Up until about a month ago, I had no intentions of racing this year. After all, when you can barely maintain a 10:30/mile pace at your best, racing is a term used somewhat loosely. Add some serious baby belly action to the mix and I had resolved that running is fun and fun was going to be the point of my running this year.
And I’ve been having fun.
So imagine my internal shock when I found myself looking longingly at the Fargo marathon website (the place where I had my half marathon PR of 2:14:07 last year and an awesome time away for a girls weekend) wondering if I should do a race there this year. I was going to be there anyway and my friend Michelle was running the 10k. Hmmmmm…before I could weigh the logic of running 10k when I hadn’t since September of last year, I would be nearly 22 weeks pregnant and was only just getting some form of running mojo back after months of injury followed by months of morning sickness. The conclusion was blindingly obvious:
So I signed up for the 10k.
I had no preconceived notions about setting any kind of record or lighting up the race course. My plan was simple. Run when I could, walk when I couldn’t and enjoy the race and the weekend away.
Race morning came and it was quite possibly the most beautiful day to run. It certainly was the best running day I’ve experienced in a long time. The sun was shining, the temps were cool and best of all, our hotel was right by the start line. Cue the confetti toss at getting an extra hour or more of sleep because we didn’t have to commute to the race.
The race started is a fairly jumbled fashion. 22,000+ people starting at the same time will do that. The half-marathoners went one way and the full marathoner’s and 10k runners went the other way. It took a good 8-10 minutes to actually cross the start but once we did, there was no looking back. The first 2 miles were a bit congested but much less so than I’ve experienced at other races. I found this kind of ironic because this was by far the largest race I’ve run so I just assumed it would be tough to find a pocket of space to run in.
The first 2-3 miles were run with the marathoners and after the first aide station and bathroom stop (which I probably should have taken advantage of. More on that in a minute), we turned off onto a side road while the marathoners pushed on ahead. The course was nice. It was mostly through residential areas and the fact that we were now on a dedicated course for our distance only gave the runners plenty of room to spread out and find their happy pace.
I cruised along at a very comfortable pace, enjoying my music, the sunshine and the feel of running freely. Around mile 3, I had to pee so I figured with aide stations supposed to be every 2 miles, I’d see something by mile 4 or a bit later. Mile 4 came and went with no aide station and no bathrooms, so did mile 5. By this point, my bladder was not happy and I was really wanting water. Thinking we’d have 2 stations on our route, maybe 3, I didn’t bother to pack a water bottle. Big mistake on my part. At one point I contemplated asking a spectator if I could use their bathroom but by mile 5.5, I had not only resolved that I would not be getting any water to drink on the course, I also figured I could make it another 6 minutes to the finish line.
And I did. I had to walk a lot more of the last 2 miles than I felt I needed to but my bladder was insisting that I bounce less and shuffle more. You don’t argue with your bladder.
I loved the feeling of crossing the line. I felt very accomplished and very happy that I’d made the decision to run. I got a few looks along the way (one was of complete and utter disgust. More on that another day) but I felt amazing. For how big this bump is getting, I’m still surprisingly comfortable running. I really don’t notice it at all. It won’t be this way for much longer so I am definitely enjoying it while I can.
Chip time: 1:16:54 (new personal worst OR a new pregnancy PR. It’s all about perspective right?!)
Tunes: I went total old school and listened to Green Day’s “American Idiot” album. Perfect running tunes for me that day.
More on my trip away, running during pregnancy and nay-sayers another day.