One of the things I look for in a race is where it’s located. I typically like to do races that are closer to home compared to downtown St. Louis, which is a good 30-45 minute drive. However, when it comes to destination races, it’s really hard for me (really, Matt and me) to pass up races in Branson.
We actually ran this race for the first time last year. Not only that, I ran my 5K PR at this race last year. This year, though, I wasn’t looking to PR. In fact, I hadn’t really been training for racing at all. I’ve been dealing with the achilles tendon issue, so speed work and racing has sort of been put on hold for awhile. However, Matt has been training for this race and I really wanted him to do well at it, so I let him race on his own and I got to push MacKenna in the stroller.
I haven’t raced with the stroller since MacKenna was really little – like 7 months old. It’s been awhile. But, I have been doing many long runs pushing her and keeping a pretty decent pace. I really had no expectations though – no plan on a PR and no plan on even placing in my age group.
MacKenna and I started in the middle of the pack and I knew before we even crossed the starting line that I should have started up a little closer. I was mixed in with a bunch of runners and walkers who were going to go much slower than me. And with pushing a stroller, that makes it really, REALLY hard to get around them when there is a huge pack of people. But, eventually we found our way to the very outside and pretty much stayed to the outside the first mile until the pack of runners widened a little bit.
The one thing that I remembered of this race from last year is that it is the LONGEST 5K ever. You do 2 loops around the mall parking lot, pass the finish line, go up a giant hill, turn around, head down the hill, and turn to the finish. It feels like it goes on for-ev-er. There are also 2 killer hills – the one I just mentioned right before the finish line and one during the mall loop, so you have to go up it twice.
I won’t lie. I ended up having to walk up a few of those hills. With the stroller, it was just too hard and heavy to run up the hill and push Kenna at the same time. Ugh. So frustrating, but like I said, there were no expectations whatsoever when it came to this race, so, eh, no big deal, right?
MacKenna had a great time! I feel so fortunate that she absolutely LOVES to run in the stroller with me! We chatted it up the whole time and she spent some time waving at the volunteers and the kiddos that we passed. It won’t be too much longer and hopefully she’ll be running along side of me!
So, how’d we do? Well, it definitely was no PR. In fact, it was 10 minutes slower than what I ran last year. But, I’m not disappointed. I had a great time pushing my daughter and doing the sport I love so much. I was the first stroller to finish and was amazed by the number of compliments I received about pushing MacKenna. I had more people come up and talk to me at this race than I do when I WIN the race. But, it actually made me feel even better about myself than I do when I win. Stroller running is no joke, people. It. Is. Hard.
And how did Matt do? He ran faster than he has in his races since college and even took 2nd place in his age group. I’m so happy that he was able to do so well and boost his confidence a little bit. He’s been dealing with nagging injuries and over-sensitive nerves for about 7 years now, so any time he is able to run – and run well – makes me so proud of him. Not too bad of a Father’s Day gift, right?!
Sometimes I just need the reminder that it’s not always about winning or getting a PR. Sometimes running is just about doing something you love with the people you love…