Magnuson Spring Into Action 5K (& Kids’ Race!).

I mentioned in Monday’s weekly wrap-up that I ran a 5K this past weekend – my first postpartum race this time around!  I think I’ve probably run a total of eight or nine times since Graham was born – not a huge amount, but enough to at least feel like I’m back on my feet again.

I recently plotted out my training calendar for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon coming up in June, which motivated me to start thinking about some smaller races I can do leading up to the bigger distance.  And as I was searching around for local races, I thought – why not this weekend?  I found the Magnuson Spring Into Action 5k – since the weather looked nice and I knew the course, I found myself digging out my running gear on Saturday morning.

One of the other reasons I wanted to do this particular race was that it was super family friendly.  The start time was at 10am – much easier (and warmer!) for bringing young kids along!  There was also a kids’ race before the main event, that I remember watching two years ago when Casey ran a half marathon as part of the same race series. 

We signed Cullen up since it was only $3, not knowing if he’d be really into or absolutely refuse to participate.  He was surprisingly really excited, and kept saying, “I want to do my race!”

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When the kids all lined up, I stood off to the side with Graham and tried not to pass out from all the cuteness.  It was obvious he was the youngest kid of the bunch, and I hoped he wouldn’t flip out when all the other bigger kids started running.  But it looked like dad was giving him a pretty good pep talk. 

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The official yelled “GO!” and the runners were off.  Cullen was all business and looked totally into it!

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While he was obviously waaaay behind all of the four and five year olds, he was also keeping a pretty good stride.  I could not handle how adorable it was to watch him running a race, and I loved it even more because he was having so much fun. 

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And then he totally bit it.

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And I watched from afar while he spent the next several minutes like this…

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Graham and I did our best to cheer him on!

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Eventually Casey convinced Cullen to get down and finish the race.  Tears were wiped and hands dusted off, and my brave little guy got down and slowly jogged the rest of the 400 meters (pretty far for a two year old!).  We also discovered a bruised and bloody knee later – poor guy!

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You have to love a running crowd.  He was dead last by at least several minutes, and still everyone waited and cheered him in as he made his way to the finish line.  Cutest thing ever. 

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He was super pumped about his blue ribbon, and I was really glad Casey made him get down and finish because he left with a good memory.  He has already said he wants to do it again next time!  Now I’m worried that I need to find more 5K’s with kids’ races…

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My race was next, and it was just about as successful.  I was all caught up in getting the kids into the stroller/Ergo and I didn’t realize the main race was about to start.  I was over on the side with my family when the starting gun went off – oops!  Despite my carefully planned playlist, the Bluetooth headphones I was borrowing from Casey weren’t synched, so I was starting late with no music, no watch, and absolutely dead last.

I started out kind of in shock.  I just felt so unprepared, and I was kicking myself for not having it more together.  I was also really pissed.  I wanted a good race, I wanted music, and I didn’t want to weave through all of the walkers to find my groove.

I just felt really off and spent most of the race feeling horrible and in a big funk.  Running felt impossibly hard and my body felt very out of shape.  I thought I had run at LEAST two miles when I finally saw the first mile marker.  It was definitely not my day.

I promised myself the next one would be better.  With no clocks and no watch I had no idea what to expect, but I felt so slow and sluggish.  I was surprised to see 29 minutes on the clock when I approached the finish line.  My official finish time was 29:30, but it was probably closer to a 28 minute run since I started late (there were no timing chips).  Much better than I had anticipated, so that part was good.

I ran to the finish with nothing left in my tank, and my only motivation being that I knew Casey and the boys were there, and I wanted Cullen to see me finish my race just as proudly as he finished his.  It wasn’t a good race, but it felt good to do something that’s important to me with my family, and I appreciated them cheering for me!  Next time I will work on adjusting my attitude to be more positive from start to finish, no matter what. 

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I have a few more small races in mind as I start training for my summer half marathon (eeep!).  I love being part of a local running community, and I’m excited that Cullen is finally old enough to understand and maybe even enjoy it a bit this year.  And Graham will be running in the kids’ races before we know it!

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In other running-related news, I actually registered for another half marathon yesterday morning!   Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal cartoons is hosting his own race here in Washington called Beat the Blerch.  I set an alarm to remind me to register right when it opened, as I had a feeling it would sell out quickly.  I ended up getting one of the coveted 2,000 spots, and it sold out in just 29 minutes!

I am so excited to be part of such a fun event (birthday cake and Nutella all along the course – seriously!), and also totally freaked out by the idea of actually running another half marathon.  Plenty of time to worry about that later though (my mantra these days). 

Hoping to get in one or two more stroller runs this week!