I mentioned a few weeks back that on a whim I signed up for a local 5K. I’d run the race last year, my first and only 5K to date, and loved the cause the race raised money for, the proximity to our house and the great, local crowd support. The course is gorgeous, despite being a loop, and when my good mama friend excitedly wanted to sign up, we agreed we’d run together. She’s just getting back into running after becoming a mom and at 24 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t looking to set any records. Our goal was to enjoy ourselves and agreed to tell one another if we needed to slow down, or stop, for whatever reason.
The day after I registered, the weather forecast started calling for 60% chance of rain. Last year, it was 50 degrees and showering the entire race and I desperately didn’t want to run in the cold rain again. I also started having some weird lower abdomen pain after a 3 mile run with Andrew the week before the race and was nervous as to whether the pain would go away by race day and if it did, if running was a good idea at all. My friend, Kathleen, and I talked about everything and we agreed if I wasn’t up to it, we could always walk the entire thing, or worst case, not run at all.
Come race morning I was feeling 100%. Though it was overcast and chilly, there wasn’t a single rain drop in the forecast. I woke up at 4am with Jackson, made some oatmeal and coffee, and sat on the couch relaxing and watching Netflix with Jax. Around 7:30, I handed off parenting duties to Bry and drove down the street to pick up my packet and meet Kathleen. It was much more relaxing running a race for fun vs. time. I didn’t worry about what I ate, being too late, etc. I peed probably 15 times between driving to the race site and the race beginning, which made me really nervous. Around 8, I found Kathleen and we stood around and talked. Close to the race start at 8:30, both our husbands and our kids showed up. They played at a nearby playground and we eventually lined up at the starting line.
After a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and a few course rules, the countdown was on and the gun went off. We were at the back of the pack, but with no time goals, just running for fun, we just went with the crowd. Soon after passing the start line, we were able to pick up some momentum and started passing a few people. We managed to keep a decent clip and fell in step with one another.
One of my favorite things about Kathleen is how we always have things to talk about. For the entire race it was like a play date for us, as we caught up on everything going on in our lives (despite the fact we see each other at least one a week). The first mile flew by with conversation and then as we headed back around the loop and passed the finish line to crest the long mile+ hill, we started feeling it. Right at this time we ran past the boys. Jackson and Kathleen’s son, Sam, ran into the course to give us hugs. And then they proceeded to chase us for a good 100 meters before the dads could catch up to them and take them back to the sidelines. I’d never actually gotten to interact with my kids during a race. They’ve only spectated the larger races I’ve run, where there were far too many people to really even see one another, so it was especially special to get mid-race hugs.
Kathleen and I kept a good pace and I kept reminding her that if she needed to slow down, to let me know and I’d do the same. Around the 2 mile mark we slowed our pace a bit but kept chugging along. We rounded the last turn at the top of the hill and happily greeted the 3/4mi downhill finish. The last 3/4mi felt like a breeze. It was all downhill, we were no longer facing a headwind, and it was warming up a bit outside. As we reached the last stretch of the run, we saw our boys by the sidelines again. The dads were smartly holding them back this time, but as we began to pass them I told Jackson to come to me. Sam did the same to Kathleen and we finished the last few feet, and our 5K, hand in hand with our sons.
This was far from my fastest race or my longest race. But it’s the race I’m going to remember most for the rest of my life. It’s the race I completed with one of my good friends, that I ran while 24 weeks pregnant with my tiniest little boy and that I finished, with the biggest smile on my face and the cutest 3 year old in the world by my side.
Jackson still talks about running the race and how he wants to run a race with mommy again. He had so much fun and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to finish a race with my oldest son. It will forever be one of the greatest moments of my life as a mommy.
And if you’re curious, our official time was 31:27 for 3.16 miles (9:57/mile).