The past two weekends have been a fun re-introduction to the fun of racing with my participation in the Great Pumpkin Chase 5km, a local run through downtown Albuquerque, NM and the Women’s Half Marathon in Scottsdale, AZ. As I am gearing to return to regular training, I was using these races as gauges of my current fitness. I entered the Pumpkin Chase 5km to see how fast I could run a 5km 11 weeks after having a baby, and after successfully completing that race, decided to enter the Women’s Half Marathon as a “fun” race to make up for missing the NWM half marathon with my sisters.
Racing a 5km was a lot harder than the casual, untimed runs I’ve been doing around the neighborhood, and I was glad to be running to the finish line instead of heading out for the 10km loop when we got to 3 miles! Running amidst pirates, fairies, Angry Birds and circus animals reminded me of the fun of community races and made me glad to be participating in such an inclusive activity.
A week later, John, MariaElena, my sister Analisa and I sat in the airport on our way to Phoenix. This was a big deal for John and I: MariaElena’s first flight, and our first flight as parents. Somehow, we lucked out to have only a curious and then sleepy baby to contend with; the only major crying happened in the car.
Having run a maximum distance of 5 miles thus far, I recognized that the half marathon was a “tiny” bit longer than that, so stylized my racing goal to reflect that: I wanted to run 7-8 miles, and then walk-jog the rest of the way. My sister was hoping to improve upon her NWM half time, so on race day morning, we jogged around a bit together and then prepared to go our separate ways at the start line. I started at a comfortable pace and as the miles ticked by and the sun rose, and I kept on running, feeling easy and enjoying the company of my fellow runners. To my surprise, at 8 miles I was still running and feeling great, so just kept going. I finished with a time of 1:35, very glad to be done.
Post race, I was salt-encrusted, tired, and very happy to see my husband, who was toting our daughter. Flopping on the grass, I was grateful to have a chance to nurse my daughter, rest my legs and drink a peppermint hot cocoa. My pelvis was very sore and felt kind of “stretched-out” for the next couple days, my lower abs were sore, and I was completely, totally wiped out. Back in New Mexico, I was so tired that I tried to put MariaElena to bed at 6:30pm in the hopes that I could soon follow; she didn’t cooperate, and at 9pm, John tucked me into bed and entertained our over-stimulated, time-change confused baby until she finally fell asleep.
After taking 3 days off from running and reflecting on my last two weekends of racing, I’m excited to return to a slightly more formal training routine. My hope is that with a somewhat more regularly sleeping baby, I’ll be able to move to a somewhat more regular running schedule. MariaElena and I both caught colds from the travel, so after we both return to good health, my goals are to run a few more days a week, to push my those runs closer to an hour, and to add some ‘pep’ with some strides. We’ll see how it goes!