Hi, friends! I hope my American readers had a safe Memorial Day weekend and enjoyed spending some time with your families. We spent a low-key weekend around here, with a hike at Knox Farm on Sunday and a visit to the Aquarium of Niagara on Memorial Day itself. But before we could get to that stuff, I had a 5K to run on Saturday!
Memorial Day weekend is also the weekend of the Buffalo Marathon. Last year, you may remember, I participated in the marathon as part of a relay team and had a fantastic time. This year, my team went our separate ways: two of our runners from last year signed up to run the half marathon as individuals (and crushed it!), one is nine months pregnant, and then there’s me – too recently released to activity after Nuggetpalooza to train for a 10K. But I still wanted to participate.
This year, there was another option: the inaugural John Beishline Memorial 5K, run on the day before the marathon and half marathon. Beishline was a former race director of the Buffalo marathon and a respected member of the local running community. This was the first year the marathon weekend included a 5K option (and there was a challenge option too, for runners who wanted to run the 5K on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday). Somewhat on a whim, I decided to sign up. On race morning the whole family headed out of the house at the crack of dawn; I’d told hubby that he and the kids were not required to attend the race, but I think he found the prospect of pushing Nugget in the stroller while wearing Peanut in the child carrier somewhat less daunting than dealing with the two of them at home! So we all went together, and they waited in the car while I ran into the convention center to grab my packet and t-shirt, and then it was go time. I figured I’d be slow, so I lined up near the back of the pack.
Shania Twain sang the American and Canadian national anthems, and we were off!
I started out with an easy pace I hoped I could hold for most of the race. I would have loved to run the entire distance, except for the aid station, but I knew that was probably unrealistic. I set a low expectation and told myself to run as much as possible and keep the walking to a minimum.
One of the first sights of the race was Shea’s Performing Arts Center, a Buffalo institution. Hubby and I attended Mythbusters Live here back in 2013, but haven’t been to an event since. I snapped a quick picture that doesn’t do the building justice at all. It’s a beautiful place.
As we headed up Franklin Street, the road began to slope noticeably uphill. I wasn’t surprised by this – after all, the race (a loop course) is all downhill once we make the turn onto Delaware, but we had to get up to that elevation somehow. So, yeah, I was expecting it, but man did it hurt. My legs were just not willing to get with the program. I tried to run the hill as much as I could, but I took several walking breaks.
We hit an aid station where I grabbed a cup of water, and shortly after that, I saw the mile 2 marker. (Somehow I’d missed mile 1.) I tried to pick up the pace for the last mile, but my legs just weren’t having it. It was funny – usually I have a harder time breathing but my legs feel strong. With this race, it was just the opposite – I was breathing comfortably the entire time (well, I wasn’t exactly pushing the pace) but my legs felt like lead. I’m sure that carrying some extra baby weight (nine months on, nine months off) had something to do with it – that and the fact that I haven’t been able to figure out a training schedule yet, so I wasn’t really prepared for this race.
Still, lead legs and all, I slogged through the last mile and even found a slight kick when I turned into the finisher’s chute. (The pic above is from the other side of the finish line; I was too busy waving at hubby, Peanut and Nugget and trying not to stop and walk as I ran through the finish line.)
Check it out – a finisher’s medal! Most of the 5K races around here don’t offer finisher’s medals, and I don’t expect them from such a short race. This one was a cool bonus. I’d be lying if I said the finisher’s medal didn’t motivate me to sign up for this race.
Final time: I haven’t the faintest idea. Slow.
I had mixed feelings after this race. Not about the race itself, which was impeccably well-organized for an inaugural race (it probably helped that, while a new race, it was part of an established marathon weekend). It was a blast being back to the running community. I’d missed it so much during my last few months of pregnancy and the early postpartum period, and I was beyond excited to be running again and participating in a race. But the lead-legs feeling was unpleasant, and it really drove home for me just how much work I have to do to get ready for the summer and fall racing season, especially if I want my marathon dreams to become a reality. I’ve simply got to figure out a way to get out and train. It’s really hard for me to tear myself away from the kids right now, and getting up early feels like torture – Nugget has been up at 6:15 like clockwork, and I’m not sure how much earlier I can push myself to get out of bed, especially when I’m up with him from about 2:30 to 4:00 a.m. every. single. night. But there has to be a way, and I need to find it, because as it stands right now I’m not going to be ready for my June 10K, let alone an October marathon. I’ve got some thinking to do. And some running. Mostly running.
Did you run a race over the weekend? How’d it go?