This weekend marked a fun new pregnancy milestone – my very first race! I haven’t written a race recap here in almost a year! I didn’t run during my first pregnancy, and I was really hoping that I’d be able to give it a try the second time around. I haven’t really been running all that much up until now – I did one five mile run on vacation with a handful of shorter runs sprinkled in at home, but nothing very impressive. Instead, I’ve been doing my Barre3 classes consistently a few times each week, which has really helped increase my strength and has kept me in good shape.
So even though I hadn’t been running all that regularly up to this point, I still felt like my activity and fitness level was good enough to take on the challenge of racing. After the tragedies in Boston a few weeks ago, I felt really motivated and compelled to jump back into the running community – not to be competitive, but just to participate. I looked at the local race calendar and signed up for the Top Pot Doughnut Dash 5K – and that is where we headed early Sunday morning!
The race started at 8:30am, and I had to pick up my packet first, so it was an early morning for the whole family. It was also cool and drizzling rain, so I was very grateful for my fabulous support crew. (And yes! We got a new stroller – I’ll be writing about it soon!)
The last 5K I ran was last year on Mother’s Day, and that was a much smaller race. This race was big compared to many of the 5K’s I’ve done in the past – almost 2,000 runners! I guess a lot of people are as motivated by finish line doughnuts as I am. :)
I had originally been planning to run with a friend and her jogging stroller, but her little guy got sick the morning of the race. I was so sad for them! This also changed my race quite a bit. I had planned to talk with Katie and distract myself with conversation, and now I found myself running alone with nothing but the sound of my breath (wasn’t planning to use headphones, so I didn’t take any!).
I didn’t really have much of a plan, and it was funny at how unprepared I felt compared to prior races. I had no music, no Garmin, and no idea what to expect. I decided early on that my only goal was to try to run the whole thing without walking. I know myself, and I know that if I allowed myself one walking break, it would turn into ten more. I kissed my cheerleaders goodbye and took off!
I assumed I’d be running somewhere between a 10:00 and 11:00 minute mile, so I positioned myself pretty far back.
Casey and Cullen found a great spot right at the first curve, and were able to watch all the runners take off.
I saw them as I went back, and smiled and waved. So speedy I am nothing but a blur. :)
This race was at Greenlake, which is one of my favorite running and walking spots, and it’s a loop I’ve done hundreds of times before. So it was nice to know what to expect, and to have a good sense of the course – particularly since I had no Garmin telling me how much further I had to run. My strategy was to just pick a comfortable pace and try to hold onto it – I knew it was slow, but I also knew it needed to be if I expected my legs to run three miles without stopping. I spent pretty much the entire race being passed by other runners – very humbling!
It’s a weird thing to run while pregnant. My instincts wanted me to try to push it – to give a little more, to pick up the speed a bit, but I also knew that I needed to keep my heart rate down and really pay attention to the cues my body was giving. I’m not gonna lie – even though it was only three miles, it was tough. My body hurt, and I had to constantly ask myself if it was normal “running hurt” or if it was pregnancy related (meaning I should stop). All the aches and pains were in my legs and chest though, so I knew I was fine to keep going.
I spent most of the run just focused on my breath, and listening to the conversations around me (creeper alert!). I willed myself to keep running even if that meant slowing down. Once I passed the second mile marker, I knew I could push it for one more. I came down the finishing chute and saw Casey and Cullen waiting and waving!
My official finish time was 31:51 (10:15 average pace) – my second slowest 5K ever, but my first ever pregnant, and one I will definitely remember. I think (or at least I hope!) that jumping back into running at 16.5 weeks pregnant was just early enough to get going before I get too big or too tired. Last time I tried to pick it up again around 22 weeks, and it was way too late. I felt really proud to be a pregnant, running mama!
The 5K was sponsored by Top Pot Doughnuts – a famous Seattle spot. But they only had one small doughnut truck in the finishers’ area, and the line was at least 500 people deep by the time I finished. We decided to jump in the car and head to my personal favorite (vegan!) doughnut spot – Mighty O.
We all enjoyed some post-race treats. Cullen wolfed down the mini cake doughnuts I got for him, and I had delicious chocolate top and chocolate cream-filled. Mmmmmmm.
It was a really fun way to spend the morning, and I spent the rest of the afternoon with a runner’s high. During what should have been nap time (that turned out not to be – no naps all weekend – grrrrr), I looked online for other upcoming races that work with our schedule.
I absolutely loved running the race, and while I know I’m not in a place to set any big goals or plan too far ahead, I’m hoping to keep running and taking advantage of summer racing season as long as I can. And I won’t feel quite so bad about being passed so much once I have a bigger, more noticeable belly! :)
One pregnant race down, and hopefully several more to come!