Webster Education Foundation 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:13/mile
Well, folks, it's August. I suppose that means it's time for another go at the Webster Education Foundation 5K.
As I said last year, this race is one of the few that I've participated in every year since conception. And it's particularly special to me now, for two reasons: I placed first it my age category there in 2013 (though I couldn't quite repeat that in 2014), and I ran it in 2015 when I was just suspecting I might be pregnant with my baby boy.
It's only fitting, then, that this race marked my first go at running with a baby stroller in tow! Right? Right!
On Saturday morning at about 7:45, after a lot of rushing around trying to get not just me but also baby ready for our first race together, my husband drove our SUV up to the 5-12 school in Webster and put it in park.
Yes, you read that right. A 7:45 arrival for a race at 8:00. Quite a bit later than my usual 30+ minute check in. What can I say? Life changes when you have a kid. (Not to mention, I value my sleep more these days, too.)
Even though my arrival was later than normal for me, since this is a smaller race without a lot of hullabaloo around it, I had plenty of time. In a matter of minutes I was in and out with bibs and race t in hand - yes that's plural bibs, singular T ... we gotta work on these races to start offering onesies or baby Ts I guess, LOL!
Here's this year's T:
And yes, once again this shirt may look familiar to you, since it's the 2014 and 2015 design on a different color base. This shirt the last two years now has been a wicking T, which you know I'm not a huge fan of, but at least this one is a heavier weight meshy style fabric ... so, I'll allow it. *cheeseball grin* I still prefer cotton, though.
As I exited the school building, I had a large grin on my face. Making my way back to the car, I proceeded to pin our bibs on.
Why the grin, you ask? Well, because ... I finally got to be #1!
And of course, what's #1 without a trusty #2 right by my side?!
This kid definitely knows something about #2, too. Let me tell you! (Yes, that was a gratuitous poop joke. Moving along ...)
You'll notice in the above photos that I put a mosquito netting over the jogging stroller prior to our run. Having just completed the bug-ma-geddon that was the Gandy Fly In 5K a few weeks back, I decided I had better start learning from my mistakes and preparing better for less than desirable run conditions. Preparation - something that is especially important now that I have a kid along for the ride. #adulting
Of course I say this, and then what happens? It starts to rain on race morning. Which I was not prepared for AT ALL. Whomp-whomp.
At least the rain was only an intermittent fine mist, which actually was just light enough that it beaded up on the netting and rolled right off, so the inside of the stroller stayed completely dry the entire morning. Plus, the overcast weather ended up keeping the overall temps relatively cool/comfortable. So ... win for me on that one. But loss for me too, since the mist was just enough to remove any bug spray I applied. A huge issue later in the run. More on that later.
(Side note to self - better order a rain shield for the stroller, too. Time to turn on that money sucker known as Amazon.com.)
Despite the mist and overcast skies, and my late arrival, my GPS was a champ on race morning. Just a minute before I needed to line up for the run, I clicked that thing on and it was good to go. I can't figure out why, given my issues in a previous race ... but ok then!
With a happy GPS and an even happier baby (who was babbling and cooing away, loving the excited energy of the crowd), I pushed the stroller towards the start line and mentally prepared for what was to come: zero training, with or without stroller.
Well, here goes!
Shoot! Suddenly I realized I should probably tuck my phone into the diaper bag and keep it protected from the mist during the run. So of course, as I'm doing this, I hear the race announcer yell "on your mark, get set ..."
In a rush, I shoved my phone away, barely managing to fumble the diaper bag zipper shut while a very loud bang of an official track gun went off.
Shoot again! Not even thinking pre-race about my choice of start point, or how loud the gun was and how close I was to it, I nervously looked up to check on what was happening inside the stroller. To my amazement, instead of crying I heard an excited laugh. Could he really be this happy to be in a 5K? Must have been all that racing I did while pregnant, eh?!
Alright, the gun has been fired and you're ready to go. Let's run little boy!
