Frostbite 5K–A Sort Of Redemption Race

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Frostbite 5K–A Sort Of Redemption Race

After my crazy week at work tracking snow, I wasn’t sure if it was the best idea to take on a race this past weekend.  But after a lot of rest on Saturday, I woke up Sunday feeling rejuvenated and ready to run.  I figured I was going to run 3 miles anyway, so I might as well go and support our local racing community! 

AND…. how many times do you have a chance to run a race in a perfect sunny 50 degrees with snow STILL on the ground?


I was even hoping the Frostbite 5K would be a redemption race after having to pull out of the Frostbite 10K last year for health reasons.  I hadn’t had time to train for a 10K, but I felt running the 5K would still be symbolic. 

I got to the race at the last minute and stood in line for day of registration.  I remember thinking, I am becoming a pro at the running races on a whim thing!  I even briefly considered signing up for the 10K and just pacing myself really slow.  Luckily, my hubby talked me out of that “brilliant” idea. 

*Spoiler alert: The race was not as EASY as I thought it would be!*

There was a really nice indoor mini expo set up in the Leia Patterson Center.  If the weather for the race had turned out really cold, this would have been a GREAT benefit to get out of the elements before and after the race.  It was so nice though, most people were enjoying the great weather outside.frostbiteexpo1

They even had some cute and unique ways to entertain the kids.frostbiteexpo2frostbiteexpo3

I got my bib number with just a few minutes to spare!


I did a warm up and stretch and before I knew it, it was time to line up for the start.frostbitestretch

The 10K started first and some fierce looking runners and a penguin took off.   Yes, a penguin… look close…


After about a 5 minute wait time, the gun went of for the 5K.  I talked to some runners about the course.  The website said the 5K was “flat to rolling hills” so I wasn’t too worried about it, but some of the runners thought it might be a little more hilly than I was expecting. Yikes!


And we are off!  There were more fierce runners in front and somehow that penguin got back in line…frostbite5kstart2

And there I am… middle of the pack… and in the zone!  I didn’t even see my hubby with the camera at first!frostbitejulierun

Oh wait! There he is!

And wait… is that a hill….


…. and another hill.


I remember looking at my GPS watch and seeing 10 plus minute miles on these steep hills, so I decided to push a little harder.  I like to see something closer to 9 minute miles when I’m running a 5K.  I started to panic because I  didn’t really have a strategy on how to pace myself on the steep inclines.frostbiterun4

I got my pace up and tackled another hill…frostbiterun5

…and another hill.


And this one too.  I do LIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS after all.frostbitehill

After these first hills, I remember a brief downhill run where I hit a WAY TO FAST 8 minute/mile time on my GPS watch.  Little did I know the next mile and a half was going completely back uphill. 

Mile 1 pace: 9:20

I should have known when I looked at the course and it said it read “Hutch Mountain Road,” that it literarily was running on a road up a mountain.   Sigh… I think I just wanted it to be a flat race.

Near the end of the second uphill mile, I could hardly breathe and was having some trouble with my vocal chords constricting and not allowing a good air flow.  I slowed to a crawl and I just couldn’t go faster.  It wasn’t pretty at all.

Mile 2 pace: 11:00

We eventually hit a turn around and started a downhill descent.  I was able to regain my breathe and stride.  What goes up, must come back down? Right…

Before the last downhill section, the course took a turn down a mud trail, which was still a little messy and hard to run on from all of the snow, before it finally crept back to the finish.

Mile 3: 9:50


Mile 3: 9:50

Official finish time: 31:24……………..

I crossed the finish line in my slowest race in YEARS.  UGH!  I had run two 27-something minute 5K’s in the past few months!  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. 

After a little grumbling to hubs about my time, he reminded me what I tell people all the time about running.  Crossing the finish line is always a victory.

And you know what?  Crossing the finish line Sunday was a victory because I was lucky enough to be able to run and enjoy such a beautiful February day.  This time last year I had to pull out of the race because I was too sick, and this year I am healthier.  This was a redemption race of sorts, no matter what the clock said. 

