As always, this race was a family event for us, with the boys doing "Matty's Mighty Dash," and me doing the 5K afterward. A friend of ours has a son who was diagnosed with epilepsy last year, so doing this race has taken on a whole new significance. And this year it also happened to take place on my birthday, which was great - I think running a race with your whole family, for a great cause, is a fabulous way to celebrate a birthday!
We arrived nice and early, and got everyone's t-shirts and my race number, and the boys got to pick out a prize from the prize table. Dante chose a football and Gabe chose a soccer ball, which was perfect, because it gave them something to do while we waited for their race to start.
I attempted to feed Carmine, but it was difficult to get him to nurse, seeing as how there was waaaaayyyy too much going on. He's so easily distracted these days, it's tough to feed him when we're in a noisy, exciting environment like that. I did my best, and figured there would be plenty to keep him distracted while I was racing, so he'd be fine.
The boys lined up with their friends, and I headed down to the finish line to get some pictures. I was able to get a bunch of good shots of them all running their little hearts out. I've never seen Gabe run so fast! He was really into it, and I think he's going to enjoy youth track even more this year than ever. Dante did great, too, running and grinning the whole time.
They collected their medals, and I attempted to take a picture of the whole group of them, but wasn't terribly successful. As it was getting closer to the 5K start time, I herded the boys back over to Scott, made one last pit stop, and got in a very short warmup jog. It would have been nice to have more time to warm up, but it was enough to get out some of my nervous energy.
I had more pre-race jitters for this event than I've had in ages, since this is the first race I've really "raced" since last May. It was kind of fun to feel those nerves, though - made me feel like an athlete again : )
I had some very definite goals in mind, and the ultimate goal was to try to break 24 minutes. The next best goal was to break 25 minutes. I was pretty sure I could get the sub-25, but the sub-24 was a little less certain, but I was still going to try.
I lined up pretty close to the front, which, I have to say, felt nice - it's been a while since I've been up there! It was humid, but cloudy and not too warm, at the start, and I was hoping it would stay that way.
The first mile went by pretty quickly. This course is flat as a pancake, and since I've run this race a few times now, I knew that the first mile always goes quickly. Pace for mile 1 - 7:48 - and feeling pretty good.
Mile 1.5 to 2.5 are the worst in the race. There are two turnarounds, and although the flat course does make for fast times, it also makes it very boring. I was able to see other friends who were running, though, as we went around the turnarounds, so that helped a bit. But the sun was also starting to come out, which was heating things up. The other drawback to this course is that there is absolutely no shade at all, so if the sun is out, you really start roasting.
Mile 2 pace was 7:44 - picked up the pace a bit, but I was starting to really feel it, and just kept reminding myself that I knew that the last 1.1 was going to hurt, and I had to just push through it.
I passed a few people during the third mile, so I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of pacing myself, as I clearly still had a teeny bit of energy left in the tank - not much at all, but just enough to push through to the end. Third mile pace was 7:50 - clearly, I was getting tired. But I kicked it into high gear for the finish, and got to a sub-7:00 pace for that final .1, crossing the finish line in 24:42.
I was slightly disappointed to not come in under 24 minutes, but pretty ecstatic to have come in well under 25. I have to keep reminding myself that I just had a baby 4 and a half months ago, and to cut myself a little slack!
I hung around to cheer on my friends, then waited to check the results as they were posted. I won 1st place in my age group in this race two years ago, and it's one of the less competitive races in the area, so I knew I might have a shot at winning an age-group award again this year.
As the results were posted, I saw that I was 4th in my age group - missed 3rd by 10 measly seconds! I was bummed to have missed out, but still happy with how well I had run. We chatted with friends for a few minutes, then packed up and went home.
Then, about half an hour after we had gotten home, our neighbor knocked on the door (he and his daughters had also run the race) - he was coming over to give me the medal I won for winning 2nd place in my age group! I was confused, but then I checked the results online - the women who won 1st and 2nd place in my age group were also the 1st and 3rd overall female, so to avoid 'double-dipping' with awards, I got bumped up to the 2nd place age-group award. It was a great birthday surprise, and a fabulous way to celebrate turning 39 years old!
After I had Dante, I started running faster and farther than I ever had before, and when I found out I was pregnant with Carmine, I wondered if I'd come back even faster again. I don't know what's going to happen long-term, but my initial postpartum comeback has been better than I ever could have imagined. I am proof positive that pregnancy, motherhood, and age do NOT have to slow you down one bit, and may even make you better!
72 of 332 overall
4th in age group - 2nd place age-group award!