I had thought this might be my last race while pregnant, but I felt so great and had so much fun today, I'm not ruling out an October 5K.....
So, yes, I enjoyed myself today. I've never before run a race that was quite this large, and it was really impressive. They said there were 10,000 people there, but that had to have included all the kids' races, too, because the results from the 5K listed about 5,300.
There were tons of kids' races, though, and since I got there with plenty of time to spare, I watched a lot of them, and it was really fun. And I have to admit, as I was watching the 5th- and 6th-graders lined up at the start for their 1500, I was thinking how awesome it would be if one day one of my kids is lined up there. I won't push them into anything, but I will love it if even one of them loves running the way I do.
I did get there with tons of time to spare, since I really didn't know what to expect from such a huge race. As it turned out, it really wasn't that bad finding parking and getting my race packet. Everything seemed incredibly well-organized, and I didn't have to wait in line much at all - not even for the porta-potties! I think this is the only race I've ever done that I felt had an adequate number of porta-potties. That in itself is a huge selling point - especially to someone who's 6 months pregnant and constantly has to pee!
I watched the kids' races for a little while, hit the porta-potties a few times, and then just milled about on the State House lawn, watching the festivities. It was so awesome to see so many people gathered for one purpose - to run. I had made a sign that I put on my shirt, above my race number, that said "Future Runner," with an arrow pointing to my belly, and got several comments on it - people seemed to get quite a kick out of it : )
The weather was just about perfect. I wouldn't have minded it a few degrees cooler - it was pretty hot while we were just standing around in the sun waiting for the race to start - but it was dry and comfortable; a really nice early fall day.
Since I've never done a race that had this large a crowd, I've never had to line up in a corral, so that was a first for me. I found my corral and got in, and after the national anthem and a few comments, we were off. It took about a minute to cross the starting line, and it was slow going for another minute or two after that (even though we were going downhill), but that was fine by me.
The nice thing about running a huge race like this while pregnant is that I wasn't the least bit concerned about jockeying for a clear spot to run so that I could get up to speed. I just went along at my own pace and took in the scene, which was pretty impressive, as we were heading down a hill, and all I could see in front of me was a wall of runners filling the city's streets. It felt so great to be part of the whole experience.
There aren't too many details to recount, since it was a nice flat course, and I wasn't strategizing or anything. I stopped and got a drink at both water stops, and chugged along at a comfortable pace. I did note, though, that even while 6 months pregnant, I still started out too fast - my first mile clocked in at 9:30! I ended up averaging out to a 10:16 pace overall, so I definitely slowed down a bit over the last 2.1 miles. But I was feeling great and having fun : )
As we rounded the final corner, I knew I'd now have to run back up the hill that we ran down at the start, and I was kind of dreading it, since hills are such a challenge for me right now, but I did ok. I slowed down a lot, but it didn't feel too awful. And then the road flattened out for the final 100 yards, and sprinting is not really an option for me anymore, but I did pick up the pace just a tad, so I could finish strong.
I can't even remember what the clock said when I crossed the finish line - a sign of how differently I approach races these days - but I knew my Garmin said that I had finished in just under 32 minutes, and the official results show that my time was 31:53. I had figured it would take me about 32 minutes, so I guess my estimate was pretty accurate!
Not much else to say, really. It was a really fun race, very well organized, and a very different experience for me, since I'm so used to running races that are so much smaller. But I'm really glad I did this one.
And I'm really, really thankful that my pregnancy up to this point has been mostly uncomplicated, and that I am still able to get out and run a few times a week, and continue to run races. I feel so blessed to have found something that I love to do so much, and even more blessed that I'm able to continue doing it while my body is also busy growing a person.
I'll be sad if this is the last race I'm able to do while pregnant, but if it does turn out that it is, at least I went out on a high note : )
Official results -
940 out of 1,810 in my age group
3,230 out of approximately 5,300 overall