Ladies, let me give you some advice: Do not fear post-baby running. It rocks. Here's my post of proof.
On Saturday, on a course that is known to be a tough one for setting PRs, I ran an awesome race. I ran my fastest 5K ever. Ever.
People, my baby is not yet 8 months old. I just turned 41. And I ran my fastest 5K. Ever.
I was a ball of nerves before the race but, fortunately, I was riding with friends and we had planned to get to the race early.
Me, Bridget, Janis before we left for the race.
|Hope, me, Bridget, Janis, Kara, before the start of the race.|
The 5K starts uphill so the first quarter mile or so is usually slow going. I did a good bit of weaving through the crowd and I found that I really couldn't get a good breathing rhythm for much of the first kilometer. It was just off and I worried that I was going to have a crappy race.
Right around the first kilometer mark, though, there was a band. Now, let me remind you of something. Last week, on my birthday actually, I wrote a little bit about a song that my college lacrosse team used to listen to on our way to games. Feelin' All Right. You know the song. Well, hey, the band was playing that song. So, as I made the turn from Madison Avenue into Washington Park, I heard it. Feelin' All Right.
At the time, I was feeling anything but. I was desperate to get my breathing pattern right and it was making me feel all discombobulated. But when I heard that song, it all changed. I was feeling all right! I took it as a sign that this would be a good day and even did something incredibly uncharacteristic, something I never do in races: I gave the band a triple, high-in-the-air fist pump. Who am I?
Right afterward, I passed the 1K mark, exactly on pace.
I knew it was my day.
As I ran through the park, my breathing was good, my legs felt great and I knew that I just had to keep my mind in the game. If I could stay focused, I could break 23 minutes.
At mile 1, I was ahead of pace.
I took a cup of water at the water station and geared up for the hills on the south side of the park. They're not bad, really, except when you're gunning for a PR. I took them on and ran strong and before I knew it I was out of the park, heading up another hill on South Lake Ave (I think). There was a woman cheering loudly there and I wanted to give her a high 5 but I couldn't get to her so I mustered a "thanks!" and kept going.
At mile 2, I was still ahead of pace.
But I had 1.1 miles to go. And for just about that whole distance, I told myself "you can do anything for 8 minutes," "you can do anything for 7 minutes," "6 minutes left," "5 minutes left," and on and on. I didn't want to do it but I had to count down for pretty much the whole last mile.
Once I saw the sign for 400 meters to go, I tried to really pick it up. I didn't have much left in the tank but I used what I had and I ran strong to the finish. My A goal for this race was 22:59 or better. I ran 22:51.
I am still super happy.
Post-race, I was super sweaty: