I’ve been running “weekend warrior” style for a couple months, meaning that I rarely exercise during the work week, but I try to do at least 5 miles any day I have off work. I have gotten up to a 10K on the bike path with Brian and Isaac in the stroller a few times. Once spring weather arrived and Isaac started sleeping through the night, at least occasionally, I got in a spunky 5 mile tempo run at sub-8:30 pace and thought it might be time to sign up for a race. The Westford Road Race seemed like just the right event – local, small but well run, and a short enough distance that I wouldn’t have to “train” – just use it as a check in on my fitness.
I managed to get out on Saturday afternoon for a 5k through the woods to work out the kinks from the week. On Sunday the weather was gorgeous, sunny with a slight cool breeze. I skipped social hour at church, got home, fed Isaac and put him to sleep for his nap, and got myself packed up to head over to the race. I found parking, walked to the starting line area to pick up my race packet, and checked out the scene. There were TONS of kids and families doing the fun run (2pm) and 5K (2:20pm), but a smaller set of more serious runners registered for the 10K. I had plenty of nervousness, especially since Brian wasn’t there to pace me or talk me through the plan. I tried to stay calm by warming up, chowing down on a granola bar, and watching the kids and dogs sprint around the lawn of the school. Finally at just before 2:30pm, it was time to line up for the 10K, and with a short blast of the horn, we were off.
The start of the race was downhill, so I hoped to be warmed up enough to take advantage of it. Sure enough, I came through the first mile at 8:10, right on pace. Then I picked up the pace a bit more as there were MORE downhill sections, for a 7:04 and 7:52 at nearly halfway. I passed a father and his young son (maybe 8 years old?) running together, and smiled thinking about the possibility of Isaac running with me one day. I told them that they looked great, encouraged them as they started the uphill section, and then took off to try to catch the next pack. Through miles 4 (8:23) and 5 (8:59) I mainly settled in to the grind of the hills, trying to run smart and not let anyone pass me. A small group of us kept passing one another and then getting caught again, depending on the terrain or who took water breaks. Then it was the 6th mile, time to pick it up and see what kick I had left! The answer was not much as I got passed at the end by two of the women I had passed on the hills, but I still came in at a respectable 50:40 for an 8:10 pace.
I walked around to cool down, wheezing a bit from the effort, and chatted with some of the group that paced together with me through the hills. I grabbed an orange, bottle of water, and banana, and headed back to the car to head home. It was a surreal 3 hours of time to revisit the racing side of me that I hadn’t experienced for over a year, but then it was back home to tag back into “momma mode” and feed Isaac.
I’m not sure what event is next for me. Though I gravitate toward the longer distances and the feeling that I can keep going forever, I don’t really want to spend the time to train for anything longer than a half marathon right now. I have been loving the trails at the park, and thinking about the North Shore Trail Running series. Mainly I want to try to ramp up the intensity and frequency of my running to get back into a normal schedule, and maybe add in the elusive strength training and yoga that I often consider but never seem to make the time to do.
If you’re up for a run sometime this summer, definitely give me a call! I now feel officially back into the swing of running.