This past Saturday was the second race in the Fort Meade Run Series.
This particular race had a 1 mile walk, 5K run, and 10K run. I originally intended to run the 10K since I wanted to run that distance while I still comfortably could. What I didn’t account for was the possibility that my husband’s reserve schedule could conflict with the day. It’s really no big deal if it does because I’m more than willing to push my daughter in the stroller during the race. However, I didn’t check with my husband before I confirmed with race officials that I was indeed running the 10K. The had sent an email 2 weeks before the race asking runners to confirm whether they planned to run the 5K or 10K (both cost the same to register for and when registering for the race, there wasn’t an option to choose there). I happily confirmed the 10K. The week of the race I realized I didn’t know when drill weekend was for my husband. Surprise, surprise, it was the 16th. He was also going out of state. Oops. I really wanted to kick myself for not asking him earlier, before the response was due to the coordinators, because I would have happily dropped to the 5K. It’s not that I’m unable to run a 10K with the stroller, it’s that I hadn’t tried to do so pregnant. Being 21 weeks along, I have a lot more aches and pains when I run. The stroller would probably add to that. However, I wasn’t too worried about running it with my daughter in tow. I was just aiming for a finish this time around anyway. I wasn’t going to try to pressure myself with a placement medal. Now it was just going to be a stroller personal best.
We arrived an hour before start time so I could park in the gym parking lot before they closed it off. We had breakfast in my car before my daughter requested we go into the gym so she could run around. Run around she did! She may not have run the race herself but she got a good 20 minutes of running laps around the basketball court in. I love how she really wants to be like mommy and run really fast. She really tries and it’s adorable. I love that she loves it but I’m waiting for when she realizes she doesn’t like it anymore. No worries if it happens since I’d never pressure her into running. However, she may just end up loving it just like me =). If she loves it now, I’ll encourage her until she moves on to something new.
The gym held both late/same-day registration and last minute packet pick up. This race was run in honor of Armed Forces Day so there was also a table set up with an extra bib where runners could write/wear one in honor of a fallen/injured service member or in one they supported. The coordinators had also put up a map of the race course so we could take a look. It was the same loop I ran for the Reindeer Run 5K I ran in December. The difference this time is that all the 10K runners would be running the loop twice to complete the race distance.
While we waited, I checked out the stroller and made sure I had it set up just right for running. I still have issues running with the wheel locked so I let it swivel. However, lately it’s been shaking while I’ve been running with it. I think it may have to do with low tire pressure in the front wheel but I forgot to check before we got to the site. Oh, well. I loaded up some snacks on the side pockets and her water in case she wanted something mid run. Finally, 10 minutes prior to the race start we headed to the start.
I stationed myself about 10 feet from the start. I wasn’t sure how fast I’d run that day so I stayed away from toeing the line. Many other stroller runners followed suit and fell in near me. Before I knew it, the head coordinator made some announcements and we were off! Turns out I started in a bad place. I wasn’t able to take off at my comfortable pace. Instead, I was off at what I consider a snail pace. I tried to veer around the runners I wanted to pass but it took a good quarter of a mile before I settled in an area where runners weren’t in the way or blocking passing areas. I finally settled into a pace of about 8:30 and felt pretty good. I knew this pace wouldn’t hold, though, because the first mile was very clearly downhill. The next 2 miles were at a pretty flat level with one uphill at about 2.80 miles. I managed to clock these miles at around a 9 minute pace. As we approached the finish line, all the 10Kers veered to the right to avoid the timing mats. The mats were set to time at the start then finish so to avoid an early finish we had to avoid it.
The second loop went pretty well. I realized that I was the lone stroller runner for the 10K at this point since no one was pushing one around me. I got a lot of props for choosing to run with it which felt pretty good and was a morale booster for me. By this point the temperature had climbed a bit to about 75 degrees (it was about 68 at the start). Still, I was feeling pretty good and didn’t feel the need to stop at the water stations. Around mile 4 was when I started feeling a cramp in my side. Usually this happens when my posture goes to hell while running. I tried to stretch myself up and stand tall while I continued. I also kept my breathing rhythm in check for a bit. After a few minutes it went away and I felt good once again. When I had about a mile left in the race I started to notice the fatigue set in a bit. My glutes were feeling the burn a little and my pelvis was starting to ache slightly. Still, I knew there were just a few minutes separating me from the finish so I just kept that in mind when I felt like I wanted to stop. When I rounded the corner to the last stretch of the 10K, I picked up the pace and managed an 8:30 pace for the last 0.30. Finishing felt great and I really wanted to stretch out my legs, lol. My daughter, shocked that the ride had come to a stop, pushed back the stroller’s canopy and said “Mommy, keep running!” I laughed and informed her we were done, much to her disappointment. We headed inside where it was air-conditioned and post-race snacks awaited us.
This was my time via Garmin with pauses at the two stops I made. I stopped around 2.5 miles due to the stroller tire’s wiggling bothering me. I had to push down on the handlebar with both hands in order to stop it. I didn’t mind doing this but I also like running with only one hand on the bar. I figured I’d give the fixed wheel a shot. That fixed the wheel but I was also put in the position where I was pushing down on one side of the bar and up on the other side in order to get the stroller to follow the curved roads. My arms were getting fatigued even faster with this kind of pushing so I stopped and unlocked it again. The fixed wheel is just something I’m going to have to practice again. Oh, well. My actual time was 57:09 with the stops (I’m number 270). I was pleased with this since my previous 10K time with the stroller was around 66 minutes. It may not have been enough to place top two and medal (the 2nd place runner was around 55 minutes) but it was pretty darn good for running with the stroller!
I was a bit sad I didn’t place. It’s hard to shake the feeling of knowing you can do so much better time-wise. I know that it’s a tad bit harder for me lately because of the pregnancy so I try not to let myself down too much. Still, when you know that had just pushed that much harder you could have placed, it can be hard to swallow. It’s even harder when I know placement may have been possible if I hadn’t run with the stroller. Running with the stroller at this distance is still nothing to sneeze at, though, and I reminded myself of that during the awards ceremony.
Post race was interesting. I was okay for a few hours. However, after I cooled down I had quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions and my SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) flared up a bit. I spend the entire day hydrating with nothing but water and lying with a pillow between my legs. I also took it nice and easy the rest of the day. Thankfully, all this only lasted that day and the next day I felt okay, aside from the sore glutes. Recovering from the race did take a bit longer, though. Running the next two days was slow and easy because I knew my body wasn’t physically ready to put in the usual effort. Pregnancy running is definitely a humbling experience!
The next Meade race is in about a month. It’s a 5K and I can’t wait to get out there again. Something tells me it may be another stroller run but I welcome it. At least it’s not a 10K!