This marathon relay was one of those things that seemed like an OK idea at the time and gradually became a “I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?” thing as the weeks leading up to race day approached. We didn’t have a 6th runner to use as an alternate, I was feeling much less pregnant when we signed up and I was a bit ignorant about how running at 27 weeks was really going to feel, especially given that I’ve never run beyond 24-25 weeks. I just rationalized it with the knowledge that I could walk my 4.3 mile leg if I needed to, no big deal. Right?
What I wasn’t expecting was for baby to have a HUGE growth spurt between weeks 23-25, leaving me feeling enormous, putting my back out lifting an aerator out of the car with my hubby or feeling beaten down by restless leg syndrome so early. It wasn’t exactly a recipe for success. Several times, my hubby asked me if we should look for someone to take my place and each time, I somewhat foolishly declined and said I’d be fine.
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure and as the days passed, I started to wonder if I was forcing myself to do this to prove something to myself or if I was really going to be able to have a good run.
Well, Sunday morning finally arrived and under cool temps and rainy skies, I was about to see what I was really made of. I woke up feeling good and somewhat ready to take my leg of the race. Hubby was runner #2 and I was runner #3 which gave us a bit of extra time in the morning as we didn’t have to worry about the pre-race congestion in the corals. I dropped him off at his exchange around 7:20 and drove out to mine. I had about 45 minutes to wait so after buying hubby a big cookie from starbucks to eat after he finished (best wife ever right here!) I slowly walked the few blocks to the exchange area and took in the fun of watching relay exchanges happen (or not happen as was the case for a few people who couldn’t find their next runner), marathoner’s pass by (including Superman…how cool that he had some time to come do our race?!) and before I knew it, hubby was cruising up, about 5 minutes ahead of schedule. No time to think of anything remotely witty to say as I took off down the road, I just told hubby I’d see him in an hour.
The first mile was pretty easy going. By this point, we were about 10 miles into the course and the half marathoner’s and 10k runners had long since split off onto their designated routes so there was tons of space to find my rhythm. I quickly felt quite perfectly into my happy place and just ran. I felt wonderful. About 5 minutes in, I could feel myself getting a bit tired and in checking my watch, realized I was running a 9:30 min/mile. Whoops. For those that don’t know, that’s about 45 seconds faster than my usual race pace when I’m not pregnant. Clearly, excitement was taking over. After slowing down some, I felt much better.
Miles 2-3 were somewhat boring as they took me down one of our main city roads so other than cars passing by and various buildings and the mall, there wasn’t a lot to look at. At this point, I was so thankful that it was cool and overcast because had the sun been out, there is no shelter from it and I would have baked. I was more than happy to get a little wet and stay cool.
The last mile was nice. It took us off the main road and into some of the side streets that were lined with big trees and a lot more spectator support (including a man playing the Oboe. Interesting to say the least. There was no basket with a dancing cobra though…I was a bit disappointed). I was taking in the scenery around me and before I knew it, I could see the relay exchange area about 200m in front of me. Realizing I was finishing a heck of a lot sooner than I (or anyone) was expecting, I quickly sent hubby a text to let him know I was about a minute out and to start looking for me.
As soon as I passed through the exchange gate, I found our next runner (who seemed surprised to see me!) and off he went. My race was done. I checked my watch, expecting that I was at about 55 min total time given that I’d walked a few stretches throughout my leg and was shocked to see I had finished in just over 48 minutes! I averaged just under a 12 min/mile pace which was a lot faster than I was expecting.
The cooler temperature definitely made it easier for me to run longer stretches and to be honest, I felt more comfortable running than I did walking. As soon as I walked a minute or so, I’d cramp up at the base of my belly. Once I ran a few feet, it would go away and other than being very aware of the extra 20 pounds I’m sporting, I felt great.
I was so happy with how I did and how our whole team did. We crushed are predicted time and finished in 4:07. Next year, we sub-3 hour!
Gear for the race:
Under Armour Visor
Lululemon warm warmers
Bia Sport GPS watch
For Two Fitness Racerback Tank
Running Skirts running skirt w/ compression shorts (maternity)
Pro Compression Marathon Socks
Asics GT2000 shoes
Momemtum Jewelery “Never Look Back” wrap bracelet.