Monday, September 10, 2012

9-11 Memorial 5k

On Saturday HB, GW and I competed in the Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9-11 Memorial 5K road race at the Pentagon.  Of course I use the word "competed" extremely loosely since HB isn't cleared to run for another four to six months (ACL reconstruction surgery three weeks ago), I'm restricted to the brisk walking pace of 140 beats per minute and, let's face it, GW only wanted to come for the fire trucks.

2011 9-11 Memorial 5k
This particular 5k has a very special place in my heart as the 2011 race was the first road race I'd ever signed up to compete in.  When I was younger, running was about the last thing you could pay me to do and that only changed about 3 years ago when I figured out that I love to pass other runners. So having spent the past couple years enjoying running around (literally) other people and wanting to honor those in our local community who were directly impacted by 9-11, HB and I signed up and trained to beat a 30 minute mark. Keep in mind that I'd never run competitively before and 30 minutes seemed remarkably reasonable for a first timer goal.

People always warn new runners to watch their starting pace coming off the gates because it is really easy to go out too quick... well, the 2011 race started and I definitely forgot all that boohockey when my feet hit the pavement.  Over and over again I put the next high-and-tight hair cut in front of me in my sights and tracked him until I passed him... Well, much to my surprise, my finishing time wound up being a 4 minutes faster than I'd trained for (26:10.8).  For my first time in a race and having trained at a 9 - 10 minute pace, I didn't think that was too shabby!

And so a running addict was born. 

2012 GW & HB waiting out
the rain pre-race
Well I've been out of the exercise loop for months now with these pregnancy complications and I was heart broken to have been benched from the Marine Corp Half Marathon last May, but now that I'm cleared for some level of exercise this particular 5k seemed to be the right race for me/us to get back on the horse.  Unfortunately, I underestimated the difficulty of walking a race I'd under any other circumstances be chomping at the bit to run in...

26 1/2 weeks pregnant and still
going at mile 2.5
HB and I held off to the side near the back of the crowd when the race began and started our self-pitying walk.  Fortunately, right near the starting line we came across a seven month pregnant woman and her husband with their 2 year old daughter who were stuck in the same boat... Banding together we waddled our way after the pack with our patient, supportive, amazing husbands in tow and practically a personal escort from the police cars marking the tail end of the race.  Even with most of the runners out of sight, it was very nice to have someone equality as impatient for November walking along side me and our two bellies brought on extra cheers and even some cow bell from the nice people on the side of the road who waited for us.

Needless to say, around mile 2.5 my competitive side kicked in and I wanted to at least not finish last. Motivated by the imminent arrival of dinner time and an escape from the drizzling rain, we spent the last leg of the race right at the Pentagon,  passing as many people as my swollen ankles and HB's knee would allow...

Ultimately clocking at the breakneck pace of a 18:12 mile, we crossed the finish line in 56:33 minutes with 23 out of 3069 other racers behind us.  My blood sugar was of course low (63 mg/dl) from all that "exertion" but at least we participated and went the distance - which, at this point in this pregnancy and HB's recovery, is definitely saying something.

I'm not planning to sign up for any more road races between now and Baby's delivery since so much with this pregnancy has been week to week and I've resigned myself to expect the unexpected, but I am really excited for race season next year.  I'm not yet ready to announce what schemes for post-baby body recovery I have up my sleeve, but God, Baby, GW and (grumble grumble grumble) diabetes willing it'll be effective, fun and worth the effort!

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