Frigid Temperatures + Cold Surprise = Race Day in the South
Born in the great state of Michigan, you wouldn’t think a mere 30 degrees would be that abnormal of a temperature in February; however, living in North Carolina for the last decade, 30 degrees is downright freezing. And yes, your blood does warm up living down south. As I glanced outside, part of me was hoping several inches of snow would trickle down from the sky even if it meant shutting down half the city (cue all my Northern friends laughing and rolling their eyes).
Before heading out to the U.S. National White Water Center, home of the Frigid 5K, I scanned my bed for a quick gear check: Scrubs, check. Lab coat, check. Go Pro camera, check. Sharpie, check. Shoes (already on my feet), check.
As I made my way to the U.S. National White Water Center, I was curious to see how many people would actually show up. For Charlotte, this weather was pretty crappy; however, as a runner, weather conditions are more of a challenge than an obstacle. Upon my arrival, I noticed roughly 500+ runners who were excited to brave the cold in February followed by an optional (but highly encouraged) cold water plunge into the man-made river.
My good friend Jeramy was eager and excited to notch his first 2013 race under his belt. I asked him if he minded filming me jumping into the water after the race. His response, “If I am going to wake up this early, run in this weather, you best believe I am jumping in that ice cold water!” Touche.
As the gun went off, Jeramy and I jogged the 5K that covers the length of the Whitewater Center Parkway, occasionally stopping for pictures and encouraging fellow runners. The actual run itself was average at best as we looped up the parkway and then wrapped around back again. Several times I heard people say “Go Doc Go” or “Keep running for Papa!” The exhilarating part of the run was approaching the finish line! I could see a large group of supporters cheering on runners as they crossed the line and plunged into the water. I kicked of my shoes, dropped my labcoat and sprinted into the water clutching my scrubs and camera.
Before grabbing a beer and warming up by the fire, I asked Jeramy to film some quick wrap up footage of the race. As cold as my body felt, I knew this was another great opportunity to raise awareness for dementia research. In fact, while drinking an ice cold micro-brew and warming up by the fire, a group of women came up and started giving me a funny look. One lady asked “Didn’t I see you last week at the Gold Rush 5K?” I nodded, smiled and nudged over so she could warm up her hands. She said, “Keep doing what you are doing, it’s making a difference.” I smiled again, thanked her, and made my way back to my car.
And sure enough, on my ride home, snow began falling from the sky!