Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Superhero Run

Megatron and I ran a local 5k last weekend.  It was only a couple miles from my house (if I was training for a long distance race right now, I probably would have run TO the race, done the race and then run back home) and it supported one of the local high schools...which I happened to graduate from a really really long time ago.  None of my usual crew was doing the race so I decided I was NOT going to make it a fun run, even though it was called the Superhero Run.  I was going to run all out and see what I could do, despite having to push the stroller.

After I unloaded the stroller and Megatron and his breakfast and his meds (naturally the race started right at the time he needed his immunosuppressant, but we are both used to meds on the run these days),  I put on my superhero tutu... Back up!  I was also wearing socks with capes and wings, a Wonder Woman shirt and a crazy headband.  This was all part of my Halloween costume but Megatron ended up with a nasty cold and cough the night of the Halloween party we had been invited to so I never got to wear it.  So I was pretty excited to wear it for the race.  And I fit right in.  Lots of people, adults and kids alike, were wearing various superhero costumes.  I clearly take my running very seriously.
Yup, capes AND wings!
It's like a jazzed up Pope mobile.
Unfortunately though, when I did a warm up run, the tutu just wasn't working.  I knew it would drive me nuts, even if it was only 3 miles.  I decided to still keep things festive so I tied the tutu around the handle of the stroller.  Ultimately it still drove me nuts during the race but at least it was manageable while running. As we headed towards the start line, I realized I had left my Garmin at home!  Ack!  I've never ever forgotten my Garmin for a race!  I probably could have driven home to get it but I had a great parking space and I knew I would need it after the race because I had a feeling Megatron would throw a tantrum when it came time to leave.  And anyone with a tantrum-ing toddler knows you sometimes need a quick escape path! So I decided to just run based on feel (something I suck at) and do my best to not slow down.  

He was all snuggly and warm inside there.  He just chilled and enjoyed his breakfast while I worked my tail off!
The race was pretty small (around 200) and I could kind of tell who the "serious" runners were based on where they lined up at the start.  I decided to start pretty close to the line because one, there was still a gaggle of kids in front of me but there were tons more behind me.  And I knew that I did not want to get stuck behind too many kids, not because I didn't want them to slow me down but more because I was afraid I'd accidentally hit them with the stroller.  Kids tend to run super fast for 20 feet and then STOP.  Then they do that over and over again the entire race.  I'm short.  Kids are short.  When I'm pushing the stroller, I can't see the front wheel  so if someone stops or slows down suddenly in front of me, I can't always judge how much space I have. 

The first 100 yards were on a really narrow sidewalk and I was worried it was going to be a looooong race because I was already getting trapped behind slower people but it was too narrow for me to pass and I can't off road with the stroller (that sucker is super top heavy and tips easily).  Luckily the path widen so it got a lot easier to pass.  I tried not to go out too fast but I was anxious to spread out a little so I could focus on running and stop worrying about running over kids.  It was crazy windy that morning so I was just waiting for the course to turn into the wind.  That's when I realized that it wasn't the head on winds that I needed to worry about.  It wasn't constant wind, we were getting random, strong gusts and it was the gusts coming from the side that caused me all kinds of trouble.  The wind would gust at the side of the stroller and pull me right along with it.  There were quite a few times I had to push using both hands.  Have you ever tried running with your arms tied to your sides?  It's hard.  Your arms propel you forward so not being able to swing at least one of my arms made it extra difficult.  Luckily the course was winding around so we changed directions enough that I eventually would get a break from the gusts. 

It was an out and back course and that was something else that was a challenge with the stroller.  The path narrowed again but it wasn't an issue because the crowd and spaced out but the turn around was a cone in the middle of the sidewalk.  I had to do a complete U-turn with the stroller on a narrow sidewalk.  I had to slow to almost a walk so the stroller wouldn't tip and when I did, no one could go around me because it was so narrow.  I went as fast as I could without tipping the stroller and picked up the pace as soon as I made it around.  I don't think anyone was too bent out of shape about it because there were some kids right behind me and when I got a look at some of the adults who were behind me, they just seemed to be shooting the breeze with their friends and kids.  No one back there was there to "race."

I thought I would be more thrown off by not knowing my pace since I didn't have my Garmin but that didn't bother me so much.  What I really wanted to know was how much further I had!  The course had a 1 mile marker but that was the only one I saw and to be honest, it didn't seem like it was accurately placed.  I couldn't quite judge how far I had left to know if I should slow down so I could make it to the finish without a break or if I was close enough to give it the gas.  I just kept hanging on and hanging on until I saw the finish.  One benefit of it being a small race was the fact that I started so close to the front.  I knew that I would only be a couple seconds off the clock time.  So when I came hauling into the finish line and saw the clock, I knew I had a PR.  I wasn't sure how much of one exactly but I knew I had done it!  I beat my Band on the Run time!

I really gave it the gas when I could see the finish so when I did cross, I was super winded and felt a little sick.  I walked a little but by then, Megatron knew we had finished and was starting to whine about getting out.  I had promised him he could get out when I finished running.  Luckily they had set up a bounce house at the finish so I took him out of the stroller, shoved him inside the bounce house and tried to catch my breath and not puke.  Funny thing about the bounce house was that there weren't any other kids inside and Megatron is too small to actually make it bounce. He's still a little too uncoordinated/weak to stand up to bounce but he likes to just sit down and let the bigger kids bounce him.  So he just sat in the middle looking around, waiting for another kid to come in.  Luckily one finally did so he was happy.  I recovered and he surprisingly, came out of the bounce house without me threatening him like I usually do (home boy LOVES to bounce!).  Probably because he knew that meant he could do to the playground next.  The race was at a local park that has one of his favorite playgrounds.  I promised we could play after the race and I was quickly regretting that promise.  The wind was picking up and it was COLD.  I was starting to freeze after getting sweaty during the race.  After only 10 minutes, I was shivering so bad I had to haul Megatron away to the car.  He was not very happy.  Oh well, mama couldn't feel her hands!
Standing...not bouncing. 
Once in the car, I cranked the heat and pulled up the race web site on my phone.  I love race technology/chip timing these days!  Instant race results! "Back in the day, I remember when 5ks weren't time an if they were, you had to rip a tag off your bib at the finish line and they recorded the time that way," said in an old lady voice!  I was able to see my results while still sitting in the parking lot.  33:33 was my finish time...over 4 minutes faster than my previous PR!!  I was pretty damn surprised.  So surprised that I questioned the accuracy of the course.  I thought for sure it had to have been shorter than 3.1 miles for me to have been that much faster.  But someone else who did the race said that their Garmin showed 3.09 miles.  That's close enough to accurate in my book and I probably did go further because I passed quite a few people.  Maybe it was the wings on my socks.... My strategy of going fast and hanging on for as long as I could paid off.  Naturally thought I'm curious how fast I can run a 5k without the stroller!

I doubt I've ever placed that high in my age group!!

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