Saturday I ran the 3rd in Fort Meade’s run series.
It was a usual 5K set up. Runners had the choice of choosing between the 5K run/walk and the 1 mile walk. Packet pick up took place at the Gaffey Gym on base, as usual, on Wednesday and Thursday. I was planning on picking up my packet that Wednesday but after a long morning of Gymboree and commissary shopping (which is a beast in its own right), I was just not feeling up to driving to the gym. I opted to pick up my bib the morning of the race.
My daughter and I arrived around 7:15 and scored a nice parking spot close to the hanger entrance. I picked up my bib and my daughter asked to wear her race shirt so I changed her out of her tank and into the t-shirt. Normally I’m a huge fan of getting race shirts but for this series I opted to get them all in my daughter’s size. They’re all cotton shirts and I don’t wear cotton t-shirts all that often. My daughter, on the other hand, loves “running” shirts. She was all too eager to get the one for this race on. We headed back to the car so I could get the stroller out and load it up with the things we needed (my daughter’s snacks…). We then waited outside for the race to start.
The weather was not pleasant. It was already 79 degrees at 7:30 and the humidity was at 68% according to my weather app. I felt every bit of that humidity. At about 10 minutes prior to start, I headed over to the starting line. I decided to stand a bit closer to the start this time around (about 5 feet away) given my experience at the last race. I was a little peeved at one point because as I was waiting, a group of older ladies decided to line up right in front of me. I was kind of obvious they weren’t going to be going fast as I overhead them talking about hoping to finish in 45 minutes. I noticed recently that people see the stroller and just assume the person pushing it won’t be going fast. I quickly moved around and slightly ahead of them. Turns out it was a good move because I ended up passing several others around me as soon as we started and never saw them again.
The race itself was nice. It was one giant loop, which I appreciated because it kept my mind guessing how far I had to go. It was a rolling hills course, though, and although the hills weren’t steep, they were deceivingly easy looking since their incline was slight and stretched over a few yards. I felt great the first couple inclines but by 2.5 miles I was feeling the burn in my glutes and the stroller was feeling much more heavier. I was able to catch up to several females that had smoked past me in the beginning which gave me a little pep in my pace. At the 2 mile mark I caught up to a girl about my age and got slightly ahead of her. It became really clear that she wasn’t too pleased with having me pass her and she kept at my heels the rest of the race. I thoroughly enjoyed this because it brought out the competitiveness in me. She was able to pass me at the hill at mile 2.5 but I quickly caught up to her on the downhill. I managed to stay ahead of her once again until the last incline about 500 meters from the finish. On that incline, she started pushing hard and I returned her efforts with the same push. We were running neck-and-neck but as soon as we hit the down hill I pulled slightly ahead again. We rounded the corner to the last 300 meters and that’s when I just booked it. I was determined to finish before her because if there even was a small chance that I was in second, I didn’t want to lose it because I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t look back and just tunneled in on the finish. I clocked in at 24:51.9, my fastest stroller 5K by 4 minutes and 3 second ahead of the other girl. I really did enjoy her pressure as I don’t think I would have given it my all at the end like I did.
Once I got through the small chute and handed over my bib tag and timing chip, we both headed into the hanger to get some post race snacks. While I was in there I recognized a face and after mulling it over a bit, I approached the young lady and said her name. She replied and I told her who I was since I hadn’t seen her since 2007, the year she graduated. She immediately remembered me and we chatted for a bit. If there’s one thing I love about the military is that somehow, somewhere, you’ll always run into someone you once knew in college from ROTC/military programs. It was great to run into her since I genuinely liked her as a person.
My daughter was begging to go outside and run so we headed back out. She ran a bit on the road that was blocked off but then asked to run where other people were running (the 5Kers). I took her about 200 meters from the finish line and let her run on the sidewalk. It was then that she saw a young girl, about 8 years old, running towards the finish with her mom. Since it was already 1 hour into the race there weren’t many runners left coming into the finish. I let her run on the route since she was jumping out of her skin to do it. My little girl impressed me. She full out ran the entire 200 meters to the finish. I could tell she just adored everyone cheering her on because she got a huge grin on her face and she ran faster whenever someone cheered her on. It was quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve seen. In hindsight, I wish I had taken video or a photo but I was trying to keep up with her while dragging along the stroller. Because she loved that little run she did so much, I think I’m going to register her for the Baltimore Running Festival kids’ races again. I won’t be running this year so I’ll be able to run with her for once.
After I was able to tear her away from the finisher’s area, my daughter and I hung around the hanger a bit until the race results were posted. I was elated to see that I placed 3rd in my age group. I was a little sad that I missed 2nd by about 4 seconds but still was proud that I ran that quickly with the stroller. Turns out my college acquaintance was the one that beat me by those mere seconds! I found it unreal how close I was to finish in the top two. I know Meade’s run series isn’t one where you’d find highly competitive runners but there are several really fast runners that participate in the races (hey, it’s a military event. What do you expect?). Because of this, it makes me feel really great to place as well as I do sometimes, especially since I’ve felt a lot slower lately because of pregnancy pains.
It was, yet again, another wonderful race at Fort Meade. I’m really happy how it went. I nursed a bit of soreness the rest of the day, but thankfully it wasn’t anything that entirely took me out for the rest of the day. I have one more run in this series before they take a break for the summer months (their 4th of July 5K). The next race after that won’t be until September 18th! Yes, it’ll be 1 week before my due date. I’m definitely planning to run/walk it if I’m still feeling good by then. Here’s hoping running stays as pleasant as it has been!