on Netflix…

I finished in 25:08 (8:19, 8:03, 8:05). This was second in my age group- new this year was age group awards!  I also saw my friend Janet at the race- she had a nice long warmup run beforehand since her marathon training already started and she did great! And I saw another friend volunteering! It’s always nice to see familiar faces. 🙂

Brooksie Way hats were the finish line reward! Last year it was gloves; I like these winter items instead of medals.

We promptly left to go to my favorite brunch place, Rochester Brunch House. We did have a long and cold wait outside to get a table but it was certainly worth it. And when I got home, the shower and Tim Horton’s coffee I picked up on the way home had to wait- until after my nap.

I’m really looking forward to marathon training now!