Thursday, August 18, 2011

Running with Two: My First 5K

For me, training for a race is like preparing for a graduate school final.  I go through all these emotions during the process.  I sign up for the race with confidence (“I’m gonna kill this.”); I start training with authority (“I am definitely gonna kill this.”); I may encounter a road block such as a missed run or a less than desirable run (“Oh, boy.  I don’t think this is going to go well.”); and, finally, just before race day, I’m filled with doubt (“Yea, I’m not going to do well.”).  Since history repeats itself, I went through the same process after registering for the Alburtis 5K.  I signed up a few weeks after having my daughter in the hopes that this goal would kick start my training and get me prepared for a 10K at the end of August. 
Because I maintained somewhat of a running schedule while pregnant, it did not take long for me to get back into the swing of things, which also included getting acclimated to a double jogging stroller.  The majority of my training runs took me through surrounding neighborhoods, peppered with inclines.  I focused on keeping my upper body in line with my lower body (“…relax your shoulders, abs in…what’s left of them, breathe, RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS!”) especially while running uphill.  I prepared myself both mentally and physically for the landscape I may encounter on race day. 
The race was scheduled on a Saturday, but my heart sank Thursday morning after realizing that I had been training with a twelve pound baby.  My three year old daughter did not go on any training runs with us.  Oh, boy!  After freaking out, unnecessarily, I took a deep breath and got comfortable with the thought of walking.  There’s no point in worrying about my performance, or lack of, in a 5K.  Everything was going to be okay.  Early race morning, I got both girls up and ready to rock.  Thankfully, I picked up my packet the night before, so I could arrive with enough time to put the girls in the stroller and walk to the start.  I carefully pinned my bib number to the front of the stroller, handed Ava a water bottle and put a pacifier in Allison’s mouth.  Here we go. 
I met a friend at the start.  My nerves were settled by the excitement I had for her first 5K.  Within a few minutes the horn sounded and we were off.  Alburtis is a cute little town nestled outside of Trexlertown.  We were led to the bumpy trails of Lock Ridge Park, out towards the end of town, then back again.  Bumpy trails and hills.  Bumpy trails and hills.  At one point the hills were so steep that I felt like kissing the ground - it was virtually impossible to stay upright.  I stopped to walk twice while the peanut gallery (Ava) noted that I wasn’t going fast enough for her.  Allison, not knowing the difference, maintained a steady snooze.  It felt like an eternity before I made it to the flat stretch leading to the finish.  I sprinted, as best as I could, to the chute and crossed with a respectable 33:16, my two-child PR.  The Alburtis 5K was my initiation back into racing.  I knew I’d have to work harder to get in the game again.  I believe I passed this test.
At times it can be a challenge to stay positive in the face of adversity.  Pick up your head, pull your shoulders back and move those feet.  Relax, you’re in for the ride of your life.  Keep breathing and happy running!