January 20, 2020 - Cold, and windy, and icy, oh my!
For the first race of the Winter Warrior Series, the name, Snowman Half Marathon lived up to it's name. Winter weather finally arrived in Michigan. We have been blessed with a mild winter so far. Snow rolled in on Saturday and left behind about 6 inches; not much compared to winter's past. The snow was less of a concern than the icy roads. This race is held at the same location in January, February, and March. Most of the race is on gravel roads that they never seem to salt. Thankfully I remembered to pack my Yak Trax. I saw many athletes wipe out on the course. The race started at 9am, and I chose to race with my Siberian Husky, Dash. This was his second race, but first half marathon. The race director asked us to start in the back if we were running with a dog; honestly this proved to be a poor choice since we had to pass about 100 athletes in the first 1/4 mile. The temperature was 19 degrees with 14mph winds. Open country roads meant there was either crosswinds or headwinds to manage. 3 u-turns on course proved to be quite dangerous in these conditions. I personally saw 3 athletes take a pretty hard spill out there. Dash and I started a bit "hot" out the gate. Our first 3 miles were our fastest. It wasn't until mile 4 that we slowed up a bit when we made our first turn into the wind. That definitely took the wind out of our sails. I stopped at an aid station to get Dash a cup of water; he wasn't interested. On training runs he will drink from streams or puddles as we stop. In a race, he prefers to keep moving. He didnt like when someone passed us as we stopped. The rest of the race proved to be icy throughout with a few good climbs sprinkled in. We ran a bit slower today than we would have, had it not been so slick. We finished in 1:53:14. This secured his spot as overall canine winner (ok, he was the only dog on the course), and I placed 2nd in my age group, 5th overall female.