Thursday, April 30, 2015

First Family Race

This past Saturday, the whole family (except for Mischa) ran the Loop the Lakes 5k in Vernon Hills. It was the first race of the year for Hubby and me and the first race ever for the Things, and I have to say I'm pleased with how well it all went!

It was a small race, run by the Vernon Hills Park District, so there was no packet pick up ahead of time.
Runners in training?
Instead, they set up at the park before the race, and it was such a small event that we didn't have any problem getting there, finding parking, and getting our packets. We let the Things run around for a bit before the race, which they certainly appreciated, and just spent some time wandering around together.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the park shelter had REAL, working bathrooms, with flushing toilets and running water. I know this would have been a huge problem at a bigger race, but I never saw a line running out the door, so I think the capacity must have been okay for the size of the field. It also seemed like a lot of locals ran the race, so I'm guessing they had their own facilities close by... Either way, no complaints here!

The weather day-of wasn't nearly as nice as we were hoping for: it was chilly (in the low 40's), and threatening to rain the whole time. Plus, there was a significant amount of wind. Add that to the hills on the course, and it was a challenging race. Challenging, but rewarding!

Hubby was nice enough to let me run the race as fast as I wanted, while he pushed the Things in their stroller. I knew for a fact that I wasn't strong enough to push the stroller the whole distance, and I was secretly hoping that I might PR, or maybe even place, so I was really glad he let me do that.

I started out close to the front, and picked my pace and just settled in. I've been almost enjoying the hills (such as they are) in our area, so I wasn't concerned about the hills in this race. In fact, I picked off most of the people I passed on the uphills! It was a good feeling. The course took us on a one-and-a-half-ish loop of the lakes in the park, so we got a chance to see where we'd be finishing, and had a good way to gauge how much we had left.

I felt really strong for most of the race, and didn't get passed by many people. As I was getting close to the end, a volunteer said "You might be the third woman!" I was really excited by that, and pushed a little harder. I actually passed a guy close to the end, but could hear him trying to catch me once the finish line came into view. Hearing him stomping up behind me gave me a faster kick than usual, and I flew across the finish in a new PR (26:19)! Take that, #17!

I even got a trophy!
Since I was pretty sure I'd placed in my age group, we waited around for the awards ceremony. Sure enough, I was awarded third in my age group, and fifth woman overall! Not too shabby!
However, the next day, I found out that I'd actually placed second in my age group, due to an error in tabulation on race day. Wahoo!!! I'll be trading in my shiny third place trophy for and even shinier second place one this weekend!

I will admit, I'm still working through some race anxiety. The pre-race stuff didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but I can tell I'm making progress. I'm working really hard to get back to my love of racing, and this race was a huge step in the right direction. I'm taking things slowly, but I know I'll get there. I'm really looking forward to even more family races as the Things grow up.

I almost forgot to mention: Hubby was a complete rock star pushing the stroller! He was the first stroller to finish, came in under 30 minutes, and ninth in his age group! I came in 25th overall, and he came in at 48th. I'd say both of us finishing in the top 50 makes this race a big win! We're looking forward to running it again next spring!

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