The best way for me to start off a new year — or even a new decade — is to get up and do the Resolution Run 5K and Polar Bear Dive at Seattle’s Magnuson Park on January 1. That’s what I did this past Wednesday (the dry version) with 1,000 others. It was followed the same day by watching my Oregon Ducks take on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
I sweated 10 times harder viewing the Ducks’ 28-27 nail-biter of a win against the Big Ten Badgers than I did during the run. I was truly glad to hit the finish line of that game and de-stress. Great job, especially the defense, Ducks! Thanks for making the outcome of that game worth the trauma of getting there — although I’m extremely glad we are done with Ducks football until next fall.
One of my resolutions every year for the last several years has been to not get so emotionally involved in Ducks football and basketball games. This resolution remains a work in progress. We had an excellent 12-2 football season; beat the Huskies in Seattle; won the Pac-12 championship, and now are victors in the Rose Bowl. A lot was accomplished. But many of the wins were not heart-healthy, especially the one in Pasadena.
And the basketball season should also bring a similar amount of triumphs and drama. I hope to get through it better than I did the football season. Go Ducks, but please avoid having so many close games! (Seahawks, you do the same!)
Call me a wuss; I can take it
Back to the run. I wore my long, loose-fitting Oregon Duck running shirt to the race. Just after I parked not far from the starting line, I ran into a woman in a Wisconsin Badger red shirt. Turns out, it was Jen Gaudette, a runner friend who I used to work with in the Office group at Microsoft.
Jen has been featured in many of my posts and it was great to see her again. It was Jen who urged me in 2010 to get my ankle pain checked out by a doctor, ultimately leading to my first surgery. For that, I will always be grateful to her, even if she is a diehard Badger.
When I asked her about the game, she expressed confidence her team would be victorious, while I admitted being nervous. But Jen was more adamant about something else — that I needed to dive into the lake to really appreciate the Resolution Run experience.
I’ve done the Resolution Run 13 times now — the dry version 12 times and the Polar Bear Dive (where you plunge into Lake Washington near the end) once. I have been accused over the years of being a wuss. It’s true. I am a wuss. I prefer the dry run not so much because of the cold water, but because it is a hassle changing wet clothes afterwards, in your car, or in a tent that is often without chairs.
The way the course works is that everyone does a three-mile loop around Magnuson Park that includes time on asphalt roads, a soccer field, gravel trails, dirt trails, and paved trails. Again this year, there were mud puddles galore, but thankfully no stretches of ice. In the last tenth of a mile, those doing the Polar Bear Dive run straight off a boat launch into the water and back out, while those doing the dry run veer right to the finish line.
When I did jump into the lake in 2016, it was … OK. But nothing I felt I really needed to do again. I prefer to finish my run dry and then rush over to take pictures of all the others romping through the water.
However, I am clearly in the minority. This year’s event, run in 40-degree temperatures but dry weather, had 1,020 finishers — 688 who plunged into the lake and 332 who stayed dry. Since I first did this race in 2005, about two-thirds of the participants have preferred the Polar Bear Dive.
Strong races for Jamin and Sally
My dry 5K finishing time was 39:36 (12:45 per mile), a minute slower than my time of 38:35 a year ago. It was good for 241st place out of 332 finishers. I will blame the extra puddle-jumping I had to do this year; a lame excuse but the best one I’ve got. My best time for this race was 24:59 (8:02 per mile) in pre-surgery 2007, and my 5K PR is 24:32 in 2005. Full results are here.
It was awesome to see a fellow diehard Duck fan, Chris Norred, and to high-five with him during the race (he passed me in the first mile). Chris, his wife Sally and sons Louie and Ollie regularly do the Polar Bear Dive and I always look for them near the line for free chili afterwards. This is a family that does numerous runs together.
A big congrats to Sally Norred for finishing first in her age group, in an impressive time of 23:55 (7:43 per mile). Nice job, Sally!
Congrats also to former Allytics teammate Jamin King, an elite runner who finished second overall in the dry 5K in 15:34 (5:01 per mile). Club Northwest, a Seattle running club, is a sponsor and beneficiary of the Resolution Run, and Jamin is one of the club’s top runners.
Shout-outs to Jen Gaudette and to other friends who I didn’t see at this popular annual race: Becky Lymberis, a former Microsoft Small Business Center teammate (doing her first Boston Marathon in April); Rebecca Rader, a public relations consultant who I now work with at Fluke, and Barbara Clements, a former fellow reporter at the Bellevue Journal American (defunct daily newspaper), all finished strong. Sorry I missed you ladies!
Valentine’s Day Dash and Chilly Hilly next month
I’ve now finished 238 consecutive races without injury (knock on wood) since 2001. Run No. 239 will be the Valentine’s Day Dash 5K on February 8. This event at Seattle’s Green Lake Park has a half-marathon race as well as a 5K and 10K this year, which is interesting. I’m curious about the half-marathon route, but the event website doesn’t show a course map yet.
I’m hoping to get to 250 races by the end of this year, but also seeking to do more bicycling in 2020 than I did last year (four organized rides and and only 208.2 miles total). First up is the Chilly Hilly on February 23; I hope to ride it again after skipping it in 2018 (after my second ankle surgery) and 2019, but must get some training rides in first.
Thanks for reading, and I hope your 2020 is off to a roaring start as well.