Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Feelin' all right: Freihofer's Run for Women 5K race report.

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.

Good thing because the race, the Freihofer's Run for Women, had a record number of registrants this year -- almost 5,000. It's the area's biggest race and it draws many elite runners and thousands of locals who want to be part of a big, all-women event.

Hope, me, Bridget, Janis, Kara, before the start of the race.

In other words, it is crowded. But, we got there in plenty of time and I was able to hit the bathrooms a few times before lining up in my section. I had some big goals for the race so I tried to stay focused at the start. I told myself over and over that I could do it, that I had trained well, that the day was perfect for a PR run. I planned to run 7:25 for the first mile, hang on and then speed up as much as possible for the last quarter mile.

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:

Shweaty runnah.

Here are my stats:

Mile 1 -- 7:15
Mile 2 -- 7:24
Mile 3 -- 7:17
last .1 -- 6:16 pace
Official (net) time: 22:51
Age group (40-44) place: 16/550 
Overall place: 202/4142

So, really. Have a baby. Get older. No worries. If I can do it and run a PR, well, forget it. Anyone can.

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice


Phoebe said...

Way to go!! I lived (for about a year) right on Washington Park. I am so happy for you. Sounds similar to the results of a race I did last weekend... reached my goals and felt amazing about it!

GoddessLibrarian said...

You sure did rock it! I am so so happy for you!!

Gaspegirl said...

Congratulations... what an inspiration you are!

Make it a great day!!

Manderz said...

Um, was that really all sweat? I thought you ran through the fire hose. Ewww, did I hug you?! LOL Just joking. You are such a kick ass runner and I hope to be half as awesome as you one day. AMAZING job!

J said...

Congrats! Sounds so awesome! I am so happy for you and so glad that every thing came together for you to have a great race! Well done on the PR!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

That is AWESOME!!! Great job!

Darlene said...

You are awesome!!

Suzy said...

Congratulations again! You had a great race on a hard course and with lots of women around.

Marlene said...

What a strong race! You totally rocked it. Who says getting older and having kiddos has to make you slow down? Way to show us!!!

The Happy Runner said...

Amanda -- You're right! It was some water from the firetruck! I totally forgot about going under the hoses. DUH!

Kiesha said...

WTG!!! Ditto about running post-baby. That's what keeps me sane. I haven't ever PR'd that soon after giving birth though so KUDOS to you!

trifitmom said...

holy cow that is awesome ....

Jessica (The Pace of Me) said...

you are my hero, you are my hero, YUO ARE MY HERO. i just had to say it three times. thank you for your inspiration. i am 4 months postpartum and it has been quite a journey of ups and downs as i return to running. thank you for this, and for all of your inspiring posts!!!

lindsay said...

You are amazing!! So glad you had a great race day and were rewarded with an awesome PR :)

Your instructions at the end make me think of a new reality tv show about preggo runners. I hear about teens wanting to get preggo so they can be on 16&pregnant, and now runners will try to get knocked up so they can get faster too ;)

angela said...

That sounds like an awsome race! You rocked it girl

Wifey said...

Pure Awesomeness!


Winks & Smiles,

Anonymous said...

Seriously! What an inspiration!


Candice @ I Have Run said...

That is seriously awesome. And exactly what I needed to read. I am having serious issues with getting older, so knowing it might just get better made me smile.

Congrats on an amazing race!!!

Kat said...

WOW This makes me want to get out there and get some more running in!

Aron said...

CONGRATS!! You rocked that race!

Amy Reinink said...

I can't even tell you how encouraging this is: "So, really. Have a baby. Get older. No worries. If I can do it and run a PR, well, forget it. Anyone can." What a fantastic example you're setting for women everywhere who want to believe that you can be your best self even eight months after childbirth! AND, what a fantastic example you're setting for that baby of yours! Congrats!

MamaRobinJ said...

Right on! Love your mental strategy and talking yourself through it.

I stopped running when I got pregnant (ran half marathon before I knew I was pg) and then started running when my babe was 3 months old. Ran an 8K on NO sleep when he was 4 months, then a 10K when he was 9 months. And seriously, my kid didn't sleep. Anything is possible, and you'll feel better for it!

Quix said...

Wow! That is amazing, you are such a rockstar!!! That is so my mantra during tough runs "you can do anything for x minutes/miles". Love it! Congrats on a new PR!

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