I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in our local Women Run the Cities event at Minnehaha Park yesterday morning. ESPN has named this race one of the Top 5 Best Races in the Country for women. I had this race on my radar for well over a year and fully intended on running the 10 Mile race yesterday. Unfortunately my tibia had other plans and 10 miles, while I could have done it, would not have been the wisest decision. I opted to register for the 5K race a month ago and I’m so glad I didn’t just give up on the idea of even attending.
This was my first time ever running a Women-only event. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect other than I figured it would be interesting to really see where I “stacked up amongst the competition.” I didn’t go into this race with any expectations considering I am still doing the whole run/walk ratios to get back into running. I have run a total of 5K mileage since being back these past 2 months, but not all at once. There’s always been walking in between to give my leg a break. I had no real plan for this race other than to enjoy it and not spend all morning upset that I wasn’t out there PR’ing my 10-mile distance.
The hubby and I headed over to Marathon Sports on Saturday and attended packet pick-up. The whole thing moved very smoothly and it was my first time being in that store, so I had some fun checking it out. I received my long-sleeve tech tee from Born Fit and I REAAAAAAALLY like it. This is a photo of the 10-miler 1/2 zip jacket, but I received a long-sleeve tech tee in the same style that’s a v-neck. Same color, same front and back. I’d show it to ya, but it’s in the wash as I wore it alllllll daaaaaaay long yesterday.
Sunday’s event was very well-organized. While parking was a bit tight, we found a spot in a neighborhood just 3 blocks away which gave me about 30 minutes to hit up the bathroom, get some stretching in, and then head to the start line myself. In between the 10 mile start and the 5K, there was a 1 mile girls fun-run that apparently went a little bit longer than I think they expected, so the 5K’ers ended up standing still in the chute a bit longer than we’d anticipated. It was really great seeing all these young girls flying through the finish line with big smiles on their faces; many of whom were accompanied by their moms. It made me wonder if someday I’ll be doing the same thing with my future son or daughter. What a proud moment for those moms to see their girls having fun doing something they, too, are passionate about.
Unfortunately it was a bit frigid outside at race time. I was in capris, a long-sleeve tech tee and I opted to keep my Saucony running jacket on. I was worried because my calf was fully exposed to the elements and I was a bit nervous standing there for that long that I was going to be in some pain once we finally got going. Thankfully that didn’t end up being the case.
We started off running. I chose not to really look at my Garmin except for my splits. I really wanted to allow myself to be fully in-tune with my body, my stride, breathing, etc. I fully expected that I would need to walk at some point, but I ended up running the whole thing. I haven’t run a full mile without having an intentional walk break since June 22nd (my last run prior to diagnosis), so running 3.1 without having to stop was a full-on miracle.
I usually am not a huge fan of 5K races, but I must have placed myself pretty well up at the start because I didn’t have much weaving to do at all, and I made it the entire race without feeling one second of annoyance coming up on any walkers or people running with headphones at a slower pace who are totally clueless about the world around them (one of my biggest pet peeves). It was different not seeing any guys during the race except along the sidelines. Most of the spectators were men and they were fabulous all along the 5K route. I am not sure how many spectators there were along the 10-mile route, but the support was awesome the whole way for my race!
The 5K was an out-and-back along the Mississippi river. I had run part of this course before during my 10K race from you-know-where back in April. This time I had plenty of space to move and feel comfortable, and I didn’t have ice pellets hitting me in the face, so I was able to actually take it all in and enjoy the moment. The sun was out, and while it was cold, I was feeling really REALLY comfortable. My splits were coming in right around 9:14 and 9:16. My leg was holding up and I just focused on keeping my legs within the same stride I’d put out right from the beginning. I did have a slight freak-out moment at the turn-around point. My body isn’t used to the cold weather yet since we’ve had the range of total extremes in temp recently. My right lung was KILLING ME and every single breath I took hurt. I just focused on really breathing deep and slow for about 2 minutes during the run and it managed to loosen up. I haven’t experienced anything like that for almost 2 years. It gave me a brief moment where I realized just how out of shape and not trained I am. I had a twinge of disappointment take over, but I quickly got back to focusing on just how great I was doing THAT moment and that it was crucial I didn’t allow that negativity to take over.
As we approached the finish line the crowd support was HUGE. The 10 milers took over the left side of the street and the 5K runners took over the right at the split. I felt kinda bad for the 10-mile runners having to converge with the 5K runners just a little over a mile short of the finish. I made sure to stay to the right so they could all get around me easily. The last thing I wanted to do was be that person who gets in the way of someone who just busted out a race waaaaay harder/longer than I did. I’ve had people do that to me before (again see my race report from April’s 10K) and it makes me furious.
I crossed the finish line at 28:43 on my Garmin and was THRILLED. Unfortunately I think there’s something wrong with little GPS friend since it’s been skipping a bit in my latest training runs and my chip time was waaaaay different from what my watch said. I’m going to have to figure this out, because I can’t have my training so off. There literally weren’t any turns on the course, and I realize that running tangents is key to being close in time, but this was WAAAAAY off. Given the issues I’ve been noticing the past couple of weeks with my watch, I’m convinced I have a problem with it now. Bummer.
Anyways. I was shocked seeing how many runners were behind me at the turn around. It was enormous, but I still had absolutely no clue how I placed.
At the end of the race, I was handed my medal (yep! 5K medals – gotta love it) and I met up with my hubby (who graciously took some pics for me) and we walked around to check out some of the tents and grab some goodies. Starbucks was a sponsor of the race (YES, PLEASE!) and I managed to grab a passion tea; a perfect post-race treat.
There was a raffle for some really great prizes, a ton of different vendors in attendance and lots of great post-race goodies. It was such a beautiful fall morning that we spent more time there than I think we normally would after a race.
I absolutely plan on making this event tradition if possible. I had a really REALLY great time. It was very well-organized, the swag was great, and the proceeds go to a great cause in supporting local women’s charities helping girls/women of all ages discover their true potential in life. So empowering.
I was so thankful God granted me a great run. While I didn’t PR, I definitely had my strongest run in months. I was in a walking boot/cast 2 months ago! I have a lot of work ahead of me, I know, but I’m thrilled that given all the pain I had to endure these past several months, I’m still able to continue on with my running. I’m feeling stronger now than I ever have before in 2+ years of running.
Official Chip Time:
29:06 at avg 9:22 pace
#180 out of a total 1090 women