Tag Archives: surgery

Challenge Obesity 5k – “Race” recap


Last year, I ran my first 5k race around Lake Como in St. Paul. I was so nervous and anxious the few days leading up to the event. But after I completed it, I felt so good! It started a string of 5k events through the rest of 2012! You can check out my last race in November as well as links to all the other races I completed here.

On my birthday, I made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish over the coming year. One important item on that list was to run the Challenge Obesity 5k again. It would be my one-year anniversary since my first and I could compare my progress. I wanted to encourage others to join me, too. The Challenge Obesity 5K race in St. Paul is one of the least intimidating races for beginner runners. When I was looking for a beginner runner 5k to run, this was the one recommended to me by Jen, a priorfatgirl. Many of the people running it have lost weight or are in the process of losing weight – from 20 to over 200 pounds! It’s actually very inspiring.

While my recent back surgery is forcing me to revise that list, I knew that I still wanted to participate in the Challenge Obesity event. And on Sunday, although I couldn’t run, I was reminded of this inspiration and vowed that I would be running this race every year as a re-commitment and reminder of a healthy lifestyle, while kicking off the beginning of the outdoor running season in Minnesota.

However, it wasn’t exactly ideal weather!

The results page describes last year’s weather as 45 degrees, overcast and breezy. You can check out the photos from that race recap post to see for yourself and compare to this year. I also re-read my recount of being a little warm in the lightweight jacket after I had started running. Back then, I was worried about being cold and wet that day. However, the rain held off until afternoon. This picture posted on the Challenge Obesity website depicts the beautiful spring day it actually was on Saturday, April 21st, 2012:

Weather at Lake Como on April 21, 2012 - source

Weather Conditions at Lake Como on April 21, 2012 – (Source: ChallengeCharities.org)

This year, all week, I was checking the weather forecast for race day. We’ve had some pretty unstable weather this spring including numerous SNOWstorms, one of which occurred last night:

April 22 2013 - Weather in MN, early evening.

April 22, 2013 – Weather Conditions in MN, early evening.

That was just the light dusting in the early evening! This morning, I woke up to this:

Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013

Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013 – Notice the additional snow on the trees, chairs and railings!

But I digress… Back to the race…

The week prior to race day, many forecasts showed 40 degrees and overcast with possible rain later in the morning. “Not so bad!” I thought. “Just a little cooler than last year!” …despite the fact that some snow remained on the ground.

But as the weekend drew closer, the weather predictions changed… including lower temperatures and possible rain and snow. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “I ran in 32 degree weather once and it was beautiful. I can handle this.” But on that particular day that I was remembering, the sun was out. So I just imagined it to be a little chillier and to adjust my race attire, accordingly.

And I use the term “race” loosely… Why?

Because I have not been cleared to run yet.

I would be walking this entire race.

Yeah, I was bummed when my surgeon told me that it would be six more weeks before I could slowly get back into running again. (More on that later this week.) But I also knew that since the surgery, walking on the treadmill a couple of times was the most exercise I’d done. And the furthest I’d gone is 1.5 miles. And even that took me 30 minutes. Obviously, I’m still healing.

The Night Before…

My friend Stacy came to town to join me in the race. The two of us went out to dinner with Rob to Forepaughs, a perfect suggestion on his part! The two of us girls split a small cheese plate, a piece of truffle toast and some po ping pork and even finished with some dessert. I did imbibe – two glasses of cabernet sauvignon. That’s not something I tend to do the night before a race.

Sure, I wasn’t running the thing this year, but I was still nervous. I didn’t know if I could make it the full 3.1 miles or if I’d come in last and hold up the entire working crew. So it was nice to have a night out with Stacy. {And I think it was nice for her to dine somewhere where she wouldn’t normally take her 5-year-old!} And although she and I have a tendency to chat for hours, we didn’t make it to bed too late. 😉

Race Day…

I didn’t get up immediately when the alarm went off, but I think I got ready in record time. I was debating whether to wear just a t-shirt or a fleece vest over my Cuddl Dud and under my lightweight jacket. At the advice of both my husband and Stacy, I went with the fleece vest, knowing I could remove it when I arrived.

Breakfast included the usual piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana. When my friend Jen arrived at my place at 7am, I grabbed a fleece scarf at the very last second (knowing it was one I could discard if I got hot) and we scurried out the door, stopping at Caribou Coffee on the way. I needed my race morning caffeine fix with my usual Americano!

Upon arrival…

It was colder than we could have ever imagined! 

The wind was whipping across the lake and the sky was more than overcast, with rain, sleet and snow seeming to be inevitable within minutes.