I even got to share the fun with my co-anchor Jay and his son Malachi.   They are quite a duo and I am very proud of both of them for tackling this tough 5K! 



After some thinking this week, I have learned a few lessons from this race experience…

1) If I am going to race in the mountains, I really need to start running hills.  I started purposefully avoiding them several years ago because of ankle trouble, but it’s time to try again.  I am going to try to slowly integrate hills into my running.  I live and race in the mountains.  No excuses.

2) If I really want to hit a certain time at a race, I really should specifically  train for it.  I could have easily figured out where the hills were on this course and planned my pace and mental attack accordingly.

3) I will have bad running days!  I had a really long week at work and clearly my body was not as recovered as I thought.  My vocal chords don’t always want to play nice.  I can’t control that, but I can work on my mental focus to overcome those obstacles and do my best.  I feel like I let the unexpected challenge of the big hills get the best of me both mentally and physically.

4) Don’t believe a race website that says the course is flat or rolling hills in Western North Carolina .  *Haha*

Despite my performance not being where I wanted it to be, this was really a great race and I’m glad I got to do it.  IDaph did a great job with the organization and execution of the Frostbite 5K & 10K!


Have you ever had a disappointing race time?

How do you conquer hills?

By | 2017-08-15T14:04:27-04:00 February 20th, 2014|Asheville / WNC Living, Fitness, Races, Running|12 Comments


  1. […] 5K.  I kicked off 2014 with the Flap Jack 5K New Year’s morning and didn’t do so hot at the Frostbite 5K in February.  By spring I regrouped and trained harder for a 5K series fit for an athlete (of […]

  2. […] and breathing.  I am having a good vocal tension day and can breathe so much easier than at the Frostbite.  Just before Mile 2 Jaime pulls back her pace just a little and tells me to go on without her.  I […]

  3. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie February 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I ran a half this weekend and the hills were what killed me! Two of the miles were just steady steep hills. Not fun.

    • JulieWunder February 24, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      Hills in a half? Not fun at all!
      Engaged!!?? Congrats! Going to check your blog now… 🙂

  4. Madeline St Onge February 24, 2014 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Good for you Julie, you finished and that is what counts girl
    WTG Malachi, good job little buddy

    • JulieWunder February 24, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Madeline!

  5. Jaime February 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    One day we’ll have to meet up at a race! I ran the 10k. And it was TOUGH! I looked back on my blog – I had posted before I ran the 5k back in 2009, but never reported (really) how it went. It’s like I just forgot, or chose to ignore, how hard those hills really were.

    • JulieWunder February 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Yes! We should meet sometime! Send me a msg about what races you are doing this Spring!

  6. Craig L. February 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Everyone has bad races and bad training days, just part of the cycle. One of the things I do prior to races is to map out the course via Strava, or any other website that allows you to do the same. This lets you look at the elevation profile of the course and prepares you for when these climbs are that way you can have a strategy going in.

    Another thing I like to do is to ALWAYS pick the harder option during training, unless your workout is specifically for recovery. I know this isn’t the most appealing option, although I love hills and climbing, but it will pay off big time come race day. Added bonus, climbing hills is speed work without having to do the speed work!

    • JulieWunder February 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to look at that website for the elevation change. I do better when I know what I’m facing.

  7. Dan Steadman February 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Disappointing races? Oh yeah, you better believe it, this year’s HC10k being the most recent…you just have to keep it in perspective, your’s (in theory) you had a exhausting week of work which takes its toll especially on training and running…the changeover from pavement to dirt does slow you down, especially with it still being mud, you go a little slower to be cautious…with the exception of when we went from road to dirt at the AC-T marathon, welcome non pounding. plus it is still February, try that race again in May and different result…as far as hills…it is all mental and all in where you train, I remember what the FIRST guys say “train for the course you are racing” so for Asheville races, I find the hilliest parts of Spartanburg and go there to train…

    • JulieWunder February 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Good tips! Train for the hills!

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