In years past, this course made a figure 8 of sorts through "downtown" Webster and along the Gandy Dancer trail. Since we headed along that usual path, crossing over the main street of town, I figured we were on track for a repeat again in 2016. But then we kept going, and going, and going ...
Where the heck is the Gandy trail?! Don't we usually hit that within the first mile of the run? I thought.
Am I really running that slowly? Ugh, if I am, this is going to be one long race.
Despite my happy start, my internal running narrative was becoming none too chipper. Trying to keep myself distracted, and to keep my son entertained, I echoed back the excited coos coming from in the stroller (and very likely sounded insane to anyone within ear shot of me). Thankfully, before I could get into too much of a hate spiral, my watch beeped that I had completed mile one.
10:40?! What the heck?! I never would have expected to run a mile that fast with the ZERO training I've done, especially with the addition of a stroller. Pat yourself on the back, lady!
Once I cleared the first mile, I realized there must have been a course change for 2016 and my mood vastly improved.
Since I was making OK time (and also sucking air), I decided to slow for a walk break and debated my pacing strategy for the rest of the run.
Strategizing was tough. While I was happy with my 10:40 continuous run on my first mile, and I really would have liked to try to run a continuous third mile in this race, I doubted the viability of being able to make that happen. Realistically, I knew that the mile I just completed felt hard, and I wasn't sure I could repeat that a second time. Sure, I could push and potentially peter myself out prior to hitting the finish line ... if I were running alone ... but I had a kid with me that I was responsible for getting to the finish. Knowing that, I figured another full mile wasn't in the cards for me.
So, having no real strategy beyond finishing with a decent pace, I followed a rough 3/3 interval for mile two (three minutes running, three minutes walking). It was during this mile, at where I estimated to be the 1.5 mile mark, that I got a little nervous - I finally passed the 1 mile marker and started to wonder if my GPS was off. Not to worry, shortly after I passed the 2 mile marker ... so I figure that was just a mistake in sign placement.
Anyway! Going back to my race strategy and intervals, remember how I said it was misting and my bug spray was getting washed off? Take a look at my intervals in mile two versus mile three.
Can you guess what started happening?
Let's just say ... they don't make mesh running netting in adult sizes. LOL!
And by the way, you know the bugs are bad when (1) the cops directing race traffic are ALL complaining about it, every time you pass them and (2) the woman at the finish line asks you if you're OK because you're covered in hives from your neck to your ankles. Seriously, as I'm writing this it's already 3 days post race and I STILL look like I have the chicken pox. Ugh!
Lucky for me, despite the mobs of mosquitos, I was well into my 3rd mile by now and coming back towards our start point. Trying to pretend I wasn't getting eaten alive, I waved to my husband and headed towards the final stretch on the school's track.
Oh, that reminds me. When I first entered the field just outside of where the race course joined the track, I was pleasantly surprised to see a 35 on the clock in the distance, and debated if I could pick up the pace and pull off at a 36 and change. But the harder I pushed, the worse I started to feel. Not wanting to really overdo it in my victory lap, I decided to just keep a level pace and do my best.
Which takes me to the last photo you see above - right into the finisher's chute, where I was handed TWO of these babies (which were generously provided by an unmentioned donor - ahem):
That's when I saw this:
A dog in a race T and a finisher's medal?! YES! I had to take a picture.
In addition to this amazing dog, my husband and I had to chuckle at the chatter amongst the crowd. We were sitting nearby a man who had just finished walking. Ready to go home, he was warned by another spectator he couldn't leave yet, since age grade awards were about to begin. With a loud bellow and a snicker, he proclaimed "Well might as well sign me up for the 100+ category because I'm going to win that goddamn thing! I'm 73. Everybody I know is having a heart attack and my doctor says I'm as healthy as a horse!"
I love people who have zero F's to give. :-D
Shortly thereafter, as I finished my snacks, the top runners were given a second medal for their performances, and we all went home.
And that's the story of how race bib #73 joined my collection, which if you've been watching makes #2 for baby boy. Here's to another race soon ... which *gasp* might include my whole fam-damily (me, baby AND husband)!