I had definitely under-dressed!

I hadn’t even brought gloves! I remembered the one time I wore gloves during a race that I got so hot and regretted it. So I just didn’t bring them this time. As we stood in line to pick up our bibs and t-shirts, my hands started to get numb. I jokingly said, “Hey, guys. Do you want to just go straight to brunch instead?” Stacy gave me a look like, “Don’t tempt me! You just might talk me into that!” But instead, she offered me an extra pair of stretchy gloves she just happened to have with her. I am so grateful she had those!


Stacy, Jen & I pre-race. Believe it or not, that is a lake in the background.

Last year, I loved checking out pictures or signs on the backs of those people who had worked so hard to lose massive amounts of weight. It was so inspiring! This year, a guy was passing out signs and pins so that anyone could write in their accomplishments and display them as well!

Notice how windy it is with our ponytails blown...

Notice how windy it is with our ponytails blown to one side… as I cuddle up to Jen!

I made Stacy and Jen pat the bear's belly for good luck like I did last year. ;-)

I made Stacy & Jen pat the bear’s belly for good luck like I did last year.

The Race:

While this race wasn’t chip-timed last year, it was advertised as such this year. However, we did not receive any chip, nor did it seem like the bib was equipped with anything. And now that I think of it, I don’t remember seeing any start or finish mats either. Perhaps this had something to do with the weather?

In any case, we lined up at the back, knowing that we all planned to walk it. I’m not sure where the actual start line was, but I’m sure it took us a few minutes to cross it after the race began. So if the race wasn’t chip-timed, I’m pretty sure I can shave at least a minute or two off my final “race” time. 😉

And after we got moving, it really wasn’t half bad being out there! Of course, I didn’t become hot nor need to shed any clothing. We felt some sleet on a couple of occasions, although my hat helped with that. And the wind whipped each time we turned a particular corner, but it didn’t last long. Still, the view along the route looked a little bleak compared to last year!

I urged the girls to go on ahead of me, as I knew I’d be slow. I also knew that if I needed to, I’d stop after the first lap around the lake. When Jen finished the first lap, she called me to find out if I had intended to do the second one. I was feeling up to it, so she pressed on, too. Stacy walked with me and as we saw that the clock at the first lap was at just over 30 minutes, I told her that I wanted to finish this thing in under an hour. Not a good pace, by any means, but it was an accomplishment for me just to have walked this far. It was hard to believe that just six-months ago, I had finished running my first 5-mile race in just under 1:10. Now I was hoping to do a little over 3 miles in about that time.

However, when Stacy and I crossed the finish line, the clock was no longer showing a time. I guessed we would just have to wait to see the results later that day…

Jen, Stacy and Carrie post race with hot beverages!

Jen, Stacy and Carrie post-race with hot beverages!

But by the time we got to the car and were making our way to brunch, we each got an email on our phones titled “results”:

Congratulations Carrie on finishing the Challenge Obesity 5k! 
Your Time of 59:34 with a pace of 19:11 per mile, put you in 119 Overall! 
In your Divison of F3539 your Division Place was 17 out of 19. 
Your Gender Place was 82 out of 89. 
Full race results can be found @ www.wayzataresults.com

How cool is that?! This was the first time I’ve ever had race results emailed to me, not having to wait until later in the day when official race times were posted. And I did make that goal of completing the 5k in under an hour. Certainly nothing to be proud of normally, but having had back surgery just six weeks prior, I was just happy to be out and moving and able to complete it at all!

  • The Event: 2013 Challenge Obesity 5k
  • The Location: Lake Como – St. Paul, MN
  • The Date: Sunday, April 21, 2013
  • Night Before Dinner: Split with Stacy: Small cheese plate, truffle toast, po ping pork, dessert. Two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pre-race Breakfast: Peanut Butter toast and banana
  • My Time: 59:34
  • The Weather: Freakin’ Cold! Mid 30s (but who knows with wind chill), overcast, some sleet.
  • Attire: running pants, long sleeved Cuddl Dud shirt, fleece vest, hat, fleece scarf, magic gloves.
  • General Feeling: Sad to not be running, but happy to have walked the most I had since back surgery. Re-inspired by all the runners who’ve lost weight!
  • Uniqueness: Challenge Obesity – people of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
  • Size: Approx 125
  • The Goods: t-shirt
  • The Grub: Water, hot chocolate, hot cider, bananas, apples, cinnamon raisin rolls.

Have you ever under-dressed for a race or other event before?

Have you done repeat races to check your progress?