Sunday morning, I ran the Run for Your Life 5 Mile race. But, this wasn’t just any other race. This was my first race pushing MacKenna in the jogging stroller!
I went into this race with not a lot of expectations. I have good days + bad days when I’m pushing the stroller, so I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself to do anything spectacular. Did I want to win the stroller division? OF COURSE! (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m extremely competitive.) But, at the same time, I wasn’t going to be disappointed if I didn’t. After all, I was going to have an automatic personal best since it was my first race with the stroller.
I did have a time goal in mind though. I can usually keep a decent pace pushing the stroller, but again, I didn’t want a lot of pressure on myself. My goal was to run under 45 minutes for the 5 miles – 9 minute miles seemed pretty doable, especially on a flat, fast course.
Not only was I running with MacKenna in the stroller, but my brother Brian joined me again for this race, as did my parents who were walking the race. My mom’s office actually formed a team – The Haberstrollers – in honor of the president of the company who is a breast cancer survivor. I was happy to be a part of the team and show my support in honor of her.
Like I said, the course was a flat and fast course, with the first mile (and then some) entirely on gravel. I knew this going into the race, not thinking too much of it. Gravel trails around here are pretty common, especially with the Katy Trail running several miles close to where I live. But, this was no ordinary gravel trail. This was basically a rock trail on the top of a levy that looked something like this:
It made it extremely hard to push a stroller on. I couldn’t run in the middle, because it was rock with grass and extremely uneven, and there were tall grass + flowers on the sides, so I found myself either on the right or left side of the middle, getting boxed in and stuck. Regardless, I still ran my first mile in 8:52.
MacKenna absolutely LOVED the gravel. She was a little crabby before the race, but I heard her making a ton of noise as we “cruised” along the gravel path. She especially loved when we were running right behind someone. I think she was trying to talk to them. Silly girl.
I was relieved to finally hit the extremely flat paved trail and felt amazing. My legs still felt fresh, thanks to a conservative first mile, and I was able to start picking off runners, one by one. However, with it being so flat and pretty boring, the miles seemed to go by slooooowly. MacKenna passed out, so it was pretty much just me and my thoughts (it was another small race) as I continued to try picking off people.
Mile 2 = 8:11
Mile 3 = 7:41
Mile 4 = 7:39
Some of the people I passed were surprised to see me pass by with a stroller. I got several, “Great jobs” and a guy asked what my pace was like without the stroller. I told him it was faster than what I was running pushing the stroller. What I didn’t think of at the time is that I’m pushing a very, very light stroller. Most 7 month old babies weigh over 15 pounds. My baby doesn’t (she weighed in last month at 12 lbs 7 oz – my great aunt mentioned that I never told y’all what she ended up weighing), so she’s not adding much weight to my already light stroller. I think I sort of had that as an advantage.
Once I passed the 4 mile mark, there were a few spectators cheering on runners who informed me I was the first stroller. What I didn’t realize is that I was only a few seconds behind the only 2 females in front of me. I picked up my pace on the last mile, just because I was so ready to be done. As I got closer to the finish line, my brother was there waiting for me (another great race for him – 5th overall + 1st in his age group) and let me know that I was going to finish in the top 3 females! Then he proceeded to tell me to sprint to the finish to get under 40 minutes. Have you ever tried sprinting while pushing a stroller? Not easy, even with a light stroller.
Mile 5 = 7:25
We crossed the finish line in 40:02 – 1st in the stroller division + 3rd female overall. Surprisingly, they even awarded me both medals as well (although, on the results website, I’m only included in the stroller division).