I never thought I would say this, but I think I am in almost as good of shape after having two babies as I was at my “peak,” before having two babies.
Saturday marked my first post-partum race – and my first race in 19 months – and a
near new personal best (because PRs made pre-babies are not the same as PRs set post-babies)!
We ran the Pretzel City 5K, put on by the Freeport Park District, which winds through beautiful Krape Park in Freeport, Ill., about 45 minutes north of Sterling.
Our race morning routine now – which we should hardly dub a routine, as the process has been instituted all of once so far – is nothing like our routine of two years ago.
We didn’t set an alarm; we knew the girls would have us up at 6 a.m. at the latest. We didn’t set out clothes, or even really plan what to wear; we checked the weather on our phones and stepped outside, then selected outfits. We didn’t stretch or warm up; we changed diapers and clothes, fixed breakfast and loaded up the car for a day trip.
It was strange to be so hurried and yet so relaxed on the morning of a race.
We arrived at the park, picked up our packets and met up with Christopher’s editor (and my editor once upon a time) Jeff and his wife, Sarah, who were going to push the girls in the stroller while we ran the race.
We made our way to the very loosely organized starting line, leaving the girls, which we fretted would cause them to freak out, and took off with the shot of the starting gun.
The course wound through Krape Park, along Yellow Creek, past a waterfall, over two scenic bridges, out the tree-lined south entrance of the park and then back again. It was a relatively flat course and, coupled with only 133 runners, was quite peaceful.
I felt pretty darn good through the whole race, save for toward the end, when our speed and the humidity started to catch up with me. I walked only through the water stop(s), just past the 1-mile mark and then again on the return, just before the 2-mile mark.
We flew through the first mile at about 8:45, and then settled into a more reasonable, manageable pace; the second mile was 9:48, and the third was 10:14.
I struggled, but Christopher did a wonderful job of pacing me; he ran just far enough ahead of me to encourage me, rather than discourage me. I also got a jolt of energy every time we saw the girls, who Jeff and Sarah got to clap for us as we whizzed by.
We approached the finish line, and while a PR was out of reach, my main goal of coming in under 30 minutes still was within my grasp, so I finished strong. I came down the last straightaway and felt so hot and dizzy. I wanted to slow down, but I couldn’t. I had something to prove.
Christopher and I reunited with our girls, who were giggly and smiley, which was just the icing on the freaking cake.
I honestly cannot believe I did it. I finished a 5K in less than 30 minutes, less than a year after having twins. I even flirted with a personal best. Oh, and I came in third in my age division. Are you kidding me?
This was a nice race. The setting is lovely and truly what makes the race. And for such a small race, it had everything a runner could want, including technical shirts and chip timing.
As is customary, here are the details:
Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 29:45 chip time (29:57 RunKeeper time)
Average pace: 9:35 per mile
Mile 1: 8:45
Mile 2: 9:48
Mile 3: 10:14