FIVE. That’s how many times I’ve run the Frostbite 15K, and I know I say it about every race, but this one really is my most favorite Richmond race. It’s the only one I’ve never missed due to injury, deployment or any other life-type obstacle and it’s one I’m quick to recommend to nearly everyone, new and old runners alike.
I love this race for a lot of reasons, mostly because it’s in January, which means I have a near-term run goal to keep me running through the holidays and the cold weather. I love it because it’s a 15K, which is 9.3 miles. It’s a long run, but not too long of a run.
Part of the adventure of running this race is the weather. Virginia’s January weather is batshit and in running the Frostbite 15K, I’ve encountered freezing temperatures, pouring rain, enormous snowflakes and exceptionally mild and perfect temperatures. This year, I wore shorts and t-shirt and was happily sweating by the time I crossed the finish line, a fine departure from that terrible year where the rain made me so cold I was legitimately concerned for my health.
The course itself is hilly, mostly. Unlike Fredericksburg’s Blue & Gray Half Marathon with its enormous and terrible hill, the Frostbite 15K is mostly just rolling hills scattered throughout the course. I remember hating them the first year I ran the race, but after my fifth running, I think I’ve come to a sort of beaten-down acceptance of them and the challenge they provide.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my performance this year. Officially, I ran a 1:17:07. That’s slower than last year when I set a personal record for the race at 1:14:51, which, for me, was blindingly fast. My fitness level has definitely changed in the past year and my goal was to a run a sub-1:20 15K, which proved more than manageable.
I tend to run on the outside of turns, a habit I think I picked up in Kuwait, and this race has a lot of turns, which I think makes up for the extra distance captured by my Garmin in the above results. The race isn’t crowded, so I know I didn’t spend any time weaving around people. In total, 865 people ran this year’s Frostbite 15K.
Mostly I’m just thankful I was able to run this race again. In the days that followed, I managed to tweak my ankle and have been resting my leg for the past week and not running is driving me crazy.
I’m signed up to run the Shamrock Half in Virginia Beach in March, but I’m not sure I can heal the ankle and get back to running in time to run the race safely and smartly, which really fucking sucks because I had to defer my race entry in 2015 due to a hip injury and then couldn’t run the following year because of my deployment. Shamrock is fast and flat and I was really hoping to set a new PR there this year, but it might just be a goal that has to wait until next year.
Six years of running and I still look like a lunatic after crossing a finish line.