I am proud to say for the first time in my life I completed the York Winter Series. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement from my dad, Jason, Todd and Armand I wouldn’t have signed up nor would I have likely completed as many of the races as I did. Here is a quick recap of each race and my summarized thoughts:
Dover 10 Miler – Grateful that the longest race was the first one given I was still in shape from my half marathon training. The course was awesome, but I certainly wouldn’t attempt it without being in shape for it.
Spring Valley 4 Miler – Hardest 2nd half of a course I think I’ve ever ran. Hill training is a must to survive this race without walking.
Dallastown Wildcat 10k – Probably my favorite if for no other reason but that it’s in my hometown so I train on its roads a lot and felt really prepared. Also because I could sleep in as late as possible prior to it.
John Rudy 5 Miler – Cancelled due to bad weather which is a shame given it’s on the northern part of the York Rail Trail which I love and 5 milers tend to be my favorite distance to race. Hopefully next year!
Indian Rock 10k – Skipped due to miserable weather (cold, rainy and windy), I was partially sick and everyone else in my group was skipping it. Kind of a shame since it likely would be a fast course given its location on the York Rail Trail, but there’s always next year!
Jacobus 5 Miler – Skipped due to going to an indoor track invitational with Dtown’s track team. Can’t say I was sad to miss it after hearing about the long uphill climb to the finish line.
Springettsbury 10k – Fortunate that the actual race went better than the pre-run. Tough start with lots of hills but very scenic in the countryside.
Northeastern 5k – Short, fast way to end the series. Wish the finish was on the track like the Northeastern Dollars for Scholars 5k was that I did there years ago, but still a nice course.
Now here is a list of some of the things I learned throughout my full winter of running to keep in shape for the series:
Clothing – Dressing for cold weather running had to be the most aggravating thing I experienced, particularly for the races since I knew I would be running harder at those. I have discovered Under Armour’s coldgear is not just expensive for its name, but that it legit works. Also, fitted fleece running jackets are warmer than hoodies (this was the first year I wore them). Cold weather running socks are one of the best inventions, but need broken in prior to running a 10 mile race in them.
Wind Chill – This is what made figuring out what to wear all winter so difficult. In the summer it’s hot and even throwing in humidity that makes it feel hotter, it’s just always hot. A tank top and shorts are always going to be the standard apparel to wear. In the winter though wind chill can make a “seasonable” 40 degrees feel like death. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a sunny, wind-free 30 degree day can make an overdressed runner overheat.
Rain/Snow – I’ve determined that I can handle rain and snow. I can handle wind. I can handle cold. I cannot (or rather, will not) handle all three combined. It is just utter misery and no amount of positive thoughts will curb it.
DailyBurn – If it wasn’t for all the DailyBurn workouts I completed throughout the winter I don’t think I would’ve raced nearly as well as I did. My mileage decreased. Some weeks I was only running once a week. My hill training also lagged as the winter progressed. I faithfully completed the daily workouts though which often contained a fair amount of squats, lunges and other lower body moves. I also got a lot of core work which helped maintain a strong total body.
Running Buddies – They make all the difference when it comes to making yourself leave the house to run on a miserable winter day. I ran nearly all my long training runs for my half marathon by myself, but it took knowing others were waiting for me on Wed. evenings this winter to even entertain running 5-6 miles.
So despite the cold, the wind, the hills, the clothing crazed thoughts and never placing higher than 5th despite running what I considered decent races, I genuinely enjoyed the winter series. I can’t say I would’ve ran near as much this winter as I did had I not had so many races. I now know what to expect for next year and yes, I do intend to have a next year. My goal will be to run all the races (weather and indoor track schedule may limit that) and hopefully run them faster than I did this year. Here’s to having survived a full winter of cold weather running!