I’ll admit it. I’ve become a bit of a running snob, more specifically a distance snob. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said or thought to myself that it’s “only a 5k”. It brings me back to last summer, when I was thrilled to do a 5k. I remember getting excited watching my times drop, from 40 minutes to 33 minutes. I wondered if I could get myself under 30 minutes. I did this last year, in November, when I finished a 5k in 29:54. Even though I’ve become something of a distance snob, it has been a desire of mine to defeat my 5k PR. I wanted to get in under 29 minutes.
This was still a goal of mine about a month ago, after I completed an 8k in 51 minutes and some change. But my ITBS was still a thorn in my side, and I was doubting being able to run this race at all. To add to it, last week I realized this morning was going to be quite busy. My 4 year old had a soccer game, her last soccer game of this year. My husband was going to take her because I was registered for this race. He would bring our 8 year old son with him, but I didn’t want him to have to take our 2 year old along, as she very much loves to chase her sister and the soccer ball. For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got a BOB stroller. I’ve been drooling over one for months and finally was able to score a very good deal on one locally, so we picked it up. I wanted to be able to walk or run during the week with our youngest. Since I’ve gotten it, I’ve taken her for a walk a few times, but have never run with it. With my knee still sitting nowhere close to 100%, I volunteered to take the baby(yes, she’s 2, but she’s the youngest, she’s my baby) with me to the race. I figured she would help slow me down so I wouldn’t push my knee too much.
To be honest, I really liked the idea of the extra challenge. I psyched myself up for it all week. I had somebody offer to watch the baby instead of me having to take her, but I declined because I actually wanted to bring her with me. It just happened to rain all day Friday and by Saturday morning, my 4 year old’s soccer game was canceled. I had every chance to leave the baby home with my husband, but again, I declined and decided to bring her with me.
I headed downtown. The race was local to me, in fact it started in the parking lot of where my middle daughter attends preschool. I met up with an “old” friend. By old friend I mean someone I met when we first moved to North Carolina 4 years ago. We both have 4 year old daughters, born 8 days apart. I haven’t seen her in a few years but she recently started running and we’ve signed up for a few races together.
I had made the decision to try running. I have kind of gotten to the point in my injury that I am just dealing with it. I’ve been told numerous times to stop running, and I have quite a bit, it’s not working, nor is the PT, the massages, the muscle stim and adjustments by my chiropractor. Completely cutting out all activity for weeks upon weeks to see if it gets better is not something I can bring myself to do, not to mention I’ve heard from quite a few people that even that didn’t work. I figured, with the stroller, I couldn’t go too fast, so as long as my pain level remained low to moderate, I would run. I was hoping to finish in under 40 minutes. We were ready to go.
I can’t say this race is super organized. There was no official timing and everybody was just kind of milling around at the start. But it’s a popular race in my town, and I joined a pretty large group registered through the fitness center where I do Zumba. My favorite instructors were there, including the lovely Molly, who I like to try and keep up with. She’s a wonderful woman who really connects with the people who take her classes, she’s so encouraging and motivating. I chased her during my 8k and blew my goal time out of the water.
So we are there, at the start, waiting. Well actually to the side of the start, on the sidewalk. I wanted to hop in with the runners and not go to the back of the crowd. This is a big community race so there are lots of people who don’t run and are just walking it for a good cause and for fun. I didn’t want to spend my time attempting to run and dodge a sea of walkers, especially on a rather narrow road way and because they typically don’t understand race etiquette of slower to the right, pass to the left(pet peeve of mine).
The horn goes off and we jump in and start running. So far, so good. The BOB Revolution is a dreamy stroller, it moves with little effort. At least that’s what I thought until we hit the first uphill climb. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. It was a pretty long hill and halfway up, Jessica said we could stop to walk if I needed to. My arms were starting to ache a bit. I told her yes, but we never actually stopped running. I hadn’t looked at my Garmin watch, but I figured we were somewhere around the 11-12 minute mile pace. I was ok with that. I was hoping for somewhere around that with me pushing the stroller. When we hit the first mile, I was pleasantly surprised to see we were under 10:30 for that mile. We kept going. I was even more thrilled to see our second mile at the same pace. I am notorious for slowing with each mile that passes. I normally do under 10 minute miles for the first 2 or so miles, slow to over 10 for miles 3-4 and then drop over 11 minutes a mile after that. Even in past 5ks I have slowed as time and distance go on.
Around mile 2 I got to the point I always get to during a race. The reminder of how much I hate running. I’ll admit it, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate it while I’m doing it, but love it any other time. I don’t hate it enough to stop though. I couldn’t wait for the race to be over. We were closing in on mile 3 and although I was wishing for the end, I was still moving well. I was pleased to see that mile 3 was actually a bit faster than mile 2. I was staying steady, at a decent pace(for me), even with the stroller.
We crossed the finish line, and my Garmin read 31:55. I was so happy. I wanted to be under 40 minutes, but was hoping to be anywhere as low at 35 minutes. My personal best is 29:54, and that’s without pushing a stroller and the 25 pound 2 year old it holds. Jessica crossed the finish line with me, she stayed with me the entire time. She is in a different age group than me, and she actually came in 3rd in her age group.
My knee held up the entire time. Yes, it did hurt a bit, but it wasn’t slowing me down. Neither was the stroller. I have had pain through the day, but I’m just to the point where it is what it is. It’s not horrible pain, and I’ve made stretching and my foam roller my friends through the day. I know my physical therapist will only shake her head at me when I see her this week, as this past Wednesday she told me no running this week. Oops.
I’m very happy with my splits. As I mentioned above, staying at a steady pace is something I have always struggled with, whether I’m running a 5k or a half marathon.
Another thing that helped me along the way today was who my run was dedicated to. My #Run3rd dedications were for the people killed in Monday’s terrorist attacks in Boston. Each mile was dedicated to each person who died. I brought them with me, and I ran for them. I think I ran pretty darn well for them.