After a nice break during the summer months, the Fort Meade Run Series was back with one of its good races. This past Saturday I partook in the Football Fanfare 5K. You read that right. I ran a 5K at 9 days postpartum.
I wavered back and forth the first few days after I had Jacob. I felt amazing and so much better than I did after Isabella’s birth. However, after that first run the day I was discharged, I was a bit skeptical about my ability to run 3 miles so close after delivery. I took a few days rest after that bad 1 miler and tried my luck on another run. To my surprise, I felt good, was able to run a bit faster, and had none of the issues I had in my first run. I went on to run the next few days and all went well. No physical issues flared up and I felt like my old self again. I decided to go ahead and try the race. I obviously wasn’t going for a PR but I wanted to see where I stood in my running, especially since I have a 10K at the end of October.
I waited until race day to pick up my bib and shirt. With 2 young ones, it’s a bit of an operation to get out the door even with my mother’s help. The race was held at Constitution Park on post. I had never been there but found it easily enough. The weather for the race was really nice. It was foggy in the morning and in the mid-60s, perfect running weather. I was curious as to how this course ran so I checked it out before the start.
The loop look simple enough. It was sort of the reverse of the loop I’ve run for the Reindeer Run 5K and the Patriot Pride 10K. I picked up my packet after checking out the map and headed back to my car. I was planning to run the race solo but when I told my daughter we were heading to a race, she immediately proclaimed that she wanted to run with mommy. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear but I wasn’t going to say no to her. I don’t mind pushing her in the stroller, really. Plus, I wanted to test out our new Thule Chariot double out. I knew I’d be able to run with the locked wheel because I was able to adjust the push bar with a button. I was dying to see how well it ran. About 15 minutes before the start, I got out and put the stroller together. Isabella hopped into the stroller and I set her up with my phone for entertainment. We then both headed over to the start and waited.
I was a bit annoyed when I started up my Garmin. My reset button has been very finicky lately and today it chose to stop working. Great. I like keeping a record on my Garmin Connect but it was no big deal. I really was just interested in seeing my pace so I decided to just use it with the previous day’s info still on it.
After a few minutes of waiting, the race volunteer came on to welcome us and start us off. I immediately took off once the gun shot. I had luckily positioned myself close enough to the front to avoid some of the slower starter. I quickly noticed how smooth the Thule was and was glad I brought it instead of the BOB even though it was a tad heavier than the BOB. Throughout the run I focused mainly on just running and how I was feeling. I didn’t notice the course too much, or the runners around me, as I was so busy just making sure I was breathing and pacing okay. I did notice that there weren’t any real large inclines this time around. I think that was largely because the usual uphills were now downhills thanks to running the reverse loop. I glanced a few times at my watch and was happy to see that my paces were sub-9 minutes, even if it was just slightly under that. Before I knew it, I was coming to the last 200 meters of the run. I gave a bit of a kick and managed to finish at 27:02. Not too bad but awesome considering I was just 9 days postpartum and I had pushed my 40 pound preschooler the entire time.
I knew I hadn’t medaled but I hung around afterwards anyway because I wanted to see how far behind I was. My daughter wanted to run as well so I took her down a block and she got to run up to the finish and under the finish banner. They had set up the timing mat on the left of the banner so there was plenty of room for her to run into the side without the mat. After she “finished”, we grabbed an apple and granola bar and headed back to the car. I wanted to check on Jacob to see if he needed to eat. By this day he had already gotten into somewhat of a routine so I knew he was okay during my run but I may need to feed him afterwards. He was still sleeping peacefully so I left my daughter with my mom (she wanted to hang out in the car) and I went over to the awards area.
Awards started promptly at 9 AM. We were informed that they would not be posting the race results in the finishing area like they have in the past. Boo. The race director then proceeded to read off the 1st and 2nd place winners for each age group and gender. The 2nd place female for my age group (20-29) finished around the 24 minute mark. 1st finished just under 22 minutes. Since I got a sense of what I would likely be up against next month, I know where I need to be to hopefully place in that 5K. I headed back to my car and made the drive back home.
Race results were posted on the MWR site later that week. I’m #54 in the finish results. Not too shabby for a stroller runner. I was the second stroller runner to finish (#53 was the first) so I was pretty happy about that.
My next race will be in the same race series. They have a Halloween 5K on the 17th of October. My husband thankfully doesn’t have drill that weekend so I’ll actually be able to run solo for that race. I’m aiming to take 2nd place in my AG but not getting my hopes up too high. 1 month postpartum may be too soon to ask for huge pacing gains. However, with how well my running has been going the past few weeks I’m pretty confident I can get close to 2nd. I’m really just hoping to finish under 25 minutes. That’ll really help tell me I’m going in the right direction with my training.