Last week I ran my first 5K since 2/16/2013. On that day, I ran a 5K in 23:49, or 7:40 pace. Fast-forward two years, and I was back on the starting line. There’s pretty much no lower stress race situation than your first race after pregnancy. There are no expectations, it’s a short race, and all you really have to do is finish. My primary goal was to run the race without walking, but I knew I would be a bit disappointed if I ran over 30 minutes. I figured I could probably run under 29 with sub-28 as a stretch goal.
My dear husband was kind of enough to accompany me with the kids in tow. They were both up the night before, and that morning, I thought about bailing. However, I knew that getting to the starting line is half the battle, and I decided I would run by hook or by crook. The race location is about half an hour from our house. B has been very cranky in the car lately, but thankfully we were able to get there without any major crying.
It was an unbelievably beautiful morning. The sun was shining out over a very misty Lake Washington. The contrast between the sun and the mist was truly stunning. It temporarily made me forget my grumpiness about running a race. I went to check in and was surprised to find myself in front of another O’Mea.ra, the first I can recall meeting since moving to Sea.ttle. Cool! I would pass him later about midway through the race.
I went searching for a bathroom. The nearest one I could find was half a mile away, so I ended up doing a mile long warm-up jog there and back. The 10K started, and ten minutes later, the 5K started. I was so pleased that they started on time. I recall one race I ran years back that started two hours late. I spent the two hours shivering on the street waiting for the gun. It was unbelievable! Anyway, off we went. I had decided to jog the first mile, pick up the pace a little in the second mile, and then go as fast as I could for the final mile. The first mile was quite pleasant. The course was along the lake and almost completely flat. The race was very small, and there was no major crowding. Adrenaline carried me along completely effortlessly.
Once I hit the mile marker, I started going a bit faster. I didn’t wear a watch, so I have no idea what my split was. At this point, I began passing people steadily. This always gives me a mental boost. The opposite situation, which I have also been in plenty of times, can be very demoralizing. Anyway, the second mile had some mild inclines but was still quite flat. The course was out and back, so once we turned around, I knew exactly what I’d be facing on the way back. I continued to feel great throughout the second mile.
Once I hit the two mile marker, I was excited to be nearly done. I started picking up the pace more and more. I’d say I was going 8 minute pace or faster for the last half mile at least. I didn’t really sprint it in, but I kept up a steady pace and was significantly tired at that point. I never felt that “going to die” feeling which I usually feel in races. There is a lot to be said for negative splits! I was a little emotional in the final mile thinking about how tough it was being so physically limited during pregnancy and how good it feels to be able to get out and do things like run a 5K again.
My time was 27:39, which I was quite happy with. That is 8:55 pace.
Pretty much everything about the race was awesome. Flat course, great weather, good time, nearby playground that L loved, not many people, free pictures, food and drink at the end, and not too expensive (though no shirt). What more could one want? This was the first in a three-race series, so I’ll be back to do it again in a few weeks. Hopefully it won’t be pouring rain!